Jul 06, 2020 2:15 PM
A dragon explores space, finds Amenta.
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Here's a modern art museum! They don't display all their pieces and some of them are really big so their basement is huge and he can get her permission to go in there to look for ones to buy.

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Hmm!

...It was a very interesting tour and she asks questions about art history, but most of this isn't really to her taste especially given the comparative expense relative to the knickknacks and small crafts. This one swoopy metal sculpture that vaguely suggests clouds has potential as a fountain centerpiece, and this other one almost seems like a burning tree from the right angle so it might look good in her sauna, if they're not too expensive.

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They're pretty expensive! But he can contact those two artists and ask after smaller pieces or replicas, which are much less so.

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Can he look for sculptures that are about as big and have the same overall look? (...maybe slightly more realistic? Maybe put some options on a big TV somewhere so she can pick properly?) And give the museum a little bit of money just for letting her look around.

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He can do that too. Soon she has a couple dozen options to flip through.

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She wants these two!

This is an excellent day so far. Do you know any other interesting places to see?

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"There's a jeweler's you won't fit in but you may like their website, and they do bespoke work."

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Hmm... A very big piece of jewelry would probably take most of what I have left not reserved for electronics, yes?

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"Yes."

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I think not, then. I know a Draak jeweler who I can pay with things I have a lot of, I only have so much tap. -Hmm. Perhaps I should buy a lot of electronics and try to resell them. Your electronics are much cheaper than ours since we make them all bespoke.

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"Sure! Do you have an idea of what kind would have a market, given none of them are mass-produced for Draak appendages to use?"

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Motion sensors and pressure sensors and surveillance cameras and other security devices. Photography cameras - River chose a model with big buttons, kin thirty and under shouldn't have too much difficulty using them. Lights could be good but are somewhat bulky... There's something in the works for a Draak internet, I didn't understand the details, and there are murmurs of wanting to build a huge subway line but those aren't things I could import... Things to record and play back sound, maybe? Digital calculators with big buttons? Air conditioners or space heaters, maybe - but I make those already.

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He can help her find large-buttoned objects.

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Eventually the shopping frenzy is done. She still wants that bespoke hat/cape thing and has the following aesthetic considerations about it. She decides the remainder of her money should be spent on surprises at her shopper's choice, he has a pretty clear idea of her taste at this point. If she know the concept of reviews he'd be getting five stars.

Other Draak at the conference site look jealously at her pile of purchases, which she partially unboxes to show off. Almost like one might look at someone with a one-year-old.

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The shopper gets her stuff! He picks out a kinetic sculpture with a lot of gears and water features and chrome, and a fancy orrery, and a machine that makes artificial diamonds.

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Oooh. This might even be a better fountain centerpiece than the other one. The orrery is interesting, she's going to have to have one made of the Draak's solar system. That last one doesn't have the immediate 'wow' factor of the other two, but it's an excellent inclusion. She might want to hire someone who knows how the diamond-making machine works for an hour or two of teaching if there's any money left.

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There's a little, enough to get somebody who knows how they work and also wants her footprint in a book and some selfies.

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That's slightly annoying but it's best not to offend your teachers, so she accepts pictures and footprinting without complaint. She wants to focus on maintenance and safe use, rather than finer points of making diamonds. She has plenty of time to experiment with it, but not if she breaks it.

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Ice the diplomat finds a time to speak to Amseli.

Given the recent revelation, us diplomats are going to be returning home for a while soon. This is not because we expect conflict and are protecting ourselves, it's because we lack interstellar communications and our instructions include returning home in the event of discovery of a habitable planet. Before I go I want to get an idea of how Amentan countries might respond to various proposals about what to do about the planet.

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"All right. What's on the table right now?"

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We don't have plans for this at all. It's all but certain that Amentans will build cities and farms and settle this planet. We have very few reasons to not want that, and many to want that. But from which country? All of them? Some of them? Only one? Who will be in charge?

There's no technology for interstellar communications and I'm unsure if there are prospects for changing that, so any organization will need to be reasonably independent. I'm aware of a ship nearing completion called Gleaming Feather which is specifically designed for carrying Amentan shuttles. It has a private owner and they will almost certainly auction or otherwise sell trips to this new place.

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"This would be an opportune time to give us the ability to independently travel the stars."

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I definitely can't promise that.

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"I understand, but I did want to remind you that we'd enormously appreciate bringing it up. The article suggested the planet might be sold, but you could command dramatically more of the economy of Amenta for the wherewithal to travel on our own than you can for a planet we need to separately rely on you to shuttle to. If that's out of the question you'll still certainly be able to interest people.

My advice about distributing the planet amongst countries depends a lot on how many more like this you are likely to find."

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I'll bring it up. We have reactionaries who would rather the Seeker had never left home...

I don't have all the relevant information but the general consensus is that we will find more habitable planets, if not necessarily ones in the intersection of habitable but boring to Draak, reasonably quickly.

Some demands aside from money I could see being asked in exchange for that great secret are environment and habitat protection rules, a small portion of land on each Amentan-discovered planet set aside for Draak observers, access to the oceans of new planets or possibly Amenta's oceans (or at least the most isolated bits), agreement to keep population controls with a much higher but not arbitrarily high growth rate in place on the new planets - I've already been told we can agree to start limiting our population growth rate if it looks like we are catching up to your species, a mutual defense agreement in the case of discovery of hostile aliens...

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