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Cause [1.3.4]

Mizar grinned as he heard the audible intake of breath from his three human allies as they ascended the ladder and saw Void for the first time.

“Holy shit…” breathed Geoffrey. “This is the coolest place I’ve ever seen!”

“So, what, is this Hell?” Lola asked. Rana shook her head as they began to walk through the back alleys of Void.

“Unfortunately, no. Zion and Void are not as clear-cut as Heaven and Hell, or any given elysium and damnation from any given religion. Zion isn’t all good, and Void isn’t all bad; they’re not afterlives.”

“So. My religion is a lie, then?” Cassie said. She asked the question simply, but there was a huge emotional weight behind her quavering voice.

Fafnir glanced at her. “…Oh, I’m so sorry. You’re a, uh… what’s that Earth religion called again?”

“Christian.” Cassie replied.

“…Well, yeah, I guess?” Fafnir replied. “I don’t want to destroy your worldview or anything, but from what I know… it’s not wholly accurate. There is a creator, who you may label ‘God’ if you wish. But… yeah…”

Cassie nodded. “…Right. That’s just something I’ll have to work through in my own time. This is an important dimension, correct?”

Mizar nodded. “As Fafnir was saying, the universe has surges and slumps in psychic energy, or as we know it, infinite energy. Zion’s King controls how much the infinite energy can surge, so the universe doesn’t tear itself to pieces with every surge. Void’s King controls how low the infinite energy can slump, ensuring that the universe still has enough energy to run. They’re both as important as one another.”

“I see.” Lola said. “So… we’re not in the universe any more?”

“Absolutely not!” giggled Fafnir. “Anyway, we can talk more back at the apartment. Come on, Mizar, pick up the pace!”

Saiph grinned as he hurried past Mizar, and he started walking near Cassie. “Sup, b, you down with Void?”

Geoffrey walked up to them. “…Uh, what?”

“Hey, blood, I’m all for getting crunk with you sometime, but right now I’m only talking to chicas with racks the size of-”

“How dare you!” cried Cassie, and she visibly moved away from Saiph, walking next to Rana instead, who said “He’s always like this, you get used to it.”

“That’s all well and good,” Geoffrey said. “But why are you talking like you fell out of the 90s?”

“Don’t go there, man.” Saiph replied.

“I mean, more power to you…” Geoffrey replied. “But, uh, maybe I shouldn’t be the one to say this, but nobody actually talked like that in the 90s.”

He quickened his pace and walked past Saiph, who was left walking slowly, stunned and completely unsure of what to say. Lola smiled at the Voidian’s personal crisis.

“Hey, Cassie, you’re not from NY, are you?” asked Geoffrey. “I don’t recognise the accent.”

“New York? No, I’m not – Los Angeles through and through.” Cassie said with a skip and twirl. Lola shrugged. “I can’t say I can tell the difference between you two; you both sound like ‘generic American’ to me.”

They arrived back at the apartment tower. “Wait,” Lola said. “This is where you all live?”

“In Void, we all live in apartments like this, and they house four people. Most Voidians just form groups of four, and same for Zion. It looks small on this side, but it’s actually a big octagon. This stairway goes up the side of the tower – our apartment is the fifth floor, so come on!”

Once they had ascended, Mizar let them in, and the kids looked around the hub room with surprise. “Welcome to your home for the next however long.” Mizar said. Rana nodded. “That’s a good point – how are we going to house them?”

Fafnir, who had already made herself comfortable on a sofa, sighed with relaxation now that they had collected the kids and everything was seemingly better. “One on this sofa, one on that sofa, and one sleeping in the armchair?”

“Sure.” Cassie said. “That sounds acceptable.”

Lola, Geoffrey and Cassie, as people often did when in a new person’s home, stood awkwardly in the middle of the room, not sure of how to act or what to do. Mizar gestured to them. “You can sit down, you know.”

He vanished into the kitchen. Seconds later, he called “How do you take your coffee?”

“I like my coffee like I like my humans,” Fafnir said. “Cheap, black and right down my throat.”

Several of the occupants laughed, and suddenly Fafnir saw Geoffrey laughing too. “Oh! Shit! You’re, uh- sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it.” Geoffrey said, waving aside her concerns. “That was funny.”

“If you don’t mind me asking, what’s… what’s that about?” Rana said. “The whole colour thing.”

“The colour thing? It’s just a difference in skin colour, really. People get so haughty about it, though. They think some colours are better than others.” Geoffrey replied.

“I had no idea.” Fafnir said. “Is there any parts of human history worth seeing for that sort of thing? So I can better understand it?”

“Hm… probably the 60s, in America.” Cassie said. “Why?”

Saiph held up a remote and turned the viewport across the room on. The screen for searching flashed up. He typed in the relevant data and up came a view of Earth; with a few extra searches, they were watching Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech in 1963.

“Oh my god.” Lola said. “Is that what I think it is?”

“This is a viewport. It does exactly what you’d think.” Rana announced. She paused the viewport for the time being, grabbing the remote from Saiph.

“You can watch any period of history of Earth?” Lola asked.

“Better.” Saiph replied. “Any period of history, any planet in the universe, chicas.”

“My word.” Cassie said. Lola stared at it, almost with a sense of longing.

Mizar poked his head out of the kitchen door. “All well and good, but I’m still making coffee. What do you want?”

Sheepishly, having forgotten the original conversation, the group listed their coffee preferences, besides Cassie, who didn’t drink it, and Lola, who preferred soft drinks. Ten minutes later, everyone was seated on sofas and on the armchair, with Saiph relegated to the floor and Rana sat on the arm of the chair that Fafnir was ensconced in. They were sitting in a friendly sort of silence as they observed the 60s history that had been recommended to them.

“So, before we continue, I’ve got something for you guys.” Rana said. Mizar looked at her curiously as she walked away into her room, and came out a few moments later. There were three wrist phones in her hands.

“These are wrist phones. They, uh, function pretty much the same as your phones, but you may take a while to get used to them. You can use these to message your friends – so long as they’ve been given wrist phones too.”

“Where did you get those?” Mizar asked. Rana shrugged.

“I keep the old models whenever you guys upgrade. Figured they’d come in handy sometime. Or fetch a decent price.” she replied.

Just as Rana was handing them out, there were three thunderous knocks on the door, and everyone jumped. Mizar gestured for everyone to stay where they were, and walked over to the door. He opened it slowly and cautiously, revealing the imposing figures of Alcor and Denneb.

“Well hello there, I’m Alcor and I am here to see you, Mizar!” Alcor announced loudly.

“…Hello.” Mizar said. “What do you want?”

“Can we come in?” Alcor asked.

“No.”

“We may need to, Mizar. Now, I’m just as confident of your innocence as the next guy, but Yasen sent Denneb a message earlier that said you’d summoned some warriors from inside the universe to help you – get this – do battle the Voidian King!”

“Oh.” Mizar said, trying to keep his face from revealing his guilt. “That’s pretty crazy.”

“Fucking crazy, am I right?” Denneb said. “Still, we’d just like to come in and double check, if that’s alright with you. Official procedure, you know how it is.”

“Hey! Guys!” yelled Geoffrey from outside. The Voidian Officials turned in surprise and stared at Geoffrey, standing just a few metres away, waving at them. He turned and ran.

“After him!” yelled Alcor heroically, dashing off in hot pursuit. Denneb looked at Mizar’s face of horror as he watched Geoffrey running from the faster and bigger Alcor. “We went underground as Yasen told us to. There was nothing there, and the gate was switched off, but don’t think we’re not on to you, Miz.”

“Right.” Mizar replied. Denneb turned and lumbered after Alcor, picking up speed as he ran.

Mizar slammed the door shut and turned to the people in the room. “Argh! Geoffrey just ran off! How did he even get outs-”

He stopped abruptly as he saw Geoffrey sitting at the sofa, playing with his wrist phone.

“What.” Mizar said flatly. Geoffrey looked at him.

“What?”

“How are you in here – you were just outside! What the hell is your power?” Mizar demanded. Geoffrey chuckled. “Bilocation. I can be in two places at once. That outside is my psychic double; when I say so, he’ll just vanish, leaving those two chasing empty air.”

“I see. That’s quite impressive.” Rana said. Lola raised a hand, and the occupants looked at her.

“Um.” she said. “I just wanted to ask; I seem to be able to read minds far better than I could before I came here. Before I got a sense of feelings and general mood, but now I can read thoughts properly and see everything. Why is that?”

“Huh. No idea.” Mizar said, shrugging. “I’ll ask Vasa.”

“Wait, your telepathy is improved?” said Geoffrey.

“Uh-huh.” Lola replied, looking at him. “Ooh, let’s see what depraved things you’ve been thinking about.”

“Augh! Stay out of my head, girl!” Geoffrey squealed. Lola laughed and Mizar, with an audible sigh, sat back down at one of the sofas.

“I don’t mean to alarm anyone…” Cassie said with a nervous cough. “But I sent a message to Joseph, and you might want to see this.”

“See what?” Rana asked.

“…Well, according to Joseph, Raziel is dead and Zack and Serafina have gone AWOL.”

Cause [1.3.3]
Cause [1.3.5]

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