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Sep 29, 2022 3:32 AM
dath ilan marian alt in atlas shrugged
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That's weird! Merrin does not have very many locals friends, and she's pretty sure she has zero local friends on the level of closeness where it would be at all reasonable to show up and knock on her door for a non-emergency. 

...Great. So it's an emergency, probably. 

(Merrin...does not yet, at this point, have the concept of door-to-door salespeople.) 

She scrambles up and runs over and opens the door. "What's wrong? Is someone hurt?" 

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It's a man she has never seen before, with a symmetrical face that looks like it smiles a lot. His current expression is one of polite formality over inquisitiveness. 

"Many things are wrong, but I am not here about any of them," he says. "I simply hoped you would permit me to speak with you."

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"Are you - someone who works with Dagny Taggart?" It's the only explanation Merrin can think of for how he knows where she LIVES; her address is on file with HR. 

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"No, I'm here for my own purposes. What do you think of Earth?"

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"- How do you know I'm not from Earth?" Merrin hears her mouth saying, before she manages to stop and consider whether confirming his suspicions is in any way a good idea. She's so confused

...It's a relief, though, in a way, to have it just already out in the open. Merrin is getting used to omitting it, at this point, but she still doesn't like it. 

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A flick of his fingers, superficially careless. "I heard it from someone who heard it from someone else. You're interesting; people speculate."

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Why is she interesting this is terrible ...It's not, in fact, even much of an update. 

"Right. Um, do you - want to come in and have a seat? I can make you tea or coffee." Merrin very quickly picked up that this was a local hospitality ritual. 

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"That would be lovely, thank you," he says with Earthly manners that look so perfectly natural they must be carefully rehearsed. He follows her into her apartment like a noble arriving at another noble's mansion.

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Merrin doesn't have the slightest idea what the appropriate etiquette is for an (Earth) noble following another noble into their mansion! (Which her apartment is most certainly not.) She can pick up that he's socially smoother than, say, Eddie, but not specifics. 

She lets him into her apartment and puts the kettle on. "I'm having coffee - which one did you want?" 

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"Coffee would be lovely." He stays out of her way while she brews it, his eyes flickering around her apartment and then back to her face, assessing and analyzing. His movements are fluid and relaxed, but somehow the overall impression is of a compressed spring.

Once they have their coffee: "May I ask as to your long-term plans?"

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Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah he is absolutely going to update negatively on her as a person based on her complete lack of any real long-term plans even though she's been here for a while! 

 

...So the most accurate answer is that she's still figuring it out, still gathering context, because right now she's missing a thousand implicit unnoticed under-the-surface facts about this world, and so any plan with more than two steps will predictably fail. She has at best medium-term plans, which are 'help Dagny try to solve the energy-generation problem' with an ongoing background goal of 'figure out the underlying factor that explains why this entire world is so consistently failing at basic Coordination'. 

Merrin...is not sure she should trust this random person, though? 

 

"May I ask first what you intend to do with that information?" she says, as lightly as she can manage, and only a little bit internally melting with embarrassment. 

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"It depends on what the answer is. I might offer to help you. I might try to persuade you to change your mind. I might decide I was a fool to come here, and leave."

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