Oct 21, 2019 9:26 AM
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There are lots. It keeps going.

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Well, she doesn't have anything better to do than keep listening indefinitely, and there's some chance she'll get home if she does.

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Eventually it runs out of language samples belonging to planets with seven or eight known sapients. "I have a recent update of the universal translator corpus," says T'Mir, "but it's possible your planet was found in the last few weeks. We can check when we get to civilization."

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"I see. When will we get to civilization?"

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"I'm afraid it'll take a week and a half. It'd be a week even if I didn't finish surveying this system. I have enough food on the ship for both of us and we can take opposite sleep schedules."

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She draws a breath and tries not to panic.

"Okay. And what do you want from me while we're here? Just help with this language?"

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"That will make it easier for people to talk to you but the program is conversational now if you don't want to talk to it more. I don't have any work I need you to do. I do need to look at you with a device to make sure you can eat the same food I do; if you can't I will head immediately to civilization and if you can I'll want to finish this survey first."

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"...I see. Why are you offering me things?"

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"...because if I don't you'll starve? Or you'll attempt to steal the food, I suppose, which would be better in the sense that you wouldn't starve but worse in the sense that we could just skip that step."

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Okay, either she expects she can sell Echan later or she expects she can find Echan's planet and thinks Echan is rich enough to reward her. Not an ideal situation but it could be worse. "...Thank you."

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"You're welcome."

The tricorder says Echan can eat T'Mir's food. "Also it thinks you're the same species as my mother, which might be a false read if you're just very similar but I suppose it's possible your ancestors were moved to your planet from Earth in the past."

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Echan almost points out that that seems like the kind of thing she would have heard of if it had happened, before something else about that strikes her as even weirder. "When you say your mother's species, do you mean something different from your species?"

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"My father was a different species which is similar but not the same as my mother's."

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"...The translator might be confused. When you say your parents are different species, what do you mean?"

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"Their ancestors are from different planets. They are biologically different."

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"...I couldn't even have children with all the people from my own planet, what a weird coincidence."

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"Not all species from the same planet can always have children, but sometimes, ones from different planets can. Not always."

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"That's... I guess if there were another species from the same planet who could have kids with mine, we would have had kids with them already and eventually we wouldn't be different species anymore. Maybe that's why."

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"Why it works for my parents' species is not known. Are you hungry right now? When are you going to want to sleep?"

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"I am hungry now and I'll want to sleep in a couple of hours."

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So T'Mir goes and fixes some pilaf for them.

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"I think this is the kind of food that wouldn't be too out of place in the south but I'm not sure about that. Which of your planets does it come from?"

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"Earth, the planet with humans. Vulcan cultivars are hard to come by. The planet was destroyed some years ago."

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"Who did that?"

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"Some people acting alone from a planet called Romulus, where some relatives of Vulcans live."

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