Nov 21, 2019 1:28 PM
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She really did not mean to suddenly be somewhere else. It might be an illusion but if it is it's a pretty inexplicable one. But here, suddenly, is one human, carrying no electronics and looking very confused.

"Uh, hello? Did someone bring me somewhere? On purpose?"

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The person who is here doesn't look quite human and does not seem to have been previously informed about the newcomer's presence being expected. She turns around in her swively chair, blinks, retains a surprising amount of composure considering the total lack of recognition in her eyes, and says something a foreign language.

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"...Okay, sorry, shouldn't have assumed you spoke that one," the visitor says in a different unfamiliar language. "Did you bring me here on purpose?"

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The woman in the swivel chair tries a different foreign language. She swivels back toward the dizzying array of shapes and lights laid out on the angled desk in front of her to poke something; she gets a verbal response that comes out of thin air.

Through the window beyond, Echan can see innumerable stars.

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Echan doesn't see very well anymore, but that would not be very illuminating even if she did.

"I have no idea where I am, I don't know if you've kidnapped me, and I don't know why you won't get me someone who speaks Hari. I bet I came from out of state, if you orchestrated a kidnapping from this far away you must travel enough to at least know someone..."

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The person says something plausibly apologetic, picks up a glowing rectangle, pokes it, and offers it to Echan.

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Echan reaches out tentatively to touch the rectangle. "That's a strange material. ...You don't seem to be acting like a kidnapper, not that I know what one would act like. Are we at least in public?" Echan turns her face ceilingward. "I need to report a crime, I think I've been kidnapped and left here with this stranger who I have no languages in common with." Sigh. She looks in the other person's general direction. "I don't mean you any harm and I didn't mean to be here, I hope you know that."

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The ceiling does not reply. The rectangle bleeps.

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...Okay. Echan produces the same bleep from no apparent source.

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That surprises the person. The rectangle says something in a local language.

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She fingers the rectangle. Then it occurs to her that it's definitely producing illusions and that it's supposed to be understandable. It might have pictures.

She attempts to explain blindness through mime, in case this is the problem.

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The person gets the idea after a minute and pokes her console some more. The tablet starts speaking instead - repeating words Echan has said in various orders and inflections.

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"...It's extremely alarming that you don't speak this language and don't know anyone who does."

She tries to figure out how to respond usefully to the rectangle's babbling. She pretends it's trying to communicate and responds as if it were a person.

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This assumption does not work very well at first, but it gets less and less preposterous; eventually the tablet is posing simple questions. It bleeps approvingly the more verbose she gets in reply.

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Then she'll give it detailed answers.

Does it also like digressions?

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Less, but better than nothing!

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Then she'll try just giving it detailed answers for a while.

After a while she tries asking it where she is.

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"We are going around GS56-89U2K."

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"Why are we going around... that place?"

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"Isabella T'Mir," (her hostess looks up) "is looking at it to see what it is like."

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"Is Isabella T'mir showing it to you, too?"

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"I am not a person. I am a thing," says the voice. "I am teaching a thing Isabella T'Mir has your language so she can speak to you."

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"There's not a person on the other end? You're extremely sophisticated."

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"I am a sophisticated thing," agrees the machine. "I am a thing for learning languages. Please say more, I need more words."

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She can say words. "You're a thing for translation. At least two people worked together to make you. I bet you're not on my home planet and have never been there, have you? Which is extremely strange. Why do you think I didn't know that you ex... existed until now? Is it because I've been frozen for a long time? How did I get here?"

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"I do not know how you got here and do not think I have ever been on your home planet."

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