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Cause [2.1.6]

The Zionids and Joseph awoke with a single phrase on their lips: “One month left.”

As did the Voidians, and the kids out in the Reaches, and everyone who was actively aiding the universe’s plight.

It was safe to say, Mizar thought as he checked the new group chat he’d been added to – 98 unread messages – that the morning was going to be an interesting one.

 

Group Chat [1 (One) Monf Weft] [Zack , Lola , Joseph , Cassie , Geoffrey , Serafina , Harrut , Kushel , Yasen , Levan , Alcor , Denneb , Caroli , Situla , Cassil , Vasa , Ephra , Mizar , Rana , Saiph , Fafnir ]

wow, this is a ridiculously large group chat. is everyone here? Mi

CJ Everyone is here. Welcome, Mizar. I trust you had the dream too?

yeah. seems like we all did. Mi

Sa hey homie

Sa must be relaxing right? It means we got plenty of time yet

SG definitely!!

Al It is most definitely GOOD NEWS!

…is that what you all think? Mi

you may say we still have a month, but I say we ONLY have a month. Mi

it’s no reason to start slacking. Mi

ZL I’m with Mizar. I know us kids aren’t ready yet, and even a month isn’t that long to train.

LZ Yeah. It’s gonna be a real problem even with a whole month remaining.

Ep The kids are getting there, though. We just have to keep training them.

De one month certainly isn’t that long for the scale of plan we have.

Le Look

GS im just sayin it is more time than we thought we were gonna have

Le This at least gives us a set time when Antumbra arrives

Le We can plan around that

Ca saiphs right, we got all the time in the world! Or, worlds, I guess

Va Agreed, Levan. I don’t think you all understand how vital it is that we now have an endpoint.

 

Fafnir scratched on the material separating her side of the tent from Mizar’s as a way of knocking. Mizar unzipped the material and she came in, her hair a mess and her helmet removed. She sat beside him, somewhat closer than Mizar had been expecting.

“This new group chat is pretty tiring, isn’t it?”

“I can barely handle how many people are talking right now.” Mizar yawned. “Especially at this time of the morning.”

Fafnir smirked. “One month left, though. What do you think?”

“I wanna be positive about it, I really do.” Mizar said, playing with his hair and keeping his eyes trained on his wrist phone. “But I can’t. We don’t know if a month is even going to be long enough. King Malak is no pushover. Currently, though, these kids certainly are.”

“Yeah.” Fafnir replied. “I get that.”

 

JC so, what do we do now that we have this endpoint?

train the hell out of you guys. ready the plan. set things up so that when Antumbra comes, we are fucking ready. Mi

and when the dust clears and it’s all over, I will sleep for a goddamn week. Mi

Ra I would recommend that everyone in the Reaches keep on going

Ra There’s not much you could do to be going faster than you are

LZ Honestly, we could slow it down a little. Train us up more, spend some time together. Everyone getting to know each other more might help?

Al Agreed! However! Those at home now have a set month of training! A PERFECT time to begin a proper, defined training regimen!

Ra It does mean we don’t have to push the kids as hard

Va Yes, it does. They won’t learn much in a month if we keep pushing them too hard. Better to plan our time effectively and teach them what might actually help, now they know the basics.

 

Mizar looked up curiously as Fafnir’s hand trailed on his leg. “You alright?”

“Sorry!” she cried, jerking her hand back. “Got a little lost in the conversation. Shall we get up and have breakfast?”

“I was thinking, it might be a good idea for morale to have, like… a cookout or something. There’s some kinda jerky in the packs, right?”

“Yeah.” Fafnir said. “I guess we could precook some up for everyone and have warm jerky for breakfast. And when I say ‘we’, I do of course mean you.”

“Naturally.” sighed Mizar. He began to clamber out of the tent, with Fafnir right behind him. Stepping out into the colour of the Reaches, he began typing in the group chat once more as he eyed the quiet, unmoving tents. Not for the first time, he wished vehemently that he could go back to sleep as easily as others did when he woke up early.

 

GS i am down as fuck to do less work

JC I am astounded that you got chosen to save the universe to be honest

GS lol

Ep Don’t worry, I’ll be working the kids very, very hard. I’ll lighten the regimen a little though.

ZL How are things going back on Zion and Void, anyway?

Sa things are chill as FUUUUUUCK over here on voidingtons

Va Not bad. I think we’re still being observed, but… not a lot we can do about that.

Ep Mm.

De …voidingtons?

good to hear. i’m done talking for the time being though. Mi

to those in the Reaches, we’re gonna precook the elfin jerky, come join us Mi

let’s just have a relaxing morning after all the stress we’ve had Mi

LZ Sounds like a plan!

Al EXCELLENT!

 

Over the next half an hour, Mizar watched Fafnir set up a hot stove using tools from the backpack – damn, the Officials really had been packing for every eventuality – then worked with her to get the jerky cooking.

Various figures began to emerge from tents as the pair readied breakfast. Levan and Cassil exited their tents, gave each other a strange look, then walked over together to eat. Lola, Zack and Serafina appeared not long after, with Lola and Serafina looking flushed and happy, and Zack looking apathetic as usual, but at least well-rested.

Alcor, Caroli and Situla sprang heroically out of the tent, followed by a sleepy, muttering Denneb, scanning through a document on his wrist phone. More Zionids and Voidians began to join the small group, sitting around, relaxing in the strangeness of their situation.

It was surprisingly warm, Mizar noted. The Reaches distracted you with colour, and people describing it had a tendency to focus on the visual. But it was warm, almost notably warm. It was the type of relaxing warmth that made one want to lie back and snooze the morning away, even mere moments after awakening. From experience, Mizar also knew that the colourful mire surrounding their island was cool. If you forgot where you were, and closed your eyes, you could almost imagine you were at the beach, your toes dancing in the lapping waves, your hands gripping the soft warmth of the golden sands…

“Mizar?”

Mizar shook out of his reverie. “Hm?”

“I was just making sure you were alright.” Lola replied, looking at him with a mixture of curiosity and mirth. “It was… a nice daydream you were having.”

“Yeah, I suppose so.” Mizar agreed.

“This meat is good. Tastes like beef, but… softer?” Zack said, turning to Serafina, who nodded in agreement. She adjusted her sunglasses and licked her lips.

“Good, though.”

“It’s from a different planet; alien meat, essentially.” Mizar explained. “Hope you enjoy it – we took a lot from Earth’s culture, but sometimes, there’s no denying the incredible things that other planets have come up with.”

“You know,” Serafina said thoughtfully. “I still think the weirdest thing about being here and learning about viewports and whatever else… is that aliens were essentially confirmed to exist.”

“Yeah, I feel ya!” Fafnir said, leaping into the conversation with a gleeful smile. “You humans were really imaginative when it came to your aliens, though. The X-Files used to scare the shit out of my shit.”

“Never seen it.” Serafina replied. “I’m more of a teen drama kinda girl.”

“Me and Lola love it.” Zack said, absentmindedly lifting a nearby backpack up and down telekinetically to exercise his power.

“You and Lola look like you love it.” Situla purred. Zack jumped; she was sat right behind him, and hadn’t spoken up until that point. “You and Lola seem like you’ve had many quiet nights together. Video calling in the dead of night, the entire house asleep, and just you two awake.”

“Sounds wonderful.” Caroli replied, appearing behind Lola, who also jumped.

“And then Zack whispers those magic words, show me something good, and Lola gives a girlish giggle, and says the other magic words… you know what they are.”

Make me.” Caroli said. Situla nodded with a grin.

“Zack lifts his shirt, revealing his not unattractive torso, and goes to undo his jeans, and on his screen, he sees that Lola is finally in the mood, ready to reveal her massive-

“WILL YOU FUCKING STOP THAT.” Mizar sighed. He glanced at Zack and Lola, who were staring at each other in abject horror.

“We’re just friends.” Zack replied with a heavy exhalation of breath. “Just friends.”

“No need to defend yourself. Situla does this shit all the time with people who totally are not into each other.” Mizar said as a giggling Situla rolled around on the ground nearby. “…God damn it, Situla, can you act a little professionally?”

However, the laughter was infectious, and soon, half the group were chuckling about the event. Mizar stared at the group all around him, some fighting down their hatred of some others, and some who were new and unfamiliar with their territory, as well as one another, and for a moment, he felt like there was something special in the air.

Allowing himself the briefest of smiles and a quick laugh, he lay back on the island and allowed his eyes to close.

Cause [2.1.5]
Cause [2.1.7]

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