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Sep 18, 2020 2:50 AM
alteriverse!imrainai lands on atlantis!serg
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She nods. "Wanted to see. Thank you."

It she were Mathrael - if she were smarter, maybe she could uncover something about how the door operates and get it working again. She supposes this wouldn't really solve either of her core problems anyway. But she can come back later, now that she knows where it is. She leaves a second tiny beacon by the base, just to be sure.

"Go back now?"

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Nod.

Back to his building. It's strange being this far from it; he almost never bothers anymore. His cloak flickers and swirls in his wake.

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She returns to her routine, gathering food and collecting objects and hunting crabs and missing fish and stuffing as many words as she can into her head. She visits Saikirei every day without fail, even though that's no longer strictly necessary for her survival. Occasionally she feels a little sick to her stomach, but that's probably just because she insists on eating raw seafood, or even just the transition from nutrient blocks to something more food-shaped. She pays it no mind.

And then, one day, she throws up.

She crawls back into bed and thinks about how she's ever going to clean it up. She's back to low-grade nausea fairly soon, but she still doesn't want to eat anything. It could be some weird symptom of her period, right, it's got to be almost time for that?

She consults her calendar, which is a tree branch with notches in it. She's been in Meraiyu for fifty-three days. She hasn't had a period in that time. She thinks about it, and envisions another calendar with work shifts and numbers on it, and realizes that she's missed two, both of them following the last time she was put under general anesthetic for chip maintenance.

She spends the whole day sitting in her room hugging herself. Eventually she gets some leaves and water and cleans up the mess she made earlier. She eats some food that she already has in her house. She thinks about her options. She wishes she hadn't promised not to go; she never expected that she would be making that decision for anyone other than herself, and she has no idea whether it's fairer to raise a child here, where it's safe, or on the surface, where there might be other people. She has to decide now, though. She's only got the one biosuit, and at some point it's going to stop fitting her.

She doesn't go see Saikirei. She doesn't have any idea what she would say to him. 

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Well, if she doesn't go see Saikirei, then he will continue not to know about this.

On the other hand, if she continues not to go see Saikirei...

 

After a full day with no sight of her, he emerges from his building and checks her sleeping place to see if she's there.

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Yep, she's curled up in her very soft bed, wearing the clothes that Saikirei made for her and hugging her knees and looking fairly despondent.

"Hi," she says, quietly.

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"Imrainai sad?"

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She nods.

"Imrainai sad. And afraid. And - angry. And sad."

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"What...?"

He's really not sure how to finish the question, so he just trails off awkwardly.

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"Sorry." He probably still doesn't know what that word means. 

"Imrainai..." No, she can't explain it starting with herself. She shakes her head and takes a deep breath and starts again. "Liars, in Imrainai place, listen Alteri."

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He's not totally sure he gets what she's aiming at, but maybe it will become clearer after she has said more things.

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Deep breath. She can do this.

"Liars have metal thing, in head," she says, gesturing to the back of her neck, where there's a thin scar that marks the site of the incision. "Make listen Alteri. Before Imrainai arrive Meraiyu, Alteri say... fix Imrainai metal thing. Imrainai sleep, Alteri open up Imrainai head, fix metal thing, metal thing in head again. And Alteri - Imrainai asleep, Alteri not tell Imrainai - "

Ugh. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

"Small Liar," she says, burying her face and not looking at him. "Small Liar in Imrainai now."

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Oh.

Ohhhh.

 

"Want Imrainai safe," he says, somewhat at a loss.

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She's not looking, she's not looking, if she doesn't look maybe she won't burst into tears and have to be even more humiliated.

"Imrainai not know what - not make small Liar before. Know sometimes - know sometimes Liar die, when make small Liar. When not - "

Ugh, what are words. She switches back to Etra La, frustrated with her own inability to say things. "At home we would have doctors."

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"People help?" he guesses. But - "Here no people. Only Saikirei."

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This, somehow, rouses her to get off the bed, though she's still not actually looking at him. She heads over to her row of bottles, not because they're actually useful visual aids but because she needs to get her thoughts organized somehow.

"Choices," she says, laying out three bottles. "One, Imrainai go above water, find aisara, be aisara. Need go now. One biosuit, no small Liar biosuit. Two, Imrainai go above water, find aisara, leave small Liar aisara, return Meraiyu. Need go now. Three, Imrainai stay, small Liar here, small Liar no leave Meraiyu."

She frowns at the bottles. None of them seem great.

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"Imrainai go," he says immediately. "If aisara help, if Imrainai more safe above water, Imrainai go."

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She is really relieved that this is his take on the situation, though she's not sure it's actually that clear-cut.

"Maybe no aisara alive," she reminds him. "Maybe aisara die, maybe aisara not know help, maybe aisara not want help..."

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He sighs; he nods.

"Not know."

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"Imrainai not know." She frowns at the second bottle in her configuration. "Imrainai go now, come back, tell Saikirei? Maybe time? How far not Meraiyu places?"

There is, of course, the tiny minor detail where swimming across an ocean with no food could easily kill her, and could much more easily kill a baby, but it's worth asking.

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"Far," he admits. "Not know if Imrainai can go."

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"Biosuit has air. But no food, in biosuit, underwater." She frowns. "Maybe keep food, go up surface, eat food? Maybe bad, maybe - deeper and shallower fast is bad, sometimes. Maybe Sakirei make - thing? Thing go faster than Imrainai?"

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"Maybe make thing," he agrees, nodding slowly.

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"Maybe," she echoes. "Go... not very safe. Stay... not know safe."

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Nod.

"Want Imrainai safe," he repeats, frustrated.

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She nods. She wishes she knew how to accomplish this.

"...thank you."

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