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Nov 30, 2020 11:47 PM
Bruce gets dropped in Gallia and is confused
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Quizzes: can do. Hopefully he's as good at implementing the actions as he is at memorizing the words. He has never encountered dress clothes that actually look nice on him but he's never had clothes made to his measurements either; perhaps the advanced and sophisticated culture of Anglia can do what his previous quarter-assed attempts cannot.

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And now he is in his new brightly colored clothes and in a carriage and going off to the Imperial Society meeting!

"Are you nervous?"

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"Some, yeah. I'm sort of--expecting unknown unknowns, you know?"

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Hug?

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Hug. Mental run-through of what to expect. "Were you nervous, at your first one of these?"

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"I was absolutely petrified. Spent the entire time hiding in a corner with my back against the wall convinced everyone would realize I was a moron and I'd get kicked out."

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"Ouch. At least it's not just me." At least he had the option of hiding in a corner. Bruce isn't sure whether he's more worried that people will decide he's a fraud, or decide he's for real and therefore interesting.

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And they pull up to the Imperial Society building!

Outside is an elaborate garden, with many plants that Bruce has never seen before. Inside, there's a library. 

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It's a good thing he knows to expect the library, or he'd be making a beeline for the plants to see if they're labeled and whether they're ones he's heard of or if this world has different ones. He still stares at them one the way in.

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Eli smiles at him. "Next time."

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"Yeah." Deep breath, into the building and the correct room, look around to see who else is here.

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About half the people there are wearing in brightly colored pants and shirts and cravats; the rest are mostly people in darkly colored versions of the same, with some people in dresses. The room also has more pale people than Bruce has ever seen in one room in Anglia.

A man is standing with his back to the wall, eyeing the room with an expression halfway between annoyance and fear.

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Bruce is going to stick close to Eli and not talk until someone interacts with him. According to the etiquette books he's not supposed to speak to anyone until he gets introduced anyway.

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Eli introduces him!

"Mr. Cavendish, may I introduce Banner?"

Mr. Cavendish mumbles something affirmative. 

"Banner, this is Mr. Cavendish, our local chemistry genius, who took a look at your papers and confirmed they were from another world. Mr. Cavendish, you of course know about Bruce."

More vaguely affirmative mumbling. 

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Bruce alternates between making eye contact and staring to the left of Mr. Cavendish's head and says, "Pleased to meet you. What's your work on?"

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Quiet mumble that, if Bruce listens carefully, is probably a deep and insightful question about a piece of biochemistry Bruce hadn't explained as fully as he ought to.

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Bruce replays the mumble in his head a couple times until he's pretty sure he's parsed it right and then answers. He didn't explain it thoroughly because he doesn't remember it completely and also the science isn't totally settled on which of the receptors involved is the important one, but he can say what he remembers of the hypotheses that were getting kicked around and how he'd bet if he had to bet.

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Cavendish continues to mumble questions at him for a good fifteen minutes before becoming silent and disappearing. 

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"I thought this interaction would make you feel socially competent," Eli says. 

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Nod nod. "He had good questions and didn't seem to think I'm insane. It was pretty reassuring." 

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"He liked you. First time I tried to talk to him he made a high pitched squealing noise and ran away."

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"Oh dear. I'm glad I didn't bother him too much." How anyone could want to run away from Eli, who is super nice and the least scary, he doesn't know.

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Eli continues to introduce him to people! This one does botany. This one studies insects. This one writes political philosophy. 

People are generally polite yet skeptical of Bruce's claims to be from another world.

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That is so extremely valid of them! He mostly just listens to people talk about their work, but also tries to provide whatever evidence he can to anyone who seems to want it, even if that's mostly just "a very detailed and consistent story". Hopefully in a few months he'll have enough publications to, if not overcome the massive prior against interdimensional travel, at least make it not the defining feature of his existence.

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Now people are presenting papers!

There was a supernova recently. This species of insect has weird mating behavior. Here's a description of some plants someone found in India. This is what happens when you dissect a cat. Here are some interesting facts about chemical interactions.

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