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Feb 26, 2021 5:17 AM
Azure-and-Florentho portalsnaked to Manere
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Azure is coming to the conclusion that he's supposed to micromanage every movement of his assistant.  In other circumstances he wouldn't mind - would even enjoy it, in a few - but here he's leading a dance where he doesn't know the steps and isn't even sure he's hearing the same music.

Gently, and keeping up a friendly smile, "The ones who brought me here mentioned you had a Gift that might prove useful if there were a problem.  I'd like to know that first, in case it becomes relevant.  Explain it to me."

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"Yes, sir.

I have a healing factor, sir. It's mostly for myself, but I can have some observation outside myself, and in an emergency I could push it to help with some - critical medical problem, if something were to go very wrong.

A medical team could come in after that, but my Gift can work on - a lot of different things, and no one needs to know or understand what's wrong, yet, for it to help." He could probably have said that better. He's just - less used to talking about his Gift, and - being like this, at the same time. (And - alien. He's not used to that at all.) He should try harder though. 

He keeps looking properly at the table.

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"An impressive Gift, and it does sound useful.

"The next thing I need to ask about is etiquette.  I'm not familiar with the customs here.  Is there anything I should have told you to do but haven't?  In particular, are you looking at the table because you're supposed to for the entire conversation, or because I was supposed to provide a cue?  Or anything else in that category."  Azure isn't feeling eloquent today either.

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Eyes flicking down before returning at the compliment. "Thank you, sir."

Oh - of course this is something that could differ between cultures - even between cultures where no one is an alien. He looks up for a moment - not all the way up (of course).

"Oh, no sir - you have no responsibility for me. I'm here for your service only. 

This is the form of our etiquette, yes, sir. I can learnt to your culture and people's etiquette if you would wish that sir, as well as I can, though I am afraid I do not know it at all at the moment, sir."

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That's reassuring.  He re-calculates the shape he's building in his mind, now with an upper bound to go with the lower bound.  What he's expected to authorize is a category that does include sitting but does not include posture, at least in this particular instance.

"I will need to learn the local etiquette in either case, so I might as well get as much practice as possible.  Please tell me if anything I do is rude or stands out as unusual."

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...That's not actually strange, that makes sense, it makes sense to ask him - some places give dominants submissive tutors for this exact kind of reason he remembers, and he's here for service and to do what the alien dom might need.

He - isn't sure how to do it, but - that's fine, he might do it wrong and the dom might not like it (like any dom might not or - some other way, maybe) and - that's also what he's here for, he knows that. Why a sub with a healing factor is who they wanted. He isn't sure how to do it right but he can try and probably (hopefully) learn and that's why it's good if it's him. 

"...Yes, sir." Should he say (how can he say) - 

"No one will think you must know our ettiquette, sir - our country is - glad and honored to meet a new civilization." 

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"I realize it isn't required, but it's important to me anyway."

Azure already has a few questions from what he's seen so far, which he asks:  What does 'sir' imply?  Is there an equivalent term he should be using for Alessa?  Is averting the eyes a submissive thing?  It would be on the Fleet, and does seem to be, but he should probably check anyway.

(There are a few other things he's less sure about how to phrase.  'Are things that would normally be spoken between daemons spoken by humans or just not said,' for example, probably isn't a useful question.)

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(That's something to note and remember, about the alien dom.)

Sir (and ma'am) are the standard appellatives for submissive to use with dominants. Their etiquette only has this in one direction; there aren't corresponding terms. Looking down is for submissives. 

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Azure has a lot of questions about role, and should probably start with them.

"Is everyone either dominant or submissive, or are there non-dynamic and switch people here?"

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...Oh. Oh.

(He'd known in general that there were cultures with more roles, but details not really so much, and he's heard Kente's casual stories but -

it feels like he hadn't quite connected, at least not with this - straightforwardness. Suddenly.)

 

He needs to actually answer, not get lost in his own head.

"We have dominant and submissive, for roles.

I know some cultures have some other ones, but I don't know very much about it, I'm afraid, sir." 

...There is probably not a listening device here. The government won't be sure of all the alien dom's abilities yet, won't want to take the unknown risk of him noticing it. And if there is it - probably won't be so bad. He can say he was extrapolating from the other cultures existing. And - the official answer is what the alien dom will need to know, to know how things will work, but suddenly it feels important to tell what is - probably the truth, about people. 

"...I think we might have other kinds of people sometimes, sir. Even if not other roles." ...And he's caused himself a problem now, hasn't he (he should have thought this through better), he doesn't want the alien dom to be disoriented or embarrassed because he'd think that since Alessa just said that that's how things are and everyone would know it, when instead most anyone else he talked to would brush it off instead as an obvious silly confusion. And of course the alien dom might reasonably then say that that was what he told him, and of course he'd then be punished for it (and - possibly replaced, and that's much worse, he can't have that happen) but he can't say that. Among everything else what does that sound like, some kind of intrigue in a novel he didn't read.

He ducks his head harder. "I apologize, I think others wouldn't say so. I apologize for my presumptuousness sir."

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That was a surprising amount of emotion.  Azure is tempted to ask if Alessa is one of them, but suspects that might be an overly-personal question.

"So dominant and submissive are the only two legally and socially recognized roles in this country, and if people don't quite fit they're rounded up to whatever they're closest to?"  He can't say he's happy with that, though it also isn't surprising.  There are a few people in the Fleet's kink community who take issue with switches, even if they're a minority of a minority.

"I suspect the Fleet has a decent percentage of non-dynamic people, though it's hard to say for certain.  I can guess for many, but not everyone.  Ah - Fleet culture doesn't mark role visibly," he notes, remembering that Alessa wasn't part of the group who he'd explained that to. 

"Daemon element is a practical enough system to sort people that other things like role, gender, birth month, ...eye color? - have relatively little..." he pauses, unsure how to phrase it.  "...Societal requirement to engage with?  Even many people I'd immediately label as dominant or submissive wouldn't necessarily think to include those terms if describing themselves."

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