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Jul 30, 2021 3:07 PM
Dottie lands in the middle of Brian and Jackson
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"...well, betas are similar, I guess?"

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"-huh, maybe you're just all betas. Do Eclipse humans menstruate? Some betas do, some don't. If that's a really sensitive topic, you don't have to answer, it's probably not that important."

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"Women menstruate."

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"Weird that we developed the same word- weird that a lot of things are the same, probably, I'm just not noticing how weird they are. We call omegas 'women', usually. 'Omega' is an old-fashioned word from back when English-speakers in the West were really into showing how up on the classics they were- we call 'alphas' wemen1, and 'betas' men. I'm mostly using the Greek terms for your benefit and because I'm pretentious enough to know them. Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked- if I ignore the way you divide up by gender, it seems like the social role of alphas corresponds with that of doms, and that of omegas with that of subs. It seems like your genders might match what betas have going on- sexes, I guess. I'm not up on gender studies, never really figured it would be a priority."

1: 'wemen' is pronounced as 'way' + 'men'

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"Huh. People sometimes use 'men' or 'man' in a slightly archaic sense referring to the whole human race?"

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"Yeah, I guess we probably derived our words from the same source but we needed an extra one. Anyway, my biggest worry is that we're going to have a lot of people- on all sides- who are upset that whatever they're doing with gender or role isn't coming across. Some people take that stuff really seriously. I'm not sure what the best solution to this is- maybe just don't let those people at the helm of interworld contact. I thought it was worth talking about before we call in the big guns, in case it might impact- how well we're received."

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"I'm not sure people expect aliens to do gender and role just the way we do, though I suppose in a fashion it's actually weirder that you're still English-speaking humans with Google and everything."

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"As long as we're getting out of ahead of it, I'm not worried," she says, giggling slightly.

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"Is there something you're - currently trying to communicate, that I should be aware of - you didn't sound sure if you wanted to keep using 'she' -"

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"It's- uh, it's complicated. I'm not a fan of my gender role but I'm kind of attached to my gender, so. It's a personal issue, I'll figure it out eventually. The thing I'm talking around isn't because it's hard for me personally, so I should just get to the point- what are your rape laws like?"

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"...rape is illegal? Uh, and defined to include any cases where consent is coerced or dubious due to drugs or threats or being fourteen or whatever, not just a stranger jumping out of the bushes."

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"Right. Doms don't have the problem where once a year they suddenly become fertile and horny and expect subs everywhere to cater to their whims?"

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"We're not- it doesn't happen anymore, but it's very much in recent memory that you could expect every alpha in America to apologize for the ones that did it, and the ones that did- even if you expected them to be good, they weren't always- my boyfriend's great."

Mostly. Dottie's not going to mention what it took to manage that.

"Some alphas understand that there's no such thing as a 'biological imperative' when it comes to justifying rape, but there's a reason most of our government are betas. You can rely on them not to get- caught up in anything."

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"We have a rape rate, we're not perfect, and some people are shitty about, like, drunk subs going out in revealing clothing and stuff, but there is not a time of year in which lots of ordinary people start committing sexual assault."

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Nod.

"That's everything I was worried about. Everything else can wait. What do you recommend for someone new to Eclipse? Any good tourist destinations that- rely on eclipsed, somehow?"

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"We're mostly too expensive to use as a primary vehicle of consumer-grade entertainment. There's some folks who work in movie effects."

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"Works out for you. For us, chanters are kind of like- medical professionals. You guys have doctors, nurses, and- what else, orderlies? Some are more trained, some get more respect, they all are basically doing something similar in a really broad sense but some need less skill than others- and the only really expensive ones are the ones that have to train for years for it."

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"That makes sense. Only one in ten thousand people gets eclipsed and a lot of those don't want to suffer through control training and get locked down."

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"It's hard to know the exact statistics- how have I not mentioned the chorus of preservers yet? We even talked about it earlier. So the Chorus of Preservers is the organization- cult?- that collects new preservers. They've been around thousands of years in some form of another and they have recruitment drives every year. They work with the U.S. government but they don't really respect it. We ran into some issues a couple years ago when the president tried to cut them off. They ended up inventing a new battery and offering it to all of our political enemies if we wouldn't supply them with more chanters. They're trying to save the world, they claim, so maybe it's just the cost of doing business- but with two earths we might be able to do better."

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"What is wrong with them apart from not particularly respecting the US government?"

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"-the part where they extorted us in exchange for chanters. What they're doing is important but I'm sure humanity can put together something better than that if we have the most intelligent people working on the problem instead of the oldest."

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"...are the chanters being, like, enslaved, or just... not banned from working for them?"

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"...somewhere between the two, I think, but maybe I'm the victim of a propaganda campaign, we might want to table this until I can give you- hey, can eclipsed do anything for memory?"

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"Yes, I have an eidetic memory - I can't share it right now but I'm passively working on that and might be able to in a while."

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