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Jan 20, 2022 9:56 AM
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"Good, I'm sure no one wants to be menaced by swords if they visit."

"Not that they wouldn't send you home, they'd just send you alone and never visit, probably."

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"No one in my sky is menaced with swords if they don't think it's fun," she promises.

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"Do they actually live in the sky or do you just not know the word world?"

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"I don't have very many words yet. World might be the right word! What does it mean?"

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"Everywhere you can get to if you go up or down or left or right or forward or backward? Some of them might have planets in them, which are like Sathend but spherical and if you go to the bottom then down is up and up is down."

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"World is the right word, then! It has planets."

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"Do you live on one of the planets? Is it really weird not being able to see all the way around it?"

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"I live on a planet. It's not very weird. I'm used to it."

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Various people say variously inane things along the way.

They pass fields of tomatoes and cucumbers and unfamiliar root vegetables, and occasional orchards of some kind of fruit that writhes and squirms. The solar parallax is very noticeable, traveling this far.

And they come to another station, from which the school is just a short walk away and immediately visible. It's a whole complex of buildings and yards, added to several times as the population has grown; there's a tree with strings of writing hanging from it, a swingset, a set of monkey bars, and a large climbable structure which on closer inspection is actually a periodic table. School's not in session at the moment, but a custodian and a couple of kids are doing cleanup, and a teacher has opted to grade essays while perched up in the tree.

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(She wants to know what the wiggly fruit is and why it does that, please?)

Is school going to be back in session any time soon?

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(The wiggly fruit is made of protein fibers similar to those in the muscles of living animals, and wiggles for exercise and blood flow. The plants it grows on are called squidbushes, because of a no-longer-clear etymology.)

School will be back in its regular session a little before noon tomorrow, and there'll be an evening session starting in an hour. Now's a fine time to talk auditing schedules, though.

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Okay, does she talk to the teacher in the tree about that?

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Yeah, they haven't ever really had the kind of complicated questions around enrollment that would lead them to have a specific person on staff to handle just that.

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Then she will climb up the tree, no problem.

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"Ground bores you too, huh? Anyway, you wanted to sit in on some classes, right? Which ones are you interested in?"

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She finds a way to perch that doesn't require her hands to stabilize and says, "As many as I can! I need a lot of words."

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"Well, you can't sit in on every class, if for no other reason than that some of them happen at the same time as each other, and you have the vocabulary to have this conversation - suppose you join the seniors, and, hm, evening sessions are their own kettle of fish but suppose you sit in on tonight's postapocalyptic history class and decide if it's useful for you."

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"That sounds interesting and useful! Thank you."

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Tonight's session of postapocalyptic history is not very difficult or complicated, for the age of most of the students taking it, most of whom have taken it before. They go over the decision to plan ahead and institute representative democracy while anyone still remembered how it worked, even though the population hadn't yet reached a point where it needed a government. They go over some of the arguments that were made at the time, about whether this was actually necessary.

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How small was the population at the time? What kind of democracy did they go with? Where did this population even come from originally, do they know?

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Less than a hundred, while they were having their arguments. They went with a small unicameral legislature, a court, and originally a president (a role which shrunk in importance over time). They describe the original founding population as refugees from the lost world.

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But where in the lost world???

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...Well, there's no connection between the old names and the new ones, but she can learn some of the new ones. This question might be better answered by looking through the first chronicles herself; they have copies in the school library.

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On strings?

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