She had been en route to her usual position after a rest-and-resupply period. Instead of the expected uneventful trip, somehow she loses her anchors, falls through a bizarrely shaped storm, then finds herself impossibly over land instead of water and with her upper antennas chopped off like they were never there.
She was able to stabilize with only minor damage to the uninhabited land, but she cannot hear a single intelligible signal, and a hundred other things add up to this is no place anyone has ever seen before. Or rather, reported seeing before.
So here she sits in the sky, relaying nothing, thinking about everything.
“Er. How do you want to return? I'm sure you don't want a repeat of the last trip — sorry I forgot motion sickness was a thing — but I could go slower, or make something that you're in control of instead, or ask someone to bring your horse.”
"Going slower should do it for this time. I didn't suffer any permanent harm. But next time I'll probably just bring a horse."
The not-moving seat turns back into one that looks like it's going to be going places.
“In case you're wondering, my understanding is that most people can get used to that sort of motion. I just forgot that getting used to it is something that has to happen first. It also makes a difference whether you're controlling the movement or just riding along. Sorry again.”
"I'm fine, really."
Quiet! Wheat passing by underneath!
Other sorts of land!
House sweet house. Out Kiri gets.
“I believe before we got on the subject of things that think, I was asking you whether you wanted more to read?”
"I would like more to read! And I can start sending out instructions to buy things, if you can tell me specifically what things I need to buy to make parts for radios."
“Heh, sorry, I should have asked what you wanted to read instead. But I can certainly start with material on electronic components. There will be some different options depending on what you can obtain and how good you want the products to be, and I'll have to make you some tools to get started with processing the raw materials.”
"Well, having you make tools is more efficient than having you make products."
Teytis is, of course, heading back to the library.
"Right. It's sometimes annoying to be unique."
“More than sometimes, for me; one reason I like being a jobont is that it's all about sharing information, making whatever knowledge I have less unique. Nobody’s depending on me in particular, and I wouldn’t like it if they were. And since I mysteriously vanished yesterday —”
"...then at least nobody's in the lurch. Yeah. If I died a new Ardelay prime would replace me, but if I vanished I don't know what would happen."
“Anyway, let me think about what to give you for the materials question.
"Actually, Box of Scraps would have the sort of answers you need, even though as I noted before it assumes tamsilt construction; perhaps that would be a good place to start, and if you can supply me with those materials I can do the processing and assembly — or, for that matter, you could borrow my stocks of emergency gear immediately while we work on setting up to replace them, which would help figure out whether and how they will be actually useful to you.”
A copy of Box of Scraps starts putting itself together.
"I'm going to have to train staff to use these things; if I'm going to wind up with a permanent design that's different or a permanent set of protocols that's different because there are more radios, the information might not be as useful."
“As you wish, but in your place I wouldn't consider anything permanent until we have some experience with how the system works for the people operating it.”
"Yes, but there's 'revised' and then there's 'built on completely different underlying assumptions'."
“I'm not sure what sort of assumptions there might be that would change plans to that degree, but that's rather your point.”
"Exactly. Also, I like looking like I know what I'm doing."
“And that's always useful for convincing people to accept your help.”
"It really is."
A particular slice of humanity's collected knowledge over on the table has gone beyond “pamphlet” and is working on losing some adjectives from “rather thin magazine”.
“Do you get that? People expecting you to not just be the person with the title, but to somehow perfectly embody your element?”