Aug 09, 2020 3:40 PM
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"She has not. Aunt never got the hang of the language and doesn't like walking around with the translation crystals. But she gets by."

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"Learning languages is really hard for some people," Tobir says with a shrug. "She hasn't really needed it that badly. She does a lot of cooking, and some art stuff, and she helps with all the kids. She adopted one of the baby clones, too." 

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"Oh, you have a little sister? That must be so weird." Says one of the many Gabe clones to Kenta.

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"I am... glad that she is adjusting to this new life."

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They answer some further clarifying questions. Mostly about the non-human species.

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"Hey..." Gabe squints while look into the distance. "Is that your uncle's boat?" He points at the sea.

The ship is a sleek long thing with a flat living area connecting two hulls. The surface is white plastic with golden accents. And they can only see the crystalline honeycomb support structure through the large windows of transparent aluminum, through which one can also spot the green of the ship's garden.

It moves by manipulating the water itself, which forms an impossible spiral in the space between hulls, but it passes through the water with surprisingly little disturbance, specially given how fast it moves.

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He jumps to his feet, going over to the edge of the gazebo to peer out over the water. "It totally is," he agrees after a moment, turning back to the others, "We should go meet it, it's been months! You can meet Remi," he adds to Henry and Gabe, "And hey, maybe they found something interesting!" 

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"Yes, please. Show me the way to the docks?"

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"This way!" Kenta says and of course dashing immediately through the streets.

It's not very far, though this area's layout is old and less organized, so it takes knowing the best shortcuts. Plus, some people are gathering to check on the returning vessel. By the time they are close, there is a white lion cub running alongside Kenta.

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Tobir follows right on his heels. "Hey Tama!" He greets once the cub joins them, dodging out of the way of one of the watchers at the edge of the docks. They reach the end of the pier just as the ship does, and he pauses there to wait impatiently for the passengers to disembark. 

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"Hey, Tobir!" Tama replies excitedly.

Heri catches up with them. The Henry and the Gabe are shortly behind. The ship is close enough that they can see the name Discoverer in golden letters engraved in its sides.

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Remi is not quite the first person off the ship, but he's in the first group. He steps down onto the pier, worn leather jacket folded over his elbow and bag slung over one shoulder, and immediately starts walking over to them. 

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Tobir rushes towards him through the crowd of disembarking passengers and nearly knocks him over with the force of his hug.

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Heri waits for Remi to get his balance back before also joining the hug.

Other people around them are doing the same. Tama curls up on her aunt.

"How was the trip?"

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Hugs all around, "Very comfortable," he says, "But not terribly remarkable. More islands, and not a single suggestion of anyone besides ourselves. We did come across a few new species of plants, though, and we took cuttings," he directs this last to Tobir specifically. "And we passed an enormous underwater reef about a month in, with all sorts of interesting marine life living in them."

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"Ooo," he peers at the gardens on the ship over Remi's shoulder, "You think they'll let us in to see them?"

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"Hope so," Heri says.

And without even looking directly at Kenta, Heri stops him from taking steps towards the ship and then makes him join the hug.

"What sort of marine life? And any nice places to settle?"

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"It's difficult to summarise! Coral reefs are always populated by such a variety. Plenty of camouflage experts, whole schools of these beautiful sparkling silver-gold fish," he smiles, "We saw one fish which was several meters long but thin as a rope, and covered with long thin spines which it could leave slicked up against its body to get into tight spaces, or extend to make it look much wider than it actually was." He pats his bag, "I have plenty of sketches, and some photos on my everything, as well." He hums, "As for nice places, it seemed to be mostly more of the same. Though there was one island with a truly astonishing waterfall, hiding a massive cavern behind it."

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"Sounds like the perfect place for a secret lair," Tobir says of the last bit.

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"The noise would even disguise any sound you made while inside. And I bet you can build the entrance in a way that's hidden from the outside, but you can go through it without getting wet."

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"Yeah! What was the cave like, Uncle? A good place for it?" 

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He chuckles, "Wet," he says, "And then icy, once we went a ways in. The lake at the bottom of the falls extended inside. The only way in was a little path off to one side of the falls, which led around the lake to an elevated area above it. It was chilly back there, but the ice didn't start until you started going down into the caverns behind it. I think you could build a nice lair inside that first cavern, if you didn't mind the noise, and the humidity."

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"You can probably insulate against those and heat up the place."

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"Well, if you'd like to be involved in the outpost we put on that island, you only have to ask Henry Kered. I think you're all old enough to go on a few trips to the outlying islands."

He looks over at the Henry and Gabe with them, checking them for any markers he reconizes, but not finding any, "Oh, hello. Are you new?" 

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"Came out of the crystal just today. It's a pleasure to meet you..."

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