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Oct 28, 2021 11:35 AM
Jing Yi meets Cascadia!Lev
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"That you and my dad run the WHOLE government," Tree said. 

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"We do not."

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The children look at him expectantly. 

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"I don't have candy every time I talk to you guys!"

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The children continue to look at him expectantly.

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"Fine, here you go." He pulls out some brightly colored squares of some material Jing Yi doesn't recognize. "Leave nothing but--"

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"Footprints, God, Uncle Lev, I know, I'm not four." Tree collects the squares and distributes them to the other children, who open them up and put the contents in their mouths and the wrapping in their backpacks. 

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"And this is what you get from using children as your sources."

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"I mean I am the top-ranked forecaster in Cascadia--"

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"Second from the top."

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"Top-ranked, your dad has been busy enjoying Folsom."

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Tree screws up her face in disgust. "Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww."

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"I am suitably impressed, though I'll admit I'm not sure we have those in my country."

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"Yeah, Cascadia is the only country in the world with forecasters. --I'm really not sure this is my job at all but I'm ahead on work and I hate literally every part of Folsom, so we can head back to my tent and then I can see about getting you sorted? At least I can get you a cab and a referral to an immigration social worker."

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"If you think that's best, then sure."

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"Bye kids, have fun!"

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"Bye, Lev!" the kids chorus.

As they leave, they begin to speculate furiously about the properties of Great Tang and why it has such weird population policy.

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"They're very cute." And deeply WEIRD.

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"They really are."

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Things that exist at Folsom, which Jing Yi sees as they're walking to Lev's tent:

-Tents.
-Campfires.
-Naked people.
-People in lingerie, corsets, leather harnesses, and assless chaps. Separately. Not at the same time.
-A person dressed up as a dog being walked on a leash. 
-People masturbating.
-People fucking. 
-Absolutely no one appearing to be bothered by or even notice the preceding two groups.
-People on pedestals stripping while something plays which is... probably... music? It has several music-like qualities, anyway. What instruments produce those noises. (There are no visible instruments.)
-People on pedestals being whipped.
-People on pedestals being elaborately tied up, including several people who are suspended in the air and one person who is suspended in the air upside down. 
-Innumerable booths selling whips, rope, corsets, leather harnesses, terrifying-looking objects the purpose of which is unclear, etc
-Booths selling alcohol and... pots? For some reason?
-Booths selling assorted mysterious foods such as corn dogs, candy apples, cotton candy, cheese on a stick, fried corn, funnel cakes, and poutine.
-A booth labeled "Free HIV Testing!" People there seem to be getting some kind of needle pushed into their veins.
-A booth labeled "Bad Dragon." It seems to sell dildos of such enormous size that they are presumably intended for decoration.
-A booth labeled "St. James Infirmary Fundraiser-- Get Whipped By Our Professional Mistresses! $30 for 15 minutes."
-A sign that says "Folsom 2049: Fuck You Gilead We're Still Here."

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Jing Yi has the distinct feeling that he would be more weirded out if he had slightly more context. As it is, he has absolutely no clue what is going on, and the extreme bafflement has wrapped back around to moderate bafflement. Maybe sex festivals are normal around here. (He's used to people being publically whipped... not being a festive activity? But the everything else implies 'sex festival', and he is not going to ask, out loud with his mouth, whether he is right.)

Is this normal food? No idea! Is this normal clothes around here? No clue! (He still feels distinctly overdressed in the circumstances. And he will admit the harnesses have a certain aesthetic appeal.) Do people regularly decorate their houses with dildos? People have done weirder!

Though it turns out Gilead and Cascadia Do Not Like Each Other. He Has Half A Clue About The Political Situation. Yay.

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Lev navigates them to a tent made of a very odd sort of material Jing Yi doesn't recognize at all, sits on a chair made of an equally odd material, gestures for Jing Yi to take one of the others, and says, "okay, so what is your problem?"

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He takes a seat. There is no non-crazy sounding way to explain it. "I sort of... Fell into your country? Literally. And I'm not sure my country exists, or at least the children had never heard of it, but that doesn't seem entirely plausible."

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"... ... ...what is your country named?"

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"Great Tang."

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