Jan 28, 2020 4:46 AM
A dragon explores space, finds Amenta.
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It's... Showing who's better. If half a dozen or less Draak meet, it's obvious who'd beat each other in a fight, or it's not - but you find out pretty quick when someone gets a little too annoyed or prideful. Like I said I think critical concentrations of us flip a switch.

Or maybe it's just that the Seeker would flatten EVERYBODY, easily, and snipes at people if they get too worked up.

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"Well, thank goodness for him, if it's him."

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Would fights actually be that disruptive if they were over quickly and nobody died?

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"I'm not sure what the greys would do, they're here to make sure no violent elements get in but they'd also break it up if I went and, uh, punched a linguist."

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If two Draak start fighting each other, Amentans should probably not get in the way.

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"I'll make sure they know."

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Wire completes a residency application and reads articles on building one's internet presence and sculpts something while streaming.

 

The Seeker has completed a prototype of a more-manufacturable Rod of Healing and submits requests for quotes for some of the components to various companies again. The company his very helpful consultant came from probably has an advantage, it's practically tailor-made for their machines.

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They can submit the low bid, yup.

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He has enough money from the first and second rounds of fancy, complicated ones - and recharging any that have been presented to him at the conference - to pay for this.

(He wants a small run of like a thousand units right now, with plans for a big one later, even if it's a lot pricier per unit. He still has to see about automating and assembly-lining the finishing and assembly.)

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Meanwhile, the expedition-slash-FTL towing test is finally set to begin. The Draak who were trying to arrange the whole thing had pretty clearly never seriously considered using checklists or schedules before, which their newly minted diplomats apologize for with varying amounts of sincerity.

The broad plan is: Up to five shuttles between Tapa and Voa latching on to Shining Truth, two days of travel in null-gravity there, shuttles can land on a barren and rocky but flat piece of land near the closest thing the Draak have to a capital, the place for Grand Moots and where the Senate has been hanging out. After five days on Newhome, another two days in transit and everyone goes back to Amenta.

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Voa gets three and Tapa two as a result of some backchannel negotiation on the subject.

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The Draak seem oblivious to any backchannel negotiations. About half of them load up in Ice Scale, which takes off and nips over to transfer them to Shining Truth's big hollow cylinder, and then they're ready to receive five shuttles on five stubby silvery prongs radiating out asymmetrically near the front.

The Amentans can peek inside the Draak ship and meet the pilots and engineers if they want but should go back to the shuttles well before they get underway. Because that part is very secret.

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They do want to peek! And take pictures! But they are shooed easily enough.

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The main body of the ship is dominated by a huge hollow cylinder of open space ocasionally broken up by a sturdy pole for moving around with or a rack of mysterious equipment, the entrances to other areas all silvery metal and swirling sigils. It looks like Draak are more at home in zero-gee than Amentans.

FTL travel feels like... Something. Like a tingling at the base of the neck, a faint indescribable else-ness. They travel for a few hours at a time, then stop for an hour in interstellar space to dump waste heat from giant radiators deployed at the back of the ship, then get going again.

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Some of the Amentans don't like the sensation, but they put up with them. A few of them love it.

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It seems to irritate some of the Draak, too.

And two days later they're above a green-blue marble with three entirely unfamiliar mediumish continents, lots of large islands and island chains that aren't individually enough to count as more continents, and two moons - a big one and a really little one. The night side of the planet is entirely dark. It looks like the planet is a bit bigger than Amenta itself, with a larger slightly radius and something like two fifths of it being landmass.

The landing zone is over there, near a few huge structures carved into the foothills and slopes one side of a mountain range, almost the only sign of habitation visible from space.

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Amentans take videos as they land and are SO. EXCITED.

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Alien fauna scatters from the descending shuttles, then stops and watches curiously from a significant distance. Draak lurk nearby or circle in the sky. (A Draak swoops down on one of the deer-things as they unload.)

After the initial unloading, the diplomat Ice approaches whoever is leading the two countries' contingents.

We don't have a detailed itinerary, but some options are meeting the Senate, meeting other interested parties, seeing various sights, a Great Song - that's a bit like a concert, bioscience, and I'm told some of our engineers are coming here wanting to talk about building low-impact living spaces or farms for Amentans.

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"Who are the other interested parties?"

"All that sounds lovely - also I've got a zoologist who wants to take some animals from here home to put in zoos if that's all right with you."

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Various individuals that aren't on the Senate, with varying claims to fame. Noted ecologists, wealthy miners, renowned spiritualists, philosophers, duelists, animal breeders, explorers, geologists, magic experts. An Elder. Darktooth the Wise and the Guardian of the Great Green are... Busy. It's not entirely clear with what. But the Architect of Vaults may be willing to meet Amentans. You will get plenty of warning if you approach land claimed by a specific individual as opposed to the Mootlands, where we are now, which are said to belong to everyone and noone.

The Law is for no individual to deplete the Mootlands of prey - I think there might be a Gamewarden to judge what counts as depletion of prey by now but I am not sure, I will have to look into it. Less than a dozen of any small species noted to be reasonably abundant would certainly be fine. I'm sure someone would find live capture an interesting challenge if you need help with that.

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"She'll be delighted."

"Magic experts and the Elder sound especially interesting."

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Magic experts are indeed interesting! The deepest magics are often pushing the boundary of what is possible. I'll invite those here particularly and see if the Architect can be pulled away from her project... The Senate is not actually here at the moment. We ran into unprecedented logistical challenges trying to keep fifty Draak fed without immediately killing everything in the immediate area and are still trying to solve those to our satisfaction, so they frequently return to their own territories.

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"That does sound like it'd be hard. Maybe a good use case for a subway line, have people load it up with meat along its route and unload it here."

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Interesting idea. We certainly have enough tunnelers. I think many are placing their hopes on meat plants to solve this. Rumors say it's definitely possible and progress is steady but the goal is distant at the moment. We are, perhaps, a bit too patient at times.

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"It's not urgent on our end, though we'll be happy to adopt the plants once they exist."

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