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First, she had to learn how to listen. Humans could do it, they insisted, and Soleil didn’t hide the fact that she found the notion daunting enough to show serious doubt. The Vedani communication networks were complex, built to be instinctual, and seemed to require long division. They brought her to a viewport, an empty frame with oddly attached peripherals. When she grasped the cords they offered, the cacophony she heard approached static saturation. The image she could now see was a terrible mess. Her first reaction was a helpless, blank look – not one she was used to wearing.

It was solid hours of listening before she learned how to color their voices, then how to judge their distance and the ring of relevance with only perhaps a symbolic coordinate. Soleil wondered how much space was really represented by this interface.

They showed her a terrain uniquely theirs. Soleil had figured after first meeting them that she must meet them fully, and now was glad she’d committed to the notion.

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