Dec 09, 2019 1:31 PM
Dicehoarder's Sandra meets Rockeye's Nick and Walta
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"How much I'll give depends on how good it is, which I can only really tell by trying it out, but at least forty silver circles, possibly up to sixty or eighty. A month's rent in the cheap part of a town tends to be four or five circles."

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"That's more than enough for my purposes, I don't know how long I'll be staying so enough to survive for a few months will be quite nice. I'd be willing to help you set it up and try it out for yourself."

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"Very good. I should like to know how to repair it if possible, but I think that will cover fare to any altitude you like more than acceptably as well."

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"I'll be honest, I was expecting more skepticism. Most people don't believe me when I say I'm not from around here."

She'll give him what he wants including how to fix it, it'll function quite adequately as a navigation device, it's miniaturized so it's not quite as powerful as a full-sized set, but it should be more than enough for his purposes.

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"Oh, I'm still very skeptical. It's just that the story of the Stargate makes you quite strange instead of outright impossible. And, this radar will be more than acceptable. No more tiptoeing through fog or through the night quite as anxiously, since I will be able to see what's coming."

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"I am quite strange, so that's a perfectly reasonable conclusion."

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"Now that we have an understanding, here are the basic rules for passengers on my ship. One, no fire. Anywhere for any reason unless I specifically say otherwise. No sparks if you can possibly help it, either. Hydrogen is very flammable. Two, don't go into the machine spaces, workshop, or cargo bay without me or my assistant, Miss Hindenset. I'll be sure to show you where those are. Three, don't throw anything overboard or try to go on the outside of the ship without a harness. And four, have common sense. Any questions?"

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"Would it be possible to go on the outside with a harness at some point? I do quite enjoy that sort of activity. Anyway, all of those rules seem quite reasonable, thank you for your consideration."

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"If that is what you wish to do I'm sure we can arrange it at some point. Perhaps you can help me install the radar on my flag mast. We have some work to do before we can set off again, though."

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"Oh, that sounds delightful! What kind of work, if you don't mind my asking?"

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"Collecting floatgrass, mostly. And some checks and routine maintenance, since we are already stopped. Speaking of which, I probably shouldn't leave my crewmate to do all the work herself." He sets the radar down and grabs a big sack from the pack Walta set down. "You need not help help as well, since you're a paying passenger, but I wouldn't complain if you did."

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"I get bored easily, and I like being useful. I'll be glad to help anyway I can." 

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Walta returns just in time to hear her say this, with a bulging bag that seems to want to float upward like a balloon tied to her wrist. She clambers up a ladder and releases the sack into an open port on the bottom of the ship.

"I'll show ya how, it's not hard at all. I wager you can go up and do the checks, boss. There's not that much ripe grass here, us two can get it all before you're done with that."

Nick nods thoughtfully and heads for the ladder after picking up the shiny new radar set.

"Anyway, it's easy! You just take one of these bags, hook the loop around one wrist so it doesn't fly off, put one end over a bunch of floatgrass-" She demonstrates with a patch of the bulbous stalks. "-And shake it around a bit. Most of the seeds will come loose, and that's what we want, we get hydrogen from 'em."

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"Interesting!" She then gets right to collecting the float grass, moving effortlessly. "How do you get the hydrogen from the seeds?" Sandra asks while she works.

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Walta's slightly frumpy work clothes don't seem to impair her practiced movements either. "There's a press, squishes the seeds and spits out the husks. The gas inside isn't quite pure enough, so we pump it through this lichen at high pressure. A filter that can sort out gases! Nature is amazing, huh?"

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"It is!" She agrees. "In all of my explorations, one thing that has never ceased to amaze me is just how amazing nature is. No matter where I go, it finds a way to work itself out."

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"I wonder what all the other planets' life is like. A lot of what's here is from this place called 'Earth' originally. You can really tell what's Cloudbank vintage and what's Terran. Look at that nibbler."

She points to a jellyfish-like thing floating placidly. Its tentacles stick to floatgrass seeds as it passes, and occasionally it lifts one up to its center and eats the whole lot. "Anything with a gas bag is one hundred percent Cloudbank."

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Non-earth worlds are always fascinating. "I've actually been to other planets, and there's a lot of variety. I come from a world like this one, but more ground and things don't fly nearly as much. For example, we have things like that, but they swim in the water, not float through the air. They also sting if you touch 'em."

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"Lakes and oceans always sounded absurd to me. That much water would be unbelievably heavy."

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"For a lot of people back home, a place without large bodies water would be pretty absurd. It's such an every day part of our existence, I used to live by a lake, as an example. Lakes and oceans formed the backbone of many societies back in the day. My home country wouldn't exist without it, considering my ancestors came in ships over the ocean." 

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Walta sings what seems to be a nursery rhyme. "It's a big, big sky stretching far above. One day you will fly like a jay or dove..."

Then she stops, looking embarrassed. "Uh, old nursery rhyme. About exploring, I guess."

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"You don't have to be embarrassed. Music is one of the most wonderful things humanity has ever discovered. Even something as simple as a nursery rhyme is powerful if it's meaningful to you."

Then Sandra starts to softly sing, she's clearly had training, because her singing is quite good.

"I saw a ship a-sailing, a-sailing on the sea and oh, it was all laden with pretty things for thee!"

"That's a nursery rhyme from my home."

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Walta claps politely. "I have a big drum onboard. My brother made it before we parted."

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"Your brother made instruments? That's very nice. Is he a drum maker specifically or does he make other kinds?"  She pauses.

"Can you play it?"

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"He made all sorts. Mostly drums, though. I can hold a steady beat, but I mostly keep it for sentiment."

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