They were coming into a more trafficked area now, beyond the limits of any secure conversation. Remarkable sight, atevi and humans in about equal numbers, coming and going on business, atevi and humans in office clothes and workman's clothes--regulations-wise unable to say more than a handful of words to one another--notably please go, please come, please stop....please call the supervisor immediately, in the most meticulously memorized and numerically neutral courtesy. But by that means the common folk of two species did talk, if only in those approved, memorized phrases for known situations.
They tried to be careful. But at certain points they had to cooperate.
And sometimes it came down to things ludicrous on the surface--at least to one side of the question--but fraught with the most serious emotional reactions.
Fish, for instance, and the urgent reason he had to talk to Geigi about robots and a fish tank.