6.18: Over Clover

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“I will start to listen.” Alijdah cleared her throat. “That said, you mentioned negotiation. Not capitulation. Talking is hard when staring down the barrel of a gun.”

“I only remove the gun if you return our people now,” Trixie asserted.

Alijdah frowned, then again looked at something out of their field of view and nodded. She turned back. “I’ll bring them over in a shuttle. I’d prefer to talk to you face to face.”

Beam’s nose twitched before she also nodded. “Acceptable.”

Beam looked to Trixie. Trixie honestly felt a bit disappointed, she’d been wondering whether the chewing gum would have properly exploded out of her delivery containers.

But she understood, and with her own nod and a small sigh, she cancelled her interface between Rixi and the Epsilon station.



Commission from Sen Yomi

Trixie stared at the monitor in the auxiliary control room. It showed only a closed conference room door. She was toying with the idea of magically eavesdropping when Alijda walked in.

This was the “good” Alijda, the one Trixie had been speaking with about programming, not the H-one with the bunny ears currently in discussion with Fate and Beam. And presumably this Alijda wasn’t thinking about eavesdropping. But then why stand silently for over two minutes?

“You going to keep staring at my ass, or what?” Trixie finally asked, looking over her shoulder.

Alijda flinched. “Sorry. I didn’t want to disturb, in case you were doing something mystic. Uh, they making progress in there?”

Trixie gestured at the monitor before fully turning around. “Who knows? It’s early yet. I will say I’m certain your counterpart brought over that busty bunny girl not only as a personal guard, but also as a way to distract Beam. Though I doubt it’ll work.”

Alijda nodded. “You think Fate will keep Beam on track?”

Trixie smirked. “More like I think my promise of one last make-out session with Beam before I leave, contingent on the right outcome, will keep Beam on track.”

Alijda half smiled back. “Ah. You two really hit it off then.”

“Oh, not really,” Trixie said, shaking her head. “Don’t get the wrong idea. I mean, physically, sure. But any romantic feelings on my part are strictly for Beam’s sophisticated program, not for who she is as a person.”

Alijda blinked. “Hm. And are you sure Beam feels the same way about you…?”

Trixie giggled. “What, you think I got Beam hot for my human programming?”

“I just mean maybe she’s become romantically invested.”

“Mmm, as much as I’d like you say how could you NOT fall in love with this package,” Trixie stated, gesturing back at herself. “We really do have a relationship built only on needs and lusts. And I don’t get too attached as a rule, she knows that.”

Trixie eyed Alijda, trying to read between the lines.

“Why? Are YOU worried about how someone you’ve associated with at this Station might feel about you romantically?”

Alijda coughed, and changed the subject, which was enough of an admission as far as Trixie was concerned. “That’s irrelevant,” Alijda said. “I actually came in here to ask you about your name. Your real one.”

Trixie deflected. “If you don’t know, I’m not telling you what it is.”

“It’s not that,” Alijda clarified. “We both know I could probably hack to figure it out. It’s that… well… okay, so while I was stuck on the Clover station, I learned my double’s origin story.”

Trixie became curious despite herself. “Do tell, if you’re willing.”

Alijda pressed the heel of her hand to her head. “Yeah. Okay. Well, long story short, there was a point in my past when I met an alien. Mason, actually, I heard that you saw him during this mission.”

The name clicked. “Oh, the guy who called us out for being a bunch of white girls.”

“Yes. Well, ladies. Well, anyway, this Alijdah-H went with Mason in her history. Whereas I didn’t. That’s when the split occurred. Then the two had a falling out, and she returned to Earth.”

“Huh.” Trixie considered that. “So her quantum Earth is immediately adjacent to yours, or something?”

“That’s what I can’t figure out. See, as I didn’t go with Mason, I went on antidepressants, embezzled money from my corrupt company, fled to the US under the pseudonym Alison van der Land, and got teleportation powers.”

Trixie stared. “Why are you telling me all that?”

“I think largely because I want the opinion of someone with whom I share common traits and yet will likely never see again.”

“I actually meant how does your past connect to the quantum name stuff.”

“Right.” Alijda rubbed her forehead. “From what little quantum theory I’ve read, events are the cause of different Earth dimensions more so than individual actions. And external observation causes many quantum realities to blend back together. But maybe… we two were so different… she couldn’t blend, even as our worlds did.”

Trixie was reminded of her earlier discussion with Para. About whether there could be other versions of themselves running around. It had felt like the answer was no, at least until this Alijda-H issue.

“So, what, you think because you’d changed your name and location there was somehow room for both of you?” Trixie wondered.

Alijda sighed. “Possibly. Both our experiences having been so wildly unique as to prevent us from collapsing into a single dimensional existence once Epsilon observed me. So maybe my alt-self escaped detection, even came under fire for crimes I’d committed. Assuming she was even on my Earth then, and not with Clover Enterprises already.”

Trixie was fascinated by that idea. “I’d be game to investigate that for you.”

Alijda shook her head. “Oh, I could probably get that started myself. I mostly wondered what you thought about the theory.”

Trixie considered. “Seems like Mason might be a better person to ask.”

Alijda shook her head. “I know he doesn’t remember being with me. Whether by choice or by circumstance. It’s not my having a possible double that I’m wondering about here though. It’s more, under these circumstances – should I maybe return to calling myself Alison? It IS the name I go by whenever I’m not on this station, after all.”

Trixie considered again, for close to a minute. “You have as much right to your original name as anyone else,” she concluded. “Besides. Even within a single Earth, individuals are mistaken for each other on the internet a lot. I don’t think anyone here will believe you’re a Clover operative if you keep Alijda.”

“It’s not really about that.”

Trixie shifted her hands to her hips. “Then you’ll have to explain better, I’m not a mind reader.”

Alijda grimaced. “Sorry. Here’s the thing. If my history was different, I COULD have been her, been that Alijda. Right? Instead, I’m me, a changed person in all but appearance. Yet for some reason, I’m clinging to that old name. And the baggage that may go with it.”

“Presumably that’s because you still identify with the name somehow. Do you?”

It was Alijda’s turn to think in silence for a moment. “I guess I did. Before Epsilon. Because I thought I was living a lie on Earth. But after Alice moved in… well, maybe my new life as Alison is just my life. Maybe some of my suicidal thoughts are even from me continuing to wrestle with my past instead of just releasing it.”

“So maybe you have your answer.” Trixie eased her stance. “Know that I’m not saying you should forget where you come from, and remember I’m not a psychologist.”

Alijda nodded. “I get it. Do you find it weird though, people here calling you Trixie instead of whatever?”

Trixie shook her head. “No. It’s more like how someone might equally answer to ‘Beth’ or ‘Elizabeth’. Plus for me, ‘Trixie’ is a reminder of where I came from, and how I’m still in the business that I’m in.”

It had, after all, been ‘James’ who had both given her the pseudoname, and the business, once he and ‘Melissa’ had departed.

Alijda nodded. “All right. Thanks for the talk.” She glanced towards the monitors again. “I’m off. Let me know if my alt-self does anything problematic.”

“For sure,” Trixie said. Part of her was even counting on it, as she was still wondering about the effectiveness of her retooled pocket dimension armoury. “See you around, Alijda.”

The brunette woman paused at the doorway, and half smiled. “Call me Alison,” she suggested, before departing.


“The trouble with Clover Enterprises,” Fate reflected, “isn’t that they were evil, per se. They merely seemed to have a callous disregard for the consequences of their actions.”

Para frowned. “Maybe it’s because I’m not human, but is that… not the same thing…?” she wondered.

“Sometimes. The Clover group were definitely self serving,” Trixie offered up. Honestly, Para had a pretty good point, but Trixie didn’t want Fate to overanalyze it.

The group of them had congregated one last time in the main control room, after the Station Administrators had observed the departure of Alijah’s shuttle back to the Clover station. Fate had brought along a box of assorted muffins to eat.

“I’m a bit surprised by your take, Fate,” Beam admitted, who was apparently fine with continuing the conversation. “Given how you were abducted from your world and nearly brainwashed as a consequence of them giving Compton Senior dimensional knowledge.”

Fate nodded. “I know. Kind of had to make peace with that to survive though. Besides, that’s what ended up bringing me here. And my helping to put the Clover situation to rest is a good note for me to go out on.”

“That’s a good way to think of it,” Trixie agreed. She had heard from Para about Fate’s concerns over not being spoken to by the Epsilon Station’s ‘God’. It was good that Fate had apparently been able to move past that.

“And we’ll be leaving the station in good hands,” Alice said, whacking Beam on the back as she grinned. “At this point, I am SO over Clover.”

“Yeah? I wish I could be as sure,” Alijda/Alison mused. “Considering how my alt-self is apparently high enough ranked with them to be able to sign off on the agreement here. Did anyone else notice that?”

“Well, sure, but I think you can be over them too,” Alice insisted. “Come on, don’t stress over what wasn’t in your history. Yeah?”

“I… yeah.” Alijda/Alison fired off a quick smile back at her roommate.

“Now, speaking of the Clover agreement, what exactly was in there?” Trixie pressed. “I need closure.”

Beam cleared her throat as she recited from memory. “Clover Enterprises are to make restitution anywhere that they have transgressed, as decided by the ethical algorithm we provided, not their own beliefs. Further, they will not initiate any further experiments without broadcasting their intentions and possible side effects to the other party. Communicating with US if needed to mediate. Pyon pyon.”

“In return,” Fate put in, “they get all Beam’s vaccine research, and we don’t get to know the size of their organization or what else they might have been doing out there in secret.”

“Good enough I hope?” Beam purred, sidling up next to Trixie and giving her rear a quick pinch. Thankfully out of view of the others.

Trixie jumped despite herself, merely nodding back as she smoothed her skirt. She honestly hadn’t expected much more. And thanks to Fate’s choice, Clover didn’t know that Trixie had broken through the scattering field technology. So Epsilon was less likely to be caught off guard by their presence in the future too.

“What about these planets though?” Para wondered. “Does Clover start their work here, or are they still going to be recruiting?”

“They’ll be making sure Tech World doesn’t transmit the pandemic any more,” Beam noted. “Though if they were to suddenly vanish, it might raise more issues on the Fantasy World than not. Fortunately, the Alijda battle might make people more hesitant to join them, pyon pyon.”

“And as to the planets themselves, I think they’ll get out of their pandemics, based on the computer projections I ran,” Trixie offered up. “Beam will be cured too, we’ve turned on the flag that purges the bunny changes over time.”

“So we’re good,” Alijda/Alison sighed. “Missions accomplished.”

“Except… wait. Clover is powering up some sort of ray,” Alice said, hurrying to where a light had started flashing. She tapped at the keyboard. “It’s targeting us.”

“What? Open a channel,” Fate said, tossing aside her half eaten muffin.

Alijdah was back on their main screen moments later. “Hi! Just thought I’d note how there’s nothing in the agreement that says we can’t give you a parting shot. So there.” She smirked.

Fate glared back. “Alijdah! We haven’t transmitted the vaccine information yet. You want to jeopardize receiving it?”

“No worries, we can wait on firing until after you send it,” Alijdah said airily. “You DO have to do that, after all. It IS what we agreed to.”

“It’s fine,” Beam declared, moving in next to Fate. “Because the agreement doesn’t specify how we transmit my research to you. Right?” Her eyes sparkled. “Trixie, one last request, if you please.”

Oh, hell yes.

Trixie swung her arm out to the side, enjoying the sense of deja vu. “Rixi? Reinitiate Epsilon interface and materialize delivery gun.”

Again, there was the globe of light, the sphere over the hub, and then the modified gun, both in her hands and large scale, hanging in space.

Alijdah stared at them with a mixture of confusion and suspicion. “You can’t mean–“

“You want the research? It’s all in this capsule,” Trixie declared. She pointed the barrel of the gun at the Clover station, then swung it off to the side. “Protrudo.”

The capsule was propelled out of the gun barrel into space in much the same way the freeze necklace had once been fired through a hotel window. It spun off into the dimensional void as a light dusting of confetti was expelled from the smaller version of the gun in Trixie’s hand. Success!

“Son of a–“

“You should be able to track that – until the capsule gets small again,” Trixie said, cutting Alijdah off for a second time. “Still want to waste time with us?”

The communications channel was shut down.

“Ziggy?” Beam announced to the ceiling. “While they’re distracted, let’s temporally uncouple and leave orbit.”

“Understood,” came the voice of the main computer. “Please disengage your interface, Trixie.”

Trixie did so, pleased that she’d been able to test out at least one of her interface objects.

She was also pleased that Beam had suggested that backup plan in the first place, that they’d come through the entire pandemic situation without any new infections, and that she’d made some new friends.

But mostly, she was pleased that she’d be going home soon.

She raked her fingers back through her twintails once more. Only time would tell if she might ever have cause to return.


Polls on character and possible plots for possible future entries…


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Had Alijdah accepted the conditions, Trixie would have fired off confetti, and the two groups might have worked together in the future (whether Clover would have ultimately screwed that up is unknown). Had Alijdah not backed down, Trixie would have fired off a computer virus to mess with their systems, while allowing Epsilon to track Clover in the future… since the Clover station would get away but without any medications. We ended up middle of the road for the second time, with a kind of agreement to disagree and Trixie firing off Beam’s data.

First, if you missed it, there was an April Fools Part in between the prior part 17 & this part 18, so check that out. With regard to the voting last time, I didn’t want the last choice and apex of our Clover plot to be decided by a single person’s single vote. So I kept things open past the end of March, which was helpful for the April Fool writer anyway. Finally got a third vote April 2nd after the usual pleading, so closed things on the 3rd. Didn’t get much of a chance to write in the following week, but it’s done now. Thank you for sticking with me, whoever’s out there. Another post coming in a few weeks about my status and what will come next on this site.

6.16: Door Stop

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By the time Alice arrived at the fight, there were a half dozen fires burning.

Alice wasn’t clear on why Evil Alijdah was willing to allow for collateral damage. She only knew their Alijda planned to fake-out her double, tricking her into leaving, meaning Alice would need to track Alijdah back to her base.

Alice hoped it was true that Alijdah couldn’t teleport like their Alijda, or all this setup would be for nothing.

“This is what happens when you stir up trouble, Avril,” grumbled a quiet voice behind Alice.

Alice jumped, and looked over her shoulder. It was Harriet, the woman who had made the link for her between Alijdah and Clover Enterprises. A few townspeople were observing the scene by now.

“I… didn’t expect an Alijda to fight herself?” was all Alice could think to say.

“One of ’em is a fake,” Harriet scoffed. “Maybe both of ’em. Mercury better get here soon, that’s all I can say.”

Alice blinked. “Mercury?”

“Pandemic gave her control over water,” Harriet elaborated, gesturing at the nearest fire. “She can get this under control pretty quick.”

Alice had no time to follow up on that, since her communicator chirped. The sign that Alijda was about to enact her plan. Her plan of a blind teleport.

Of course, the chirp had originated with the Epsilon station itself, Alijda being rather preoccupied.

While the improved Epsilon communicators had allowed for Alijda to speak directly with Alice, here they needed the Station to monitor too. Specifically, the place Alijda had chosen as a teleport site. To make sure it was clear of people.

Apparently, it now was.

Alice remained hesitant about this plan, yet they hadn’t really been able to discuss it, what with Alijda being on the run. Now they were committed.

Alijda appeared via a teleport into the middle of the square.

Alijdah ran out of a side passage moments later, drawing another bead with her gun.

“Look, you’re right,” Alijda called out, seemingly in response to something her counterpart had said while out of earshot. “I can’t keep doing this. Why don’t we talk? Your bunny ears, for instance, we can help–”

“SHUT. UP,” Alijdah yelled. “FOREVER.”

She fired off another pulse from her ray gun. Alijda vanished in her usual cloud of purple and black smoke.

Except she didn’t.

As the smoke rapidly dissipated, Alice saw that Alijda was still standing there, clutching at her front. “Hell,” Alijda choked out, stumbling backwards.

Her foot hit the edge of a loosely boarded up old well behind her, she fell back against the planks, they cracked, and she plunged down into the abyss below.

Alice honestly felt her chest tighten, and she instinctively reached up to clutch at her tunic. That had been way too convincing. Had Alijda truly managed to teleport away from the energy ray, and then immediately back, as planned? Or had the plan gone wrong?

Even if that had worked, had Alijda’s blind teleport out of the well been successful?

Evil Alijdah was naturally suspicious, edging towards the well. It’s like she was expecting Alijda to teleport in behind her, and push her inside the hole. In the end, she got down on one knee to move in and peer over the edge.

It must have been too deep to know. Alijdah, at least, seemed satisfied.

“You’ll have nothing to worry about regarding that lady trying to recruit again,” Alijdah announced, standing up and looking over at some of the bystanders. An audacious lie.

Even more people were around by now, along with Alice and Harriet. Some were trying to deal with the largest of the fires, but most had been too nervous to move. What with how the fight had tended to change locations.

Alijdah proceeded to stalk out of the area, with no further comment. No one tried to stop her. Alice supposed that was the sensible thing to do, under the circumstances.

Alice immediately gave chase, ignoring Harriet’s quiet mutter of “Avril, you’re crazy”.

She wasn’t that crazy though. As she followed, Alice tried to keep hidden. Peering around the corners of the houses, as she tracked the fake version of her roommate. Making a mad dash forwards whenever she was able.

Fortunately, it wasn’t long before Alijdah tapped at something on her wrist, and walked into what looked like a tool shed, out behind one of the houses. After a minute of waiting for her to come out with a tool, Alice circled around to see if there was another exit.

There was not. The building was quite small. What was Alijdah doing in there?

The natural answer, to Alice at least, is that it wasn’t a tool shed. Maybe, like the telephone pole on Bunny World, it hid some sort of secret elevator. To an underground base.

Seconds ticked by. Alice finally decided she would have to risk going in.

At least this time, she wouldn’t have Trixie smooshed up against her for any length of time. Even if that had been her own suggestion on the prior mission.

“Ubi fumus, ibi ignis,” Alice muttered to herself as she reached for the doorknob.


“Alice has vanished from our sensors.”

Alijda forced herself to sit back up. “What now?”

Over the communicator, Fate sighed. “I’m sure you heard me.”

(Chibi Alijda)

Alijda van Vliet (chibi).
Commission from: Shirochya

Alijda pressed her palm in hard against her forehead. She’d hoped to take a longer rest after all those teleports to avoid her alternate self, but apparently that wasn’t going to happen. “When? Where was she?”

“Moments ago. She was a short distance away in town. Kind of hoping you can check this out.”

“You can’t?” Alijda grumbled.

“We’d focussed our sensors on where you are, to make sure your teleport would be clear,” Fate reminded. “It’s taking a while to recalibrate.”

“Uh huh.” Alijda pushed herself to her feet.

She was in a grassy meadow. It might double as someone’s backyard, since there was a house nearby, but the grass was long enough to obscure her when lying down. The twisted tree next to her been a good marker to visualize, in terms of accomplishing her blind teleport.

She really hated doing those… her stomach still felt queasy.

“I’m on my way,” Alijda said, stumbling as she walked. “Direct me.”

Fate had her standing outside a tool shed in less than five minutes.

“I don’t see anything around,” Alijda said. “No sign of a struggle, no message left behind, no nothing. You think Alice is inside this little shed, shielded from sensors somehow?”

“No. At least, the interior registers for us,” Fate amended. “So it’s not shielded. But I guess it could be a false reading.”

Alijda shook her head. “Opening the door then,” she announced.

The door pulled out, and inside there was only blackness. A pitch black that seemed impossible to achieve, given how there should have been some light spilling in from the doorway itself. Strange.

“Alice? Are you there?” Alijda yelled.

There was no answer.

“I’m going to poke my head in,” Alijda decided. “And report on what I see.”

“Be careful,” Fate cautioned. “Magic has a tendency to produce strange effects at the best of times. That world right now? Could be producing anything.”

“Great.” Alijda held onto the door frame and leaned in. The blackness enveloped her.

Before she could even speak, the door was slamming shut, bruising her fingers.


“Okay,” Fate said after a moment. “We’ve officially gone from bad to worse.”

Para felt her ears twitch as she looked at the blank screen. There should have been a green dot there, denoting Alijda’s position. Technically two, as one should be pinpointing Alice as being there also.

Para had come to the main control room after Fate’s universal page, stating ‘Warning: A situation is developing’. Alice had vanished before Para had even arrived.

Neither Beam, nor Trixie, had made an effort to respond yet. Para hoped that they weren’t asleep, or more awkwardly, keeping each other busy.

“You think Alijdah is on to them?” Para wondered. “Led them into a trap?”

“Either that, or there’s more to this World than what we see on the surface,” Fate said. She glared at the screen. “Thing is, I don’t know of anything, magical or technological, that can spirit people away like that.”

“Aside from us,” Para reminded.

Fate turned to stare at her instead. “Pardon?”

“This Station does teleport retrievals,” Para reminded. “Someone walks through a door on their world, they end up here, in our Control room. Happens all the time to me. Right?”

“Right,” Fate said slowly. “Our door manipulation power.” She turned back to stare at the blank monitor. “Oh. Oh, damn. Hold on.”

Para watched as Fate entered a sequence into the computer, and ran her finger down the screen as some sort of result scrolled across it.

“You did it, Para. Signs of door manipulation. Alice, both Alijdas, all transported using the tool shed as a doorway. But how could they get so far away as to not be picked up again by our Station sensors?”

Para shrugged, having never looked into the door technology herself. It had always seemed more mystical than mathematical.

“Seriously now,” Fate continued, seemingly talking more to herself at this point. “We’re tapped into three Worlds at once. No reading. What other World could they have gone to? Even doors have limits. Deeper scan maybe?”

Fate typed at her keyboard for a minute, frowned, muttered ‘no dice’, then looked at Para.

“Okay Para, new thought,” Fate said. “Alijdah used that door first. Where would SHE have been going? Any more brilliant ideas?”

Para was tempted to shrug again, but instead offered up, “Somewhere we can’t scan. Like when Trixie and Alice vanished, back in Jake Hyde’s underground lab.”

Fate pointed at her. “Nice. Yet you were able to punch through that time, with the sensor enhancements.”

“Because we knew where to look,” Para admitted. “This time, we don’t know. And we don’t have pylons to triangulate, giving us a necessary signal boost.”

“True,” Fate agreed. “But we DO know the origins of that scattering field technology. Maybe Trixie hacks back into Vortex Limited to find–”

Fate stopped speaking, tapped at her chin, then pushed back from the side of the keyboard and crossed her arms.

“Go with me on this,” Fate requested. “Do your good listening thing, and tell me if I’m off base. Okay Para?”

Para nodded, having no idea where Fate was going with this.

“This all started thanks to an encrypted communication we received. It led to a scan we did on this dimensional sector. Turning up the airborne virus.” She paused.

“Correct,” Para said.

“Thing is, the scan message didn’t tell us to look for a virus. Just that we needed to scan here. And Smoke, pandemic-wise, turned out to be natural. Almost. Meaning the only real reason we’re here is due to that communication.”

She paused again, and this time Para simply nodded and shrugged.

“Okay. So what if the first message wasn’t about Smoke at all? What if it was meant to help us locate something else?”

Para considered that. “You mean Clover Enterprises?” She was reminded of Mason’s comment about how the best place to stay hidden would be somewhere like a pandemic world. Somewhere nobody wants to go.

“Maybe,” Fate said. “But it may also be that Clover was drawn here by the same communication. In fact, hmm… what if the message was meant for THEM? And we simply intercepted a subspace copy?”

Para raised her eyebrows. “That could explain how they got here first, indirectly setting off the pandemic.”

“Okay,” Fate said, smiling. “We’re onto something. Bunny World flags the dimensions. Clover Enterprises responds. They get an artifact, or… you know what? Maybe this is about the scattering field technology. Honestly, it’s so unique that it could be at the heart of all this.”

“It IS something that would allow Clover to hide from this Station,” Para mused. “They’d like that. I think the Vortex documents referred to that particular tech as Mirrors?”

Fate nodded. “All right. So, Vortex Bunnies broadcast that there’s something here worth investigating. Clover comes for Mirrors. We pick up the same message later, after the pandemic, and assume it’s about the virus, Smoke.”

“Because after Clover’s techno-magic soup, Smoke became the bigger dimensional issue.”

“Right,” Fate said. “Yet we know Clover didn’t leave after that. Because Evil Alijdah was on the planet moments ago, trying to recruit.”

“All of this implying that Clover Enterprises have their own station here,” Para decided. “Or at least some ship, set up to receive encrypted messages in the same way as us.”

“And for all we know, their vessel could be off our port,” Fate concluded. “If they’re using Mirrors, we have no way of knowing. Short of setting up signal boosting pylons.”

“Exactly,” Para realized.

“Almost,” came a voice from above.

Para looked up, to see Trixie at the hatch in the ceiling. The redheaded techno-witch smiled, then reached out to flick the nearby switch. She began to ride the telescoping ladder down to the floor, in much the same way Fate had done it at their first meeting.

“Do elaborate,” Fate said, hands going to her hips.

Trixie ran her free hand back through one of her twintails, then the other. “Simply that my earlier analysis of that scattering field may pay off now. If what you’re saying is true, we CAN find them.”

Even as Fate seemed about to say something else, Trixie’s smile shifted to a more serious expression.

“The question becomes, do you want them to know that we see them?” Trixie continued. “Because that’s what will happen. And while it may make this Clover group hesitate in their future use of the tech, it may also get them upset.”

“Is there another option?” Para asked.

Trixie hopped off the ladder. “I could be more stealthy about finding them. There’s less of a guarantee of success, unless we assume that Alice or Alijda are already on this ship, and can do more on their end.”

“Trixie, we don’t know their status,” Fate objected.

Para looked back and forth between the other two. “Nothing says we have to act now,” she offered up. “We could do more research first. Fate could try to mind swap with Alice again. Something like that.”

Fate shook her head. “At this point, I don’t think Alijda-h is going to hang around any longer than she has to. We may already be too late.”

Trixie nodded. “Sums up my analysis. Glad it’s not my call,” she added.



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The capturing of Evil Alijdah would not have worked, leading to a bigger battle – while also providing more backstory of Alijda-h relative to the version we know. The bargaining with Alijdah would have worked, but owing to a misunderstanding (or other influence) would still have led to a larger conflict. The fake-out was actually middle ground… as you see, it sort of worked? We’ve had revelations of a different nature, but have now split the party. And Alijdah may have prisoners.

Trixie was always going to have to come through at some point – she started this whole serial saga. So when the vote sent Alijda down to the planet with Alice instead of her, Trixie’s Mirrors project was retroactively born (in part 14) as her contribution. (Incidentally, the ‘Mirrors’ codename was not pre-planned, but I’d say it meshes nicely with the title now.)

I actually forgot to close the poll until yesterday. Oops. Writing was mostly done, good thing it was unanimous, hard for that to change. Enjoying the twists at all? Or perhaps they were too predictable. We’re probably looking to wrap this up in the next few instalments, wouldn’t you say? In any event, thank you for your continued interest. Hope you continue to vote.

6.14: What the H?

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It wasn’t out of the realm of possibility that Alijda would have changed clothes once they’d gone their separate ways on the planet. But Alice didn’t think that was very likely.

Meaning, who was the woman who looked like Alijda, standing across the market square?

The more Alice watched, the more she was sure that this was not her roommate of six months. The mannerisms were all wrong. So either this was Alijda being mentally controlled, she would have experienced a major temporal issue in the future/past, or… something else. But what?

Alice decided to dub the woman ‘Alijdah’ in her mind.

She also decided to wait until Alijdah had left the area before approaching, and even then, she went up to a woman who had only been observing the scene, like her. Better to scout out the situation first.

“So, that brunette woman is back, huh?” Alice remarked, with a smile.

The other woman turned to look at her. She had dark skin, and wore a dark, battered cloak to help conceal her features and other clothing. Her mask told Alice that she was sensible, given the pandemic, and her piercing eyes told Alice that she was observant.

“Who the heck are you?” the woman demanded.

Maybe a bit too observant.

Alice commission

Commission by Cherry Zong

Alice looked down at herself, then back up. She hadn’t wanted to give up comfortable pants to wear a dress or skirt, but in general thought her clothing blended in fairly well with the others in this area of the planet. On the bright side, the question confirmed that Alice didn’t also have a doppelgänger running around.

“My appearance has become that of some illusion girl, off some guy who got powers,” Alice offered up. “Maybe you saw me around before that? I’m Avril. Avril Carroll.

“Doesn’t ring a bell.” The woman peered at her more closely. “Getting hit by a projectionist though? That’s not unheard of.” She seemed to relax a bit. “I’m Harriet, and yes, Alijdah’s back. If indeed she ever left.”

Alice felt a chill at the woman’s name being the same, mental addition of the ‘h’ notwithstanding. She tried to nonchalantly clasp her hands behind her back. “She still doing the same thing as before?”

“Trying to recruit?” Harriet supplied. “Yes. Though if you ask me, her organization is only interested in the one guy.”

Alice clicked through her mental file folders to remember what Alijda had said about the last time she was here. Regarding the old man in the jail who had seen Alijda’s doppelgänger speaking to a friend of his. “The guy who can read people’s futures,” Alice recalled.

Harriet nodded. “That’s the one. Jonas only seems to see the BAD stuff, of course, but it didn’t work on her. Piqued his interest. And if things continue to turn around here, Alijdah’s recruitment drive might work.”

Alice tilted her head. “Turn around?”

Harriet stared, visibly troubled, despite the mask. “With the government officials listening to us and stopping the arrests. Avril, are you sure your brain wasn’t affected by that projection too?”

“Ooh, I hope not,” Alice said sincerely. “Not sure we can really believe the government’s sincerity. That’s all.”

Harriet grunted. “Okay, fair point. Some of ’em are still massive bastards. We’re trending in the right way though, enough to the point where Jonas and some others might feel they can leave.”

“With Alijdah,” Alice clarified.

Harriet nodded. “I mean, personally? I don’t think I’ll miss him. But I worry about that Alijdah woman. I don’t think anyone should go with her.”

“Bad news,” Alice summarized.

Harriet nodded again. “I’m pleased you agree.” She looked Alice up and down once more. “You do also give me a vibe, incidentally. Not bad news, exactly, but you strike me as a woman on a mission.”

“That’s not inaccurate,” Alice admitted. “It’s one related to Alijdah, as you’ve likely guessed, so if you know anything else about her…?”

Harriet slowly shook her head. “I think I’ve already told you enough about her and Clover Enterprises.”

Alice was grasping for Harriet’s cloak almost before she realized it, and it was only in retrospect that she applauded the other woman’s ability to dodge. Harriet then smacked her outstretched hand away.

“Correction, I’ve told you too much,” Harriet decided. “If you’re going after them, you leave me out of it. Good day.”

Without another word, Harriet spun on her heel and stalked off, leaving Alice rubbing her hand as her thoughts pinwheeled through her head.

Alijdah? Connected to Clover Enterprises? What sort of science fiction madness was this?


“Don’t look at me like that,” Alijda said. “I legit have no idea what that conversation was about, or what my supposed double has been up to.”

Alice had spent the better part of an hour trying to get more information from anyone in the square about Alijdah or Clover Enterprises. To no avail. She supposed she might have come across as a bit manic.

Alice had then reunited with Alijda, who had spent her investigation time in the Hall of Records. But Alijda hadn’t turned up anything new about the pandemic or her earlier ‘visit’ to the planet.

“Okay, well, we just need to get you to pose as Alijdah-with-an-h,” Alice decided. “That should get us what we need to take down Clover for good.”

“Or I’m arrested. Again,” Alijda noted. She shook her Epsilon communicator. “What’s with you using an ‘h’ anyway?”

“It’s a recognized symbol for hydrogen, which is explosive, medical attention, which she’s gonna need after messing with you, and the letter H itself is full of controversy,” Alice explained. “Also, you’re non-h, meaning non-hentai.” She smiled.

Alijda pursed her lips. They both knew hentai was sexualized animation. “Sorry I asked.”

“Hello?” came Fate’s voice through the communicator. It was loud enough for both women to hear.

Alijda lifted the device back up. “Hello! Where have you been?”

Fate sighed. “Sorry for the delay. Trixie’s thing caused a thing.”

Alice leaned in. “Has Trixie been doing something new since she started sleeping with Beam?”

“No, this is a project she was working on even before that,” Fate corrected. “It’s just she’s been doing more with it since the two of you went planet-side. To the point of even asking Para for help.”

“Hm. Makes sense. I guess if Beam were the one helping, the two of them wouldn’t get much work done,” Alice reflected, tapping her chin.

Fate sighed again. “Can we not be talking about who’s sleeping with Beam?”

“Oh, whoops,” Alice apologized. “Forgot you might be jealous.” She really didn’t see the hologram’s appeal, but that was no reason to be rude.

“I’m NOT,” Fate said, in a tone which implied to Alice that she was, at least a little bit. “I’m trying to focus on WORK. Does one of you have a report?”

“Alice does,” Alijda said.

She held out the device and allowed Alice to fill the Station in on the earlier conversation with Harriet.

“Okay,” Fate said after a moment. “So on the plus side, I was right about Clover’s interest in that planet. On the negative side, suddenly wondering if Alijda is a security risk. Given how you’ve been against this Station’s mission from the start.”

“I was against the Station’s creepy oversight,” Alijda said, visibly irritated. “I have no plans to become Alijda-h.”

“Yet,” Alice intoned.

Alijda looked at her. Her expression above the mask showed she was hurt. “Et tu, roomie?”

“Not ruling out mind control is all,” Alice soothed. “More to the point, have you two made the link yet? Between the pandemic and the recruitment?”

Alijda quirked up an eyebrow, but it was Fate who spoke, asking “Link?”

Alice nodded. “Clover Enterprises gets Vortex technology. Leaves techno-magic soup in it’s wake, which becomes a pandemic bridging dimensions.” She began to gesture as she spoke. “Said pandemic finds it’s way here to Fantasy World, where it starts activating magic powers. At THAT, Clover swoops back in to recruit those people. People who wouldn’t be of interest if not for Clover’s earlier interference.”

“Hold on,” Fate said. “Are you suggesting Clover deliberately put the pieces for the pandemic in place, hoping that they could get employees out of it?”

“If the shoe fits,” Alice said, shrugging. “And I know. I know. It sounds a bit like my conspiracy theory about leprechauns and rainbows, but seriously, Fate – HOW can this be coincidence?”

“She may have a partial point,” Alijda put in. “In that while I’m not sure Clover set up the pandemic deliberately, they have to be monitoring. This communication is encrypted, right?”

“Yeah,” Fate said. “But now that you mention it, I’m going to rotate the bandwidths.”

“Clover. They appear, observe, then vanish in the chaos,” Alice intoned.

“That is their standard operating procedure,” Fate yielded. “Much like how their involvement in ‘Chanced Erasures’ might have gone unseen, had that world’s attempt to seal themselves away had worked. The question becomes, can we shut this down?”

“I seem to be the key,” Alijda admitted. “Without my double, we wouldn’t have twigged into this scenario at all.”

Alice nodded. “That’s why you need to pose as Alijda-Hentai.”

Alijda cringed. “Alice. Do NOT call me that.”

“I’m not calling YOU that, I’m calling your cloned mind controlled double that.”

“Still,” Alijda said. “My body. You’re making Alijdah-with-an-h sound good.”

Alice grinned; she couldn’t help it, that had been part of her plan. “That’s settled then. So, I can describe what the other you was wearing, and we’ll get you–”

“Hold on,” Fate cut in. “Maybe sending Alijda into this is exactly what gets her caught and sent back in time working against us.”

“In which case this is a predestination paradox and we have to do it,” Alice concluded.

“Or by not doing this we change history,” Fate argued.

“Alice, maybe we send YOU,” Alijda fired off. “If I go into the square, I might meet my mirror image, or say the wrong thing, and everything goes sideways. Possibly gets violent. Whereas you’ve already been asking about Clover and being recruited. Maybe we follow that through to its natural conclusion.”

Alice considered that. It wasn’t a bad plan either, to be honest.

“Okay,” Alice declared, putting her hands to her hips. “Avril will take a stand until the end! I’ll get by. I’ll survive.”

“Am I still in charge here?” Fate said dryly.

“For the moment,” Alice yielded, dropping her hands. “You have another idea?”

“Hey, yeah, what is Trixie’s project about?” Alijda mused. “I don’t remember her talking about it with me.” And the two women had indeed been conferencing about a number of things, Alice recalled. “Is it magical? Can we use it?”

“I don’t think so. It’s not even virus related,” Fate explained. “Something about an idea for station upgrades, after seeing the analysis of the scattering field that Vortex Limited was using. No, I was considering Beam’s angle.”

Alice tapped her chin. “I’d make a quip about Beam actually working, except I know that beneath her bunny hormone exterior, she is a good Station Administrator,” Alice remarked. Even if the two of them had wildly different operating procedures.

Something clicked for Alijda. “The Para DNA.”

“Or whatever passes for it, yeah,” Fate agreed. “Beam spoke with you about it?”

“In passing,” Alijda said. “Given how Para’s a regular bunny instead of a pandemic one. Trixie was going to extract Para’s ‘blood’ for further analysis, right?”

“She did. Beam’s taken up the analysis herself now,” Fate explained. “And she’s making progress to the point where we might have a workable vaccine soon.”

“In a DAY?” Alice said, incredulous.

“Beam went hyper speed,” Fate explained. “Something she’s been loathe to do since catching the virus, because it’s a massive power drain and had the chance of just making her hyper horny. But she had been feeling better, and Alijda, you got us access to some of the files on the other planets for cross checking, so… yeah.”

Alijda stared at the communicator. “Then this vaccine would work on humans, not just maths or holograms? For real?”

“That’s where we’re less sure,” Fate said. “But we’ve got enough that we could be suggesting a recruitment drive. For testing.”

“Ohh,” Alice said, nodding. “You’re suggesting we recruit for the exact opposite reason that Clover’s recruiting. That might annoy them, draw them out.”

“Or cause more unrest down here,” Alijda said. “Fate, wouldn’t this be against Epsilon’s laws of interference? Or something?”

“Well, the way I see it,” Fate stated. “Is that unless the Epsilon God personally conveys to me a reason that this is a bad plan… we have the chance to stabilize the situation and maybe save lives. They didn’t ask for this pandemic, why should they have to ask for a vaccine?”

“I could say something about us pretending to know better than they do,” Alijda pointed out. “Which we don’t. But I do see a potentially larger downside to us doing nothing, so I’ll stay quiet.”

Alice clasped her hands behind her back. “So which one of us does the vaccine trial recruiting?”

Alijda looked at her. “Are we for sure rejecting our earlier plans of getting at Clover then?” she asked. “Since there’s no guarantee this will work. Clover might simply decide to vanish again.”

Alice nibbled her lower lip. That was a problem. But didn’t seem too likely, given how Clover had already invested at least a couple weeks in courting that Jonas guy.

Still, Alice was now torn. Which was the better plan?



Previous INDEX 6 Next

If Alijda had gone solo, she would have been abducted, requiring a rescue. If she had gone with Trixie, the techno-witch would have initially been fooled into thinking alternate Alijda was theirs (likely approaching her). With Alice, she wasn’t fooled, and they were able to make the Clover link and devise a new plan.

Alternate Alijdah has been planned since the start (hence the “mirrors” part of the title). The votes have not been going her way. A romance vote (at the very start) would have pivoted around Alijda, Kat and Alijdah. While our Alijda did get voted into the plot to end part four, we then pivoted away to Mason. Voting options to end part eleven and twelve would have involved Alijdah, but were not selected… ALL paths this time led to Alijdah. Feel free to speculate more.

Last poll got one vote initially. Posted to social media again after Xmas, we got to three. Closed it all down January 1st, barely got to writing, and then the past week of remote teaching kept me away. Marathoned an afternoon yesterday; I don’t see being able to do that again until February. Hence the long voting time. You’re welcome to return every week and vote again, if you feel strongly! (If the recruitment option wins, the runner up will decide who takes point.) Thanks for reading, share if you’re enjoying. 🙂

6.12: Who Runs the Asylum

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Trixie had checked herself out of the Station’s quarantine. After all, she had only gone down to the planet a couple hours ago, and had kept her distance from everyone else since then – even afterwards, within the dark quarantine room.

Granted, in that elevator she’d been pressed up closer to Alice than she had been to her occasional boyfriend the last time they’d been together. And Alice was staying in quarantine.

Commission from Sen Yomi

But Alice had been wearing a mask, and according to Ziggy’s preliminary analysis, Trixie had a negative test.

Besides, they now had to deal with the situation involving the Vortex scientist… in Fate’s body, sealed off in an isolated area of the station. Trixie had volunteered to do the interrogating, off Beam’s suggestion of getting more information from him somehow.

And Trixie stepping up wasn’t merely because of the looks he’d been giving her, after they’d been caught at his lab, down on the planet. She also wanted to know more about how he’d been allowed to work alone in secret in the first place.

She considered what they knew already.


Alice’s plan of pretending to be members of Vortex Limited, ‘checking up on their scientist’, had worked. To a point. That point being the man in question asking them what his name was.

“This whole assignment has been pretty hush hush,” Alice remarked. “We only get codenames. Yours is Nye.”

He stared at her.

Alice waved her hands back and forth. “You’re the science guy! No? Maybe? Not a thing on this Earth? C’mon, work with me here.”

“Who are you really?” he demanded.

Alice lowered her hands as Trixie clasped hers behind her back. “How about this,” she proposed, leaning forwards. “We’ll tell, if you do. Along with why you let us come through your decontamination area, despite suspecting us of something nefarious.”

He seemed to consider her. “My name is Jake Hyde. As for letting you back in, it should be obvious that, now that you’re in my underground residence, it will be harder for you to leave.”

“Was already hard, what with you controlling the elevator,” Alice pointed out.

Jake nodded. “True, but now it’s also easier to judge what you know, as you’re here in front of me. For instance, based on where you two specifically aren’t looking, I divine that you also know of my hidden passage to the lab area.”

Trixie made a face. He was smarter than she’d hoped. “And here I thought you let us in because you wanted to see me all wet,” she remarked, referencing how the decontamination chamber worked.

He chuckled. “Fine. Not going to lie, that’s nice bonus. Particularly given your pants.”

Trixie smiled, shifting her hip out to the side. Smarter, but not gay or celibate, so she had something working for her after all. Maybe the leather pants hadn’t been a poor choice.

“You still haven’t reciprocated,” he pointed out then, frowning.

Trixie nodded, standing straight. “I’m Trixie,” she admitted. “This is Alice. We detected a weird reading outside the park, and then when we arrived, thought you might have useful information about the pandemic.”

He eyed them. “You’re from that Tech World then,” he decided. “There’s no other way you could have figured out access to this place, short of truly working for Vortex.”

“Maybe we’re Tech who also work for Vortex,” Alice suggested, wiggling her eyebrows. “Also, have I mentioned that I’m single?”

‘Alice, don’t help,’ Trixie thought mentally. Aloud, she simply stated, “We’re not about to confirm or deny anything. We did see some suspicious stuff in our brief time here though, so maybe you should take us back to your lab and explain how you have different strains of the virus?”

He again took a moment to think about it, before gesturing to Trixie to lead the way. She went over to trigger the knothole, and soon enough all of them were back in the larger computerized area.

Jake went over to log into the computer system. “If I do this,” he remarked, “perhaps you’ll tell me how you didn’t turn up on sensors coming in. The first time. Invisibility fields?”

“Classified, sorry,” Alice said, clasping her hands behind her back.

Classified information was an idea Trixie could get behind. The fact that Jake asked the question also implied he hadn’t noticed (couldn’t notice?) her wiping of the security footage.

“You’ll have to ask for something else,” Trixie stated. Then with a wink, she remarked, “Like our phone numbers.”

Jake snickered. “Nice try, you two. As if I have time for personal relationships when I’m this close to a breakthrough.”

He called up something on the screen and pointed to it. “Here. I manipulate and look at different strains because some of them are less resistant to attack. The data could lead to a treatment, or a vaccine.”

Alice peered at him. “Why do this in secret though?”

He shrugged. “Vortex isn’t fond of my methods. Actually, the main problem I’m running into is a lack of subjects. Mice only get me so far.” He eyed them again. His gaze seeming to linger on Trixie. “You two might want to be more forthcoming. Since right now, you’re new possibilities.”

Trixie felt her heart rate increase. He didn’t seem like he was joking. “It’s true we have advanced technology,” she admitted. “But it’s coded to us, thus of no use to you.” Which was true enough; Rixi wasn’t about to respond to anyone else.

“Who even knows you’re here?” Jake continued. “If I were to detain you for a few hours, or days, would anyone even come looking?” He smirked.

“Oh, we have people who’d be looking for us,” Alice assured him. “Also, given your attitude, I withdraw the Nye codename. Bad Jake. Learn ethics.”

“Anyway, do you really think we’d tell you if we wouldn’t be missed?” Trixie challenged.

He laughed. Then seemed to hesitate. Then his eyes went wide.

“Oh no, Alice, if you’re over there, then who am I?” Jake gasped.


Meaning prior to the mind swap, Jake had confirmed that Vortex had been turning something of a blind eye to him. No doubt if his work had proved successful, the company would have taken some credit, while if his work had failed – medically or ethically – they could have claimed to have no part in it.

But had he really had ‘carte blanche’ to do whatever he wanted?

At the least, Trixie now knew he wasn’t responsible for Smoke itself. Beam had found in the files that the pandemic’s origin had been due to the tech-magic-dimensional soup, which came about thanks to the interference of Clover Enterprises.

Resulting in computer simulations, to the point of being able to run one on Beam’s holographic matrix, hence why she’d ended up in quarantine. The worlds being affected by this virus definitely had some technological advantages.

Yet there were still unanswered questions.

Trixie unlocked the door to the storage area. “I’m coming in, I wouldn’t try anything,” she said, before entering.

Fate’s body was sitting over near the corner of the room, examining Alice’s jeans and looking decidedly unimpressed. “Oh, it’s you,” Jake said. With Fate’s voice. That was going to get weird. “I should have guessed.”

Trixie leaned back against the wall, crossing her arms. “We need some answers.”

The clothing was tossed aside as Jake/Fate stood up. “Perhaps it’s my turn to say I’ll tell if you do. What the hell’s happened to me?”

Trixie considered him. She pointed and unpointed her toe. “Let’s just say the people Alice and I work for were concerned for our safety,” she said at last. “Resulting in your abduction. One of them, incidentally, is Beam.”

Jake/Fate looked surprised, then nodded. “Again, I should have guessed. But know what? If you Tech World types are trying to intimidate me with that knowledge, it’s backfiring. I was able to infect that computerized woman without much difficulty. Meaning I might get out of here without much trouble too.”

Trixie stared. “In the body of a woman.”

Jake/Fate looked down at himself. He cupped his chest. “I won’t deny it’s a mite distracting. But I could do illegal things out there now and not have it traced back to me. Plus I feel like there’s worse places you could have put me, if you’d wanted.” He looked back up and smiled. “So why didn’t you?”

Trixie glowered. She was simultaneously glad that he wasn’t in her body, and confused as to whether she should attempt any of her distraction techniques now. I mean, did she really want Jake admiring her legs while he was effectively possessing Fate? Particularly if it wasn’t giving her the upper hand?

Trixie settled for, “I suppose this is where I point out YOU haven’t reciprocated any information yet.”

Jake/Fate snorted. “You haven’t told me what you wanted to know.”

“Fine. Then first, how was Vortex able to send out a dimensional message?”

His eyebrow went up. “Best guess? By uncoupling the heisenberg compensator.”

Trixie sighed. “Be serious.”

“Hey, if you’re going to ask me nonsense questions I can’t answer, I’m going to fish to see if your background is truly scientific in any way.”

Okay then. Beam HAD said it was possible that Jake didn’t know anything about the message. Trixie shifted gears.

“Hmph. Second then, has there been any indication in your – admittedly thorough – viral analysis to suggest that Smoke was deliberately engineered?”

He seemed about to laugh, then thought better of it. “What, like this was intentional? No, this is very much Vortex Limited not understanding how magic and technology can play nicely together. Fusion go boom.” He tilted his head. “Why, were you hoping we could sell you a patent?”

Trixie felt a little ill. “No. What’s wrong in your mind that you would think that? I wonder how many have suffered already, thanks to your experiments down in your bunker.”

The main reason for the question had been to confirm what was in the Vortex files, and judge his own scientific understanding. And ethics, apparently.

His eyes rolled. “Suffered? Really, Trixie?”

“For all I know, you’ve been killing people,” Trixie pointed out.

Jake/Fate looked genuinely offended at that. “Hey now. I may have experimented on a few homeless individuals, but not with anything lethal. Unless your warped mind sees bunny girls as being some lethal condition.”

This was unbelievable. “So you don’t even deny experiments. First, do no harm? That ring any bell?”

Jake/Fate gestured. “That’s medicine, not science. We’re in a pandemic, we need answers.”

Apparently Vortex Limited didn’t have an ethics board. Maybe that was answer enough as to why he had never been cut off.

With that, she wanted to say ‘we’re done here’, but there was one other thing they needed to figure out on that front. She bit down on her tongue. “Okay, last thing. Do you have a way to contact Clover Enterprises?”

Jake/Fate nodded slowly. “Oho. Now we’re getting to the heart of things. You want them, do you? You know, maybe I should get your phone number first. You did offer it earlier?”

“I regret that,” Trixie said. “And this isn’t critical information. So maybe I leave instead.”

It really wasn’t critical. According to Beam, if the pandemic was natural, along with the link between Tech World and the other planets, their work was effectively done. Once they’d made sure that the outbreak wouldn’t spread further, and tracked down the source of the original dimensional message, at least.

Of course, nailing Clover Enterprises might prevent this sort of thing in the future. So it would be a nice bonus.

Jake/Fate considered. “Know what?” he said at last. “If I tell you, I want asylum on your world.”

“You what?” Trixie sputtered. The audacity of this guy.

“I want asylum on your world, the one with all the technology,” he insisted. “It’s obviously better than ours, with the possible exception of our scattering field. The fact that you cut ties with us implies you’re handling your pandemic better, and there’s really nothing left for me on my planet anyway.”

“I doubt asylum’s in the cards,” Trixie assured.

“Then I doubt Clovers are in your cards,” Jake/Fate concluded. Fate’s body sat back down and smirked at her.

Trixie sighed. She supposed that the option could be floated to actual representatives from the technological world, the one whose pandemic had affected people’s ability to use teleports. Both worlds had already been in contact already.

Would that violate Epsilon’s interference directives? She didn’t know enough about them. It might be a breach of ethics though. Given this guy’s attitude. But then, maybe Tech World had a way of rehabilitating him.

Of course, if all they wanted was the Clover information, there might be another way to get it, deceptively or otherwise. He was smart, but Trixie judged she was smarter.

Either way, she’d have to consult with Beam. She left the room before he could start eyeing her any further.



Previous INDEX 6 Next

Had they tried to trace the dimensional message, they would have discovered someone to work with, in distributing a pandemic cure. Had they enlisted Officer Mikoto’s help, police records would have revealed a missing link between Bunny World and Magic World that they could pursue. We got the interrogation angle, which included fleshing out the scientist character (he’s got a name now) and the asylum request.

I had vague plans of writing on Thanksgiving Monday (Oct 12) to get the part out on Oct 18. Still only had one vote then. Decided to leave the poll open, got distracted by a week of teaching. Closed it on Friday the 16th with 2 votes… and that weekend decided to continue “Time Untied” edits instead. (There is now a character page for that serial.) The minute engagement here was getting me down. Then I got a viewer spike in late October, and I decided I didn’t want to leave things much longer than a month. So, we’re back. Next part in December, school and NaNo’s taking time. As always, thanks for reading through to this point. Hope you’re enjoying?

6.11: Before the Dawn

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“Stop right there.”

Beam froze in place. The police officer had reached for the stick she had on her belt. “I’m stopped,” Beam said, adding, “I wasn’t about to jump on you and smother you with kisses, pyon pyon.”

The police officer walked closer, her hand still on the end of the baton. “That’s good,” she said, voice slightly muffled by her mask. “Why were you approaching my position in the first place?”

Beam took in a deep breath. “Here’s the thing. There’s been suspicious activity in the park. I was hoping you could help me look into it, pyon pyon.”

When a transparent lie was likely of no use, best to tell the truth. To a degree. After all, they merely needed the police officer to go elsewhere, so that Para could set up the final pylon undisturbed.

The officer stopped about four metres away, sizing Beam up. Beam could now read the label on her uniform, identifying her as Officer Mikoto.

“The park is closed,” Mikoto reminded. “What activity do you mean?”

“Drones,” Beam answered. “Possibly magic as well, pyon pyon. I was just walking through, and well, it’s something that I definitely shouldn’t handle by myself.”

Mikoto frowned. “Wait. I think I’ve seen you around here before, haven’t I? A couple weeks back, before you, uh, caught the virus?”

Beam image

CHIBI BEAM (pre-bunny)
Commission from Gen Ishihara

Beam bobbed her head eagerly, clasping her hands. “Yes! My name’s Beam. I was away doing self-quarantine. Now that I’m not contagious, I’m back investigating, pyon pyon. It’s partly why I think there’s something going on here. Can you help me out? Mikoto, I’m so, euh, so worried.”

Beam cleared her throat, glad she had managed to catch herself before saying she was so aroused. Mikoto really was very pretty – even given that Beam’s definition of such had loosened considerably since the virus. The officer had short, dark hair, intense brown eyes, moderate curves and looked good in her uniform.

“Officer Mikoto,” the woman corrected, even as her stance relaxed, her hand moving away from her baton. Apparently recognizing Beam from earlier had added further credibility to the story. And although Beam had protested it less than an hour ago, perhaps wearing the large overcoat while on this mission, to cover her swimsuit, had been a good plan too.

“Okay,” Mikoto granted. “Okay, Beam. Can you show me what you saw safely, without us being detected? Or for that matter, without us being closer than two metres apart? No offence.”

Beam smiled. “None taken. And I think so. Follow after me? We’ll go in the same way I did.”

She walked off, looking back over her shoulder to verify that the officer was following. Behind Mikoto, she then saw Para poking her head out from around the corner and applauding.

Feeling her cheeks going pink, Beam quickly brought her gaze forwards again.

She quickly led Officer Mikoto around and into the park, trying to keep an eye out for drones or other activity… surely there would be something here, right? As whomever it was who had Alice and Trixie, they’d probably want to be doing surveillance for others… particularly if the Epsilon Team had tried some sort of bluff, about calling police. It was why Beam and Para hadn’t planned on going into the area at all.

Beam stopped a short distance away from the bench she’d formerly used as a place to sit and think. She again looked back at Mikoto, and gestured towards it. “It was over there, pyon pyon,” she said, mildly annoyed at not having seen anything specific yet.

Mikoto peered towards the trees and bushes where Beam had gestured. Beam wondered how long it would take Para to set up the last point of their triangle, working all by herself. Likely not that long? She might be done already.

“I’m not seeing anything now,” Officer Mikoto said, starting to peer around suspiciously in all directions. Her hand was back at her baton. “Are you certain it was a drone, Beam? Not some sort of animal?”

Beam nodded her head. “Oh, yes. At least, I’m sure it wasn’t an animal.”

“Hmmm,” came the uncertain reply. “And you said something about magic too? What exactly gave you the idea that it was operating?”

As if in answer, a purple beam of light shot through the area some distance behind them in the park. It was followed by another, and another, on the exact same bearing.

Mikoto’s baton was immediately in her hand, as she crouched. “Holy…”

‘That’s our triangulation!’ Beam realized. Para must have set up the last pylon… but was there a reason they were activating the field now? Was Para in some sort of trouble? She had to get back to the mathematical blonde.

“Yes, so, I think we should leave now,” Beam said, all in a rush. “Get going before something bad happens here that puts us both in–”

Everything went white. And then Beam found herself standing in the small set of rooms that Epsilon had sealed off as quarantine. She knew them all too well after her recent time spent there.

“–danger,” she finished.

Beam barely had enough time to register that standing around her there was Para, Alice, Trixie, some guy in a lab coat, and Officer Mikoto. Then the lights went out, dropping them all into pitch blackness.

She heard a door open, but no light accompanied it.

“Ziggy,” came the voice of Alijda van Vliet. “Lights on? Please?”

“It’s as I told you when you insisted on the activation,” came the calm female voice of the station computer. “Some systems are going to blow out.”

“The LIGHTS? Really?”

“There is a reason we do not do wide area teleportations as a matter of routine,” Ziggy said, with a hint of petulance. “Particularly when a scattering field is involved. Be glad that the lighting circuit is separate from the door locks.”

“Great. Fate’s body is still contained?” Alijda pressed.

“Naturally, as is the seal on your quarantine,” Ziggy answered.

“Lovely,” said an unknown male voice, which could only be the individual Beam had seen in the lab coat. “Though I had better be locked up too, since as I recall this mental effect has a randomized time-out.”

“Okay,” Officer Mikoto put in. “Well, before you time out or whatever, someone had better explain what in the hell is going on.”

Beam’s eyes had already adjusted to the darkness by now; she suspected that the only reason there had been a delay was the elements of her programming that made her seem more human. As such, she could see that Mikoto had taken up a defensive pose, and was edging backwards.

“Careful Mikoto, you’re going to trip over an ottoman, pyon pyon,” she warned. The police officer was heading for the comfy part of the room.

“Officer Mikoto,” the policewoman corrected, though she also froze in place. “And again, barring an explanation, everyone here is under arrest. For, at minimum, abduction.”

“I feel like this would be a good time for me to apologize again,” Alice remarked. “Fate, if I’d known it was you trying to get into my head, I wouldn’t have rejected it. I thought it was him doing something.”

“Yes, well, if I’d known the attempt would jump me to the nearest person on a rejection, I never would have enacted this plan myself,” the strange man said, crossing his arms.

Para cleared her throat. “Maybe I’m partly to blame for this new situation? Alijda just told me to get in the field, that we needed to break through with a teleport before the scattering elements took hold again.”

“Ugh, all I know is that none of this is MY fault,” Trixie asserted. “Though I am in awe of how randomly you people operate. I’ve half a mind to simply transfer the rest of the files Rixi has over to your Ziggy, and then leave your group before something more terrible happens.”

“I hope the other half of your mind wants to talk to me before that,” Alijda remarked. “Very curious about that whole tech-magic blend thing, and we have yet to properly chat.”

“There is that,” Trixie yielded.

“We would also appreciate your input in putting the pieces together, Trixie,” the man in the lab coat added. “You are good at your job.”

Trixie sighed. “And I’m not immune to flattery. But unless I miss my guess, all of us are both in quarantine and under arrest anyway? Soooo…”

“Yes. Arrest. This hasn’t been much by way of an explanation,” Mikoto said, sternly.

“If I might?” Beam said. People turned to look in her direction. Beam hoped that everyone else was starting to see in the darkness, and weren’t merely homing in on her voice.

“Go ahead,” Alice chirped in encouragement.

“On account of my situation, I can leave quarantine, pyon pyon,” Beam said. “Which means I can fix things like putting on the lights. I can even interrogate whomever’s in Fate’s body. Moreover, if I’m forced to stay in here instead, I may find myself hitting on Trixie soon, in part due to her tight leather pants. Pyon pyon.”

“She makes a strong case,” Trixie said dryly. “Anyone against?”

“Possibly,” Mikoto insisted. “I still don’t–”

“Look, we’re sorry you’re here, but you don’t want lights? Really?” Alijda interrupted.

Mikoto sighed. “Fine. But no one here try anything funny.”

Beam hurried for the exit before anyone could change their mind. Ziggy unlocked the acrylic barrier at her touch.


It had been an hour. Beam had decided to stall the others in quarantine, leaving them in the dark, once she’d learned that Trixie had resumed transferring the files from her device.

After all, it had not escaped Beam that she was technically in command for however long Fate was out of commission. Not to mention how Fate had been looking into relinquishing control of the station in any event. Bunny infection or not, Beam knew she had to step up here.

Particularly in light of what was turning up in the files.

“Ziggy?” Beam said, leaning in against the console. “Is there any other explanation here aside from them making a dimensional doorway, pyon pyon?”

“None. Vortex Limited made a dimensional doorway,” Ziggy agreed. “With the common sense to restrict it using decontamination chambers. Trixie must have been correct in her assumption, this is how the pandemic spread between Earths.”

Beam drummed her fingers. “Okay. So. Vortex gets a bunch of magic from the mysterious Clover Enterprises after trading their tech. In particular giving them things like the scattering field, which even we cannot punch through, pyon pyon. They use the new magic to, among other things, set up this underground bunker. From there, they punch a hole through to Tech World.”

“All before the pandemic,” Ziggy remarked. “And technically outside our policing, as Earths in the multiverse can do their own dimensional investigating.”

“Except for how Clover Enterprises was involved,” Beam pointed out.

“That’s why I said ‘technically’.” Ziggy’s petulant tone was back.

Beam rolled her eyes. “Anyway, Smoke soon becomes a thing due to the tech-magic-dimensional soup, and very soon after, Tech World catches a novel version. The virus must have made it through more conventional quarantine procedures, which have since been upgraded, pyon pyon.”

“Logical. This also explains how you were able to be infected,” Ziggy remarked. “Both sides were working on a computer simulation of the effects in the aftermath.”

“But that stopped a few weeks ago,” Beam continued, pointing at a date. “When Tech World cut off the link, leaving Bunny World to it’s own viral analyses. We know from our scans that Tech could then use the pandemic as cover to purge information, pyon pyon. Likely details about any dealings with other worlds, including Bunny World, the one Alijda went to, and more.”

“Another logical assumption. A world with teleporters would have had the capability to extend on the dimensional technology too, after all.”

“Loverly.” Beam hooked some hair behind her ear. “Still, two things these files don’t answer.”

“Only two?” Ziggy mused.

Beam ignored the remark. “First, why one Vortex scientist was left working on all this down there in his secret lab, alone, pyon pyon. I mean, why not a whole team?”

“I would hypothesize that Vortex Limited does not want their dimensional dealings or their part in the pandemic to go public,” Ziggy remarked. “Don’t forget, over time Smoke clears and people return to normal.”

“Except there might be side effects. And don’t enough people know about this, such that it would get out in the end?” Beam wondered. “It’s better press to say you’re working on a fix, pyon pyon. And second, while it makes sense that one of these planets would seek help by sending a dimensional message, I don’t see how we managed to be the ones to receive an encrypted communication from them. If they were the origin. A fluke?”

“I have no answer for you,” Ziggy stated, not pleased by the admission. “Though we could now apply some of the techniques in these files to attempt a better trace.”

Beam pushed away from the console to pace. Given this new intel, what was her next step? Well, probably to restore the lighting to the quarantine room, and get some help from her friends. But even then, what should she be proposing to them?



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Beam would have also succeeded in the path where Alijda physically subdues Fate’s body. With the team still in the lab, they would have had Fate pose as the lead scientist; of course, Alijda would have broken quarantine with possible repercussions. Conversely, Beam would not have succeeded if we got Alice’s mind into Fate. It would also have meant the scientist was in Alice and Fate was still in him… but Trixie would have knocked everyone out. Leaving Alijda (and Alice’s mind) to hack, and possibly Para to get Beam out of jail. Of course, we got the everyone back on board angle, as seen.

Closed the vote on Oct 1st as promised, most writing done on Oct 3rd. At what point do I give up on more readers? At least we avoided another tie. Whoever you are, thanks for reading through to this point. Hope you’re enjoying.

6.09: Elevator Pitch

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How concerned should a bunny be about a bunny-making flu? It was a question which Para had pondered for weeks, ever since being summoned to the Epsilon Station. More so since Trixie had assumed that Para was one of the infected.

Could Para catch the virus? If she caught it, would she grow a second set of bunny ears? If so, would they be partially tied to her mood, as her parabolic ears currently were? Or given that she wasn’t human, would there be no physical effect, only mental problems?

Ever since Beam had been out of quarantine, Para had endeavoured to engage the other woman in conversation about the non-physical aspects of the disease. Just in case.

But that only tended to result in Beam getting seductive. Of course, it now felt questionable in terms of usefulness, as for all they knew, Beam might have been infected with some holographic variation in the first place.

Para was now spending her time trying not to think about it, instead working to improve the Station’s sensors.


Commission by Michelle Simpson

Granted, she didn’t know that much about the technology, but she’d asked Alijda for some help. And while her first human friend was more of a hacker than a sensor specialist, it gave the both of them something to puzzle though while Alijda was quarantined, after her return from the magical world.

The initial reason for Para’s work had been better communications in advance of future teleport retrievals. A larger part of the logic now was the encrypted message the Station had received, the one pointing it towards this pandemic problem in the first place. Perhaps they could locate the source? Or find more such messages out there?

Either way, it was fortunate that she’d put her efforts there. Because this meant that it registered right away when Trixie and Alice disappeared from routine scans for their communicators.

Para double checked. She attempted a triangulation from their last known position, and it looked like they’d been headed towards some sort of park. Somewhere Beam had frequented. An attempt to scan more directly revealed a blind spot in the sensors.

“That can’t be good,” Para muttered aloud.

Para wondered about calling Fate, but the poor woman was finally getting some rest after having sent Trixie down to the planet in the first place. So she opened an internal communication to Alijda instead.

“Hey, do you think we could finish our upgrades fast?” she asked.

Alijda’s head bobbed. It looked like she was sitting up. “Maybe,” she yawned. “Why?”

“I’ve lost track of the team on the planet,” Para explained.

Alijda flinched. “Go to Auxiliary Control and illuminate a panel there. So that I can see what you’re doing.”

“I’m already here,” Para remarked. “I’ll set it up straight away.”

They were collaborating in less than five minutes, Alijda visible on the panel from the waist up as she peered at what Para was doing.

“Okay,” Alijda said. “I think as soon as the amplifier is hooked in, we’ll get a signal boost.”

Para peered at the wires, making sure not to hook a positive to a negative. “You’d think the station could access the best equipment,” she mused aloud. “Or at least be able to replicate it or something.” This amplifier had been assembled from parts in a storage bin.

“There’s probably some law preventing them from grabbing the best dimensional technology,” Alijda remarked. She grinned. “They have to make due with temporarily grabbing the best people. Or, er, beings. Meaning us.”

Para half smiled herself as she completed the hookup. “Even though we’re in the dark. It makes me wonder about the God that Alice referred to in our first mission. Like, why can’t they help out more?”

“Or as Alice would say ‘what does God need with a Dimensional Space Station’,” Alijda remarked. “All I can say is her take was that we still needed to have free will to fix things. Or screw up. Or both, considering how she was fired. They’re good questions though, I’m glad you’re asking them.”

“I’ve been questioning more than usual lately,” Para sighed.

“Okay, that should do it,” Alijda said, as Para moved back. “Flip the switch.”

Para stood back up, dusting off her skirt. “Great. Let’s see if we can learn more about the blind spot.” She reached out to activate the enhancements.

“This area didn’t show up unless you were looking right at it, yeah?” Alijda observed. “Implies there could be more down there.”

“That’s unsettling,” Para said, frowning. “Also, it’s still there… albeit smaller. Oh wait, I’m picking up…” Para twisted a knob.

“Hello? Hello?” came Trixie’s breathless voice.

“Hello, Trixie?” Para asked.

“Oh, thank goodness,” Trixie sighed. “Hurry. We’re trapped in the elevator with valuable information. Can you beam us up? Like, we don’t need Beam but… you know what I mean, yes?”

“Um, let me check,” said Para. She looked towards Alijda, hoping her friend had some way to know.

Alijda looked at the ceiling. “Hey Ziggy, you clued in?” she asked the main computer.

“More or less,” the computer responded after a moment. “Parts of me go inactive during your work, given that I don’t entirely want to know what surgery it is you’re trying to perform on me.”

“Can we do what Trixie asked?” Para wondered.

A pause. “No, there is a scattering field in place. You will want Trixie to move further away from that location.”

Para cleared her throat. “Trixie, there’s–”

“I heard. What part of us being trapped in an elevator did you not get?” Trixie complained. “And yes, there’s an emergency hatch, but it’s stuck. In much the same way that my elbow is stuck in Alice’s side.”

“At least it’s not poking me in the breast any more,” came Alice’s deadpan voice for the first time. “This is not a large space.”

“Hey, waving my wrist communicator around WORKED, didn’t it?” Trixie shot back.

Para decided not to mention the sensor enhancements. “Ladies, you’re on the edge of a strange blind spot,” she explained. “Maybe instead you can provide us with information to shut it down, or get around it?”

“Information? Well, there’s a whole secret base down here under the park,” Trixie said. “Funded by Clover Enterprises.”

“Indirectly funded,” Alice elaborated. “It’s local, run by Vortex Limited, who have been making their money through magical upgrades to the world’s technological systems. Upgrades obtained through Clover.”

“Right, right,” Trixie agreed. “Though you’re the one who thinks this is all some global Clover Enterprises experiment.”

“Taking advantage of the locals, why wouldn’t it be?” Alice argued. “Besides, we DO know that some aspects of the magic have been less than compatible with indigenous biology. Which led to the current planetwide situation.”

“Oh, damn. The pandemic,” Alijda gasped.

“Right,” Alice confirmed. “The Bunny disease is natural, except not, because it came from components that never should have interacted. Clover is at fault.”

“Kind of makes your Epsilon Project sensible,” Trixie admitted. “Keeping items out of dimensions where they shouldn’t be. You never know what might happen when they mix.”

“But then how is the disease jumping dimensions?” Para asked. “And mutating?”

“That? Not sure,” Trixie said. “This Vortex scientist has been playing with different strains here, in an attempt to find a cure. Could be his corporation also has the ability to jump dimensions? We didn’t find evidence of that – yet – but it would account for the spreading.”

“I wonder if these guys offered a biological sample to Clover Enterprises,” Alice said. “Clover themselves could be the ones spreading it. After all, the first file we saw was for a trade, not a cash payment. Might have been for items to be provided later.”

“I feel like Clover wanted some of this blended magical technology up front though,” Trixie noted. “I mean, from what little I’ve learned through working with your Epsilon group, tech and magic fusions are not that common in the greater multiverse. Even on my Earth, it’s not as simple as it might appear.”

“Maybe,” Alice said, sounding unconvinced.

“The blend was certainly messed up on the tiny world I went to with Para,” Alijda recalled.

“These Vortex people have certainly mastered their fusion to the point of infecting Beam,” Para reminded. “I’m starting to think we DON’T want them getting their hands on Trixie, and all the extra information she has.”

“I’d settle for getting my hands off Trixie right now,” Alice remarked. “No offence.”

“None taken,” Trixie mumbled.

“So far I haven’t heard anything that would get us past the scattering field,” Para pointed out.

“Can I transmit Rixi’s files to you somehow?” Trixie suggested. “You might find something there.”

“That’s an idea,” Para agreed. “Can we link her device with Ziggy, or have it send the information as an attachment?”

“I will attempt to set up a link through this channel,” came Ziggy’s voice.

“Rixi, try to coordinate. Para, there’s a bunch of files, and we haven’t had time to read each… wait, the elevator’s moving again,” Trixie realized.

“Going down,” Alice sighed.

“Oh no, he’s calling us back,” Trixie yelped. “Beam us up, beam us up!”

“We’ll start working on an extraction plan,” Alijda noted. “No worries. Stall if you can.”

Alice sighed. “It’s my fault we’ve been caught,” she admitted. “I insisted we stay long enough to get the files. So, know what? Even though I’m not the one in those pants with that perfume, I’ll try to seduce him to get us free. Okay?”

“Ha ha, good joke,” Trixie grumbled.

“I’m totally serious,” Alice insisted. “He’ll be so confused by my doing it that you might have a chance to escape out the front. With all your tech-magic intelligence. No elevator there to slow you down. Right?”

Trixie sighed audibly. “As amusing as … fine with taking point on … clarify our cover story?”

Para frowned. The communication link was breaking up.

“We could … members of the Vortex Limited team following up …” Alice stated, just before the channel went completely dead.

“That’s not good,” Alijda said, redundantly.

“I was able to obtain a few files before we lost the link,” Ziggy commented. “Shall I pull those up for you?”

Para nodded. “Yes please, and I guess we’d better wake up Fate.”


Only fifteen minutes had passed since they’d lost the communication link. It didn’t feel like that much time to Para, but she suspected that it felt longer to Trixie and Alice, down on the planet.

Fate had tentatively labelled them as hostages, though for all they knew, the two Epsilon employees were running a convincing con job.

“I see three options,” Fate said, pacing back and forth. “First option is sending Beam and Para planet-side, to evaluate the situation. Possibly set up a signal booster on site to cut through the interference, and we get everyone back that way.”

“Don’t you need Beam to help with the Station?” Para wondered.

The blonde hologram shook her head. “Stuff I’m dealing with is routine enough that Alijda could handle it from her room for now, pyon pyon. Plus I know the planet and would blend right in.”

“Also, Para, I don’t want to send you alone,” Fate noted. “I won’t lie though, it might be dangerous.”

Para felt her bunny ears quivering. “Second option?”

“We contact the Vortex group,” Fate stated. “There’s enough information in the few files Trixie transmitted for us to do that. We could even pretend to be with Clover Enterprises. There’s less risk to us this way, and if we do it right, we can get our people released as well as obtain more information about both groups.”

“But if we mess up, we could end up putting Alice and Trixie in even more danger,” Alijda chimed in from the monitor where she was observing the meeting.

“Possible,” Fate yielded.

“And the third option is my idea,” Beam remarked. Fate gestured at her to continue, and Beam smiled. “Thing is, we do have some artifacts on this station that have not yet been returned, pyon pyon. Between those and the sensor upgrades, we might find a way to punch through all the interference and get our ladies out without interfering with anything else happening down there at all.”

“Might?” Para wondered.

“Yes, well, it’s still half a plan,” Beam admitted. “But it emphasizes our non-interference policy and could mean we get a useful tool for later use.”

“We’ve already interfered,” Alijda pointed out. “And what if your plan turns into a wasted hour?”

“Look, sorry, we don’t really have time for a debate here,” Fate cut back in. “I’m going to choose. This meeting was mostly to see if there was an obvious flaw in any of the plans, and I’m not hearing anything I didn’t already consider. So unless someone had any other ideas or input…?”

Everyone exchanged uncertain glances. It didn’t look like there was anything else to say.

Para turned her attention back to hear Fate’s decision.



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Confronting would have revealed more plot to you, the reader, at the expense of both of them being knocked out. A rescue team would likely be needed. Hiding would have resulted in only one of them being captured (tentatively Alice, since Trixie would have been on the hook in a prior vote, and fair is fair). The other (Trixie) would have had the information out – that we got here – after some delay. Since they tried to get out, I had that they’d be captured but only after reporting, hence the Station POV. In retrospect, I guess there was always going to be a hostage situation of some sort here…

Already over 50 spam messages for September. Really? Contrast just over 10 actual page views. As for voting, three way tie until late Sunday. I guess it’s nice that there’s no one clear path I should be following? (Which would make things too predictable, right?) Though I sometimes wonder if people who don’t get their choice are annoyed. (Is it even the same people week to week? Who knows?) Either way, thank you all for sticking with it.