Dec 16, 2018 1:00 PM
Alex and Glen enter the world from Muse
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They'd kept this world secret. Recently, it'd become a habit. 

It isn't an Earth, though snippets of the local language suggest it may have been colonized from one, and that means applications and bureaucracy and time. 

Alex doesn't want to wait and for once, Glen is just as impatient. The camera they'd sent ahead hadn't sent back much, but those few clips had Glen staring at her screen for hours. She's seen many places attempt to be art, but she had never before seen one that succeeded so completely. Every building is lovely, every piece of furniture is could easily be displayed in a museum. 

Besides, these people don't seem militant and, unlike the majority of non-magical worlds, will have something of value to trade. 

They choose a location in a private and empty garden within the city and teleport in. 

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The garden, like everything, is gorgeous.

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Glen bends down to look at one of the flowers. 

"It's going to be difficult to resist the temptation to take take pictures of everything."

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"If this goes well, there will be plenty of time later."

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The garden has no reply.

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They step out of the garden and onto the road. 

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Even the road is lovely.

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Their preliminary mapping shows that the garden is a few roads over from a marketplace. They head towards it. 

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The market is uncrowded, even the traffic of the shoppers almost choreographed. The stores are all neat and tidy and decorated.

People look at the newcomers, they stand out, but no one looks for long.

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They stop and try to discreetly observe someone make a purchase

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Thin gold coins, no two minted the same, are exchanged for a few pots of makeup - "The colors are wrong," says the vendor. "I've been working on the blue, but -"

"I think I can maybe blend them to be right -"

"Luck."

"Thank you."

They speak a pretty dialect of Greek, and they have very careful diction, almost sung.

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Glen doesn't know greek and likely never will. She relies on the small translation device nestled in her left ear canal. 

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Alex has found that spoken words make for better introductions than words from a speaker. 

Greek is a known language. Conversational fluency in known languages is part of Alex job, but he still underwent an insertion in the weeks before their arrival. The new knowledge is loose and there's an echo every time Alex hears a previously unfamiliar word, but he is now fluent enough to communicate.

He listens to the accent, but does not try to adopt it. He will not succeed and any attempt to appear local will fail quickly even if he did. 

He also listens for unfamiliar words and for talk of politics and current events. 

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Nobody's talking politics. They talk fashion, music, public art projects, their children learning to draw, their cousins having to give up on being glaziers and become farmers because they just couldn't cut it, the state of the art in assistive tech for the blind.

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Glen catches that thread of conversation and follows it. Assistive technology could be a convincing and nonthreatening initial offering. 

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Alex continues to observe the purchases. Is any bartering occurring or are people making direct purchases with the local currency? What non-artisan goods are for sale? Are people buying cooking ingredients or raw materials? Do the majority of people seem to be browsing or coming to make specific purchases?

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Blind people (there are a surprising number of them around, wearing decorative blindfolds or just going around with their eyes closed) apparently have things that take camera images and translate them into vibrations on the tongue or sometimes the back. People are divided on whether improved resolution would be good; the current state of the art is sufficient to get around. They do agree that they need a version that doesn't make a buzzing noise.

There's plenty of the thin gold coins around, no direct barter but some IOU. Some people are buying nicely arranged food, or pellets of glass to melt into art, or paint, or attractive dishes. There are lots of browsers who just look at things and all the sellers put up with them.

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Glen tries to figure out what's causing the blindness. If any of the blind individuals open their eyes, can she see cataracts? Are their eyes visibly damaged? Are there blind children? 

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They don't open their eyes! There are blind children, but fewer.

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 How do others react to the blindness, sympathy, revulsion, fear, indifference? Other than the blindness, do the people generally seem healthy? What's the ratio of children to adults to the elderly?

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Mostly healthy. Some deafness, on closer inspection. The people who can see are fine with the people who can't and will tell them where things are in spare unelaborate terms. The ratios are consistent with people having four children on average and living to be sixty or seventy if they survive to twenty.

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Glen looks and listens for further information about the local level of technology.

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Alex looks for the friendliest seeming vendor. 

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If she's sharp she can figure out that they landed on this planet with some tech, didn't have the manufacturing base to support it all, and have gotten almost all the way back to where the settlers were.

Nobody will look directly at him.

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He looks for the vendor who is the friendliest to everyone else. 

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This one seems nice!

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