Aug 03, 2021 3:01 AM
kyeo in anomaland
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"I'm... a human... from Ibyabek, which I don't think is in this system, because the other inhabited planets in that one speak a related language."

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The nurse has a distinctly skeptical expression. "How many inhabited planets do you know about, around how many stars? How long have they been inhabited?"

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"A few dozen planets and a few tens of stars? For a hundred-odd years, some of them. Except Earth, where humans came from."

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" . . . What year was it, last time you checked?"

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"In Earth years?"

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"Why--oh, yes, I see. Yes, Earth years."

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"Two thousand one hundred something."

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"What? I was prepared for the surprise of you being from the future but how are you from the past? It's 4014 here. . . . Are you counting years from something nonstandard?"

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"That's the standard Earth year."

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"Did they reset it at some point? It'd have to be retroactive, you can't be from two thousand years in the future. What's wrong with counting from the invention of counting years, what are you doing instead?"

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"I'm not actually sure what Earth counts from. Ibyabek counts from independence."

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"Do you remember the your-instance-of-Earth-year of any historical events from before the start of interstellar colonization? Completion of the Isthmus Canal, moon landing, eradication of tuberculosis?"

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"I... think the moon landing was in nineteen-something."

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"Okay, so that would put you . . . roughly a hundred and fifty years into the future? That's not too inconsistent with your number of planets. Assuming you aren't making all of this up for some reason. I have no particular reason to think you're lying except that time travel is very implausible but if you have more evidence I want it."

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"...where is my sidearm? It's dangerous if you don't know how to use it."

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It turns out to be in a plastic bin in a little locker in the corner of the room; the nurse brings him the bin and says, "I'll agree that I haven't seen one of these before. How does it work? How is it operated?"

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"- I don't believe I should explain. Just leave it in the bag and it will be fine."

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"I thought you were going to use it to prove you're from the future but if that's hard to do safely we can do something else. I could get a linguist in to figure out what's up with your language?"

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"All right."

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"I'm going to need my handcomp back for that. Do you have yours on you? Even if it isn't backcompatible future tech will be worth a fortune if we can reverse-engineer it, and of course it'll be excellent evidence."

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"I don't have one of those."

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"Did you lose it in the time travel or do you have something else--wait, did they get braincomputers working, I super hope they got braincomputers working! That's really unlikely to be backcompatible, though, let me get you one of the spares for people who were in hangglider accidents or similar."

He takes his handcomp back and types into it a bunch, then hands it back so it can translate more. "Linguist and spare are on their way, in the other order. While we wait you can ask me questions about the past--ooh, and write down everything you remember about the future before you forget any of it!"

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"This is Earth?"

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"Yup! Silver Mountains, Northwest Continent. Can you tell me what you do for personal computers or is it recursively nonpublic information?"

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"They're not necessary for ship duty. Recursively nonpublic?"

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