Jan 29, 2022 1:47 AM
A Green and an Anomalan in Milliways
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Lorinne(A) and A's parrot Mara(B) are enjoying a hike in the forest, so far away from anywhere that it's easy for A to pretend that there's no-one else in the world. Just as A starts to contemplate pulling out A's compass and heading back to civilization, A emerges out of an unexpected edge of the forest and onto the shore of a lake with a building beside it. 

"Why is there a building out here? It's too remote to be a store and too big to be a house and too modern to be someone living an autarky fantasy."

"I don't know," says Mara(B) from B's perch on Lorinne's shoulder.

"Honestly it would be really weird if you did."

"I'm really weird!"

"Not in this particular way. Let's go check it out."

"Yay, more exploring! I hope there's food."

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Latune is going mushrooming. This has many advantages, such as mushrooms, exercise for her mushrooming dog Chanterelle* and fresh air. It does involve being out in the buggy air and getting too hot from the hike to wear anything nice, so Latune is wearing some stuff she got in high school before she learned to sew; it's black, since she already knew she liked black, but that's all that can be said for it. She smells strongly of vanilla, which repels mosquitoes without confusing Chanterelle too much.

Chanterelle gets confused about where they are before Latune does, and whines, and Latune looks up and realizes that it's no longer pure blue sun between the gaps in the trees, but cloudy - that probably means a sudden storm? They should get home -

- that's not what she was looking at when she came this way -

*Actually a name for what in English is called the "wood ear", but it has a more melliflous and namelike term in Latune's language, and that's the more important thing, so it has been culturally translated.

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Huh, another person. With no visible interruptibily bracelet, probably because one doesn't often need one out in the middle of nowhere. Lorinne(A) visibly switches A's own bracelet from battery-saving off to welcoming blue and offers the stranger a casual nod but doesn't otherwise obtrude.

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"- uh, hi. I think it might be about to rain, you might want to get h-

- oh, what's that?" Latune says, demeanor switching from "advice to stranger" to "bewildered out of context input" when she comes far enough out of the trees to see the building. It extends up into the fog of cloud above, and off left and right as far as the eye can see (which isn't that far, it's misty, but still).

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Ah, cool, interaction is yes. "I have no idea why there's a building here! But you're right, it looks like rain all of a sudden."

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"The meteorologist said it was supposed to be clear all week*," Latune frets. "And now I'm lost. Do you know where we are or should I see if the dog can get us to the turnpike?"

*Green uses five-day weeks.

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"I thought I was at least five kilometres from the edge of these woods and my handcomp says" checks handcomp "that I have no handcomp signal, so let's try that. Does your dog have a good sense of direction?"

"Hello new person! Hello dog!" says Mara(A), having previously been busy preening Aself.

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"She's a mushroomer, so she might be able to smell our way back." The dog is carrying Latune's palmtop, in one of her panniers, but it's, yeah, time to fish that out. "I don't have signal either, I usually don't at this altitude, and the building's not offering wifi. What's your parrot trained for?"

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"Mara(A) helps out around the house but A's mostly a pet. Mara, once we start walking, could you fly ahead of us and back and say if you saw a road or not?"

"Okay."

"So that should help a bit, even if A doesn't have much of a mental map."

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"We could also try the building, I guess, but it doesn't have a sign or anything, might not even be staffed right now if their wifi's off."

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"Well, it'll only take eight seconds to see if it's locked." Lorinne strides to the door and back. "Unlocked, lights on, looks vacant but there could be someone in the back. For my vote I'd rather do a bit of harmless trespassing than get rained on; if someone shows up and kicks us out we can offski."

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"Yeah. And maybe there's a hidden wifi they have the deets for on the wall." Chanterelle follows Latune in. "...is this a restaurant? In the middle of nowhere?"

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"I have no clue how anyone thought this place would be profitable!  Hello? Is anyone around?"

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No one is around!

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"- the fire's lit," observes Latune. "With wood, it's not just a gas fireplace someone left on."

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"Who even does that? It's a waste of trees and a smoke hazard even if one doesn't leave it unattended."

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"It smells nice and you can set them up to roast marshmallows better than you can manage with a gas fireplace? And there are spare trees, sometimes, when they're clearing the woods out a bit to reduce fire risk, but yeah, this is very weird." Latune coughs. "HELLO?"

Nobody is here.

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Lorinne walks up to the bar and leans on it to peer into the space behind, in case the proprietor has fallen asleep/unconscious/dead back there.

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No such luck.

A napkin appears out of nowhere. Welcome to Milliways. Can I get you anything to drink? First one's free.

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