Aspera/Poolside Philosophy

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Gathered near the timepool in the Ouroboros enclave, two heroes; Aspera and Incredibubble. A conversation.

Aspera: << All this seriousness makes me feel as old as the galaxy... >>

Incredibubble: << I fear, though. For them, for me, for all of you. Truth is my refuge. >>

Incredibubble: << Perhaps some levity would be in order. ... What would you recommend? >>

Aspera: << I don't know. Normally I am too busy to have time for such things but here I have a lot of spare time. >>

Incredibubble: << "Don't I know it." >>

Aspera: << I don't know? Do you? >>

Incredibubble: << I spend a lot of time learning about the people in the ... it's a phrase of agreement. >>

Aspera: << Oh. How convoluted. >>

Incredibubble: << Yes, the language is inefficient, but... for those of us who CAN speak, sometimes it's the only way. My brethren would die of embarrassment to hear me speaking like this. >>

Aspera: << It's a shame there is such a convenient medium for transferring vibrations on this planet, or humans might have evolved telepathy too. >>

Incredibubble: << We developed it because it was the easiest thing to do. When you all think at one another constantly, speaking is not necessary... but it does take a while for the link to develop. >>

Incredibubble: << How can you... was it so long ago that your planet died, that you are able to survive in space without help? >>

Aspera: << Hm... perhaps there is a way for me to vocalize after all. I would just have to learn how to send vibrations through the air, perhaps by flapping something at the right frequencies... >>

Incredibubble: << You would probably sound like a bee. ... You could frighten them. Is there a way that Alissa may perhaps work on a thought-translator for you? >>

Aspera: << Hm? Oh, there were warnings a long time in advance. My people started to plan for the evacuation by altering their bodies genetically to allow us to live in space. >>

Incredibubble looks sick.

Aspera: << Now, many generations later, we have evolved even further. >>

Aspera: << What's the matter? You look... greener. >>

Incredibubble: << How... different. *barbarians* Would it have been painful? >>

Aspera: << I don't think it was painful. Either way, it was necessary. >>

Incredibubble: << ... Yes. Well, I suppose a species has to do something to survive. I cannot imagine... changes in genetic structure, though. >>

Incredibubble: << Such radical ones, at any rate. I had assumed that your kind evolved. >>

Aspera: << Why not? It happens naturally all the time. It was merely a matter of speeding up and guiding the process. >>

Incredibubble shudders.

Incredibubble: << The concept is difficult for many of us. >>

Aspera: << Oh the first generation in space was as different from me as the so called Neanderthals are to modern humans. There were many changes coming. >>

Aspera: << We weren't telepathic to begin with. We had to rely on radio or light pulses to communicate, but they are far too slow over great distance. >>

Incredibubble: << Of course. If one of you were in danger, you could have been harmed by the time your communication reached the others. >>

Aspera: << Exactly. Telepathy on the sub-ether band seems to be nearly instant, at least within the galaxy. >>

Incredibubble: << Hm! I wonder how many of you we may have passed unknowingly while we traveled from place to place. >>

Aspera: << It depends. Most onycterans prefer the darkness of space far from the galactic core. >>

Incredibubble: << That must be lonely. My kind are quite social... we are hidden now because our ... well, our officials felt that most races weren't ready for us. >>

Aspera: << Were there any altercations to indicate such? >>

Incredibubble: << How would you feel if you were constantly being prodded for information and cultural concepts? >>

Incredibubble: << Present conversation notwithstanding. Altercations, no... we are not warriors. >>

Aspera: << Hm... desired, proud... idolized perhaps. But I suppose the attention can be overwhelming. >>

Incredibubble: << There have been a few ... interesting occurrences. Some of ours were chased by Terran fighter jets once. >>

Aspera: << Why? >>

Incredibubble: << The fear of the unknown. We were "bogies". ... Some of us even discorporated in one of these instances, and we believe the American Terrans may still have the bodies. >>

Aspera: << Are the bodies important to you? >>

Incredibubble: << No. But it's an interesting thought. >>

Aspera: << One might wonder why they are important to them, though. >>

Incredibubble: << Probably for much the same reasons we use for much of what we do! They want to know what they're looking at. >>

Aspera: << That conjures up troubling images of biological examinations. >>

Incredibubble: << They're not so different than we are, which is why it surprises me that... *urk* ... yes. >>

Incredibubble: << We haven't done any of those, ourselves, but we have often been accused of rectal probes. How bothersome. >>

Aspera raises a mental eyebrow " << Rectal? Why would...No, never mind. >> "

Incredibubble: << I don't know, I really don't. It sounds almost like a punch-line. >>

Aspera: << Perhaps if you probed them mentally, and some of them think with that part of their anatomy, it felt like a rectal probe to them... >>

Incredibubble: << We're not THAT harsh. >>

Aspera laughs without sound

Incredibubble: << It must be nice to be able to laugh. >>

Aspera: << You can't laugh? >>

Incredibubble: << Anyway, that's one of the reasons I enjoy these people so much. It's nearly like home, sometimes, only much more hostile... laughing? No, not physically. We understand humour though. >>

Aspera: << Not that I can either, physically, but I can express the same thing as a telepathic broadcast... >>

Incredibubble: << It has something to do with lacking certain nerve endings in the diaphragm. >>

Aspera: << I read somewhere that it evolved from a primate warning signal. >>

Incredibubble: << Yes, I've heard that too. Or as a release of tension from the adrenal response. >>

Incredibubble: << Seems that they laugh in the oddest situations, though. Nervousness, fear, sometimes even when they're irritated. >>

Aspera: << It's good that they can find humour in such situations. It means there's some hope for us all. >>

Incredibubble: << There's always hope. That's one of the reasons I like their humour so much, although it takes a little practise to get right. My speaking classes are helping, but some of these sounds are really hard to articulate. >>

Aspera: << Who is teaching you to speak? Lenny? >>

Incredibubble: << Yes, and no. I'm fond of Lenny because he was one of the first people I helped here. He has a good command of idiom. But I'm actually taking university classes. >>

Aspera: << Oh good. All is not lost then. >>

Incredibubble shakes his shoulders, quietly.

Aspera: << I wouldn't trust Lenny with a dictionary. >>

Incredibubble: << He has taught me a number of interesting phrases that don't seem to be made for polite company. They work well with enemies, though. And progress IS being made. >>

Aspera: << Why do you want to talk anyway? >>

Incredibubble: << Well, we don't, after a certain age, you're right. >>

Incredibubble: << Think back, though. When the Knights were formed, Thaxa hadn't been known for very long as a citizen world, and they chose ME... hah! ME to be their representative to us. >>

Aspera: << It seems to me like you're like a tourist trying to pick up the local tongue, possibly in order to attract members of the opposite sex at a beach. >>

Incredibubble: << Maybe not as wise as... >>

Incredibubble trails off.

Incredibubble: << Maybe that's so, I'd never considered it! Is that how I sound? >>

Aspera shrugs " << I watched a movie where something similar happened. Supposed to be humorous. The details escape me, it involved a spring breaking and lots of undressed female primates. One of the persons in the movie was a tourist and spoke bad english to humorous effect. >>

Incredibubble: << It's actually more of a diplomatic function. If these people were all telepaths, I would not need to speak. But cultures are much more comfortable when they're approached in their own vernacular. Let us say you were from... France. >>

Aspera: << Ah yes, I believe he was from France. >>

Incredibubble: << You may speak wonderful English, but it would make you more comfortable if the tourist spoke to you in the language your mother taught you. >>

Incredibubble: << Because he is taking the extra step. This is what I want, for them to have less fear of something they would fear by their nature. >>

Aspera: << Then I shall change my opinion. You are merely being a good diplomat. >>

Incredibubble: << I am not a good diplomat. >>

Aspera: << Trying to be. >>

Incredibubble: << This is probably why you and I have our moments of misunderstanding... a diplomat does well to fit in with his posting. Also... >>

Incredibubble: << ... my people may be too proud of what we feel we've achieved amongst ourselves. >>

Incredibubble: << This is the first time in my life that I have actually questioned our ways. >>

Aspera: << What is it you are questioning? >>

Incredibubble: << In 2875, we made ourselves known, and we approached many worlds with the IDEA that banding together against common threats would be a wise choice. We weren't the driving political force, but we came up with the idea, and stood back to watch. >>

Incredibubble: << We always stand back and watch. We study, we observe, we speak of wisdom. But we have never found ourselves in a situation that required us to fight. >>

Incredibubble: << I think a fight may be coming. >>

Aspera: << One you can't avoid? >>

Incredibubble: << If my love of truth and wisdom weakens us, we risk losing such a fight. Then, Thaxa that bound the worlds together will be Thaxa that ripped time apart. >>

Incredibubble: << Yes, an unavoidable fight, as you say. My instinct says to stand back and defend. But I may be required to step up and battle, instead. Moonling's kind have that wisdom, and I do not. >>

Aspera: << Then you must figure out for yourself where your loyalty lies. To the traditions and ideals of your people, or to the lives of billions and the fate of the galaxy. >>

Incredibubble: << It is difficult, because I want both. My friend, we're still young. I think this is idealism. >>

Incredibubble: << I have become frightened, because I am alone here. There's no Wisdom because we are hidden, even from me! >>

Aspera: << However, you are not alone. And I don't know what you mean that we are hidden from you. >>

Incredibubble: << The adjustment is strange, at any rate. If I could speak with the brethren, I'd know the right way to act, because there are many older, wiser ones among them. I've gained, and so I'm supposed to be part of the entire community. >>

Aspera: << Didn't you talk to them when you went back recently? >>

Incredibubble: << Strangely enough, I don't feel any wiser. >>

Incredibubble: << Oh, no, you misunderstand. You are not hidden from me. The group-mind is. >>

Incredibubble: << I did. But ... that was last week, I think. Things have happened since then. >>

Incredibubble: << I really don't know when it was, all this time-hopping. >>

Aspera: << Perhaps then you need to embrace your people's traditional wisdom when facing the unknown. >>

Incredibubble waves his hand in the air in a sort of confused gesture.

Aspera: << Waiting and watching. >>

Incredibubble: << Hm. Then what to do when the time for waiting is over? >>

Aspera: << That is what the watching is for. To figure it out on your own. >>

Incredibubble: << I've never had to do such a thing in my life, my friend. >>

Incredibubble: << I'm a cripple. >>

Aspera: << About time then. Here, you are the group-mind. >>

Aspera: << Hm... >>

Incredibubble imagines a track-racer, with no legs.

Aspera: << Perhaps it would be possible to create mental crutches. >>

Incredibubble: << We speak of self-determination, and free will, and yet as a group, we NEVER think for ourselves. You see? That's why I begin to question. >>

Aspera: << Yes. No crutches then. They would just hold you back. You need to learn how to run on your hands. >>

Incredibubble frowns, considering.

Incredibubble: << Trial and error. >>

Aspera: << Horrible, isn't it? Especially the error part. >>

Incredibubble: << You are much wiser than I originally thought you were. >>

Aspera: << I have had a good teacher. >>

Incredibubble: << Yesterday evening, for example... you know how important it can be for us to operate as a group. >>

Incredibubble: << We visited Croatoa, and were attempting to gain wis... erm, to make Baro and Alissa stronger. Moonling was with us, and suddenly developed difficulty remaining in the timestream. >>

Incredibubble: << You were not here, which is why I tell you this. They became injured and only I was there to guide them. I failed them, and this made me upset. >>

Incredibubble: << I am not... accustomed to error, and feel very much responsible when it happens. >>

Aspera: << This is a joint effort, you can't take responsibility for everything that goes wrong. >>

Incredibubble: << ... That may be true. >>

Incredibubble: << I showed weakness. There were stone men with no minds. >>

Incredibubble: << Although we do not initiate hostility... to do so is as near to "sin" as Thaxites come... we also do not ... how do the humans say? "tuck tail and run" when things become difficult. >>

Incredibubble: << I would die a hundred times for every one of you. >>

Aspera: << Admirable, but unfortunately even dying once makes you less useful for us. Perhaps you should try to adopt more of the local customs. A popular expression goes "He who runs lives to fight another day". >>

Incredibubble: << They also say "pride is a bitch". Again you are wise. >>

Incredibubble: << It's rare for us to come upon a situation that does not end in victory for us, though. >>

Aspera: << A female dog name Pride? I really should look up more of these sayings... >>

Incredibubble: << Oh. ... The term is also used for difficult situations and people. They enjoy using it to refer to life, too, which I fail to understand. >>

Aspera: << And yes, our combined forces seems to be sufficient for most of the threats we face here. >>

Incredibubble nods.

Incredibubble: << I may have allowed myself to become complacent. >>

Aspera: << Life is a female dog. That sounds almost transcendent. >>

Incredibubble: << There was once that we DID fight. Perhaps remembering it would help. >>

Aspera: << When was that? >>

Incredibubble: << If you have more to investigate, I don't wish to keep you. >>

Incredibubble: << The story is not long. You know of the Rikti. They endangered us... not long from now, in fact... and then we chose to fight. But this was only so that we could keep our home. >>

Aspera: << I will let you contemplate your history of fighting then. I hope you find something that will help you. >>

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