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Aug 10, 2020 8:47 PM
Remedial Goodness is exciting this semester
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The four villain kids are sitting in the Remedial Goodness classroom, wondering where the teacher had gotten too, when a green and brown blur drops out of the rafters, slides down a drape, flips into the air, and lands on the teacher's desk. Once the blur is no longer moving, it turns out to be a very sharply dressed mouse wielding a megaphone. "Hello, class!" he announces in an amplified squeak. "My name is Basil. Welcome to Remedial Goodness! Your original teacher is unavailable, but I assure you that you will learn a great deal from me whether you want to or not."

"Now, roll call! I have "Gaston son of Gaston" and "Gaston daughter of Gaston" on here, that's rather unfortunate, do you perhaps have nicknames?"

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The girl in the front jerks a thumb at the boy behind her. "I'm Jeanine, he's Bernard, can all mice talk or just you?"

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"All mice can talk to each other, but I am a rarity in being fluent in English, French, Chinese, Latin, and Mer-person. Now, Natalie daughter of Dr. Facilier?"

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"My name's Nat, unless you're my sister." 

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"Alright, Nat it is, aaaaand, Sasha son of Nobody? Is your parent's name in fact Nobody or is that the placeholder it looks like?"

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"You wouldn't know my parents' names, so they might as well be nobody." 

It is distinctly less of a challenge than any other answer he has ever given on the subject, at least as far as the other kids in the room have heard. 

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"More importantly, they're not in my class. But you are! You were all given textbooks; I don't like the textbook. If you were mice I would tell you to use it for bedding.

Now! Today we will be playing the Ultimatum game. One of you will need to participate. Can I get a volunteer? I assure you in this game it is impossible for you to end up worse off than you started."

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There's ten seconds or so of silence before Nat says "Sure, why not." 

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"Excellent, excellent, come up here. Would you be so kind as to open the top desk drawer? There's a bag of jelly beans in it."

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She opens the top desk drawer, examines the jellybeans — they smell like the candy from the ride to Auradon — and eats six of them. 

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"You can eat the jellybeans in a minute, Nat. First you have to give me an ultimatum. You make me an offer, how many of the now ninety-four jelly beans are for you and how many are for me. If I like your offer, we carry it out. If I don't, I grab the bag and throw it out the window and neither of us gets any. Is that clear to everyone?"

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"...do I get to argue with you about whether it's a good idea or do you just throw the bag out the window immediately." 

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"The original definition of this game specified no communication, but this is a goodness class. Unless I say otherwise, arguing is strongly encouraged."

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She looks at the bag, and looks at Basil, and looks at the bag, and looks at Basil, and says "If I get fifty-five and you get thirty-nine that's still thirty-nine more than you'd get if you throw the bag out the window and no one gets anything." 

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"Ah, but if I accept that line of reasoning, wouldn't I then also accept an offer of ninety for you and four for me? After all, four is also more than nothing. What would you do in my place?" Basil is clearly having an excellent time.

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"If I were you, I'd accept anything, even if the other person offered four, because four is more than nothing and throwing the bag out the window is just wasting food." 

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"Ah, but if people know that about you, or can guess it, they'll make you very small offers! By accepting anything, you give up the only power you have in the situation."

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Sasha is making such a face at the idea of wasting food for the sake of having a reputation for being picky. 

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"But I didn't make you a very small offer, so you can take it without worrying about making it clear that you'll accept anything." 

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"Just so. Now, what do you other three think of this?"

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"It's interesting that the selfish thing, the thing that gets you as many jelly beans as possible, also involves giving some to the other person. You could be good, and give them all away, or be evil, and try to take them all for yourself, but being fair works better than either."

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You'd be fucking stupid not to take that offer, Sasha doesn't say, because that's the kind of thing that makes people keep watching you. You could be a little less obvious about the sucking up, he doesn't tell Jeanine, because he already knows they're all thinking it. 

"She offered you a lot," he says, and trusts that his classmates will know what he means. 

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"She did! It was very close to an even split, which is generally considered the equilibrium solution. And as such", he says to Nat, I accept your offer, though as a matter of fact I don't actually like jelly beans and you're welcome to eat all of them, or share them with your classmates, as you like."

"I need to go get the supplies for the next lesson; I'll be back in two minutes." And with a series of leaps and some climbing he disappears into the rafters.

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"Fuckin' weird," Nat says, and — Sasha's her gang already, they're not on the Isle anymore but it counts — puts ten jellybeans on his desk and five each on Bernard and Jeanine's and sits down. "So. What do y'all really think." 

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Bernard says, "Thanks!", then scoops up his jellybeans and eats them.

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"Yes, thanks Nat. I think he's a bit mad, but this is more practical than I was expecting a class on goodness to be, so, could be worse."

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