Peressa Rabniran is having a quiet evening at home poring over some friends' research papers. Her husband is out on a camping trip with friends who, like him, are considerably more outdoorsy than Peressa, and they don't have any children yet, so she has the apartment to herself. She could go out to the floor lounge, but she's enjoying the solitude. She sips a spiced orange mixer and flips to a different paper.
"Comparative religions, or just yours in particular?"
"I mean, most people consider the Bible scripture but we have other ones too."
"Sorry, that didn't come through quite right, can you rephrase?"
"...I'm a Mormon, Mormons have as scripture the Bible and the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine and Covenants. Most religions agree on the Bible but not the other parts."
"Most, really? That's interesting."
"...I mean I don't know very exactly how many but I know more that do than that don't."
"Fair enough. What do you want to do for a living? Give me an ambitious answer and a practical one."
"I want to be a singer but if that doesn't work out I was probably going to be a nurse or something? I don't know if you need as many nurses without bitoxiphosphene though."
"It's a lot more necessary than it is pleasant. It's a very practical job plan. What kind of living arrangement do you prefer?"
"I'd been living with my foster parents but like ideally one day I'd get married and live with my husband."
Nod. "I'm looking into public housing you can be placed in for the moment--we can't give you your foster parents, I'm sorry to say; if you really wanted to marry immediately you could probably manage it but in general one gets better results by being a bit picky. But I can get you a solo apartment or something with more internally shared space."
"It's probably going to be impossible to marry somebody who is also a Mormon, isn't it. Uh shared space might be good if people'd want turns with the baby?"
"Yes, that's the sort of thing I was thinking of. People shouldn't have to raise children alone. Do you want something temporary or do you want to be matched with an eye to long-term alloparenting."
"How does that... work... here? That sounds like that weird thing Cascadians do instead of getting married..."
"An alloparent is a platonic companion who helps rear a child. Lots of couples will move in with another couple and raise their children communally, with only one couple having an infant at a time so as to double the labor available for caring for each child."
"I guess that might be cool once I'm married but I'm not."
"Are you on any medications we should be figuring out how to replace?"
"Just painkillers and I can probably do without."
"No postpartum depression, no anxiety worth treating?"
"That happens to be very convenient right now. Don't hesitate to reach out if that happens to change." Type type. "Alright, I'm going to get you set up with an online assistance account, and we can start off by finding you a housing assignment and a language tutor, with an eye to testing into an educational program once you're sufficiently competent in the language, does that sound alright? Remember that it's fine to say no."
"I don't see why I'd say no? That sounds fine? What else would I do?"
"You might have some other idea that I hadn't thought of, or you might find it important to clarify some detail before I actually started doing anything, or there might be some other reason to say no. It's important to have social support for not just going along with whoever seems like they know what they're doing if you have a reason not to."
"Okay. I don't think I have to clarify anything particularly."