(2017-02-08) Stars In His Eyes
Stars in his Eyes
Summary: Research proves fruitful for Taká
Date: 2017-02-08
Related: None
Scene Runner: NA

     One hopes that either the librarians are tolerant, or well-paid… or that Taká will eventually clear away his mess.  He has completely commandeered one of the long reading tables, and has several large books opened thereon.  And even if they're not pretty birds, he circles the table slowly, like a vulture, intently looking for something upon which to prey.
     Once in a while, he stops, makes a few notes in his ever-present notebook, then turns pages in several of the books, lining them all up with each other.
     And starts the whole process over again.

     Of late, Ryuunosuke has been spending a lot of time in the library too.  Mainly because most of the people he's looking to avoid don't generally frequent the library.  Though he's not quite sure how he feels about Taká.  Taká seems to be able to find out things he himself doesn't know.  But he better figure it out quick, because he finds he's walking right past said birdman!  And Ryuunosuke is curious what all this is.  So… he pauses, tilting his head and looking at some of the books there.  He hasn't spoken yet, but he's pretty much right there, so it won't be too difficult for Taká to see him.

     Well, it wouldn't be difficult to see Ryuu if Taká's brain were in the here and now, so he quite nearly walks right into Ryuu before actually noticing him.  "Kya!  Ai, c'Rhys'yw, h'lok… nnh.  Apology.  When I am startled, I do revert to my own language.  And apology for nearly walking into you.  I was… thinking."
     The books are all astronomical atlases, which accounts for their size.  As best as possible, Taká seems to have them lined up with each other so that he can study larger areas of the sky than just one page at a time.  He doesn't explain, though; what he says instead is, "Are you well?"

     Ryuunosuke smiles at the apology.  "Don't worry about it.  Gomen… I startled you, I'm sorry."  Taká had reverted to his language, and while it had been accidental, it does give him some insight into the language itself.  He nods to the question.  "I am.  It gets easier."  A look at the books.  "Why so many books?" he inquires.

     "I am trying to do the impossible," Taká says, a little tiredly.  "There are something like thirty five tril— no.  Let me calculate."  Which he does, rapidly doing some sort of math in his own native notation.  "Two trillion galaxies — by your counting — in the universe.  And I am trying to tell if I am still in my home galaxy or not."  He waves vaguely at the books.  "The only way to tell is by nearby other galaxies.  Stars are no good.  Even if this is my home galaxy, there are two tril—nnh."  More rapid scribbling.  "Two hundred billion stars to choose from, and you do not have to go far for them to all look different.  I have been to the homeworld, before my powers developed.  The night sky there is definitely different from the night sky on my world.  And cosmically speaking, that is not far."
     He turns his attention to the nearest book.  "So I am looking for something familiar.  An adjacent galaxy, or an even nearer dwarf galaxy.  However, there is a lot of sky to study."

     Ryuunosuke tilts his head as Taká explains.  He understands it, yes; most of his understanding comes from the mind of the human boy whose body the combined soul now occupies.  But he also knows there's not a lot he can do to help.  Which he notes, "I'm afraid astronomy isn't my strong suit," he replies.  "I'm sorry I can't help."  And it's not like Taká could just write to NASA.  "I do hope you can figure it out, though.  I can't imagine…"  Pause.  "Actually… maybe I can, a little.  Though more a 'when' rather than a 'where'.  Orochi's time was centuries ago.  He was awakened a few years ago.  It was… confusing."

     "Well," Taká begins, growing contemplative, "in many ways being lost in time is the same as being lost in space, so long as the speed of light is finite and…."  He trails off, and looks up sheepishly.  "Apology.  Like many birds, I am attracted by shiny things, and stars are very shiny."
     "In any case," he continues, toying absently with a page, "Whichever galaxy this is conforms broadly to my home galaxy.  But so do billions of others.  So I'm nowhere yet."

     Ryuunosuke smirks.  "'Shiny balls of mostly gas'?"  Veeeeery vague quip, drawn from his human side.  And one he's not intent on explaining, since… well, it stands on its own.  Besides, it's only a very slight resemblance to what it was referencing.  Anyway.
     More importantly!  "Are there that many habitable planets in the universe?" he asks.  "If so, wouldn't it be better to try to move some of the population onto one?  Though… I suppose getting there would be the difficult part of that…"

     "I do not know.  There are only four inhabited worlds that I know of: the three Akiar worlds, plus this one."  Taká considers for a moment.  "Of course, planets seem to be the rule rather than the exception.  So there are billions in any typical galaxy.  How many of those are habitable, no one knows."
     He turns the pages in the atlases, revealing an adjacent chunk of sky, but he doesn't give it a look yet.  "Interplanetary travel is easy, actually.  At least once you figure out how to do it.  We have had it for, oh, two or three centuries.  But space is big.  Exploring the nearest several light years is a huge project even with faster-than-light travel."

     Ryuunosuke nods.  "But there's probably a lot of distance between here and Akiar's planets," he notes.  "So there could be lots in the space between."  He tilts his head a little bit at the mention of FLT being 'easy'.  "I'm trying to figure out which rules of physics they're going to have to stop believing in to make it possible."  He's kidding, yes, if the smirk is any indication.  "But then, flying is easy if you know how, too, I'll wager.  Though…"  He pauses, teasingly flaps his hands a bit.  "I fear a snake lacks the proper parts for flight."  A pause.  "Actually no, there are gliding serpents in some jungles, so…"

     Taká laughs.  "I have looked into the physics texts here.  Your world has a lot more physics to learn.  There is nothing to disbelieve.  You do have to not mind dividing space by the square root of negative one, of course."
     He contemplates a moment.  "A gliding snake.  Is it flat?  Or flattish, at least?"

     Ryuunosuke blinks.  "Dividing by negative numbers… is that even possible?" he asks.  His strengths were not in math, so he isn't really sure about that.  "I mean… theoretically it ought to be possible, because negative numbers ARE numbers, yes?"  The mention of the gliding snakes gets a nod.  "They can be.  When they jump from the branches, they flatten part of their body out.  Much like a cobra spreading its hood, but a bit lower down their ribcage."

     Taká can't help but chuckle good-naturedly.  "Negative numbers are easy.  It is the roots of negative numbers where things get strange."  He bends over the book, spreading and folding his wings reflexively.  "What do you know about your galaxy?" he asks suddenly.  "The big things, huge structures that can not be missed — spiral arms, nearby companions, anything?"

     "Not much, I'm afraid," Ryuunosuke replies ruefully.  "Likely very little that's helpful.  Earth is, as far as we know, the third planet from Sol, with Venus and Mars being our closest planetary neighbors.  A subset of people can't decide whether Pluto is or is not a planet.  I do know enough to know the Sol system isn't the entire galaxy — I watched enough science fiction to know that much.  But there isn't much that I know about anything outside the Sol system.  I remember being told about the Horsehead Nebula, the Andromeda Nebula, and I think — though please don't quote me — our nearest galactic neighbor is… Alpha Centauri?  Something like?"

     "Nnh."  Taká closes his eyes, thinking.  "I would not know them by your local names, of course.  Do you know of any nearby galaxies?  From my skies, there were three.  One large spiral, and two small dwarf irregulars."  He adds, after a moment's reflection, "There were more of course, but those were the only ones visible unaided."

     "Well… the Horsehead Nebula was called that because it looks like… well, a horse's head," Ryuunosuke points out.  "The silhouette of a the Knight piece in chess, since most of those that I've seen are made in the shape of a horse's head."  As for nearby galaxies?  Ryuunosuke shakes his head.  "It's hard to see them from a planet, particularly in a big city where I grew up.  Light pollution, I think they call it?"

     "Yes, I had noticed that," Taká says sourly.  "Even this far off shore, I have noticed the intrusion of artificial light.  Beyond the safety lights here.  I can see the shore lights, and looking towards a city ruins the view of anything near the horizon."
     He folds his arms and leans on the back of a chair.  "I am not even certain I want to be in the same galaxy, you know.  If I were, that would mean I would be within reach of my people… and they would still have no idea where to look for me."

     Ryuunosuke nods.  "It's worse in Japan.  Space is such a premium that people are being buried on the tops of buildings when they die.  Though sometimes they make these sort of… 'rooftop gardens' where people can sit with their ancestors, in spirit."  He chuckles at the mention of being in the same galaxy.  "Something like looking everywhere for your glasses when they've been on your head the whole time?"

     "More like looking for your glasses and having them be on someone else's head the whole time, while they are on another planet entirely."  Taká spins the chair around backwards and slumps into it, gazing at the page in front of him.  "An-dro-me-da."  He sounds out the label on a smear of starlight on the page.  "I think that is what you said, yes?  But that is not a nebula, that is a galaxy."  He circles the image with a finger.
     And then he stops. 
     And stares.  "That is odd…"

     Ryuunosuke chuckles at the corrected analogy.  "So they still wouldn't know where to find you?" he asks.  "Even if you were just 'next door', so to speak, in planetary terms?"  And then the note of the proper term of address for the Andromeda galaxy.  "Oh.  Gomen.  Astrology isn't my strong suit."  And then he pauses too, when Taká notes something confusing.  "What is?" Ryuunosuke inquires, taking a step closer to the table.

     "An-dro-me-da," Taká says slowly, still working on the unfamiliar pronunciation.  "It has a small companion, just like… c'Rhys'yw."  He drags over a sheet of paper and starts rapidly making notes in his own language.  "I'Myséth has a similar companion… if the Big Sister and Little Brother… nnh!  I hate this planet's math!  How am I supposed to convert this mess into something sensible?  I have to think…!  Quickly, what is half of three hundred and sixty in your counting?  I can not concentrate!"  He hastily scribbles another calculation.  "Never mind.  I just need a full sky map."  He looks around the library, and doesn't see one immediately, and something like a thin whimper escapes him.

     As Taká seems to have a bit of a mini-meltdown, Ryuunosuke sits in one of the nearby chairs.  The question gets a blink, and he thinks a minute.  "One hundred and… something?  I'm sorry, that would take me a few moments."  He tilts his head at the qrequest for a full sky map.  "I'm not sure where you'd find one of those.  And you'd need to know where on the planet the sky was being viewed from, wouldn't you?"

     "No!" Taká exclaims excitedly.  "Not for extragalactic objects!  They're dependent only where one is within the galaxy, and barring having the view blocked by the galactic core, they should be visible from everywhere… kya!"
     He flattens out one of the star atlases; it has a fold-out sky map inside the back cover, and Taká looks back and forth several times between the book where he found Andromeda, and the map, eventually finding the galaxy on the map.
     "Now.  If Big Sister and Little Brother are on here, they are on a circle with a radius half the diameter of the map centered on I'Myséth."  He taps Andromeda.  "Which roughly goes like… c'Rhys'yw."  It didn't take him long to find the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds.  "Big Sister and Little Brother."  He looks up, eyes wide, unable to get another sound out.

     "So being on the opposite side of the planet as an extragalactic object… the planet itself wouldn't block the view?" Ryuunosuke asks.  This is all new to him.  Ask him about Japanese deities and spirits, about what the past was like, he can answer.  This?  Not so much.  "What's the matter?" he asks, when Taká seems to freeze.  "Have you figured something out?"

     "There is no mistaking Big Sister and Little Brother," Taká breathes.  "They are high in the sky in the spring.  And I'Myséth is half a year later."  He traces a line diagonally across the map with a finger.  "That is the celestial equator.  Roughly.  From my home.  It is not enough to tell me where my world is, but it tells me that I am in the same galaxy.  And probably roughly the same distance from the galactic core."  There's a certain growing excitement in his voice.  "Of course, they are all too far away to be able to determine where I am relative to home, but now I know it is not a waste of time to look for major stellar objects and nebulae."

     Ryuunosuke smiles.  "It narrows down the search area, at least," he points out.  "On a galactic scale, 'in the same galaxy' is a pretty small distance, right?  I know it's still a lot on a personal scale, but…"  He's trying to find a bright side of it all while Taká's still seemingly in shock.

     "It is a very small distance!"  If Taká's in shock, it's a good kind of shock.  "All I need to find are three things I recognize!  That I know their distances from my world, because if I can do that, I can figure out where I am!"  He leans back a little.  "Of course," he says, growing a little more subdued, "that does not get me on a transport back home.  But it would be good to know where home is."

     "As far as I know, we don't exactly have faster-than-light technology here," Ryuunosuke replies.  "And I'm not sure a message would get there in time.  Even lasers wouldn't get there for years, would they?  And I'm not sure we'd even have the technology to send messages on lasers.  We don't exactly have… aa, what's that thing on that one show?  Sub… space… communications?"

     "Yes, it would have to be radio," Taká confirms.  "And I could also tell your radio astronomers where to look and listen.  There is a search program going on at home, but I don't know the details of it.  It wasn't my specialty."  He can't help but laugh.  "If I only knew…"

     Ryuunosuke seems to pause then.  "Well.  It's not as though you could go to the… NASA, I think.  You can't just go there and tell them to point their satellites that way.  They probably wouldn't believe you.  And if they did, it's Area 51 for you, friend.  An all-expense paid trip to, if the stories are to be believed, what's reportedly a horrifying torture hospital where they dissect aliens."

     Taká just stares.  "I am going to hope that is the old you resurfacing just long enough to tease me," he says.

     Ryuunosuke chuckles.  "Not exactly.  I'm not sure I'm kidding, though.  No one really knows what 'Area 51' is, but everyone seems to think it's got something to do with aliens.  And there's these 'leaked footage' type videos of them dissecting an alien corpse — one of those typical 'Gray' aliens, the hairless ones with the big bulbous heads like melons and the eyes like bugs."  Here he raises a hand.  "Tonikaku… Anyway, are you hungry?  I am, a little.  I can help you reshelve the books?"

     "If you would like to, yes, thank you."  Taká notes the books and pages for future reference, and starts cleaning up.  "Of course, the irony is, even if I did find where my home planet is… in many ways, I fit in here better than I did there."

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