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Nov 19, 2019 3:34 AM
Bruce gets dropped in Gallia and is confused
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This was a lousy idea and Bruce is having a lousy time.

"Come explore the Stata Center with us," they said. "Grad students deserve to have fun too," they said. "It's better than anything else you could be doing at 3 AM," they said. Well now he's gotten separated from the group and ended up in a room with, and he has counted several times, seventeen sides and nineteen corners.

He can't tell which door he came in; worse, they're all locked. There's a window, but it doesn't open, and all he can see out of it is a different exterior wall of this same damned building. 

Bruce looks up at the ceiling, or at least at the point where all the walls converge, and his head swims, and he should have gone to sleep a long time ago, and it feels like he's about to fall off the floor into . . . 

There is a series of sense impressions that fail to resolve into a model of the world, and then Bruce is somewhere else.

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"Evoe! Alalai! Alalai! Evoe! Alalalalalalai! Evoe Bacchu-- wait what."

The face of a young, rather pretty Asian man peers at him. 

"...We were trying to thin the walls between worlds," he says. "We weren't expecting someone to show up."

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"I . . . wasn't expecting me to show up either? Where am I, is this still building fucking thirty-two?"

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"It's the Temple of Bacchus--" the Asian man says.

"It's James's dad's study," interrupts a woman, who is shirtless and obviously very drunk.

"It is the Temple of Bacchus," the Asian man, who is apparently named James, insists.

The room is a library, books tastefully purchased with an eye towards color coordination, with a desk and some very comfortable chairs, most of which are presently inhabited by very drunk people. There are six people in the room, half male and half female, of whom James is both the most sober and the most dressed. (Has Bruce ever seen a fully naked woman in real life? Because he's seeing it right now, and she's swigging down a bottle of wine like it's water.) None of the people are what Bruce would parse as white, although several are ambiguously brown; all are dressed (or half-dressed) as if they are cosplaying a Jane Austen novel and had failed to get the memo that women wear dresses. The floor is scattered with many empty bottles of wine. Bruce himself is positioned near what appears to be an altar, with incense burning and a small portion of wine poured in a dish and three statues. One statue is of a pretty, naked man holding a cup of wine with a wreath on his head; one of a pretty naked woman, sans wreath or cup; and one of a fairly ordinary-looking man with a very large erection. The erection was carved with great attention to detail. There are veins. 

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Bruce has not ever seen a fully naked woman before. Gosh. Eyes somewhere else. Is this some kind of frat party, apparently those have costumes sometimes? Or Senior House? Nothing here is particularly implausible except, well, Bruce. Bruce is very implausible and he has no explanation for himself and also he clearly wasn't invited and should leave. "How do I get back to main campus from here?"

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"Main what?" drunk shirtless woman says. She gets bored and decides to start bouncing, with the expected effect on her breasts. 

"Bacchus summoned you," James says. "Because we thinned the veil between worlds."

"I am pretty sure," drunk shirtless woman says, "we just got really wasted."

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These people are so drunk and incompletely clothed that he feels like he's committing some sort of sexual offense just by looking at them. He looks around for something less awkward to look at at settles on his old friend, the floor. "I think I may have sleepwalked, I was somewhere else a moment--what feels like a moment ago. I apologize for crashing your party. Goodbye." He looks around for a door via which to exit, or a window out which to look for landmarks.

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There is no window, but there is a door. 

"Are you a sub?" James asks.

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Is he a what now? Submarine, submarine sandwich, subway system? "I don't know what that means. Or I misheard you. Can you unpack the question?" He's pushing twenty-four hours without sleep and he's got unexplained memory gaps, okay, give him a break and grade his lucidity on a curve.

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"Uh. It seems like a simple question," James says. 

"I think he's a sub," shirtless girl says. 

"Well, he's definitely not a dom," remarks naked girl. "Maybe he's nondynamic."

"I know why Bacchus sent us a sub," shirtless girl remarks, and looks at Bruce in a manner that can only be described as predatory.

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"What's a sub and what's a dom and what's nondynamic? I know what dynamic means but not how a person can be or not be it. And I don't have anything to do with Bacchus, I'm an atheist." And why is that chick staring at him like she has beef with him, he doesn't know her from Eve.

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"We're not fucking him," James says to shirtless girl. 

She pouts. "But why?"

"Because we don't know why he's here," James says. "Bacchus sends us a person from another world and your first reaction is to ravish him? No."

"Bet he'd like it," she says, and gives Bruce another very predatory look. She suddenly gives off the impression of being six inches taller than him despite being slightly shorter. 

"It doesn't matter whether he'd like it," James says, "I'm the leader of this cult--"

"No, you just decided you're the leader--"

"Well, if my dad didn't let us have the study," James says with a decisive air, "we wouldn't have anywhere to meet at all. So I'm in charge."

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"Woah woah woah I'm not fucking any of you, it's stupid AM and I want to go home." Okay, maybe in better circumstances he would want to sleep with that woman but they should both be sober and in good mental condition and ideally have an actual coherent conversation first. He heads for the door; they can finish this argument without him.

Actually, if this is someone's dad's house and not a dorm he could be anywhere, how far did he even sleepwalk. He pulls out his phone and tries to check his location.

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His phone says NO DATA, EMERGENCY CALLS ONLY.

"What's that?" says James, looking at the phone.

"I think," announces Shirtless Woman, "that we are the cult of Bacchus, devoted to sex and drinking, and we can't have sex with each other, so Bacchus has provided."

"You think that because you are drunk," James says. 

"That seems like the best time to know what Bacchus wants from us," says Shirtless Woman with impeccable logic. 

"I want to know what the weird rectangle is," James says.

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"It's. My phone. Is this a Society for Creative Anachronism party? If it is can you please break character long enough to tell me where I am, my phone has no signal."

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James attempts to process this and ends up saying, "What's a phone?" 

Shirtless Woman does not generally bother herself with what subs have to say. "I think we should tie him up, and--"

"The sub and I," James says, "are going to go in the parlor, and we are going to figure out if he is like the prince of India or something, and then if it is a good idea you can come back and we can fuck him." He looks around. "--I can fuck him, and you guys will all be passed out."

If Shirtless Woman were from 21st century Earth, she would say "valid," but as she is from neither of these places instead she takes an affirmative gulp of wine directly from the bottle.

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Going into the parlor with only one drunk person, and that person being one who isn't loudly in favor of tying him up and/or fucking him (!?), sounds like the best of some bad options. Maybe he'll be more willing to break character or explain shit or something if they're alone. "Yeah, parlor sounds good."

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James gestures for him to head in this direction. His body language conveys that he expects to be unquestioningly obeyed. 

The hallway on the way to the parlor is decorated in a style that Bruce would probably think of as Victorian. 

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Oh bugger, he sleepwalked into a rich person's house, didn't he. Bugger. He follows.

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The parlor is also very Victorian in style. 

"So," James says, "what's a phone?"

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"It's a handheld decide which can usually communicate with other devices to do things like tell me where I am, get me arbitrary information as long as it's public, track my to-do list, lots of shit. What year are you pretending it is?"

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"I'm not pretending anything," James says, "but the year it actually is is 2065."

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That! Is not what he expected! He was expecting a smaller number! Possibly this person is under more influences than just alcohol.

"Well, uh, an hour ago it was 2019 and phones had been invented. How do I get to MIT from here?"

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"I don't know what MIT is," James says. "I think you came here from another world, that is why you are dressed in such an outlandish fashion and why you have a strange glowing rectangle."

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"If you're actually telling it like you see it and not LARPing" (or insane or on drugs) "I am going to have to consider that hypothesis. Can I get a map of, let's pessimistically say this planet, and where we are on it?"

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"Of course," James says. "Excuse me."

He returns from the library carrying a book of maps, and opens the book to the third page. "This is what the world looks like."

Europe, Asia, and Africa are in the same locations, but the Americas don't exist; they appear to be a very long chain of islands, like Polynesia.

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