One of the strangers is attached to a group which has two married couples (the men are brothers), two children and one young person: Taniko, a teenage girl. There is nothing remarkable about her.
The strangers have noticed that at mealtimes people sometimes join another group. This seems to be in order to chat to someone, either socially or seriously. People do not have to be invited, they simply sit down. An exception seems to be children, who require permission from adults to do this.
One evening a girl of Taniko's age comes and sits opposite her. The strangers slowly become aware that something is going on: neither Taniko nor the visitor speak, the adults in the group are trying hard not to stare at them. The children in the group also pick up on this.
A psychology (INT*3) roll reveals that the girls are psyching each other out.
A scan roll shows that two nearby groups have noticed, and are also watching.
As the subdued meal draws to a close the visitor sits up straight, looks Taniko in the eye and says a few words Very Distinctly And Clearly.
Taniko freezes, her mouth drops open. Everyone waits.
Another psych roll shows that Taniko is not boggled but thinking hard.
Eventually she raises her hands, clenches her fists and gives a moan of frustration. Then a wide grin speads across her face. The visitor smiles back. They stand up, embrace, link arms, walk off to the edge of the clearing, sit down together.
The translator's wife notices that the stranger(s) are puzzled, taps her husband.
"My wife says you are not understanding this. I am saying that my Nipponese is not good to explain...."
His wife evidently thinks he ought to try. She watches his attempt with amusement and affection.
"Taniko and her friend play...Tree-top. That is what the words mean, but it is not about Trees? It is a game with words. Everyone, all Myan play Treetop, but especially young persons.
"Treetop is Myan. Myan are Treetop. Someone who is good at Treetop is... has... people think that person good.
"All Treetop is one game that does not end. What two play affects all... if my wife beats me at Treetop then she is a small bit ahead of everyone else also.
"If someone is trying to be closer to someone, like a young person wanting sex, then he tries to Equal him. Her. He tries to equal her, but not by playing her, by playing others.
[There is a non-gender word in Myan for him/her]
"If she wants to keep him waiting then she plays others to stop being Equal.
"Taniko and her friend are not..."
He consults his wife, who indicates no.
[Yes: hands palms together and nod; No: hand waved in front of face, head shake. The more vigorous the movement, the more emphatic the answer]
"they are not having sex, but her friend has been trying to Equal her for a while now, and Taniko has been avoiding. Now today they meet in Treetop, because the Equal must be facing, and Taniko has lost but she has won also, now she has a better friend."
If asked to explain how Treetop is played, he says first you must speak Myan-cha, then you must live with Myan, then you would be Myan.
If asked what is the purpose of Treetop, he has to think. He consults his wife. Her answer causes laughter, he says she has reminded him that it took her months to Equal him, but it did work...
One of the children, a boy of about eight, speaks up. The wife, whom he has addressed, snaps an answer back. The child smacks his forehead in an 'obvious when you see it' gesture.
"See," says the translator, "Treetop!"
Over the next few days it is for the strangers as if a previously unnoticed mist had lifted. They observe that Myan do indeed play Treetop all the time.