Dec 12, 2018 6:39 AM
Tarinda and Page bring a seed of the super-AI Sing to Cloudbank
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"Does news usually spread by word of mouth or do people not have much idea what's going on in the rest of the world?"

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"You hear that someone saw pirates or a bladesquid or a nasty storm forming in the area once in a while. Sometimes what you hear is even true. Some of the bigger towns have newspapers, but they don't tend to get taken between towns."

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"Huh. Does everyone talk about the same?"

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"Uh... Northerners have - what's the word - a dialect. 'Halle friend, plessen to meet you.' That sort of thing?"

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"Ooh, huh. And they don't tend to - blow south?"

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"Sometimes. I've met two northerners and a southerner. North life is pretty different from equatorial life, to hear them tell it. They have different weather every season, and things are even sparser."

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"Sounds rough."

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"Yeah, but that's life. Most folks get by okay in the end."

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"I suppose."

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Quiet cooking for a little while, then. Rem will start humming if the silence goes on for long.

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Tarinda doesn't mind. She peels potatoes. Between tunes, she asks, "Is there likely to be a good time for me to get a tour of the whole ship? When the weather's calmed down, maybe?"

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"If Captain Flint likes you, probably! Everyone'll be in the galley at dinnertime. Or I could show you some of it in - say five minutes, after I finish this - if you like."

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"I can wait, I just want to develop a sense of the place."

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"Understood! I'm definitely not complaining about you continuing to peel potatoes for me."

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"You got it." Peel peel.

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Rem continues telling her biography in disjointed pieces and chatting about whatever comes to mind while cooking. Tarinda even runs out of potatoes to peel and is put to other tasks.

But eventually they have a lot of food, and the ship is no longer swaying quite as much, and she says, "Wanna do the honors and ring the dinner not-a-real-bell?" And holds out a big wooden spoon and a plate.

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"Sure!" And she taps the plate with the spoon.

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And the crew of the ship assembles! Most of them, anyway, Rem names people and says that Cliff, Benny, and Claire are still on post - elevators, helm, and engine respectively. "I'll fetch 'em a snack and they'll get to have a proper meal later."

 

Captain Flint is a surprisingly short man with wide shoulders, black hair, and a perpetually skeptical look. "Welcome aboard. Rem dragged you into the kitchen, eh? You would have said something if you needed patching up, I hope?"

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"Oh, sure, but I'm fine, not that the potatoes didn't really hit the spot."

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"Food typically does when you haven't had much for a while, yes. I'd imagine a warm blanket and a nice hammock will do the same. She's quite... Bright, isn't she?"

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"I'm not sure I know what you mean."

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"Cheerful? Unwearied by the world? Halfway genius with an oven?"

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"She is that!"

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He chuckles. "I apologize for the delay in welcoming you properly, but getting away from a firestorm is fairly urgent. I'm Captain Raymond Flint. Welcome to the Tricky Ray. Shall we sit and eat?" He gestures to the table where the crew who came in with him are already chowing down. Darien waves at her.

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"Can't scare me." She sits and takes some food. She waves back at Darien.

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