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Jul 05, 2020 6:10 AM
Bruce gets dropped in Gallia and is confused
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"If you think that'll work I'll take your word for it. In America everyone has a ton of official documents and if you don't have any then various bad things happen whenever you try to interact with society, but maybe you don't have that problem."

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"I guess... someone might in theory try to search through every temple and find your birth records?"

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"Man, not having computers is going to take some getting used to."

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"What's a computer?"

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"Probably too complicated for me to reinvent, unfortunately. If you get a lot of tiny things that can switch between two states based on what the ones next to them are doing you can set them up to do calculations, and if you add the ability to store information for later and take inputs and do things like 'repeat this set of steps until this condition is met' you can get them to do extremely complicated things like store information on tens of thousands of people in a form you can search in less than a second. And then some other technology that isn't strictly necessary for computers lets them send information to each other from anywhere in the world at hundreds of kilometers a second, so anyone can communicate anything to anyone anywhere anytime. It's traditional at this point in the explanation to add a joke about how people mostly use this to look at pictures of cats, but no, actually it's kind of integral to the fabric of society and we use computers for everything from scheduling appointments to controlling giant machines in factories."

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"...that sounds fascinating. What sort of things do you use? A steam engine?"

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"For the giant machinery? All sorts of stuff. Most of it's powered by electricity rather than steam--I could probably reinvent electrical generation if you don't have that yet, actually, it just needs a shi--a whole lot of wire and magnets and, hm, probably best to use windmills, all the other ways of doing it are either really fiddly or have awful side effects."

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"We have discovered the voltaic pile! But it's only really used for scientific purposes."

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"That's still cool! I should write up everything I can remember about generating and storing and using electricity and see if anyone is interested enough to build any of it."

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Bounce bounce. Questions about physics!!!

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Answers about physics! Atoms are like this very complicated equation you can use to predict what frequencies of light they'll emit but also they're nonzero like tiny solar systems! Electrons in a circuit do this that and the other thing! The big bang and inflation and redshift! Physics is not quite as cool as biology but it is still extremely cool.

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This is all very exciting!

Eli has forgotten to eat lunch.

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Bruce is, not exactly jet lagged, but thoroughly detached from any sort of routine; he's living moment by moment with only very vague anticipations of the future. He's not going to remember lunch either, especially not when there's science to talk about.

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Food mysteriously appears anyway. 

Thank you, servants. 

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"...so your world just does not have doms and subs at all?"

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People hiring servants is not objectively weirder than working in a building with a janitorial staff but it's still unexpected.

"Not really, no. Some people like being in charge and some people hate it and some people it depends on the context and it's not an axis people categorize themselves on except occasionally when they're talking about who should do what part of a group project or something."

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"...so you probably didn't get sex ed. Or you got your world's... less helpful version."

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"I got enough sex ed to get by with, but what's that got to do with--oh right, only a dom and a sub can have kids because apparently it's a discrete genetic thing that have no equivalent of. I guess I don't know if sex ed is better there or here." Why does the assumption that he's ever going to need to know anything about sex keep coming up? Does he look like a person who can get laid?

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"So the most basic difference between doms, subs, and nondynamics is that doms like hurting people and tying them up and telling them what to do in bed, and subs like being hurt and being tied up and being told what to do, and nondynamics don't like either."

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Bruce momentarily resembles a salmon in both color and ability to speak. "That's, uh, that's--I did not realize that was involved. I think some people on my world do that? But they don't talk about it in public. Usually." (Senior House does not count.)

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"Well, it's rude to talk about it in public, but someone has to explain it to children so they know what they are."

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"Yeah, that makes sense. When most people are neither, even saying which one you are is considered too much information unless you're actively trying to pair off."

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"So if you're nondynamic-- about half of us don't like sex, including me. About half of us like... kissing and touching and so on... without the rest of normal sex."

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"Huh. Okay." He feels a vague moment of disappointment that Eli doesn't like sex; he's probably missing out. Not that there's any reason Bruce should care about that.

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"But sometimes you wind up having to have normal sex anyway with your patron, as the sub. Especially if they're a woman, nondynamics can't have kids and abortions are kind of inconvenient. --Claire won't be interested unless you're interested."

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