Feb 16, 2019 6:20 PM
Fabulous Bell in the Raadch
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"Yeah. And when you do something, you might have incentives and whatnot, but you're not thinking about the next reelection campaign or revolution."

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"And a good thing, because we'd still be conquering."

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"Was it always this popular? Thousands of years ago?"

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"No. Within the sphere there was significant disagreement about whether to operate outside it at all."

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"What's in there?"

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"That's not widely known."

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"Sorry. Maybe someday."

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"Is your surveillance as good in there?"

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"I'm not interested in answering that."

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"Okay."

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"The predominant understanding is that it's the only pure human civilization."

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"If you're hiding legit immortality that doesn't even require cloning in there that's pretty sketchy."

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"I'm really not going to comment. It's interesting that you think of that in particular, though. Since corpses are impure?"

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"It does seem like it would be a requirement for a pure human civilization given the givens but if it's not it wouldn't be the first time a religion was incompatible with itself."

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"You couldn't really encompass very many belief systems if you were striving for consistency."

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"The death being impure thing did seem like a firm constant, however many hats the cast of characters in the pantheon wear."

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She's sure it's already occurred to Anaander that if she wants Isabella to have a lot of potentially magical descendants some of them might have divinatory powers but doesn't choose this moment to spell this out. "I don't have anything else on my to-discuss list."

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"I appreciate your time. Send Xander my regards, if a moment arises where they'll be appreciated."

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"Can do."

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"You're welcome."

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Anaander's next appointment is a unhappy-looking woman clutching a toddler. The guards wave them in.

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Isabella goes home. She studies. She writes the occasional war crimes essay for Anaander. She writes a lot - every innocuous fact she can think of gets committed to tablet, non-innocuous facts go on paper so if they're not available later at least it won't be because she forgot them. She makes Xander write down what he remembers from all his stylist research and anything else where he knows more than she does or knows something redundant so she can spend less time on it.

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