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Dec 16, 2018 12:09 PM
Experimental Theologian Ford Pines and Deseretian Rebecca in Milliways
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A door that usually leads elsewhere instead opens onto a mostly-empty restaurant, with a view of exploding stars through the windows.

A man in a long jacket with a scaled mammal draped around his shoulders is writing at one of the tables.

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A redhead with a baby steps in, dozily swaying on her feet and singing: "- and if that pirate will not dance, Mama's gonna take you to Paris, France, and if the Eiffel Tower's down, Mama's gonna hire you a birthday clown -"

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The man looks up and waves a (six-fingered) hand. "Excuse me, ma'am? The door took you here instead of where you might expect; this is a restaurant between worlds."

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"And if that -" She trails off. She blinks blearily at the hand, trying to make it resolve into a normal number of fingers. "Wha?"

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He does not let himself hide the hand. "The first drink is free, if you want tea or exciting alien beverages or anything?"

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"Tea is... illegal?" she says.

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"What? No, it's not! Or - you must be from a different world than mine. It's not illegal here, anyway. The bar is a person and would probably give you some if you wanted, although she offers infinitely many other choices if you'd rather not?"

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"I... don't want to do illegal things? In front of my baby and everything?" She sways with the baby, who is drooling on her shoulder but not quiiiite asleep.

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"Fair enough! What's your baby's name?" He smiles and waves at the baby, but seems to be looking in some confusion for something else on or around her.

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"Catherine!"

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"hi, Catherine" he whispers.

"... My apologies if he's just small right now, but where is her soul?"

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Rebecca blinks at him a few times.

"Her soul?" she says, eventually, like she must have heard wrong.

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"I believed witches kept their souls with them at least into late childhood and wanted to make sure he wasn't lost or stuck? My nephew's used to sometimes get twisted up in blankets and keep him up. I may be misinformed though, sorry."

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"What?" says Rebecca eloquently. "Is this a video game? I don't really play video games."

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"No? This isn't a game, arcade or otherwise. Are – sorry ma'am, are you not a witch?" The creature on his shoulders starts to look them over in some agitation.

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"I'm a Mormon, I don't think we're allowed to be witches."

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"I'm not familiar with the term, what does that mean? I don't see your soul with you, what are you if not a witch? Is her soul with her in there, do you need help?"

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"I think I've slept about half an hour in the last four days so I really don't know how to figure out what you're talking about."

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"Oh no! I'm worried that something is wrong with your souls, the parts of you that look like animals and hold your personalities. I'm a theologian and might be able to help find them?

"- Actually, the sleep issue sounds more pressing, if less overall important. Is coffee also illegal in your world? Some parts of the restaurant do time dilation, I could watch Catherine for a bit while you sleep in one, if that would help, although it would be totally reasonable if you didn't want that?"

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"Coffee's illegal too but if you wanna watch Catherine I am actually totally cool with that wake me up if she starts nuzzling you," she says, handing over the baby and weaving over to a couch to faceplant on it.

Catherine, in arms, continues to have no visible soul.

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"Sleep well!"

He can totally take care of a maybe-zombi baby! Tiny warm baby who is basically indistinguishable from a baby with a tiny hiding insect soul.

If he moves very slowly, can he pick up his notebook and head over to Bar without waking her up any further?

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Yup. Catherine drools dozily upon him.

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Good! Tiny sleepy zombi baby!

"Bar," he whispers, "do you happen to know which areas of the restaurant move most slowly in time, relative to the couch the woman whose name I have just realized I do not know is sleeping on?"

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I'm afraid it's not consistent moment to moment, but you can arrange to be in potentially different flows of time as long as you aren't directly observing her.

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"Is there anything I can do to make it likelier that more time passes for her than for us?"

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There are various superstitions but nothing substantiated. Would you like to borrow a clock to watch?

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