Template:PostIn CatH Post 28 Clear and company are shopping and Clear is able to find clothing from the planet Hyass that is reminiscent of her own people's clothing. The Hian people are reclusive, much like the Muovinian people as explained by Kokoro Lymn. Kiron Nightstrider then takes Clear to buy a Dreamviewer when he offers to show her his interest in The Hopeful. While there she buys an upgrade for her Jupiterian-made PIPdevice, opting for the illicit (on Dacato) and yet more robust Imperial Operating System that gives her access to the Imperial Database. She then buys the Dreamviewer and sends it to The Hopeful for installation.
Clear looks up at the sky-scraping buildings towering over her. She cannot see the peaks of some. There appears to be a general consensus that white buildings and modern art are the ways to go. Fancy lights are everywhere, not the tacky neon stuff she saw on the human Mars station, Saffron 5, but swirling, beige, ornate or delicate lights that illuminate the district's buildings and walkways. She imagines how much more beautiful everything will appear at night. Whenever they bought something, usually clothes, they were able to have a droid ship the products to their hotel. Clear feels this just encourages more shopping by virtue of having nothing in your hands to feel the weight of your spending-spree. Clear was surprised to find a few garments that vaguely resembled the clothes of her own people. Especially the planet Hyass apparently favours Martian-like dress with lots of loose, billowy outfits to put on. She learnt from Kiron that the native species to Hyass were also non-humans, a blue-skinned species that were generally reclusive. In one superstore Kokoro happened upon another of her own species, a muovinian. They spent a good while in questions while the rest of the group got bored as they waited and waited and waited. Eventually Ffion had to drag Kokoro from her new-found friend. The muovinian explained that her people, like those from Hyass, were more reclusive than most and seeing one out here was a curiosity that had to be explored.
There were even shops dedicated to selling Earth products, where Green bought herself some new clothes and hats. Clear, however, refused to set foot inside and waited on a bench outside. She now stares up at the blue sky. She's surprised the planet doesn't exhibit more pollution. She guesses some technology must keep the air clean and pumped with oxygen. Her own people were using coal and oil to poison their atmosphere before the humans arrived. Then the humans poisoned it instead.
Lander: "Hullo Captain. I hope you're enjoying the sights of Dacato?"
Clear: "I'm enjoying the shops right now."
Lander: "Some people travel all the way across the galaxy just for Dacato's shopping malls, so I'm unsurprised. But anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I'll be unavailable for a while after all. The Alliance fleet is moving out."
Clear: "Going for Strang's territory?"
Lander: "That's right. Move in while they're in disarray. Princess Aurora will appoint you another contact in the meanwhile."
Clear: "Good luck, Gyltch Leader."
Lander: "Thanks. I hope I get to see you again when it's all over."
Clear, completely oblivious to any connotations, nods.
Clear: "That'd be great. Just be careful."
Lander: "Being careful isn't really in my nature. But I will try to make it back alive at least. Goodbye, Clear."
The communication closes down and Clear is once again back in the real world. When she had lived her life orbiting Mars, she had always imagined planetlife would be filled with the sounds of tweeting birds, meandering mammals and fish in the lakes. The only animals she finds on Dacato were the fish, but they are in man-made ponds and streams meant to decorate the area. There are large tubes filled with water and fish that are suspended in the air. From within she can see strange amoebae glowing faintly within and, again, Clear thinks how pretty the place might be at night. She turns from the tubes to the man approaching her.
Nightstrider: "Watching Green trying on dresses gets dull after two minutes..."
Clear moves over for Kiron to sit beside her.
Clear: "I suspect she's never had much opportunity to shop for herself before."
Nightstrider: "She's from Earth, isn't she?"
Clear: "That's right. She said she was from somewhere called China. I don't really know much about Earth though. Nothing beyond... well, what they did."
Nightstrider: "Well, we have something in common. Terrible tragedy has befallen our people."
Clear: "That. And we're both familiar with The Hopeless."
Nightstrider: "What do you mean?"
Clear: "Your reaction when you saw it for the first time. Seemed like you'd seen it somewhere before. I'd really like to know where."
Nightstrider is quiet for a moment as he bows his head in contemplation. Then he rises it again.
Nightstrider: "The best thing to do would be to show you. We'd need to install a dreamviewer on The Hopeful."
Clear: "A dream viewer? Are you being serious?"
Nightstrider: "They're fairly common in this part of the galaxy. Any planets near to Terra Flux. Many people get weird dreams and visions in their sleep, sometimes influenced by the flux. Machines were invented, here on Dacato actually, to view these dreams after sleep so you can better try to understand them. Some people claim they predict the future, or show true events that the person had never witnessed."
Clear: "You believe that?"
Nightstrider: "I don't know. I think maybe dreams are just ways for your brain to store its data. But maybe, because of the flux, we really do have dreams of the future or past events. Or perhaps metaphorical dreams that tell us something about our lives. I once dreamt of headbutting a yucta fruit to death."
Clear: "And did you do it when you woke up?"
Nightstrider: "No. I worked and studied hard to pass an exam. Metaphor."
Clear rolls her eyes.
Clear: "That is just dumb, Kiron."
Nightstrider: "But I think you'd like to see this dream. I have it stored in my datacloud. All we need is the machine installed and I'll show it to you."
Clear: "So where can we get one?"
Kiron points to a shop straight in front of them. The sign reads 'Electronics'. Clear gets to her feet and allows Kiron to lead the way into the shop. He walks straight through the place without hesitating, while Clear lags behind and gawks at all the weird devices she sees. Some she can understand, some she thinks she can understand and others she hasn't a clue.
Clerk: "Hey, I see you have a PIPdevice. I can upgrade that for you!"
Clear is stopped by the clerk and he realises he is talking about the wrist device she has. She looks down at it and then up at the clerk. She's surprised to find someone recognise the device here.
Clear: "You know what this is?"
He flashes her his own. It looks quite different than Clear's and she realises that it's the same principal machine but an entirely different design. Likely the concept of wrist-mounted devices is a common concept throughout the galaxy and was thought-up by various companies and individuals at different points. She doubts the guy would know what to do with her own Jupiterian designed wrist device. She had salvaged the wrist device when she was a child. It had been stored in someone's bedroom still in its box. The box confirmed that it was an imported device from Jupiter. Jupiter hadn't traded much, but they did have some open channels. They mostly traded food, especially cinnamon buns, but they also sold certain technological goods like the wrist device. She hadn't found many, and those she did find were normally broken. Yet this one was special and unopened. It's mostly a series of thin strips that are wrapped around the wrist with a few buttons mounted to those metallic bands. All of the important features appeared through a holographic projection, which interacted with her finger movements. She holds out her wrist to the man.
Clerk: "A very nice design. Very delicate."
He activates it and sweeps through some of the pages and features installed.
Clerk: "Well, your biggest problem is that your manufacturer has gone out of business."
Clear: "They're dead."
Clerk: "It happens. Bankruptcy and all that. It's a harsh galaxy these days. But anyway, it basically means your PIPdevice hasn't had an update in... a long time. Looks like there's no cloud feature on here either. I assume you want to keep the device as it is?"
Clerk: "Then the best thing for you to do is switch service providers. Maybe we can change your OS too."
Clerk: "The operating system. Get a fancy new one. It'll give you all the latest features and your new service provider can help keep you updated with all the latest more easily."
Clear: "Oh right. I suppose that sounds good. What OS do I need?"
Clerk: "Well I have a selection here..."
He switches on a large holoprojector that features several different systems she can choose from.
Clerk: "They're all Alliance approved, of course."
Clear: "There are non-approved ones?"
Clear: "That is a shame."
The clerk's eyes flash and he leans on his counter.
Clerk: "Well, if you're really so inclined, I might be able to get you the Wayforth OS. It's an older copy, but if you select them as your service provider they'll actually upgrade your OS to the latest version for free. Because they're Imperial sourced, you'll have coverage in ninty percent of the galaxy and access to their databases, which, I have to admit, are much more complete than those of the Alliance."
Clear: "Sounds good to me. How do we do this?"
Clerk: "Slip your PIP off and I'll plonk it into my scanner."
She hands it to him. She rubs her skin where the device was. She hasn't taken it off in a long time.
Clerk: "We pop it in. And the computer will alter the harddrive memory. It'll take just a few minutes."
Clear: "What does PIP mean? It's a weird name."
Clerk: "Means Personal Information Processor. But that's way too long. Some people call 'em PIP-boys, like they're some kids' toys. Man, if I could afford to give my kids stuff like this, I wouldn't be working here!"
Clear had no idea it was a valuable object and grows excited at the prospect of her device getting a shiny new update.
Clear: "Huh? Oh hey. I'm getting my PIP-device upgraded."
Nightstrider: "Nice of you to let me know. I was talking to thin air a moment ago. Almost got myself arrested as a nutter."
Clear: "Sorry. I got distracted."
Clear pays for the upgrade with her card. She doesn't understand the money but she's sure it cost her a lot more than any of the clothes she had bought that day. When the upgrade is done the clerk tests it before then putting it back on her wrist. She admires the new interface. It seems much more sleek and simplistic than the previous Jupiterian OS. She finds she now has access to cloud services, the Imperial database and live streaming of information or programmes from the holonet. She grins to herself as she follows Kiron to his Dreamviewer. The bulk of the machine is a chair. This clerk, an alien girl with pitch black skin and red eyes, demonstrates by sitting herself down. She adjusts the seat so that it slides back and her mind is scanned. Her last dream appears on the screen above her. Clear has no idea what is going on in the dream but she sees a lot of pink flowers. The screen is suspended above the seat by a tall metallic arm that Clear discovers is adjustable. She tells them that screens could also be set up in the room to also show the dream. The device included a free harddrive storage option to keep dreams stored for later viewing. Clear shrugs. She doesn't buy into the usefulness of the machine but she's happy to indulge Kiron. Besides, it couldn't hurt to have an extra device aboard The Hopeless. She agrees and Kiron told her he had already paid for it. The clerk orders a droid to deliver the machine to the spaceport where it would then be sent to their ship. Clear has to sign several extra forms because her ship is under military jurisdiction but after that is complete, she and Kiron make their way back out of the shop together.
Nightstrider: "I hope Green has finished looking at dresses..."
Clear: "I don't really mind waiting. I kind of like it here."
Nightstrider: "This place is just a front though, remember that. Tourist spots are always the nicest bit. From what I've heard, the other districts aren't quite so pleasant."
Clear: "Can't be any worse than other places I've seen. Actually I think I'd like to see some of the other districts."
Nightstrider: "Truth is, I think I would too. I bet there's a lot of contacts to be made in the seedier parts of Dacato. Useful people that could get me out of a scrape in future if I needed..."
Clear: "That sounded ominous."
Nightstrider: "I'm a wanted man now, Captain. I've got to have contingency plans."
Clear: "I hadn't really thought about that..."
Nightstrider: "You're the captain of a starship. Usually captains live and die by their ship. So I'm not surprised you haven't thought of life beyond The Hopeful."
Clear: "I wouldn't even know where to begin with a life beyond The Hopeful. My worst nightmare was being stranded on Ledus."
Nightstrider: "That's the ice planet, right? I heard about this from gossip in the canteen of The Excellence."
Clear: "I was gossiped about?"
Nightstrider: "Mysterious alien beauty, stranded on Ledus and wants help to get her starship back. Yes. Lots of gossip."
Clear: "Alien beauty...?"
Nightstrider: "Looks like they're waiting for us already."
They see the rest of the group standing by the bench that Clear had occupied earlier and make their way over. It would be a fun day to come...