Disclaimer: This novel contains adult material including sexually explicit activities, strong language, extreme violence, mass murder, child murder, suicidal themes, derogatory language, and more. This work is not suitable for minors. Reader discretion is advised.
Psycho Bullet Festival 2222
Bout 22: Exit The 2-2-2-2
Date: February 23, 2222
Time: 02:22 UTC – 23:22 LT
Coordinates: 67°N 46°W (Greenland, North America)
Across the dark snow-drenched tundra, 5 figures laid, their faces buried in the ground. There was Raiyne, dressed in a white suit and cobalt shirt. There was Zen Abigale Quinlan, clad in a black bodysuit that put functionality above all. There was Terra, wearing a violet suit underneath her shimmering silver coat. There was Punky, clothed in gaudy pink spandex. And then there was Jad Spencer, covered in a puffy green coat that concealed his black shirt and pants.
They remained there for minutes, perhaps hours, before the clock struck 2:22, and all five lifted themselves from the ground, ice coating their faces.
Terra: “Okay, I’m still breathing, so… that’s good.”
Raiyne: “Hey, I wasn’t just hallucinating all of that, right? We all… merged with Verde?”
Jad Spencer: “You three did, anyway. Nari absorbed Punky, me, and Peatrice, but I have zero idea what happened. What about you Punky, do you remember anything?”
Punky: “HE SLICED THE EARTH INTO ITSY BITS WITH A SUPER DUPER BIGGY BAD SLASHY SWORD!!!”
Zen Abigale: “Indeed, he did. And seeing as how we are all here, alive, and on Earth, it leads credence to the theory that Verde kept to her word, and undid all the damage caused by Nari and his cohorts.”
Raiyne: “That would not be the most wild thing I’ve heard today…”
Terra: “Hold on, what day is it? For all we know, we could be 100 years in the future, Abigale—”
As Terra looked over to Abigale, she had finished Real Booting her usual augmented reality helmet, and was booting it up.
Zen Abigale: “It is February 23, 2222, and the time is 02:24. My operators are currently relaying the status of things. From their perspective, I vanished from the face of the Earth for 24 hours. No permutations had been sighted. No disasters occurred. No cities were decimated by nuclear bombs. And the death toll for yesterday was within the expected parameters.”
Jad Spencer: “In other words, everything with Verde and Nari… just never happened?”
Raiyne: “I think it did… but then Verde undid it. If she simply brought everyone back to life, they would remember the traumatic events of the 22nd. This way, they are shielded from the trauma of death.”
Terra: “Exactly! She knew what she was doing… but what now?”
Zen Abigale: “Currently, I am arranging a meeting with the Continental Council of Earth. They have many questions for me, and I should not keep them waiting. As such, I would like to wish you all a cordial goodbye, and a promise that I will reune with you in a matter of days. In the interim, you are all free to do as you wish, so long as you do not bring harm unto others.”
Terra: “…But it would be easiest for all of us if we stuck together for the time being and went to Sky Trigger University.”
Punky: “What? You’ve got schools in the sky now? That’s so cool!”
Raiyne: “It’s not actually in the sky. It’s just a university, and an incredibly pleasant one. I went there to perform some tests on my Rift Walker ability, and… speaking of which, let’s see if my powers still work.”
Raiyne then conjured a Rift a meter away from her, but as she summoned this void of space, she felt something was… off. An uncanny sensation flowed through her, and she had brief recollections of being in space, creating Rifts that defied her limitations. It filled her with a sense of ambition that, in a stay moment, inspired her to overshoot the trajectory of her Rift to something well beyond her 10 kilometer limit. She then stepped through the Rift before her, and was met with the sight of the ocean, something that was hundreds of kilometers away, given how far inland she was.
At the sight of this revelation, Raiyne hopped back into the Rift and spoke to her group with bated breath.
Raiyne: “Holy crap! I can make Rifts that are HUNDREDS of kilometers apart!”
Zen Abigale: “That’s going to be incredibly useful. In fact, would you be willing to test it along with me? Your Rifts transcend the speed of light, after all, and the sooner I make it to the CCE, the better.”
Raiyne: “S-Sure, I guess. I mean, if I can do this, Verde clearly intended this, right? So, in that case, we should be safe, right?”
Jad Spencer: “Actually, did Verde leave us with a message or anything? She’s just… quirky enough that I can imagine her not leaving something, but… maybe it’s somewhere in the snow?”
As Jad spoke, he kicked around in the snow, and as he rubbed his sneakers against the ground beneath them. He rustled his right foot forward while others looked downward, only for Punky to spy a speck of purple emerging from the vast plains of white around them.
Punky: “I spy with my little eye!”
Punky then ran toward the purple, and clenched it with one hand, gripping onto something with a coarse silicone texture. She punched the ground before her, and the purple object popped from the ice , flopping onto Punky’s head before falling on the frosted floor. The five all stared at the object and… it was a dildo. A massive purple dildo, 69 centimeters in length, with a pair of comparatively puny testicles at its base.
Right after it plopped onto the snowy floor, the dildo moved, wiggling about before it stood upright and bent itself so its head faced Punky. Punky stared at the thing with a blank expression before, abruptly, a pair of anime-esque yellow eyes appeared on the dildo head, and looked at Punky. She continued to stare at the dildo, now in its eyes, and after a few seconds of this, the urethra of the dildo opened as it spoke… with the familiar boyish voice of Peatrice.
Peatrice: “The fuck you looking at, girly? You ain’t never seen a dick before?”
Terra: “You’ve got to be FUCKING KIDDING ME!!!”
Jad Spencer: “So, the terrorist fuckboi… is now just a talking dildo?”
Punky: “What’s a dildo?”
Peatrice: “Sex that you only need to pay for once. Now, I could ask why I am a dildo, but I heard your ramblings from inside my ice prison, and I kind of had this coming with the ‘I am a dick. A dick that wants to fuck’ line. So, without further ado, which one of you am I buddying up with?”
After saying that, Peatrice, in the form of a giant purple dildo, floated off of the ground, levitating a meter into the air, so he was nearly at eye level with everyone else
Raiyne: “Would you care to explain why you’re still here?”
Peatrice: “What’s there to explain? Mistress obviously favored me enough to keep me alive, but didn’t look kindly upon me enough to let me keep any of my powers, or arms, so now I’m just one big old silicone fuck stick! Any of you ladies wanna try me out? …And Jad, feel free to ask. I’d love to scrape your pooper.”
Zen Abigale: “Do you, by chance, enjoy being in your new form, Peatrice?”
Peatrice: “Yeah, of course I do? I mean, I just hated having hands, a face, and a respiratory system. But now that I am a magic-powered device that is made for fucking, I don’t have any of that shit! …To be a hundo-percent real with ya, I don’t really mind being like this. My whole murder-boner just ain’t there, and all I really want is to get my fuck on. I’d question if it was a hex on my mental, my new body informing my mind, but the truest of the trues is that… I think Verde done fucked all the murderlust outta me, and now all I wanna do is get my silicone rocks off.”
Punky: “Mister Peatrice McDildo, why do you have a thingamabob in your lower bit?”
Jad Spencer: “Yeah, um, I did not want to say anything, but it looks like an egg.”
Peatrice: “Truly. I thought I felt something down there. Can one of you be a dear and unclog me? I promise I’ll repay the favor… by clogging whichever hole you want. I’ll even do nasal.”
Abigale then walked toward Peatrice, grabbed him by his shaft, and plucked a pink plastic Easter egg from his bottom. As she removed the egg, Abigale looked in and saw an orifice inside of Peatrice. One that was damp with a translucent fluid that smelled vaguely of grape-flavored candy.
After releasing Peatrice, Abigale opened up the pink plastic egg and discovered a folded index card, which she began reading to her associates.
Zen Abigale: “‘To Raiyne Underwood, Jad Spencer, Punky, Terra Flare, and Zen Abigale Quinlan. I would like to first apologize for putting you all into this painful situation. It was my recklessness that drew all of you together from your respective Scenarios, and I am sorry for any trauma, pain, or anguish you experienced during this past day. I would also like to thank you for helping me fight against Nari and restore order to VDVerse. As a reward for helping me, I have chosen to preserve the Psycho Bullet Festival 2222 Scenario and promise that the future of this world will be free from strife, devastation, or any further meddling from unwanted visitors. You are all immortal beings who are free to enjoy life in this utopian world, and I wish you decades of happiness and fulfillment.’”
Terra: “Okay, but what about—”
Zen Abigale: “The message continues on the other side.”
Jad Spencer: “On a 3 by 5 index card? And here I thought my handwriting was tiny.”
Zen Abigale: “‘To Terra, Jad, Punky, and Raiyne, I do not want you to go through an eternity on your own, so, as a thank you for aiding me in my battle, I will reunite you with your, now immortal, special ones… via an eggcellent transformation. The transformation will begin once you get to a climate with a temperature above 15 degrees. Sincerely, Verde Dusk. P.S. I upgraded Raiyne’s Rift Walker powers so she can travel up to 1,000 kilometers. This upgrade is exclusive to her, because I had a great time playing with her dick.. P.P.S. I decided to revive Peatrice as a floating talking dildo. He is still immortal, but no longer gets off on murder, and can absorb an unlimited amount of sexual fluids, including pee-pee and dookey.‘”
Raiyne: “Poop is neither sexual nor a fluid… why would she even include a feature like that?”
Peatrice: “Does this mean that the only thing I can eat is shit? If I shoved some bratwurst up in my dick-pussy, could I digest it? Because if I’m immortal, I would like to continue eating things. Also, I’m pretty sure I can taste with my entire body. It’s weird… but hot as fuck!”
Jad Spencer: “Even when you are punished, you find some way to find perverted joy in it.”
Raiyne then did as Verde suggested and used her newly enhanced Rift Walker power to create a pair of Rifts. One located in the center of the six, and the other located as far as her imagination would allow her. Due to the fact that Greenland is an incredibly large nation, she was unable to reach another landmass in a single leap. So, after traversing from one frigid and snowy locale to another, she opened a third Rift to take them to the southeast coast of an island formerly known as Iceland, located at 64°N and 17°W.
As the sextet entered this new island, they were immediately assaulted by a wave of heat. This island, like many parts of the world, underwent a dramatic change during the Cataclysm, and what was once a wet and open nation was now comparable to a subtropical island, with lush forests, lovely beaches, clear blue skies, and temperatures from 18 to 30 degrees year-round. The group took a moment to gawk at the plentiful and colorful fauna on one side of them, and the inviting beachfront at the other, all illuminated by intense moonlight and starlight. But before even a minute could pass, IT started.
Raiyne, Jad Spencer, Punky, and Terra all crumbled to the sandy ground as they felt… a force pressing against their bodies. For all of them, it was a different part of their body, but the source was the same. An egg was trying to escape from their bodies.
Jad was the first to crumble to the ground. He attempted to scream, but his cries were muffled as something filled his throat and moved into his mouth. His jaw craned open, his bones snapped, and his teeth were ripped out of his gums, all as an egg tried to escape from his mouth. An egg so large that his throat swelled, lips ripped, and skin tore as he tried to shove this American-football-sized object out of his mouth. After much force, a streak of tears, and muffled groaning, he did just that, and unleashed a damp, white oval spheroid that laid before him as his mouth gradually healed from this strenuous… birthing process.
The second one afflicted was Terra, who found herself taking off her silver coat, suit pants, and panty, revealing her genitals. Her penile genital was receded, causing her crotch to resemble that of a ciswoman, and out from her vagina, a white sphere was poking out, like the head of a newborn baby. Terra looked down at herself, seeing the sphere past her breasts, and while stunned by this sight, she merely whispered words of worry and panted as she used her abdominal muscles to push this uncanny thing out of her body. Her enhanced strength aided her in the process, allowing her to push harder and harder as the object— the egg— shredded her labia. As her genitals were left bleeding, the egg oozed out of her lower regions, and Terra collapsed on the beach, her redder-than-usual eyes staring up into the sky above.
The third was none other than Punky, who began to squat downwards, aiming her butthole toward the sand below, as she took her gloved hands to her spandex, ripping away her pants and underwear. Freed from any constraints, she grunted and make guttural noises as she felt something perk through her anus, pressing through her guts and forcing her buttcheeks to spread open as a massive egg, bigger than an ostrich egg, brushed against her skin, forced her muscles to contort, and shredded her perineum along the seams. All before the egg finally passed, like the densest, most stubborn, turd of the year.
Then finally, Raiyne Underwood began clenching her head as she felt something assaulting her right ear… and it was obviously an egg. Except ear holes are nowhere near big enough to accommodate an egg of this girth and caliber, so the egg wound up ripping through Raiyne’s brain, skull, and entire face in an excruciating process that thankfully only lasted a single second before her head popped like a jack-o’-lantern with a stick of dynamite inside it. The egg rolled off of her shoulders and onto the beach, and her head was reformed in a matter of seconds.
Abigale and Peatrice stood back as they watched these four egg birthing sequences simultaneously, taking in the madness, before ending their role as mere spectators once the four affected stood up and voiced their discontent over what they just experienced.
Punky: “My butthole HUUUUUURTSSS!!!”
Terra: “I never thought I could give birth… but I did… and I birthed an egg… what the fuck, Verde?”
Jad Spencer: “Oh my God… King Piccolo made this look easy.”
Raiyne: “So… this egg came from my… ear? Wh-What kind of sense does that make?”
Peatrice: “Hey, so, you know how Verde mentioned something about being reunited with your special ones? Well… what do you think is in those eggs?”
Terra: “…I knew Verde was a little screwed up in the head, but… she had to be doing this intentionally, right?”
Zen Abigale: “I suggest you all move someplace private along this beach. Raiyne, before you leave, I must request that you create a Rift to send me as far south as possible. It is okay if I land in the middle of the ocean.”
Raiyne, clutching a giant egg with both hands, looked at Abigale, half-processing what she just said, but she understood enough to create a Rift that would take Abigale far away from here, which she went through a second after it formed. Raiyne closed the Rift shortly thereafter, and looked down at the egg, which was… growing within her hands, to the point where it was already the size of a grade school child…. Which is when Abigale’s words finally clicked.
Raiyne: “Did I just give birth to my uncle?”
Minutes after birthing their eggs, Raiyne, Jad Spencer, Terra, and Punky all followed Abigale’s advice and ran across the beach, finding their own private hideaways while lugging around their giant eggs. Eggs that rapidly grew from the size of a newborn to a small child to a full-blown adult in a fetal position.
Terra’s Special One
Date: February 23, 2222
Time: 02:47 UTC – 02:47 LT
Coordinates: 64°N 22°W (Iceland, Europe)
“Okay, Verde, I get that you are an odd duck, but… come the FUCK on!” I exclaimed as I ran through the jungle-esque fauna around me. “Why eggs? Why make us give birth to them? If you want to do this profound act of kindness, just be normal about it! Just let me see my sister without having to give birth to her out of my vagina! A vagina that, on some level, is technically her vagina… so I’m going to birth my sister out of her own vagina? Verde… what the fuck is wrong with you? Why, out of all the people out there in the world, were you the one to become God?!”
As I narrowly avoided brambles and fauna, I felt the side of the egg move, as if something was pounding it, again and again, until an arm burst through the shell. I nearly toppled over from shock, and placed this egg down on the ground below as gently as I could while it thrashed about. One arm was followed by another, then a foot, and, before too long, the entire shell of the egg was broken into dozens of pieces.
Beneath these pieces, I found… her. I found my sister. My sister who died over 220 years ago. Someone whose face had been lost to the ravages of time, and had only lived on within me. Within my body and my memories. As I looked into her deep brown eyes and dark freckled face, I could tell that she was… exactly as I remembered her. She was even wearing the outfit she wore the day she died, that of a pink overall skirt with a white shirt underneath, along with a pair of dark boots. She was cute, she was beautiful, and she looked at me with concern as my eyes began to water.
She must have been confused, scared, and all-around baffled. I couldn’t help myself though, and I embraced her, wrapping her within my arms as I shoved the egg shells away. My tears dripped into her hair, and she had every reason to panic. To be terrified of this silver-haired woman. Instead, she embraced me, grabbing my back, and pulling me in. Not pushing me away.
Time devolved into an ethereal concept as I held her, but, soon enough, I was met with something more than her face, touch, and scent. I was met with the sound of her voice.
“Hey, so, I like hugs as much as the next girl, but, um, could you tell me what’s going on… and who you are?”
It was a heavy request, but one that I would not shy away from. I knew my execution would be sloppy, but I tried my best to tell her the truth.
“Maxxie… I’m your… I’m your brother… I’m Tyler.”
“Uh-huh,” Maxxie said as she ended our hug. “So, um, you look a lot different… Ty. You’re… not a boy, have silver hair and… those look a lot like my freckles. They’re a bit faded, but the pattern is damn near exact!”
“Well, it’s the truth,” I said, smirking like a doofus. “And you probably won’t believe me if I just said some stuff, so… what if I start by doing this?”
I brought my hands to the ground and began to Real Boot something from our past. While many of my childhood memories had faded through the ravages of time and trauma, I had vivid memories of the day we spent making ceramics together, back when I was 8 years old. With her help, I made a mug. It was lopsided, uneven, and had a tiny crevice at the bottom that trapped liquid and made it impossible to clean. But she did not chide me as I made mistakes, to take the project away from me to ‘fix it’. She encouraged me, offered me advice, and while the finished project was far from professional, I was proud that I made something, and she was proud of me.
I could remember every detail of that mug, even though it had been destroyed 221 years ago, when I ‘disposed’ of all my past belongings, to adopt the role of Maxxie Flare. With this image in mind, I Real Booted the mug, slowly but steadily, and handed it to her. Confusion painted her visage as she looked over the container, before her eyes widened as she was struck with a revelation. Maxxie danced her eyes between the cup and I, and then the cup left her hands, where it plopped onto the dirt floor.
She was ready to believe me, and… I told her everything. I told her what I did in 1999. How I took over her life and adopted her identity as my own in 2000. How I grew obsessed with preserving her memory. How I became a parody of her. How I destroyed the Earth, killing billions as I sought immortality.
I abused people. I raped children. And I fucked my own adopted daughter, becoming one with her in body and mind. That was all 200 years ago, and the wounds had healed, but telling this to her, to someone who didn’t know… it hurt. I told her of my defeat, and how I wandered the Earth for 55 years, seeking atonement for my immeasurable sins.
I would never ask anyone for forgiveness. I was a monster. I did not blame anyone who saw me as that, and after telling this to my sister, the one I idolized more than any other, I was ready. I was ready for her to reject me. I was ready for her to respond in as vulgar and violent a way as possible. I was ready for her to kill herself before me. I was ready to watch her die by my hand a second time.
No. A third time. I killed her body. I murdered her memory. And now… I was about to prevent her re;birth.
I had abstained from shedding tears for so many decades that I had nearly forgotten the feeling. I broke this promise when I saw her again… but I would not cry if she were to die before me.
I let the air between us simmer as I ended my explanation. I shut my eyes as I waited to hear her reaction, and what I heard was… laughter.
“Hehehehe! What the fuck is going on here? Ty— Sorry, Terra, if what you are saying was a lie… it would be the most elaborate lie I’ve heard in my life! I mean… holy shit tacos!”
“I… Do… Do you hate me for what I’ve done?”
“I mean… you did some really fucked up stuff! And that is not lost on me… but from what you said, that was 200 years ago for you, and I’d be a grade-A jerkass if I were to give you beef for that.”
“But… I took your body and identity for my—”
“You were traumatized by how shittily our parents treated you, and that was not lost on me, T-Terra. You loved me so much that you wanted to become me… I mean, that’s creepy, but it’s the sweet kind of creepy. No matter how you slice it, you’re still my… still my sibling, and now my sister, and while you’ve… obviously changed a lot since I last saw you, you’re still my family, and I still love ya, even if you aren’t the little squirt I remember you being.”
Her words were like a stream of relief, washing me away from the turbulent rapids of uncertainty and into a tranquil lake of prosperity. I fell to the fauna-filled ground, slamming my head into a bush, and let out a deep sigh as I looked up into the sky, staring at the stars peeking out from behind the leaves.
“So… what was that bit about traveling back in time?” Maxxie asked, looking over me. “That’s the one thing that doesn’t actually make sense.”
“Oh, see, Verde is basically God, and she restored the Earth and caused me to give birth to you… No, that doesn’t sound any less crazy the more I say it… and what do you mean? ‘The one thing that doesn’t actually make sense?’”
“Heh. Yeah, I guess it’s all some kind of nonsense the more I think about it. But I’m sure it will make sense in due time. You just need to teach me how the world works, Miss Professor,” Maxxie said, her face beaming.
“Yeah, that’s true. I’ve got a lot to teach you about the past… 223 years. In fact, are you interested in attending Sky Trigger University?”
“Um, of course I am! I never got to finish college, so being able to go to college with my li’l sis, would be like a dream come true!”
Maxxie then embraced me in yet another hug, and we let time pass slowly. I granted myself the luxury to cry once again, because this… this was truly one of the happiest moments in my life. After over 200 years, we were reunited. This time, for the first time, as sisters. She did not reject me. She does not hate me. And now, we get to spend the rest of our never ending lives together.
Raiyne’s Special Ones
Date: February 23, 2222
Time: 02:47 UTC – 02:47 LT
Coordinates: 64°N 22°W (Iceland, Europe)
After I recovered from the shock of seeing this giant egg that demolished my cranium, killing me yet again, I was slow on the uptake. Everything these past 24 hours has simply been too much for me to process, and all I wanted to do at the moment was take a nap. To rest and grant my mind the luxury of recovering for a few hours. Mayhap even a few days.
Alas, I could not fall asleep at the moment, as I gave birth to an egg… out of my earhole, that was already as large as my torso. I followed Abigale’s words and carried it to the west and toward a large rock formation, no less than a hundred meters tall. I don’t know why I thought this was a good idea, but I felt the need to get somewhere secluded, and this was the best I would get without venturing into the jungle.
As I reached my improvised destination, the egg within my hands began to crack. Instead of gradually opening, like a baby chick or duckling entering the world, this egg burst open like a tomato injected with a syringe full of air. I jumped back, pressing my back against jagged rocks, as the egg hatched on the sandy floor, and I saw… two people I never expected to see again.
My best friend, Caroline Steticks, a pudgy white girl, age 18, with dirty blonde hair, dressed in a flannel shirt and worn jeans. And my uncle, Lou Underwood, a dark-skinned melting pot of a man in excellent shape, with a head shaved bald and dark beard, dressed in a coat and boots far too thick for this warm weather, along with a pair of dark slacks and a gray-blue sweater. However, Lou lacked the distinguished features of a 55-year-old man, and instead looked to be half his age. Though, at the moment, that detail was lost on me.
I thought I had lost Caroline a week ago, when her body was defiled and puppeted by a Rifter, who wore her face and voice to torment me. I put Caroline out of her misery, but I was broken as a result. Broken, irrational, and devoid of sense to the extent that I traveled to the world beyond the Rift, where I suffered and died.
Then there was Lou, the reason why I even learned of these Rifts in the first place. He and I took on the mantle of Rift Constables, and battled dozens of Rifters together. But, after I was forced to kill Caroline, he left me alone. I had questions for him, for both of them, but mostly… I was just glad to see them. These two people I thought were lost forever, before me.
I was never a ‘huggy’ person, but that did not stop Caroline from embracing me in her flabby arms after laying her eyes on me.
“Ohmigosh, Raiyne!” Caroline exclaimed her always-enthusiastic and slightly-too-loud voice. “You’re here! You’re alive! I’m sooooo confused about what happened, but you’re alive, you’re safe, and we… Where the hell are we? ‘Cos we sure ain’t in Washington no more.”
“The short answer is… magic. I got messed up in some bad stuff, and now we are in a futuristic utopia where I have superpowers. As a reward for saving the universe from total destruction, the two of you were brought into this alternate dimension with me.”
“I always thought that my life sounded like something from a pulp novel,” Lou began, his voice remarkably less gruff than it was when I last saw him. “But now the genre’s been switched from supernatural horror to full-blown sci-fi. Did you find something in the world beyond the Rifts that did this?”
“No, but Wisp did… He killed me.” I said, solemnly. “So I guess you were right to mistrust him, after all. After I died, I woke up here, in this world, and wound up going on a grand globe-trotting adventure. But now, it’s all over, and I’m sure you have a lot of questions.”
“Well, that catches me up to speed… more or less,” Lou remarked. “I have questions, but going back to what Caroline asked, where are we?”
“Basically, the world was terraformed, and we are in Iceland, believe it or not.”
“That’s weird… but I was in an egg a few minutes ago, so I’ll buy it!” Caroline shouted with a baseless level of pride..
“Well, the place sure has changed from back in my day,” Lou replied, “and I can’t say I appreciate the facelift. It was dreary, but gorgeous all the same.”
Caroline laughed as Lou made a typical ‘old man’ comment, and I finally noticed just how younger he truly looked. He more resembled a cousin than an uncle. In order to show him how much younger he was, I Real Booted a mirror from the sand, drawing confusion from Caroline and Lou. I decided to forego an explanation for the moment and simply handed the handheld mirror to Lou, whose eyes widened as he saw my expression.
“Holy Hannah. I must be at least 30 years younger.” Lou said as he began looking over his hands, stripping off his heavy coat and boots, and looking down at his chest. “Heh. So not only am I in another world, but I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in my life… I have a lot of questions—”
“Like how the FUCK you pulled that mirror out of the sand! Seriously, what was that?” Caroline exclaimed.
“…But for now, I think we are all glad that we are here, safe, and comfortable,” Lou continued.
“Speak for yourself, formerly old man,” Caroline said, sass in her voice. “But I’m feeling a li’l bit hungry after being in that magic egg. Is there a place we can go for a bite to eat?”
“I do technically have the ability to make anything out of anything. But based on what others have told me, any food I tried making would probably taste like nails. So, let’s head inland a bit to find a restaurant or something.”
As I said that, I, instinctively at this point, summoned a Rift before the three of us and imagined a Rift located a kilometer or two away. A Rift appeared before me, and Lou immediately fell into the sand below, while Caroline’s eyes widened.
“THERE ARE RIFTS HERE TOO?!” Lou exclaimed, his voice echoing across the beach.
“Yes, but I create them, and they function more like… portals, I guess.”
“You can make freaking portals? This is soooo unfair!” Caroline groaned. “Why didn’t I get superpowers? I’d be SUCH a good super heroine!”
I sighed before I grabbed both of them by the hands and dragged them through the Rift. Not forcing them, just easing them through the process so they could learn by doing. A second later, the three of us fell out of a Rift wedged between a dense patch of forest and a road. A sense of déjà vu hit me for a stray second, as I recalled where my bizarre journey began, the night when I was walking alongside a forest road, where I ran into a giant and murderous dog-like creature. But this time, there were no monsters. Just the sound of leaves rustling in the wind.
I did not have a clear destination in mind, as I had no idea where the nearest town was, yet fortune smiled upon me despite my foolishness. I looked around and spotted a small trail that led to a clearing, one containing a dark green box the size of two adult humans. It was clearly a vending machine of sorts, and seeing as how this was a future where you could make any meal in 5 seconds, it stood to reason that, perhaps, this contraption was similar. I grabbed Lou and Caroline by the hands yet again and crossed the street to this clearing, where my suspicions were confirmed. The screen on the metal box lit up as we approached, and a simplistic pair of eyes and a mouth appeared as a soft female voice spoke to us.
“Good evening, folks. You know, it’s not safe to be wandering out this late. Especially without any Machi or flashlights. If you want, I could call someone to help and escort you back to your homes.”
“Uh, no thanks,” I said in an awkward tone. “We’re fine being on our own, but my friends here could use a bite to eat. Go on, ask the nice little… Machi what you want.”
“Me first!” Caroline shouted. “I’ll have some Japanese dumplings, mister robot!”
The vending machine, or maybe the proper term is something like ‘Stationary Machi,’ looked at Caroline with a confused expression, as she just referenced a country in a post-country world, and called this Machi ‘mister.’
“You have an uncommon way of phrasing things,” the Stationary Machi said, “but okay, I’ll prepare some gyoza for you. One moment, please.”
The Machi then opened up a compartment on its rectangular body, where a small light illuminated a paper container with several pieces of fried dough wrapped around what I could only assume were meat and vegetables. …Look, I ate at a Vietnamese place on vacation once, and that was the only ‘Asian food’ I’ve ever had.
“Damn! I must have ordered the wrong thing… maybe I was thinking of Chinese dumplings… Ah well, these smell rad, so I’m sure they taste good too,” Caroline said before she shoved one of the gyoza into her mouth. She then proceeded to scream in joy as the piping hot food touched her delicate tongue and bombarded it with flavor.
“Okay… Machi,” Lou began, “seeing as how we are technically in Iceland, I would like a serving of Hákarl.”
“Wow. That’s an obscure choice. But sure thing!” The Stationary Machi said as they began preparing Lou’s food, which took the form of a transparent cup filled with square yellowish chunks of… something… that smelled like piss.
Despite the foul odor, Lou took the complimentary fork and stabbed one of these chunks, putting the food into his mouth.
“You know, it’s amazing how they can take a shark and make it taste like cheese. Would you care for a bite, Raiyne?”
While I would have normally shied away from such a thing, out of fear that my stomach would disagree with it, I was immortal, so I figured that this fermented shark wedge wouldn’t bother my stomach too much. It didn’t, but it certainly bothered my mouth, as I could not get over the piss taste, and swallowed the chunk before I could finish chewing it.
“So, I’m totally down for living off of a magical vending machine in the woods, but I doubt that’s what you have planned for us, Miss Former-Librarian.” Caroline asked as I chewed my Hákarl chunk.
“Well, I was planning on going to a school in Sudan: Sky Trigger University. I always wanted to go to college, as you both know, and they invited me yesterday. Admittedly, it was more in a ‘lab’ sense, as they wanted to test my Rift Walker abilities, but I’m sure they would be more than happy to let me attend classes. After all, school is free, same with everything else.”
“So, you’re saying you want me to finally ‘make something of my life and get a degree,’ is that right?” Caroline said, her snark as pungent as the Hákarl.
“Well, you have 219 years of things to catch up on, and an entirely different culture you need to adapt to. And if you want to learn something, is there any place better than a school? Besides, if you attend, then we can be classmates again.”
“Oh! Hell to the Y-E-S! I’m gonna be a Sky Trigger with my best buddy!”
“I don’t think they call themselves ‘Sky Triggers,’” I said, smiling at how silly she could be. “But yes, I’m sure they would be more than happy to take on the two of us.”
“Don’t you mean the three of us?” Lou commented as he threw his emptied cup of Hákarl into a nearby waste bin.
“Y-You want to go to school with us, Lou?” I said, slightly surprised at the suggestion.
“Of course I do. I am a lot younger than I used to be. I don’t have a town to protect any longer, and as you said, there is a lot to catch up on. I just hope it won’t be too awkward going to school with your uncle.”
“I’m not sure if that would crack the top ten most awkward things about going to Sky Trigger,” I replied. “Number one would be how I’m a spitting image of the most important person in history.”
“…Truly, there is a lot we need to learn,” Lou said as he looked up into the sky, staring at the stars poking between the branches.
Jad Spencer’s Special Ones
Date: February 23, 2222
Time: 02:47 UTC – 02:47 LT
Coordinates: 64°N 22°W (Iceland, Europe)
All I wanted since I wound up in the body of Abigale Quinlan— or at least my Abigale Quinlan— there is nothing I’ve wanted more than for things to return to normal. Or, in lieu of that, I wanted to be able to spend time with my friends again. To see Maxxie Flare and Zoe Xing again, and just… hang out with them. It did not matter what we were doing. So long as I was with them, I was happy. That was a constant before my life was stolen from me, and I was put into the body of the world’s greatest terrorist. A woman of malice, who I resembled more and more as her face got me into trouble. All until… I became her in both body and mind.
That’s all over now. I am myself again. And while I might not be myself inside considering all the powers I have access to, I look like myself. I feel like myself. I sound like myself. So, as far as I am concerned, I am myself. And now… my opportunity is sitting right before me. I found a nice little hut on the beach, with an electric lantern hooked to the ceiling. It was the best place to hatch my egg, the one I vomited out, safely. I stared at the egg as it shook and tilted until, suddenly, it burst open.
As the cloud of egg shell shrapnel dissipated, I looked forward and saw two people, covered with bits of eggshell, lying on the sandy wooden floor of the hut. The first I laid my eyes on was… Zoe Xing. His tall, slender body was crumpled up as he fell into a corner of the hut, slamming his head against the wall, and messing up his always-tidy black hair. I looked at his closed eyes, guarded by his square glasses, and at the sharp features adorning his pale skin. It was unmistakably him, and he had the clothes to match as well. A light blue dress shirt, navy blazer, simple black tie, a pair of dark dress pants, and a set of dark shoes with a discernible shine to them.
Opposite to him, I saw… Maxxisaurus ‘Maxxie’ Akari Flare. Her body was wedged in a corner with her head lying on the floor, where sand mingled with her unkempt dark hair. She was dressed in the female Oransen High student uniform, which consisted of a light blue dress shirt, a navy sweater, and a knee-length black skirt that Maxxie had paired with a pair of skin-hued leggings. I looked at her brown freckle-filled face with a look of exasperation, as I thought I would never see her again for the rest of my unending life.
I felt my body tense and my mouth clench as I realized that I would need to speak to these two again. I would need to answer for what I had done. I would need to confess the truth of what I had done. Not to myself. Not to a stranger. But to people who I could only hope would understand. People who could conceivably, and easily, reject me as a person.
I shook my head free of such doubt and looked at Maxxie once again… only to notice that she was spreading her legs as her body folded in on itself, giving me a full look at her slightly-too-bright purple modesty shorts. As I saw these, I regaled myself with memories of the time Maxxie, Zoe, and I were discussing anime tropes at age 11. Maxxie argued that panty shots were the stupidest thing and that all women should wear modesty shorts to effectively eradicate that trope from existence. She did not have a good argument by any means, but she still believed in her conclusion, and never went a day without wearing modesty shorts over the past 7 years. …At least, that’s what she proclaimed whenever we brought the topic up.
“Ugh! I feel like someone bashed me in the head with a brick,” Zoe said as he moved his head away from the wall and a hand to his forehead.
“That’s what we call a hangover, sweetums,” Maxxie said, looking up at Zoe with a smirk. “And to think, all it took was a glass of Christmas champagne.”
“Wait, if it’s Christmas, then why are you two still in your school uniforms?” I asked the two, without really thinking.
“Well, you see Jady-kins, that’s a funny story and— waitwhatthehellisgoingon?”
After I spoke, Zoe and Maxxie looked at me with widened eyes, like they had just seen a ghost. Because, from their perspective, they had. As far as they knew, I was no more than a school shooter. A terrorist who killed their peers and robbed them of an immensely precious friendship. They knew about what I did, because they attended Oransen High that day. They knew I was dead, because it was widely reported. They knew I was affiliated with the greatest terrorist of all time, Abigale Quinlan.
“Yeah, it’s me. Jad Spencer. Alive and… in the flesh,” I said, my voice monotone in its awkwardness.
“Jad Spencer died. …We saw his corpse,” Zoe replied as he stood up and looked down at me.
“Look, it’s a long story, but I’ll try to give you the short version—” I said before I was cut off by Maxxie.
“Oh no! You might look like Jad, but there is nothing about this situation that isn’t über shady! We’re in a hut, on a beach, it’s freaking hot outside, and you, whoever you are, showed up wearing the face of our dead friend, while still wearing a winter jacket! Nothing about this makes sense, and if I didn’t know any better, I’d say that we’re in a death game… on the moon!”
I smiled as I saw Maxxie swell up with passion over this situation, mixing jokes with genuine concerns, and pointing her finger at me like she’s an Ace Attorney protagonist. I knew she would not believe me without proof, and while I wanted to save my powers to end this, I felt that taking the reins would only draw further suspicions. Instead, the best way to prove to them who I am… would be to act like myself. Act like how I did 93 days ago. Before my life got flipped, turned upside down, by the greatest terrorist my Earth had ever known.
“Kukukuku! Oh, you two are a stubborn lot. Very well,” I said as I threw off my coat, exposing my black-on-black clothing. “State your case. How am I not your dear childhood friend of 12 years, Jad Spencer?”
My enthusiasm was met with skeptical looks from Maxxie and Zoe. It was to be expected. They had three months to stew on my death. But I would see where this path led me. And I could only hope that this would take me to the true ending.
“The answer is obvious,” Zoe stated. “As I said, we both saw Jad Spencer’s remains. What was left of his corpse before he was buried. Unless you are proposing a greater conspiracy where this Jad was merely an imposter, I struggle to see how you could possibly argue against such a plain fact.”
“Oh, Zoe. Always so rigid and logical. I always admired your ability to function as the straight man and keep your head above everything… but surely you understand that you come from a time where one needs to reassess what is possible.”
“Say what?” Maxxie uttered.
“On September 25th, Abigale Quinlan launched a terrorist attack on Oransen High using Jad Spencer.” I stated matter-of-factly. “Tell me, what happened after that?”
“The narrative depends on which channels you acquire information from,” Zoe replied. “After the Civil Protection initiative began, mainstream media became little more than a mouthpiece— glorified PR— for the United States government. Stories about abuse, misuse of power, and what was really going on with Abigale Quinlan were suppressed from public view. The actual truth was obscured between hearsay on anonymous message boards hosted in foreign countries and the darker side of the web.”
“Something that, for the record, we got smart on real quick-like,” Maxxie added.
“So, do you want me to provide my narrative and see how agreeable it is?” I asked. “I mean, I’m the one being interrogated here.”
“You are literally blocking the door, dude,” Maxxie said, half-sarcastically. “And there are no windows. You have us trapped here in this little… shack.”
“Alright then,” Zoe began, “on September 25th, Abigale Quinlan released a blog post that went live at the same time as the Oransen High shooting. And in the post, she revealed confidential information that only those in the upper echelon of the US government would understand. She stated that the attack on Oransen High was part of her plan to inflict terror onto the world every day until she was captured. However, that did not happen. A second attack never occurred, and Abigale laid low until October 7th. When Abigale Quinlan’s apartment, located in Funke, Colorado, was raided by the US government.”
“In response,” I continued, “Abigale Quinlan detonated an explosive in her apartment, sending her corpse flying down several stories onto the street below, where she pancaked against the asphalt. Several onlookers witnessed her fall and the explosion, but what surprised them was how, despite clearly being dead, Abigale’s body regenerated itself. Then, once she became whole, she scurried away into the sewers. She tried to escape, but was soon captured by military forces after they burned down the forest she scurried into. She defied all known biology once again and, despite being burnt to charcoal several times, she came back to life. And once she did, she assaulted the soldiers before her, killing dozens before, suddenly, stopping. Allowing them to take her into custody.”
“…How the HELL do you know all of this?” Zoe asked, breaking his poker face to show a look of genuine awe.
“Because,” I began, “even though, to the world, that was Abigale Quinlan, that… is not true. On September 25th, something happened to both Jad Spencer and Abigale Quinlan. They switched bodies.”
“…How exactly does that work? How did she switch bodies with Jad?” Maxxie asked, stumbling onto the million dollar question.
“And if your story is true, then… who are you?” Zoe asked. “Are you Abigale Quinlan or Jad Spencer?”
“I am Jad Spencer. But, from September 25th to December 25th, the world knew me as Abigale Quinlan. And the real Abigale Quinlan… died. She was within Jad’s body, and she was the one responsible for the entirety of the assault on Oransen High. I… I was a victim in the whole affair at first, but then—”
“Then you started killing people,” Zoe declared. “You killed all those soldiers in Funke. You left no survivors at that military base in Nevada. You killed hundreds in the Pacific Northwest… and you attacked the White House, killing dozens and… bit off the president’s ear.”
“Yes… I also am the one who murdered Mr. and Mrs. Spencer on November 18th, and… I was the woman you saw at Doodlers, who left you that note saying—”
“‘Row, row, write the power,’” Maxxie quoted. “So, you mean to tell us that… you are the real Jad Spencer and… Jad Spencer was an even bigger murderer than we thought he was?”
All the joy left Maxxie’s person as she spoke those words. I had seldom seen her in such a serious state. In fact, as I stared into her dulled eyes, I could not recall a time when I saw her at a lower point in her life. Not in the 12 years I had known her. Clearly… I had fucked this up.
“…Yes. It is true,” I said, my voice dry and guttural. “I have blooded my hands with the deaths of thousands. Not quite five digits but, after you reach four, why bother counting? You’re already a monster, and… you cannot blame people for seeing you as that…”
“Interesting theory,” Zoe said, remaining as cool as a frozen cucumber. ”Either you are a good actor— and the real Jad Spencer certainly was not— or you were in Abigale Quinlan’s body at the time. In that case, I have one question… Why did you become a killer, ‘Jad?’”
I hung my head down in shame, thought back to my ‘therapy session’ with Terra, and produced an answer as articulately as I could while stifling tears.
“I never wanted to hurt anybody. I wanted to run away. I did not detonate the explosion. And while I did kill people in that burning forest, I did so out of fury. I did so without thought. I was burned alive dozens of times over and, as I saw people shooting at me, trying to capture me, I felt the need to defend myself, to push the threats away, and… I did. I ended their lives. I tasted first blood. As a stay bullet put me down for a moment, I realized my mistake, and surrendered myself to the military… who tortured me. They abused me without pause, without any opportunity to explain myself. Pain does something to a person, and this… sapped me of reason. As I was treated like Abigale Quinlan, I became Abigale Quinlan… in both body and mind. I killed out of anger. Out of pain. And after you kill hundreds in order to be granted your freedom… You cannot go back to the way things used to be.”
“I wanted nothing more than to return to my old life, but… I could not,” I continued. “While within her body, an electronic demon spoke to me. He tormented me. And urged me to become a killer. He said that we would become one and… I believed him. I was a fool. I was psychologically abused. I became the person everyone said I was for the past month. I became Abigale Quinlan. And I sought to kill my old self. I defiled Jad’s grave. I said goodbye to the two of you on November 18th, and I did away with my parents… feeling nothing as I wrought life from their bodies.”
I shut my eyes halfway through this explanation, so I did not need to see the disgust these two wore on their faces. As I spoke, tears washed over my face, dripping from my chin onto the wooden floor below.
“I will not ask for your forgiveness… For I cannot. All I can do is tell you the truth and let you make a decision… I wanted to make this fun, for old time’s sake, but… there is nothing funny about what I did. I—” I said before I felt something bop me in the back of the head, forcing my eyes open.
As I readjusted myself, I looked forward and saw… a floating purple dildo. What remained of the alternate version of my tormentor, Peatrice.
“Word up, teenyboppers!” Peatrice exclaimed, speaking from his urethra hole. “I get that J-Dilla here was trying to smoosh you over by pouring out his heart and spitting some gay-ass-pussy-shit, but the truth is that this boy is only telling half the story.”
“…Fuck it, I’m done,” Zoe said as he walked toward the door.
But before Zoe could push me aside, Peatrice floated up before him and smacked him in the face with his rubbery body, leaving a reddish mark on Zoe’s cheek.
“Nu-uh, honey,” Peatrice said, his voice overflowing with sass. “Besides, do you know where you are? Do you know why you are here? Of course not. Look, I get that you are a bunch of doe-anus normies who aren’t used to snorting sriracha, but lemme be real with you and say it like it is. Shit got fucked with your world. Most of it was not actually Jad’s fault— even though I guilt tripped him pretty hardcore about it. And I get why you might hold a grudge against him for a minute but… come on, he’s your bro, ain’t he? He’s crying, saying he doesn’t need to be forgiven, all the telltale signs that, hey, maybe he really is not the terrorist you thought he was.”
“I get that, but still… knowing that Jad killed so many people, it’s—” Maxxie began, struggling to keep up with this wack-ass situation.
“Huh? Oh, he killed WAY more than you two suckers know about. You see, after Jad fucked up the White House and when full-on psycho, some transdimensional bullshit started going down, and Jad wound up in some post-apocalyptic utopia where he still thought he was Abigale Quinlan. That is, until I came along, raped him— mentally and physically— thus turning him into GENOCIDER JAD! And then he killed a million and change… Maybe. I dunno. It’s hard to keep track of body counts when you got a semi-retarded girl dropping A-bombs like it’s a back to school special. But it’s all hunky-dory now, since God went and reset the world to undo the deaths of however many billion people are on this planet. Also, the year is 2222, and you are in Iceland.”
The three of us looked at one another as Peatrice fluttered about in the center of our triangle of sight, exchanging glances that screamed ‘what the fuck is this bullshit?’
“I… need time to digest and dissect this new information,” Zoe commented, breaking the ice. “However… I would prefer it if we can ‘go back to normal’ as it were. Though, considering we are now in the company of a floating sex toy, and 208 years in the future, true normalcy is likely not on the itinerary.”
“Damn skippy, glasses face!” Peatrice remarked. “Shit is gonna be weird, seeing as how you three are stranded from your homes and have no way to ever get back, see your families, be around your surviving classmates, or grab an Italian pie from Doodlers. ‘Cos you’re stranded in the future, and you’re also immortal.”
“What kind of immortal? Highlander immortal or Baccano! Immortal?” Maxxie asked.
“Maxxie, he’s not going to—” I began before Peatrice cut me off.
“Baccano! Straight up, hardcore, except better. You could get lost in space and be fine once you get back to a breathable atmosphere.”
“Perhaps we should go somewhere to retire for the moment,” Zoe replied. “We are digesting a large amount of information, and we need to find… more reliable lodging for the evening than this hut—”
“You’re all high school kids, right?” Peatrice asked, breaking the flow of the conversation. “Because if so, how would you feel about going to one of the most prestigious universities in this utopian world? Sky Trigger University! And don’t worry, with the way things are going, there’s going to be a whole class of temporally displaced youngsters like you. Currently, my estimates are at around… 9 in total! And trust me, they’ll want to keep Jad there thanks to his new-fangled superhuman abilities that—”
I cut off Peatrice by grabbing him by his thick, girthy shaft— erm, I mean his dense and rubbery center, and pulling him closer to my face.
“Peatrice. Thank you for your contributions to this discussion, but now you are just confusing and overwhelming my friends. Also, I hate you, you are a vile abuser, and I will never forget what you did to amplify my trauma. So fuck off and get out of here.”
I then turned my body around and, like a professional baseball pitcher, threw Peatrice high into the air, where he flew over half a kilometer before landing into the ocean, just barely creating a visible splash.
“…What the hell did you just do there?” Zoe said, taking off his sweater and rubbing the sweat off his forehead.
“…Crap. How do I explain this?” I verbally asked myself as I turned to my friends. “Long story short, I now have super strength, super speed, immortality, the ability to create explosions by snapping, the ability to erase things from existence, and the ability to transform anything into anything else by touching it. As a demonstration, watch this.”
I then stepped out of the hut and into the sandy beach outside, where I crouched down to the sand and began to Real Boot it into… the first thing I could think of was a PlayStation Vita, so I decided to create that. The sand around my hands molded and hardened itself into something metallic, then plastic, all until the face of the device was formed, complete with a glossy finish and OLED display.
After placing the device between both hands, I pressed the power button on the top and was met with a PlayStation logo. Thus proving that my Real Booting was a success, and I had created a functional handheld game console.
“Look guys, it worked! I can make video games out of garbage!”
Maxxie and Zoe looked at me with mutual confusion, as if they were staring into my very soul, trying to compartmentalize one more impossibility thrust before them so enthusiastically.
“Okay, you know what,” Maxxie began, ”this is fucking awesome!”
“But Maxxie, you—” Zoe interjected.
“No, shut up, Zoe! Our best friend is ALIVE, has SUPER POWERS, and we are in a UTOPIA where there is a mascot character who is a floating dildo! Either I’m dead from Christmas alcohol poisoning, or we said fuck it to reality and entered a place better than the military-run garbage-ified world we were in a couple of hours ago! Jad, I love you, you’re basically my family, and family means never having to say you’re sorry! So whatever bad stuff you did, becoming a terrorist or a genocider, you all regret it now, right?”
“Of course I do,” I answered. “I never want to harm anyone— let alone take a life— ever again.”
“Good! Now if ya’ll don’t give a hoot about the bull hockey that we’ve been chewing these past three months, then neither do I! So, what do ya say? Friends forever?”
Maxxie then stepped out of the hut and thrust her right hand in front of me, inviting me to place my hand above it. Zoe, still wearing a confused expression, shrugged, sighed, and placed his right hand above Maxxie’s, adopting her addictive ‘fuck it’ attitude.
“Friends forever,” Zoe said.
The two then looked at me and, as quickly as my hand could move, I put my hand into a pile with them. We then pushed our three hands down and raised them upwards while shouting what would prove to be an eternal promise.
Punky’s Special One
Date: February 23, 2222
Time: 02:52 UTC – 02:52 LT
Coordinates: 64°N 22°W (Iceland, Europe)
“—But Mr. Nari was really a bad guy, and I should’ve known since I saw him bloody murder two of the childs. So he manipu-malated me to become a super nasty person by making all sorts of stuffs with my Re;All Bürthing superpower! It’s like Real Booting, but I can make anything out of nothing! I even made a big nasty monster that was also a nuclear bomb. A real-real good one— meaning it was bad and nasty and did a lot of deadsome killings. I thought I was doing a good thing, but I was really being a bad, and I did more bad things. In Neo Montreal, I made a big boom that killed millions and in Neo York City I made a just-as-big kaboom that did even more deathings. Punky knows that she did a bad, and her new friends forgave her and now all the dead people are alive again! It’s like a miraculous Christmas baby!”
After I said these things, I went and looky-looked at my good buddy Mr. Yuccot Kikansky! He helped me after I fell to Earth, and he was my bestest friend ever! He came outta the egg that I laid from me’s butt— just like a chicken! Except the egg got super duper allie-ooper big and I dropped it on the sand, where it started to break open! But inside, it wasn’t a bird or fish or reptile friend! It was her crab friend! Except he wasn’t a crab no more!
Mr. Yuccot used to be a mutant middle-aged man. He had a rough and non-soft face and hand skin, and red crab parts all over his body. But now he was all like a normal human with soft hands— not softy-soft, just normal soft— and looked less olderly! He was still in his bomber jacket though— and I didn’t know how he managed to keep that while egged up! But even though he was all humany and young again, Mr. Yuccot was still big mads at Punky and wore a super scary face!
“Punky, to be quite honest… I have no idea what the fuck you are talking about,” Mr. Yuccot said, rubbing his hand in his yellowy beard. “And I don’t really need to know at this moment. …What you are trying to say is that I am younger, no longer a mutant, and am now in a futuristic world where the Melding never happened?”
“Yeppa-deppa-yo-yo!” I said with the big smile.
“In that case… I have grown to simply accept things that are surreal or unexplainable. It is something I learned as a survival tactic. And now… I’m just happy to be here. In this lush naturalistic environment, with you freed from the clutches of Lou Underwood, and my body restored to what it was… before the Melding turned me into a freak crossed between man and animal. No matter what downside there is here, it’s worth tolerating. My body doesn’t constantly ache. My skin is not coated with itching patches where flesh and shell mingle. And everything about my body is as I remembered it being 17 years ago, right down to my dick.”
When Mr. Yuccot said that, he brought a hand into his jeans and started playing with his fireman a little bit. I didn’t really get it, but if it was a penis party, I was happy to join in on the fun.
“Punky has a dick too!” I said with the big enthusiasms.
Respond-er-ing, I took off my pants again and showed off my sex bits. I just had to think and wa-bam-zo! My beany thingie went all big and fat and was the size of my arm! I puffed up my chest all proud-like and looked at Mr. Yuccot. He was all scared and not showing his pee-pee, which made me sads.
“When the hell did you get a penis?” Mr. Yuccot asked, all angry and stuff.
“Punky was born with the penis. It’s always been a part of her!”
“…And why is it so damn big?”
“Is this not how the penis normally works? I only knows my penis, and no one else’s… Can I see your pee-pee, Mr. Yuccot?”
“I mean, sure. I don’t really have anything to hide or any moronic pride— just bear in mind that it’s not erect, as… few things turn me on less than another guy’s— another person’s penis.”
Yuccot then pulled down his pants and underwears and showed me… a weird thing. It was all tiny, had this sloppy bag of dangly skin behind it, and it smelled funny too.
“Is that what a regular penis is supposed to look like?” I asked all confuzzledly.
“Y-Yes, of course it is. There is nothing abnormal about my penis! At least… I don’t think there was… it’s been a long time since I personally laid eyes on another person’s penis… And after I got crab genitals, I might have forgotten what a normal penis looked like…”
“Well, worry not, grand sire!” A friendly-like voice said, but Punky could not see who was using it. “For I am here to show you just what a man’s pride and joy really looks like!”
All sudden-like, a big purple stick came in from above Punky’s head and it smacked Mr. Yuccot in his face, making him trip all onto the sandy floor. I tried helping him, but something jumped into my face. It was Peatrice! And he was still a purple penis person!
“Hiya Peatrice. You know, you look real cute like that! Even cuter than you did when Punky mades you into a boy!”
“If you were smarter than a bag of muddy clams, then that might’ve hurt my feelings.” Peatrice said, looking at me with his kawi pee-pee eyes.
I looked over Peatrice and at Mr. Yuccot. He was still in the sand— getting lotsa sand in his pants! And he was all scared by Peatrice. I didn’t get why he was so scared, but then I remembered that Peatrice is not a normal friend, so Mr. Yuccot needs to know he is a good friendly-friend material!
“It’s all okays and happiness, Mr. Yuccot! This is Peatrice, and though he is shaped like a penis, Peatrice is actually a friend!”
“Punky, you and I are going to have a long conversation about who you consider to be a friend.” Mr. Yuccot said, getting his keister outta the sand.
“Look, I’ll leave you two lovebirds to do whatever you wanna during the interim, but before I bid you a merry bye-bye, I need to tell you two about Sky Trigger University.”
“Sky Trigger University?” Me and Yuccot said at the same time, so our voices sounded real funky-like!
“Yes, Sky Trigger University. Where you can learn about the 200 plus years differentiating this world from the one you knew, get to grips with whatever skills you desire to develop, and where some of the best scientists in all of Afrika can help make Punky less of a retard. I mean, probably. They have future tech, and we live in a world where your microwave can make you a cheeseburger pizza out of communally sourced garbage, so helping the mentally disabled should be within the realm of what’s possible.”
Mr. Yuccot looked all sorts of mad after Peatrice said his stuff— I didn’t get half of what he was saying— but Mr. Yuccot looked really exhausted and threw up his hands.
“You know what? Sure. I do not actually care. Take me to future Afrika and let me go to school. Compared to wallowing in the dirt, looking for food, hoping I don’t get shot, that sounds like a veritable paradise!”
“Oh, oh!” I said, all excited! “Let me go with you, Mr. Yuccot. Punky is not smart like the books, but she will try real real hard to be smarter! And determination is half the battle in the edu-ma-ca-tion wars!”
One Year Later
Date: February 22, 2223
Time: 10:00 UTC – 12:00 LT
Coordinates: 15°N 32°E (Sudan, Afrika)
As the morning gave way to noon, the halls of Sky Trigger University stood empty, as students and professors alike nestled in their classrooms. Of the myriad classes taught within the halls of this illustrious campus, one was far more… unique than the others. It was taught in a standard classroom, with two columns of desks that faced a lecturer, and the lecturer was none other than Terra Flare, the most tenured member of staff at Sky Trigger. She was an odd person for many reasons, such as her lengthy naturally silver hair that clashed with her dark complexion or her penchant for violet suits. But what made her class so unique was the class itself.
On her left, she saw a scattering of young people sitting beside their Machi, all born within the 23rd century, and all diligently taking notes as she lectured about the past. While on her right, she saw a group of nine, all 200-some-odd years displaced from their original time, doing the same as their peers as they jotted things down on their tablets.
Terra: “The thing about 22nd century history— and you’re listening to someone who lived through all of it— is that there was not a lot that really happened. In a world extensively free of problems, there is little need for societal advancement or historical progress. The 22nd century was the first century in human history without a great natural disaster. Without war. Without political strife or major government reforms. The world was in an excellent place at the end of the 21st century, and for the following decade, things simply continued that way.”
Terra: “Because of this— because of how great everything was, people began focusing less on bigger issues and the plights of the world. Instead, they looked at things on a micro-scale. People became invested in smaller pockets of societal interest, in their local communities, and in learning skills, instead of following the machinations of industry or markets. What need is there for industry when there are products that can make… anything, even themselves? What needs is there for markets when everything is as valuable as a piece of refuse?”
Terra: “This is how those who lived through the 21st century thought about the 22nd. They were concerned that humanity would lose something as they became free of conflict and problems. They viewed the 21st century as a struggle, a point where humanity was at the cusp of losing centuries of progress as society crumbled… but if you look further back— back to the 20th century— it is clear that this is where humanity always wanted to be. A place where common people can lead lives free of conflict, strife, and worry. A world where everybody is given the resources they need to survive.”
Terra: “Nowadays, the only thing truly left on humanity’s to-do list is to explore the stars and, with Lunapolis, the Epsilon Mars base, and elevator number three, I’d say that we’re making good progress. I mean, it could be better, but we really don’t need to go to space. We’ve got plenty of space and more renewable power than we know what to do with.”
As Terra continued her lecture, a hand rose from the right side of the classroom. Her head moved instinctively, and her eyes landed on none other than Max Flare, her brother. Terra smiled as she looked down at him from her lectern. Over the past 200 years, she had developed an idealized version of her older sibling in her mind, and while there was nothing that made her happy than to be reunited with her sibling, it was something of a… shock to her when he asked for her help to begin his transition.
Terra never resisted her sibling’s wishes as he made them, but it was hard for her to reconcile with the idea. That the paragon of femininity, the person who inspired Terra to begin her transition in an… unconventional manner, wanted to live the remainder of his indefinitely long life as a man. After Max finished his genetic therapy a few months ago, Terra was taken aback as she saw the reconstructed face of her brother… as it reminded her of what she looked like before her surgery. Before she took the name Maxxie for herself.
His face filled her with guilt at first, but Terra refused to let this impede her relationship with her precious sibling. And the more she looked at Max’s new face, the less she remembered of her time ‘as a boy.’ It was over 200 years ago, less than 6% of her life, and with each passing day, that fraction would grow smaller and smaller, until it became something truly insignificant.
Terra shook her head as she conveniently remembered such things, and gave Max permission to speak up with his boyish voice.
Max: “Weren’t there still social issues in the 22nd century? Not necessarily due to class, but due to nationalism, race, and so forth?”
Terra: “Good catch, bro-bro! But most of those issues were addressed in the 21st century. When new cities were being established, they accepted anyone who showed up at their door. It did not matter what direction they came from, if they immigrated from another continent, or if they were picked up by a wandering shuttle that brought them and their ransack village to society. All were welcomed, and this approach was both taught and expressed from the top-down. Plus, these people were desperate, hungry, and were happy to do anything so long as they got three meals a day and a soft bed to sleep in. Which became a standard pretty darn quick.”
Terra: “Once cities became larger, the population spread to create new settlements, forming smaller towns and other cities, naturally yet rapidly growing them over time. This, combined with the adoption of free relocation, the official languages being cut down to only 12, and decades upon decades of multiracial relationships, steadily shifted humanity away from a racial identity. Plus, with no wealth or resources to worry about, and the most renowned figure on the planet being omniracial, racism pretty much just stopped being an issue. …Well, there were growing pains, but you need to attend Doctor Decagon’s course on the history of race and racism if you want more than the down-low.”
Terra: “As for nations, technically national borders were disbanded in the 2090s. They were replaced with regional names, borders of old were lost, and continent names stuck around, mostly as a means of convenience. While some people retained national identities, and lived where their forebears did, tens of millions did just the opposite, and became citizens of the world, traveling from one place to another, year over year. While another large contingency of people switched regions every decade or so in order to shake up their lives a tad.”
As Terra rambled on a topic only tangentially related to what she had planned for this day, her Machi, Nicole, tapped her little fist against the wall, signaling it was time to wrap up her class. Unlike other Machi, Nicole was designed to look especially robotic, with her harsh edges and corners, saturated turquoise frame, simplistic eyes, and short stature.
Terra: “Alright, Nicole is giving me the signal, so I’ll let you kids out for the day. Have fun, remember to submit your essays before class on Tuesday. I wanna see some JUICY thoughts.”
As Terra gave her declaration, the students on the left, along with their own Machi partners, walked out of the classroom, while the right side of the class began chatting amongst themselves.
Nicole: “Did you really need to make such a juvenile comment? I mean, those kids don’t even understand what juicy means in this context. This isn’t Terra Flare and late 20th Century Pop Culture.”
Terra: “I know, and that sucks. I wanna lay back and teach these kids to appreciate the classics, but that doesn’t have enough educational value, I guess.”
Nicole: “They literally said that it would be better as a club, and not a class. But you said no.”
Terra: “Of course I said no! I gotta babysit and tutor nine people, get them caught up on 200 years of happenings and culture, and do science ish in the lab with the Rift Gates. Even though I don’t sleep, I’m busy like a beaver in heat.”
Nicole: “That is not how the expression goes.”
Terra: “I know. I’m just making it better.”
Nicole: “For a historian, you have an awfully blatant disregard for history.”
Terra: “Nah, I don’t. I just have an awfully deep anus so it is impossible for me to get any sticks lodged in it, like my contemporaries.”
Nicole: “It troubles me knowing that you are one of the smartest humans on Earth.”
Terra: “I’m smart enough to know when to be stupid, okay?”
Max: “Hey, sis? Are we planning on going to lunch, or…”
Terra: “Just a minute. The wife and I need to have a spat every few hours or else her head will implode.”
Nicole: “It wouldn’t explode if you actually upgraded me, instead of forcing me to run on primitive software and hardware.”
Terra: “I’ve given you permission to get your own damn upgrades, Nicole.”
Nicole: “True, but… I want to do it with you.”
Terra smiled before grabbing Nicole by her stubby robot arm, thrusting her onto her back, where Nicole joined her limbs together, causing her to resemble a backpack.
Terra: “Alright, homies. Let’s blow this limoncello stand and get our lunch on!”
Terra then jogged out of the classroom, and was followed by a cluster of ten people, all familiar faces who have had a full year to know each other.
Immediately behind her was Max Flare, Terra’s brother. A smile of youthful enthusiasm painted his freckled face while his black hair, long enough to cover his ears, bounced ever so slightly with each step. He inarguably had a boyish cuteness to him, as even though Max was confident in his decision to present himself as male, he was still easing into masculinity, and trying to choose what was right for him. As demonstrated by his growing facial hair and sporty red and black jacket.
Raiyne Underwood followed behind him. Her sapphire eyes shined brightly and her look was as practical as always. Her growing hair was nestled into a bun that rested atop her head, while her body was clothed in a casual cable-knit sweater along with some dark leggings. She let a faint smile escape her face as she saw students passing her by, looking at her with awe, as she was something of a local celebrity here. It was a renown due not only for her resemblance to Abigale Quinlan, but the strides she and the science team had been making with the Rift Gates.
Beside Raiyne stood her two special ones. Her uncle, Lou Underwood, was to her left. Since he arrived at this school, he forwent his previous bald look in favor of something more youthful, growing out his hair down to his shoulders, where it gathered in a cascade of gentle waves onto his nylon bomber jacket. An exact copy of the ones used by the U.S. Air Force in the 1950s. He moved with a discernible swagger to him. Like a man with nothing to lose, nothing to prove, and with more time than he could possibly waste.
Opposite of Lou was Caroline Steticks or, as she has come to call herself, ★Miracle Time Gal Carol-chan★. Caroline, or rather, Carol, never had much of a vision for the future, and when placed in this new technologically advanced utopia, she decided that she wanted to finally make use of ‘this internet thing’ by presenting herself to the world. What began as a series of video diary entries rapidly drew in an audience of folks fascinated by the gimmick of a girl from 200 years ago reacting to the modern world.
Her bubbly personality, old world quirkiness, and general kindness helped her retain a following, inspiring her to spend her evenings hanging out with people on the internet. During these semi-scheduled sessions, she played modern video games that left her genuinely stunned, made comedy skits that were only sorta funny half the time, and offered a unique perspective on modern going-ons. As she amassed this internet acclaim, Caroline lost a fair bit of weight thanks to modern dietary standards, dyed and styled her hair into yellow twintails, and began fashioning herself in more stylish clothing, as exemplified by her current outfit. A light orange jacket with fur linings around the neck and cuffs, along with a short skirt, dark leggings, and cute wintry boots.
Jad Spencer followed behind Raiyne, looking just as he did after regaining his true form a year ago. His curly brown hair was grown out for the winter, a vibrant smile was painted across his pale face, and his body was clad in a bright green jacket that matched his emerald eyes. He walked with a discernible pep in his step, as if he hadn’t a problem in the world. Deep down, the scars of trauma remained, and he could never truly forget about what he did while inside the skin of a violent terrorist. However, it was a literal world away. He was a different person physically. With his Enhanced Intellect, he was able to think clearer than ever before. And even when he felt himself drifting into despair, he had two pillars to ground him to reality.
To his right was Zoe Xing, dressed in a three-piece suit, with a red tie. His black hair was slick, a small smirk was painted on his face as he looked to his left, and even though he did not need to wear glasses since he entered this world, he still wore the lensless frame, as it gave him a distinguished look. As always, he looked like a man more mature than his years, and walked with a confident stride, even when shoulder-to-shoulder with his lifelong chums.
Opposite of Zoe was Maxxisaurus Akari Flare, or just Maxxie as she preferred. She was easily dressed the most casually of this menagerie of temporally displaced individuals. Her hair was fashionably disheveled, as was her style, and her attire made up of a violet sweater, a navy pinafore, neon pink stockings underneath, along with a pair of knee-high boots. Maxxie walked like the genki girl she was, with her hands behind her head, while she spoke with her outside voice. She moved like she hadn’t a care in the world and, truth be told, she did not. For she was far, far away from the point in her life where she had to worry about a job, money, or even grades. She was aware of this and acted like she was in her own personal heaven.
The final row began with Punky, who was dressed in a seasonably inappropriate white and violet floral dress that fluttered with every step she took in her cozy brown boots. Though, that somehow was not the most curious thing about her appearance, as her head was covered in a vibrant purple helmet that pressed against her scalp. It was a device to examine her thought patterns, brain waves, and help her with whatever ‘mental quirkiness’ she was dealing with, so she could make better use of her Enhanced Intellect. While Punky had the option to use a more subtle piece of headgear, she opted for something large, thick, and incredibly durable.
Punky walked the halls in an exaggerated motion, as if she was trying to make the act of putting one foot in front of the other more entertaining. And to accomplish this, she was also swinging the hand of her dearest companion, Yuccot Kikansky. His blonde hair was short, he had a trim beard, and he was dressed in a simple leather jacket and jeans. He looked at Punky like a big brother would his kid sister, and was not bothered as she thrust his arm to and fro. There was a certain lightness to the way he walked. It was as if he knew he was living within a dream and, instead of forcing himself awake, he had chosen to remain in this deep slumber for as long as possible.
This group of eleven casually walked down the halls, passing by hundreds of students exiting their classrooms before they left the building. Once outside, they left the snow covered campus of Sky Trigger University behind and moved toward the myriad shops that bordered it. After a few minutes of walking and making idle conversation, they reached their destination. A hole in the wall restaurant with a red wooden exterior and large windows bearing the name Le Café Crème.
Standing outside of this building was a Machi. One with bouncy yellow hair, lavender skin, and dressed very… lightly. Their body was clothed in what looked to be a pair of short-shorts and a bralette with no padding, both colored a sharp black. They leaned against a wall with one leg folded, their yellow eyes staring blankly into the distance, at least before they suddenly turned their head and saw the eleven. The Machi let out a sigh before speaking with a familiar voice, sounding like an adult woman impersonating a young boy, and not doing a particularly good job of it. It was a voice familiar to the group of eleven, for it was the voice of Peatrice.
Peatrice: “2.2 minutes late, on the mark. I swear, you’re doing this shit intentionally.”
Terra: “Sorry for doing my job and teaching my students about the death of national identity. Besides, do you really have anything better to do?”
Peatrice: “Considering your administration vetoed my teaching application and most people want nothing to do with a ‘remorseless terrorist?’ No. It’s just been jamming myself into a lot of holes and soaking up information at 100 words a second.”
Nicole: “It’s… nice to see you again, Peatrice, but can we save the bickering for when we’re inside the restaurant?”
Peatrice then grabbed the door to Le Café Crème for his eleven companions, tapping his naked foot against the wet sidewalk as they filtered in. There, they were greeted by two humans and two Machi, who offered them familiar greetings, while directing them to an island of four tables, large enough to seat 16 people.
In a flurry of noise, the twelve found their seats on this table, positioning themselves cozily while sliding the wooden chairs back against the tiled floor. The group sat into what seemed like pre-defined positions while Peatrice chatted with one of the Machi working at the restaurant, confirming that the order was correct.
Peatrice: “Grub should be ready in about 15 minutes, and she should be here just after it arrives.”
Carol-Chan: “Super Duper! But why exactly did you need all of us to come here today?”
Zoe: “It’s the one year anniversary since we all, excluding Terra and Nicole, arrived in this world. We’re here to celebrate.”
Lou: “You say one year, but it feels like it’s been a decade…”
Yuccot: “I’ve got to agree with Lou. There’s so much new we see every day that this has felt like the longest year of my life. Hell, this has felt longer than the 17 years I spent scrounging.”
Maxxie: “Don’t worry your pretty little heads, old timers. We’re here for the longest of hauls! Sooner or later, you’ll start blinking and the years will begin passing you by.”
Raiyne: “You’re making immortality sound like a bad thing. Besides, wouldn’t you disagree with that notion, Terra?”
Terra: “Eh. Time passes slower when you hop from place to place every decade, and stay social with the young folk. And with your little invention, travel is going to become an absolute dream.”
Jad Spencer: “I mean, that’s putting it lightly. Once the Rift Gate technology has been established, we could theoretically create Rifts that will allow us to hop between solar systems in a matter of a picosecond. And with our immortality, we could colonize other worlds!”
Max: “We could, but Machi can do that too, so long as there is nothing that prevents them from operating in an alien or hostile environment. Also, while you might be okay with being constantly irradiated, some of us are made of softer stuff.”
Nicole: “Typical fleshbag, asking us automatons to do your dirty work.”
Punky: “According to the calculations performed by STU, while you lack the Enhanced Body modification, your bodies will ultimately survive any hostile environment. Your brain will react to this hostile environment by triggering a pain response, but as you are repeatedly subjected to pain over, and over, and over again, your brain will gradually learn to ignore such a response.”
Peatrice: “That was an essay some student submitted, and it wasn’t peer reviewed. So, take that with a shaker of salt.”
Carol-Chan: “Like, I dunno. It makes some sense, when you think about it. Normal is relative and different for everybody. So if getting hurt a bunch becomes normal for you, then wouldn’t you just learn to shrug it off? If you work a job where your hands get all nasty, then you stop feeling a sharp pain when you get a paper cut and stuff.”
Lou: “I remember reading an article in some magazine— and this was years ago, in the 1990s— about how children living in the Caribbean, where they did not have shoes, developed thick calluses on their feet, allowing them to walk on gravel— barefoot— without bleeding all over themselves. …At least to an extent.”
Zoe: “The crux of this argument is the idea that, if someone does something enough, it becomes normalized. Humans are an adaptive lot and, if they experience something enough times, or think in a certain way long and hard enough, then it is normalized to them. It applies to just about anything from performing a task for work, speaking in another language, or even thinking in a specific way.”
Maxxie: “Eyup! And I’d say we’ve become pretty damn normalized to this whole future thing. I mean, we’re all super out of touch, but if I went back to 2014… I’d feel like a puppy who’s eaten nothing but people food for all their life being forced to eat regular D-grade dog food.”
Peatrice: “Out of touch? Speak for yourselves.”
Terra: “How bold of you to say, mister NEET.”
Peatrice: “Oh, I would love to listen to you gab on about how society crumbled, but I’m a faster learner than all y’all. I actually know how to use my Enhanced Intellect to the fullest. And I would be willing to splay my hot knowledge down, but this society is so rotten that they won’t let me, a quantifiable genius, teach a bunch of kids about science.”
Jad Spencer: “You spend nearly every evening inside the butts and genitals of college students… For that reason alone, they would never hire you.”
Yuccot: “Yeah, I’m a high school dropout, and even I know that’s not above board.”
Peatrice: “Yeah, yeah, rub in the fact that I am a literal sapient sex toy with a natural desire to fuck every day. Look, I may be a purple rod of silicone, but I’m still the second smartest lifeform on the planet, and that should put me above any legal or ethical coda. It don’t make no sense, but nothin’ about me makes any damn sense.”
Raiyne: “…Like how you’re controlling that Machi.”
Peatrice: “Exactly! You just shoved me in one, and I suddenly possessed them.”
Punky: “Yep! Then Punky gave you a purple one with a nice slot for you! Now you can jack in and jack out of a humanoid body and your regular phallus body with both easiness and breeziness.”
Carol-Chan: “It always sounds über lewd when Punky says something like that.”
Max: “Yeah. It’s one of the best parts of hanging out with her.”
Yuccot: “It’s only gotten worse thanks to the helmet, and I have no clue why.”
Raiyne: “It has to do with the multiple personalities in her head, which leads to a moral conundrum that I am not allowed to make a call on, as one of those personalities is apparently me, which is more than a bit unsettling. Currently, it seems that the dominant personality is overwriting the others, which is concerning, but… it might be for the best.”
Jad Spencer: “You can say that again. The less I need to think about another me and the existential dread of being a copy, the better.”
Lou: “And the less I need to think about Wheatley, Wisp, or my alternate future self, the better.”
Terra: “Speaking of future selves, what are you all planning now that you’ve had a year to get comfortable in this new world?”
Peatrice: “Master of segues right here. Well, I can’t really work a job or do anything on account of being blacklisted, so I guess I’ll just keep fucking by night, exploring by day, and taking in 100 words a second all the while.”
Punky: “Whaaaaat? No way you can listen to that much!”
Peatrice: “You bet your sweet bippy I can. This Machi chassis of mine is bombarding me with information every second of every day, and while it decreases when I’m hanging around with you cunts, I read loads, even when I’m plowing some butts raw. Anyway, I might push out a novel or ten. People have wanted to interview me for obvz reasons, but I want to deliver the message myself, and I’m about 90k words into writing Peatrice and the Genocide Manifesto.”
Jad Spencer: “Please tell me you’re joking…”
Peatrice: “Hell nah, dawg. But my memoirs, The Abigale Quinlan From Another World, are currently sitting at a cool dubbo-hundo-wordo-z.”
Nicole: “He’s actually had me analyze it for him, and both of them are… about what you would expect from a 500-year-old genius. Impactful, full of erudite prose, and genuinely touching when it wants to be. Almost makes you forget that both were written by a literal sapient sex toy.”
Raiyne: “—So, my life is kind of set at the moment, thanks to my current obligations in helping the R&D team with the Rift Gate. I’ve wound up learning a lot of stuff, and while I could use this experience to become a scientist out of some sort of obligation to this world… I don’t particularly want to. At least not right now. I have always been passionate about reading and writing— it’s why I was a librarian before I became a Rift Constable. I have learned more this past year than I did in all of high school. I want to continue learning, get a proper degree, and… I would like to try my hand at finally writing a novel.”
Lou: “Heh. As to be expected from a girl who asked for a book on her tenth birthday, and every birthday afterwards.”
Raiyne: “It was just a birthday. I was not going to ask my mother for anything more on such a minor holiday… Goodness, I sounded so old there.”
Carol-Chan: “You can say that again. Are you 20 or 60, girl? Make up your mind!”
Lou: “We may as well do things in a circle, so I’ll go next. While I traveled across Europe during my early life, I spent the majority of my life as a Rift Constable. Perusing around the town of Rainy Woods and never giving much mind to what I wanted to do. Hell, I never truly thought about retiring. But now, I have no responsibilities, no reaper looming over me, and no sense of attachment to a given place. However, and maybe this is just my old heart talking, but I am interested in becoming a historian. Not just to get smart on everything that happened these past 200 years, but what happened before then. I’m sure that my ‘old world’ perspective would be appreciated in some circles, and while things have been cataloged incredibly well as far as I could tell, I’m sure there are ruins left to uncover, and mysteries of the past to still expand upon. …If not, I’ll just find some other way to occupy my time.”
Zoe Xing: “Before I found myself in this world, I was aspiring to be a lawyer, and was waiting to hear back from several universities about scholarship applications. I hoped that the story of a young man, son of immigrant parents, who maintained meticulous grades and survived the worst school shooting in history, would attract the attention of universities. Unfortunately, I never heard back from them before I came here… and this is a world that has little need for lawyers, as there are so few legal disputes.”
Zoe Xing: “Everything is so prosperous, organized, and if someone desires something, they simply need to issue a request. It is so… unlike the world I was promised. Precisely because of that, I cherish it. I want to do what I can to make this world better, and the best way to do that is hone my skills and work within its government. I have not determined what position I should aim for, but I will aim as high as possible and, through enough work, I may even join the Continental Council of Earth. I’ll certainly have time on my side, after all.”
Jad Spencer: “Heh. Always so practical, Zoe. That’s what I love about you. As for me… I was never set on a career, and hoped to figure that out while going to Oransen Community College. But now that I’m here, and working with this Enhanced Intellect, I’m utterly fascinated by Machi and the sheer possibilities available thanks to the power of modern computing. I’ve found myself drawn to programming like never before. I enjoyed Computer Science back in high school, but whatever block I’ve had is gone and… now I feel I can get fully invested in it.”
Jad Spencer: “I have no aspirations of doing anything truly groundbreaking, as I can scarcely imagine a better tomorrow with how good things have gotten…. But this is something that makes me passionate. And focusing on something you’re passionate about is a good way to repress… the memories you’d like to forget.”
Terra: “Sweetie, don’t be so hard on yourself. It took me 50 years and a stern talking to from Abigale before I forgave myself. …But if you need another therapy session, just let me know, alright?”
Jad Spencer: “T-Terra. You don’t need to talk to me like I’m your kid… but thanks.”
Maxxie: “Aw, Jady-poo is getting all flustered! You really should try being a bit more emotional, Jad. You are just so cute when you have the courage to be expressive!”
Jad Spencer: “I’ve got the rest of eternity to learn how to be expressive, so give it time, Maxxie. Give it time.”
Maxxie: “…You know I wanna make a Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater reference so damn hard right now.”
Yuccot: “It’s not like it was an original track. It was just licensed.”
Maxxie: “It came out before Cold Water Music and was the first place where most Americans heard it! Check and match! …Anyway, I have always wanted to be a professional artist, and dangumit, I’m gonna be an artist for life. Especially since I super don’t need to worry about money anymore. Now, the biggest barrier I faced was just… learning how to do art with these new-fangled tools. I played around with some 3D modeling back in the halcyons, but this stuff is so far beyond that I feel like a gosh darn dinosaur trying to learn from point zero.
Maxxie: “Thankfully, people have been super helpful after I started asking and sharing stuff I drew on paper, but I’m still a total noob when it comes to everything that kids, legal minors, are getting up to on the regular… which makes me SUPER excited! I thought I was becoming a good artist, but holy moley! The mountain got five times bigger, and while I might have been discouraged in another scenario… I’m psyched to jet-jack my way up that ish, ‘cos I have unlimited stamina and a fighting spirit that shan’t be quelled by even the godliest of waters! But that’s all kind of a given to everyone that knows me, so I’ll pass the mic to my brotha from an AU motha, Max Flare!”
Max: “Thank you, my transdimensional cisgender female doppleganger! …No, the novelty about that has not worn off, and I hope it never does. ”
Maxxie: “If it didn’t wear off after we fucked, it never will.”
Max: “Eh… let’s see how we’re feeling after the 50th time.”
Maxxie: “I’ll let you know real soon. Just keep your door unlocked and your five inches ret-2-go!”
Lou: “We get it! You took the idea of fucking yourself to a new level! Get on with it!”
Max: “…Okay, so Maxxie and I are basically in the same boat. We have been learning so much gosh darn stuff, and are complete idiots when it comes to making stuff in the modern context. Except she is smarter than me when it comes to a lot of things, as she’s 15 years more current than my grandpappy-ass. Currently, I am trying to make this VR experience, but I am WAY over my head. She had touch screens on everything, and me… I never even thought of doing stuff outside of sculpting, canvas, or paper! But I have always been a fast learner, and I am announcing it now. The Cyberspacian V23 Part II: Prodigious Re;Birth is coming out this Christmas. I’ll make it or die trying! And I cannot die, so it is a certainty!”
Maxxie: “Can you people not understand why I love fucking this man! And Jad too, but—”
Jad Spencer: “M-Maxxie! What the fuck? I thought we were being private about—”
Maxxie: “We fucked on our birthdays and Christmas. It was dope every time, and now we’re aiming for a fuckaronni foursome!”
Zoe: “Look, just because we are open with each other does not mean that you can just announce—”
Terra: “—Hey, there’s something called TMI, and I know you heard that expression back in your day, so, maybe, just maybe, act on it. Or at the very least, don’t out my brother as being in a polyamorous relationship with his friends from an alternate universe, because it’s really uncomfortable to discuss such private matters in a RESTAURANT!”
Peatrice: “I am a literal talking, flying, and indestructible dildo! You associate with me, and people know who I am, because I am the greatest criminal alive. Yet you draw the line at that?”
Terra: “I only draw the line when a relationship like this is announced in public. I’m delighted that Max is comfortable enough with himself to fuck his female self— ANYWAY! I was originally planning on leaving Sky Trigger University to teach somewhere else… But after you lot came into my life, I decided to stick here until you are sufficiently educated and the Rift Gates are ready to be rolled out. When that is done… I’m going on an adventure around the world, and I’m gonna invite you all to come with me. Because I have never really had friends in the traditional sense, and you’re the closest I’ve got.
Nicole: “It’s sad, but true. Terra has never been a very social girl, as she always outlived her would-be-friends.”
Terra: “Yeah, so I decided to aim young and the only people I’ve been sufficiently social with were my students.”
Nicole: “Excellent wording there! That absolutely does not make you sound like a predator.”
Terra: “I’m 202 years clean, okay? We’re not bringing that shit up again!”
Peatrice: “200 years since you last fucked a kid? Yeah, that sounds about right for me too. Not that I stopped doing it out of any moral reason. I just got bored tormenting children like that. Besides, adults put up more of a fight, so it’s all the more satisfying to crush their spirits… along with their assholes.”
Raiyne: “You know we’re about to eat, right?”
Peatrice: “Know? Yes. Care? No. Anyway, I’m next, but I already said my piece. Imma gonna write some novels, wander around a bit, do some fuck stuff, maybe drop an album if my MC from Funke gets back with some psycho-fuck-funk.”
Yuccot: “…I was 20% crab for nearly 20 years of my life, and I feel like I am in the normal half of this table… that is so wrong. Okay, my turn and—”
Nicole: “Wait, we skipped over me!”
Terra: “You’re my Machi. You don’t have any plans of your own, so why even acknowledge that? I mean, if you wanted to do things on your own, sure, but I’m pretty sure you don’t have that kinda desire in your database.”
Nicole: “That’s not the… yeah, you’re right. I just wanted to feel included. Sorry about that, Yuccot. You were saying?”
Yuccot: “Right, so… I never had any direction in life before I joined the military when I was 17. My father said I would never amount to anything and died… sort of— I’m still not sure what to think about that, Jad.”
Jad: “I was a different person at the time and I do not want to hold any accountability for my actions. I will apologize as many times as you want, but—”
Yuccot: “No, no, it’s… not a big deal, and without the military training, I would have died and never met Punky. Besides, considering how I… contributed to your poor mental health by being such a terrible person as a teenager, I—”
Zoe: “We forgave each other months ago. Please, get on with what you want to do with your life so we can finally have lunch.”
Yuccot: “I have basically no direction in life, and… I think I just want to explore, meet new people, do that whole citizen of the world thing and see where that takes me… or is that a social faux pas?”
Terra: “It’s what many people do during the summer after becoming legal adults, so… no. But you are a bit old to do something like that.”
Yuccot: “…Says the 236-year-old who looks like she’s in her late 20s to a 38-year-old man who looks like any random student in this school, but whiter.”
Punky: “Punky time! What am I gonna do? That is a tricky question for me to answer. I only lived for five weeks before I wound up here, so I’m barely a year old. I have had a lot of fun learning lots of these things, and being with this colorfusical group of people… but I feel like a baby being asked what she wants to do when she is an adult. But… for as childish as it seems, I think I want to help Abigale.”
Lou: “That is an admirable goal, seeing as how you share many of her powers…”
Punky: “I know I’m not very smart, but my helmet is making my brain better, so I’ll be able to use my smarts eventually. And with my Re;All Bürth power, I can do oodles of things that even Abigale can’t! Or, in other words, I think… I think that when I grow up, I wanna be a superhero!”
Carol-Chan: “D’aw, Punky, you are just the cutest thing! I would gobble you up… if not for the fact that saying that is apparently racist nowadays.”
Raiyne: “That’s being too literal. Nobody would interpret that phrase as being racist… and being racist is the least of your worries, considering your current company.”
Max: “It’s the future. If you’re not pursuing your truest self, and doing what makes you happy without hurting others… you’re probably doing something wrong.”
Jad Spencer: “Can we just wrap this up, please? The food’s going to get cold at this point.”
Carol-Chan: “Okie dokey! I’m last, and my answer is prolly über booooring! I’ve got a good thing going on with the life-stream thing, and it’s fun to have these… parasocial relationships with people, communicating with folks from all corners of the planet, and even a few in SPACE! I’m pretty sure you used to say that I only got by on my personality, Raiyne, and that it was my best feature. I thought that was a slight against me for a while— It actually pissed me off because of how right you seemed. But now… I’m living off of my personality, and it’s pretty fun, being myself and making people happy. Plus, I get to teach these youngsters all about the past! Like the spunkiest grandma around!”
As Carol-Chan finished up her statement, the workers of Le Café Crème brought out cornucopious amounts of food, which was familiar to two of the dozen gathered here. Multiple plates of paella, nasi goreng, schnitzel, yukgaejang, borscht, and tom kha gai were all served to the twelve, along with various pitchers and glasses with ice water. The workers moved professionally despite the… oddness of what they witnessed over the past 20-ish minutes, and before long, the group was staring down a series of steaming hot plates, only for their attention to be diverted as the door to the establishment opened, revealing the thirteenth member of their gathering.
It was none other than Zen Abigale Quinlan, their Abigale Quinlan, and they all could not help but remark just how… different she looked than when they saw her a year ago. Her hair was longer, curlier, and livelier overall. Her face had a look of subdued joy painted on it. And instead of wearing her usual jumpsuit, she was dressed like a normal person, wearing a white v-neck sweater, a pair of black jeans, a pair of dark boots that added an extra smidgen to her already incredibly tall stature, and to top it all off, a simple necklace with a silver chain and a ruby pendant.
Terra: “The legends were true… you can wear something other than a suit or jumpsuit.”
Zen Abigale: “You are the one who said I should try to look more like a ‘person.’ I trust my performance is at least satisfactory.”
Nicole: “More than satisfactory, Miss Quinlan. That’s an A minus look! And doesn’t it feel good to dress up like this?”
Zen Abigale: “Yes and no. But I shall not bore you with the details we are here to celebrate, and that is what I intend to do.”
Abigale then sat down at an empty chair, between Nicole and Peatrice, and she looked on at those around her, greeting them with a small smile.
Zen Abigale: “We are gathered here to thank the person who brought us together into this world. The woman who brought this world back from total destruction. And the one who promised a prosperous future. While many of us can attest to her eccentricities—”
Jad Spencer: “—We… really are no better, Abigale.”
Zen Abigale: “…Without her, we would not be here, and this Earth would not exist. And so, I propose a toast. To the God of our multiverse. The deleter of the Genocider. Verde Dusk.”
All: “TO VERDE DUSK!!!”
They clanged their 13 glasses in unison, producing a sound that reverberated through the entire building, escaping onto the streets outside.
Peatrice: “And now it’s time for the good stuff! Say it with me now in the best dead language!”
As they expressed thanks for the meal before them, the thirteen, or twelve, since Nicole does not eat, began digging into their meal. Minutes gave way onto an hour as the meal progressed, additional courses were brought in, and the conversation somehow grew even more deranged than the pre-lunch banter. Despite the eccentricities of this group, despite the checkered past of half of its members, they still laughed, shouted, and regaled one another with joyous anecdotes and heartfelt stories as they shared a meal, bound by one table.
It was the first of what would become a yearly celebration for them, and soon the world as a whole. A celebration of the everlasting prosperity promised unto this world. A celebration of those who fought against a being who dedicated their very existence to destruction. And a celebration of the one who, by sheer happenstance, brought this world, and its billions of people, into existence. A celebration of God. A celebration of Verde Dusk.
Psycho Bullet Festival 2222 Main Page
Bout 01: Enter The 2-2-2-2
Bout 02: Enter Raiyne Underwood
Bout 03: Enter Abigale Quinlan
Bout 04: Enter Miss Flare
Bout 05: Enter Terra Flare
Bout 06: Enter Verde Dusk
Bout 07: Enter The Righteous
Bout 08: Enter The White
Bout 09: Enter Nari
Bout 10: Enter Punky
Bout 11: Enter Peatrice
Bout 12: Enter Jad Spencer
Bout 13: Enter The Genociders
Bout 14: Enter The Destruction
Bout 15: Righteous X Genociders
Bout 16: Raiyne Underwood X Punky
Bout 17: Terra Flare X Genocider Jad
Bout 18: Verde Dusk X Peatrice
Bout 19: Abigale Quinlan X Nari
Bout 20: Black Righteous God X White Genocider Daemon
Bout 21: Enter Shin Abigale Quinlan
Bout 22: Exit The 2-2-2-2