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Feb 28, 2021 1:03 AM
Azure-and-Florentho portalsnaked to Manere
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On Tower of Autumn, Azure-and-Florentho stand in one of the teleport rooms.  The last of the three pallets are loaded onto the sending pad, and they join them in the empty space along with a non-Teleport-capable passenger who also needs to get to Citadel of Spring.  Nearby, the monitor reports that the receiving pad has already been cleared of obstacles and is awaiting them.  Tapping the terminal, Florentho starts the countdown and begins to activate Teleport.  After a few seconds, they and the pallets are sent to a similar but slightly different room. 

One notable difference is that this room is in a complete panic.  Instinctively, they jump off of the teleport platform, both scanning the area for signs of disaster.  

A strange snake-like thing slithers into view, blindly writhing.  In it's flailing, it knocks into one of the pallets hard enough to break through the wrapping and send some of the contents scattering along the floor.  Where most daemons would have a face, it instead has a full-length mirror.  It isn't like any of the normal daemons anyone has seen, and there's no matching human in sight.  

Deceptively fast, it lunges towards Florentho.  He readies himself into a fighting stance, prepared to defend his slower and more fragile human half.  As the mirror-snake strikes, rather than the expected impact with the mirror Florentho falls into it and Azure follows an instant later.  

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They land on what a look around will reveal to be a roof. Flat, here, with a barrier around the edge, sounds carrying up suggesting a street below. Around this building are others, varying a bit in height but generally maybe a couple stories. Above it all the sky stretches, the tilt of the sun showing late afternoon or early evening, clouds clustering or whispy here and there.

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Azure stares outward, towards the distant moving clouds and strange horizon that doesn't bend upwards in any direction.  

This is definitely not the Fleet.  

After a minute of standing frozen, they walk towards the edge to look down.  

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Below them is a street. It seems to be divided into three parts, people walking on the outer two and mostly avoiding the middle though occasionally crossing across it. They look around before and while doing so, probably to check for the vehicles, roofed and large enough to fit multiple people, that drive down it. Outward from the other two parts, the street is lined with little shops and cafes and restaurants. A few have outdoor dining, and he can see people at them, some of them sitting in chairs, some of them kneeling on cushion-looking objects next to others sitting in chairs, or standing behind them.

In general, he can see people, walking along the walking parts of the street, going into and out of the shops and restaurants. Some of them are wearing robe-like things, in lengths varying from below the knee to down to the feet, some with sleeves and others sleeveless with shirts worn under. Others wear shirts and pants or skirts. If he can notice that kind of thing, the two groups seem to vary in body language in ways that cluster pretty well with the clothing. Everyone kneeling on cushions or doing the standing-behind thing is the robes-wearing kind. 

Absolutely none of the people seem to have daemons.

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The lack of daemons is definitely the most notable thing.  Even if every person went through Separation, it wouldn't explain why the daemons wouldn't be in attendance - he's one of the few who has on the fleet, yet Florentho only rarely leaves his side.  The fear of non-human senses taken to an extreme?  An attempt to stop battles or hide emotional expression?  A planet of soulless zombies?

Fashion being a special interest of his, he does watch the people for patterns.  It takes a little while before he stops looking for patterns in color and starts looking for patterns in cut, but the split between robes and non-robes becomes apparent after a few minutes.  

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There are definitely no battles anywhere he can see or hear, but the people in general do not act like their society has gone to great lengths to hide emotional expression, or like they're horribly missing something - people laugh, talk in an animated fashion, someone is admiring purchases they're being shown, someone picks up a child tugging at their hand and bounces them in their lap, two robed people hold hands.

There don't seem to be patterns in color, at least not the kinds he's used to - over there he can notice a cluster of young people all in the same colors, in what he may or may not be able to identify as uniforms. He might also notice that there's some cloth patterns that seem to only be worn by young children, though there aren't too many of those around here so he also might not. 

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His own outfit is a shirt and pants, not any of the local styles but clearly not robes.  Pure white silk covered in elaborate green embroidery with hundreds of glittering green beads sewn in.  They are individually tailored and perfectly fitted, the shirt sleeveless but matching a set of vambrace-like wrappings on his forearms, upper arms left exposed.  Everything from his shoes to the lanyards their phones are held on match in the exact shade of green as his daemon.  

They watch for a while longer.  The people act like people, at least, and look surprisingly human but for their lack of daemons.  

Azure considers his daemon.  People-watching here still hasn't shown what the lack of daemons means.  It wouldn't be a good first impression to find himself arrested for not keeping his daemon... at home, presumably?  And gallade in particular - if people are concerned about daemon senses, as some of the people from the dead world his ancestors had left from were, they might take especially badly to an empathic variety.  

"I'm not going to stay up here," Florentho notes, knowing his thoughts.  

"I know."  

Does there seem to be a good way down?  

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There are some stairs he may or may not recognize as a fire escape leading down into an alley that connects out into the street. 

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He goes down the stairs.  Insofar as he can, Florentho tries to avoid getting too close to anyone, but also isn't intending to hole up in an alley all day either.

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Both the clothes and Florentho make them noticeable. Various people who see them look over; some stop and look over more. The clothes look fancy and unusual and maybe foreign and not what most people expect to see on someone walking out of a random ally and along this casual evening life street. Florentho looks - what even is that, what Gift, how - (emotion sensing will find surprise and some confusion, all around, some aesthetic admiration and such, more surprise and confusion. No sudden anger or anything like that though.)

Robes-wearing people shift to get out of his way if they're in it as he walks along the street. Robes-wearing people who are following a not-robes-wearing-person, which is pretty common, shift in ways that doesn't involve stopping the following. 

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It's good they aren't upset, and now he's down a few more hypotheses.  

He'll start looking for one of the groups of uniformed people, figuring that they might be the most official and best able to point him to what he should be doing.  Florentho follows closely behind, looking around.  

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The groups of uniformed people don't look very official; they look like young people hanging out while also wearing uniforms. But they're around if he wants them. There's a robes-wearing group lining up at what looks like an ice-cream selling window over there, and a not-robes-wearing group sitting around a cluster of benches in the other direction. 

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Well, he has to ask someone.  He'll go with the non-robed set, working under his previous assumption that non-robes are higher ranked in some way.  

"Excuse me.  I'm very lost.  Would any of you know directions to a police station or foreign embassy?" he asks, guessing some places that an alien might be expected to make their way towards if dropped.  

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The not-robes are also surprised and confused, but are definitely not going to show it and instead try to stop looking like teenagers hanging out sprawled over benches and to look composed and authoritative. Some of them know where any foreign embassies are (though it's generally not here), but it seems pretty unlikely that someone would want just any foreign embassy as opposed to a specific one, and if they're supposed to know which specific one he wants by looking at him then, well, they don't. Which they're also going to not show. 

Several of them do know where a police station is. They can give directions. (Several of them have also pulled out phones and are using the question for cover to search for descriptions of his clothing and the - whatever that ?something? is. This is thus far failing to give them helpful results; some of them keep trying.)

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Upon getting directions to the police station, he thanks them and leaves.

In retrospect, he's not sure why that group was wearing uniforms.  The culture here must be very different from what he's used to.

He continues to look around as he walks, absorbing as much as he can of the sights.  

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They still have no idea who he might be and what if anything is happening, but aren't going to give sign of this until he's gone, at which point they will have an animated discussion (that doesn't go much of anywhere due to no one having any ideas with actual support).

He may have noticed a lot of them also had bags large enough to hold books with them, and some had books and papers out?

The directions are in the form of street names and turns, which might not be what he's used to, but the streets are labeled with signs at the corners, which might help. The sights around are more streets, structured about the same way, more buildings, occasionally more people. There are trees and stuff. There are vehicles of the type that go down the center of the streets, parked along them.

And here after some walking is the police station (it also has a sign).

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The only purpose of uniforms in his mind are either for synchronized dances or for people who need to be easily identifiable for emergencies.  Clubs where people interested in old-fashioned paper books all wear the same clothes for their meetings would be a strange practice on the fleet for a number of reasons, but is going to be his best guess for here.  They hadn't looked like especially good dancing clothes, and he'd expect trainee medics or officers to be slightly more organized if they were at the point of putting on uniforms in public.  

Labels are familiar and welcome.  The layout of the city is unfamiliar, some in ways he can work out but others for reasons he still can't understand.  Not having to limit interconnecting streets to certain airlocks explains quite a bit of the city design.  He doesn't know why so many people need that particular kind of large vehicle.  

They enjoy getting to see the bustle of a city and watch the people.  There are mysteries to uncover.  He wishes he could stop and ask people about things.  For now, best to go somewhere official and get this sorted out.  He enters the police station.  

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People he passes continue to have about the same emotions about him

Inside the police station there are some not-robes-wearing people in uniforms walking around (some of them also stop to look at him. They have warier emotions), and a desk with a robes-wearing person in uniform and a sign that says Citizen Inquiries. 

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Azure walks up to the Citizens Inquiries desk.  "Earlier today, I was attacked by an unknown creature with a mirror for a face.  It sent me to your planet, specifically to a nearby rooftop, from the fleet of generational ships I live on."  

He wants to ask if this is something that happens often around here.  Instead, he waits to see if he in fact has the right place for this kind of question.  

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The sub at the desk has been doing this job a while, and is not going to let what he's thinking or feeling show up in his tone or body language if he doesn't think it should.

(If he'd just heard the words, he'd think this dom was transparently delusional, and there are procedures for that. But he looks fancy, possibly important - maybe foreign (he's not recognizing the style; he should brush up). (And - what is that?). Best be more careful, for now; wouldn't want to invite problems.)

"Understood, sir. One moment sir, someone will be right here to speak with you." He types.

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He recognizes that if this doesn't happen regularly there's a good chance 'delusional' will be considered a more likely answer.  Therefore, he keeps himself well-composed.  Florentho is more obviously confused, but only a bit of that is on Azure's own face.  

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Even if anyone here reads variation in how whatever-that-is looks as something like body language, none of them will think to use that to draw conclusions about Azure's emotions.

And quickly enough another uniformed sub arrives. 

"An interview room is right this way, sir. An officer will be here to receive your report very soon." She takes him to, in fact, an interview room, shows him to a chair.

"I can just start on the preliminary information, if that would be alright, sir." Can't offend possibly-connected dom by saying a sub's going to interview him, but sometimes people will let their guard down more around a sub, say more than they might. "Could I ask your name, address, a description of your Gift, and where it was you arrived, sir?" Address won't be any good if he says something about 'generation ships' again, but there's some chance he'll just say a regular address, and easy to ask the question. And she doesn't know how (or if) he in fact got on a rooftop, but there might be eyewitness, and much easier to find those with a location.

She's really hoping he'll just answer the Gift question; current decision was not to try asking him to put that whatever-it-is away in case that set him off somehow, but she and her bosses will be so much more comfortable if they stop having to wonder what even is that. Especially if they're going to be near it, and him.

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He has no preconceptions on who is or isn't qualified to do interviews. 

"My name is Azure-and-Florentho," he begins.  Given the lack of daemons seen so far... "specifically, this body is Azure, and that one is Florentho."  He points to his daemon as he says that.  Florentho waves friendly right as she says it, though otherwise isn't paying too much direct attention to the human conversation.  There is a definite awareness to Azure-and-Florentho's movements between the two bodies - not a mirroring or synchronized motions, something subtler but clearly present.  Florentho is alert and still confused, but not especially nervous.  

Azure can give his address, on Topaz Hall of Tower of Autumn, which he explains is one of four large generational ships that his society has been on for two hundred years.  He's aware it isn't helpful.  He did manage to get the address for the building whose roof the mirror-faced being dropped him on, or at least the number that was on the building, and can recite it for her.

"I'm not sure what you mean by 'Gift.'"

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She doesn't think that's a Gift she's heard of but Gifts are like that and she's aware of some similar ones. If that's all there is to it that'll certainly be a relief to everyone.

She's wired, so someone can start following up on that roof address, and maybe analyzing that other address in case there's something useful in it, but she has an appearance to keep so she takes notes. Thanks him with appropriate polite deference.

He seems to have the language pretty well and if someone was missing some words she wouldn't really expect that one, but languages call Gifts all sorts of things; maybe it's a false cognate. And not really her job here.

"I apologize, sir. Power, special ability?" Somewhat answered already, but it would still be far better to have a proper complete description and not just an effect.

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"The usual ones for a gallade," he begins.  "our Moves are Teleport, Life Dew, Hypnosis, and Wide Guard."

He can explain those, because it seems likely they're doing something different than Moves here:  Teleport can send a daemon and selected passengers and cargo to a pre-memorized location.  He has a license for both scheduled cargo teleportation and general emergency teleportation.  Life Dew restores a daemon's barrier.  Hypnosis causes the target to fall asleep.  Wide Guard creates a force field around an area which lasts for about 6 seconds.

"Do you have daemons here?"

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Another thanking. And she'd expect some sort of demurral if he was asked to demonstrate, but that still seems quite the obvious next action. But she doesn't make that decision.

"I apologize sir, I don't know that word? Or 'gallade', or what would be usual?"

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