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Kids had been arriving at the ball for the last half hour and when the first Limo pulled up to the auditorium all eyes went to it. Those eyes grew wide as saucers when Abel, Kia, Alec, and Telena got out. No one had expected the school's nerds to come in limos or to look like A-list movie stars. Lilly and Sandy Joined them and waited for the Limo with Sara, Sean, Devin, and Laurie. Which arrived moments later.

All eyes were on Sean as she exited the limo and made her way up the steps on Sara's arm to join her friends. Devin and Laurie followed. but the attention of all those in the entrance were on Sean.

Alec waiting in line for pictures with Telena he glanced at the glass front and saw And saw all his friends outside. "What the f..."

They all stopped and stood there, each of them their minds in turmoil. They could remember everything. They felt the power surging through them, the memories of a thousand lifetimes all narrowed down to a single point.


Laurie punched Devin"s arm "Dude! Did you drug my tea?"



ok I am sure you have questions. according to phones and watches it is the night of the ball at exactly the time of the Irregulars arrival at the ball each character remembers everything. including Laurie.


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Devin managed a fake smirk and played it cool.  Truth was he had no clue what was going on.  "No.  Why?  Do you think I should?"  He glared at her like an awkward nerd might stare at a hot chick in a comic shop until she smiled a bit and pushed his cheek, for him to look away from her.

"Loser," she smiled him, managing a moment of joy in all the madness.

"Okay but seriously though, listen up, because I have no idea how long this reality will last, and we're all here..."  Power coursed through Devin unlike anything he'd felt since his... awakening?  Enlightenment?  Since he got powers.  It was like someone injected battery acid into his veins and them followed it up with ice water and his Node was just beginning to re-attune to the new and re-calibrated Jaunt.

"Before we go in," he took Sean's arm to get her attention and faced her with so serious a look Sara thought he might propose.  He winced slightly at the flooding of information assaulting his senses as he worked to filter through his newly honed perception.  "Look, dude, I gotta say this because it's been on my min for way too long and carrying it around is just making it worse..."

"Devin?"  Laurie asked nervously.  He was gonna do it!  This jerk was about to profess his love for her sister in the middle of their date!  This isn't happening, this is so not happening!

"I'm a colossal a-hole," he said flatly.  That got Sean's attention and she began to wonder what he did now.  "Man, before all this I treated you guys like crap.  I picked on Laurie, abusing and insulting her, putting her down and making things as hard on her as I could.  You always came to defense though, like I would done for Mari and every time you tried I just..." He paused as he recalled his behavior on those occasions.  Looking back it sickened him.  It stripped away everything about himself that made him now feel like the hero no one around them knew he was being.  "You're an amazing brother, with an amazing sister dude and I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm sorry and thank you."

"Nothing excuses how I acted or how I embarrassed you," He spun about to acknowledge Laurie.  "Or you, both of you, but I apologize all the same.  Despite how I acted you've both been seriously decent to me and accepting even though I didn't really deserve it, so thank you for being better people than I am."

He stopped there and just the moment stay in an awkward silence.  "So... yeah..."

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Laurie snapped her open mouth shut...opened it to say something then closed it again Finally she got some sense of control over her mind and mouth. "Ok first spaceships and little green men and now your being all nice....Sean what is going on!"

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"Groundhog Day, Laurie," Sean replied to her sister, giving Devin a penetrating look, then glancing around at the others. She could see the fluctuations and intensification of their quantum emanations. The experiences they had all had had changed them, and not just in memory. Sean's hand gave Sara's a comforting, grateful squeeze - she had her Sara back. "Devin here, like the rest of us I think, just went through several iterations of how things could have gone, and that let him reexamine his life, his decisions, and his priorities."

Sean gave Devin a nod that looked almost regal and her smile was appreciative without being sensual, for which he was grateful. It would have been awkward hitting on Sean in front of her sister and then Sara would Avatar his ass into the ground or into dust. "Thank-you Devin. While I might debate on how good of a brother I was, I am trying to be a better sister."

Her grin turned a touch wry, though her turquoise eyes were particularly bright. What Devin had said had touched her more than she was willing to reveal. "And who knows, maybe hanging out with us, will help you be a better man. Laurie seems to find something worthwhile, despite her protests and exclamations." Sean nodded again. "The past is acknowledged and understood, so let's leave it there. What matters now is where we go from here."

Sean looked around under the pretense of a casual turn and letting her classmates get a good look at her. Shifting spectrums, Sean looked through the wall into the Winter Ball proper. It only took a moment to find Clare - an unenhanced Clare, as yet, her features untarnished by the turmoil the Irregulars presence would cause. Sean sympathized with how she would feel, but hadn't forgiven her the actions she taken against Laurie. The recording devices were still planted around the place too.

<And where we go from here isn't the Winter Ball,> Sean added over Guildchat, confirming it was reestablished. Her mental tone was professional and full of focused clarity. <Clare is no longer enhanced and the Asheen Invasion is still incipient rather than in progress. Like Groundhog day, things have reset, now we have the chance to change them... if we boot it. We go to Bulwark, give them a heads up and gear up, then we jaunt to China before the Asheen get their portal network online and disrupt it instead of the warp bubbles disrupting us. I would suggest leaving some Lilly and Kia clones behind in case we don't shut the portal down before they can send out some troops and as back-up.> Sean made some quick calculations that a Cray super-computer would have trouble keeping up with. <We might be able to contact Laurie's Martian friends before hand, to see if they can help, but that would be up to Jaunt, if you think you can reach them.>

There was a pause and they could sense a frown in Sean's mental voice, even if physically, she seemed poised and pleased to be at the Winter Ball and with all the attention she was receiving. <I suppose Kia could Clone then copy our appearances so it looks like we're all still at the Winter Ball, so as not to raise questions about our absences, but really, I think that is a minor concern compared to a world invasion. Any suggestions or additions before we make our excuses, leave, and try to save the world this time around?>

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Lilly blinked as she stood there, her brain trying to process and correlate the memories of multiple selves from multiple realities, each offering a glimpse of how things might end up. In the one she recalled most vividly, things had not gone well.

Strangely though, she could feel a change in herself, and not just the abstract like her character or resolve, but actual physical changes, like multiple versions of herself where shunted together. It was similar to the surge she would feel when she would "Pump Up", but instead of just enhancing and fortifying her body, this was more than that. It was deeper. A surge of raw power through her mind and body, and it was not temporary...

Lilly's awareness came back to the moment as some revelations she she had just experienced in the other reality struck her. She was not there anymore, and had to maintain appearances though.

Lilly smiled and did a fake sniffle as she wiped away a non-existent tear from her eye.

"My little Devin. He's all grown up." she said in a faux, choked up tone.

Her expression then shifted into a broad, happy smile. She actually was happy for him. Well... proud of him was a better way of putting it. Between them rubbing off on him, Devin having actual friends in Shelly now, and him seeing how things could go in the future, he had changed, apparently for the better. Taking stock of his life and priorities and the kind of person he was and now is was not small feat for at their age. It was something that all of the Irregulars had done though at some point or another, finding their own resolve and reorganizing their priorities. 

< First, don't you mean how things could GO? And second, Martians? What the hell? Seriously? And yeah, if the Asheen are still coming tonight, we need to let my dad know ASAP so he can get prepared and send out the alert or whatever and get our asses geared up and to China ASAFP. It would be great if we could evacuate the town, or at least around Bunnee's and the Bowling Alley, but with the snow...  And who cares about the ball. We've got bigger concerns. I'll give us some cover. > she thought to the others, strangely glad to have Guild Chat back.

She looked over each of the Irregulars, even if she lacked Sean's senses, paying special attention to Taleena and Sandy, though trying not to be overt about it.

"You know, we're young, hot, dressed up and we have limos. We can have our own party, because seriously, in the end we just want to enjoy time with our dates, where we do it doesn't matter." she offered.

< And okay dudes, something is afoot at the Circle K. Seriously. WTF is up with Taleena and Sandy? I am dead serious here. No bullshit. I've always blown it off and just let it go, but SOMETHING is not right with them. We all got dosed with the radiation stuff from Abel, and we all Enhanced. Taleena and Sandy have been getting dosed by at least Alec and I individually, and like, the half dozen of us at a time for good lengths of time... DAILY... FOR MONTHS... and they have NEVER Enhanced. Even Devin, who got nowhere NEAR their doses and for a shorter period of time, has Enhanced. So seriously... WTF is up with them? SOMETHING is not right here. >

"Let Courtney be belle of the ball. It's sure a heck of a lot more important to her than it is to us anyways." she said with a shrug.

< And this might be TMI, but dudes, when I kissed Sandy the first time, I had a vision of the frickin' Fallout reality I was just in. Like, I was standing there, seeing, hearing, smelling, all of that, and even tasted ashes on my lips. And WTF was up with that Totem thing Taleena said on the practice field that day and then said, or at least claimed, she didn't say it or couldn't recall it? >

< So SOMETHING is not right with them two. I can safely KO them without hurting them, barring them being tougher than Superman, that is. > she offered.


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After Sean's words Laurie took a step closer to Devin, a bit closer then she'd gotten before and took his hand in hers.  He looked down, then looked at her.  "Don't look at me like that, we're on a date.  I'm keeping up appearances.  Don't get any ideas."

She'd never quite figured out if it was a crush or some jacked up version Stockholm Syndrome where she found herself strangely attracted to the guy who used to remind he that she was a freckled ginger who would die alone because guys liked women with bewbs.  The more she got to know him though the less and less afraid of him she was, he stopped being the miserable ogre of her self-esteem nightmares and began just being a regular guy... with issues, like she had issues, and Sean had issues... everyone of the Irregulars had a story, not all of them good.  Besides, she had bewbs now, so screw you Jauntsen!

<Punching your date?  Oh, this is a must...> Devin chimed up with his thoughts.  <Shame, I kinda like the guy.  I thought not everyone was genetically predisposed towards enhancing?  I mean, Laurie hasn't enhanced either, unless crazy is her superpower.>

Her thumbnail dug deeply into his palm and he winced.  "I. Can. Hear. You."  She said through tightly pursed lips.

"Ow, ow, ow..." He tried to let go, but she refused to relinquish her new torture tool: his hand.  "Sean... stop relaying stuff, dude... Guild Chat is supposed to be our time... our special time... away from Crazy Cat Lady..."  He winced as the pain shot through his hand again.  He was more laughing than in pain though.  "Ow, ow..."

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Abel had remained silent, checking first, and then nodding.  <We are us, the real us, not alternate versions. >   he left unsaid how he knew.   <As much as I'd like a real do-over of this night to just enjoy the company of good friends, I agree, we need to get to the base, then to China.  We can discuss the rest regarding the chances of natural enhancement later, and I'm going to ask you all to not tell a soul that I can actually cause people to become enhanced, until we know a hell of alot more about how I do it.   For now, that's all backburner stuff, we've got an invasion to stop before it ever starts, and countless lives to save.   We can have our own dance afterwards.>

He looked to Sandy and Taleena, and as much as he hated it, he had to know now that Lily had raised the question, focusing his perceptions and  mental abilities on them both,.  <Taleena and Sandy are normal humans, they're just abit confused about all this.  We need to decide what we're going to tell them, and then get going.>

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<They don't have nodes,> Sean agreed, <and I can't see any quantum fuckery going on around them. I'd conjecture, someones or something likes - like Hooli the bear or others - have been able to lock on them and use them as observation... platforms, as it were. There might have been an interaction that caused your vision, Lilly and it might have something to do with exposure to free quantrinos, but that exposure is just one of the many variables that allow quantum enhancement to occur. I'd suggest telling them nothing now, but they are your SOs, Lilly and Alec, so the decision is yours.>

Sean flashed Laurie and Devin an indulgent grin, and shot Laurie a wink. "Man, we're sisters now, we don't have any secrets from each other. Just think of this as mild, very mild, payback. For your own peace of mind, I'd get used to it. Us Cassidy women can be a spiteful lot, even if, or especially when, we forgive you."

Sean tossed her head, flinging her artfully tousled hair over her shoulder and glanced over at Lilly, her smiled widening as she snaked a hand around Sara's waist, snugging her close. "That is a wonderful idea," she crooned, playing along with the excuse. "Seconded. Shall we, babe?"

Her fingers laced with Sara's, Sean lifted their conjoined hands and kissed the back of Sara's hand, then began leading her towards the limo. A bit of witty banter and a large bill from her clutch, and Sean was sure she'd convince the driver to take the night off and let them have fun with the limo before picking it up in the morning.

<We're going to stop them this time. Kia, second guessing if we're back to 'our' reality will just drive you mad. Even if Abel wasn't so sure, knowing what you know about imminent events, what would you do differently?Let's move it, move it, and get this party started.>

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< SOMETHING is up with them. I don't know if it is good, bad or harmless, but SOMETHING is there. > she thought to the other adamantly.

< Like remember the day on the practice field when we found that virus thing in all the kids who were at the lake the night we Enhanced?? She knew the question Alec was THINKING and answered, saying "Raven" told her that we would be looking for Michelle Flaherty and that she lived in a blue double-wide at Horizon Trailer Park? And when asked, like, 1 second later if "Raven" had told her anything else, she was all, "Raven? What rave? I didn't say anything about a raven?" We all lat it go because we had to get to lake to take care of the 'displacer beast'. Remember THAT? Why did she say that? Who the hell is "Raven"? And why couldn't she remember saying it? SOMETHING was and most likely IS up with her. > she reminded.

< That day, when I kissed Sandy, he said that he could not get me out of his head. And he was not just being flattering. He said that every since the night at the lake when we Enhanced his head was screwed up and he couldn't get me out of his head. He said he had dreams about me, and not like the dreams a guy normally has about a girl. He was discombobulated, sweating and even afraid. Like, actual fear. When I kissed him, I had that vision and tasted ash on my lips and everything, but he didn't experience it. When we broke the kiss it was like he was entranced. He said it was like he had been underwater and with the kiss he finally broke the surface, and he wasn't just being poetic. > she explained through the mental network they shared, adding in the visions she had of his body turning to ash and blowing away along with the rest of the vision.

< Maybe he was being pushed somehow to get in with me, and thereby us, or he or they were being used for recon, like seeing through their eyes or possessing them or something. I dunno, but I am TELLING YOU that SOMETHING is up with them. > she reiterated, fully adamant.

< I don't want to say anything to them, or at least him, right now, because I do not want to spook them if they are being used somehow and I do not want to tip them off that we are onto them or the people using them or whatever. Best not to tip our hand yet. I dunno what to say to them or do. I mean, I do not want them getting hurt if they are innocent and the Asheen are about to show up. Speaking of which, we need to call my dad and get to the base ASAFP. >

"I mean, what really makes a party? Is is it the place? No. It's the people. The atmosphere. So we can have our party anywhere, and probably with better music too." she said, with smile that she tried to to not make look forced as she walked with Sandy along with the others.

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<Did... you just abbreviate 'as soon as fucking possible' in my head?  I hate guild chat, it too weird.  Look, I guarantee that I will poke and prod Taleena as much as you like as soon as we save the world, kay?  I will make that sacrifice you Lilly, because you're special.  I swear it has nothing to do with Taleena being a hottie... but you're right, we gots ta be outtie...>

Devin slid into the limo and his quantum particles sidestepped intervening space.  He appeared in their section of the base, the place where the Irregulars usually worked out of (he'd never really bothered to learn the name of it).  Lt. Col Pryor was there with a few other Airmen going over information and a small evening workload.  He paused for a second, amazed at how easily he managed that jaunt... it felt like he took a step, not took a leap.  Woah.

"Yo' whud up El Tee Cole!"  He shouted his greeting and about scared half the room.  Pryor simply closed his eyes and wondered to God in Heaven what he did to deserve Jaunt on tonight of all nights.

"It's Colonel now, jackass," He corrected the teen swiftly.  "And why are you here?  I thought you and the others were at the Winter Ball."

"Eh, same thing.  They are incoming as soon as Lilly can stop mentally spamming guild chat with all her neurosis and conspiracy theories.  Sean will explain it all, she gets antsy if she doesn't get to sound smart every twenty seconds or so,"  He smiled brightly, lighting up the room.  <Aight peeps, we ready to do this?  Gimme the go ahead and you're as good as here>


Jaunt will teleport people as they're ready, so it's on you to post that.  Everyone is in a crowd so he's not going to 'Blink' you until he's get the all clear that your PCs are in a position to be blinked.  No, he did not bring Laurie, if she's coming he'll blink her, but he's not one to invite her along where death and mayhem are the to-do list of the night.  He won't however, tell her she can't come, Sean's her keeper, not Jaunt.


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The Irregulars exit the Ball before they are even there real which makes everyone shocked no less so than Courtney whose limo is pulling up as the irregulars' are leaving. In a huff she exits her limo still dormed and grabs the first kid she sees demanding and explanation.

"I don't know they drove up got out and then got back in and left. Man you should have seen Sean and Sara and Kia and Abel man they were styling"

You could hear Courtney's teeth grinding a mile away.....


The drove to the diner and parked, the snow started falling rapidly.  they parked and jaunt ported the whole lot of them to the base.

Sean, Abel and Alec all with perfect memories could consulted and came up with a time line of the events. The were exactly thirty minutes from when Abel had Enhanced Clare, two minutes after that Jaunt, Laurie and Clare teleported to Bunnies and were kidnapped two minutes later. Then the satellites were taken out and the invasion began two minutes later.

Everyone in the command center stood  or sat slack jawed as the entire Irregulars team appeared in their midst Laurie ushered Talena and Sandy off to the side as Abel explained what was about to happen to Col. Pryor.

"If you can hit the big  grand central portal and take it out we stop the invasion cold."  said Pryor turning to the big wall screen now showing the area "i want full coverage and live pictures now!"

Sara stepped forward. "No, it won't stop the invasion just slow it. We have to take the fight to them."



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"What's the biggest Nuke you guys can lay hands on in twenty minutes?"   He sighed.  "Or you know a secret antimatter weapon of some sort."  He really wasn't joking.   

"While we can destroy this side of the gate with a surgical strike, we need something more to take the fight to them.  We have to destroy their ability to wage war entirely, and We're going to need more destructive power than we can muster right now."

He knew what blitz had said, using antimatter weapons to destroy them on the other side of the gate,   it had the scent of Pacific Rim to him, but at the same time, he'd much rather unleash that sort of firepower on the other side of the gate than anywhere near earth.

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"We'd need some way to deliver the payload," Jaunt chimed up.  "Someone would need to go through the portal and place the bomb.  Unless we are one hundred percent certain they can't withstand a nuclear explosion on a mission specific subsystem like the portal.  We need to drop the entire thing, not just the portal.  These guys have spaceships and lasers and mutant monsters... dude, we can't just softball pitch nukes and hope for the best.  I'm not co-signing an idea like that bro, unless we're certain."

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"You mean like.. I dunno... a half dozen juiced up Vanguards protecting and escorting another Vanguard with the bomb? Possibly even guarded by another half dozen or so Chimeras to boot? And all while we we are on our side of the portal too and not even risking ourselves?" Lilly said to Devin.

"Heck, if the device is small enough, I can probably duplicate it too so all of the Vanguards might be able to carry one, in which case only one has to make it across the goal line." she added.

"But if it absolutely required one or more of us going too and sacrificing ourselves in order to save the planet and end the Asheen threat once and for all, I think I'd be willing to make that sacrifice." Lilly offered, trying to avoid looking at her father because she was not sure how he would take his only child potentially offering to sacrifice herself for the good of the planet.

"I mean, let's hope that's not needed. And, like,  I REALLY hope it's not, but if it is, I think I'd been good with it."

"And yeah, with how I feel now after out cross-time/dimension escaped, I think on a good day, or if I am not right at Ground Zero, I am pretty sure I could withstand a nuke. I would be hurting, don't get me wrong, but I might be able to survive it. Or at least I am fairly certain I have the best chance out of any of us at least." she added

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"No!" Pryor all but shouted at his daughter, "absolutely not, and even if I would allow you, any of you to do anything like that, I don't have a nuke and theres no way to get one in twenty minutes."

"Sorry to interrupt,' Laurie stepped up and put her hand on Jaunt's shoulder, "The T''Tauri have bombs and energy weapons like you wouldn't imagine, right out of Star Trek. And if we're back before we got kidnapped that means they are right up there right now invisible."

Pryor looked at Laurie "I'm sorry who are you? And what aliens are you talking about?"


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"I'm her sister," Laurie said, gesturing at the still glamorously attired Sean like a game show hostess, "Laurie. Don't you see the resemblance? And the aliens I'm talking about our the T'Tauri, the ones that abducted me, Devin, and Clare just before the invasion."

"Abducted?" Pryor growled questioningly.

Laurie rolled her eyes on teenaged insouciance. "It wasn't their fault, really."

"Not their 'fault'?" the Colonel reiterated with skeptically lowered brows.

"They weren't sure if we were... uh, complicit with the Asheen and wanted some of us to study. But when we all ported to China and everyone went... wherever they had gone, they managed to snag me up. They realized we weren't allies and were planning to come in and save as many of us as they could." Laurie wrinkled her nose cutely, remembering. "Funny guys, but I liked them. Sean, you will just love their magic underwear." And so will every guy who sees you in it. "They said their ship wasn't enough to stop the Asheen, but they were still willing to fly and save who they could. But with their tech, I bet we can put the hurt on the Asheen. We just need a way to contact them first."

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"Hmmm..." Sean mused, idly looking up, through the ceiling and into the sky, in the off chance she could discern the alien craft. "While we will need to take to the offense, we're also going to need allies, serious ones. The Asheen, and the ones behind them Blitz mentioned, are interplanetary, or even galactic empires. Taking out an entire invasion force still won't impact their resources enough to stop them. We need to make the idea of an invasion too costly for them to contemplate."

Sean nodded at Sara as she removed her heels and formed her dress - actually her PAM suit - into a fitted, tactical body suit that looked more like something from a Marvel movie. Her luxuriously styled hair shifted back to her regular, shorter punky look with one said razor-cut short. "Stopping the invasion won't stop them, but it will buy us time for find a more permanent solution."

She glanced over at Lilly. "And I agree with your father - a plan predicated on self-sacrifice isn't the best plan. We'll need brains on site to figure out the best of action and where to strike, absent a detailed idea of what we'll find." Sean indicated herself, Abel, and Alec, then Lilly, Kia, and Sara, "Muscle and Firepower to hold them off." Sean gestured around the group again, but with a slight emphasis on Kia and Abel. "Versatility for anything else that comes up. And of course," Sean gestured at Devin in a manner mirroring Laurie earlier, "one of the most important things, a way to get out."

Sean lips tightened as she continued, her gaze lingering on her sister, then going to Abel. "As for contacting the T'Tauri, well, unless we can ping them with satellites we already have up there, we have to do something down here that will draw their attention enough to investigate, like what happened before. So, either using one of the portal devices to spew out enough quantrinos to make seem like an enhancement in progress, or..."

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"Ping these nuts, Cassidy," Jaunt said, grabbing himself.  "How about I just jaunt up there and say hello.  I've already been on their ship, I remember the observation deck, it'll be difficult but I'm pretty sure I could make it."

"Devin, that's in orbit," Abel cut him off.  "You've never attempted a jaunt that far."

"Aww, he cares.  I love you Schmoopsy Poo."  Jaunt blew Able a kiss, and continued.  "...and he's right, but what choice do we have?  Some off chance you might get their attention?  There's too much uncertainty in that plan, dude.  With you guys handling boots on ground problems, someone needs to handle the Tutorial."

"T'Tauri."  Laurie corrected him.  "They're called the T'Tauri... you said...," She patted him on the shoulder.  "Y'know what?  You got this."

Devin nodded with confidence.  "S'what I said, I totally got this."

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"Hey asswipe, while you and the rest of your super-friends were off playing with yourselves in your heads, or whatever. I was up there making peace with a freaking bunch of Aliens on a star destroyer. I know them, butthead," She pokes Devin hard in the chest, "you don't."

She folds her arms across her chest, "So I go or we are done."

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"Done?  Done?! I wasn't even aware we'd started!  Y-y'know what... can all you excuse us for a second?"  He points to a dark corner that looked like it might the typical CW drama spot for 'talks'.  He took her by the arm and lead her off to the side.  "Laurie, you can't come.  I'm sorry, but you are a civilian and I'm not shooting you up into space.  You don't have some super suit to protect you from spinal injuries and telekinetic explosions this time around.  It's too dangerous."

"Yes it is," She replied taking his hands in hers, "and its just as dangerous for you and everyone else. When we didn't go to China I went there. If there was any purpose for anyof this, then there had to be a purpose for that too. And I am not letting you go alone." She steps close to him pressing her body against his. "We don't have time to waste for this we need to go right now and get the help we need before it's too late."

Devin sighed, squeezing her hands in a display of affection unaccustomed to him.  "Laurie.... what you're asking me to do.  Were something to happen to you, I'd have to come back here and look Sean in the eyes and tell him that I lost his sister.  I'm not super dense like Lilly or strong.  I don't have Kia's mutability, although I'm totally hotter than your sister and I'm not quite sure what Abel does... my point is, without that suit the last time, you would have been dead ten times over.  I can't protect you,"  Admitting one's weaknesses had never been an easy task and Devin was certainly learning now the humility in it all.  "Were something to happen to you Red... I...,"  He gently swept away the rogue strand of red that had fallen from her styled hair, just like it did the first time they went to the Winter Ball.  After it was safely tucked behind he ear he let his hand slide along the soft curves of her cheek. "I couldn't live with myself."

Laurie leaned into his caress her heart pounding. "Devin you don't have time. I have to go because you have to come back here  and get everyone to China. I'll get the bomb Ill get it to you in China." She pulled back and looked Devin square in the eye "Now quit arguing with me Jaunt, and teleport . Now!"

He closed his eyes.  More to keep back the rush of emotion he was feeling and how awkward this new sensation was.  She was right, and he hated it.  He used it as a moment of solace to build up the energy he would need.  He pictured the observation deck, he called for the memory and after a few moments they were there... Laurie stepped away from him and looked around.  The scenery was no less amazing the second time around.  "Jaunt, thank you."

His back was already to her so she couldn't see how he looked: irritated, mad, scared.  "You better come home.  You owe me a bomb."

His form broke down and Jaunt shifted into pure quantum and was gone.

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"Who said anything about it being predicated on self-sacrifice? I know I sure as heck didn't. I only said that I would go IF the horde of Vanguard and possibly Chimera duplicates could not do it on their own for whatever reason, which I cannot even fathom." Lilly clarified since her first statement seemed to have shot right over heads.

< Did Sean just insinuate we were just dumb muscle? > Lilly mused to Kia in a private link.

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"Why are the rest of us even here," Jaunt asked, returning from his dark corner, minus Laurie.  He was a little miffed at what he'd just done so it was a perfect time to be an asshole.  "I mean really.  Lilly and Kia can make a clone army of jack-booted thugs on demand now and don't even need to be on site to do it, they can be blocks away sipping Mai-ti's.  Just send in the clones, pin a medal on Lilly's chest and let's just get this over with.  We don't need a plan if all we're gonna do is make the Vangard and bum rush em... you punch anything enough times it'll quit moving."

"Christ, man, we are the laziest supers ever, and I got a comic book collection at home to prove it.  You don't need me here, I'm not pulling clones out of a fire, screw that.  It's a complete waste of my juice and time."  He pulled up the jacket to his suit and straightened it so it rested better on his chest.  "Hit me up when I'm actually on this team and not the personal army's gopher.  I'mna go see if this base has any decent hot chocolate.  Good luck Lills, save the day, break lots of things."

Devin walked to the door, stopping to ask an Airman where the break room or mess was.

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Abel sat their mutely running over everything he knew, all he could remember.  <First thing to consider, we have no idea if the clones would maintain cohesion after going through the portal.  It's something we've simply not tested.   Second, even if all we did was send the clones over, there's no real way of knowing if we can do enough damage to shut them down until we can come up with a more permanent solution. >

He looked to Sara "As big as you can make it.   We can't take any chances with half measures."

Looking to Sean, he spoke privately over their mental link.  <Are you really about to suggest that I do something like what I did before?  I know what I did when I tried to guide Clare's enhancement, and she manifested abilities I never intended to give her.   We have exactly 3 choices in people here that I might do that to, and if something were to go wrong, again, could you really be okay with it?>

Even as he was talking to Sean, he quickly brought Blitz up to speed, and sighed.  <Any advice on this Blitz? no mention of these aliens as allies of the ones who took you and way to get ahold of them?>

Blitz was quick to answer.  <Nothing like that, but if you're going to try to blast them, nny blast should be held off until the invasion actually starts.   If the nexus portal acts as I think it does, it is a junction which all the other staging areas shunt through. if this is the case those portals will shunt the explosion's energies back along those portal lines to the individual staging areas, doing the maximum amount of damage to all of them.>

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<Well, since Jaunt was able to send Laurie up instead of us needing to lure the T'tauri down,> Sean commented directly to Abel, making a gesture down low with two fingers pointing upwards towards the sky and beyond, <it's a moot point now. It wasn't a preference, just an option we had to consider with what we knew and the time we have at hand.>

Sean took several long steps to join Devin at the door, leaning back against the door jamb and holding up a placating hand. The look in her eyes was sympathetic, even agreeing with his sentiments to at least some degree, but also understanding there wasn't time for them to let disagreements distract them. "I don't see you as just a rather convenient Uber, Devin."

Sean's tone was sweet and convincing, but it sounded genuine. She could have just been sweet talking him of course, but she had heard every word between him and her sister. Sean worried about her sister and truly hoped that she wasn't involving herself in this affair just because she felt overshadowed by her brother-now-sister. She didn't believe Laurie was - she was remarkably self-aware and if she didn't know what her place in the world was, there was no doubt she would find it.

Devin's concern for Laurie was obvious, but what impressed Sean the most was him letting Laurie make her proposal, her decision, then helping her to make it happen, despite it being the last thing he wanted to do. It was one of the hardest things to do - she knew, she had done the same.

"We all have something to contribute here," Sean stated, standing up straight and raising her voice for everyone to hear. "Lilly, your idea isn't a bad one, but so far, the Asheen have been a step ahead of us, and nothing we've seen suggests they are less than clever. They simply have more experience with this quality and  quantity of power. If they have a way to negate one of your clones, they can negate all of them. We all bring something to the table, and in combination, we have such versatility and capability, the Asheen can't counter them all, raising our probability of success."

Sean arched a beseeching brow at Devin. <You believed enough in Laurie to send her up there, the least we can do is make sure the effort isn't wasted, dude. Please?>

Sean slipped around Jaunt and approached Lilly. "I don't know the exact mechanism of your self-duplication ability, Lilly," Sean admitted, "but they seem to be you in all respects, including mannerisms and personality." <We can hear them all in Guildchat, and I presume you can communicate directly with them as well,> Sean added on a personal channel to Lilly. "Don't know if you draw them in from mirror realities or create them wholecloth from subatomic particles, but I also don't know if your clones are aware of their limited existence. If they are you, I was supposing they still had a self-preservation instinct and didn't believe it was fair to them, or to you, to have a plan sacrificing them if it wasn't necessary, especially if you would end up experiencing that sacrifice."

Sean quirked her lips wryly. "Nor do I think it is the best plan. Forgive me the pun, but consider Legos. You can make something using the same 'brick' over and over again, but you can make something greater using a variety of pieces." Sean turned, catching each of the Irregulars' eyes. "And together, we a greater than the sum of our parts. We can do this, ladies and gentlemen, I know we can, working together. Agreed?"

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"Well, not to get all philosophical here, but some of this might help with coming up with a plan...." Lilly said as she took in a breath and tried to organize her thoughts on her self-duplication ability.

"For starters, 'Clone' is not the right word, since clones are only genetically identical. They are actual duplicates. They are not pulled from other realities either. It's like I focus and I know every cell in my body and the position and movement of every particle or whatever, in and on, my body, and then create a new one, like even to the level that I duplicate my consciousness, even if doing so is paradoxical or whatever. As best I can describe it is that it feels like it's kind of like an extension of my regeneration, body control and juicing. Like, I cannot turn into a bird like Kia can, but I know my body really, really well and have this crazy control over it." she said as she held up a hand, closed her fingers and then opened them again, revealing webbing.

"Anyways, they are all me. Like, ME, me. They know only and exactly what I know. They have the same thoughts, fears and everything. If I have a wound or sore muscle or scar or anything, so do they. They wear, and hold, and have in their pockets exactly what I have.

< Whatever I am wearing or holding something, or have it on me, and it is not too big, it is duplicated too. Like when I duplicated at the battle at Bunnee's, the Vanguard all had my bow, arrows and even PAM suit, and the duplicate's PAM suits also had juice stored in them, identical to mine, which might defy the Law of Conservation of Energy, or something. >

< The only difference between me and them is that they cannot duplicate themselves, so they know they are duplicates, at least on a logical level. It's like something they know, but do not really think about or focus on. I know that, because I can re-integrate them and then I know everything they know and experienced, as if I were the one doing it, because I kinda was. >

< Well that, and that they, and everything created with them, are temporary. >

"I do not control them either. They are me in every respect. They talk, think, act and react identical to me and would do what I would do in any situation. And they also would not do anything I would not do myself, because they are me. I mean, it's like since they know they duplicates, they are more willing to take risks if it means helping and protecting others. Because, like, if I was going to cease to exist in under an hour, then I would want my existence to mean something, you know? But they are not just a disposable army or something that I can send to their doom. If I wouldn't do something in that situation, then neither would they. But by that same token, if I am willing to take the risk, knowingly, sacrifice myself, then so are they, because they are me."

< And they are in Guild Chat, because I am and they are duplicates of me. So we use Guild Chat, or make link ourselves, to communicate. >

"It's kind of trippy, I know, and also why I do not create them frivolously."

< I have had the ability for some time, but just never used it because I never felt it was needed until a half dozen of us were staring at hundreds of aliens in downtown Shelly. I wasn't trying to hide it. I just... I'm still getting used to it. >

Lilly then looks at the other Irregulars for a moment and nodded to Sean.

"And a team is always greater than the sum of its parts. That's why we are the Irregulars and not a bunch of lone wolves." she said, showing the Irregulars patch on her arm.

"I mean, look at what we did at Bunnee's against hundreds of aliens and, like, kaiju." she reminded.

"As long as we work together as a team, and have each other's back, we can do amazing things." she said as she bent her arm and held it out, showing the "Irregulars" patch on the arm.



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Sara stepped up and resisting the urge to grab and hold Sean nodded, both to what Sean had said and what Lilly was saying (although there was a little smile when Lilly said she didn't create her 'duplicates' frivolously. "Agreed, and If Laurie can't get a bomb from the new aliens. I can be the bomb.

I just need to know where to blow up."

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Sean and Lilly said their piece.  Jaunt approached the table with a lame-sized white styrofoam cup filled with hot chocolate.  Sean quirked an eyebrow at him.  "What?  I heard her, half that speech was in my head, I do teleport and multitask y'know.  Saves all kinds of time."

They all looked at him as he took a sip, waiting expectantly.  "Okay, fine, I got pissed.  I just abandoned my wife of forty three years up on an alien space ship.  I'm having a bit of a hard time processing, okay?  Real talk, I'm not sure what's live or Memorex anymore."

"I was dick, Lills, and I'm sssor-... that word,"  He looked at her across the table.  A pang of remembrance twisted his gut as he remembered the picture of his family aboard the vessel where he met future Laurie.  Three children, two daughters and a son.  His mind wrapped around memories that weren't his, flashes of events that hadn't happened yet.  People who'd been in and out o his life.  His son, he knew, wasn't with Laurie.  His son came from a different mother, and she was at the table with him now.  He swallowed it back and let the topic in his mind rest.  No one needed to know, not right now anyway.  "We've all seen some shit, no denying that, I'm just... just not cool with the clone army thing... don't ask me why... it's like onions, I don't know why, I just don't like em'."

He sighed, still trying to get it together.  Whatever he'd seen in the future had whammied the hell out of him.  "Look the truth is, when all your clones are in play, I can't lock on to you to pull you out.  They act like... I dunno white noise for the real you... same with Kia, it blocks my blinking you out of danger.  I don't want you anywhere or doing anything where I can't protect you."  There is was, that charm he seemed to have from time to time.  It shown through with his last few words and they saw in his his genuine concern for Lill-...all of them.

"I'm not sorry for the last bit though, seriously, break stuff.  Break lots of their stuff."  He managed a smirk and shot her a wink that fell short of distracting them away from his display of concern.


So, yeah... Caregiver nature... fun times.


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“If you ki..guys are finished,” Col. Pryor's voice cut through and got their attention “We have imagery coming in from China.”

On the big screen the picture showed China then began zoom into the north target area. The could see hundreds of small bug Aliens erecting some kind of frame work around a huge black disc. They are being watched of by about two dozen of the Infantry drones and a score of wolf-Howlers.


“Zero emissions from the disc sir.” reported an airman.

“How the hell did so many get here without us detecting them”

“You did detect them,” said Abel. “those other times you picked up the portals some aliens came through and hid right under our eyes. Those workers are purpose built probably using material from the countryside.”

“The framework is a power station for the nexus portal and it looks like they are almost finished.” interjected Sean.


“Your authorized to go, do what ever you need to do, but stop them.” was all Pryor said.


They had quickly changed into their PAM Suits, those that hadn't been wearing them already and were gathered in an adjacent room.

“How much time do we have?” asks Sara.

“ A few minutes still but we should get there and position ourselves.” Abel said as he took Kia's hand in his.

Devin tossed his empty cup in the trash. “They didn't start the invasion until they secured their base with those big tank like aliens and thy were bringign those through portals. We are going to need one of those Portals to get us to the other side unless that big one is a portal too.”

He looked around at everyone. “You guys ready?”

Nods followed and then they were in China.


You are in china about a kilometer from the big black energy disc. there are the hundreds of aliens described above.  mental and hyper sense can detect more of the wolf-howlers in the wood like guard dogs... probably another score or so. within a minute or two of your arrival two portals will open these are the normal silver disc type each about 6 meters across they will begin disgorging troop drones and more howlers.

Take it from here. and GO!


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Lilly was confused somewhat by Devin's admission.

'WTF? Protect ME? He's worried about protecting ME?' she thought to herself, but the though quickly faded from her mind as her father finally spoke, snapping her back to the moment.

'Whatever. He's just angsty.' she thought and shrugged it off.

Seconds later, it seemed, they were in China, looking at the disk and drones around it.

< At Bunnee's some of the wolves seemed to notice when we started using our powers. I'll bet similar ones are here too. They might know we are here already, but hopefully we are far enough away to escape their detection. They might detect me when I turn on the juice, if they have not already. I can clear that with a jump, so if anybody needs a ride and think they can take the hell that will be unleashed on me or us, then let me know. I am thinking I jump in, and then it's "Lilly Smash!" time on that frame? I'll probably draw a lot, if not all, of their fire. So, you know, diversions could help. Heh. >

< Or do we need the frame to send our bomb though, if we even have a bomb? And considering the backlash I got as the mere suggestion that I would be okay sacraficie myself, if absolutely needed, I doubt that blowing yourself up is a viable option, Sara. I dunno. > she though over Guild Chat.



When given the word, Lilly will Boost and Q-Leap in unless we come up with another plan.

Boost roll:
Q 6 +Boost 1 = 7d10
7D10E7 => ( (4, 7, 1, 10, 8, 2, 7 → 4 successes against 7) ) = 4 sux

That puts her at:
Str 5 + M-Str 6
Dex 7 + M-Dex 6
Stm 5 + M-Stm 6

+7 Bashing soak / +4 Lethal soak (47B/40L)
+6 Bruised health levels / +1 Wounded health level (Bruised x9, Hurt x1, Injured x1, Wounded x2, Maimed x13, Crippled x1)
Base Resistance and Endurance ratings are 5 and +1 automatic success at any Resistance or Endurance roll
+4 Initiative (+22)


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<While Sara may be 'da bomb', she isn't the bomb,> Sean clarified with cool amusement as she rechecked the pair heavy pistols slung on her hips. <Sara will make the bomb, if Laurie can't convince the T'tauri of our needs or they can't get it to us in time.>

Sean slowly panned her head around, picking out targets through sight, sound, and more, and plotting them onto a mental map, preternaturally aware of everything happening around her. A small tilt of her head towards Sara by her side indicated that she'd go in riding Sara-Air for mutual support. <We'll need the power-frame to stay standing to energize the disk - we may even need to stop the Asheen from bringing it down if they realize what we are actually trying to do. The disk is essentially the transit station for the junction portal. What we're going to have to do is go through one of their portals to get to the other side and set the bomb from there. The idea is that the blast will travel through the junction portal and be rerouted to all the connected portals via the energy disk. It's sound theory, with several contingencies available to us, and of course, we may have to improvise. Plans drawn in sand and all that...>

With swift, practiced motions, Sean assembled a powerful looking anti-material rifle and slung it over her back. Dressed in a snug bodysuit of indiscernible colours and armed with deadly looking firearms, her turquoise eyes lambent and penetrating, Sean looked dangerous and almost too beautiful to directly look at.

<I would suggest we move in in a staggered formation so we aren't clustered, picking off what we can, as though we are just doing a hit and run and not fully aware of the extent of their invasion. That will give Laurie a bit more time to get us our toy. If it she does or when it feels like she is taking too long or the Asheen start pulling out too many or too big troops, we'll make our surgical strike to break through their lines and go through one of their portals - the two-sided silver ones - and try to set off the chain reaction, using either the bomb, Sara, or whatever else we can scrounge up if the first two aren't feasible. We're all coming back from this.>


Activating Situation Awareness Enhancement and Obscurement Enhancement for the scene. 35/41 QP


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"You guys have flippin' power bows, heavy pistols and anti-material rifles and all I get is harsh language and my swinging cod?  Wonderful.  We need to seriously talk about equipment load outs next time."  He shook his head.  As far as teams went, they had a lot of work to go.  "And quit the 'sacrifice myself' crap, Lilly... first, it won't come to that.  Second, when you keep saying it over and over... it's not heroic anymore.  If you do it then later, back home, we're not going to be crying and mourning your loss like: 'oh, she was so brave, a hero to the nation'... it's gonna be more like a shrug and: 'well... saw that coming, she was looking for a way out and she found it'.  Then comes the blame game, then comes the our bouts with alcoholism and regret, then we recruit the new person to replace you and we always have that creeping feeling in the back of our minds asking: 'is she as unstable as that last girl who blew herself up'.  So she feels ostracized and never fully part of the team which causes a schism-..."

"Jaunt," Sean cut him off.  "Shut.  Up."

"Sorry... just powering up my mouth because someone didn't give me guns or a bow or power gauntlets,"  He held his arms out wide and looked down at himself.  "Or even a change of clothes!  I'm about to die already wearing my funeral clothes... this is depressing on so many levels."

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"Huh?" Lilly said to Jaunt, looking very confused. 

"Dude, WTF are you talking about? Are you sure you are entirely back in THIS reality and not getting mixed signals from other ones at the same time or something?" she asked Devin as she leaned close, tilting her head and look from one of his eyes to the other, like some mock examination.

"Well, when you get back to THIS reality... Here," she said as she pulled off her quiver and handed Devin her bow, "Now quit bitchin'. Just hold the bow and focus on it, and you can empower it, like our PAM suits so it can handle your strength. And the arrowheads are armor piercing, so watch out what's behind your target."

"Even if you have never shot a bow you seem coordinated enough to figure it out. You know, pointy end away from you." she joked.

"And dude. We are on an opp where stealth is kinda important. So shut your pie hole.." < ..and use Guild Chat, even if it wigs you out. >

Lilly then turned to Sean.

< Then why attack before we know what bomb we are going to use? > she asked in Guild Chat.

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Abel took stock of things and looked to Lily.  "I've got a present for you."  He held out his hand, and went over the schematics in his mind, and his power gave his thoughts form.  Before everyone, the various pieces of a .50 cal minigun came into being, floating in air, along with a fair amount of ammunition.   The parts all interlocked perfectly and and when he lowered his hand, on the ground was a complete mingun in working condition, primed and ready to go.  <With your ability to duplicate what you're holding, Your Bow is a great force multiplier, but it is somewhat limited in how many you can engage at once.  This will at least until the ammunition runs out, let you engage a large number of the aliens and kill off most of the weaker ones quickly.>

He looked over to Kia and shook his head.  "I don't think I can make better weapons for you than you can for yourself.  I'll make it up to you later."  He gave her a smile and looked to the others.  "Anyone else need anything?"

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"You wouldn't by chance have an incredibly horny Ariana Grande floating around somewhere... would ya?"  Jaunt asked, hopefully.  He fiddled with knocking an arrow and drew back the bow... he'd never used a bow before... this was gonna get interesting.  "Thanks, hun.  Uh... Lilly.  Lilly... not hun."

Dude... get. It. Together.

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