|Technology, Magic, and Dancing|
Suddenly a shout is heard from the the direction of the gym, followed swiftly by Rayne barreling through the door from said room in a manner suggesting not by her own volition. With an audible thump, she lands on her side, though she for the most part seems unharmed. In fact, all her weapons are still stowed, suggesting that whatever happened wasn't considered a real threat to her. "Best 6 out of eleven? No? Okay." A bit of masculine laughing can be heard from inside, but it sounds good natured. Rayne, meanwhile, pulls herself up to her feet and dusts herself off. Seeing the flashy cephelopod ahead, she cheerfully waves.
Serenity'blinks' eyes inward at the crash of the door, twisting to look while coming to an abrupt (and apparently antigravity-assisted) stop. Ren stares at the door for a moment, glances about for cover, then returns eyes to study Rayne when she waves.
Ren smiles weakly and waves with a 'wing' held outward before rippling over to join Rayne. "Hello..." Ren hisses uncertainly. "You are all right, yes?"
Rayne says, "Oh yes, fine fine." She waves away the concern. "I was just being shown how to not strike at someone when both parties are unarmed. But I, uh, lost spectacularly at the matches... I think I'm done with that for now. So what's new for you?" She does rub her upper right arm in a manner that suggests it might at least be bruised under her clothing, however.
"I'm glad that you are able to see the learning opportunities in that, in spite of the loss," Ren offers after a moment. Ren tilts head to to peer into the recently-vacated room before returning eyes to Rayne. "If you don't mind, I think that I will avoid that manner of physical training, myself," Ren says with a smile.
"As for me, I was about to see whether a foot-stamping harvest dance absolutely requires actual feet." Ren motions toward the dance floor. "Hh... but there was something I meant to ask you about."
Rayne tilts her head to the side, her lips scrunched and moved to the left in thought. "Not familiar with that dance, myself... But it sounds like it would. Ask away, Ren."
"You mentioned some experience in working on spacecraft," Ren mentions, gesturing toward her with the horizontally-tilted edge of a fin. "I wondered if that might include some knowledge of life-support systems. You see, I'm looking into options for underwater breathing apparatus for humans."
Rayne says, "Oh, that kind of thing, well..." She looks to the side in thought. "Honestly, unless it was a simple repair, we'd generally just order parts, not fabricate from scratch. And the systems I've worked on were more along the lines of environmental control, not really a unit small enough to be worn." She shakes her head. "With enough parts and some high end microscopic detail equipment I might be able to figure out a way to get some sort of electrolytic separator system given the time, but I've not seen anything of the like around here. And again, I'd be winging it... I'm not sure you'd want to trust someone's life that I didn't accidentally solder one piece sloppily and cause a short circuit after a few minutes' use..."
Serenity nods thoughtfully. "I suppose those are fairly different sorts of technology," Ren acknowledges. "But I thought it couldn't hurt to ask. Maybe I could ask your help in testing it if I do find some suitable equipment."
Ren smiles and looks up between forward-leaning rhinophores. "Things are going well between Jan- Doctor Windhoek- and I," Ren explains. "Removing any obstacles, other than the work he loves so, is something that's been on my mind."
Rayne grins sheepishly. "I so mentally called that as why you were interested." She laughs once, then covers her mouth with a fist to recover herself. "I'll test what you need, but I just had a thought... Maybe another containment field generator thing and we reverse the function of it, set it up as a backpack or belt or something. Not sure how easy that is, but it sounds simple."
Serenity grins in return at her remark while enamining the floor. Ren then looks up with an inquisitive expression. "I'm not inclined to risk what I have for an experiment that requires disassembly," Ren says, motioning an extruded portion of fin towards the field generator. But I do like the idea of replicating it somehow. I'm just not sure how to go about this. Gegoshi's information retrieval abilities and the Medical Mechanica fabrication come to mind, though I don't know whether this requires tools of entirely different sort."
Rayne peers at the device. "Yeah... I'm pretty sure at the very least it'll require some microscopic tools, if not downright nanotech. I've never dealt with nanotech, for the record. If I'm not mistaken, it involves actual chemical synthesis, and that is way beyond my knowledge." She swipes her left hand from right to left in emphasis. "But if we can get a second one, we might be able to just reprogram it if we're lucky."
"Yes, I'm fairly sure that it does contain parts made in factories that were only running on account of the resources and education supplied by an entire planet," Ren remarks with a thoughtful frown. "Maybe two planets... Mind you, I'd much rather be dependent on civilizations than self-sufficiently living without so much as a stewpot, but a chipped-stone knife would be more than a bit easier to copy than this environment suit." Ren then adds, "I wonder if a medical scanner would have the resolution to see all its innards?"
Rayne says, "Well, I suppose it would depend on the scanner in question." She taps her chin with a finger. "Though unless it's scanning on a cellular level, probably not. Again, the more complicated parts I'm used to just ordering more of."
Serenity nods. "I suppose I should direct these questions to someone who can speak from experience." Ren motions out to the sides, "But how many people can there be in town with a background in nanotech industrial espionage?" Ren grins. Then Ren gestures to Rayne, "In any case, have you been up to anything interesting, besides learning how not to fight?"
Rayne says, "Heh heh... ehhh..." She shakes her head. "Not really a lot just yet. I've decided to not go shopping for more outfits on account of it likely being more fun as a 'girls night out' type of thing. Nor have I gotten any sort of non-lethal weaponry yet. I'm... kind of reluctant to go back to using any sort of guns. It may sound weird, but to me it's kind of a step backwards from a bow. Hrm. Maybe there's some sort of shock arrow."
"'Girls' night out' with Minu?" Ren surmises. "I can imagine that becoming interesting if her enthusiasm for clothing is anything like her enthusiasm for office supplies." Ren returns a puzzled frown at the mention of weapons. "How is it a step backwards to choose weapons that don't work by being lethal? Are you worried about what troublemaking people might think of your weapons skills?"
Rayne says, "No, no, that's not what I meant at all! I more meant the delivery method of the non-lethal. It's more that it was much earlier in my life that I was into pistols. It feels like it was almost like a childhood hobby, sort of." She frowns. "My father actually trained me in firearms initially... If you think I'm violent, you should meet him. He's a full on bounty hunter. Heavy weapons, powered armor, combat vessel." She shakes her head. "So yeah, it's more that... to me, at least, using a more primitive weapon feels like something more.... adult."
"I suppose I understand what you mean now," Ren remarks thoughtfully. "But whether it's the reactions of other people or your own personal feelings, doesn't it matter more whether the weapon is suitable for serving the public and something that you can wield as effectively as possible? You must be skilled at firearms if you've been training for so long."
Rayne says, "Valid points all.... except that I've really not been training in firearms for over a century. At this point, assuming I can find some sort of non-lethal shock arrows, I may well be more effective with that."
"I'll avoid any further comment on that matter," Ren says, motioning in fin edge inward, "seeing as I'm a quarter-century in age, myself." Ren inquires curiously, "How old are you, if I may ask?"
Rayne says, "Oh, ha ha." She laughs nervously, then leans in closer and speaks more softly. "About four hundred, give or take a few years. It was hard to keep track on Cevernal."
Serenity frowns thoughtfully. "Yes, that is well outside my experience with any older people in my previous life," Ren mentions. "It seems you are not susceptible to reasoning-by-personal-anecdote or to pining for the 'good old days'... or that was a phase long past." Ren adds, "Is there a reason for not advertising your age, other than custom?"
Rayne says, "Mostly custom, really. I mean, the really high classes have ways of extending life that long, but I tend to get along better with the 'unwashed masses' as I think I've heard more common people be called in the past. And those common people tend to be more friendly if they think I'm as old as I look. From what my father told me though... I'm actually still considered young for a phoenix."
"High classes of human people? It sounds as though the societies with those may have a very stubborn problem with excessive social stratification." Ren motions out to the side, "I can't speak for others here, but in my eyes, your age is well past the point of fitting into any of my preconceived notions, even if I were inclined to stereotype you by it."
Rayne says, "Tyrian society in general, and Avian more specifically, tends to really be obsessed with their noble families. Within nobility, there's more fine distinctions, but once you leave nobility everyone's considered the same, as far as class is concerned."
"Is this the nations on one planet that you are referring to?" Ren inquires curiously, meanwhile sliding to the side a bit to make way for a group exiting the dance club. "Before Twisted," Ren mentions, "I was only familiar with the spread of culture around and between two planets. Two with any major permanent population, that is."
Rayne says, "Well, for Tyrian, no. That's the Empire, the dominant government of the spiral arm I'm from. Avia, where I'm from, is one of the more major cultural centers of the Empire, but it's not the capital. And there are a LOT of planets with major populations. The Empire started terraforming millenia ago."
Serenity nods thoughtfully. "While I come from a fairly homogenous culture myself, planetary-scale, much less interstellar governments, suggest a level of cultural cohesion that I have difficulty imagining." Ren adds, "...or, I suppose, an enormously efficient bureaucracy... or a small number of similar rulers who have no need to care about cultural diversity."
Rayne says, "I guess it works because everything's a colony world, so they have a solid cultural base, and the Empire usually lets individual systems mostly run themselves. There's really a lot of 'Pride of the Empire' propoganda, too. I'm really more impressed with the Sidran arm, myself. Those guys have a much more diverse array of species... though they do tend to get into more wars between their two governments. The Empire for the most part just has constant skirmishes with the Myssyrians. You'd hate them... Their idea of culture is apparently to tell everyone they can only live in their system of origin, and to try to back that up with warships." She shakes her head. "They really make no sence to me."
"Colonialism, hh?" Ren remarks. "My people would be well on their way to forgetting such, in a century or two, and feel as much affinity for millennia-old political divisions as for the exact place where glassmaking was discovered. But propaganda, we do. Rather, some other nations do- popular culture generally works well enough for my home country."
Ren smiles at the last comment. "I think that the reasons behind that enforced isolation would matter more to me than just the action. Do they have a religious conviction about cultural purity? Do they want to ensure that at least one civilization will survive the coming plague of self-reproducing advertising robots?"
Rayne shrugs. "I don't know. I've not looked into it too much, but I'd guess it's religious. They actually helped one species retake their homeworld from another species once, so it's not just outright hostility, I don't think." She then pauses, tilting her head in thought. "How DOES an aquatic species make glass?"
Serenity nods. "That doesn't mean that their policy is a just one, but it does sound like a rather more interesting situation than some sterotypical and motivation-free xenophobia." Ren then explains, "I'm hardly a historian, but I believe the first glass-making and smelting was a byproduct of alchemists playing with fire while trying to discover a mythical all-healing drug. Modern factories generally favor low-temperature processes- My sibling is studying that sort of thing in school." Ren looks down with a frown for just a moment. "Materials engineering is a good field to be in."
Rayne says, "That... doesn't explain the problem I'm having in my head. How do you have the fire to begin with?" The pondering of this subject has pushed any thoughts of her own home universe out of her mind entirely. "Do you leave the water long enough to start the fire? No offense, but you don't look like you have the fortitude to really do much if you get stuck out of water. In my experience, you can't really get glass without having temperatures high enough to boil water."
"Fire on land was known from ancient times. People have always been impressed by it," Ren explains. "More useful and controlled fire, though, was created much later in floating open containers, or in stone or cement reaction vessels." Ren motions to the side, "Devlopments in breeding, biochemistry, electrochemistry, and so on somwhat reduced the need for it in industrial settings." Ren adds with a grin, "You're correct in assuming that I'd very much like to avoid being flattened by my own non-bouyant weight, however."
Rayne says, "It's so odd, the different relationship to fire, then... In humans, taming fire is considered to historically be one of the earliest steps towards being more than animals. It's the earliest thing that makes a land based intelligent creature intelligent. But it sounds like your people of course couldn't tame it until well into your civlizations." She laughs once. "And let's not even get into my own species' relationship with it."
Serenity looks thoughtful and nods after a moment. "But storytelling is a very early feature of all species of person, no?" Ren adds curiously, motioning toward Rayne, "What is your species' relationship with fire, if I may ask?"
Rayne says, "Well, we kinda sorta ARE fire. Kind of a magical thing." She holds out a hand and a small ball of flame erupts in the space over it. "Any other kind of spell, I have to concentrate really hard, maybe even chant something or make specific hand motions. Not with fire. It just comes because it's a part of who... of WHAT I am." She closes her hand and the flame vanishes. "Remember when I took to bird form and I erupted into flames? That had nothing to do with spellwork. That's a part of it. It actually takes more concentration to NOT be on fire when I'm in bird form."
Serenity'blinks' at the demonstration. "I take it that you are at least resistant to fire, even in this form," Ren surmises, motioning a portion of fin toward her hand. "Where does the energy come from?" Ren asks curiously. "From food? Or some outside source? Or is what you call 'fire' in that case something altogether different from oxidizing fuel?"
Rayne says, "Oh, yeah. It still hurts a lot, but I actually don't know what it's like to have the lingering effects of being burned. As far as where it comes from..." She shrugs. "Like I said, it's a kind of magic thing. Magic takes a look at the laws of physics and laughs in their face."
"I'm certainly not one to ask about burns, unless they're of the chemical sort," Ren remarks, motioning inward. "From what you have said earlier, it sounds as though those laws of physics that you describe are in need of some revision, lest they cease to explain just when things start to get interesting." Ren motions out to the sides, "But I'm afraid that this isn't a good place to be a physicist."
Rayne says, "Well, my world has magic too, but physicists have a better rate of finding gainful employment than magic users. It comes down to ease of use. One physicist can help to make creations that anyone can use with little to no training. It took me over a year to learn what is considered to be the most basic of spells, one of the most commonly used ones simply replaces the use of soap and water to clean myself and clothes. Despite it's nearly limitless potential, it's really just not practical unless you really dedicate your life to it."
"Might not the difference in the way people speak about magic and physics account for some of those differences?" Ren speculates. "I suspect that making high-quality soap from raw materials and washing one's clothes manually in an efficient manner are both skills that would take some time to perfect."
Rayne says, "Well, yeah, but having a factory that automates the process of making soap and another that makes the machine is a lot easier than training all the people those two factories supply for a year or two. It's still probably easier to just throw the clothes and soap into the machine and hit the on button than it is to actually concentrate on the spell to clean each garment."
Serenity nods. "A factory, or at least the sort of factory that I am familiar with, relies on engineering built in a framework of physics theory," Ren observes. "What might a factory make if it were built on a theory that explains people making fire seem to appear out of nowhere in the same equations as planetary orbits?"
Rayne says, "Well, the only company I'm aware of that tries to merge the two makes weapons. So I guess nothing really all that useful to the average person." She winks at Ren.
"I should hope that there are better options than that possible," Ren remarks with a frown, "even if they have yet to be discovered."
Rayne says, "That's kind of the point I've been getting at the whole time. I'm really not so sure there IS a better option for the combination of magic and normal technology than weaponry. If there was, I think I'd have heard of something of it before, but no. Only Magus Spaceworks and their warships and small arms. Other than that, it seems that it's just simpler and more effective to NOT rely on magic, and instead rely on good old reliable all the time physics."
Serenity nods in reply. "'It hasn't been done before' is not proof of impossibility, but certainly suggests that discovering otherwise would require both time and a research and development budget." Ren then smiles and motions toward the dance floor with a fin extended from the water. "Would you be interested in some exercise of a less painful sort than your earlier attempt?"
Rayne says, "I suppose you're right on that account. Though I'll tell you one thing, I'm sure not the one that will have the drive to come up with another application of the concept. Let alone have the budget." Her gaze follows the motion of Ren's fin, and she responds, "Sure, I'd also like to see how you attempt to stomp without feet," referencing what Ren had prior said.
"Yes, my sciences are limited more to the social," Ren adds. "And in any case, what this town could use some more of is the arts." At the invitation, Ren ripples past Rayne to the club's door. After putting in a bit of effort to get it open, Ren slips inside and flutters off to the side with a liquid motion, already beginning to synchronize with the beat of the slow slong. Motioning an extruded portion of fin edge upward, Ren remarks, "I may hold off on that inital idea until we have a more lively beat."
Rayne follows in, a finger scratching behind her ear as she laughs nervously. "Yyyeah, I've never really been much one for dancing to slower music, myself. I tend to be, um, lively when I dance.
"Hh? You have a usual style?" Ren inquires curiously, inclining rhinophores toward her. "I would like to see that. But perhaps you could try to adapt for a moment..." Ren folds both pairs of fins inward and to the front, forming a cylindrical shape, then pinches in at two places to suggest a neck and waist and flares out a more conical 'skirt' at the bottom. Ren then moves out from the wall and flicks a trailing edge on the field generator to put it in 'park'.
Ren makes a slow and slight vertical bounce with the rhythm while moving into some 'footwork', a slow forward lunge, wrinkling the fin like draped cloth around an imaginary knee, followed by a backwards and straightening roll accompanied by an unrolling of the middle portions of the fins like outstretched arms.
Rayne says, "Oohh, you do realize that I've not really danced in a few years... I tend not to feel inspired by acoustic, and that's all I had for a while." She then frowns, adding, "Usually with some pretty poor players, I'd add." Still, she takes a step outward to stand in front of Ren, then bows with a flourish, her left arm pointed downward with only her index and middle fingers extended, and her right hand just behind her left forearm. "So I'm going to assume I will be quite aukward at this."
"Poor players could be a distraction," Ren agrees, taking a bow towards her. Ren folds at the 'waist' with the appropriate wrinkling, to suggest a nonexistent spine involved. Maintaining a slightly shallower angle of the upper body, Ren makes some 'steps' backwards. Each involves only half of the lower body moving independently of the other, like a hole leg held stiff while patterns of wrinkles define an imaginary thigh and buttock moving. Ren mimicks a leg lift and step back on the right side, then the same on the left. The 'sleeves' show some hints of elbow projecting and lifting on the side opposite the leg motion.
Rayne says, "Wow... that's a lot of fine control." She takes a quick breath in, then begins what looks to be an older, classical style of dance. She's stiff in her motions, but it's difficult to determine if this is due to a lack of confidence or skill, or due to this being the style of dance. The look on her face, though, is a surprisingly difficult one to interpret, strangely neutral.
"It does take me some practice to pick up an entirely new motion if I don't wish to look like a melting puppet," Ren remarks with a smile. Ren continues to lift and drop the imaginary legs, adding just a bit of side to side sway. Noting Rayne's efforts, Ren extends the middle portions of the fins longer, like arms loosely robed in sleeves. On each side, the two layers of fin remain together at 'seams' but fold outward between these lines to leave a hollow space for each 'arm'. With the 'arms', Ren makes slow swishes and changes of direction vaguely similar to Rayne's arm motions.
Rayne says, "I don't think I've danced like this since I was a kid in lessons. Like I said, slow isn't really my style." It's becoming more and more apparent that the stiff motions are more to do with being uncomfortable with the dance in question. "It's a formal dance.... to refer back to our earlier conversation, it's a traditional one in Tyrian nobility."
"Perhaps you can try moving only halfway, on alternate beats, to give yourself time to sort out conflicting impulses before moving," Ren offers, shifting posture to match Rayne more closely. Ren demonstrates a bit of half-on, half-off motion for her. "Do you know any symbolism behind the motions?" Ren inquires curiously. "Something in nature, activities, or body language that it's meant to represent?"
Rayne tries to duplicate Ren's half beats, but as this only makes it slower, she seems almost more aukward for her. "Uh, I'm sure I was told, but I really don't remember. Probably something to do with dragons, knowing Tyrian nobility. That or just some stuffy emperor could only dance like this and made everyone else in his court do it, then everyone just acted like it was always like this.
"The representation of 'I know my tradition as as well as any of you' is always a popular choice for formal dance," Ren comments with an amused note. As the song winds down and before it fades into a livelier beat, Ren makes a slow spin around a vertical axis, releasing even the vague impression of a human form by fluttering out the fins in a helical sweep while the gill-feathers flutter in the resulting currents of water.
Rayne noticibly loosens up at the new song, taking a step back before tapping her right foot to the beat to begin with before adding in with her head. When the song begins to step out of the introduction, she lets loose, much of her motion in her arms as she moves them about her body in a manner that feels at first like it might be perhaps related to an eastern martial art, though nothing in there looks like a strike. Her legs, however, are in minimal motion, for the most part just simple steps in time with the music.
Serenity smiles at the change in Rayne's posture, wrapping up again into the vaguely human shape with a sweep of a 'cape'. Ren bounches vertically at first in jus a vertical contraction, but bobs head to the beat and adds in brief flashes of wrinkle to represent knees and posterior shaping the 'fabric' of the lower portion of the fins. Ren simulates forearms held vertically and pumped out to the sides, followed with horizontal ones pumped vertically in front. The overall position of the fins remains more or less constant during all this, only the regions being pushed out in moving waves and wrinkles changes.
Rayne continues her arm motions for a few more bars before bringing out one of the larger smiles - perhaps grin is a more appropriate word - that has been seen on her since she's arrived on Twisted. "Okay, I think I've got my arms loosened up, but I need to bring back my legwork, don't you think?" With that, she leaps backwards and at first appears to stumble upon her landing. But no, the left leg sliding out to the side and right bending down into a crouch is clearly intentional. She sweeps the left leg around behind her as she leans foreward and uses it as leverage to launch herself back foreward again in a roll. Her feet make contact with the ground and she gets halfway to a standing position again before using that momentum to vault herself back again. Back parallel to the ground for a breif moment, she reaches relatively to over her head with her right arm to catch herself from hitting the ground head first, but with it she twists her motion around to bounce of the ground and land facing away from Ren, arms splayed to the side.
Serenity adds some more work from nonexistent legs, a jerky and angular motion quite different from Ren's usual flow. The 'skirt' form collapses to a more shallow depth and somewhat narrower width to emphasize the quick-changing motions, like a sheet pulled tightly backwards over legs, perhaps as close as Ren can come to actually simulating pants. "Excellent gymnastics!" Ren hisses cheerfully in response to Rayne's next dance moves. "I can never quite make those flying-though-the-air parts looks quite abrupt enough."
Ren bounces the 'knees' out to the sides in a scissoring motion for a few beats, then rocks a 'hip' upward (which first requires some more 'waist' definion pinched out of the fins), and follows it with swivel one side and then the other. Meanwhile Ren flips the upper portions of the fins outward, separating the two layers at the edge to provide one surface in front and one in back. The surfaces provide the canvases for the appearance of arms pumped quickly at the sides, crossed over the chest, and flipped backwards at each beat.
Rayne spins around on one foot, halting the motion with the other quickly. "Yes, but I probably shouldn't be quite this vigorous just after having a man twice my size toss me around for fun. My muscles are on fire right now, and not in a way that has anything to do with being a phoenix." The look on her face is one of mild pain at this point. "I think I'll have to sit out for a few minutes."
"Hh, yes," Ren says with a nod in Rayne's direction. It seems that an advantage of not creating one's voice with the breath is being able to speak normally while engaged in vigorous activity. "I do hope to see more of that another day, when you are feeling up to it."
Ren makes a quick twist to face Rayne's seat and continues on, punching the water around the upper body like someone showing off with nunchucks. The lower body, still with rolled fins forming a flat surface out front, shows a tiptoed-step-and-freeze rhythm, the motion reflected in vertical expansion and contraction to simulate the bouncy stride. Ren finishes the walk with a roll of the hips (after forming some) in a wide, inclined elliptical orbit before making a backwards shuffle. Being that no actual feet are involved, it doesn't take any moonwalking tricks to stay in place, though.
Rayne tiredly nods with a joyous laugh at Ren's work, her left hand held onto her now hurting right upper arm. "Yeah, definitely. But ouch, not now. I think I'll be sore for a few days."
Serenity unfurls the fins in a billow of aquamarine muscle, continuing for a moment to outline the form of a human crazily flailing arms and legs to the sides in time to the beat. It looks briefly like someone standing behind Ren and against a sheet, with only limbs visible as they project to the sides of the neon-colored body. Then Ren dissolves the illusion the rest of the way. Extending a trailing edge to disengage the 'parking', Ren makes a somersault and peels out of it like a dancer's ribbon or the work of some particularly energetic puppeteers of a Chinese dragon, finally sliding the mass of water to a stop close to Rayne's side.
Ren grins and 'stands' mostly vertical. "If you happen to visit Johann at the clinic, perhaps you could ask him about the upper-class dance that he performs. It might not suit this song, but it is quite elegant all the same."
Rayne says, "Ha! No thanks, but as you may recall, I'm not really one for the upper class stuff. I just don't really dance naturally to slower songs, and that was all that came to mind."
"I shouldn't press, I suppose," Ren remarks cheerily, waving an extended portion of fin towards the door, "or you might have me learning martial arts with your partner from today in the gym."
Rayne says, "Well, I just saw the guy using those throw moves and thought it might be a good non-lethal option to learn it. So I just asked him to show me what it was like. Yeah, painful. He clearly knew what he was doing more than I did. But still, I don't think humanoid martial arts would translate well to your species."
Serenity nods. "It seems a good technique to learn. And as much as I hate to see you injured, it may not be such a bad thing if you know exactly how uncomfortable it feels when used on an inexperienced target." Ren then grins. "More than my species, I think the biggest impediment to my combat skills is a personal inclination to be anywhere else during combat."
Rayne laughs, shaking her head. "Oh, I can understand that inclination. I guess I got my tolerance for battle from my parents. Personal scale from my father, tactical scale from my mother."
"The tolerance seems to have served you well- at least enough to ensure that you've lived to tell about it," Ren observes thoughtfully, then motions 'wings' out to the sides. "I sincerely hope that one day, it will no longer be a useful skill for children here."
Rayne can't help but frown, thinking of the future. "Somehow, I doubt we'll see that future anytime soon here. There always seems to be something new showing up that doesn't have that hope.
"The creation of security forces is at least a move in the right direction," Ren offers optimistically. "A legal system would be even better, but public services like a library and art gallery don't seem far out of reach."
Rayne says, "Yeah, it's a step, but I don't think there will ever be a lack of a need for security forces until whatever pulls people in randomly is stopped. And somehow, I get the feeling that whatever that is, it's an absolute core to this entire universe."
Serenity frowns at that thought. "I believe that there must be an intelligence causing that problem... But if people here worked together, I think that we would be stronger than any infestation or newcomer's unreasonable tendencies."
Rayne shrugs. "We could only hope, I suppose. We've made the first step. We just need to keep making them.