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Apr 07, 2020 10:24 PM
Bruce gets dropped in Gallia and is confused
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"I really could not care less if you swear, when I'm not making an effort I swear horribly. And I would love to see the Journal of the Imperial Society and hear your thoughts on which bits are wrong."

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They enter a library that looks rather as if a tornado has flown through it. 

"Is that the most important thing? That might not be the most important thing."

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"Well, we should also do more linguistics, but if I can get a sense of what scientific discoveries and technological inventions you've had recently, I might be able to come up with advancements based on what I know from my world. Like, do you have vaccines? They're a way to prevent people from getting a bunch of different illnesses. And I know some of the principles for vehicles that go faster than a horse and can run all day, stuff like that."

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"See, I think it'll do better if you ask questions! You know what's important! --Yes, we do have a vaccine for smallpox but not for any other conditions."

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"That's really good that you have a vaccine for smallpox and also I should get that as soon as possible, holy shit. In my world they eradicated it and I have no immunity whatsoever." Fuuuuuuck.

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"You eradicated a disease?"

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"We did! Totally gone, no cases in decades, just a handful of samples in labs. And we eradicated a cattle disease too, and we're so close to getting rid of polio but governments keep fucking it up."

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Bounce bounce. "By Hercules! That's astonishing."

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Oh wow alternate universe swearing is adorable. Not the point. "Do you know how I can go about getting vaccinated? I super don't want to die but I also have no idea how hard the vaccine is to get."

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"Any Jewish doctor will have it."

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"I'm just saying if the medical system weren't chained to outdated notions of propriety and service to a nonexistent deity--"

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"You can't say the gods don't exist. They'll hear you."

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"And what? Fail to exist at me?"

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"I would be happy to acquire a vaccine from whichever of a Jewish doctor or your local gods is distributing them more conveniently," he says, with what he thinks is as much diplomacy as can reasonably be expected. "But maybe it would be better schedule-wise to look at that journal first?" So diplomatic. So changing of subject. Incidentally, if there are gods and they did drop him here they arguably owe it to him not to get him killed off immediately.

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"The priests don't distribute vaccines. It's ungentledomly."

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"That sentence was linguistically and sociologically fascinating, in that it contained a word I have never heard before composed of morphemes I'm familiar with, indicating a social group I was only peripherally aware existed. Also in my culture priests and medics are very different specialties with very small overlap and a lot of specialist training required for either one."

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"I'll leave you to it."

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Eli brings Bruce to the library and flops in an oversized chair on top of a pile of papers. (Most of the rest of the library is also covered in papers.) "Most priests don't do anything related to medicine, but the priests of Asclepius-- he's the god of medicine-- treat people. Allegedly treat people. Mostly manage to avoid causing active harm to people. Why aren't your gods' priests medics? Don't they promise healing? I really thought all gods would promise healing."

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"So, disclaimer that I'm a bad person to explain this because I don't believe in any of my world's religions and even if I got sent here by some sort of god I have no idea which one, but back home religions do promise healing but nearly everyone still goes to doctors because the ones who go to doctors often get better and the ones who just pray usually don't. You do ever get people refusing medical care for religious reasons, or doing religious stuff instead of seeking treatment, especially in cases where the best treatments we have aren't good enough, but even other religious people usually think those people are taking a bad risk." He's pretty sure both homeopaths and Christian Scientists would be offended by being lumped together like that, but he can only go into so much detail without detouring into endless context for the context.

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Eli blinks and then he says, "...so your priests don't diagnose conditions and prescribe treatments?"

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"Most of them don't, no. There's a bit of overlap where if your main problem is mental distress and you need someone to talk to you could talk to either a priest or a medical-type person who specializes in being a good person to talk to, but only the latter will diagnose you with something. I think. I haven't actually talked to a religious official in years."

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"...those priests seem even more useless than our priests!"

(A servant brings in some tea and pastries.)

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His capacity for diplomacy is very limited and not at all sufficient to keep him from laughing out loud. "Pretty much! They would say they give very useful advice about ethics but I disagree with them about ethics a lot too. And of course the ones from different religions disagree with each other some too."

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"Priests give advice about ethics? --What's a religion? It's coming through as a word that means 'scrupulous observation of the traditional practices' but there wouldn't be... different versions of that... at least not in the same country."

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