4510/It's in the Stars.

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It's in the Stars.
Date of Scene: 27 December 2020
Location: Main Room - Titan's Tower
Synopsis: Apparently Ursa Major looks very similar from Delta Pavonis.
Cast of Characters: Colette O'Connail, Kian

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    There's no question that Kian's grasp of English is getting better and better, but the lessons do not end. Holiday or no, it's time for Colette to show up at the tower with the memory stick containing Kian's next set of lessons. She's dedicated. She's also writing a book - TESOL eat your heart out, this is Teaching English as an Alien Language.

    Visiting the tower is routine now. Colette lets herself in with her pass, walks to the elevator and rides it up, knowing that Kian's T-Com will be pinged straight away. The doors open onto the main room and she strides out, calling "Hey Birdy Buddy! You here? It's me. Got more lessons for you. Happy Christmas! I mean in general, that's not connected to the lessons."

Kian has posed:
    Kían comes spiraling out of the empty elevator shaft, as is his way.  "/Kié/, Colette /tavár'h/!" he says cheerily, executing a perfect somersault landing.  "How are you?  I guess there iss a holiday going on.  If you observe it, I hope you haf had a good one."
    He looks... good.  Comfortable.  Not quite relaxed, but in the same ZIP code as relaxed.

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    Colette grins at Kian's acrobatic arrival and gives him a quick hug before wandering over to drop down comfortably into the giant sofa. "You seem to be in a good mood, Kian! I guess having your friends back from being lost in a black hole is good for you," she says with a smirk. "Sounds like Terry had an interesting time there."

    She starts digging into her backpack, chatting as she does so. "Yeah, it's called Christmas. It's the celebration of the birth of a semi-mythical philosopher, basically. Couple of thousands years ago. He was a religious figure who attempted to reform the dominant religion in his region. The reformations brought in by himself and his followers after he died changed it from being the dominant religion in the region to the dominant religion of the entire planet."

    "His revolutionary concept was to suggest that people should be nice to each other. This was very controversial at the time, so he was executed. Many people believe that he rose from the dead three days later." Colette digs the memory stick out and puts it on the table in front of her, but keeps digging. "It should be said that the date is actually wrong. He was probably born at a completely different time of year, but it got kind of merged into a pre-existing festival marking the shortest day of the year. None of that is terribly relevant these days, though. Now it's mainly celebrated by putting lots of decorations up, eating too much food, and giving presents to each other."

    She pulls a tablet out of her backpack and looks up at Kian with a grin. "Here's my present to you. I didn't wrap it, because I didn't get around to it. Normally gifts get wrapped in paper before being given to the recipient. I'm not sure why."

Kian has posed:
    Kían blinks at the tablet.  "Present?" he asks mildly, not reaching to accept it.  "Why?  It iss not the year-day of my First Flight, nor a personal celebration of some other thing I haf done."
    He perches on the back of the couch.  "We haf had a party, on the roof.  I think I haf slept through mos' of it.  There was choc'late.  Iss better than drinkin'."
    As for teh explanation of the reason for the season -- nope, didn't land.

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    "Because you're my friend, Kian." Colette smiles at him. "It's traditional on Christmas to give a gift to people you care about, that's all. Think of it as a personal celebration for everyone. And... well, I had an idea."

    Colette switches the tablet on and starts tapping at it. "See, I was thinking about certain problems you have. Problems of translation. Like... how do we translate the concept of a second to you? We can demonstrate how long a second is, but that only allows you to estimate how long it is in terms of your time measurements. Now, we could be more specific. There's an element, we call it Caesium. Atomic number fifty-five. It has only one stable isotope. If you happen to know the vibrational frequency of that element in one of your measures, we can do an exact translation, because one second is defined as a specific multiple of that vibrational frequency. However it's really unlikely you'd happen to know that. So I started to think about universals. Things that will be common between your world and ours."

    She hands the tablet over to Kian. On the screen there's a representation of the night sky, full of stars. "We don't know where you're from, Kian. But if you're from somewhere in this galaxy, then one thing that will be in common between your world and ours is the stars. Only they will appear in different positions in the sky. That is, unless they are a long distance away from both your planet and ours. So, suppose you found a pattern of stars in our sky that looks familiar to you? That would indicate that those particular stars are all a sufficiently long distance away from both your planet and ours that the relative shift in positions - the word is 'parallax' - is similar. Then by estimating the difference in parallax between the stars, you can estimate the approximate difference in range, and possibly angle."

    "All of which is a complicated way to say... this is a long shot, but by using this software and looking for similar patterns in the stars to how they appear in your own sky, you may get some clues as to where Akiar is in relation to Earth. This software allows you to observe the sky from not just Earth, but other star systems too. By hopping around and looking for familiar patterns, you should be able to narrow down the region in space where Akiar can be found. It could take a while - but there are patterns of stars and galaxies in the sky that are very distant and should look familiar if Akiar is in the same galaxy."

    Colette gives a shrug. "It's a long shot, I know. And it could take a long time to narrow things down. But it's something, right?"

Kian has posed:
    "Long... shot?" he asks, tilting his head inquisitively.  "You mean it iss not likely, I thin'?  Well, ysi, it iss not likely.  I may not be in the same universe as my home worl'.  An' even if I am, I may not be in the same galaxy as my home worl'."
    He sighs heavily, looking upward towards the dormitory wings.  "If my frien's haf not come home safe, I woul' not thin' there is any chance.  But they haf, so maybe there iss."
    He hops down off the back of the couch, and leans against it, spreading and folding his wings.  "An' even if I can fin' Kyshán, it may not be any use.  I am here because my /rhy'thar/ had a reaction to the star-drive.  It might be not possible to go home even if I know where home iss."  Another sigh.  "I wan' to hope, but I mus' be real."

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    "How likely it is depends on some factors we just don't know, Birdy Buddy." Colette smiles sympathetically. "If you're from a different universe, or a different galaxy, the chances are zero. That's being real. If your homeworld is in this galaxy though? Then there's a chance. How likely that chance is depends on how close. If we're talking about being in a different spiral arm - well the search could take many, many years. If on the other hand it's within a hundred light years or so, you'll spot some common patterns of stars straight away. Then it's a matter of triangulation to get into the right general region, and you just hop around all the target stars looking at their night skies with the software until you find something that looks right.

    Colette stretches her arms out over the back of the sofa. "So, we just don't know, Kian. It's a long shot because we don't know the variables. But if you didn't come /too/ far, then you could well be finding out where you came from within a few months of playing with this software. As for getting there? Sure that's another problem to deal with, but your chances are a lot higher if you know where you are going. Remember that you know people who can travel around without star drives."

    "Hold on to that hope, Kian. Because the hope is real. If you didn't come too far, this /will/ lead you to your home world eventually. If you did come a long way, then maybe not. But that's worth a try, isn't it?"

    She turns away, picking idly at the fabric of the sofa and staring at the fingers doing the picking. "The chances are a lot higher than people surviving falling into a collapsing wormhole, Kian. It's a longshot, but it's realistic. You know by now just how much more is possible than you ever thought was possible just a year ago. This is a /good/ hope to have, Kian. It's worth trying. Even though... you know. If you do find the way home, I'd miss you. You're a good friend, Kian."

Kian has posed:
    "I hope," Kían says, "an' I try.  But the mos' likely thin' is that I will live the res' of my life on this worl'.  Even if a ship from my own home worl' showed up tomorrow, I coul' not take it home.  They woul' turn on the star drive an' I woul' be drop through another hole in space.  An' time, I do not know.  I coul' have fall through time as well as space.  Space an' time are tied together, you know.  An' I do not wan' to fall through another hole in space or time again.  Someone like you might not be there to pull me out of the water."

Colette O'Connail has posed:
    Colette smiles gently at Kian and gives his arm a gentle squeeze. "Hope is a good thing to have, Kian. When we are faced with something that seems impossible, having hope is about recognizing that our instincts may be wrong. It seemed impossible that Terry would come back to us, but he did."

    "And if you think about it, it would seem impossible that you would have arrived here, to be pulled out of the water by me. Your rhy'thar interacted with the star drive, but apparently not entirely at random. If you were hurled somewhere entirely random, what are the chances you would arrive within a breathable atmosphere? On a habitable world, where there were people to pull you out of the water? Next to nothing, and yet it happened."

    "But you've been throught Terry's Rabbit Holes without being hurled into infinity. And that means that there /are/ ways to get you long distances in a short space of time."

    Colette stands suddenly, and paces away from the sofa. "I hope you find your way home, Kian. But if you do, I hope you don't... you know. I hope it doesn't mean we never see you again."

Kian has posed:
    Kían flits over the couch, and gives Colette a hug.  "If I can go home, I mus' -- it iss my worl', my family iss there, my oldes' frien's are there, Raká /tenár'h/ iss there.  It iss my worl' an' my home.  But if I coul' come back to visit, I woul'.  My newes' frien's are here an' there are many I woul' wan' to see again.  You are amon' them."
    He laughs softly.  "I will not miss bein' shot at an' the weekly invasions from other aliens...."