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Case Study: Nest


The Phoenix entered their room, swept it with a single cursory glance, and said, "There is no place to sleep," and turned to go.

The mindline between his auditors spiked with their combined anxiety, for as therapists who worked primarily with dreams they couldn't work if their patients refused to sleep. "Wait!" Jahir said. "We'll have something tomorrow. Come at the same time."

The alien eyed them both with its uncanny gaze... and then left. In that silence, they deflated, the agitated colors in the mindline growing pale and finally collapsing into neutral gray. Vasiht'h reached for the data tablet on the table and said, "So now we have a day to... ah... let's see. Build a nest."

"What kind of nests do Phoenixae sleep in?" Jahir asked.

"Looks like... an adherent nest," Vasiht'h said, scrolling through the samples. Jahir didn't have to look over his shoulder; through their link he saw a hazy image: "Like a cup with a long back-rest. It's made of found objects... every nest has to be unique."

"So... to the park," Jahir said. As he opened the door for his shorter partner, he added, "Of all the things I expected we'd be doing as therapists, I admit this is one of the last."

"Tell me about it!"

Several hours later they were in their office again with a cart of supplies and bric-a-brac.

"How big do you think we should make it?" Jahir asked, lifting a branch with a faint frown.

"You're only a little shorter than a Phoenix," Vasiht'h said. "We'll just make it to your measure with a little extra."

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