Jan 21, 2021 4:00 PM
lintalai in arcadia
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Lintalai's running late for school - her boot zipper broke and she had to find another pair, only many of her other pairs are not currently with their mates and the ones that are prove not to fit any longer. Eventually she puts on an unseasonable pair of sandals, skips breakfast, shoves her blue food coloring in her pocket to sneak in the bathroom or skip if she doesn't get a chance, and catches the train.

Her stop lets out in a big quad zoned for schools, with several such buildings surrounding; there's green kids over there, yellow ones there, an intercaste school, three purple schools, an orange school. And hers, full of blues, one of the largest schools on the quad even though there aren't as many blues as anyone else, presumably because there are more schools for all the other castes elsewhere in the city and out in the sticks.

She heads up the steps - hers is the only school with steps, probably because they wanted them to be dramatically marble - and goes in -

- that's not school -

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That is a swirl of colors that lasts for only an instant, though it is somewhat disorienting-

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and- that is also not school. That is a field of cultivated flowers, grains, and assorted other plants neatly organized into rows. The sky is blue, though clouded over. A gentle breeze blows, and the plants move with it. In the distance, there are buildings, though none of them seem quite as tall as Lintalai might expect.

That is not school, and there is in fact no sign of the school anywhere nearby.

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If this is how the aliens have chosen to collect her she is not impressed with their timing, their telegraphing, or their choice of landing site.

Her pocket everything has no service.

She sighs and tromps between the tulips toward the nearest farmhouse-looking building.

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Oddly, none of the buildings look quite right for farmhouses. She's welcome to approach any of them anyway.

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...what is unfarmhouselike about the buildings.

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These buildings are quite small. At most, you could fit a family of four, and some seem smaller still. More importantly, perhaps, there is no sign of barns, sheds, or silos, the accoutrements that a farmer might need in a farmhouse. They do all come with perfectly-manicured lawns, and small, neat little gardens. One of the houses has curtains, which are pulled shut when Lintalai looks at them.

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Maybe they have silos and basements underground, or something. She knows that kids' books about farms are not perfectly accurate.

She approaches a Tiny Farmhouse and knocks.

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It takes a few moments, but a woman answers the door. She does not look especially tiny for an Amentan, though she does seem somewhat surprised to see Lintalai.

She says something entirely incomprehensible.

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"Do you speak Anitami? - or Tapap, or Oahkar, or Voan?" She's not great at Voan but she can ask to borrow a pocket everything that gets service here in it.

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The woman shakes her head. She- doesn't seem to have much idea of what to do next, but she does turn her head to call for someone inside the Tiny Farmhouse.

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Meanwhile, Lintalai can see someone else peeking their head from behind the woman.

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And someone comes down the staircase, waving politely at the child who has decided to greet them.

After a brief conversation with the older woman, he says something in another unfamiliar language.

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She tries her four languages again.

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She says something which Lantalai does not understand, but this time incorporates gestures. She points into the distance, behind Lintalai, and moves her arm in a sinuous motion that could suggest a wave, or a snake, or perhaps some other undulating object or concept. It's not the most helpful attempt at communication.

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Lintalai pulls out her pocket everything to see if the translation app works without connectivity.

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There ensues some pointing at the device, accompanied by questioning faces.

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The little girl bounds forward and starts chattering away, reaching for the pocket everything.

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One of the adults stops her, speaking to her sternly.

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The translation app consents to attempt to listen to these people without being connected.

It has no idea what they're speaking.

Oh dear.

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He says something to his wife.

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She heads off, and returns within a minute with a piece of paper and a quill. She begins to draw, and within another minute or so, has drawn a house, as well as an arrow pointing away from the house and towards what seems to be a quadrupedal stick figure with a line extending from its head.

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Lintalai puts her pocket everything away. All these people having brown hair is starting to sink in. She looks uncomprehendingly at the drawing.

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The woman points emphatically at the drawing of the stick figure quadraped, and tries (badly) to mimic 'Do you speak Anitami? - or Tapap, or Oahkar, or Voan?' in those four languages.

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