Three On A Match

Full Version: Matters of Intrest
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Markus double-checked his phone to make sure he wasn't early for Professor Mirones' office hours, as stated on the school's website. While waiting, he took a moment to appreciate the part of campus he seldom visited as a STEM major. Despite being a new student at Baxendale, having only enrolled this semester, he appreciated the school's motto, "Learn or Leave," which aligned with his personal beliefs. It was one of the primary reasons he opted for Baxendale over UMass.

Markus knew very little about Professor Mirones, except for the fact that he taught history, anthropology, and archaeology. Markus never had any classes with him and never would. However, for the question Markus had, after discovering the truth about the world from Trevelyan and the Exchange, someone with Mirones' background seemed ideal. Markus needed to ensure he didn't ask anything that would reveal too much.t would reveal too much.

When Markus arrived at the professor's office, he made sure there wasn't a long line or that the professor wasn't busy before announcing himself with a knock on the door or frame.
There was no line outside Jack's door.

There was no waiting student from one of his classes or other teacher pestering him.

On his door hung a hand-written note that simply read "Out to Lunch"

His door however, was actually open. Inside the room was a vast array of books, small statues, papers, and jars of who knows what. They were piled on any available surface and not a single one looked related to teaching at a prestigious University. There was one very small space on the professor's actual desk. Enough for a plate or maybe a test to grade. Jack was currently using it for his feet. Kicked up on the desk, the man himself was leaning back almost falling out of his chair, his too long limbs stretched out in such laze that it was impractical to anything one might deem as comfort.

His glasses were dripping down the bridge of his nose and his right hand held a group of number two pencils. His left hand held a single pencil that he waved about dangerously before tossing it hard to the ceiling tile, where it joined four of its brothers.

For someone 'out to lunch' Jacobo seemed remarkably free at the moment.
Hearing no reply, Markus took a moment to look around once more. The door was open, so it seemed someone had to be nearby; otherwise, it would risk theft. Yet, he saw a sign which stated that the professor was out for lunch. After a moment, before deciding whether or not he would leave, the redhead would risk looking into the room.

The man he saw would inadequately be described as tall; in fact, a far better description would be long, too long, uncomfortably long. Markus would speak up confidently as if he knew exactly what he was doing. “Professor Mirones, could I borrow a moment of your time if you're not too busy? My name is Markus.”

Markus would step into the room but not cross to meet the man at his desk until he had been given permission. However, he saw now that the man was lounging back, his impossibly long limps seeming to cause him to sit at what the redhead would think was an uncomfortable angle. His eyes would glance upwards to realize the man seemed bored, as there was an impressive array of pencils in the ceiling.
The words got Jack's attention right away. His eyes glanced over to the boy and he frowned. He frowned a right proper frown. It was more than just the muscles of his mouth but seemed to bring his entire face and a bit of his neck into the motion.

He flicked the latest pencil up. The shot was poor and it actually knocked another pencil loose before the both fell... but that didn't matter because Jack had already stood up.

His limbs seemed to curl in and then he was standing up and up and up. His full too thin height towering as he walked toward Markus.

With a right proper frown.

He leaned toward the boy and all but glared.

“That. Makes. No. Sense.” he said seriously. “A moment is ninety seconds. How would you borrow, ninety seconds? How would you return it when you were done?” Jack started fluttering his hands around gesturing as he spoke. “You're not making any sense boy- practically raving!”
Markus observed the other man's displeased expression as he stood up to his full height, towering over everyone else Markus had ever met. Although Markus was accustomed to working with prominent individuals, including special forces members and beyond, this man's appearance was unnatural. Markus began to wonder if the man was already a part of the world he was interested in or if his assumptions were stereotyping abnormalities.

When the man leaned over Markus with a fierce glare and responded, Markus was surprised. It was not the reply he had anticipated, but the man's reasoning was technically correct - borrowing time was impossible. Markus considered the possibility of trading time instead.

“You are correct. I misspoke. It is impossible to borrow time,” Markus acknowledged, choosing not to clarify his original statement to avoid a game of round-robin. “Instead, I would like to ask you some questions, which would be a usage of your time, if you don't mind.”
At the boy's admission of error the tall man seemed to calm down considerably. He nodded along right up until the end at which point he frowned again- although to less of an extreme as before. “Ah, so this is based on if I mind or not. Wonderful, with that caveat in play I must inform you that I do mind. So unfortunately you won't be able to borrow, use, or buy my time. Additionally-"” Jack glanced at a clock on his wall. “Your ninety seconds aaaaaaare, up. That was your moment. Whatever problem you have with the assignment or my class or me will just have to wait for another day. I am very very VERY busy.” As if to punctuate the obvious LIE of his sentence one of the pencils dropped just then to clatter on the ground. Yet the man seemed to maintain his look of smug success in, as he saw it, avoiding another of his students.

He turned to walk back into the room, reaching out a long arm and plucking a tea cup from a shelf by the door. He pulled it to his face and sniffed it then made a face and sat it back down in a new place on a stack of books. He had no idea Markus wasn't one of his students because apart from one or two he hadn't bothered to remember any of them. They were just too dull, like birds really, leaving him to these odd games of distraction to get the students to leave him be.
The man's unique manner of speaking and thinking caught Markus' attention, and he couldn't help but smile. Markus was accustomed to working with outcasts introverts, or those that just wanted to be left alone in the tech field. He found the man's behavior refreshing yet somewhat unsettling. Nevertheless, Markus was determined to get an answer and knew that engaging with such individuals could provide fascinating insights.

“I'm sorry, but you seem to be the one mistaken this time,” Markus replied carefully. “I am not your student, and I have never received any assignments from you. In fact, I only met you just now, so there's no possibility of any conflicts arising between us.”

Markus took a few steps forward, observing as pencils continued to rain down from the sky. As the man sat down, Markus continued, “You also mentioned that I cannot borrow, use, or buy your time. Therefore, how could the time be up when there is none to be had... Moreover, there is always the question of what brings an engineering student from Carlyle Hall all the way here, inquiring about the mysteries of the unknown, which cannot be explained through science or mathematics.”

Markus turned around, ready to admit defeat, but he had one more suggestion. “However, if you're not interested in exchanging time, we could trade questions, knowledge, or interests instead. I find that more intriguing, but I understand if you're too busy.”
Third Eye Cantrip used.

As Jack sat himself down he glared ruefully at the student who just mentioned the chance Jack could be mistaken. Oh the nerve, he was going to fail the shit out of this kid if he remembered him, which he probably wouldn't. Yet when the boy mentioned he wasn't actually a student from one of Jacobo's classes the man frowned in confusion. Why was someone bothering him if they didn't have to? He listened to the explanation and at the breakdown of time management and owner ship he smirked a bit, he appreciated cleverness like this. He couldn't have cared less about where the boy was a student from but the logic he had offered at Jack's own remarks was encouraging. Jack held up a hand to stall the boy's departure.

“Have a seat.” he said.

Then Jack sat in his own chair, leaning back again but not as far or as uncomfortably as before, he steepled his fingers in front of him as he leaned forward to look at the boy more closely. Specifically he opened up his mind to the snapshot of the world hidden from your average joe blow. His view washed out into greyscale with only the faintest traces of color on one or two items in his office. The brightest thing he saw by far were his own hands which held three distinct colors that seemed to pulse under his skin. When he looked at the boy though... nothing. As grey as the wall behind him. Natural color seeped back into Jack's view and he was admittedly a bit disappointed. The boy, while clever, was perfectly mundane.

Oh well, he was clever enough to earn some of Jack's time if nothing else.
Markus would turn around with a pleasant smile as the professor said to sit down. Markus would be lying if he said he wasn't quite pleased with himself. It almost felt like a game of riddles, and it had been far too long since Markus had been able to test his reasoning and mind in such a way. Now, he just had to make sure not to cause any sort of insult or issue.

As Markus sat down, he would watch the way the man looked at him; it was disconcerting. The intensity of it, the way Markus felt so open. With a deep breath, the redhead would speak up. “Thank you” He would not pause long, not wishing to waste the other man's goodwill or time or risk any other unforeseen issues.

“Right to it then, I have found it fascinating how all cultures and throughout all of history, there seems to be an abject truth to the strangeness of the world, from the belief in magical creatures to the certainty of the gods. This is true for all of society with the exception of recent years, it seems, where that abject truth has been lost for most people. Why do you think that is?” Markus knew it was a longwinded way to ask his question, but he wanted to provide seemingly insight into why; it wasn't like he could tell the man that magic was real and ask why that wasn't more well known, or ask the man just HOW real magical creatures and myths are. Not without first posing hypotheticals.
Jack wasn't much interested in what the student had to say until the boy started to talk. No, the first thing he said was thank you and that was an utterly boring reply. But the next bit, that was far more interesting. Jack leaned in and interlaced his fingers in front of himself as he listened, an interested glint in his eye over the prospect of the words. Well, less the words and more about where they might be leading. It was an intriguing line of thought, one Jack had once considered himself. When the boy finished asking there seemed to be a pause in the- no wait Jack was just holding his breath. The professor let out a sigh and glanced back up at the kid.

“There are some regarded explanations most of the community that consider such things like to fall back on.” he started, watching Markus' face as he spoke. “Pangea for instance. One continent, one spread out people. All cultural drifts accounted for it explains much of shared mythos. For example- many native American creation stories mirror the Judeo-Christian creation story. God making Man from clay and woman from his rib.” Jack offered. It was the first point he himself ever noted. “Additionally most cultures have a sense of Dragons, though they differ a bit from region to region, or an afterlife expressed by people we can't see just on the other side.” Jack used his 'spooky' voice generally saved to mock things for the last few words.

“In the end it is most likely a factor of people more than anything else. Patterns playing out because no matter where they are people are people. We find reasons for what we can't explain and those reasons grow into our superstitions. Any other answer would be... rather whimsical.” Jack said with a playful smile on his face. Whimsical... well considering what he himself could do that was a fair enough description. No one ever said a bit of whimsy had to be fictional as well.
As the man began to explain, Markus was captivated. The explanation was not what he had anticipated, but he focused on understanding every detail to see if it could help with his current problems. The idea of a shared mythos made sense to him, despite initially thinking it was nonsense. Markus believed that the common saying 'great minds think alike, but fools seldom differ' was based on confirmation bias and paranoia. He felt that when too many people agreed on a strange solution, there was often very little factual evidence to support it.

Despite his previous beliefs, he found himself reconsidering everything he used to think. He had reached out to an old acquaintance who possessed the ability to control fire, been shown the existence of a secretive organization, and was shocked to discover that his own sister possessed magical powers. Additionally, that doesn't even address the time that he had been thrown into a parallel world. However, when the professor mentioned applying the theory to patterns, Markus couldn't help but feel skeptical. Modern-day society seemed to contradict that idea, causing him to question its validity. Without hesitation, he spoke up again, carefully observing the professor's intriguing smile.

“But how does that explain the modern proclivities for disbelief, skepticism, and denial? It is almost as if the suspicions we once held have been wiped clean, if not outright... hidden, from us.” Markus used that word carefully. He didn't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but he knew now about the Exchange, and he had a feeling that such things were one of the reasons the culture had shifted in the way it was now. “What do you mean by whimsical? Surely when trying to parse such phenomena, nothing should be taken off the table.” he would add, very much curious to understand what the man was smiling about.
Jack laughed aloud. It would have been startling if the sharp bark didn't have a kind of bite that made it clear he was laughing at Markus rather than just something he said. “Wiped clean? Hidden? Hardly.” he said. Leaning his lanky frame forward he smirked. “You're overthinking it. You wouldn't need to hide anything odd, if such a thing did exist, because human nature would do all the work for you.” he leaned back in his chair and threw his arms out wide.

“When people saw things strange way back when they knew- KNEW, it was magic or the work of some God or demon. When someone decided to disprove that they knew it was debunked and didn't think on it anymore.” he shrugged.

“When someone sees a purse get stolen their mind jumps through loops and hoops to fit it to their perceptions and the human memory is demonstrably unreliable.” he started looking through a pile of papers while he spoke. “So knowing how flimsy any testimony is, knowing how advance special effects are, knowing that Oneonta a hundred- no even thirty years ago, can't be as smart as we are now” he fished a paper free and slapped it down in front of Markus.

The paper was about a 1992 experiment on the subject or real and false memories- they faked a purse snatching and the results were surprising and called into question eye witness testimonies in general.

“99.9% of people find it easier to just ignore information that contradicts their beliefs or makes them uncomfortable. Hell last year the government literally said UFO's existed and no one cared. It was just easier to ignore it and move on. Cover up? You could scream the truth on any news station and people would just chsnge the channel.” he said laughing again as he leaned back in his chair once more.
Markus would cock his head when the man started to laugh, at first thinking something he had said had been funny. But, he very quickly realized the laughter was almost directed, poignant even; the redhead was certain the other man wasn't laughing with him but at him. The thought caused a bit of a fluster to appear on Markus's face, but he did not let it dower his mood. The continuation of what the man said intrigued him and very much matched what Markus had already suspected.

“I see,” Markus started out before quoting one of his favorite books. “'People are stupid; they will believe almost anything purely because they want it to be true or fear that it is.', What you are saying makes a lot of sense, professor.” Looking at the paper, he would only read it briefly as he continued to listen. “So then, in your line of work, it must be increasingly frustrating working with individuals who are intentionally blinding themselves from a truth that is otherwise obvious.”

Markus would look directly at the man and ask what he really wanted to know. He had talked to the man long enough that he didn't think the other man would consider him mad for it. “With that in mind, how do you know what is real and what isn't? How do you confirm if something is a demon, or just a madman; a ghost, or just the wind; an alien, or just a balloon? When reading, learning, trying to broaden the mind to the possibilities that are out there, how can you source a book of fantasy from the personal writings of self-proclaimed 'magicians' of old like John Dee.”