someone sent yellow mod an ask once
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Nobody invites him, though Dogs Guy waves on his way out (not with a group).

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Aww. He waves back and smiles and skips on the way out.

Probably he can find time to see that bridge today.

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It's a nice bridge. It used to be for trucks but now it's only rated for pedestrian traffic - the structure is fine but the load was putting some stress on some underground things - so now it's a semipermanent open air market with produce and knitwear and honey and jewelry and knife-sharpening services and ice cream and stuff.

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Oh.

That’s incredible. He shouldn't spend much right now but that's - what life is for, what cities are for. He examines all of the jewelry and knitwear and mentally calculates prices in hours worked and people decontaminated. Might as well get some produce, he does need to eat.

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If he'll take bruised fruit he can get it at a discount.

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He'll take it if he observes other people taking it before him and then being treated well by other nearby people.

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Some people are taking it. They're mostly purple, and they're mostly not taking very much, but they'll take one bonked peach and cut the bruise out with a pocketknife and eat it right away, or chitchat with the stall owner about making jam.

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Hm. People are mostly purple, but still. He'll wait and maybe do it next time if he has more data then.

He does pay attention to the way other people interact with the stall owners. That seems important.

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Some of them just pick out things and buy them, or brush off questions with a "just looking" and then leave, but a minority will chat up the stall owners about where the goods are from or whether they'd recommend this one over that one.

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Good to get a sense of how that works. He doesn't try talking to anyone this time. Maybe next time.

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His results from the police exam are emailed to him before he leaves the bridge. He scored in the 56th percentile, which is above the job offer threshold but below the pay hike threshold for particularly high performers. Their algorithm thinks he might be a particular match for internal affairs, population and eugenics enforcement, beat-walking, and Evidence And Records Department, though there is a disclaimer to the effect that this does not constitute a strong prediction about his initial assignment or later promotion/transfer opportunities. If he wants something else for his first posting, he can explain why and they'll consider it; otherwise he should (if he wants a police job, anyway) respond with an acceptance of his slot in the training cohort, and then when he graduates the training his cohort will be divvied up and he'll probably get one of his aptitude-guesses, which he may choose to rank in order of preference now or at any time during training.

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He doesn't really expect to end up where the algorithm thinks he'd be a good fit. He can think of some considerations that should go into ranking them - it seems fraught to be in internal affairs, but even more fraught to mention how appealing it sounds, so it might belong in second place after beat-walking... but he's just not totally sure what the optimal ranking should be yet, so he'll wait and see if he has a better idea. At any rate, he accepts their offer.

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His cohort will begin at thus-and-such a time, he should submit the following measurements to the uniform department, confirm the spelling of his name for the badge and paperwork, give the background check folks a heads up about anything weird that would look suspicious if they found it without a warning, check this box that says whether he's going to bring a lunch or want a food court voucher, fill out eight different forms for the benefits package, and give them his bank account information so the nominal pay he'll draw during training can go there and be followed by his normal paycheck.

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He fills out all their forms very carefully. The background check folks know he's ex-red, right?

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Maybe, but if the right hand isn't talking to the left hand that is definitely the sort of thing that could come as an alarming surprise.

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He will make sure they know he's ex-red.

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He has probably never had to fill out forms like this before in his life, but they can be finessed with enough Citrusing. He will be expected to report for training in a week and a half.

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A week and a half is enough time to pick up some more shifts at his other job, look up the rules for some sports, and see if he can go to a pickup game of something for extremely casual beginners.

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The key words he wants for extremely casual beginners games are "all ages" and "off-peak hours" and optionally also "all-caste", since random yellows who want more exercise and two-year-olds undergoing growth spurts are the sort of people who get explanations of the local conventions where they may differ from Summary Bank. He can get in on an all-ages off-peak-hours arcball game, or an all-caste and also those other things game of territory flags.

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He attends the second of those things.

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Territory flags has a field gridded with a bunch of traffic-cone-ish things, mostly black but it's not a matched set so some of them are white and a few are blue-and-yellow but this doesn't matter for the gameplay. There are rules of engagement for how you may interact with people who do or do not currently possess flags; the object of the game is to get your flags into as many contiguous cones as possible, displacing the opposing team(s). (It's customarily played with at least five teams but they start with a two-team game as a demo since people are new to it.) Non-contiguous flags can be more easily supplanted by an adjacent color and count less during scoring when the timer goes off. The two flag sets are purple polkadots versus white and blue stripes; when they up the number of teams in later games they add green ombre, brown squiggles, and black-with-rainbow-triangles. Valsin starts on team purple polkadots and then gets reasigned to black-with-rainbow-triangles.

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Well, this is a cool kind of game! Does it come with breaks where people talk to each other or not really?

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There are water breaks, yup!

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He tries to look friendly. Does it look like people start conversations with strangers? How do they do that? He'll wait to actually say anything to anyone until either he's approached or he has some good examples to follow.

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People do sometimes start conversations with apparent strangers! Things like "so how did you find this game" and "I bet you have dance background" and "nice save in A-7 in the first half!" and "is it springtime out here or is it just me".

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