Oct 15, 2019 2:30 PM
A dragon explores space, finds Amenta.
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Pocket everythings are good! And they're using radio in complicated ways. Radio seems like one of the cornerstones of local power.

The alien shows lots of curiosity about them. "Pocket everything is radio? Pocket everything is - one two three four five, one one is two, two two is four - is that?"

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"Pocket everythings do have radio. And they can do math. I will you show you a pocket everything doing math." She pulls up her calculator and shows him as she uses it: "One plus one is two. Two plus two is four. Two times two is four. Two times three is six."

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He knows math, the math he can run through very quickly, all the way up to calculus just to confirm vocabulary. "What else does it do?"

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It will also play music from the radio!

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"Good! People are-" gesture for pointing it at her. "Pocket everything have eyes?"

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"Pocket everythings can make pictures!" She can show him one of the pictures somebody's taken of him.

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He copied somebody else's design from long ago to make a beautiful and relatively harmless-looking version of a dragon for his projection, so he has no particular reaction to the picture.

"I have math things. They only do one thing... Pocket everything is-" Some word. (This word defies easy explanation. It's related to 'good', but also its own special category of some sort.)

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"Pocket is -" She indicates her pocket. "Everything is -" She lists all the nouns they've covered and a few more besides with big expansive gestures.

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Nod.

Talking like this is beginning to feel stifling. Using only one and a half senses to communicate (they have thoroughly mediocre noses and can't even smell metal except from very close, and body language only serves to communicate vague intent and mood) is a bit frustrating. He can't think in their babble of sounds, even though he's recording them all. You have to use whatever sounds are ruled to be the truth, with no affordance for arranging them prettily. And the short connecting sounds that draw ideas together are really annoying to keep track of.

The pauses between responses have been getting longer and longer.

"I want a thing. I know what you say. I hear and see, I make song, I remember, I math, I happy or sad... What is word for all these together?"

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"Thinking?" suggests the language-teaching green.

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"Now, I am thinking. I know many words. I go and think so I remember later. I listen, radio."

Without waiting for a response, the shining projection wings into the air and returns to the great black alien starship sitting in the ocean.

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...Okay!

Some of the people transfer between boats; some of the boats leave. Another, slower boat arrives with more people.

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After a few hours running through vocabulary and a nap, a dragon uses his instruments to see if any boats are under the water. He can imagine building such a thing, so it's worth checking before he goes into the water.

It'd surprise him if they have non-metal boats, so metal is what he checks for.

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There exist metal boats under the water - some wrecks, some active vessel - but none very close by.

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So he can nip out and kill something and bring it back for analysis to see if there's any nasty pathogens or weird proteins, and then eat it when it turns out that there aren't any he needs to be worried about. The whole point of new worlds is to experience new things, after all!

Does any of the dense, chaotic radio noise seem to be directed at him at this time?

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Not yet.

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The tailless are probably best left alone until they try to contact him. Let them invite him back out when they're ready - he'll seem less threatening if he waits, so it's only polite. He listens to music and other broadcasts, trying to make sense of the babble, keeping watch for anything that seems directed at him. A thousand glimpses of distant stories.

...Oh, perfect. There is more than one kind of speech. He's not going to try and learn a second one today.

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They do eventually try directing a radio signal at him which says "Will you come back out to talk soon?"

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I will. You were quiet, so I waited. You ask now, so I come.

This time, he doesn't send the projection out - he goes topside himself, a giant being somewhere between the size of a house and a train car - though closer to the latter.

He looks around at the disposition of ships through cameras before heading up, so he can seem aloof and graceful and go directly to wherever they seem to be expecting him.

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The ships are a polite distance from his own, about where they were before. The language green says, "We weren't sure why - your friend? - left, so we weren't sure how long you wanted to be away."

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He holds up a silver rod and makes it speak. "That was me. That was a tool. I was not wanting to be here with no scales between me and you. Talking this way is difficult. Now, I want to do a thinking thing to someone so it is less difficult. I must be here to do it, the tool can't. The thing might be scary, so I ask before. Probably will not hurt much."

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"A thinking thing? Can you say more about that?" says the green cautiously.

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Long pause as he composes an explanation.

"My species has a sense you do not. We think of it like singing to the world on a level that is not sound. We can project this sense to other people and it is the most natural way to speak. Species without this sense can usually still 'hear' it and compose responses. I have never observed the song to harm a being long term."

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"I'll try it," says a person with blue hair.

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The dragon slowly nods and sends out mental feelers towards this blue-haired person.

There are thoughts brushing gently over their mind, coming with faint sensory and emotion impressions attached. Guarded curiosity and deep darkness and the feeling of slaked thirst-

I am here and you are here and I wish to see if we can speak in this way for the words -babble, static, screeching- I do not think that way hello.

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