(2017-02-17) Calculations and Cogitations
Calculations and Cogitations
Summary: A little chat in the library
Date: 2017-02-17
Related: Stars in his Eyes
Scene Runner: NA

     If Taká doesn't clean up after himself, the librarian will surely pluck and roast him like a Thanksgiving turkey, and won't be gentle about the stuffing.  I mean, does he really need to take up half a table with books and paper?
     Well, yes, if you were to ask him.  Of course, he's not an unbiased commentator on the situation.  But there really is a purpose to two star atlases, three sheets covered with calculations, one ruler, several reference books… and a large and disorganized pile of wadded up discarded paper on the floor.  That's the one the librarian will really be on the warpath about, if Taká doesn't clean it up.
     Mostly, he sits and writes.  Sometimes he springs up, ruler in hand, and takes measurements from the atlases, consults one of the other texts… then returns to calculating by hand.

     Besa's been unusually quiet today.  The twins have not been seen at all.  He even made an unasked trip to the med bay to ask for pain meds for his head.  Currently he's walking towards a section of the library he's not been in in some time, Poetry.  The ancient teen looks tired, but slows as he sees the mess the winged student is making.  Dark eyes blink, trying to remember if there's an assignment due he's not remembering.  His head hurts enough it doesn't dawn on him that they're not in the same grade.  "Is… everything alright, Taká?"

     It is not so uncommon for Whitley to visit the library.  The place is usually quiet, which suits him just fine.  He enters with his leatherbound journal tucked underneath his arm and walks off to a corner table.  He pauses when he sees the mess Taká has made… and turns to head in that diraction as the Guardian comes into view.  "Hello Taká," He lifts his unoccupied hand to wave to both boys.  "Besa."  There's an obvious question to be asked here, but he figures Besa has already covered that.

     Taká looks up sharply, but not angrily.  Like he's been yanked out of sleep.  "Nnh?  Oh!  Kié, Besa, Whitley.  I… yes, everything is fine.  I am… absorbed in a project."  He glances to the side, where the crumpled papers lie.  "Which is only in principle soluble.  It may not be soluble in reality."  His expression changes slowly to one of chagrin, and he begins collecting his waste paper for proper disposal.

     Besa's mouth quirks softly, "I empathize."  Not having anything in his hands he steep over and starts helping the bird boy gather his crumpled paper.  He's moving slower than normal, Whit can probably tell he's still got the headache.  Speaking of the Ares, he looks up from his crouched position.  "And are you well, Whitley?"

     Whitley watches the two students begin to throw away junk papers littered around Taká's table.  It takes a moment, but then Whitley is aiding them as well.  "What kind of project?" he asks of the alien.  "This seems like a lot of work for something that is only soluble in principle…."  He looks to Besa and nods.  "I am fine.  And you?  Do you feel any better?"

     "Any sort of solution would be of immense importance, worth taking the chance of one in the face of long odds," Taká explains, gathering up the last of the discarded paper.  "H'rokh'pyw… nnh.  My thanks to you both.  I have discovered a possible measuring stick that might locate my homeworld.  But only might.  And a not very good might at that.  Still, even if the chance is small, I must try.  Even if I can not return, I would like to know where it is."
     He looks sidelong at Besa.  "Have you been unwell?"

     Besa focuses on gathering the papers, but answers Whitley, "My head is better than it was, thank you.  The aspirins are helping."  He glances up at Taká though to listen to his answer.  His words bring a soft, but honest smile, "That is… wonderful, Taká.  Is there anything we can do to help?"  Yes, he just volunteered Whitley along with himself.  Because Besa doesn't have enough on his plate, apparently.  "My head is just hurting, it will be well soon enough."

     Whitley sighs, "And Rain?  Is she… coping?"  Okay, it looks like Whit has decided not to tease Rain about her full name.  Not anytime soon, anyway.  "Are you sure?  Have you tried calling their mother?"  Magic-induced headaches require magical aspirins, right?  After looking over Besa once more, he looks to Taká.  "Your homeworld?"  Oh right, Taká's not from this planet.  "Oh, well, there's like a billion possibilities, right?"

     Taká nods to Besa.  "Forgive me, but I am pleased you are not another telepath, if that is the case.  There are few things so unpleasant as having someone else's headache."
     He regards his pages of calculations — in his own people's notation, so there's probably not a lot to be gleaned from them for either of the Earth boys.  "I do not think there is anything either of you could do to assist.  I am trying to compare the star atlas images from this world to…"  He trails off, frowning slightly, and after a brief silence, forces himself to finish, "…from what I remember the night sky looking like, from my home.  It is terribly unscientific, but it is all I have."
     He grins slightly at Whitley.  "Billions of possibilities is an improvement.  Before I demonstrated to my own satisfaction that I am still in my home galaxy, the possibilities numbered in the quintillions."

     Besa gives the smallest of shrugs, "I could not tell…"  If Rain is coping or not.  Which probably means no.  Confused, he glances up at the older Ares.  "How would I call her?"  He blinks dark eyes turning to Taká, "Oh… no.  I am not."  At all.  "I would not want to share this with anyone."  He offers again, "Have you spoken to the other aliens here at the school?"

     "I'm not the only one in this school with a phone," Whitley points out, to Besa.  Rain and Schuyler would help… unless they're being weird.  He tilts his head, "There are more aliens here?"  Wow.  "In that case, maybe they could help you narrow down your options."  'Cause quintillions sounds like a lot.  "I don't think I would be of much assistance."  Earth boy, here.

     "Oh, no, I have not," Taká says.  "I am not trained in first contact protocols.  Technically, I could be in a lot of trouble just for making contact with your people.  Of course, I have had no choice, and that will mitigate the damage.  I am quite sure I will not be punished, as there was no alternative.  But no, I have spoken to no fellow non-Terrans."
     Taká falls silent for a moment, then for another one.  Slowly, he eventually says, "In any case, I am not sure I should go home.  I seem to fit in better her than I do there.  I miss my friends and family terribly, but… I do not feel so out of place here as I do at home."

     Besa frowns, but doesn't comment on the phone situation.  He offers, "Yes, but… you could even just ask… I would think that you getting home would be important to your people."  He quiets, letting the bird confess.  "Oh… then… you should do what your heart tells you is right."  A glance to Whitley and his smile brightens slightly before he looks back to Taká, "Feeling connected is a powerful thing."

     Whitley follows the outline of Taká's dark wings with his grey eyes.  "Did your people not have wings?"  That is the most strikingly 'different' thing about Taká.  He offers Besa a quick smile before frowning towards Taká's books and papers.  "This school seems to be a haven for those who feel 'out of place'… the rest of the world isn't so welcoming.  Were your people so cruel to you that you are considering staying here?"

     Taká blinks several times at Whitley as in utter confusion, then breaks in to merry laughter.  "Oh, oh c'Rhys'yw no!  All my people have wings.  And telepathy.  Those are normal."  Well, for certain settings of 'normal', anyway.  "It is my rha'thar, my special gift, that sets me apart."
     He holds his hands about half a meter apart.  They glow a rich sky blue, then thick tentacles of electricity writhe between them, only briefly, before Taká stops — and it would seem, he stops with some embarrassment.  "My people cannot do that.  That is not normal.  And no, they did not treat me cruelly for it.  In fact — and it is another relief that I am here and not there — the priests were set to name me Rhyták for my powers.  And I am not an avatar of the Gods, not matter what the priests say," he says firmly.

     Besa's eyes widen and he leans backwards slightly.  Blue tentacle light can have that effect.  The mention of priests though effects him more than anything else.  Standing up, he not so subtly rubs where his heart is on his chest, "I… please excuse me… I seem to have forgotten my book."  A slightly nervous smile is offered and he motions for Whitley to stay.  "I will be back."  And then he turns and leaves the library.

     "Ah."  Whitley focuses on the light, his eyes only slightly wider than usual, but he does take a cautious step back.  Electricity is not fun.  He has learned that in his fifteen years of life.  His head turns to watch Besa leave… but once he's gone, his attention returns to the bird boy.  "So they treated you like royalty?"  Whitley is gathering that much from the hodgepodge of English and alien phrases.  "And you want to leave them for it?" Whitley finishes, slowly.  "Did they leech you or something?"  That must be it.  Besa's priests do that.

     "Worse than like royalty," Taká says with a faint scowl.  "Like divinity.  Like a precious once in a millennium gift.  Do not misunderstand me," he adds hastily.  "I am no unbeliever, I am sworn to my Lady Kiáre, since scientific pursuits are under Her wing.  But I am not myself divine, any more than any other Akiár.  But the priests would still have me be Rhyták, over my protests, only because of my rha'thar.  Special gifts like mine are rare; most who have had them have been made Rhyták.  I am willing to bet that none of them wanted the 'honor'."

     Whitley nods, but being treated as royalty, or divinity, doesn't sound all that bad to him… though he's never experienced such a thing before.  "Well…" he starts after a moment, "if they were so unbearable, then I say you drop them."  He determines with some confidence.  He has experienced family members who expected more of him than he was willing to give.  "Coral Springs is a good place to do that.  You are safe here, I believe."

     Taká smiles a little ruefully.  "I am not explaining my situation well.  I can not call my treatment unbearable, but it was uncomfortable, despite the best will of all involved.  The rha'thar'yw, the special gifts, they are much rarer among my people than they are on this world.  I think the students here are a greater concentration of special powers than my world has seen in total in millennia.  I'm the first one in two or three centuries."
     He chuckles dryly.  "And to be fair, I was willing to take advantage of some of the attention.  I was going to go to the Imperial University at no cost, as long as I let them study me."

     "Good intentions aren't enough if they lack understanding."  Sounds like a quote from something or another.  Whitley tilts his head, "Perhaps it is not too late for them to change.  If you ever see them again, that is."  He smiles lightly.  "I'm sure if you are as rare as you say, then you must have some sway over them."  He glances at the papers.  Noting the complexity of them, the smiling expression shifts into a thoughtful look.

     "I do not know."  Taká shakes his head.  "Certainly the priests and priestesses paid me no attention when I told them I was no Rhyták and pressed ahead with studying the matter anyway.  As for the rest it was… oh, what was the phrase I heard here?  It was appropriate.  Ah!  It was like being killed with kindness."

     "Hm."  Whitley considers that and scratches the back of his head.  He understands his meaning but also isn't sure of kindness' effectiveness at murdering people.  "Regardless, I imagine there is a home for you here if you unsure about returning to your home planet.  How has the school been?"  He gives a wry smile when he asks, "Making friends?"

     "Yes, I have," Taká says warmly.  "So many more than I thought, considering cultural differences.  In fact, I can not think of anyone here I dislike, or has taken a dislike to me."  He actually stops to think a moment.  "But it is difficult for me to tell, since I am accustomed to mental contact, and with that there is no doubt.  I cannot touch minds freely here.  I think no one has taken a dislike to me."

     "Everyone from your home is a telepath?"  Who needs special gifts when you can fly and peer into the minds of others.  "…Most people here would not like it, if you touched their minds 'freely'," says Whitley, a small frown on his lips.  "I don't see why anyone would take a dislike to you.  You have been kind to me so far."  He shrugs.  "I've found making friends is quite difficult."  He looks back to where Besa left a few minutes ago.  "He is easily the best one I've got."

     Taká nods once.  "Yes, all my people.  Although it appears we are freely telepathic only with other telepaths.  I would need to touch you to see inside your mind.  I would not without your consent, of course.  I have been told that Earth people are accustomed to having their minds to themselves and might resent intrusion."  He shivers, feathers bristling, then smoothing back out.  "I can not imagine why.  It is so quiet.  Up here," he comments, tapping his temple.  "I even miss the characterless touch of the house's automated system."
     He nods when Whitley glances over to where their classmate had been.  "I like Besa.  He is artistic.  Watching him work clay is most interesting."

     "Some of us like quiet.  In a high school full of hormonal teenagers?"  Whitley poses, with another grin.  "Yes, I think I would rather stick to my mind and mine alone."  He shakes his head.  "I am a telepath.  I'm just actively blocking out others."  So maybe that's why Taká doesn't pick anything up from Whitley.  On Besa, Whit offers, "He is selfless and more capable than he knows.  He, too, is plagued with annoying priests."

     Taká looks genuinely surprised.  "Your shields are amazing.  I would not have guessed.  And maybe I have gotten used to not even reaching out mentally anymore, a little."
     He can't help but chuckle, though he tries to hide it a little.  "Besa has priest trouble, I have priest trouble, Ryuu has priest trouble… I wonder that the Gods bother with a priesthood, if it is that much trouble."

     Whitley shrugs, "As a rule, I tend to stray away from religion."  Too many priests!  He looks off to where Besa disappeared to, once more.  "I should go help Besa.  He may have left that book in my room… which means he'll be searching forever."  Whitley turns his head to flash Taká a quick smile.  "Good luck with your research.  I hope you find what you're looking for."

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