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It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.

Carl Sagan

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.

Carl Sagan


Of our relation to all creation we can never know anything whatsoever. All is immensity and chaos. But, since all this knowledge of our limitations cannot possibly be of any value to us, it is better to ignore it in our daily conduct of life.

H. P. Lovecraft


We are part of this universe; we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts, is that the universe is in us.

Neil deGrasse Tyson


I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came, and went—and came, and brought no day.

Lord George Gordon Byron


In the beginning...


Quantum surges, the radiant energy of the portals feed the furnace, the Irregulars are...


The energy of a thousand billion suns burns for one brief instant which encompasses infinity, time and space become one and divide.

What is, was, and will be, are.


Quantum surges, the raging particles, the true god particles fly with abandon, the Irregulars are...Transported


In the beginning...


Abel felt something rough and wet on his face, he jerked awake to see Blitz tongue lolling from his mouth dripping slobber, stubbed tail beating. With a look the dog pointed to the door and gave a soft bark...


Lilly, woke with a contented sigh. Then sat up something wasn't right. She looked around her room saw the dress she had worn last night neatly hung up after the dance...


The shoe hit Devin hard, he rolled off the bed blocking, with his pillow, the second shoe his sister threw, just barely , at his head.

“I should never , never have agreed to bring you to the dance. How could you? What on earth possessed you to put ink in my Best friends drink? Lauri will probably never talk to me again!”

Kia woke up when her mom stuck her head into her room and said, “Hey hun, sorry to wake you, but I have to go into the office this morning, so I won't be able to take you to Great Falls like we planned.” Her mom had a frown on her face that was very out of place. “Maybe you can call that Lilly girl you hang out with or those gamer friends of yours. Anyway I gotta go, Love you Kia.”

Kia rubbed the sleep from her eyes everything about her mom was out of place, and this wasn't her room...


“Hey Idiot Face,” Sean jerked awake at the piercing yell from Laurie, “Mom said get your butt out of bed and in the house if you want any breakfast. And your girlfriend has called like four times already today for gods sake.” The door slammed below and Sean threw off the covers feeling odd and displaced.

The source of the discomfort and oddity was apparent as the removed cover revealed a very erect penis between the bewildered youths legs...



OK take it from here. Each of the characters mentioned in the post have full memories of what just transpired in the previous chapter and memories of everything else that have happened in the game. The only caveat is that these memories seem sort of dreamlike. What you don't have memories of is what the hell is going on. Checking phones will reveal that it is Sunday morning the day after the winter ball. All of you see evidence in the rooms you wake up in of having gone to the ball. But there are differences in the clothes and such from what your characters remember. None of you have any of your powers including mega stats. Any rolls in this chapter should be made with your pre-enhanced baseline sheet. Able and Jaunt. The two of you need to produce a baseline sheet and post them please. Guild chat is also not available. so you will need to use phones to communicate with your friends

I will be around if anyone has questions or need clarification... and please give me the benefit of the doubt here. This is all part of the story...


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"Wha..? How'd I.."

<Guys? Kia? Hell. I will even settle for Devin at this point. Anybody?> she sent into Guild Chant reflexively, or so she thought. Instead, she was just thinking to herself.

She collected her phone from the nightstand and called Kia as she got out of bed. As she listened to the ringing she walked over to her dress, touching it with a brush of her hand as if to see it is real, and then strolled over to the window, peeking out at what should be a residential street of base housing, with her beat up Chevy pickup parked on the street and the simple structures of the base beyond.

<Pick up Kia.> she thought to herself anxiously.

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Kia just nodded mutely at her mother and stayed under the covers until the bedroom door closed again. THE bedroom door, not HER bedroom! She sat up then and looked around. It was her STUFF in there, but it wasn't her room! The closet door should be over there, and that wasn't her dresser and there wasn't the big mirror or...

She yelped and jumped when her phone's ringtone came on. Seeing who it was, Kia picked up immediately!

"Lilly! I'm at home but it's not MY house and it's like nothing happened but I'm pretty sure it did! Something went WRONG!"

Abruptly she paused and added, "...uh, is everything okay where you are? Please tell me you know what I'm talking about and I'm not the only one stuck in a weird JJ Abrams show."

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As Lilly looked out the window, things seemed normal, but as she looked at Kia's house across the street, things were clearly different.

"I know, right?! I am looking at your house, or what is supposed to be your house, but there's a different car in the driveway, a sweet looking camaro, not the two that your parents drive. My dress from last night is here, but things are different and my... uhh... abilities... are gone. What's going on?" she asked as she tried to think about the situation.

"Did Devin bungle it and do some cross-dimensional transport thing or something? Like some Star Trek Transporter accident during a lightning storm so we're in some Twilight Zone alternate dimension? And have you talked to anybody else yet?" she asked.

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"GOOD!"  Devin yelled back, sending one of her shoes back at her.  "Bitches be cray... especially that one!  Gingers are all flat chested, freckle faced, soulless... GINGERS! " He sat there breathing heavily, mad but not sure why.  Something was off, something was...

Mari easily evaded the shoe and saw her opponent was stunned, taking advantage she moved in for the kill.  "You are such an asshole,"  She kicked him, but he pillow absorbed most of it.  "Dee Jay, I can't believe I actually trusted you, UGH, I am so stupid.  Laurie is only a Freshman, dude, you embarrassed her, ruined her dress... probably her whole High School career!"

Grogginess was giving way to memories... memories that were his, but not... he stood up swiftly.  "Wait... wait..." Mari kicked and pummeled him the whole time he was getting to his feet, they were siblings and this whole routine was old hat, so he wasn't in any real danger.  "Knock it off!"  The assault continued and he blocked as best he could, she him tackled back on to his bed and continued to punch and slap at any exposed parts that weren't covered by Devin's arms or his feeble attempts to curl into the fetal position.  "Seriously..."  Mari's assault was relentless and they were more amused by the moment now than enraged.  Finally he glared at her menacingly.  "Seriously, if you don't quit I'm telling mom where your vibrator is, I'm not even playing..."  She relented, granting him the quarter he'd been begging for.

"For the record, if we weren't twins, I would have buried you under he porch by now and begged mom and dad for a puppy."  She stood there looking at him as he dashed up and out of bed, tearing through piles of clothing looking for his... pants!  The ones from last night were in his hands and he rummaged through their pockets.  He thumbed through his retrieved phone and looked at his sent messages.  "What are you doing?  You don't have friends, who would you call?"

Empty.  He remembered sending Mari texts, told her he loved her, Mom and Dad too... where were they?  "Yeah, yeah... you're pissed, I get it.  But something just occurred to me, Em Jay... and you're not going to believe me, but..." He thought about it for a second, telling her everything that had happened... everything he could remember, anyway.  Nah, something was rotten in Denmark.  He decided to take the hit.  "You know what, never mind.  Look, you're my sister, I love you.  Whatever I did I'm sorry, and that's the best I got.  I don't even remember last night."

His thumbs went to work.  Guild chat wasn't working, but he still had his... what... the... hell...?  Where were their number?  The Irregulars, the Air Force people, Laurie's... Laurie's number was gone too.  He wasn't sure why but something about that made him, sad, confused?  Like he's lost something important.

"You love me?"  Mari looked at him, puzzled.  Devin hadn't shown a member of his family anything but contempt for the last three years.  He got along with Mari, they were twins, but he'd not opened up and been honest with her for... well, awhile.  She was honestly stunned.  "And you don't remember last night?  Dee Jay, are you on something, take something at the dance maybe?"

"I can't explain, look, uh, get dressed... we gotta find the others."  He began tearing into his clothes piles.  Mari still stood there, confused.  "Go!  Come on!  Seriously if you wanna know what's going on, move!"

She dashed out with an evil smirk on her face.  "Oh, this I gotta see..."

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Abel didn't quite scowl.   This was far from the first time Blitz woke him up like this, but at the same time, he'd not done it for a long time.  "Easy boy, there's nothing..."   he trailed off when he realized exactly how correct this was.    He was quite accustomed now to hearing the inner voices and thoughts of so many others, even his dog who was sapient now, and for the first time in years, he was alone.   Blitz wasn't sapient, or if he was he was laying the "regular dog" act on very thick this morning.   He got up, moving over to the Mirror, and now he scowled.  "What the hell happened?"   He looked, well normal.  like he did before  only as if he'd aged the same.  He was simply tall, thin, and fairly lanky, he didn't have any of the tone he'd gotten used to having.   He quickly got dressed and moved to the door.  Guild chat was gone, he couldn't hear thoughts, and his dog was just a dog.   Something wasn't right, and the sooner they could all get together the better.  He scooped up his phone and dialed his oldest friend, one of the other members of the braintrust, and likely the one who if he was in the same boat, would have changed the most.   "Come on Sean, answer the phone.'

There was a tinge of guilt that he called Sean, and not Kia, first, but at the same time, he had to confirm his own suspicions, and Sean was definitely the most certain to corroborate them.

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Sean stared, dumbfounded at what he found between his legs, his field of view no longer obscured by a pair of very prominent, very feminine attributes that had grown to feel more natural to him than the cock he had mysteriously regained. He had missed it, but not much considering everything else he had gained in the exchange. Was there a word for something right feeling wrong? That regaining something felt like you have lost more? The Germans probably had one, but he didn't know it. An moment of idle reflection revealed he couldn't even speak German fluently anymore, nor any other language besides English.

Everything before wasn't a dream, he was sure of that, but if so, than what the hell had happened? Devin's Jaunt interact with the quantrinos spilling from the Asheen Origin Portal, shunting them to a parallel universe? Hooli or its rival interceding in some way, trapping them in a mindscape. Guildchat was gone, so was his personal channels to Sara and Laurie.

"What the fuck is going on?" he exclaimed and winced at hearing his girlish voice, instead of the much richer, slightly deeper, womanly tones he had grown used to.

Sean shuddered as he got up from the pile of pillows and blankets that served him as a bed in the loft of the barn and climbed down the ladder. His balance was off and he couldn't believe how tiny he felt. It wasn't that he had forgotten what being short was, he just never expected that he would experience it again, going from 6'1'' back to 4'11'', the difference seemed even more exaggerated. He felt slower, so much weaker, simply... less than he had been. He hated it.

His room had reverted back to what it was before he had changed, before his relationship with Sara. The fridge was only a mini-fridge instead of the full-sized model he had replaced it with. The bed he had shared with Sara felt conspicuous in its absence. Absently, still bewildered, he got got dressed in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt with the Triforce on the chest, both loose on his slight, undersized frame. It felt weird not putting on a bra.

With rising trepidation, Sean picked up his cellphone charging by his computer while his eyes skittered away from the dark navy suit discarded haphazardly on the futon in front of the TV. His anxiety rose even higher when he looked at his contacts list and the call log on his phone. Sara wasn't on it. Clare was - her number blocked.

Laurie's sarcastic comment about his 'girlfriend' calling four times held new meaning for him. He didn't think she meant Sara. I need to talk with the Irregulars, need to see if we are all here, all experiencing this... this Flash Sideways where the Asheen hadn't come and we didn't get superpowers. Hell, we need to contact Fort Bulwark and find out if Stepping Stone or Guardian Shield is a thing. See if we can recreate the event that changed us if we can't make it back to our reality where things are...right? Where things are what they are, what they should be!

Sean slipped on his boots, stamped his feet to settle them, then slipped on an oversized coat. He was about to dash to the house when his smartphone rang.

"Hello? Abel? Did it happen to you too?"

Abel heard the old voice of one of his oldest friends, sounding very young and very girlish.

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12 hours ago, Lilly Ann Pryor said:

As Lilly looked out the window, things seemed normal, but as she looked at Kia's house across the street, things were clearly different.

"I know, right?! I am looking at your house, or what is supposed to be your house, but there's a different car in the driveway, a sweet looking camaro, not the two that your parents drive. My dress from last night is here, but things are different and my... uhh... abilities... are gone. What's going on?" she asked as she tried to think about the situation.

"Did Devin bungle it and do some cross-dimensional transport thing or something? Like some Star Trek Transporter accident during a lightning storm so we're in some Twilight Zone alternate dimension? And have you talked to anybody else yet?" she asked.

"No! I was still in mid-freakout when you called!" Kia gleeped. She edged to her window and peeked outside, then quickly closed the curtains again.

"It's totally not my house. We're in town! I'm going to have a look around. We should cut school today and meet up. All of us, I mean. This is obviously some kind of fake...head thing, or other dimension thing and we definitely need Sean and Abel to do their thing."

She cautiously poked her head out her bedroom door into the house, looked to and fro, then slipped out and started going through the living room and dining room and...well, all the rooms really...looking for clues about why everything was so crazy right now.

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"Yeah,  we're all  "normal."   This can't be reality."   In some part of his mind, there was a tiny voice asking "Isn't this what you wanted for so long? to just be normal again, to not know anymore?"

"Let's call the others, we can all meet at Bunee's, and then go from there.  You want me to come by and pick you up?  We can go get anyone else in town who needs a ride too.  Hopefully Lily can bring Kia along with her.  I'm going to call Kia next, why don't you call Sarah?"

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Kia slipped through the house seeing the familiar and the strange. It was a small house, two bedroom one bath, located near the Hospital complex (she knew that because she had seen the top of the hospital a few streets over). There was a mix of furniture she recognized and some she didn't several things were missing, most notably her fathers favorite chair and any sort of office space where her dad sometimes did work at home.

There were also no pictures of her dad. There were lots of her (although strangely none of her in her cheerleader uniforms), and a few with her and her mom, but nothing with her father.

The kitchen also served as a dining room and in one corner was a small computer desk with a cheap PC and a bunch of bill and other things all addressed to her mother in her mothers maiden name.

Kia picked up several of the bills and sat staring at the name

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Sara rolled over and snuggled against the body in bed. She wasn't quite awake but she was quite cold, What The Fuck!

Her eyes opened and she saw the long black hair spread on the pillow and smelled the scent of the woman beside her. Literally leaping out of the bed she banged her head on the ceiling of the small travel trailer that she hadn't been in in over a year. In the bed Samantha stirred but didn't wake up.

Samantha Whitesong, Talena's sister and Sara's first lover, the woman who had taught Sara what love was then broke her heart by running away to join the army. Samantha Whitesong, who had been killed in Afghanistan last summer when a roadside IED had destroyed the HUMVEE she had been riding in.



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"Not our reality, at any rate," Sean clarified, sounding... petulant. Abel could hear the wind rise and the barn door slide close with a bang as Sean stepped outside. The cold bit at him and he glowered in a way that anyone who didn't know him would have called sulky. Little Bigfoot was gone, replaced by his old, small bike, its regular tires replaced with snow tires, leaning against the barn under a canvas tarp. "Dammit! Yeah, I'll need a lift - Little Bigfoot doesn't exist anymore either, it seems. Bunnee's is fine, I guess. I'll call Sara, but we might have to swing by her place if her number doesn't work here. I don't have it programmed in my phone. See you soon."

Sean stomped into the Cassidy house, hung up his coat on a peg he had to reach up for and slipped off his boots before stepping into the kitchen... a staggered to a stop as he stared. His mother was at the stove, cooking, Laurie at her side 'helping' by filching bits of bacon, and his father was sitting at the kitchen table, an old, handcrafted wooden thing, battered some, but maintained in good condition by Jack Cassidy's crafter's hand.

Seeing them again while he was like this, like how he used to be, Sean felt particularly small. His younger sister looked older than he did, looming over him by over half a foot and he couldn't help but feel a surge of jealousy. Just moments ago by his reckoning, he had had a six inch height advantage on Laurie and his figure had outshone hers by orders of magnitude.

"Morning sweetie," his mother called, looking over her shoulder at her only son as she continued making breakfast. "Would you like an omelette or pancakes?"

"Um, omelette. And bacon, of course, if Laurie doesn't steal it all," Sean replied after a moment. This was all weird, all wrong.

Carolyn Cassidy lightly rapped her youngest daughter's hand with a wooden spoon without having to look as Laurie went to do just that. "There's plenty of bacon, Sean. I hoped you had fun at the Winter Ball. You looked very handsome in your suit."

"Yeah, just like a pint-sized James Bond," Laurie snickered.

Sean glared - up - at her. He had worn a dress and with the arguable exception of bloody Courtney, he had been the sexiest and most beautiful woman in the world, with Sara on his arm. And then the Asheen had invaded. Except he hadn't and they hadn't wherever or whatever this was. "Thanks mom! I did have fun. More than Laurie did with Devin, I bet."

It was a guess, a test to see how much else had changed, and by the way Laurie's face darkened, it seemed she had gone to the Winter Ball with him, it just hadn't gone the way it had before. He flashed Laurie a grin most would call bitchy.


"You started it, Laurie," their mother informed her, not without sympathy. "He got you fair and square."

Feeling morning wood he hadn't felt in months, he also felt another familiar pressure. "I'll be right back, gotta go to the bathroom." As he headed for the powder room, the home phone rang and he picked it up and hung it up in passing. "I'll call her back in a bit." He shot Laurie a hard look. "And she's not my girlfriend."

Sara was, and he wanted to talk to her before having to deal with Clare. In the bathroom, he automatically went to sit down on the toilet when he remembered he didn't have to now. Standing up, he relieved the pressure on his bladder and it felt familiar and good. But when he looked at himself in the mirror when he was washing his hands, he saw a face that was his and wasn't his.

The eyes were almost the same, but the face belonged to someone who might not even be a teen yet. It was a face that could grow into that of the woman he had been by right now was androgynous and cute at best, his hair short and messy and dark auburn instead of having all the colours of a perfect sunset.

"Dammit! I hope this isn't real, because I'm not sure I can trade everything I had turned into to stop the alien invasion. For all we know, this is only a delay. Or a trick, somehow, to take us out of play. Giving us what they think we want..."

Sean put down the seat cover, checked to make sure the bathroom door was locked, then sat on the toilet and pulled out his phone. Sara's number wasn't programmed into it, but he remembered it all the same. His memory wasn't the flawless thing it had been, but it was still better than the vast majority. He tapped in her number slowly, held the phone to his ear and listened to it ring, almost afraid what he would hear.

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Abel tore off out of his room with hardly a word to anyone, only to be stopped by his Father.  "In a hurry son?"   His father's deep baritone voice and tone hinted that Abel wouldn't be escaping him.  "Yeah dad, we're all going to meet at Bunnee's.   I need to go get Sean so we can meet the others.  "What about church Abel?"   His father was generally adamant about the family going to church together.  "Dad, please, let me go do this today.   I don't beg off often, but today's important."   His tone was almost pleading, something he didn't use hardly ever, and Sebastian Cross, sighed and nodded.  "Alright Abel, but I expect you to be home for Supper.  You can even bring your friends, just call ahead if you're bringing everyone so your mother knows how much to cook."

"Thanks Dad, you're the best."   With that Abel head out the door to his jeep, looking around at his home as if expecting something somewhat different.  With all the snow it took him abit to clean off his windows and then defrost everything.   He quickly pulled out his phone again and dialed Kia's number even as he climbed into his jeep and then set out for Sean's to start gathering up everyone.  

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Sara heard the familiar strains of Nymphtomine Fix and grabbed for her jeans from the floor pulling her phone out and sliding it open before the ringtone woke Samantha, Sam, alive in bed.

It was freezing and all she had on was a pair of panties. Shaking she slipped into the tiny bathroom and looked at the phone, it said UNKNOWN CALLER, but she recognized the number as Sean's

"Sean?" she queried meekly

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Kia picked up without even checking to see who it was, hardly even aware she was doing it.

"Hello?" She recognized his voice immediately and gushed, "Abel! You remember too, thank God! Listen, I talked with Lilly already. We're going to try to get everyone together to meet up."

Abruptly Kia paused, then asked a little timidly, "...is everything okay where you are? Did anything bad change?"

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Relief flooded his mind as he heard Kia's voice, that she remembered him.  "Aside from the loss of powers, looking like I used to, and knowing we're all without our powers, yeah i'm okay.    Blitz is back, but he's just a regular doberman now, and Sean's a guy again.  I'm on my way to pick him up.   The plan is for everyone to meet at Bunnee's.   How are things with you and the base?"

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"...I'm not at the base." Kia took a breath, held it...reminded herself that this wasn't the real world. This was something else.

"My dad's not here. I don't know why...it doesn't matter. This isn't real, or not really...it's not us. So it doesn't matter. We're not staying like this. Bunnee's is good, I'll let Lilly know."

"Do you think this is like time travel? Someone went back in time and messed everything up?"

(OOC - I don't think Lilly and I ever actually posted that we hung up, but in the interests of keeping things moving lets say we did. :))

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Abe frowned.  "No I don't think it's time travel, I don't recall anything from this world, though all my memories of our world are somewhat fuzzy now, which i promise you has me quite concerned too.   Okay, I'm going to go get Sean, then I'll come swing by to pick you up too.   See if you can call the others and let them know what the plan is if you can Kia.   You not being on the base leads me to believe this world doesn't include the project at all, so things are gonna be very different for all of us."

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"Er, yeah, It's me," Sean replied, feeling a flood of relief he hadn't been expecting that Sara remembered him, remembered what they had. "Um, the old me."

Sara had heard that in his voice. It was clear and high, belong either to a boy or a girl, maybe a young woman. It wasn't the impossibly melodious and rich instrument that had belonged to the woman Sean had become.

"Do you know what's happening? How this is happening?" Sara asked, trying to keep her panic under control as her eyes went back to the bathroom door and the woman who couldn't be there on the other side of it.

"I have guesses, but that's all they are," Sean admitted, not able to decipher the tone in Sara's voice. "We're trapped in some sort of mindscape or got shunted to a parallel universe where it seems portal tech and Project Stepping Stone doesn't exist. Or at least, it isn't in Shelly." Sara didn't miss the dejection in Sean's voice. "I just talked to Abel - he's picking me up - and we're trying to get all the Irregulars together to try and figure out what's going on and what to do about it. We're meeting up at Bunnee's. Do you need Abel to pick you up too?"

"Hurry up, Sean, breakfast is getting cold," Laurie called through the door after knocking on it. "I'm stealing your bacon if get out of there."

"I'll be right there! And I'll cut you if you take my bacon Laurie!" Sean yelled back, his voice sounding muffled to Sara, his phone pressed to his shoulder.

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"I can't fly and...and Samantha is here and that's impossible cause she... she's dead." Sara's voice cracked with emotion.

"I'm at the trailer on the rez. It's cold." She shook herself trying to grasp what all of this might mean. "I'll get there as soon as I can."

Sara paused her emotion threatening to overwhelm her she closed her eyes and whispered into the phone. "I'll be there as soon as I can, and Sean, I love you."

Sara hung up and slipped out of the bathroom.

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"I'm calling bullshit," Mari said.  Her tone matched the disbelief of her statement.  "Judging by that story, you were all high on something, a spiked drink maybe.  And DeeJay, you didn't go to the dance with Laurie, I did.  She couldn't find a date.  Her brother's a creeper, dude..."

"Sean's a decent guy, lay off."  He snapped at her with more snark than he intended.  the twins trudged through the snow and the cold, the bitter chill of the Montana winter nipped at their cheeks, reddening them and making noses run.

"Wow, relax,"  She snarked back.  "All I was saying was that because the rest of the school sees him that way, it makes it hard for her to get any popularity points.  If I recall, you had more of a problem with him than me, I get along great with the guy.  You're the dick to him."

"We patched that up."  Devin hopped over a collection of plowed chunks of snow and ice that had built up at the corner of their street.  He took Mari's hand and helped her leap over.  Although very strong willed and opinionated she was... in a word... 'girlie'.  Fashion, shopping, looking pretty, guys, and Cosmo were pretty much how she whittled her days away, but she was always a good person.  She was friends with everyone and refused to subscribe to cliques, people either liked or they didn't, either way, life moved on.  Devin admired that about her, it was her on quality he never quite mastered.

She thanked him, although not dumb enough to wear heels in the snow, her fashionable boots were not made for hopping over chunks of snow and ice.  Devin already missed Lilly, Kia, and... gods, even Sara.  They were so... practical.  They would be in sneakers or steel toed boots making every ice chuck hill their bitch.  His sister was... so California still.  He didn't love her any less, but he found it amusing now, how she would make something like a trip to meet the crew into a fashion statement.  "Wait, what?  How in the hell did you patch up 'make a move you little bitch, there's not a locker in the hall that won't fit your scrawny ass'.  You had Laurie crying and made Sean look like a punk in front of the whole school."

"Uh," Devin had forgotten about that, hoped this new world had too.  Sean was sticking up for his sister, Laurie, after Devin had said, or done something in the halls particularly jerk-ridden that day.  Hell, he didn't even remember what anymore but recalled that she had to hide her tears from everyone in the halls and Sean, despite his bravado had to eventually back down, making him look weak in front of a lot of people.  Man I'm suck a dick.  With powers they got along so well, they even clicked on sarcasm and jokes, like the bad shit Devin never happened.  Sean had never brought it up even after they got their powers... he supposed he probably owed Sean a 'sorry' for his actions and certainly a 'thank you' for not being asshole Devin had obviously been.  With Sean's power, revenge would have been so easy.  Sean was obviously a better person than he was, Devin would have lorded something like that over someone's head as log he could have managed it.  "Bygones... n'all that."

"Again, this I gotta see," she chuckled.  "Where are we going anyway?"

"Bunnies."  He replied.  "If everyone woke up the same as me, then they're all trying to figure things out too.  Aside from 'the barn' we always congregate here, at Bunnie's.  The food is cheap and I'm a poor teenager, so I let them buy me food.  It's a great racket.  Let's me save money for... other stuff."

"Like your porn?  Oh, by the way, 'Mecha Bang Bunnies' and 'Japanese Slave Maids' finished downloading... are those anime?"  She asked with a wry smirk.

"No, they're hentai, and stay out of my room."  He replied shamelessly.  There was no shame or secrets between the twins.  Through out the years they had talked about everything, shared about every secret they had and just come accept the other for who they were.  Devin could burn Shelly to the ground tomorrow and although Marissa would be pissed at him, for months probably, she'd find some round about way of forgiving him.  And woe to the person that treated Devin's sister... well... like he treated everyone else's sisters.

He pulled open the door for his sister and the twins stepped into Bunnies... yup, still smelled like a health code violation.  "Hey, kid," Bunnie gave Devin a nod, apparently he still worked here.  "Sit anywhere.  I'll get you guys in a second."  Yup... still looked like a heath code violation too.

They found the corner booth, one where thy could pull another table close to make room for everyone.  Marissa flipped through a menu she really didn't need, she'd been here enough to know exactly what she wanted; 'saturated fat with a side of regret and three hours of XBone Zumba to wash it down with'.  "So who all's coming?"

"Uh, Sean, Kia, Abel, Lilly, and Sara.  Possibly Laurie, I don't know, things are colossally messed up right now."

"Sara?  Sara Hutchins?  Ugh, that bitch hates me.  I totally turned her into the faculty for slinging yay, I don't know how, but I think she knows it was me.  If she starts anything, it's on..."

"First, she'd wreck you, then ruin you, and probably vigorously pleasure herself while she devours your soul.  I'd be obligated to protect my sister, so that means I would die to, and, as we both know, I'm too pretty to die.  So, keep it in your pants Legally Blonde.  Just don't touch her butt and everything will be okay."  Devin rolled his shoulder as they removed their winter coats.  His shoulder still ached sometimes when he thought about Sara's Lesbian Death Grip... like a bum knee when rain was imminent.

The siblings sat and talked, waiting for rest of the group.


Sorry it's so long, dialogue...


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Lilly began getting dressed, pulling on jeans, a shirt, hoodie and grabbed her winter coat. Though while enhanced, the cold would have no affect on her, she was usually powered down, so she still concerned herself with things like dressing warmly, only 'cheating' and powering up if it got really cold. She had always done it since she became enhanced for a simple reason.

Her humanity.

She did not want to forget who she was, where she came from or what it was like to be normal. She had noticed how some of the others, especially Abel and Sean, had begun to gradually change over the weeks. Their new superhuman perceptions and intelligence caused them to grow more distant at times, not from the other Irregulars really, but from normal people. Their tone and speech sometime hinted that people were more like resources than.. well.. people. Maybe they understood a bigger picture or something that Lilly didn't, but was mildly worrisome on occasion.

Lilly, for her part, expressed her enhancements in a very outwardly physical way. She did notice that she could think a little more swiftly, and clearly now, but Trig was not particularly easier or anything. Lilly felt that even her physical changes could distance her from her parents and humanity in general though. When powered up, so many physical concerns were trivial to her. Heck, they were not even trivial, they were downright inconsequential. A gun pointed at her head wouldn't even make her blink and it firing might mess up her hair a little. A claymore mine was a minor annoyance.

Even the mundane things, like grabbing a hot pan without an oven mit would not even phase her. And it was all of those things that would not only make her parents, and others if they saw them, more distant from her, but also her more distant from then. No longer sharing the same concerns had a tendency to do that, so Lilly had somehow taught herself to shut down her node and go back to her pre-enhancement self. It was something none of the others seemed to be able to do. Maybe it just was not important to them, but it certainly was to her. She still felt cold, stubbed her toe, spilled things and so on, like any normal person would. It also made her appreciate her powers even more. That's not to say the other didn't, but powered up and down made he well aware of the differences and the help her powers were.

< Maybe this'll end up being a good thing? Give them all a taste of what it's like to be normal again and remind them of who they were. Hmm.. Silver linings, I guess. > she thought to herself with a shrug as she pulled on her boots.

Lilly grabbed her keys and opened the door to her room and peeked out. She proceeded cautiously down the hall, as if she were expecting a trap or something and through the house, taking notes of the differences before slipping out and trudging to her old, rusty, pickup truck. After alternately cursing and encouraging her cold truck, it finally started. She cranked what passed for the heater and put her phone between her thighs so she would make sure to hear or feel it ringing and then headed for town, mulling things over.

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Despite the snow storm one by one they Irregulars made it to Bunnies.

Bunee kept his thoughts to himself, but it was an unusual bunch of kids. Of course he knew them all most of them since they were still being carried by their mommas and pappas. but he couldn't recall seeing all of them together in the diner before especially on a Sunday morning during a snow storm.

Devin(who worked there of course and his twin sister were first, then Lilly and Kia, followed by Alec, Last Abel and Sean. Everyone stared at Sean when he came in, none of them were quit prepared to see the old Sean and it was hard to get used to.

"What , you guys want to take some pictures maybe," He said sort of aggravated.

Alec shook his head, "Sorry man it's just weird you know a lot weirder than when it was the other way around. Where's Sara?"

"She's going to be a while she's way out on the rez with her old girlfriend." The look on Sean's face was stony when he told them, his voice somewhat distant.

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Lilly sat down, peeled off her coat and unzipped her hoodie. The warmth of the indoor booth felt good compared to her pickup truck. She took some comfort in seeing her friends, even if some looked a little different.. like the used to. At least she knew they were all the same boat and knew it.

"I could go get her, or at least meet her part way." Lilly offered.

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This was a rare sight, not only was Sean transformed back to before he and Frodo delivered the One Ring to Mordor, but Marissa and Devin Jauntsen were seen together in the same place at the same time.  Given that they remained on opposite ends of the popularity spectrum (she was, he wasn't), the only time people really saw the two together somewhere was when they were out with their parents.  Everyone liked Marissa, they had no reason not to.  She was plucky, cheery, pretty and sweet, kinda like Kia but without the innocent streak... something about Marissa told them she was far from innocent... aside from being Devin's sister.

"Hey!  What's up!" was her choice greeting as everyone filed in bit by bit, n the meantime he made idle banter about a lot of things going on at school that no one remembered anyway.  Devin gave them the 'just agree and nod' look.

"Nah, make her walk,"  Devin said with a smirk.  He was joking, Marissa didn't know that.  "Count Dykula almost broke my arm, 10 miles in the snow for her, arrr..."

"You are such an asshole," Mari backhanded him in the side.  "No wonder she tried to, shame she didn't."  No matter the reality, there always some woman trying to beat the snot out of him.

"I'm kidding, chill, Em."  He was half laughing and rubbing side, it actually hurt!  "If you wouldn't mind, Lills.  We'll order and have warm food for you guys when you get back, I know what you two like, I gotcher back."

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Sean sat up as straight as he could in the booth seat, but he couldn't help but feel like a veritable child around all his friends. Even Devin's sister - who he was surprised to see there and who had generally been nice to him - had a notable height and weight advantage over him. Only Kia was near his size and he was still smaller than she was. He had buried how much he had hated being small, and hated even more now, having experienced life tall.

He wasn't the only one who had trouble with his new-old appearance. The rest of the Irregulars had quickly gotten used to him being tall, stacked, and very clearly female, so seeing him small, underdeveloped and something between boy and girl was a shock. The only who didn't seem to be looking at him any differently was Marissa.

"I'll give her another call, see where she's at," Sean said awkwardly, shifting in his seat to fish his phone out of his pocket.

Sara had told him some about Samantha and tried not to feel concerned or jealous that she had gotten to see - to be - with her old girlfriend again when she expected never seeing her again on the basis of her being dead. Sean wasn't entirely successful, worried what Sara would think seeing him like this again when Samantha was back there on the Rez.

"Yeah, Sara, do you - oh? Okay, well, we're here. I'll put in your order in later, so you'll have hot food when get here." Sean looked at his phone for a moment, nonplussed, then planted it on the table face down before looking up at Lilly and Devin. "She doesn't need a ride, she's already on her way - it sounded like she was in a car, but it's still going to be a while, like an hour or so, so she said don't wait for her to eat."

They all put in their orders and Sean took comfort in the heavily sugared coffee that looked ludicrously large in his small hands. Devin kept looking at him expectantly and Sean began to scowl before he realized why. He wasn't picking up the cues as easily as had, and he felt a bit of sympathy as he relaxed.

"Sorry Dev, but Laurie doesn't remember how things were. Nothing's changed for her, as far as I could tell." He gave Marissa an apologetic glance, his eyes going back and forth between the Jauntsen twins. "Um, not trying to be rude, but, ah, how much has Devin told you, Marissa?" Sean's eyes fell on his phone and he facepalmed with an audible smack.  "Dammit! I forgot! Clare called me, like five times this morning already and she's listed as blocked on my phone. Dunno if she remembers... things or if it's just bitch be crazy."

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Mari looked surprised at Sean. "Well... aren't you two dating? I mean you did go together to the WinterBall last night. Although ditching her when ..."

She stopped and looked sideways at Devin, "...when you took Laurie home early, probably didn't sit well." Mari shrugged and took a sip of her soda through the straw.

"As for the other stuff," She puffs out her cheeks and blows the air out slowly, "Devin has told me some...things..."

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"...like who went to the dance with who and how none of us remember some of the antics that supposedly happened last night.  That's a bout it." Devin interjected, making sure the group knew that no mention of the Superfriends had come up.  "Oh and that we're all friends now, well sorta, more like I let you guys hang out with me."

The light hearted chuckle swept across the table like a well timed joke at funeral.  Everyone tried to offer up a laugh or a chuckle, or something, but it wasn't quite as funny as it should have been.  Nothing was funny about any of this and although sarcasm and humor were Devin's way of tackling tough times, even his own expression fell short of being humored.

"Still having a hard time wrapping my mind around that," Marissa stated while stirring her coffee.  "You spent three years cultivating your douche bag personality hoping if you were a big enough jerk Mom and Dad wold either send you off to boarding school back home in Cali, or just uproot and move us home, away from this... and then this... you have friends, who don't seem to be bribed, you're acting almost decent to people, that's unheard of... Deejay, none of this makes sense."

"What, that I have friends?"  He looked at her, mildly offended.  "What's so hard to believe about that?"

The melodious rattle of spoons dropping into their cups as their handles tinged against the rims echoed through Bunnie's while everyone of the gathered just stopped to look at him.  There was a long silence for him to consider what he just said.

"I hate you all."  He muttered, when he finished the math.

"Anyway," Mari looked to Sean.  "So you're co-signing this accusation that Laurie actually went to the Winter Ball with DeeJ-," She paused, switching her phrasing so she didn't address Devin by the name the twins used for each other.  It was a twin thing.  "...my brother?  And Lilly went with Sandy, and Kia and Abel are dating, and... stars above it's more unbelievable than Devin having friends... but you and Sara?  Dubya.  Tee.  Eff."  She realized that sounded kinda rude though she didn't mean that way, she was just stunned.  "Uh, no offense, it's just... hard to swallow.  Not that it's happening, just that, well, I 'know' the truth but here you all are vehemently believing the same thing.  If it were just my brother talking his usual nonsense... but... I dunno."

"So, tell us how it is then."  Sean said, setting his coffee down.  "What's what and who's dating who."


Just making banter until Sara arrives...


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Mari looks at everyone, "Really? Is this some sort of initiation thing to get into your secret club, cause really I don't need anymore after school activities."

"Humor us, please." said Sean quietly.

Mari shook her head quietly and started to speak then she noticed that Kia and Abel were holding hands. She shot a quick look over at Alec who was looking at her expectantly.

"Okay...I'll play along." some of the confidence seemed to have faded from her voice. "When do you..."

Lily said one word "Homecoming."

"Right I guess that's about when all of you started showing interest outside of your group.

Well I think you were the first Lily, when Dan Simonton asked you to go to homecoming and you said yes which sorta shocked everyone since those that don't really know you kinda thought you were a Lesbian like Hutchins. You know with football and track and all the other sports and well not dating anyone. Not that there's anything wrong with being a lesbian or Bi or anything..." She looks off her cheeks getting a bit red.

"Then...um... Well Abel and Gina Keller went when Gina asked Him and since Clare Riley is Gina's best friend it was natural for Sean to go with her, plus you two kinda make a cute couple." She smiles at Sean

"I don't remember who you went to homecoming with Kia, but you did go because you were at the party after and that was when Chet was being a bigger douche than normal and started in on the racial thing again, and Alec and him got into a fight. and I guess you two" she indicates Alec and Kia with her french fry, " ended up together cause you guys started dating and well, that"s who all of you went to homecoming and then winterball last night. I went as Laurie's date because she had gotten dumped by that dickweed creep Felix," she makes a fake shudder, "and somehow i thought for some ungodly reason that my brother deserved to go to the ball too and convinced him that he should and then he pulls an asinine juvenile trick of putting ink in Laurie's soda." if she had been enhanced the lasers from her eyes would have burned Devin to a cinder.

"I hope she got the stain off?" she says to Sean kind of questioningly.

"So anyway...did I miss something last night?" she points at Kia and Abel sitting close together and holding hands.


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Abel listened patiently as she went through the couples, as everyone came up and he sighed.   "Thanks for humoring us."   he looked at the others, and still didn't let go of Kia's hand.  "Devin's not a bad guy, despite his best efforts to make everyone think so."  He wasn't going to directly answer Mari regarding him and Kia, if only because they needed to make the decision together to start talking about the real world.   "Lily, is there anything different on the base?" 

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"Guys, this is so cool," Devin's grin was a mile wide.  Once again everyone stuck with drama and significant others and he was a bachelor.  A free man.  No chains to hold him down.  "We totally have to get out there and see if we have Bizzaro selves running around."

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"We don't Devin.   it's more like a divergent reality.   We're all still us, but our lives have been different here than what we all remember.  As much as I want to discount time travel outright, this reeks of Flashpoint all over again.   That's why I'm guessing none of you really remember any of what Mari just told us, but we all remember everything else.  The downside is we have no idea how long those memories will last.   So we have to find a way to set things right."

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"I thought you were the bizzaro Devin." Lilly joked, flinging a fry at Devin

"None of the new construction for that hush hush special project was there, so security seemed more lax than I am used too. And Kia wasn't living across the street either" Lilly answered.

"Oh! And my stuffed bear, you know the one I got when we went on that double date dress shopping? He's gone too." she added.

Lilly took a bite of her burger and chewed it, thinking for a moment about how to set things right when a thought occurred to her.

"You know, I might be able to give my dad a call and drop a few words and names and see if that gets us anywhere. Like, maybe that Department of Energy project is still going, but at a much smaller scale or elsewhere or something?"

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"The longer we're here, the more cemented this reality becomes to us until it's all we remember, like the Flashpoint Paradox Many-Worlds theory,"  Devin sipped his shake.  "Which implies that all possible alternate histories and futures are real, each representing an actual "world" or "universe".  The hypothesis states there is a very large, perhaps infinite, number of universes, and everything that could possibly have happened in our past, but did not, has occurred in the past of some other universe or universes."

Alec looked at Devin and raised an eyebrow, a bit puzzled.  Marissa just glared at him like boy sitting next to her was not his brother.

"What?"  He shrugged and looked at them both.  "I read."  He flicked a fry back at Lilly, "No, you're the Bizzaro, Bizzaro face."

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"Bizarro face? Oooo.. Sick burn. Your words cut me to deeply." Lilly laughed.

"It looks like we went cross-dimensional instead of cross-time/space. Like the old Stark Trek 'using the transporter in a lightning storm so you end up in alternate universe' thing." 

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"Alec? Huh!" Kia shrugged. As weird as it was to consider NOW, she had to admit if Alec had asked her to the dance instead of Abel...well, who knew?

Then she sighed unhappily when Lilly talked about calling her dad.

"So guys, the thing is...if Devin brought us here, how do we get back? No one can...do anything anymore."

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"What do mean Devin brought you here?" Marissa asked, looking towards Kia then to the group.

"Yeah, seriously, don't pin this one on me, I have no idea how we got here," Devin raised his hands in the universal 'not my fault' gesture.  "I was aiming for China."

Mari glared at him, her glance askew.  "China?  Wat are you guys talking about?"

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Sean had shrugged awkwardly when Marissa had called him and Clare a cute couple. He hadn't really noticed her before his own transformation, and after her's, he had started questioning her mental stability. He was questioning it now, after all the calls and noticing she was the only number blocked in her phone in this... reality, or whatever it was.

"Um, that rabbit hole goes deep and twisty, Marissa," Sean piped in with caution in his high voice. "If you find out where it goes, you're gonna think we're nuts." The small boy grinned crookedly in self-deprecation. "More nuts. So consider carefully if you really want to know more."

He took a sip of coffee, letting the blessed caffeine warm him, then tilted his cup towards Devin. "I don't believe it was your fault, Devin. Just an interaction or confluence of effects." He pursed his lips. "Maybe a trap in case someone tried to do just what we were doing."

He nodded towards Kia and Lilly. "We might not be able to do the things we could before, but I still remember most of what I knew. If the DoE project doesn't exist here or we can't get access to it, we might be able to recreate the event ourselves." Sean's determined expression looked strained.

He might know in theory how to make a portal set-up, but he no longer had the devastating brilliance that let him make theory into reality or adapt for any unexpected variables or difficulties that came up. Or to cobble something like that together from scrap. "If we can get our hands on the right parts, of course."

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Kia nodded, then frowned as something that had been nagging her for a while now finally crystallized.

"I don't even know why I'm here."

She looked at the others, then quickly added, "In Shelly, I mean. We only moved here because my Dad got the job at the Air Force base. If my Dad didn't get that job, or if Mom and I aren't living with him...I don't know why we'd have left Hawaii."

"So...maybe he DID get it, and we moved out here, but...no because if he'd...if he'd died we'd still have his pictures around the house. And I don't know if we'd have stayed in Shelly. It's not exactly the biology capitol of the world. So there must be SOMETHING going on here. I'm gonna ask Mom."

She dug her cellphone out and started dialing.

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