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Jul 05, 2020 6:06 AM
Christina Theodora and warlock Bruce
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"Enh. I love God a lot. You do your loved ones no favors by pretending their fuckups aren't."

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"Maybe God is different in different universes, then. Our Bible says God is perfect."

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"Well, your Bible could be wrong," she points out.

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Gaaaah she's probably a demon and whether she is or not this is not something he wanted to be talking about today. "Uh? No? It's literally the direct word of God? Say, about that evolution thing, do you know what's the farthest they've gotten a species to change from its original form? I think in my world it's dogs but I would have to look it up to be sure."

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"And still remain the same species? Man, I dunno, I'm not a biologist. Probably depends on how you define species anyway. Dogs are weird, you have little yappy dogs and great big huskies that are practically still wolves and you've got greyhounds with their big barreled chests and tiny little waists, it's crazy. Lots of things in nature are crazy, though, not that dogs' craziness isn't entirely humanity's fault. Do you now how many different morphologies there are of oak trees, it's a lot. Anyway, the Bible comes from God but humans wrote it down and then translated it a bajillion times and as anyone who's ever played a game of Telephone can tell you just because the person at the beginning of the chain knows what they're talking about that doesn't mean the end result is infallible."

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Bruce doesn't see why God would let anyone mess up the Bible, but he knows from Greek and Hebrew classes in school that translation is hard, and if God had reasons to confuse humans' languages at Babel then He might have had reasons to confuse the Bible too. Maybe if the Bible made too much sense humans would try to rely on it completely and never pray for guidance, or something. He shouldn't speculate.

"Yeah, dogs are weird, it's pretty awesome how many kinds there are. Um, if humans evolved in your world, did you evolve in the Garden of Eden or were you already barred from it?"

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"The Garden didn't literally happen, the Bible has a lot of metaphors."

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"Something that actually happened in my world getting used as a metaphor in your world's Bible probably means something really interesting, but I have no idea what."

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"Or it could just be a metaphor in your world too, how would you know?"

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"I feel like the angel who guards the gates of Eden with a flaming sword would probably not have been sent to guard a metaphor. But they never talk and nobody can see what's behind them so I guess I can't really be sure."

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"The what now."

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"I guess your world wouldn't have that, if it's a metaphor, yeah . . . Bar, can I borrow a copy of that picture of the Eden angel that was on the cover of National Geographic?"

Bar provides a glossy 8x10. It shows a pillar of cloud, lit as though by bright sunlight, though the surrounding mountain pass is overcast. Floating unsupported in front of the cloud is a longsword that must be four meters long, with crimson flames licking along its blade. Behind the entity is only darkness in which no shapes can be made out.

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"I don't know if I should be concerned by the implications, or excited that your world apparently contains magic apples of immortality and ethics. I'm gonna go with both."

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"Well, they're inaccessible, but I guess it's reasonable to be excited that they're possible in principle. I guess if you're excited about immortality your kind of humans also have mortal bodies?"

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"We do! Mostly, anyway. There are ways of circumventing mortality but most of them are inconvenient and/or don't scale. Anyway, one angel is not infinite defense, I'm more optimistic than you about how accessible they are. Any idea what class of angel?"

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He recalls the speculation being mainly that they're an Archangel, since Principalities on up don't spend much time on Earth that anyone knows about, but. Well. His next remark is addressed to his shoes where they're pulled up into the legs of his barstool.

"Um. Before we go any further with this conversation. If you're going to say stuff like 'one angel is not infinite defense' you might as well just admit to being a demon? It's not like there's anything I can do about it, I'm definitely not faithful enough to drive out demons, I just want to be clear about it, you know?" He cringes a bit; just because the one demon he knows is uninterested in random violence doesn't mean they're even mostly all like that.

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...She bursts into giggles. "I'm not a demon! I mean, I guess I could see how you'd come to that conclusion, but that is slightly the opposite of what I am! I mean, okay, the opposite of a demon is an angel and I'm not strictly speaking an angel, but," giggle, "I'm definitely on the sacred side of the sacred and the profane. I'm, ah, I'm the Second Coming."

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Bruce is now two for two on being laughed at by demons, which is better than a lot of ways things could have gone but still pretty embarrassing. "Um. I'm pretty sure demons claim to be the Second Coming sometimes." 

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"Well, I guess that's fair. If you think I'm a demon does that mean you won't hold the door for me so I can sneak into your world and make an attempt on the apples, how much should I care about convincing you."

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"Why would the Second Coming need to sneak anywhere . . . ? Never mind that, if you want to prove you're not a demon you can, hm. Let me think a second." 

He knows demons can't touch crucifixes, but he also knows demons can be sneaky and have powers he doesn't understand. If she's a demon then possibly the entire bar is an illusion of some sort under her control, which means borrowing a crucifix from Bar isn't a solid test. But there's the one on the wall in the hallway outside the door he came in, and he can probably reach it without letting the door close. 

"Would you mind waiting here for just a moment?" he asks, getting off the barstool and moving toward the door without turning his back on her.

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"Sure. --And I'm the Second Coming in my world, and I don't necessarily want to assume that your world's God would be happy about strange Christs coming in and taking forbidden apples for widespread agricultural cultivation."

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Okay, so if she's telling the truth it's different Gods per world. And they might not always agree with each other? That sounds weird enough that he'd wonder why a demon would bother making it up, except it's obvious, she wants to break into Eden and thinks he can help somehow. Argh, he's got too many conflicting models of the world in his head and they're messing up each other's predictions.

Bruce opens his door and manages to grab the crucifix off the wall while propping the door open with an outstretched foot; being a teenage mess of arms and legs that go on for days is useful sometimes. He brings it back to Christina and holds it out, close enough to be within her reach but hopefully not close enough to look like a threat.

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She takes it and examines it. "Man, this is always weird." The crucifix is slightly dusty. Only no, now it isn't anymore.

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Going from a bunch of competing hypotheses to one hypothesis usually feels less like stepping into an elevator shaft

Bruce collapses on the floor next to Christina's feet. "Lord", he murmurs, "I am sorry for doubting you."

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...She giggles some more, covering her mouth with her hands.

"Get up, get up," she says, bending down to take his hands and assist him with this. "You had every reason to doubt! I'm never going to criticize someone for testing the reasonable breadth of hypothesis space! Besides, I'm not your Lord, different universes, remember?"

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