Septemus: Author’s Notes on the Challenge

sept120

At this point in the game-play, the challenge, which ends on the extra-terrestrial child’s Young Adult birthday, was nearly over, but I still had so much story to tell!

I decided that on the eve of the YA birthday, I would turn aging off, play according to challenge rules up until 3 p.m. on what would have been the birthday, and then declare the challenge done, while continuing with the save, challenge-restrictions lifted, until this arc of the story reached its conclusion. (There is a sequel planned to pick up after Sept becomes a Young Adult.)

During the challenge, we can’t click on the extra-terrestrial child’s portrait, check his needs, assess his skills, or direct his actions. So once 3 p.m. Sim-time came, I was curious to see what I’d find!

I’d directed Sebastion to do a lot of character-building interactions, from “teaching about…” to “influence to…” to “reinforce.” And the approach worked, leading to four values within the traits level, and the fifth very close to it.

character

With “influence to…” do homework combined with “reinforcing doing homework” and “reinforcing getting good grades,” Sept was a great student. Another trick I used was to “influence to work on school project,” then once Sept started, I had Sebastion help him. This way, even when Sept stopped working on the project five minutes later (Sim-time–usually to go check to see if there were any dishes to wash! ūüôā ), I was able to have Sebastion complete the project, yet since Sept initiated it, he received full credit for it! I used that technique twice and Sept received some generous grade-boosts from it.

One thing I love about doing homework is that it increased responsibility–of course, the flip-side to that is that higher responsibility contributed to Sept’s persistent dishes-doing activities, even with no dirty dishes on the premises!

grade

Sept rolled Soulmate. It fits! I was really pleased and surprised to see that he’d gained 1,075 satisfaction points! I decided to save up to 2,000 and buy “Incredibly Friendly” with them. I will be switching aspirations temporarily to have him complete “Friend of the World.” That’s one of my favorite early aspirations to complete, since this way, with the reward trait, we don’t have to worry about the Sim losing friends when he gets too busy to socialize with all his friends. (Note from Future-Me: It’s harder than expected for Sept to complete this aspiration–we’ve run into a batch of xenophobes, at present, and so the usual “Friendly Greeting” + “Get to Know” + “Brighten Day” = Instant Friend isn’t working.)

aspiration

I’ll switch Sept back to Soulmate after Friend of the World is done, and I might have him also work on Body Builder and maybe the writer aspirations simultaneously. (I love switching between aspirations!)

Sept’s skills aren’t bad for an autonomous Sim. He seems naturally gifted in Logic and enjoys it greatly. Fitness accompanies his “Active” trait, which he acquired as a teen. Rocket Science was achieved quickly through helping his dad build the rocket. The lot traits facilitate that!

skills

Reflections on the Challenge

I love this challenge. It’s obviously another Pinstar Classic! (I mean, look at all the awesome stories it’s spawned!) This has several features which I adore in a challenge:

  • It’s short.
  • It lets the Simmer learn about Sims and, especially, Sim AI.
  • It doesn’t mistreat Sims or force them to do things that they wouldn’t do on their own.
  • It provides ample inspiration for stories.
  • And the best part about this one is that we’ve created a rich collaboration from it! (Never thought I’d be spending my weekday evenings translating English into Vingihoplo! LOL!)

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Plus, the single-most enjoyable aspect of this challenge, for me, are all the heartfelt moments between care-giver, child, and the Simmer. TS4, like no other iteration of the game, can create rich emotional interactions. I have fallen head-over-heels with Septemus–and I don’t feel I’ve invented him. He is, in game, the way he is in story. Truthfully, I feel it’s an honor and privilege to get to have him in my game and to get to know through their stories all the other pagotogo!

SeptMission01

Get ready for more! The story continues! Thank you, readers and collaborators, so much, for being part of this! ūüôā

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Zuki: Bear-Chair

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Zuki loves the Bear-Chair. Placed before the big garden window in the girls bedroom, with rugs on the floor and Meadow and Jasper’s bright paintings on the walls, it’s easy to see why this is her favorite place.

songbird02

It’s her new dining spot. Jena has taken to joining her.

songbird03

Jena has stepped right into the role of big sister-cousin. She explains everything to Zuki.

“Don’t worry about being an orphan and a refugee,” I heard her tell Zuki the other day. “I am an orphan refugee, too!”

She said it as if it were something to be proud of. I suppose, given the way she went on to define it, it’s worthy of pride. Or at least, gratitude.

Confession time: I was adopted. My mom, a beautiful tall Jamaican woman, and my dad, a dapper bespectacled Japanese man, met in San Myshunu. In every photo, I’m a little scruffy thing, held in their arms, caught by the camera mid-squirm. “You are a very lucky young lady,” my dad always told me. I was raised to believe that adopted children are not only special for having been chosen, but that they are Most Fortunate for having been given a reason for ongoing gratitude that lasts through their lifetime.

“Being a refugee is no big deal,” Jena explained to Zuki. “It just means that you left someplace dangerous to come live someplace safe.”

Zuki whistled and clucked.

songbird04

“I like that definition,” I told Jena.

“It’s true, isn’t it, Mizuki Suzuki?” She never calls me just Mizuki. It’s always “Mizuki Suzuki,” or, if she’s feeling especially affectionate, Mizu-Suzu.

“It certainly is true, Jena,” I replied.

songbird05

We are so lucky that we live in a safe place, that our fields aren’t littered with landmines and UXOs, that our nights are quiet, and our streets are calm. We live in a refuge, so it only makes sense that we would open our homes to refugees. What these two little girls don’t know is the peace they carry, each an ambassador and diplomat. After all, if anyone met them, how could they not love them? And if you love them, wouldn’t you then want to do anything you could to ensure peace for the lands where they come from and the peoples they belong to? Open your home and heart to a refugee, and next thing you know, you’re marching for peace, too!

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Zuki’s Home!

home01

Today was Zuki’s first day with us. She went straight to the doll house. Her eyes were so wide, and she chirped.

“Think she’s hungry?” Meadow asked, when she started gnawing on Flower Mommy Doll.

home02

She was humming.¬†“I think she’s happy!” I said.

It’s hard to believe this day is here! This whirlwind happened after Meadow’s pen pal Dove wrote to her. I knew something was up when I saw Meadow reading her pen pal’s letter. Meadow gets this look like she wants to save the world, and that’s when I know: buckle-up for change!

home06

“What is it?” I asked. I could tell something big was going to happen.

“Oh, Mizuki. It’s terrible. A refugee ship crashed and there were little kids on board.”

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“And you want to help?” I asked. I needn’t have asked. I already knew the answer.

“Of course!” Meadow answered, just like I knew she would.

home07

Next came a string of email messages, phone calls, and texts, and lots of long conversations about how best to help: Financial support? Meadow’s got loads of money. Volunteering with the agency? We both have a little extra time in our busy schedules. Holding workshops for care-givers? We’ve got expertise. Providing trauma-therapy training for the social workers? Meadow is a gifted therapist. Eventually, it came out that what was really needed were homes for the survivors, most of whom were under three years old.

Many had already been placed with qualified, carefully selected individuals, and the toddlers were receiving care. Already, they were successfully integrating into their families and the local communities.

But alongside these success stories remained a few dozen children who had been labeled “difficult to place.”

Some had behavioral issues; some had mobility challenges; some seemed to have nonstandard developmental patterns.

When Mr. Noriega learned that I was pursuing an advanced degree in childhood education and Meadow, a doctoral in trauma therapy, and that Meadow had already adopted a child from a refugee camp who was thriving in every way, he asked if we’d consider taking one of these “Category D” children.

I think this was what Meadow had hoped for all along. She beamed.

“We can’t really refuse, can we?” she asked.

Of course we couldn’t.

Meadow’s family has been supportive.

“Another grandniece?” said her uncle Jasper. “The clan expands!”

home05

Jena has been an angel.

“How do you feel about becoming a big sister?” Jasper asked her.

“I’ve been practicing,” Jena said. “I’ve been bossing the kids at school all year!”

home09

But Jena has natural empathy. I think she must have picked up on Zuki needing a little time to settle into her new home.

She didn’t rush towards her or try to smother her. She simply smiled in her quiet, calm way and let Zuki be in charge of her own physical space.

home03

The approach is working! Zuki circled, studying her big sister and clicking her tongue. She’s a very curious child.

home04

Confession time: I’m pretending that Zuki is Youssef and my love child.¬†Shhh! Don’t tell!

But I think she looks like us combined. She’s got Youssef’s curly hair and broad nose. My blonde coloration and pale skin. She could be our baby!

home10

When we learned her first name was Zuki, Meadow and I decided she’d take my last name: we filled out her paperwork entering her name as Zuki Suzuki.

And we entered my name, Mizuki Suzuki, as the primary care-giver.

And now, I have a baby daughter, who just so happens to look like the perfect combination of me and my squeeze, my own little Zuki-burger with curly fry pigtails!

home11

Next >>

Septemus 31

sept2840

Dear Sept,

You’ve developed a funny habit of checking the sinks. Fortunately, we’ve only got two, the kitchen and bathroom. You will stop what you’re doing–even if you’re deep in concentration. Then you head to the sink.

“OK! All good!” you say, when you see that the faucets are off.

“You don’t have to check them all the time, son,” I said.

“I know, Pops,” you said. “I’m just making sure.”

All right. It’s not a big thing. No cause for concern. And likely, you’ll grow out of it. And even if not, there are all sorts of people, all over the world, who check that the faucets are shut off. I bet half of them haven’t even been through anything close to what you’ve been through.¬†So, one little quirk. It’s not such a big deal.

You also keep singing other people’s songs. Some of them are heartbreaking.

sept2837

Mum is hurting, don’t know why~
Come back, come back.

bizoo

“Don’t leave me.
Not alone. Not you, too.
Come back, come back.
Stay with me.”

“Whose song is that?” I asked you. While you were singing, I saw a flash of a little indigo girl.

“It’s Panda,” you answered.

“Is she? She’s not… is she imaginary?” I asked.

sept2839

“Of course not!” you answered. “She’s my sister. What makes her mom sick, Pops? Do you know? If something happens to her mom, can she come live with us?”

Oh, man. We’ve got such a little house. I’m not sure if the agency would approve of our taking in anyone else. I’m sure they’ve got their reasons for spreading out all you kids, keeping you all separate. I know they had their reasons for not giving me the contact info for the other parents.

sept2838

But what if something happened to me?

Where would you go?

I wouldn’t want you to go back to the agency. I’d want you to be with someone else who knew about you kids, who understood you, who would be patient with you and let you be yourself, without interfering.

sept2836

“Sure, son,” I said. “If something happens to Panda’s mom, or to any of your brothers’ or sisters’ parents, we can take them in.”

I could talk to Geoffrey. I’m sure he’d see my point.

“Oh, squeegee,” you said. “And anyway, she’ll be OK, right? Panda’s mom?”

You started singing softly, so I could barely hear.

“It’s safe, it’s safe now.
There’s time and wolfbane!
There’s tea and tisane…

sept2835

“For little girls
and Mamas
And sisters
and Papas.

“Don’t worry
little Pandas.
It’s safe. It’s safe.”

Oh, I will do all I can. That’s for sure.

Love you,

Your pops.

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Author’s note: Panda’s song was written by Thymeless. And what’s happening with Panda’s mum? Read Pandora’s Box to find out!

Septemus 30

sept2717

Dear Sept,

I’m jotting down all your songs. I’ve got feeling you might not remember them, since you sing them different each time.

Maybe when you’re older, and you read this, you’ll enjoy knowing what you sang about when you were a boy.

I think this one might be my favorite.

Moonshine! Moonlight.
Smile shine. Smile bright.

It’s far. We’re near.
It’s dark. We’re clear.

sept2718

Eat your spaghetti! Don’t forget grilled cheese!
Happy with tofu! How about taco?
Let’s play with dolls now.
We’ll build a rocket.
Come and ride Kizuu,
We’re going so far…. to….

sept2720

Moonshine. Moonlight.
Will you come with me?

It’s far. We’re here.
Let’s go. Have no fear.

I’ll see you in my dream
You’ll see me in yours.
And when worlds turn and stars burn
We’ll find where our home is…
By the far star…

sept2719

You’re dramatic when you sing. It’s not showing off, or a Sinatra act, though it looks like one; you do them same even when you think I’m not watching you.

I hope you keep that lack of self-consciousness when you get older. You get so immersed in everything you do.

sept2820

After breakfast, I heard you sing a song that was different from the other ones you sing. Most of your songs are sort of mournful and filled with longing. They remind me of something that Kermit might sing.

This new one was downright cheerful:

What if the moon were made of cheese?

Would the man on the moon sneeze?

Cheeeeeeeeese!

sept2819

I asked you about it.

“It’s a Rocket song,” you said.

I wasn’t sure what you meant. “Is there more that I didn’t hear that is the rocket part?”

“There’s more–heydiddlestuff–it’s not about a rocket. It’s by Rocket.”

I never know what’s going on in the world of your imagination, son.

“Now I can hear him sing, too!” you said.

sept2818

Sometimes I wonder just how many imaginary friends you’ve got, singing and whispering to you. More than I can keep track of, that’s for sure!

Just keep on singing, and I’ll keep listening.

Your pops

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Author’s Note: Who else is singing? To find out, you’ll need to read Rainy Dayz’ Alien Adoption Challenge! Many thanks to Rainy for the Grilled Cheese Song! ūüôā

Septemus 24

sept2403

Dear Sept,

We had another visit from Geoffrey, checking in to see how you’re doing.

I was happy to report that you are doing great.

I’m having fun watching you explore your world. At this stage, you’re beginning to think about future careers. I guess going to school has you thinking that way, all those questions about what you want to do “when you grow up.”

First, I’m telling you never to grow up. Just grow. Keep your openness and passion for exploration all your life.

I trust you will. It seems to be your nature.

Most of your playtime, these days, centers around trying on different careers.

Sometimes, you play doctor. I find the doll a little creepy, personally, with those weird, staring eyes, but you seem to love your little patient, and you tend to him with gentle care.

sept2603

Then you put away the doctor set, and you tell me you’re off to explore space.

sept2601

But first you have to build the rocket.

sept2602

It’s taking us a while to get this rocket finished. I’ve been reading the instructions. Most of it, we can’t make heads-or-tails out of.

“If I just look, I can figure it out,” you told me, holding up the measuring stick against a coil.

I took a shot at it after you headed in to do your homework.

sept2401

We haven’t finished it yet, but we’re persistent. I guess having a project that takes more than a day–or maybe even more than a week–to finish develops patience. Not a bad quality to have.

When our brains are tired from looking at schemata, we still find that playing dolls is the most relaxing.

“I think really, of all of the choices there might be, this is it,” you told me.

sept2402

“What do you mean?” I asked. “Choices for what?”

“What I do when I grow up,” you said.

“You want to play with dolls?”

You laughed. “No, silly!” you said. “Be a dad!”

Aw, son. That means that when I grow up, I get to be a granddad. Good choice.

Your pops,

Sebastion

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Septemus 21

sept2108

Dear Sept,

Did I ever tell you that I was shy when I was a boy? I don’t know if it came from having lost my mom and dad so young, or if it was because Poppy drilled into my head that kids should be “seen and not heard,” but for some reason, I had a hard time meeting new people, and an ever harder time speaking to them. I had to feel really comfortable with someone before I’d speak, and even then, I often let them do the talking and limited myself to nodding in return.

I suspected, with me as your dad, you might develop those same taciturn habits, but fortunately, you’re a chatterbox with everyone you meet.

One way in which you do remind me of myself as a little kid is in your studious nature. I used to love coming home and diving into my studies the moment I arrived, especially when the project involved reading or research, and you’re just the same. Your class is studying philosophers right now, and we’re bonding over Heraclitus. “Everything flows.”

sept2107

We wrote a dynamite report.

The next day, when you were at school, I checked the forums and then my inbox rang, and there was an email message. I’ve got a feeling this is going to be a very important letter.

sept2106

Helloooo Mister Sebastian

My name is Sirius and I am ten years old, this message is probably out of the blue because well I am ten and you don’t have any idea who I am, Vega is telling me I might want to explain quite a few things like for example why I am emailing you and how I found you!

I didn’t find you it was all Vega, shes really good with computer stuff, she could be a scientist when she gets as old as my dads are! So the reason my sister found that website you go on with other people was we, Vega Nova and Me, were wondering if there were even more kids like us and my sisters boyfriend Magnus (Cassie Orion and Momo are too little to wonder stuff like that I think) so she started looking around. An I think you know exactly what we mean by that, although not quite? we were born here unlike the kids you adults talk about on the forums.

Any who you people doing that project seem like good people! So our dads should be alright with us messaging you probably, Right? My dad Brio and sister Nova are a part of some penpal thing so I’ll send you a link to his profile!

From,

Sirius

sept2105

I admit I felt concerned at first. Am I really that easy to trace through bizoopagoto.forumotion.com?

I checked out Sirius’s dad’s pen pal profile, and I felt better. Brio seems like a cool guy. These kids seem like cool kids.

sept2104

I told you about the letter over supper.

You became real still.

sept2103

“Are their names Sirius, Vega, Nova, Cassie, Orion, and Momo?” you asked.

I nodded.

“Do they have stars in their rooms?”

I didn’t know.

“I think they’re the ones,” you said. “They’re the ones who’ve been sending me the picture thoughts.”

sept2102

You didn’t talk much as you finished supper. And after you ate, you sat there for the longest time, with that inward look you get sometimes.

When I tucked you in, you said you wanted to sing, rather than having me continue reading Robinson Crusoe.

“The moon,
Can you see it?

“It’s the same one,
I can see it.

“I can see the moon at night
and sometimes in the day.
And you can see the same moon,
no matter what you say.

“And her sister moon,
The purple one,
Farther than the farthest sun.

“Can you see that,
Everyone?

“Like home,
Our sister. My sister,
Brother. Home.”

You were still singing under your breath when I tucked you in. I sat at the foot of the bed, while you hummed as you fell asleep.

The next morning, you woke up and jumped out of bed.

“I have sisters and brothers everywhere!” you said.

sept2101

You went to school with a spring in your step. While you were at school, I filled out my pen pal profile. I’m going to write to Brio.

Each day, son, you inspire me to be more like you.

Love,

Your pops

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Author’s note: My friend kkira555 of KK‚Äôs Sims Stories wrote Sirius’s letter. Thanks, Kira!

Septemus 19

Dear Sept,

You’ve been playing a lot lately. You turn everything into spacecraft.

Sometimes, your games look painful.

sept806

I asked you about it.

“This isn’t the good ship,” you said. “This is a very bad ship!”

You made engine-sputter noises and shrill shrieks and crashes and the sounds of explosions.

sept807

The sound effects alone were terrifying.

Whenever you play with RedCarSpaceShip, the game ends in a crash, with you screaming in a hushed, echoing, falsetto that sounds like the cries of a hundred infants.

sept808

“Have you ever met anyone who didn’t come here on a spaceship?” you asked me.

“Of course,” I replied.

You shook your head. “NoIdon’tmeananyonelikeeveryone–”

“Spaces,” I reminded.

“I don’t mean anyone like everyone,” you said, slowly. ¬†“I don’t mean like Miko and Darling. I mean…” You looked puzzled. “Like so, me and the bizoopagotogo, we came on the bad spaceship that crashed, right?”

I nodded.

“But what about the others like me?” you asked. “How did they get here?”

“What others like you?” I asked in return.

And then you told me about images you’d been seeing.

play101

Small children, blue like you, in a room with lots of toys.

An older girl, nearly as big as Miko. Another girl, as big as you. And one more little one.

“There are stars,” you said. “Are there stars inside houses? I keep seeing stars.”

play103play102

“Where are they?” I asked.

“They’re in a room with stars and toys and something delicious. Like maybe spaghetti. Can we have spaghetti?”

play104

I asked you if they were your bizoopagotogo, and you said, no. They were pajotojo and bajotojo.

“That’s how come I don’t know how they got here. Did they come on another ship?”

I didn’t know what to tell you. So many of the questions you ask have answers I don’t know. You’re starting to accept that.

This evening, after supper (we had spaghetti), I watched you playing in the park with Kizuu.

“Kizuu isn’t a cat,” you told me. “Kizuu is the good ship. The good ship Kizuu-Cat! It runs on purr power!”

You held your finger above the ship like a transporter beam.

Ti, pi, ki, ji, li, ri, fi, di, zi, ni, bi, tui!” you counted. You kept counting to one hundred.

sept813

Then Kizuu The Good Ship floated on the strains of your song.

“Home, home!
It’s got spaghetti…

“Home, home!
My little night light…

“Home, home!
Bring the stars inside

“Home, home!
Safe. Home!”

sept812

You landed Kizuu down so softly onto the ground, and I could feel your feelings of peace inside.

“That’s how it’s supposed to be,” you said. “Can I sleep outside?”

It’s a funny habit you’ve developed, sleeping on the bench in the park next door. But I think I understand it.

For one thing, our neighborhood is safe, and I’m right here.

For another, when you are with me, inside our home, we form our own world of just the two of us. But when you are out, with the stars to amplify your transmissions, you have connections with all your¬†gotogo and jotojo. You aren’t alone, under the stars.

sept811

I went inside to put fresh sheets on your bed, after writing this letter to you. I’ll let you sleep out there for a little longer, and then, when the cool night air crawls up from the river, I’ll carry you back inside, in our world in our home, and I’ll tuck you in.

sept810

Since we’ve found your some of your siblings, you don’t seem like an orphan anymore. You seem like a member of a big, loving family. I’m happy you’re letting me join it, too.

Your loving pops.

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Author’s note: Many thanks to kkira555 of KK’s Sims Stories for the telepathic transmissions from the jotojo!

Septemus 17

sept831

Dear Sept,

When I looked in on you tonight, you were smiling in your sleep.

It’s taken us a while, but it finally feels like we’re moving into a happy stretch.

You love school. You know, my background is in education. Seeing you engrossed in your studies makes me a proud and joyful dad.

sept818

When homework’s done, it’s time for play!

With the park next door, you’ve got a large play area and more play equipment than I could ever afford. We’ve come to think of the park as our own backyard.

You love the pirate ship.

sept817

You’ve been making friends with the neighborhood kids, whom you recruit for crew.

“Captain!” your boatswain yelled. “There’s a big giant pink whale off the starboard side of the poop deck! Ha! Get it? Poop deck!”

sept816

You haven’t really got the time nor patience for jokes.

You’re too focused on your duties as captain. Somebody’s got to steer the ship to avoid crashing into the rocks near shore.

Full fathom five thy father lies;
              Of his bones are coral made;
    Those are pearls that were his eyes:
              Nothing of him that doth fade,
    But doth suffer a sea-change
    Into something rich and strange.

sept815

You’ve got a good memory for songs. I read you The Tempest a few nights ago, and we sang Ariel’s song. Now you sing it while you’re playing, walking, dancing.

You were singing it at the playground before supper and then again before bed.

“You like that song?” I asked you.

“Yeah. It’s funny,” you said. “I like the part about thosearepearlsthatwerehiseyes and seachangerichandstrange. It’s like even though the kid’s bizaabgotojo is¬†dead and it’s a disaster, he’s not really dead because he’s something wonderful at the bottom of the sea. I like that.”

sept821

You’ve got a funny way of thinking. It’s deep and profound, and I like it.

Sometimes I wonder if your bizoopagotogo think the way you do. Or maybe, this is the way everyone thinks on your planet of origin.

And sometimes, I wonder if it was a result of being orphaned and separated from your kin that fostered that deep and thoughtful part of your nature.

And sometimes, I wonder if it is just you–if this is simply who you are, Septemus Sevens: a perceptive, quirky, quiet, pensive, mischievous, insightful, curious boy.

When you were sad, I worried about you being so sensitive.

When you were mad, I wondered about you being so perceptive.

But now that you’re happy and well-adjusted, I simply love all of you. You’re a miracle of a kid, Sept. And this world is better having you here.

sept801

Sleep well, moon-munchkin.

–Your pops, who loves you very much

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Septemus 5

Dear Sept,

We’ve been spending a lot of time practicing talking.

sept224

At first, it was challenging for me to make that high, echoing sound like you do.

sept223

But once I discovered that if I spoke in a falsetto, and sort of filled my mouth with saliva and kind of gargled while I spoke, you seemed to think that I was intelligible.

sept219

You’ve been teaching me all sorts of words.

sept222

Slicodoxnipaya,” that’s for a large-winged bird that soars, like a hawk or an eagle.

It helps that we’ve been developing that style of visual mental communication.

I get a flash of an image, you say the word, I repeat it.

Your smile is the best reward, but even without it, I’d still enjoy learning.

sept220

Your language is fascinating.

I like the syntax especially: noun-verb-verb-noun.

There are no objects: both nouns are subjects. Every action is met with an action.

This way of thinking promotes agency: I give-receive you.

Bizaabgotojo sopastillo-sacastillo bizoopagoto. The parent bathes-scrubs little kid.

sept226

Bizoopagoto spaskitaka-sploshtoki bizaabgotojo. Little kid splashes-soaks parent.

sept225

Beginning to develop the ability to communicate helps. But I still don’t have all the answers you want.

I understand what you’re asking now, even without the mental images you’re getting so good at flashing to me.

I still don’t know where your brothers and sisters are. Ms. Snyder wouldn’t say.

sept221

Neither would her superiors.

“?Bizoopagototogo-sipaxni-sitakni stallada? “

sept217

Yes, I know that means, “Little kids go-empties space.”

But I don’t know how to tell you that I don’t know where they are.

“How do I say that I’ll keep looking?” I wondered.

sept215

Then I thought for a while, as you waited, looking at me with expectation.

Bizaabgotojo spiya…,” I tried,¬†“Er.¬†Bizaabgotojo spiyataka-spiyokaya, um, spikayti¬†bizoopagotogo.”

Sebationnoaccentgoesonsecondsyllable,” you said.

sept218

I repeated, “Sebastinnoacc— Wait. Did you just say, ‘Sebastion, no. The accent goes on the second syllable?'”

sept216

You laughed.

You little stinker! Do you mean you’ve been understanding me all along? What, did they have language tapes on your ship that you all listened to when you voyaged here?

I tried again, putting the accent on the second syllable in bizoopagotogo.

“OK,” you said, in your tiny echoing moon-river voice.

And we went inside for grilled cheese.

“I’ll keep looking,” I told you again, when I tucked you in for bed. “And I won’t stop until I find them.”

Oh, squeegee,” you said, as you fell asleep. And while you slept, you smiled.

Sleep well, my bizoopagoto.

Your bizaabgotojo,

Sebastion

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