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Jul 03, 2020 11:40 AM
Christina Theodora and warlock Bruce
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She is humming, softly, and swaying, slightly, as she scribbles in her notebook, just aimless brainstorming that circles back to the same points oftener than not. Either way, she isn't paying much attention to her surroundings, even as the door closes behind her, and almost bumps into a table that wasn't supposed to be there before she looks up. 

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She's in a bar, with a view of exploding stars out the window and a teenage boy drinking a mug of something creamy and reading a book.

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"Okay, this is new," she says, snapping the notebook closed and sliding her pen into the spine. 

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"Yeah, I wasn't expecting it either. Apparently there's a whole pile of universes out there! I have a book written by aliens!" He gestures with his book; it's a memoir by someone named Chu'lak.

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"Oh, fun. Is this the Breakroom?"

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"Bar says it's called Milliways. Apparently time stops outside while you're in here . . . which I guess would mean you can't be from the same world as me. Assuming she was telling the truth about how it works, anyway, but I checked it a couple minutes ago and it seemed to be true then."

Honestly, he's pretty sure this whole thing is some sort of demonic trick, but he's already damned so he might as well enjoy it while he's got the chance. Either that or it's God making some sort of last-ditch attempt to save him, but when he asked Bar for a book recommendation he got something that so far hasn't mentioned Jesus once, so that doesn't seem especially likely.

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"Well, I don't see why she wouldn't be. Pausing time is excellent, I've got some time-sensitive problems to work on that might benefit from outside assistance."

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He wobbles back and forth between "the demons who made this place are out to entrap her too" and "she's a demon in fair guise" and ends up rocking back and forth on his bar stool a bit instead of doing anything about either possibly. "What are your problems? If you don't mind telling someone who can't do anything."

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"The world isn't in acceptable shape, let's put it that way."

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"I'm sorry to hear it," he says on autopilot, because he's not sure what else to say. He's not exactly satisfied with the state of his world either, but in his world's case it's because of human sin, so it feels kind of hypocritical to complain about. And in his world he could say something about everything being part of God's perfect plan and everyone except him would find it comforting, and presumably God rules over her world and all the others, but delivering fake reassurances to someone from a potentially very different culture sounds like a dumb plan.

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"I mean, is yours?"

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"No, it really isn't. Did humans Fall, in your world? We did."

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"...Fall, like, the story of Adam and Eve and the apple?"

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"Yes, that." Actually, it belatedly occurs to him that this should have been more obvious, because she's wearing clothes and Adam and Eve were naked. But maybe there's a universe where humanity didn't Fall and they still wear clothes for other reasons; clothes are pretty useful, after all.

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"Yeah that didn't...actually...happen...people are just like that on their own."

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"Wait, so people in your world were created already fallen? That probably has fascinating implications for your salvation but I suck at theology so I have no idea what they are."

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"People in my world evolved, and then God panicked."

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"Sorry, what does 'evolved' mean?"

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"Okay, so you know how people will breed livestock so that the healthiest, most productive animals have the most children so that the next generation is better at what humans want them for?"

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"Yeah, I've heard of that." He even knows that it has to do with minor variations in their DNA, but attempts to find genetic effects of the Fall haven't turned up anything conclusive, if only because they don't have gene samples from Adam or Eve.

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"So, this happens in nature, too, only instead of 'whatever traits humans want' it's 'whatever traits lead to surviving long enough to have more surviving babies than the competition.' And over time this can lead to colossally staggering changes. And when an animal hits on a strategy of being smarter than the competition, eventually you can get people. And then God freaks out and invents immortal souls because people ceasing to exist is an awful concept They've never encountered before."

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"Huh. My world's God is omniscient, so we had immortal souls from the start . . . How long does that sort of change from not-people to people take, though? Even changing one percent of the DNA would take, I don't know, tens of thousands of years? More?"

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"Enh, there's omniscience and there's omniscience...knowing how everything is now doesn't necessarily lead to drawing all the conclusions you would have if you had more experience. Being literally the first person to exist causes mistakes and all that. Anyway, I don't know about percentages, but in species with especially short generations you can get visible speciation within a human lifetime, like, lots of geneticists like using fruit flies but finches are also a good example."

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"Uh, I didn't mean any disrespect to your world's God or anything, sorry. It's probably the same God ruling over all the universes anyway, and He decided to do humans differently in different ones for some reason. And yeah, I've heard of speciation. Are you saying if you keep going you could get two kinds of finch or whatever that are as different as humans and apes?"

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"Oh, yeah, definitely! I mean, have done, we have lots of kinds of finches. Anyway, they're probably different, and I don't mind the disrespect. I disrespect God all the time! For example, while being the first person ever and having to figure out ethics from scratch is a great excuse, the entire Old Testament is a giant series of fuckups!"

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Bruce has no idea what to do with that statement, largely because he agrees with it. "Uh. I, uh. That's  blasphemy?" He looks around nervously. Neither of them seems to have spontaneously combusted or come down with hideous boils, and there aren't suddenly any bears in the room, or anything, so that's nice.

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