Jul 14, 2020 9:18 PM
A Network exploration team lands on Krisses
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Town's about fifteen minutes away at the pickup truck's speed, which isn't so fast the lizard can't stick its head out the window, colorful head frills raising and flapping in the wind.

There's a sign outside of town proper, with a colorful mural of a river winding down from mountains and presumably some phrase of welcome or a town name in a blocky script. More people, here, both in cars and walking about, and most of them seem to know the pickup truck driver - or at least it's generally polite here to wave at people you're yielding for at stop signs and crosswalks. People do seem to think the silver cards are weird, but not exceptionally remarkable. The buildings have a lot of colorful murals on them or chalkboards with drawings out front or colorful awnings or hanging baskets full of flowers, and there's broad roads and low hedges broken up by trees screening the sidewalks from the road - cut back around crosswalks, presumably for line of sight reasons. The street lamps appear to be electric and have stylized casings. No one seems in any particular hurry, and there's multiple small parks, often with some kind of statue or piece of playground-esque equipment.

The pickup truck driver takes them to a large building in an angular, geometric style, that seems to have been designed by someone who just heard you can make colored glass and went hog wild. They turn down a side street, parking in an open lot, and gesture to some open spaces near them. 

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They pull into the indicated spaces. "Alright first contact procedures, everyone stays together. Lock the cars. Ria, keep an eye on the cars' cameras. Charlie be ready to yank us out if things go wrong and make an anchor here so we can recover equipment if we need to."

"Done," says Charlie. Unlike observatories, anchors aren't visible.

"I'm on it," agrees Ria.

"Aisha, Courtney, keep your hands off your weapons if this goes wrong it's not because of us."

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"We'll only go hostile if Charlie is injured, we remember our training Sapphire."

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"Sorry, I'm just nervous."

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She takes a second to gather herself and gets out of the car. The others follow in short order. "Alright, let's get this show on the road." She walks over to the Alien's car with the others following.

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Alien gets out of their car, too, whistling something to the lizard, which wriggles excitedly about the car and waddles around the alien's feet, flicking its tongue at the visitors again. It's about the shape of a komodo dragon, though only about two thirds as long, once unfolded from the car.

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"Hello again. Should we go into the building?" She points towards the entrance of the building.

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They point as well, and make a gesture that - is not recognizable as affirmative to the humans, but does seem positively linked to the pointing.

Also, the alien starts walking to the building's door, lizard waddling along beside them.

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Sapphire and her team follow.

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The doors open into what seems to be a lounge area, with a few soft-looking couches with colorful patterned upholstery with side tables scattered around. Not usually in conversation clusters, though - in fact, the design seems to assume everyone waiting will want to not be interacting with other people too much.

There's something that's probably a receptionist's desk with a wordy sign and someone with braided blue hair reading a book. The alien goes up, writes something down on a piece of paper, then slides it across the desk. The receptionist looks up, takes the paper, reads it, and asks something - "Zwenath skwode chitangne royen tamb medaki lo narrel lo daljir naretha srelem susha?" ("You found lost tourists, and they don't speak Medaki or Narrel or Naretha sign?"), which gets a wordless noise from the pickup truck alien. "Meta. Fenahwedath kwalenwa besadi," ("Alright. I'll try translating,") the receptionist says, looking at the exploration team, "Tamb seown nrilem ki besadi zel whing besadi chaln kwemunwa fenatyi tor besal." ("And if I don't have anything then I guess we'll contact someone using the radio.") The receptionist's dialect's notably different from the pickup truck driver's - slower, with a different word rhythm - but it's still the same language.)

The receptionist gestures them closer.

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"Hello, we're explorers."

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"Hwejir shi iyalez besadi." ("I don't know that language.") He hands them a stack of laminated pages, a cross between a chart and a book with phrases in different languages, all translating roughly to the same 'I speak...' in their own little color-coded rows. There's a blank white row with an empty circle in black at the top of the front page.

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Sapphire carefully makes sure her cameras get a visual of all of these pages and checks to see if they're double sided. She switches to radio only, "Is there any way to associate these with what's on the radio?"

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"No, but it will be useful once we have a starting point."

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"Well I guess, it's my turn to play charades." She switches back to being audible. "I'm sorry I can't read any of that would it be possible to speak it?" She gives the sheets back without doing anything to them and then covers her eyes with her hands before pointing at her ears.

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The receptionist pulls the sheets over to himself and points at the top box, white with the black circle, and says, in Narrel, "Laraleng royel?" ("You all cannot read?")

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"Based on our corpus and the context I think that first word. Means something like 'illiterate'. I'm going to enter that in as a guess to the translation software. It also seems like the second word is a second person pronoun, but it's hard to be sure."

Those translated guesses appear underneath the IPA rendering of the words in Sapphire's HUD.

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Over the radio she says, "Thanks Emily"

To the receptionist she repeats "laraleng."

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The receptionist tilts his head and hums, then starts slowly reading down the list of phrases, which conveniently for him have a phonetic transcription in small text under them.

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She listens attentively, as the receptionist reads she makes sure to keep the sheets somewhat in view and their corpus grows as they associate the phrases with both the phonetic symbol set and the non-phonetic symbols. It also helps them begin to build a cross comparison between the different languages.

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"I think the one we'll have the most success learning is 'Narrel,' That's spoken more than anything else on the radio and I think this person is fluent in the language." She carefully enunciates the alien word. And highlights that entry in Sapphire's HUD.

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"Thanks."

Sapphire slowly and meticulously pronounces the "Narrel srem besadi" (I speak Narrel). It's probably pretty clear that she doesn't actually.

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The receptionist looks skeptical. "Hyir yurwene royel?" ("Where are you from?") he asks.

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And she's back to not understanding. "I don't understand," She says again in English.

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He rustles in his desk some and pulls out an atlas. He slides the book across the desk, and repeats, "Hyir yurwene royel?" ("Where are you from?")

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