Jul 20, 2019 12:31 PM
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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And she investigates the availability of lodging and the spending power of her three coppers.

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There are boarding houses near the docks, a short ways past the bars. There are a few apartments looking to rent.

Three coppers will get her a boarding-house room for a week, or a room and meals for three days, or a new shirt, among other things.

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What is there in the way of work?

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Hauling things around, waiting tables at a bar, or cleaning seem like the ones she could get right away just by walking up and asking.

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Which pays best?

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Waiting tables if she thinks she can get good tips - they do seem to do tips here - hauling otherwise.

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Hmm, she'll try her luck waiting tables if they'll have her.

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Here's a uniform, here's the menu - try to remember most of it, smile and be charming, we're definitely not saying it's a job requirement but unbuttoning a couple buttons tends to cause increased tips from the men, if anyone harasses you or touches you come tell us and we'll kick 'em out, here's Henry he's your boss, go get 'em!

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She goes! She gets 'em! She memorizes the whole menu! And then she'll take her cabin for the one night of grace period.

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She's a new face, a very pretty and charming one. She gets good tips. Rem finds her and feeds her something buttery and experimental and looks slightly wistful.

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Mmm, butter. "It was really nice helping out in here since the Tricky Ray picked me up. I'll miss you."

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"I'll miss ya too. But I'm used to meeting people and then missing 'em again - well, you know, I already told you about the sailor's life, yeah? I wish you fair winds and good fortune and all that."

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"Thanks!"

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"I'll let ya sleep now I guess." Out she goes.

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And Tarinda sleeps, and helps Rem fix breakfast and eats some, and goes to work.

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Her next shift at the bar isn't until the afternoon, but the delivery service across the street is happy to have her carry boxes across the city until then.

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Can do. She can carry many boxes.

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...She gets some worried, some wary looks at that show of strength. The words 'Lost Tech' are muttered by more than one person.

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...she is tentatively okay with that rumor.

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It's a very gossipworthy rumor, apparently. Her coworkers at the bar have heard it when she gets there and ask if it's true she has Lost Tech inside her body.

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"I know where all of my tech is! I didn't lose it!"

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So she has found tech?

Where did she find the tech?

Is it why she's kind of stunningly pretty (and where can I get some)?

There's an argument about whether 'Lost Tech' means 'lost' or 'not buildable'.

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"I didn't find any either! It was a joke."

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Probably not all of them really believe it's a joke, she's pretty fantastic, but most do.

Their boss comes in and tells everyone to get to work already. The gossiping crowd disperses rapidly.

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Tarinda gets back to work. And when work is done she looks for long-term-affordable lodging.

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