Jul 20, 2019 11:44 AM
Tarinda and Page bring a seed of the super-AI Sing to Cloudbank
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Cloudbank is a beautiful place, from a certain perspective. Blue sky and white clouds above, all around, and misty white clouds below.

Here is an island of solidity in the sea of sky. The wind is a steady breeze, the floating island sitting just barely on top of a dense, foggy layer of air. It's not an especially large island, perhaps two hundred feet wide and three hundred long all told, curved slightly like the back of some giant beast.

The sandy soil is thin, and wears straight through to a porous-looking sort of rock in places. There are grasses and weeds and shrubs and a few trees, plus a few small creatures. Some familiar, like the wild onions. Some alien, like the thickets of not-quite-grass with flimsy, transparent, bulging seeds straining upwards against their mooring.

A songbird casually swoops from its nest and catches one of these seeds in its bill, while something with tentacles and a large gas-bag clings to the island at the edge, nibbling on the alien leaves of something reminiscent of mangroves, a three-dimensional web of stems and flaxen roots.

And then someone else arrives.

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"This is all really cool! Thank you for showing me."

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"Not a problem. Welcome to the Tricky Ray. And it's probably about time you got your cabin, yeah?"

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"Sounds good."

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Well, here is a cabin. It has a hammock - reasonably comfy-looking one at least - and a pillow and a blanket and a minimalist dresser and that's it. "Guest cabin. It has less furniture than the others. If you want a table and chair or something else we can probably do that tomorrow."

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"I should be good with the hammock for now. Thanks!"

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"Have a good night, then!"

And he goes.

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Tarinda sleeps in the hammock.

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Nobody comes to wake her, though the ship isn't totally silent. There's the engine, the wind, footsteps. Not too loud.

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She'll be fine. If anything bothers her Page can noise-cancel.

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The hammock is actually pretty cushy and stable, for a hammock.

Nobody bothers her. Eventually light bleeds through the thin curtains over the window.

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She wakes up. She ventures out of her cabin to see if there is breakfast.

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Breakfast is in half an hour! Rem is groggy and grouses about morning people.

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Tarinda will help her with breakfast, humming to herself.

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And soon breakfast is had. Neither the captain nor Darien are there. The crew don't seem suspicious of her or anything, but they're definitely watching her more now than yesterday.

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"Good morning!"

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She gets 'good morning's back. One guy says she looks strong and asks if she wants to spar... After some nudging from his friends, that is.

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"Gosh. I might be game, what rules do you use?"

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No weapons. The rules are something like sumo wrestling, without the 'almost naked' requirement. In fact, they're both to wear elaborate harnesses. Whoever is forced to the ground or forced out of a square arena first loses.

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That sounds safe enough that she can have a little fun. "Sure, why not."

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They attract a small crowd of spectators, probably almost everyone not on duty or asleep.

Her opponent, Gary, tries to use strength to win quickly, not realizing that Tarinda is boosted.

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She is slippery and quick; she doesn't care to outright beat him in a shoving match unless he corners her.

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Gary is not as quick! Instead, he attempts to use the motion of the ship to his advantage. But he probably isn't good enough to actually corner her.

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After just a little showing off - she has plenty of ability to anticipate which way the ship will go - she goes for the ankles to try to trip him.

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(He's supposed to be the one more familiar with the ship, dammit.)

He dodges and tries to use strength and reach against her again, but gets nowhere. Their crowd is making appreciative noises.

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She makes a roll that should take her out of bounds and kips up at the last moment and swipes at his knees.

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