Aug 14, 2020 10:00 AM
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They can go to THE MOON!! This is the coolest combination of their powersets yet! 

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The moon! That's kinda like space! And the gravity is weaker.

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It's scientifically interesting. And fun.

They are not planning to have a populated outpost here, but they do create a sort of base for when they want to return.

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Moonbase! The lower gravity doesn't seem to change when he goes intangible, letting him bound around inside Heri's shield like that, and he can also still breathe on the moon even though he's not interacting with the air brought in through the portal. He spends a fair amount of time up there, enjoying the view.

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It's quite the view. One that couldn't get tired of for many years.

And they don't. The lunar outpost remains a place of no permanent residence. But it's a place everyone regularly visits. The settlements expand more as their population grows to occupy their untamed world. There is a disproportionate large party when they welcome their second set of twins to this world. They never have a second wave of refugees as big as the ones from the ruined Earth, but every so often a Gabe will stumble upon Milliways and they acquire one to three people. And it's not always easy, but people find a way to live on, adapt, learn and grow.

And sometimes they grow old.

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And eventually, unfortunately, people die.

 

The funerals here are... well, nothing like the ones on Amenta, where the dead are a source of pollution no one wants to get near. The difference between amentans and all of the other beings living on this world is never so obvious to them than at times like these. Still, being reds, most of them are willing to ignore the presence of the dead in order to attend, to celebrate the life and mourn the death of late friends.

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It is... very disconcerting. To say the least, how they just... display the remains. Or interact with it like the person was just in a deep coma or something.

And that doesn't even cover when an alt dies.

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And despite what one might think, Gabes can survive to old age. Even without a Henry's help. It is like ripping out a chunk of them forever, but they survive to enjoy another day. Or another year. Or even two decades.

Silverfox Gabe perished to pneumonia, a few months before his death he had a major party, knowing it was going to be his last. He had a blast.

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The group that gathers for his funeral is quite large, containing Gabes and Henries (and Kenta and Heri) and plenty of others besides. The funeral is held on Origin island, away from the settlement itself, where a forest of crystal tombs spreads. The area is starkly beautiful, but eerie. Tobir shivers whenever he remembers that each crystal was grown around the body of a former resident.

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Kenta supports Roaja during the procession. She is quite teary for someone that doesn't know that they are burying the alt of her son.

The eulogies are spoken with soft background music. It's the kind of beauty that Gabes rarely care to produce, maybe because they are saving up for moments like this.

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And in the end, a group of Henries approaches the body to encase it in a cocoon of crystal. Positioning its hand such as to hold the hand of the crystal body next to it. Then the two are encased together. Until the day the crystal cracks or magic has advanced enough to reverse this.

Until they, they will be next to each other in death. Too.

Small mercies.

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Big hopes.

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Very big hopes.

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It's not fair, but life isn't fair unless you make it that way. Someday they'll fix death, too. With all of this magic, and the determination to do so, there's no way they won't figure it out eventually. 

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It's more reason to dedicate themselves to learning crystal magic. That's something Henries also have been doing too. That's partially the purpose of the crystal cocoons. Preserving people until their death can be reversed.

Such research is also very tied to the cloning crystal and relevant research on how to make it stop. And how the thing manages to just spit out people despite their attempts to make it stop.

Heri has taken to take out a piece of it to prod magically, before returning the thing to the main crystal, so they don't end up with a second source of clones.

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He's been doing a lot of work on that, lately. Tobir, meanwhile, has been involving himself in the portal experiments, putting his expertise with his empowered crystal to use in helping that team slowly explore deeper and deeper into space. They have to be very careful, because it has slowly become clear that at greater distances, the placement of their portals becomes less and less accurate. It only took one instance of opening a portal WAY too close to a star to convince them to take care. On the plus side, that instance did prove that the filters on the portals could stand up to some serious forces. 

After a day of working on portals in the labs set up for that purpose, Tobir goes looking for Heri and Kenta on Waterfalls Island, trekking up through the forest by the river to come in through the cave entrance under the waterfalls. It's late evening, and the light of the sun shines directly upon the central waterfall, only dimly illuminating the edges of the misty darkness beyond.

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He is welcomed to the sight of their secret cavern lair. Which, now that's complete, it is absolutely beautiful, a small castle against a misty starry night, glowing under the light of an unseen moon. It's Kenta's absolute best work, something not only magical but mystical.

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Heri and Kenta are in the garden area. The former is deeply focusing on some kind of crystal manipulation and looking deeply frustrated.

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"It's still not cooperating?" Tobir asks as he comes up to them, pulling his attention away from the nearby plants to eye Heri with some concern.

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"Still not. I can't input patterns into it. Or make a hair strand that grows with the hair of a clone and ends with the hair of another. Or anything Tutor and the others have managed."

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Patpat. "You've been working on it for way less time than Tutor has. You'll get there," he states confidently. "What can you do with it, so far?"

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"I can figure out how to create specific tissues, probably could help a more experienced Henry in the creation of a replecement limb. Not much anything else."

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"And you managed to clone rats and they do remember trained tricks from before." Kenta adds, he is doing some crystal magic of his own, but - being Kenta - for more artistic purposes.

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"Sounds like you're doing pretty well to me," Tobir tells Heri. His stomach growls, and he coughs sheepishly, "Uh, mind taking a break? I've been at the labs all afternoon and I'm kind of starving."

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