Swamped Chapter 79 Page 8

When you boil a rule down to its simplest form, you usually end up with one of two basic forms.

The first is, “Do something wrong, and you get punished.” And this kid probably has a lot of experience with that one. So maybe you should focus on “do something right, and you get rewarded”.

And specifically, what you want this kid to do is talk. Or at least explain things. Talking, in particular, seems to freak them out… but what about drawing?

You reach into your pouch and find a pencil and notepad. Perfect. Now you need a quick doodle… has to be something the kid will recognize.

The Master. He’s probably the guy the ship’s figurehead is based on. Well, it might freak the kid out, but it also gives you a shot at claiming some authority. You might need that to get anywhere.

You don’t remember the face well enough to do anything detailed, but you get the overall shape down, and you show it to the kid.

The kid immediately stands to attention. It freaks you out a little – it suggests he’s been taught to do that. Who teaches a kid to stand to attention like a goddamned soldier?

But you’ve got to work with what you have. The kid’s ready for an order, so you need to give him one.

You tear off the sheets you’ve actually used, and hand the kid the rest of the notepad, along with the pencil.

“Can you draw?” you ask. “Make shapes, like I just did?”

The kid seems confused, but starts touching the pencil to the paper. After a few minutes of experimental scratching, he seems to understand what it does, if not entirely how it works.

“That’s what draw means,” you explain. “And if you draw something that shows me what you’re thinking about, I’ll let you keep those.”

You fully intend to let him keep them anyways. But he’s not ready to understand that.

He does, however, seem to understand the instruction. You feel a little bad for taking advantage of how little the kid knows, but at least you’re moving things forward somehow.

After a moment, he holds up the paper for you to look at. So what’s this he’s drawn?

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Buncha triangles? What the heck.