Nov 19, 2018 2:39 PM
jean finds ardas suspicious. because we are mean, we drop him in one where this is a bad assumption
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...gosh. That. Sure is a lot of pretty all in one place.

(So he maybe rubbernecks a little. At least they aren't the kind of nazis that go in for brutalism.)

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Everything is persistently gorgeous. The Elves show them their choices of elaborately beautiful hotels, most of them built into the landscape one way or another. One is built around a natural waterfall and another into a cliff face. None of the floating islands have hotels yet but they assure him it's in progress.

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Jean might let the tour go on indefinitely. But by the third hotel he's moderately in danger of melting into an overwhelmed puddle on the spot, and he puts a good face on it but Zari picks up on it anyway and announces that this one looks lovely, thank you again.

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The Elves are delighted to arrange them a suite at this hotel and assure them again that they can have anything they need, just call for it.

 

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When they're alone together, Jean switches off his translator.

     Zari switches off hers.

"Think they have us bugged?"

     "I'd assume. Think they're reading our minds?"

"If so, we're cadavres en sursis."

     "I hope not. I want to meet Dwarves."

"I want to meet Orcs."

     "I know you do. Please remember I will be very sad if you get yourself killed."

"Don't worry, they'll just get me a soul transplant."

     "Oh, don't make fun, it's nice to see people openly taking their religion seriously."

"Mm. Care to bet on whether they literally burn people at the stake?"

     "....no bet."

"Didn't think so."

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Elves sing soothing music at the terrarium, wheel it into a temperature-controlled garden and offer it a wide array of foods. There is an emergency conference of the local linguistics guild to settle on conventions for writing "Jean" and "Zari" in the tengwar, which then spills over into a long conversation about the whole of the English language, which then spills over into a longer one about where the stars the English language got all of its words and what in Arda is it doing with them.

 

The room is not bugged. No one around would have the faintest idea how to do that if they wanted to. There are Elves who are capable of coming up with the idea but for some reason none of them moved to Glorious Contentment.

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     "There's no replicator," Zari says eventually.

"Right." Jean sets about investigating how one obtains food around here.

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Their suite has a kitchen, but a very unfamiliar one; it also has a lot of plants in pots, but Elves may have neglected to mention that those are food; it also has a bell to summon staff.

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Jean does not actually know how to cook anything more complicated than a sandwich. (And he's not molesting the potted plants.)

Switching the translators back on and then actually ringing a literal bell for service is maybe a little awkward, but he does it anyway.

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Then he will get an Elf! A different one, but also blond-haired, and quite cheerful. "Jean of the humans! Can I get you anything?"

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....his sister's going to be making "George of the Jungle" jokes for the next week, isn't she.

"We were wondering about food -- ah, and if you have some way to check if it's biocompatible with humans, I don't have a tricorder on me...?"

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"I can have anything you'd like brought up but I don't know how to check if it's compatible with humans ... we'll ask Meneldëa, the Maia you met earlier."

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Oh good he loves staking his life on the oracular powers of glowing alien deities. "We wouldn't want to be any trouble."

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"Well I don't know how else we'll know. I'm sorry. I didn't think of that. Elves and Dwarves and Orcs can all eat the same things - well, I suppose Orcs are just Elves so that's not very surprising, but."

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"...Orcs are just Elves?"

(--that explains a lot, doesn't it. Elves don't break the law, because Orcs break the law.)

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" - well, they used to be."

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Sometimes he hates it when he's right.

"Ah. .... Are there many Orcs?"

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"...billions and billions. Not here, though."

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"...how many Elves are there?"

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"Not as many as orcs, orcs have kids all the time. More now, because of all the colonies... maybe a billion? Maybe three billion? I'm sorry, I don't really keep track of things like that, I can look it up."

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"Don't worry about it, I was just idly curious. Elves have kids less often?"

(Oh, christ, he's going to have to add "population controls" to the list, isn't he?)

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"Elves mature more slowly and prefer fewer children. Orcs were bred by Melkor to be a weapon so they want children very much all the time and they mature quickly."

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Right.

He .... is just going to gloss over the disturbing implications of the criminals supposedly bred by the devil maturing more quickly, because if he spends too much time wondering exactly what treatment of Orc children they're justifying, he'll ... glossing over.

"I see. Well, in any case, humans and Vulcans can eat most of the same things, so perhaps it's at least common among species."

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"That would be good. I have asked someone to petition Meneldëa."

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"Thank you. Have you any idea how long that's likely to take?"

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