Nov 28, 2020 5:26 AM
To all mankind -- may we never find space so vast, planets so cold, heart and mind so empty that we cannot fill them with love and warmth.
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It's a lovely little planet.

"I like your house," she says. "Did you build it yourself?"

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"No, I just woke up in it. But learning how to build things sounds fun! Did you build your spaceship?"

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"Most of it! Some parts I got from someone else who put them together first."

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"Woooow. Where did you learn how to do it?"

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"Some of it I asked people, some of it I read about, some of it I figured out myself."

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"I want to learn everything, but there aren't a lot of people to ask or any things to read so I guess I'll have to figure stuff out mostly. What are some good things to learn first?"

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"Maybe how to build a house, in case something happens to the one you've got or you just want a bigger one, and how to grow more food, so you can have different stuff to eat," she suggests. "And how to read if you don't have that one down already. I could see about bringing you some books."

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"Those all sound like good things! I would love to have some books, thank you."

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"I'll bring some next time I visit."

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"Awesome! I hope you have fun wherever you go next."

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She laughs. "Yeah, I hope so too. Enjoy your apple pies!"

And she waves and climbs back into her ship and closes it up and zooms away.

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Bruce waves goodbye until the ship is out of sight, them takes a look at his house. What sort of things is it made of? If he might want to make another one, probably the first step is finding out what things he would need.

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His house is mostly made of rectangular objects, pale brown with a darker brown wavy pattern running through them. There are also some little shiny round things embedded in the rectangles. If he goes over the whole thing very carefully, it looks like there are more or less three materials involved in the bulk of the construction:

- Shiny hard stuff that functions as fasteners and door hinges. It's similar to some of the parts of Apra's spaceship, but it's not clear what exactly it is or where it comes from or how to get more.
- Brown patterned stuff, usually but not always found in rectangular planks, that makes up most of the structure of the house. It doesn't look quite like any other object he's encountered, but the sound when he taps on it is a little reminiscent of what it sounds like to tap on the side of a tree.
- Different brown rectangles, which cover the roof in a pattern a little like the scales on a fish, and sound more like rocks than trees when tapped on but not really very much like rocks either.

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The stuff that sounds like a tree when tapped on kind of smells a bit like a tree too. Are there any trees on this planet big enough that more of the brown pieces could feasibly grow on them like fruit?

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There are not! That would have to be such a big tree. Some of those brown pieces are bigger than some entire trees.

...but, out of the range of available tree sizes, the biggest ones are big enough that those mysterious rectangles could fit inside of them.

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Maybe someone broke up a tree into rectangles, then? That sounds like a lot of work, and getting it to break in such nice straight lines sounds even harder. 

After enough days of swimming in the pond every day, Bruce notices a patch of bare dirt where he usually gets in and out. When he's just been splashing and dripping on it, it turns into mud, and squashes under his feet, but when he comes back the next day, it's dry again and stays in one shape--and that shape includes a dent shaped like his foot! That's cool.

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It is!

Other things that are cool: a new and totally different spaceship landing on his lawn. This one is flatter and more disklike, and when the panel in the side opens, it unfolds in a more complicated way and creates a little awning just about big enough to comfortably shelter the approximately Apra-sized person who emerges from the spaceship a moment later.

"Hello!" she calls, leaning out of her awning. "I hear someone wants to learn how to make apple pie!"

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Bruce is already running toward the spaceship as it lands. "Me, I do! Hello! I'm Bruce!"

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"Hello Bruce! I'm Brrante. Can I look at your berry bushes?"

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"Sure! They're over here." He leads her to the nearest patch that has a bunch of berries on them right now.

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"Oh, pretty!" she says. "Want to learn how to make a pie out of them?"

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"Definitely! How many do we need per pie? There are more patches than just this one."

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"I'll go get a bowl and we can fill the bowl and start there. We might need another bush or two after this patch but I think we'll be all right."

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"Okay!" He holds out the hem of his shirt to make a sling and has a bunch of berries already collected by the time she gets back with the bowl.

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Berry time! They pile up in the bowl until no more berries can be piled without rolling off onto the ground, and then Brrante takes the bowl back to her ship and demonstrates to Bruce how one rolls out pie dough into a round shape that will fit in a pie plate and hold lots of berries. "I can teach you how to make the dough, too, but it needs things I don't think you have growing here."

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