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In the middle of everything and far from anything, Arcta Hydraia still enjoyed pursuing research in her field, now embodied in her world by her sole person – that is, she was the only one who named massive sphere dynamics as a discrete body of knowledge in the human fashion, while the Vedani wave of interest in her results treated it like any other flexibly applicable information. She was just pencil pushing, though unsupervised and alternatively inspired in a setting only she among her colleagues had accessed.

The Mothership Jottings, as she termed them, were casually released into aetherscape discussion, to go whichever way they would. They did make ripples there, which Arcta could sense, as someone who had already made quite a few. She wasn’t really held answerable as in the way she’d be in the human academic professions; Vedani held the information itself to task, and worked it collectively as they pleased till it yielded or rang true.

She had the feeling this work was being seized as something with immediate relevance, but she herself was under no direct pressure, and it was the unfettered playtime of a skilled mind in semi-retirement. She trusted learners to quickly outstrip originators, especially when the body of learners was unrestricted. The jottings may already be applied and in effect, but she was unconcerned. Arcta had stopped feeling conflict over whether she was abetting enemies of her kind, because the personhood of Vedani was so evident around her.

By now, she’d read every last poem given to her that Raev had written about his time in stillfreeze. She could access this mysterious experience, feel the extent of it beyond what words could touch. It was familiar, haunting, a world apart tangential to her own – as it seemed to him. There was a timeless sense of what he might be thinking from some other where. Arcta wondered if she should burn them.

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