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Dec 11, 2019 5:39 PM
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It's been a week since the disaster. Cameron only has one try at contacting her partner, and Viv said she isn't worth the risk of rushing it.

Rebuilding continues apace; the flophouses are no longer seeing spillover, and the temple bunks are gradually emptying. Some of that is people offering guest rooms, of course, but they've also been prioritizing group housing for rebuilding.

A few people have taken to "fishing" in the skypool, as the (well) has come to be called, during their downtime; they've managed to produce or retrieve several curiosities of the sort that might be saleable to traveling merchants, and one or two genuinely useful items. No one has yet managed to reproduce the accident that turned a brass candlestick to solid gold.

Tegan herself has been... well, falling back on her usual habits, pretty much. Which means working just enough to pay for necessities, and spending the rest of her time looking for cool stuff. She tried skyfishing a couple times, before leaving it to others; went back to the original crash site (it had been obliterated in the skyfall and aftermath); collected all the information she could get on others' skyfishing artifacts, in hopes of finding patterns or potentially interesting interactions, again without success.

She hasn't seen Cameron, but people are talking like she's still contributing to the rebuilding, so she hasn't just disappeared on them somehow.

It's tempting to go looking for Cameron, but Sally gave her a talking-to about ~letting people have their space~, which is obviously stupid – you don't just not do anything when there's a lead – but she's sufficiently susceptible to social pressure to keep putting it off for another week or so. At least a few days. Probably. Definitely. Yes.

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The twelve-woman superhuman construction crew that is Cameron only fails to outpace the rest of the efforts because working through the night would've kept folks awake from the noise.

That doesn't mean Cameron sleeps.

They finish all the frames early on the third day, and run out of lumber shortly afterwards. Cameron isn't as helpful with the detail work like replacing furniture or installing windows, so she heads back out of town and starts tearing down trees. No one sees her for two whole days, but each morning stacks of stripped logs appear in designated places.

It's mind-numbing, tedious work, but not at all difficult when one can erase physical strain at will. Its easier than being around a bunch of folks that, through no fault of their own, make her feel constantly in debt. She feels bad about not checking in with the Doc, but only because of the off chance someone might need healing. Coded flirting not-withstanding, she has nothing to offer for which he is suffering a lack.

Between trips into town, sitting out in the dark under the fake stars, Cameron turns the glass disc holding Eelesia's bond-signaling array over in her hands, as if it might spontaneously inspire new options. She and Eelesia don't have a standard check in time, but after five days with no contact at all... if Eelesia can't reach Cameron from the other side, this sorcery array could be the only hope Cameron has of getting back to the people who need her.

She almost wishes Viv had demanded Cameron bring in her outside help right then.

No, she does wish that. Which means she really should just get it over with. It's obvious she isn't going to think of anything else or anything that improved the chances of it working. It's time.

Cameron pulls a hex out of her Pocket, fits the little rainbow cube into the disc, and tosses it out over the dirt.

The array it burns into the ground is large. Cameron drops dice into the power cores, and chants the activation sequence, lighting up the lines of the array with aurora light. Laying down naked in the open space at the center of the array, Cameron closes her eyes, and waits.

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Time passes.

The wind rustles grass and leaves, punctuated by crickets and the occasional night bird. The ground is cool and damp against her bare skin.

Time passes.

She grows more aware of the sensation of her body, her breathing and her heartbeat and the occasional changes of pressure in her stomach or intestines. The sensation of the earth turning beneath her is, of course, entirely imaginary.

Time passes.

And then—

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"Cameron! Can you hear me?"

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Cameron bolts upright.

"I'm here. 'Here' is not anywhere in the solar system, may not be in contiguous space, is earthlike."

Cameron wracks her brain for what other information would be most useful for Eelesia. Pleasantries are for when you don't have critical information to get across an unreliable communication channel.

"The warp that brought me here hit the ship just above Ganymede. It dropped me at re-entry speeds in the upper atmosphere. The sky is made of living crystal and is full of something like a Horror aura. It's been six days..."

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"That's good, Cameron. Thank you. I've been looking for you since the destruction of the Samayo Laune hit the news. It seems conclusive now that this array doesn't work if either of us are engaged in any active mana use. I've tried from this end several times, and I suspect that's what was wrong. Are you okay?"

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"That depends. Can you figure out where I am and how to get to me?"

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"Yes. I'm sure, now. The trace I came up with is working. I'll have what I need to find you even if we get cut off. Don't worry. What's it like there?"

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"Primitive human-a-likes with some kind of magical dependency. Nice weather."

"The locals are very accommodating. They have multiple sex-positive religions here." Cameron thonks her head on the dirt. "I just don't know how to deal with people who aren't salivating over my body like a starving animal!"

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Giggle. "Yes you do. You do it all the time. What's actually wrong?"

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"I accidentally destroyed part of their town."

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"That sounds like a s---"

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"Eelesia?"

 

 

Cameron sighs.

It's okay. She'll find me.

Cameron reactivates her Style and hops out of the circle, then manifests her duplicates to help carry the last load of lumber back into town.

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It's quiet and still, as usual for the hour. A few windows here and there show light, early risers. Dew gathers on the grass, and light gathers on the horizon.

...and there's Sunny, carrying something over her head – is that a plush footstool?

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A dozen Camerons carrying several stripped logs is a bit unwieldy and fails to completely avoid blocking Sunny's path for a few moments. The real Cameron offers a smile of greeting, and a glance at the random footstool.

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"Hi Cameron! Haven't seen you round much. You been doing okay?" she says, smiling and completely failing to acknowledge the glance at the stool.

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"I am now."

She pauses just long enough for that to come off as ambiguously flirty.

"Got some good news."

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"Oooh. Sounds juicy."

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"It may be."

 

"How's that bed that was expecting me, before. Overworked?"

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"Oh, ain't you a sweetie. Yeah, I've been filled up real good this last week. Why, you want I should try to squeeze you in? I've been stretched before."

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"I wouldn't want to be the one who makes for too much of a good thing..."

(Is it possible to interpret that statement as still being about innkeeping? Yeah, probably. Heheh.)

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"Oh, you are a sweetie." Her voice is a little softer and warmer, a little less mile-a-minute.

She briefly bites the side of her lip, her gaze running thoughtfully over Cameron's outfit.

"...I do want you. In more ways than two, I think."

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Cameron's smile softens. "You can have me in at least that many ways."

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...hmm.

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"C'mon, then," she says, turning to face the way she'd been going before she stopped to talk. "We got stuff to get up to!"

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Cameron falls in beside her.

If Sunny is angling for a, "yes, all of the above," sort of proposition, Cameron can totally roll with that. A little domesticity would be refreshing right now, actually.

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