May 21, 2022 4:01 PM
a dyr in green
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Here is a room in a teenagerdormitory, where people of ages 14-22 sometimes move in to get some space from their parents and allow that relationship to settle into a more mature form if it seems hard for that to happen while cohabiting. Deshi Sunsetharbor, 16, who has kept her household name in spite of not living there for the time being because she does expect to go back and still heads to Sunsetharbor for dinner every offday*, is practicing for the live-captioning exam she's planning to take by skipping through a historycamera** feed and transcribing what people say in it.

* One day of every six-day weeks is a Schelling day-off, though not all professions can reasonably be off one day a week. This day is also default for anything mildly special you want to do routinely but not all the time, like cook a more labor-intensive meal or dress up a bit.
** Some public locations have video cameras pointing at them, with the area they can see marked, as a sort of continuous time-capsule-style capture. The video is public and they can double as security cameras but mostly what they capture is people coming up to them and saying/doing random things for posterity.

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There is a quiet, easily missable sound from an out-of-the-way corner of the room; then another, louder sound, as of a small round object rocking back and forth on the floor. Rock, rock. Rock, rock.

Rock, rock.

Crack!

A little creature, barely the size of a tennis ball, emerges from her egg with a soft little meep.

After a moment's bewildered examination of her immediate surroundings, she levitates into the air and goes looking for harvestable objects, such as rocks or plants.

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The room doesn't contain any plants but does have an assortment of semiprecious rocks glued next to their names on a small poster.

Deshi pauses the historycamera to go see what - fell down? Probably it was a branch breaking off a twig outside or something but it sounded like it was in her room.

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Then Deshi may or may not notice a little fluffy creature levitating next to the poster, bobbing gently up and down for a few seconds before finally coming away with a sparkling pebble and drifting down to deposit it on the floor. The pebble hovers tidily next to her little fluffy shoulder. It resembles the stone on the poster that she got it from, but smaller and rounder.

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"- ack!" exclaims Deshi. Is that a bird - no, it has - what the fuck is that - it's floating - she's going to take a picture and see if it shows up in the picture, she read a book once where that's a good way to tell if something's really there -

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The creature shows up in as many pictures as she would like to take of it.

It sets its sparkly little pebble down very gently on the floor, and curls up next to it, and within seconds is emitting the teeniest imaginable snores.

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It's... cute, once she's gotten over it being a totally bizarre kind of creature she's never seen before and identified its eyes and feet and stuff. It looks like an extremely small goat with outsize horns.

She texts her best friend. Hey come over you'll never guess what I found [picture of floatgoat]

Her best friend, Suvi no-household-name-at-this-time, texts back that's adorable where'd you get it?

Deshi texts back a cryptic emoticon. Suvi will have to see it snoring in person.

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The snoring lasts for just shy of twenty minutes, at which point the creature wakes up, ascends, and bobs up and down next to her favourite rock again for a few seconds to harvest another pebble.

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Suvi takes more than twenty minutes to come over - it's not that long a trip but she doesn't leave right away - so Deshi is still alone in the room, except for the floatgoat, when it wakes up. She takes video of it floatgoating, and of - bobbing near her rock poster?? She gets her nose perhaps inadvisably close to the floatgoat in the process.

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Then she will perhaps be surprised by the abrupt appearance of a wee little pebble after a few seconds of bobbing. The pebble is identical to the one on the floor, and similar to but distinct from the rock it was harvested from, and levitating just beside the floatgoat's shoulder.

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"Eek!" shrieks Deshi, startling back a little and fumbling her phone.

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"Eek!" echoes the floatgoat, similarly startled.

But after a moment or two to recover, she drifts down to the floor and sets the second pebble carefully down next to the first.

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Deshi stabilizes her phone and ends the video.

Suvi knocks on the door. "Deshi?"

"Yeah one sec!" calls Deshi.

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The floatgoat, curious yet nervous, levitates back into the air and peers at Deshi from a safe couple of Deshi-arm-lengths away.

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Deshi lets Suvi in. "Hey," says Suvi, "I thought you were saving up, not buying stuffed animals - oh, did you dangle it from the ceiling? It's kind of in the middle of things there -"

"Um," says Deshi.

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The floatgoat meeps and drifts backward a few more feet now that there are two Large Startling Creatures present.

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"- is it a - drone, or -" says Suvi.

"I don't know," says Deshi. "It just - showed up. I noticed it like a few minutes before I texted you."

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Tiny floatgoat peering nervously at the Large Startling Creatures.

She gradually drifts backward and downward; then, after a few seconds of nobody making any aggressive moves, she circles around into the corner of the room where she first hatched, and curls up in the biggest intact piece of her eggshell, and goes back to sleep.

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The girls follow the floatgoat.

"Is that an eggshell?" says Suvi.

"That also wasn't here before, I didn't see it till just now."

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"...it's so cute."

"Let me show you the video I took..."

Twenty minutes later they are still sitting and watching the floatgoat.

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The floatgoat wakes!

Moving somewhat cautiously arround the Large Startling Creatures, she approaches the poster again.

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"What is it going to do with all the - rock copies - is that the lapis lazuli?" says Suvi.

"Yeah it seems to be somehow duplicating the lapis lazuli except in - a bead shape?" says Deshi.

Suvi picks up one of the previous beads from the floor.

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The lapis lazuli pebble is unpolished but smooth, and very pretty. It doesn't have a hole like a bead would, and isn't quite perfectly round like a bead might be, but it's definitely small enough to be a (fairly chonky) bead.

Meanwhile, the floatgoat harvests another pebble from the lapis lazuli, takes it down to the floor, sets it next to the other one, meeps quizzically, and looks around for the missing rock. Where oh where could... oh! The Large Startling Creature has it!

She floats into the air, peering nervously at Suvi.

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"...do you want this back?" Suvi asks.

"It's not a parrot."

"Maybe floatgoats can talk, I don't know."

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"Parrot?" she echoes.

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