Chapter 62:

Chapter LX – Her lingo is discussed upon.

His Soul is Marching On to Another World; or, the John Brown Isekai (Fall of the Slave Harem)

“Adohe shelmiy Boczhe! Argh!

Harriet Tubman had been resting and working on the map with Kyauta, until their work was interrupted by the frustrated grunts of another woman: Dr. Raban Rabanowicz Rabanow (or, more aptly, just “Dr. Rabanowicz”). Her voice echoed in the cave they were stationed at, which had transformed from Brown’s residence to something more resembling a military HQ.

Tubman and Kyauta looked at each other, silently debating if they should stick their noses in the business of the madwoman that they were stuck with. Ever since she had come here, which hadn’t been long, Rabanowicz had been doing the same thing: scribbling on her big notebook with a piece of charcoal, swinging a pendulum, planting a stick on the ground in different places and taking the measurements of its shadows, manipulating the beads of some abacus… Most of the freemen thought that she was doing some sort of black magic, but Rabanowicz insisted that she was “engaging in a healthy bout of natural philosophy”, whatever that meant.

Suddenly, Rabanowicz shouted again “Finally, it’s finished!”

Tubman had gotten too curious to be silent, so she couldn’t help but blurt out a “Get what, doctor?” in response.

“The planet we’re standing on is as heavy as around ten to the power of twenty-five Standard Cabbages.”

“…what?” said Harriet Tubman.

“And the gravitational acceleration is eighteen half-feet per second.”

“…what?” said Kyauta.

“Lastly, from all those, we can infer that this planet has an average density of around twenty point seven SC/f.”

“…what?” said John Brown, who had come to the room to talk to Tubman.

Rabanowicz has risen up from her seat in sheer excitement, and she was making rounds around the room while talking. Her once frustrated mood had totally disappeared to make way for pure joy. “The gravitational constant given in this book was very wrong all this time! I only noticed this after having had to calculate the gravitational constant of this planet we’re on instead of the one I come from.” She adjusted her glasses, a common sign of incoming intellectuality which no one in the room had any idea about. Her finger was in the air as if she was giving a lecture to an auditorium full of students. “Hence, I have managed to do what I set off years ago: calculate the mass of a planet without actually having to put an entire planet on a pair of scales. Something which nobody else has done ever before, as far as I know.” The room was silent, despite Rabanowicz apparently having achieved something grand.

“That’s… great, Doctor Rabanowicz.” Brown didn’t understand what the science folk said either, but he didn’t want to be rude by dismissing her. “So, could you inform us on how we could use this information for our cause?”

“Well, Mr. Brown… umm…” Rabanowicz’s smile slowly disappeared as she tilted her head downwards and downwards, her head supported by her hands or else it’d fall off. “…hmm. Hm?” She snapped her fingers after having something finally come to her mind. “Aha! Calculating gravity is pretty important if we’re going to use artillery! No?”

Brown didn’t seem all too impressed, or he was not impressed enough for his old face to clearly show it. “I do value the sciences doctor, but I’d prefer it if your effort was focused on matters more immediate to us.”

“I have notes on more immediate matters as well!” Rabanowicz flipped through her thick notebook, on a page that was filled with markings. She pushed her page full of notes right up to old Brown’s nose. “See?”

Brown took a step back to not have his nose be attacked by the overwhelming scent of musty pages. “I can see, yes, but I cannot read.”

“Oh. Excuse me, I have forgotten the fact that my writing is alien to the people of this realm. Ahem.” Rabanowicz began reading out the writing on her notebook. “Copper ore, half a bucket. Odd berries that the freemen found, one-and-a-half buckets. Odd berries that the freemen found except they’re green, zero buckets as it’s poisonous. Weird reed from the nearby lake, two buckets…” Her notebook seemed to contain a full list of every item in Libertycave. She had mostly compiled it to see if there was anything interesting that she could catalogue or experiment with, though by the end Rabanowicz’s curiosity had gotten her to note down everything regardless of how mundane it was.

“Now, doctor, this is the sort of things we expect in Libertycave.” Brown instinctively took the notebook into his own hand to read it himself, only to again realize that he couldn’t read Rabanowicz’s language. He let out a chuckle upon realizing his foolish mistake.

“Right, on this front… We have been focusing all on military and production and, thanks to the hidden hand of Providence, we have been doing good on those fronts indeed. However!” He looked around the room. The map was labeled in the languages of the otherworlders (English, Japanese, Chinese and Korean) written in various scripts. On the walls, there were markings of various shape and form denoting matters which was unknown to anyone but those who marked them. Rabanowicz was using a different system of writing, Watanabe was using a different system of writing, Brown was using a different system of writing… Such a system of chaos wouldn’t do for when they would be running an organization that encompassed a population larger than a bunch of people living around a cave.

Brown borrowed a piece of chalk from the floor and began writing down the numeral system he knew of: Western Arabic numerals. 0, 1, 2, 3…7, 8, 9. “Doctor, could I borrow that abacus?” Before Rabanowicz could go back to her abacus, Brown paused her again. “One second, doctor. If there’s any freemen near the cave, call them all over here. Class will be beginning soon.”

45th of Summer, 5859
Libertycave, Mount Curry

Cough, cough… This place used to be so good before the old man filled it with chalk dust.” said Ayomide, holding a fired clay tablet in her hand. Her other hand held a small piece of chalk, moving to try and copy the odd symbols written on the cave. It was nighttime, yet the cave was as bright as cave thanks to Ayomide having donated her gem for the purposes of using it as lighting. It could emanate a faint glow long enough to last the night if Ayomide imbued it with a pinch of magic.

Next to her was the old man in question, radical abolitionist and numerical teacher John Brown. He was watching the lesson to observe how the new teacher was doing. The old man, having schooled twenty children of his own, was used to having education of even such simple concepts as numerals to take long, which was the reason he had postponed education for so long. However, as Brown found out quickly, adults learned much quicker than children, and most men had learned how to write numbers in their one or two days of education.

There was a big difference in aptitude of course, people like Hakim and Rabanowicz had comprehended numerals in only one or two hours while some were still having trouble counting numbers up in order. Those who were left behind got tutored by the more experienced members, while the lessons in the cave went further. Now things had progressed on to arithmetic, and only three people in the cave knew how to notate it: Brown, Rabanowicz and Watanabe. Brown and Rabanowicz were busy with other duties, so Watanabe had been relieved of his patrol duty (which he couldn’t even do well in the first place) and transferred over to education.

“Now, young lady, forget not that this is perhaps the most important front we’re fighting on.” Brown was happy to see people training for something other than war. “We’ll not be achieving a complete victory unless we heighten ourselves through education.”

“Yes, the amount of chalk built up on my lungs is already heightening.” Ayomide coughed again. Her cattish senses were a tad bit too sensitive to such an environment. “I’m going to become made of chalk at this rate.”

Brown however, his nose refined by years of smelling dung and processed leather, was as calm as he always was. “We could have a classroom under open skies, if you were to find us a suitable board for the great outdoors.”

“…I’ll get Bilal’s folk to cook something up.” Though, thinking about it further, Ayomide realized that having a lesson outdoors might be a bit hard under the rainy environment of Northern Gemeinplatz. “Maybe not. I prefer the cave of chalk to sitting under the rain.”

“We’ll have a separate school building eventually. Ideally, it should be one of the first things we set up after a chapel.” The old man already had a whole town blessed by the Lord in his head. “The copperworkers have already moved on to experimenting with firing bricks, the last time I heard of them. There was one among them who worked in construction in Azdavay, she gave us instructions on how to make mortar based on slime.”

“We wouldn’t have anything if not for slime, those little blobs are the real ones we have to thank.” Having dried the bodies of many slimes, Ayomide muttered a silent prayer of her own to the fuel of abolitionism in Gemeinplatz.

“Indeed. Thank God for slime!” Brown quickly prayed to his Lord to thank Him for sending slime, and he made a mental note to mention slime at the next sermon he was going to give. “Truly, they are one of the greatest animals that the Our Father in Heaven sent down to this realm.”

I wouldn’t call a sentient sugary blob “the greatest”, but you do you, old man…

Thus, regardless of Ayomide’s unfavorable thoughts on sugary blobs, the day marched on with a load of arithmetic…