(2018-09-05) Buckets and Newts
Buckets and Newts
Summary: Sydney helps Buddy in the library after a rough first day of school.
Date: 2018-09-05
Related: None
NPCs: None
Scene Runner: NA

Sydney is minding the desk. It's kind of a slow job, to be honest. Book checkouts are automatic. Book reshelving is semi-automatic, unless it's rare and fragile books that have to be shelved by hand. Syd's loading returned books into the stocker robot to return them to their proper shelves. Her own book (open in her ipad) is sitting on the counter. Looks to be a copy of the Unix and Linux System Administration Handbook (5th Edition). Someone's studying.

In walks one of the saddest sights possibly in all of the school this day. A sad looking puppy walks in with big tearful eyes. He is whimpering as he walks though there doesn't seem to be anything specifically wrong with him physically. He is carrying a leather satchel by a single strap in his mouth. Even though he has entered the library on purpose, he looks totally lost.

Sydney looks at the dog with a puzzled expression. He looks familiar… oh, right. She motions Buddy over and comes out from around the desk to crouch down so she's at eye level with him. "Hey Buddy," she says in a soft voice. "What's up?"

The Buddy-doggy walks over to Sydney with his head down most of the way though his blue/green eyes give him away easily. He drops the bag on the ground near her desk and looks up at her. It is difficult to speak in animal form though in familiar forms like this, it is manageable. "My brain has booboo." He speaks with a definite canine accent.

Sydney reaches out to scratch Buddy's ears automatically. She's comfortable around dogs, that's for certain. "What kind of booboo? What do you mean?" She wonders idly if it matters to certain people with possessive issues that she's scratching Buddy's ears and he's really a boy, rather than a dog. It passes. She decides not to worry about it.

Buddy-doggy folds his ears forward as she starts to scratch them. He is silent for a moment either from enjoyment of the scratching or from trying to figure out the words. Perhaps a bit of both. "Too many words and numbers pushed in brain. Make brain hurt." He shakes his head a bit and then starts to pant a bit.

Sydney nods a little. "I know the feeling. I've been out of school for a while and it's like… drinking from the firehose. You'll get it. You'll get back into it." She cocks her head. "When you change forms and your brain changes size, does it change how you think?"

Buddy-doggy seems grateful for the sympathy. As she asks about changing forms, he shakes once more and ends up as a human teenager sitting on the ground. Thankfully, he is in his metis uniform though it looks like he was dressed by animals which is highly possible for him. "It does, and it doesn't." Buddy shrugs and says, "That doesn't make sense, huh?"

Sydney shrugs and shuffles Buddy's hair with her fingers. "Yes and no? Some things stay the same, but some things change? I was just thinking that human brains are very…symbolic and we think a lot more abstractly than even a very bright dog. I was wondering if it would be easier if you stayed in human form while you're studying. I'm just guessing though. When I shapeshift, it doesn't really change anything for how I think unless I'm puddled. I'm theoretically a lot smarter when I'm puddled because the extra brain power isn't busy…pretending to be my body. But I fall asleep almost immediately, so all I really get for it is dreams I can't understand when I wake up.

Buddy shivers when she says to stay awake. "The odd thing is that even though I started life in this shape .. "He stops and laughs a bit. "A lot smaller though." And that is what made him laugh. Finally getting back to his thought, "It is weird and sometimes uncomfortable to be in this shape now. I spent…years as anything but a person. I don't really think I am one anymore even though I can look like one. When I am a dog, my brain is a dog just as much as my body is, but somehow, don't as me, there is a piece of true Buddy there no matter what I change into. The biggest I've gone is a tiger and the smallest is a bird. I don't know what happens if I go bigger or smaller though."

Sydney nods. "I think I get it, yeah. I just think that using a dog brain in human school is setting yourself up for failure. Dogs are great, and they're very bright creatures… but so far as I've read, no animal on the planet can do symbolics and abstractions the way humans do. You can be the dog, if that's who you feel you are…but you're a dog who can be human when he needs to be. And studying is one of those times. That's all I'm saying." Syd ponders a moment. It sounds like she's talking to Ness or someone and talking about gender identity. Does it apply to species identity? Syd really has no idea, but it seems charitable and reasonable to her.

Buddy makes an exaggerated 'oh' face like he figured out what she is saying. "OOooh, no I have to be a person-Buddy when I am in classes. They make me. I'm going to try and convince the teachers to let me be a bird or bunny sometime though. Or maybe a kitty. I just became a doggy because I needed the skin break. Sometimes a nice fur or feathers just helps me feel better. Kinda of funny, huh? Granger and Shocky Man wouldn't let me be a person, but now it feels weird to be one."

Sydney nods. "I meant when you're doing homework too. I have kind of the opposite problem. I can shift into lots of different shapes, although they're all like this one, shiny and metallic. But this one is the only one that feels like me. Maybe sleep in one of your other forms? I'm thinking the dog, because dogs have been bred for thousands of years to live in human quarters, so you're most likely to be comfortable as a dog, instead of a bird or whatever." She ruffles Buddy's hair again. "I'm not sure I'd call it funny, but it's definitely interesting.

Buddy looks pretty excited when she says to sleep like a dog. He definitely is expressive emotionally as though every emotion he feels just comes exploding to the surface. "I sleep as a bird. I made a great nest of some amazing twigs that I found in the woody area. I built it myself," he sounds pleased and proud at the same time. "It is on the dresser in my room. The bed looks and feels too weird."

Sydney chuckles. "Whatever works for you. Long as it's housetrained and you don't get bird lice going in the nest. Bird nests can be pretty gross by the time baby birds are all grown. I normally sleep puddled in a cement mixing trough. I have a futon that folds out into a bed that can support me, but I'm not used to sleeping solid yet. Only done it a couple times, and the first one by accident." She looks around. "So can I help you find a book?"

Buddy seems pleased that she doesn't try to change him. "You sleep in a bucket? Woah, that's cool. I don't have a bucket though that doesn't seem very comfortable to me. Why do you sleep in a bucket? Is it comfy? Do you need a bigger bucket as you get bigger?" When she asks about a book, Buddy nods his head. "Oh, I guess that is what I came in here for. I forgot. I'm looking for the most coolest book on animals in here."

Sydney nods. "My body is really a non-newtonial fluid. Kind of like oatmeal, only much heavier. If you press on me gently, and I don't do anything about it, you can eventually put your hand all the way through me. Slap hard, and it's like slapping a steel wall. I can stand up, move like I have bones and muscles and whatnot because I can control the surface tension. Basically I can squeeze the liquid tighter and make it harder in spots. Well. When I was made, the guys who made me said that when I relax enough to sleep, I'll always revert to the liquid state. If I flow down a drain or something, I can suffocate. So I sleep in the trough so it keeps me in one safe place all night." She thinks. "We've got some good books on the subject. The ones that have blown me away the most were the companion books to the Planet Earth and Planet Earth II TV series'. If you're looking for more serious biology, you probably need to pick a species.

Buddy looks said when she says that she is a non-newtonial fluid. "You don't have any newts? I'm sorry. Do you want some? I've never tried to be a newt before, but I can try." He looks like he is really trying to be helpful and clearly doesn't understand what she said. "Do you taste like oatmeal?" He looks like he might try licking her if she does. Thens he explains about the walking and draining and suffocating. Most of it goes above his head. While physically he is a teenager, emotionally and mentally he doesn't seem to be. "Hmmm. I don't know. I've been trying to pick animals good at hunting and stuff because Mr. Suity Man said that there are always Grangers out there so what if he comes after me or students? But when I tried being a Tiger, I got mad when Cocoa yelled at me. Now she and Besa hate me." That last part is said with definite sad feelings.

Sydney runs her fingers through her hair. "Newtonian fluids obey Isaac Newton's law of viscosity. How they flow, what they do when you pull on them, stuff like that. Non-newtonian fluids don't. Isaac Newton was a man who lived hundreds of years ago, who invented…ways to understand a lot of basic physics in math. That's what I was talking about with abstractions. See… you pour honey on the table, right? Picture that. Now picture you're designing… a drain in the table so the honey can flow through. If you make the drain too big, the honey will flow too fast, and if it's too small, the honey will flow too slow. But if you calculate how honey flows, you can figure out what size the hole needs to be. Doing that calculation is an abstraction. It's not easy to picture how those numbers relate to the honey you poured on the table, but they represent it. The numbers are an abstraction of the honey. They represent it. Just like your name, Buddy, is an abstraction for you and all the things you can do." She thinks about predatory animals. She goes to her terminal and does a quick search, calls it up on the stocker. The robot in the closet closest to her descends into the stacks in the basement, and after a few minutes, returns with a book, which it places in the stocker's output bin. Syd picks it up. It's called "The Perigrine Falcon." She holds it out to Buddy. "How about this one? The fastest animal in the world."

Buddy looks at her as she says all that. "You have so many words in your brain. Does it hurt?" He clearly isn't teasing and is that innocent and naive. "I like honey. Oh, maybe I should try to be a bee! Buzz buzz." He laughs a bit at that though a lot of her analogy got past him. "So you are like if metal and honey had a baby?" How did he get that from what she said? When she pulls out the book on the falcon, he claps his hands. "I did that once…too fast, or I was too slow. I crashed into the ocean trying to catch a fish because I couldn't pull up in time. I'll try some more with it. Maybe that is what I can do my compersiction on. It is supposed to be 'What I want to be when I grow up.' Or something like that. I was going to write 'Taller' but I think she wants more words than that."

Sydney chuckles. "Yeah, she wants more than that. What if you could study the birds, and be the guy who explains them to people? It takes a lot of words, yeah, but you would be able to understand things about… say, Perigrine falcons that most people couldn't, because you can go be one. That job would be… a research biologist, ooor an ornathologist… those people's jobs are studying birds. Just an example." Syd tries to slow down. She knows what it feels like to be overwhelmed with words. She's dating Bryce, for pete's sake. "Or you could be the Perigrine falcon, go find a girl falcon and raise eggs… uhh… assuming that would work…" Syd shrugs.

That was definitely deeper and bigger than he was thinking. "I was just thinking 'falcon' or 'tiger.'" The way he says it makes it much too simple. "But I bet you are right. She wants lots of words. I haven't written any letters or numbers since I was … hmm … let's see. Oh, yes. Since I was younger." That was helpful. "But maybe I can be like an ambibassidor to the animals. That would be cool."

Sydney nods. "Wildlife conservationist, is what that'd be called. Hm. Do you know how long you were living as an animal? Or how old you were when you stopped going to school?

Buddy reaches up and scratches his head for a bit and sits down on the ground by her desk. He ends up sitting more like a dog would than a boy would. "Not really. I know some things but thoughts from the before are difficult to keep in my head sometimes. I remember my parents names though!" He is pleased about that. "Oh, and I know when I was born. It was … er, oh, yeah. April 8 .. 2 thousand and 4! 2004! hehe. I do also remember that my school was something in the middle. I had just started there when I was picked up by the pound."

Sydney nods. "Middle school. That's where I stopped too. I ran away. Got picked up by someone other than the dog catcher though. It's gonna be a lot of work for both of us to get back into it.

"I ran away," Buddy says. "Well, not really. I got away. I was playing in the backyard as a puppy. My daddy always said to stay in the back yard so no one would see me. I normally tried to do what I was told." Not that he always succeeded but at least he tried. "Then, there was this amazing smell. You can't imagine smells as a doggy. They are great. I got out of the fence and went exploring. That is when the doggy guy caught me. It wasn't bad at first. They took me to this place with a bunch of doggies. It was fun for a while."

Sydney cringes, knowing what they do to dogs at the pound after a while. "I'm glad you survived," is all she says." She reaches out to ruffle Buddy's hair again.

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