“We knew the collapse would come, you see, and the information that had been gained had to be preserved. And thus, the faith. People might forget the germ theory of disease, but the soapy ablutions before meals would see some sanitation preserved. The strict segregation of unclean lavatories, and the insistence on boiling water before drinking it, if possible? An attempt to prevent cholera from taking its toll. We even named those holiest foods the ones most likely to grow penicillin. Even in stagnation, two thousand years of it or more, something would survive.”

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