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Feb 26, 2021 5:01 AM
Azure-and-Florentho portalsnaked to Manere
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(Oh good, that would be a very unfortunate thing to have confusion over, of all things). She blinks. What a weird question.

"...About the regular level of importance, I think? We're not a culture that cloisters either dominants or submissives" as he can probably tell since there's one of each in the room right now and he was outside earlier, but that's the closest thing she can even think of potentially making sense there. "though of course if there are different customs in your culture that would make you more comfortable we can do our best to accommodate what you would need." (...Does 'spectrum' suggest his culture does have some additional roles? She should probably ask about that, once they've made sure they don't need to have the submissives around him stop talking, or conversely start carrying messages, or something like that.)

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"It sounds like your planet in general considers it more important than the Fleet does.  We don't have any special accommodations for role."

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She... has no idea what that means. She still isn't sure what exactly he means by 'important', and what could 'special accommodations for role' mean? The first thing that comes to mind is military training for army submissives, but that's probably because she was watching that show again yesterday and not because that's what he means; how would he even know anything about that one way or another?

...And actually on second thought, probably it'd be best to just leave this whole topic to someone who knows what they're doing; this is just exactly the kind of topic that causes diplomatic incidents in cultural contact movies.

She nods. "Well if you find you need accommodations here, we'll certainly direct to arrange what we can. In other areas as well - speaking of, if there anything we can have gotten for you? You seem to look a lot like us, at least for one of your bodies," she congratulates herself on working that in so well, "but I can't say if that's just superficial. Do you drink water? Should I have a call made ahead so they can start working on your food needs, assuming you have such a thing?"

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"We do drink water, and eat food.  The human half of us does, at least."

Food might be more complicated than water, given the nature of plants compared to simple molecules.  Perhaps their culture has a protocol for determining whether or not things are poisonous?  He asks about it, as well as tells them about the sorts of things he'd expect to be edible.

On the Fleet, nearly their entire diet is plant matter.  Fruits, grains, nuts, some of the more tender leaves and shoots, and a few kinds of energy-storing root.  Some of the things that daemons can make with matter-generating Moves are directly forms of food, including milk and round protein-rich objects called eggs.  (Those aren't popular among the high class, but he has tried them before and found them okay, if weird.  He guesses that they wouldn't have such things given that they have no Moves to generate them.)

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She's not a biologist and has no idea how protocols for determining whether things are poisonous work or if they'd apply to aliens (she's guessing not). (She won't say that, why would he need to know that.)

She's sure the government will figure all that out, and bring in people up to date on all the known protocols - they might find someone with a relevant Gift to help too, or someone with a relevant healing Gift, maybe, as a security. (She does say that.)

Those all sound like the sorts of things people here eat too, though it seems likely they might be different plants. (...The concept that aliens have milk and eggs made by their souls is incredibly bizarre. That is definitely not something she'd have managed to think of if she was imagining aliens. She doesn't say that, but it's bizarre enough that she'll describe the milk and eggs they have some more, to make sure it's actually the case they're talking about the same kinds of things).

Does the other half need anything she could have called ahead about?

(She decides not to offer him water immediately, because for all she knows it has something in it that would cause a problem, and that's not what she wants out of greeting this alien at all.)

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Milk and eggs do sound similar.  Azure doesn't consider them high priority compared to plants.

Florentho doesn't need anything.

Azure tries to think of anything else that might not be obvious.  Temperatures?  This room is a decent temperature.  The Fleet living spaces vary a bit, but are usually around 21% of the way between water freezing and boiling in this sort of atmosphere.  Anything lower than 16% or above 27% is uncomfortable.  (This is said quickly without needing to check the math.  It's what their temperature measurement system is based on.) 

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She's certain that can and will be arranged. (She's not going to try to convert temperatures herself, but there's no reason she should need to.)

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And at this point the original interviewing sub still in the room gets a notification on her earpiece that the preliminary government delegation has arrived. She waits for a pause in the conversion, does the appropriate asking-for-dom's-attention nonverbals.

"Ma'am?"

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"The delegation is here, ma'am."

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Ah, wonderful! She'll announce to the alien that the party assembled to greet him has arrived; if there's nothing he needs here first they can head over?

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He's ready to meet the delegation.

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"Take us over."

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"Yes, ma'am."

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And they can walk, through hallways mostly cleared for the occasion though some people are definitely peeking here and there, and some police doms and subs in uniform stand guard. To -

(there'd been a question, about where exactly the delegation should meet them. The police station does have conference rooms but - they're not really meant for this, or well set up for it. The parking lot is big enough but seemed unideal. In the end they'd decided on the discipline court, which has, at least, more open space than a conference room, and can be closed off from its usual use for a little while without being likely to cause anyone much more than inconvenience. 

It's also been cleared for the occasion, which means means the sub in uniform will lead the dom and Azure into what looks like a high ceilinged room, with tiered seating along the sides, some storage-looking furniture, some doors, and currently a group of people, generally nicely dressed, a few doms out in front and subs behind and to the sides or behind and next to a few of the doms.)

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Azure does his best to look as confident and friendly as he can.  Like he's a proper alien diplomat and not just whoever happened to have been eaten by that mirror-snake-thing.  He's glad he always dresses nicely - 'Wear something fancy in case you wind up on an alien world' had never crossed his mind before specifically, but the more general sentiment to be prepared to be noticed had.  

He covertly examines the people he passes now that he knows that dominant or submissive is something they're advertising with their clothing.  He's used to deliberately ignoring anything he picks up about that for most people.  In particular, he watches the body language differences so he can make sure to pick the correct set for any gestures that are role-specific.

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If he combines those standing guard, those in the delegation, the sub and the dom walking with him, and some memories of people back from outside, he can get some general impressions.

Dominant body language tends to open confidence, taking up space whether more overtly or more casually, and everyone knowing that you do. Submissive body language is more careful, more contained, stiller. Doms notice each other openly and pay less attention to submissives. Submissives notice doms and generally keep aware of them in a different way than they do each other.

The subs on guard still have different body language from the doms on guard, but also have 'standing on guard' body language that others don't tend to. The sub taking them to the delegation has more deferential and composed-to-being-in-the-background body language than subs walking around outside had. The subs with the delegation have even more of that - are still and quiet and have lowered eyes.

A few of the doms with shadowing subs step forward from the rest of the delegation as they see him. The foremost gives about the same sort of greeting as the dom with Azure had at the beginning.

"Master Azure-and-Florentho! On behalf of our government and all our people, welcome to our country and our world!"

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Azure will do his best to be charming and friendly.  He appreciate the welcome, and can compliment what he's seen of the city.

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(Convenient, that'll allow them to better track where he's been! No one mentions this.)

The delegation doms are also being charming and friendly, in ways appropriate to their various stations and the occasion! One of them will introduce themselves and the other doms who stepped forward - there's some government officials/diplomats and some scientists and such. They'll issue more official and poetic sounding greetings and welcomes and enthusiasm about his presence and what it means and the world-meeting related opportunities it creates.

They've had arranged a place for him to stay, so he could rest and they can have arranged to any other needs he might have, and can decide what he might be interested in doing and in what sort of order and so on. There's transportation just outside.

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Azure is also excited about the opportunities that such a meeting will bring!  Hopefully the Fleet scientists will figure out how to replicate his unexpected trip and follow soon.

(Hopefully they'll make it at all.  That isn't guaranteed.  Still, if there's a scientific problem he has every confidence that Alizara will solve it.  Her, and as much of the scientific community that his grandpa can pull in favors from, which is pretty much all of them.)

He's not at all tired, but he privately suspects they want more time to prepare and to share the information he already gave to the first few people he'd met to the ones with more power.  So, he can thank them, careful to keep up the in-control air of someone who is at least slightly qualified to do anything, and go to whatever transportation they've provided once the political pleasantries are finished for the moment.

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They are also certainly hoping for that! They're of course working on it from their end, but unless they find something at the location in which he appeared or similar, they might not have very much to go on, and while other worlds with people in them certainly existing is a new and important piece of information their scientists hadn't had before, it may not be enough for a research and development direction. But of course there will be much work on it from very skilled people!

That is totally what they want, not that they'll say so. They're glad the light maneuvering currently seems to be working.

They've landed helicopters in the parking lot of the police station. There appears to be a bit of internal politics about who exactly will ride with him. This ends up with some silent guards (who were not part of the internal politics), and among other people two very much not silent doms, one of whom tries to ask him about the social organization and government of his world, and one about its technology.

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Florentho is fascinated by the helicopter.  There's no call for atmospheric air transport on the Fleet, and their space vehicles don't have anything as visually distinctive as a helicopter's rotors.  

Azure is happy to answer questions about either.

The fleet is mostly a democracy.  Each smaller ship and Hall of a great ship have a senator in the senate which writes bills, then the fleet as a whole votes for five councilors who can finalize the bills into laws.  Each Hall also has an intra-hall council and/or mayor which handles smaller local things.  Then there are the Captains, who choose their own successors - their duty is to manage navigation, resources, and mechanical upkeep of the ships.  Judges are assigned and overseen by the Legendaries, who are selected by whatever luck or destiny causes people's daemons to settle as whatever they do.

He doesn't know how to compare the technology of the fleet to here, since he doesn't know what level of technology they have here.  They don't have faster-than-light travel yet.  They do have artificial gravity and holographic displays.  Technological progress had slowed after leaving the planet, due to lack of resources - they can create many elements out of nothing with Moves but others, notably copper, are in short supply.  Many of their recent advances are in theoretical science and mathematics that Azure knows little about, and in material substitution or using rare materials more efficiently.

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The delegation members are clearly (and for obvious reasons) not at all used to daemons, but trying to act naturally about it. If Florentho's interest is externally obvious, one of the doms will signal a non-pilot sub who was in the helicopter when they got in, who will offer to answer or explain anything he might like to know.

The tech dom is fascinated! What a particular development constraint! What other materials are in short supply verse plentiful? The politics dom wants to know more about the Legendary system. And are mayors and intra-hall councils also elected or are they appointed by the larger government, or some other method? What does managing resources entail?

Meanwhile, the helicopters have taken off flying. If he looks out, below Azure will see more streets like the ones he'd walked through, and then also different kinds of areas. Farther away is a cluster of very tall buildings. The helicopter seems to be heading in their general direction, though not directly toward them.

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Florentho doesn't hide his interest, though politely declines explanations.  He prefers to just watch things.  Once they're in the air, he stares out the window like an excited child at the passing scenery.

Azure will answer the questions.  Water, stone, sand, silk, and various organic materials for composting or making plastics are the most plentiful.  They can make iron and gold, though not as much as they want.  Salt and clay can be processed from raw brine and mud.  Metals are their biggest limiting factor, with their initial stockpiles of cobalt and copper and so on being all they'll get until they reach their destination.  Keeping track of supply and production and recycling of materials is part of the Captain's job, as is handling drafting people for emergency material creation if they wind up low on air or something.

As for politics.  The mayors and intra-hall councils are elected directly for inhabited Halls.  Councils for Halls that are nothing but large hydroponics bays or factories or entertainment parks are handled by the Fleet council.

The Legendary system is steeped in high-context religious baggage.  About one in 100,000 people have a Legendary daemon, one of 68 unusually rare and powerful forms.  Their dominant religion states that they are the physical incarnations of gods, and in addition to appointing judges also have duties to the church.

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Yes sir.

No one will interfere with him watching the scenery! 

How interesting! It seems that being able to create even some materials advantages them very much in their civilization's endeavor. Can they mine metals from astroids or anything like that? That's been locally theorized as something that could be possible for a spacefaring civilization.

The politics dom nods respectfully at this (a government intertwined with religion is not a strange concept here). If larger contact can be made, should they expect his people will want to send missionaries? (What the dom really wants to know about is the potential for religious conflict, but isn't going to just immediately and straight out ask about that. Their visitor hasn't done anything suggestive of that yet, though if their civilization is usually the only one around he might not have thought of it. ...In which case it might be a problem to cause him too, but it's not like it wouldn't come up eventually. Not the sort of thing it makes sense to try to hide and delay.)

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