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Apr 19, 2019 8:50 AM
xenolev/mermaid sky. dead dove do not eat
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Lev is staring at Sky with a goofy expression on his face.

When Dorothy says that, he blinks and says, "I would probably be better at being a research assistant than I would at fishing."

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This is going to be a disaster.

"Good."

She beckons for him to follow her out the door.

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Lev does!

He ponders how much to tell her about his power. His power said that they wouldn't vivisect him but that doesn't mean they wouldn't hand him over to someone who would vivisect him.

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She leads him to a back room full of monitors and cables and locked drawers, and removes a small roughly phone-sized tablet like the one Kyou carries, along with a small zippered case that turns out to contain a microphone one can attach.

"This is for notes and recordings. We're generally recording that room when someone is in it, but close-up audio is easier to work with."

She plugs it into a computer, messes with settings briefly, then disconnects it and hands it to him.

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"Thank you."

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"...there are some texts in the database, but right now what we really need is for someone to spend time on his language development and build a relationship. You seemed to be doing well with that."

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"Texts in the database?"

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She takes the tablet and shows him.

Through this application, he can access the rig's database, which includes basic encyclopedic information and more varied information on linguistics and programming and conventional anthropology and some very detailed information on cryptids, cryptobiology, cryptoanthropology, cryptogeography.

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He's unconsciously started bouncing a little bit as he scrolls through the list of information on cryptids.

Lev really, really wants to use his power on this stuff. But calories are limited on the rig-- he's just not going to be able to run it on everything they know about cryptids and see what turns up. And he can't tell them without risking vivisection.

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"...I was excited, too."

She's definitely smiling this time.

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Wait, he totally has a great dataset to use to figure out whether they vivisect cryptids.

"Can I go read this stuff for a bit?"

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She nods.

"We can alert you if we need you. Do you remember the way back to the contact room?"

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"Yes."

And he sits down at a table and starts reading and asks his power "what are these people's research ethics like?"

(He's going to be so hungry when he's done.)

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There is a lot to read. Migratory habits of selkies in the changing climate and polyandry in Grecian harpies and merfolk anatomy and diet and sasquatch cave drawings and a case study on an alraune that raised a seedling with an asteria...

He couldn't possibly get through one percent of this in a day.

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He looks for anatomical papers, medical papers, papers on the structure and function of cryptid body parts. Things that you would plausibly need to vivisect someone to find out about.

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Most of this is merfolk. An old paper on cecaelia internal organs. Sharkmaid gills and how they differ from those of normal sharks. General merfolk reproductive anatomy.

There's a lot of this, too.

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When he's read twenty or so papers he checks in with his power about their research ethics with particular attention to whether he can expect to be vivisected.

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Vivisection and other gross mistreatment of cryptids used to be common, but isn't anymore. Now it's mostly regular mistreatment on the scale of what you'd expect with marginalized human populations with low tech levels. This particular organization has a fairly high standard of ethical behavior that does not include any involuntary vivisections.

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That's good.

He gets up to find Dorothy. 

His head is swimming a little bit but it's okay, at this level of hunger he won't faint.

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Dorothy is still where he left her. She looks up when he enters.

“What have you been finding?”

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"...I lied to you about what my power is. Well. Not lied. Strategically omitted."

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Dorothy nods.

“What is your power, then?”

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"If I have a question, and a set of information, and it's possible to figure out the answer to the question from the set of information, I can figure it out. The reason I'm telling you this is that I read twenty anatomy papers and figured out that you don't vivisect cryptids. I'd have something more impressive but my power runs on calories and I haven't eaten anything since lunch, so if I tried to use my power again I'd faint." 

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“...I’m going to take you to the mess,” she says, in the tone of someone who is very much still processing.

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"That's a good idea."

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