A Lost boy somehow gets even more lost.
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Danny floats over to him. "Want some help?"

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"Sure, can you run in and get me more sandpaper? It's in 6."

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"You got it, be right back." A quick clamber and swing, a clarifying question to someone inside, and then he's back out and beside the man with extra sandpaper, watching him and preparing to follow his lead.

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"Thanks! This spot's roughed up, we'll want to replace this board in a few more decawakes, but for now let's just get it smoothed so it's not full of hidey mold." Sand sand.

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Sand sand, which is harder than it looked in zero gravity. He waits until he can do it well enough to talk at the same time, then says, "I hope I didn't make things too awkward earlier, with the questions I was asking."

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"I mean, you're a little peculiar is all."

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"Yeah, I get that a lot. Haven't met anyone else like me yet." To be fair, this was true even before he ended up in the Hedge. He tries to keep things cheerful as they work. "How peculiar am I, relatively speaking? Like, on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the strangest person you've ever met...?"

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"...I think you're at least one of the five or so strangest people I've ever met? I think a lot of really strange people don't get out too much."

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Huh. Okay, top five strangest isn't... too bad, really. Hell, maybe they're weird in the same ways he is; surely he's not the first person to end up in this world from another one... "Would you recommend I meet any of the other ones?"

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"Not without knowing you better, not especially."

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"Fair enough." Sand sand sand. "I guess I'm still confused about how much other people already know that I don't, compared to whether there are things people just... aren't supposed to ask or talk about?"

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"I think you probably don't know a bunch of stuff, and you're trying to guess, and you're getting it wrong in weird ways, like you're a child or something. - two of the weirdest people I ever met used to be children."

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"That's... a pretty accurate explanation in a few ways, yeah. Why do some people make children, instead of adults? The only child I've met lately was made a bit earlier than they were supposed to be because they were needed, but if it only takes a week to make a new adult I don't guess that happens too often?"

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"- I, what? Why would someone make a child because they needed one? Children can't do hardly anything. This is what I'm talking about, here."

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"Uh, sorry, by child I meant... younger than me by a few years." It would make sense that they'd have a different threshold for where childhood begins and ends, even before he takes into account the whole making-people thing, but he's not sure how else to gesture at the concept without assuming he means... what, 5 year olds? Even younger? What are the limits to how much knowledge someone could be made with if they're that young?

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"- so, once you're talking about making people to be useful in any way, you probably also want them to live a long time, so you make them as physically youthful and healthy as you can. But you want them mentally mature, their full height, not still in the middle of that developmental thing I forget the word for."

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Puberty. Probably. "Right, that all makes sense to me, but... the girl who was made just needed to speak a new language. Which they did, really well, so I guess it worked out okay?"

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"...I should hope so? Presumably she could do other things too if they had any sense."

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Okay, deep breath, start over.

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Sand sand.

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"What confuses me," he says after a few moments, "Is that I don't really understand the limits of making people. When the girl was made, the one a few years younger than me, she said they made her early, by multiple weeks." He can't remember how many exactly, but it was more than a month. "But if people normally can be made once per week, I just don't see what was limiting them from making her an adult..."

 

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Wait. Maybe he misunderstood this whole time? What had she said, exactly? Something about the math turning out alright...? Maybe her being made early had nothing to do with her age...

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"...I don't think early has anything to do with younger. If, again, they had any sense. If they had sense, I'd assume they had her plan drawn up, added your language onto it, and made her ahead of schedule but at some normal age, probably just about full height and done developing. If, again, they had sense, I don't think they're making somebody every week! That doesn't really matter unless you want a whole lot of people in a really short time frame."

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Okay he needs to rethink everything he thought he knew about how people are made and at what age. He wishes he could remember his conversations with Chesabit more clearly, but the idea that she was made earlier than expected and the fact that she was younger than everyone else on board the sail combined to give him a false impression that's persisted until now... though he's not sure the other guy is right, Chesabit certainly didn't seem like she was "done developing" unless he drastically underestimated her age...

Either way, it makes him wonder how many other presumptions he has about this world.

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Sand sand. "I guess I must have misunderstood some things. Do you mind if I ask you more... maybe stupid or obvious questions?"

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