Dec 08, 2019 4:51 PM
A Margaret in a transdimensional transhumanist beauty salon
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"Oh," she mumurs. "What a lovely planet."

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"It is, isn't it? This is one of my favorites to come to..."

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A few more seconds of giddy staring, then, "So, race you to that peak?"

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"You're on! Let me transform, then you can count to three?"

And they're a medium-small hawk, built entirely for speed, appearing at the height of their head and dropping a bit before starting to climb and circle.

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"Alright--one, two, three!" She opens up her internal throttle all the way and takes off with a sound like an extremely expensive car.

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Swoosh!

Not as swoosh-y as Margaret, though - Margaret's slower in atmosphere than in space, but Silv's top speed's currently around two hundred miles an hour.

Margaret will definitely beat Silv by a fairly wide margin.

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She's faster in space, yes, but space doesn't have nearly as many cues of just how fast she's going--no wind across her wings, no scenery blurring as even her cameras can barely keep up. It feels amazing. Winning is a nice bonus, but it's not what she's whooping joyfully about when she lands.

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Silv's laughing too, when they land and turn back to a form more compatible with vocal chords. "It's been a while since I got to stretch myself like that!"

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"Flying in atmosphere is great! So, what stuff are we looking for?"

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"There's a few types of rock and crystal, but mostly growing things - some mosses, some leaves, some flowers - these night-blooms for instance - and some mushrooms..." They list the most notable characteristics. "There's actually a bit down at the tree line I can see, and I think some good mineral deposits up here."

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"Cool. Want to search together for a bit, then split up once I've seen a couple of everything?"

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"That's fine by me!"

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"Great!" She proceeds to look for the requested plants.

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The plants are findable, though a bit spread out, and Silv's pretty good at pointing things out and describing the little differences between what they're looking for and what's a clever mimic for what they're looking for.

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Margaret can take photos directly into her memories now, so she doesn't make any of the same mistakes twice. She does mash some foliage when she forgets how heavy her body is and how it extends all the way over there.

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Then pretty quickly they'll be able to split up to cover more ground. Silv takes the things likely to be in more dense foliage, or areas less amenable to dragon bodies, and leaves things like collecting mosses and rocks off the exposed parts of the mountain to Margaret, alongside more dragon-friendly flower picking.

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Margaret cheerfully gathers flowers and rocks and mosses, winging her way from one part of the mountain to the next. It's almost meditative. She won't get tired, or bored, or loaded to carrying capacity any time soon.

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Then they can get quite the impressive haul!

"Alright," Silv says, when they've gotten plenty enough of each ingredient. "There's a few things that're only in one or two small areas on this planet, too - wouldn't mind a lift."

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"Sure thing," she says, shifting her load to make room on her back. "Climb on." 

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They climb up and start giving directions.

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Physical contact with another person is so much less unpleasant now that she isn't a squashable bag of skin and organs. Off they go! Not quite as much nyoom this time, since she needs to keep both cargo and passenger comfortable, but still enjoyably fast.

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Silv laughs the whole way.

They'll very quickly see some gorgeous sprawling valleys, lit by the slowly rising sun, and some more interesting plants and even a few colorful bird-like beings. Gathering the rest of the materials isn't hard at all.

"What's your home world like?" Silv asks during a more tedious part of this.

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"That's a hard question to answer when I don't know how different yours is. Hmm, we have humans but no magic that I know of, and we have airplanes and the internet, and we've been to the moon and sent probes to other planets. We have a lot of social problems but lots of places are pretty decent to live in. Is that the sort of answer you were looking for, or part of it at least?"

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"Pretty much? Mine had humans, but no airplanes or the internet or anything, and the only magic was pretty weak and rare. This place is actually in line with it - vanishing witch's shops that sell you potions that transform you, except not cursed."

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"Huh! It was a total shocker for me, both the magic and the technology. What's your home country like?"

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