Sep 24, 2019 5:39 AM
Foresight and Cherish in the Honor Harrington universe
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Margaret is on her way to work, walking instead of flying today so she can drink her coffee without spilling it, when she sees the cryptid. She's a truly far-out one, no limbs to speak of, just a long snaky body with a mirror for a face. Margaret smiles at her and goes to walk on by, but the cryptid slithers right at her all of a sudden and--hits?--Margaret with the giant mirror. Except she doesn't experience getting whacked with a sheet of glass.

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And she's quite thoroughly elsewhere. The place is crowded, noisy, and smells industrial. Like heat and oil and exhaust. There's a metal grating beneath her feet, and there's several people turning to look at her. Their words are hard to catch, but either they have thick accents or a weird dialect or are only speaking something in English's general family.

And as someone reaches for their belt, this place is quite dangerous.

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"Woah!" How on Earth does a mirror-headed snake count as pretty enough to do that? Also, aaaaa, she's gonna be attacked!

The people turning to look at her see: a horned woman with metallic silvery scales instead of skin, blue slit-pupiled eyes, and wide silver wings. Her white lace dress and copious jewelry look like a team of brilliant but old-fashioned seamstresses got handed the entire budget of a small country and told they could do anything except exercise restraint. Both her clothing and her body are covered in opals too perfect not to be manufactured. 

She puts her hands in front of her, open-palmed, and says in a clear but frightened voice, "Hello! I'm very lost, I didn't mean to be here!" (Unspoken but obvious subtext: so please don't shoot me for trespassing.)

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A couple of people mutter at that.

One person calls out something. It might include the word 'what'.

People are backing away from her a bit, eyeing something behind her, and there's a small commotion.

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Oh no, what's behind her? She turns around, stepping away from whatever it is.

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Several people, in what look like uniforms, two with what're probably handguns unsheathed, though there's something distinctly odd about the design. The front is a woman, her expression harsh, who barks something to her people when Margaret turns.

The street people are steering well clear of the uniforms.

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Oh great, she's been dropped in a foreign country and right on top of cops or soldiers or something. Margaret joins in the general steering-clear and backing-away while also looking all around to see if she can figure out what sort of building she's in.

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Apparently not one - 'industrial district' might be more likely, since that's possibly a smoggy sky over her head.

And those soldiers are distinctly heading towards her, the one in front barking out what sounds like an order.

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"Sorry, I don't speak the language! Do you speak English?" Hopefully this is one of those utterances which will convey its meaning by not being comprehensible.

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A pause, and, slowly and heavily accented, the woman says, "You are trespassing. Daija does not permit Edeneras."

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Oh, thank goodness. Slowly and carefully enunciated: "I am sorry. I am here by mistake. If I should not be here I will leave. Where should I go?" She can find out where Daija is and whether Edeneras means magical girls when she isn't disturbing people.

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"You are to come with us."

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Nod. Nervous following? Her danger sense is still very much active but at least they don't appear to be attacking her right this minute. And to be fair, she doesn't know how well she'd react if someone spontaneously appeared at her.

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They fall into a loose formation around her. She's led out of the industrial district, towards a large brick building set on a small hill. Smog lingers over the city, hiding any stars, but as they leave the taller buildings it becomes apparent this place has an active airport of some kind - there's large craft coming and going, and a trail of light like a meteor or descending shuttle blazes near the horizon.

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Those don't look like the airplanes she's used to. She tries to read any of the signage, or at least recognize an alphabet or a flag or something.

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They seem to have similar aesthetics in flags as many she'd be used to - broad stripes with stars, though these have stripes of what're probably greens and blues, and only three large stars. 

The alphabet is... She could probably sound things out and even get most of them. It's definitely Latin-derived, including mostly familiar numbers, and if she sounds anything out it sounds vaguely like a romance language, maybe influenced heavily by Japanese or vice-versa. Though, there seems to be symbols that look a lot like Chinese or Japanese on some signs - if she's familiar with either language she'll be able to piece together some of the phrases, even with most of the symbols being simplified. The industrial district contains a lot of shops, most advertising repair work, or pawn, or cheap parts. The building she's being led to is marked as some kind of center.

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She can't read Chinese or Japanese, but she's starting to expect she may have been sent forward in time. Hopefully this is a place and era with American consulates in it. She heads into the some sort of center.

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It's bland inside. Harshly lit. Solid concrete, painted an off-white. Their footsteps echo.

There's a security guard, who looks bored and eyes her with poorly concealed disdain. He has a short conversation with the lead person before letting them in.

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Margaret still doesn't have anything to say until she finds someone who looks interested in either asking questions or answering them, so she just tries to pick up as many words of the local language as she can manage.

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The lead guard takes her to what seems to be a rather bare questioning room. She sits, and gestures Margaret to a chair across from her. "How did you get where you were?" she demands after a moment.

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"One minute I was walking down the street in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States. Then a cryptid that looked like a snake with a mirror for a face--I can give you a picture if you want--hit me with its mirror, and suddenly I was standing where you found me." Is this plausible? Not really! But it's the only truth she's got.

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"United States?" She pauses. "That is - old. Your language is old."

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"Yes. I--I think I might be lost in time. It was the 2030s, this morning." Her voice shakes as she confronts the thought that everyone she knows might be dead of old age.

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"- Wormholes do not do that?" she says, questioningly. A pause. "Engineered beings do not do that. I do not know what a cryptid is."

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"I've only heard of wormholes in fiction. A cryptid is--do you still have magical girls?"

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" - The fiction?"

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