May 21, 2022 2:49 PM
kyeo and sarham in citrelia
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"How many would you estimate at any given time?"

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"Maybe . . . less than a hundred thousand, more than fifty thousand?"

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"Out of how many people in Creta?"

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"Oh, Creta's five or six million but I meant in the city which is some amount over two hundred thousand."

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"Huh, more than a quarter expats is a pretty high proportion."

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"It's not very representative of the country as a whole; foreigners aren't even allowed in the heartlands.  Except I suppose for a very short period of time if they're aliens who landed there accidentally and it's logistically complicated to move them."

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"Oh, is that where we were."

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"Mmhm.  It's the whole southish-centralish-westish part of the country."

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"We're city types anyway, no big deal."

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"Well, there's plenty of rural non-heartlands should you ever change your mind."

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"Mm-hm. - I have no idea how long Colley is going to keep Kyeo, is there anything else we should talk about while he's gone?"

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"We got distracted by - this general subject, before you got very far in telling me about how the two of you met.  . . . Or no, I think that was actually when I tried hinting at things and then started dissociating and then very clumsily changed the subject to sports and games.  But in any case."

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"My father's the ambassador to Ibyabek. When he was assigned, my mother and I tagged along, I would have missed them if I'd gone to stay with relatives or friends - it's a long enough trip that they couldn't go on living at home while they were there. The Ibyabekan government assigned Kyeo to hang around me and keep me occupied and try to learn things about Kular from me but it turned out we actually liked each other. Toward the end of the trip I swiped my mother's lens, a device for getting on the information network between planets, and showed him some pictures and things that he wasn't supposed to see. We got caught and he asked me to kiss him goodbye and I did and then I was deported from the planet and we never thought we'd see each other again."

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"How long ago was this?"

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"We were seventeen, Earth standard."

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"What sort of pictures were they - please don't feel pressured to answer if I hit on anything delicate - "

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"Pictures of Kular. He was especially - taken by - the grocery store."

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"I'm picking through the associations there but I think I don't quite have the context."

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"Ibyabek is poor. They put my family in a Potemkin village to make it look richer and it still looked poor even if you ignored how the neighbors were all actors. A completely mainstream Kularan grocery store has more options than their entire mocked up show-market in the ice cream section alone."

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"If you still have that picture I'll probably want to see it when we decide it's time to run down your lens's battery.  We may want to prioritize technological improvements that will start making you money in the short term because food is by far going to be your greatest expense living here and I can almost certainly get you a bigger stipend if needed but ideally we'd just make you rich."

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"I think our current stipend covers it but I won't turn down being rich. I guess Kyeo might have feelings about it."

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"I don't expect you to starve on it but I also tentatively expect you won't be particularly thrilled with the variety available to you."

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"Admittedly true."

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"If Kyeo were to have feelings about becoming rich do you have any idea what kind they would be?"

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"Ibyabekan communism is built on the ethos that it's - shameful, to be richer than other people."

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