Dec 11, 2019 4:49 PM
Stella on a strange subway
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There sure is! In various metals, with varying amounts of rust and patina, respectively. Some of the wires are thick, but others are thinner than pencil lead. Some of it might be a little hard to extract from its heap, though.

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She will attempt to carefully extract some wires that look thin enough to bend but thick enough to hold some weight.

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She can eventually find and extract such wires. They feel a bit dubious, with the oxidation, but they seem sturdy enough underneath.

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She takes the longer pieces and folds them in half. Then she ties some pieces of not-glass to each end, twisting the wires so they stay in place.

Finally, she shifts the wires so the bends in the middle line up and loops a smaller piece of wire around them. There.

Hopefully, when she lifts the whole thing by the loop at the top and shakes it a little, it doesn't fall apart at once. 

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It clinks cheerfully enough, and doesn't seem like it's about to fall apart.

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That's good.

By now she's calmed down enough to decide on what to do.

She hooks the whole thing onto one of her jeans belt loops and stands up, stretching. Rummaging through her bag, she takes out the subway brochure, folds it to the map part, and draws a little Earth in the corner in pen. She doesn't know if this is an actual map or just a mock-up of one, but it's better than nothing. 

Time to do her best impression of a lost tourist. Are there any maybe-aliens that look like they might be friendly?

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At her current distance, the maybe-aliens in the maybe-village are all possibly-politely possibly-hostilely ignoring her, although it's hard to tell if any of them are stealing glances under their masks, if that is even a thing they are capable of doing.

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That isn't the best sign, but what does she have to lose? (If any of them turns out to be actively hostile, she can always run away really fast. The subway's not that far away.)

She'll walk closer to the maybe-village until she's within earshot. "Umm. Hello!" The not-glass tinkles quietly at her side.

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The nearest creatures make clicking and whirring sounds and gesture at each other for a few seconds, until two of them come to her.

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Stella holds out her map. "I came from the subway," she says, gesturing at the brochure and then waving in the general direction of the station. "Can you tell me where this is?" And then she gestures at the village and points at the map.

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The taller and closer of the two takes the map from her hand. It runs a section of thumbtip not encased in metal along its surface, and trills, then holds it out for the other creature to feel. It rummages for underneath the top layer of its garment with its other two hands, until it finds and pulls out a length of untarnished bronze wire, and several green-tinted droplets of glass. It carefully winds segments of the middle of the wire around the droplets' stems, then gently rolls the brochure into a tube and wraps the wire in a tight coil around it. It bends the wire anchoring the droplets, until they lay flat along the tube.

It inspects the tube, holding it up to both lenses in its mask, and turning it to see every detail. The other creature holds two hands out for the tube, inspects it similarly but more slowly, makes a chirping noise, and then passes it back to the first creature, who holds it out toward her.

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She watches closely, nervousness temporarily replaced with fascination.

When they're done, she carefully takes the tube and examines it in detail. (She probably hasn't gotten her meaning across properly, has she.) 

 

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They watch her, unmoving and silent.

It sure does seem to be a rolled-up subway brochure wrapped in wire with little bits of green glass or crystal attached to the sides.

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"...Thanks? I... don't suppose you could tell me what this is for?"

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The smaller creature whirrs, imitating her tone, and stretches out the arm furthest away from her. Neither seems to understand her words.

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Yup, this is going as well as she'd expected. She really should have gone back to the station, but leaving now seems... rude.

What happens if she holds out her makeshift not-windchime? 

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The smaller creature takes it this time, and they both peer at it. The larger one buzzes and searches beneath its cloak (she can catch glimpses of what might be a bag) until it finds a scrap of dark cloth and a red-tinted sphere of crystal, with opaque grey liquid sloshing inside. The smaller one gives the wind chime a few shakes, then starts individually tapping each neighboring pair of pieces of metal together, while the other presses the cloth to the container and twists it, then inverts them until the cloth is damp. The larger one takes the wind chime from the smaller, and begins wiping the wires with the cloth, while the smaller rummages in its bag for some two-legged and long-nosed metal tools, a long strip of cloth with small metal teeth on one end and loops of thin wire, coated with sparkling dust, on the other, and a set of tiny, parabolically-curved discs of copper, each with a hole in the center.

After a few minutes, the larger creature uses a dry piece of cloth to wipe the liquid, along with most of the rust, off of the wires, then hands it to the smaller one, who carefully removes each crystal chime from its wire, then uses the toothed end of the cloth to scrape away a segment of the bottom, occasionally tapping it with a metal tool, then rubs the entire crystal with the looped end of the cloth until it again has a smooth finish. It replaces each crystal on its own wire, but threads a copper disc into each wire first, then uses the long-nosed tools to bend the wire to grip its crystal's upper surface in a tight spiral, and then taps it against each of the other already-finished wires, which occasionally prompts it to remove, cut down, and smooth the crystal before placing it back again.

After around fifteen minutes of this, when all the crystals and their wires have been thus treated, it gives the wind chime another shake. The sound is distinctly musical now, a set of harmonious though vaguely minor clinking chords, accompanied by surprisingly loud clicking noises as the copper discs move up and down the wires.

It holds the modified wind chime out to her.

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She takes the wind chime and admires it.

That wasn't what she'd intended to happen, either. She suspects any other attempts at communication involving props will end in them doing more crafts. (And even if they don't, well, she doesn't want to risk it. If only she had something to give in return--but she's not in the habit of carrying around art supplies. She's abysmal at art.)

"Thank you," she says after a moment. Will they be offended if she attempts to give them back the wind chime?

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They take it back, then click and chirp and gesture at each other. The larger creature finds disk beads, similar to the copper ones, but in dark iron and bronze and green-patinated copper, one of each, which it holds out to drop into her hand.

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She lets the beads drop into her palm. Is this... currency?

She'll put them in her bag, then.

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The creatures both bounce on their strangely-bent knees and close and open their fingers upward, making high chirping sounds.

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Ooor not? Do they want the discs back? 

She just wants to end this conversation! And go back to the spooky subway! Why is this so hard!

"Okay, here you go!" She drops the discs into their hands and then starts backing away slowly.

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They accept the disks back and turn to watch her go, but do not follow or make any further sounds or gestures.

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She will backtrack to the subway station, then.

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The station's still there. A creature is crouched on the ground near the tunnel, and there is no train inside.

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