Oct 21, 2019 11:26 AM
Jaime in Fabulous
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“That works! Freshmen in college don’t know what they’re going to do, often as not, much less freshmen in high school.”

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"Yeah. My mom thinks I might be good at sales, I don't know."

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Jaime can’t immediately think of a response to that. She resumes reading about coastal Mauritania’s social shifts and adaptions in response to the threat of kaiju. 

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"Whatcha reading?"

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“Does the word ‘Mauritania’ ring any bells?”

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"C.S. Lewis?" guesses Nina.

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“No. It’s a country in Africa - it was mostly Arabic, when swarms first started being a thing, and its initial response mostly involved organized religious response teams, and it has a large enough coastline that they were barely struggling by. And that continued for a century or so, but Mauritania has a lot of gum arabic, and other countries really wanted it, and getting it within an unstable country was difficult, so they eventually worked out this complicated treaty where other countries would extract gum arabic and those countries would help protect their coastline. The religious magical girl groups didn’t have as much to do, and they were really well regarded, so they seized a lot of formal religious and political power - I’m simplifying - and that continued on for a few centuries. Then the whole place was conquered by France.”

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"Huh. Napoleon?"

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“After him. It happened at about the same time as World War One.”

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"What even is gum arabic?"

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“It’s a kind of sap made from a kind of tree, dried out. You can dissolve it and use it to make chewing gum, glue, paint, ink - anything where you need something thicker and differently textured.”

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"People signed treaties over this?"

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“Weird things can become really valuable - magical girls can make it, I think, but the process is tedious or painful or hard to scale or something similar, the book doesn’t specify.”

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"I think all the stuff we can make is hard to scale."

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“It’s more striking when you’re directly trading magical girl labor in a complicated way to get something that you could get via magical girl labor in a less complicated way, implies different things. Are you reading anything right now?”

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"Just stuff for English."

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Jaime nods, holds back a tirade about the fundamental inadequacy of the American educational system, and resumes reading.

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"Are you going to come to the club?"

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Nina isn’t very good at taking hints, is she. 

”I’ll try it out. Once. If it doesn’t appeal I’ll then cease to try it out.”

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"It's fun. We give each other outfit tips and do target practice and flying practice. Everybody in the club has wings at least sometimes."

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“We’ll see.”

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"I like your outfit, did you have help?"

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“Thanks. I put it together without external input yesterday afternoon, and I’ll refine it more tonight, after the dance class I go to on Thursdays.”

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"It's really good for a first pass."

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“I have a decent aesthetic sense. I like your outfit, too, although I assume you’ve had much more time to refine it.”

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