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Dec 01, 2021 1:44 PM
Rachel in Astrocracy
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"Thank you!"

It briefly occurs to Rachel that she should go clothes shopping. Then she remembers that she has no money, no job, no ID, her only skill is "being a shapeshifting child soldier", and oh yeah, she's stuck in the Roman Empire.

Well, it was a nice idea.

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"Yeah."  Jackie hands over her coat and walks to the foyer, where there is a bin full of donated winter clothes which she pauses and stares at for a full ten seconds before heading for the door.

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"Um, are these clothes free for anyone?"

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"I don't.  Know."

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"Sorry, but—do you mind if I run and ask the librarian real quick? I'm not gonna have money for a while, I expect, and it would be nice to, you know, have more than one outfit."

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"Yes that's fine."

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Rachel scurries off and returns soon after, and descends on the bins to snatch up clothes like an eagle snatching up its prey. She is sorting them and grabbing the ones she likes best at impressive speed.

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"Did.  Did they say all of those?"

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"She said to take what I need!"

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Jackie looks like she wants to say something but ultimately just holds out a hand for her coat.

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Rachel hands back the coat. She thinks I have no money and I'm stuck here under your government which is probably evil, please just let me have this one victory really hard. Unfortunately, she has not developed the ability to thought-speak outside of morph with her resurrection, so this has no noticeable effect.

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When Rachel looks done scavenging Jackie wordlessly leads her on the walk to her house.

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"So, um, does your world have the concept of aliens? ...Extraterrestrials, that is, not immigrants."

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"Extraterrestrials."  It's clearly meant as a question, though delivered very flatly.

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"Yeah, you know, like people from other planets?"

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"Th.  Do - Aa.  No I don't know that."

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"Well, they exist! At least they did in my timeline so presumably they do in this one too unless someone stepped on rather a lot of butterflies."

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"What do butterflies have to do with that."

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"Oh, it's, um, a reference to a story I read in school. A guy goes back in time and steps on a butterfly and when he gets back to his time a much worse guy is the leader of his country. It's supposed to show how small changes can have big ripple effects, like—" like the Roman Empire not falling and inventing Internet, but it's probably not a good idea to talk like that out in the street where anyone can hear you "—like you guys having a month called 'Druoary'."

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"It's pronounced 'Duoary'."

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It is at least theoretically possible to get information out of Jackie! Score one for Rachel. Well, score two, score one was Jackie not calling the cops on her and getting her sent to the looney bin.

"Thanks. English spelling rules are stupid in every possible timeline, I suppose."

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It appears that getting more information out of Jackie will require additional prompting.  The snow crunches under their feet.

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Rachel figures she's bugged her enough for now. Further questions can wait until after they get back to the house and she can demonstrate morphing. She walks in silence.

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Jackie removes her boots and coat at the door.  "You can just set your clothes there."  She gestures to a table.  "And go, uh.  Wait in the living room.  Make yourself comfortable or whatever."

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Rachel sets her clothes on the table—folding them as she does so, not perfectly but well enough to reduce the amount of space they take up—and then proceeds to the living room.

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