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Oct 01, 2020 3:51 PM
Bruce gets dropped in Gallia and is confused
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This is the fun part. It's very different from the conferences he's used to--fewer people are testing specific hypotheses or looking for practical applications of things, there's a lot less use of statistics, there's a lot less experimentation in the sense of setting up specific situations to observe as opposed to just finding something interesting and looking at it, and nothing looks like p-hacked garbage that will inevitably fail to replicate. It kind of reminds him of grade school "pick something and do a report on it" projects, except instead of just presenting what they found in the library encyclopedia it's actual new investigation that advances the frontiers of human knowledge. The presentations are informative, and the overall atmosphere is comforting.

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And then it comes time for Cavendish to present!

He mumbles a few token words and then flees the room in horror. 

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Aww, poor guy. And poor audience; Cavendish is brilliant and if he had been able to give a whole presentation Bruce bets it would have been a really good one.

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"You have to give a presentation for your report to show up in the Proceedings of the Imperial Society," Eli explains. "It doesn't have to be a complete one."

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"That makes sense." Is anyone else scheduled to present today?

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A couple more people, doing roughly the same kinds of presentations.

And then the party begins in earnest.

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Parties that come right after presentations are the best kind of party because there's a default conversation topic!

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"Well, hello there."

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Crap, if he's been introduced to this person he's forgotten their name completely. Possibly she has also just met a lot of people and lost track of them. He can hope.

"Hello."

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"I hear the gods brought from another world. One where everyone is nondynamic."

(She's a dom; she's an inch shorter than he is, but she looms.)

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She sure does. It's impressive and nervous-making. 

"Not quite everyone, but the vast majority, yes."

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"Must be"-- she says the words like she's savoring them-- "so terribly boring."

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Shrug. "We seem to get on alright." Darn sociology people. Why couldn't she just ask him chemistry questions he doesn't know the answer to or something.

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"Has Miss Maturin had a chance to show you many of the... amenities... here in Anglia?"

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What does that meeeeaaan help. Presumably it includes museums and stuff and doesn't include visiting a doctor to get inoculated for everything available. "I've mostly just been getting settled in and planning my research. She's been an excellent host though. I mean patron." 

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"Surely you can't be working all the time. Everyone needs some... relaxation." She says "relaxation" in much the same way that someone else might say "knife murder."

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"Mhm." 

Man, he really thought he was getting used to this event and/or universe and not going to be constantly scared of people all night but nope, here he is with his lizard brain convinced that this perfectly normal human being is going to turn out to be an axe murderer. Chill out, lizard brain, nobody is actually an axe murderer, you're just unreasonably terrified of minor social awkwardness. (He doesn't find himself very convincing.)

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"Perhaps you and I should go out sometime and... relax."

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"Could be fun," he says noncommittally. Possibly he is going to be Very Busy With Research until he gets a bit more used to Dom body language and a bit less scared of everything unfamiliar.

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She smiles in a predatory fashion.

"If Miss Maturin is going to neglect you so I just don't think she deserves to keep you. Don't you agree?"

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"Sorry, what--I didn't mean to imply she had done anything wrong? She's been awesome. Everyone here has been very nice." Gaaaah he's probably fucking up this interaction six different ways and he's lost sight of Maturin.

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"Oh, but I'm sure you don't always want people to be nice."

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"Um. Yes, I do? Maybe I don't understand what you mean. Sorry?" He really wants to make up some excuse for why he needs to be on the other side of the room right now, but he can't come up with anything and also he feels unaccountably nervous about turning his back on her.

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She reaches out and flicks imaginary lint off his shoulder. It hurts. "Isn't it... exciting... when people aren't nice?"

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He flinches at the unexpected contact and then feels deeply embarrassed about it. "I kind of prefer unexciting actually. I'm a very boring person except for randomly ending up on another planet." Was that vaguely on topic? At this point he's pretty sure she's internally laughing at him so whatever.

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