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Vanessa cleared her throat and waved to gain everyone’s attention. When she had it, she carefully raised the entreaty. “We want to show you what this does, so you can understand what we aim to do. It’s why we’re all here.” Her voice dropped to another level of seriousness. “Are you ready?”

A moment of sighing and held breath, while a ripple of consensus moved through the group. The latent interconnection they possessed since surviving the lethal Hirylien Affliction, through the grace of Vedani-embedded codes, made understanding pass more easily between them. Mental signatures of revelation alerted them to wordlessly transmitted truth of emotion. Those with the perceptual acuity could discern a difference of emotional shape between Vedani and humans, even pinpoint the feelings of a more familiar individual. Such a time as this, was when they might reach for that internal connection and find it helpful. The logic could follow to explain the details, but the first thing anyone wanted to know was if they would be alright. The naked reply was of well-founded confidence. “Sure,” said Daniel Renaud, the first to break the anticipatory silence, “Show us.”

The nearby Vedani teenagers alerted their adults, which set the entire vault in motion. A detachment of human youth went with some of their Vedani peers to a platform which floated them into the thick of operations, under the gaze of their guardians above. Yykth, ‘Kate,’ stayed with the stationary group and relayed phases of the action.

The youngest and littlest of the detached group emerged from a cabana donning a fitted bodysuit with gloves. While delicate looking, Chrysanthe was also incredibly self-assured. Her father, who’d given first assent, watched from the front at the rail, wearing the beginnings of a small smile while Yykth continued recounting developments.

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“They already had the giant body mechs. We figured out to change what went on top to make it do something different. Like when I–“

“Like when you jam your toys together,” completed Bassel’s mother. Concurrently, many other guardian-child pairs were having their own versions of this conversation, excitedly and cautiously divulging their roles.

“Did you know that they know the Princess?”

Looking at her 9-year-old son, Mirya specified, “The missing Princess of the Pan-Galactic Imperium?”

“Yes. They’ve seen her and talked to her. She figured out something that she, that humans could do with these scooter ships that look like that,” Bassel said, pointing to the clear dome at the top of the mechahumanoid. “Her ship also figured out what they learned. That machine told other machines how to do it, but they still need the right machine, and it still needs a human.”

“Not a Vedani, but a human? Okay, what does it do?” This was still strangely like a living room discussion about a toy. Tempting as the parallel was, that powerful creation was not a toy. Still, Mirya wanted to see where they were going with this.

“Well, wait. So we said, what if we put one of these machines on one of those machines!”

“At some point when you were allowed to see both of them?”

“Yeah, sort of. So, some adults decided to help us stick it together – program the connections – and we tried it, and it works now. I’ll be great. Don’t worry.”

ConZealand 2020

Here are some moments in time from the remote WorldCon, which I have the pleasure of attending.

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When exactly 888 people were watching the Hugos livestream, during the final award winner’s speech for the Astounding Award for Best New Writer.

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Upon waking from a snooze after joining the Seattle 2025 zoom room for the final hour of a party session. I wore many metallic eye-shaped tattoos by chance of having them, as I happen to have also done at WorldCon 75 in Helsinki. It’s an easy extraterrestrial look. That is a chin-eye.

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The Arianespace sattelite launch from French Guiana was scrubbed today, but we did get to hold a launch watching party. This was a point during countdown while we still thought the launch was underway, at 2:22pm PST.

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This is an url to a story you can read by Regina Kanyu Wang. I enjoy many elements of her style, and was able to attend both a Kaffeeklatsch, and a reading.

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And I’ll just leave you with this.

33.1 \ 215

“First, we want to show you this thing we worked on together. Before we talk about anything else important. Because none of it will make sense unless you see this.” Vanessa Udar had been appointed elder (teenager) spokesperson of the kids group on this walk with all guardians present. They were gathered at the mouth of a Vedani-style bent opening which obscured the chamber beyond without requiring a barrier. “We had some help, and our idea works really well now. So, here we go.” Like many of the kids, Bassel took his mother Mirya’s hand and the group went forward through the wide, right-angled curved hall to obtain a platform view of a gigantic hold.

They were received by a bunch of the familiar young Vedani at the edge of the view. A population of personnel was scattered beyond that, and around the project. Literally standing multiple stories high in the center was a mechanical humanoid form with powerful limbs, topped by an empty dome. It gleamed, and the place smelled of new manufacture. Mirya’s default-level response to one of her son’s creations tumbled out of her haltingly. “Wow, you… made this?”

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People discovered that the only way to get a treasure back was to tell its true story. The many who loitered around the mysterious towers of missing items were the ones who would listen. These were the kind of stories people didn’t tell, in fear of being disbelieved – but when told truthfully, the item would come free. It was a spun-glass structure of the lost and found, each item a treasure greatly desired back in possession. The truth would typically be stranger than any fabrication trying to pass as truth.

Anyone who earned their item back was then able to see the beings atop the towers. They could be seen changing guard, or affixing a new item to the collection. Everyone would come around to it soon enough. Though having just been rewarded for truth-telling, people at first remained quietly observant of this revelation. It was a lot to sink in.

How did this all add up? People couldn’t deny their own possessions, not such as these; not the strange phenomena they went through to get their things back, or the stories they learned from each other. There were reverberations of radical honesty that stemmed from the retrieval clause in effect. Each tower was outside security zones, so everyone had already broken a rule to find it; they could break the guidelines of acceptable assumption. It was possible for a growing many to see those beautiful, strange, ethereal, dangerous ones on planets throughout the Imperium, including Alisandre.