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Apr 09, 2020 2:23 AM
Bruce gets dropped in Gallia and is confused
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"...no," James says. "Why would there be a continent there? --What's English?"

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"My planet has the same continents as this one, except with an extra one here. If you never had one then that's odd, but it's probably better than if you had one and something happened to it. And English is . . . okay, apparently it's not the language we're speaking, it's the language I'm speaking which is bizzarely mutually intelligible with the language you're speaking. What do you call yours?"

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"...Anglian?"

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"Anglia and Anglian instead of England and English makes a fair bit of etymological sense in the history I know about too, actually. People called 'Angles' on the corresponding island. But that's kind of a tangent, we should probably be comparing histories and technology and stuff. What are some recent inventions here?"

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"You've had a long and stressful day," James announces, "you should go to bed."

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Bruce's first thought is that this is a bizzare non sequitur and James must be hiding something, then he realizes this is just him being bad at social stuff as usual. "What--oh, I'm keeping you up interrogating you, aren't I? Sorry. We can compare tech trees in the morning?" His last statement comes out as more of a question.

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"Well, you're a sub," James says. "We have to take responsibility for you."

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"That's very nice of you; I hope I would have been this nice to someone who appeared on me out of nowhere. Where should I be sleeping?"

He's a bit confused about how his not wanting power ties into this; presumably if he'd been a senator or something back home he'd he just as lost and in need of kindness now. But whatever motives James has add up to letting a random extremely foreign person crash in his house, so they can't be that bad as motives go.

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James rings a bell and calls a servant to take Bruce to a bedroom, where Bruce will discover that mattress technology has improved substantially in the past two hundred years.

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Well, it'd be a bit of a civilizational embarrassment if it hadn't. Anyway, he's a grad student, he can sleep anyw . . . 

We interrupt this thought process for an important biological function. Bruce Banner will return shortly.

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When Bruce wakes up, he will discover a small bell on the nightstand with which he may summon his own servant.

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He was expecting to discover his dorm room, or possibly the floor of the Stata Center, and spends a brief while being being unnerved and confused again. Then he totally fails to recognize the purpose of the bell, because he is not a person who can summon people and servants only exist in fiction, and instead goes in search of his host and/or food.

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Not long after he starts wandering, he encounters a servant.

"Good morning," the servant says. 

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"Good morning! Do you happen to know whether James is around or when he might have time to talk?"

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"Yes," the servant says. "I can take you to the parlor. Mr. Cavanaugh and a chaperone will be with you shortly."

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"Chaperone?" He asks, then remembers what the word means outside the context of middle school field trips, then is just as quickly confused again because he and James are both dudes. Maybe this world invented prudery but never got around to homophobia, which would be pretty rad of them.

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"Yes. Of course, Mr. Cavanaugh is a gentleman, but we can't have speculation."

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"Of course." When in Rome, or at least in bizzare alternate timeline that also had a Rome.

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Then Bruce will be taken to a parlor, where a matronly woman in her mid-fifties sits playing the piano. 

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That's neat. He sits down somewhere, ideally within the woman's peripheral vision so she doesn't feel snuck up on, and waits and listens to the music.

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And eventually James appears, looking somewhat worse for the wear. 

"My apologies about last night," James says, "you caught us at a very bad time."

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"Now worries, I apologise for intruding. And none of us did any of it on purpose."

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"It's a bit of an unusual situation," James says, "because while the gods... exist... you don't normally expect them to. Uh."

"--Do things," the older woman suggests.

"Well, they do do things," James says. "They send good weather and victory in battle and excellent harvests. Not so much of the... summoning of people from other worlds like in a scientific romance..."

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Bruce nods. "Well, hopefully we'll figure it out at some point." Not that he's holding out much hope of that even if he isn't a Boltzmann brain. "In the meantime, want to compare technologies? I might be able to invent some things faster than you would have otherwise, since I have cheaty future knowledge."

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"Do subs in your world study the scientific arts?" James asks. "In ours, it tends to be a field of study among nondynamics."

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