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May 11, 2021 8:34 AM
summer camp!
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"Mmhmm. I was in survival with you the first week before I decided to take mornings off."

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"Ohhh, right, I remember. - we can take mornings off?"

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"Yeah. I think kind of unofficially. One of the girls in my cabin kept nodding off during morning classes so Melissa said she might have more fun if she just slept in and I asked if that was just her or everyone and Melissa said 'this isn't Bible camp, we're not going to yell at you for anything short of arson' which I think she meant in a friendly way but which actually just made me feel worse, because."

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" - right, yeah. I think I'd naively expect a government-run summer camp staffed by military personnel to be stricter than Bible camp, but - well I'm sure she didn't mean anything by it. Maybe when she was our age her summer camp experiences were less than ideal, or something."

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"Yeah I think that's how she meant it. And - I think they're trying hard not to have it be a military camp just because the military people are the only people who are supposed to know about us. And I appreciate that. But - I mean I did a Bible camp last summer and it was actually really nice. It was before, uh - before anything went wrong and - they weren't actually strict about anything that I'd want to do so even if I guess technically it was strict it wasn't?"

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"Yeah. - 'We're not gonna yell at you' doesn't even really tell you what the rules are anyway. But I guess they are trying pretty hard not to make it...... stifling."

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"They're trying very hard. And they're soldiers, their first expertise is at keeping us alive and fighting the bad stuff out there and following orders when things are complicated, running a summer camp is not easy for them and they're doing it so we're all a little less alone." But she says this a little by rote. "I just miss being normal and not scared all the time."

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" - I mean I think the military does actually run military summer camps, too. But, uh, yeah. D'you - I don't know if it's rude to ask what happened last year - ?"

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"I lay eggs. 

 

They said it's because I'm half demon but I d-d-don't think so, I really don't."

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" - gosh. That sounds super rough."

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She stops walking and nods and trembles a little bit. "The - the first ones died because I didn't know what was going on, I didn't know, I told someone eventually but I could've told them seven months sooner and -

 

- they figured out an incubator and only one of them has died since then but they're - they're little lizards I don't know what I'm supposed to feel I don't know what I'm supposed to do I don't know if they're people and there's one every month and the only people who can possibly -" she gestures at the camp - "but they keep saying 'demons' and maybe they're right -"

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" - I gotta explain the demon thing in a second but do you want a hug first?"

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She hugs her. For a pretty long time. They have time before Mass, she planned ahead like a responsible person.

"I don't think I'd know how to deal with something like that at all. It sounds - really hard."

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"I'm okay," she says, while crying pretty hard actually. "It's not that bad really."

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"Shh," she whispers, sort of reflexively. "It sounds bad. I don't even - man, I'll never complain about my destiny again."

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She clings a bit. "Everyone's - everyone's been really good - I mean - they figured out the incubators and the food and they promised, they'll take care of all of them, whatever they, uh, need, it's more than - more than I would have expected the government to do really if you'd asked me what the government would do but -"

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She hugs her tighter. "How many do you have now?"

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"Eight died, the first seven and one in the incubator that seemed fine we don't know what happened. Three hatched. One'll hatch next week - I go to visit them but I hate it, I feel so sick -"

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"Of course you do. It's - I keep wanting to say 'it's OK' but it's not, really, it's a totally completely unfair thing that's been asked of you. Um - I do think I'd better explain about how demons work, but we can hold off if you want - "

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"I'm not going to hurt them no matter what you say but you can explain if you want -"

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"Shh, shh, no, of course not. The thing is that - when people noticed weird stuff happening, it was a really long time ago, before the scientific revolution and stuff, you know? And they didn't always have good words to talk about what they were seeing. So a lot of the texts we have just use the word 'demon' in English, but most of the things we're dealing with aren't demons, not in the religious sense. I don't have a hundred percent of the details all worked out, but I know for sure that real demons are spiritual entities - they don't have their own bodies like you and me do. They're spiritual entities that are ordered towards doing as much evil as they can, like, you know, twisted reversed angels. And some of the things I deal with are that. But your lizard babies, and you, and a bunch of other people inside and outside this camp - people call them demons because that's what they've been called for a long time, and because they don't know or care about how any of it works on a theological level. But they're not. They're just, like, aliens and stuff, some of them animals and some of them people and some from other worlds and some from the weirder corners of ours. And some of them are just bad news all the time, but a lot of them - maybe most of them aren't, they're just... different. Sometimes really different, sometimes in ways that make them really hard to coexist with or do right by. But they're not just evil the way demons in the Bible are, and if you try to think of them as the same class of thing then you'll get a bunch of things wrong all the time."

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Sniffle. Hug.

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Hug.

"Also I got a mindreader friend and I can ask him to mind read your lizard babies if you want and see if they're people. But he might not be able to distinguish really new babies from animals, I haven't asked him to mind read any babies before."

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"It'd - it'd be good to know."

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