Authors' Note: For those who have been insane enough to follow us this long, it has now been FOUR YEARS since the Botosphere began!
"Great movie," Katie yawned as soon as Indy had his hat back and the credits rolled. "Want some help with cleanup?"
"No, no," I said. "We've got this."
This mostly involved stacking paper plates and drinking the last of sodas before they went flat so we could chuck the cans in the trash. (Recycling was for sissies, after all, and until someone of the opposite sex got turned on by going green, I wasn't going to be changing my stance on that.) The girls turned to watch as if boys picking up after themselves was a huge deal.
"Don't you want to vacuum?" Lisbeth suggested as I chucked the Hefty bag into the hall for later disposal.
"Not until cleaning checks," Sharsky said.
"The mid-semester cleaning checks?" Katie looked ill and not-so-surreptitiously checked her shoes for slime. "Are you sure that's sanitary?"
"Probably not," I said, "but it's good housekeeping."
"Keeps the carpet fluffy," Leo agreed.
Besides, we weren't going to go on a change hunt with two girls around. It was just undignified to comb carpet fibers for quarters and other things that shouldn't go up the vacuum hose, and we didn't need anyone to witness that.
"I can take that to the Dumpster," Lisbeth added.
"Ladies," Leo said, "chicas lindas, we ain't gonna let you lift a finger. That's not…" He snapped rapidly to cue our responses, but we just let him suffer for a while. "Help me out here, bro."
"Chivalrous?" I supplied.
"CHIVALROUS!" he finished triumphantly. "Thanks for the rabbit food, thanks for the…"
"Wait," I interrupted. "We're not trying to kick them out."
"No, no, by all means no," Sharsky said hastily. "We were just being polite."
"Yeah," Sam commented. "I'm not surprised you didn't recognize it."
I glowered at him behind Katie's back. "The night's still young," I said. "Who wants dessert?"
"It's something like eleven o'clock at night," Lisbeth commented.
"Yeah, and we know all the places that aren't scared by graveyard shifts," I said. "I was thinking ice cream."
Everyone, roommates included, turned to stare out the window. It wasn't snowing, but the trees outside were creaking in the wind. Last time I'd checked my weather app, it had been in the single digits. To some guys, that would have been a deterrent.
"Ice cream?" Leo muttered.
"I've got brownie mix back at my dorm," Lisbeth proposed.
"I've got hot fudge," Sharsky added a little too enthusiastically. "For personal use."
A sudden silence fell in the dorm room as that registered in everyone's brains. There were a few shudders. Lisbeth wouldn't look at me after that. I shouldn't get blamed for my roommates doings.
"Please don't speak again," Katie groaned breaking the silence.
"Second that," I said. "Sharsky, leave the hot fudge, get the nice ladies' coats."
I went back to my room to grab my sweatshirt and a clean pair of socks just in case. Since Sharsky was busy, I grabbed his coat and headed for the front door.
The good news was that no one seemed to have slapped him in my absence. The problem was that he was holding Lisbeth's turtleneck up to his face, squinting at it like it was some kind of lab specimen.
"Does this belong to one of you?" he asked blankly.
We managed to stop laughing long enough to leave, after Lisbeth grabbed the shirt out of his hand muttering something about not being able to borrow it. Women were impossible to understand.
It was high time for us to be sneaky. Not hacker-sneaky, though there would definitely be hacking involved, but uber-crafty sneaky. We had to be so sneaky that it was out of character and Alienboy would never see it coming.
The project started pretty simply. It would have been more fun if we could have tacked up lists or shared a Powerpoint, but we weren't letting Bossman and Alienboy in on any of this and having so much as a Post-it could give away our whole gameplan.
So Sharsky went old-school...sort of. He set up a Googledoc where we could both be tricksy to our hearts' content. Naturally, he put a cryp on it. Even if we slummed it, we didn't have to rough it.
"We could always add a keystroke logger to Sam's computer." Sharsky said laying on his bed. "Easier than a remote desktop and not so '90's."
"Don't be lazy," I snapped. Then, figuring I shouldn't piss off my co-conspirator this early in the day, I tried again. "...if we're doing this, we're doing it right."
"Right?" he echoed. "Does that mean we get to raid the FBI field office?"
"Hell, no," I snorted. "They wouldn't know tech if it bit them in the hard drive."
"Does it mean pizza?"
"Come on," he whined a little. "We need sustenance."
"Yeah, but that's for low-level ops," I reasoned. "We need to carb-load like marathonners. We need to get energy that doesn't taste like taurine."
His beady little eyes lit up. "Lasagna?" he asked hopefully.
"Lasagna," I agreed. "I'll set up our tech. You raid the frozen foods aisle."
It was time to hack a mod's password, and that meant Mikaela or BrassEagle. As scary-bossy as Jeana Warrior Princess could be, we at least knew a little about her personal life and had an outside chance at guessing the password. We'd never even met BrassEagle, and we were too hardcore-hacker to settle for minions.
It had taken Lian a while to get into the damn site in the first place, so we knew this would be a tough job. To blow this thing wide open, we had to go for the mods and there was no way in hell we were going after anyone calling himself BrassEagle, even if he was just ROTC. Those guys ran 5Ks at dawn and they could be scary.
That left Mikaela and while she was scary in her own right, she was at least someone we could see coming a few hours off. By the time she brought down the wrath of the alien gods on us, we could find our own bunker.
I came home from campus the first day of the doc to find that Sharsky had compiled a list of every catchy thing BeeFF had ever said. I added her vital stats. Sharsky tried to put in her measurements as a possible password, but I figured that she had too much self-respect for that and nixed them from the list. I also smacked him upside the head for being disrespectful.
The problem was, since it had taken Lian a while to crack the code in the first place, it meant that Mikaela would have a lockout system. We couldn't spend five hundred tries guessing her password because chances were that it could flag our activity after one failed attempt. Three if we were lucky. If this went down like a movie, they would let us try a couple more times just to trace the IP addresses. We'd be typing in P 55w0rD for the third time when GI Jamal called in the cavalry.
So that meant we had to be right and we had to be sure, both on the first try if we could make it.
We'd seen the Warrior Goddess in action when she whipped Sam into shape for his first voluntary public appearance and she kept a whole blog-full of aliens and military guys in line, so we knew that she had brains to go with the...ahems. That meant that her government-level password wouldn't have anything to do with anniversaries, birthdays, or pet bulldogs.
With all of that ruled out, we didn't really have much to go on. So we got sneakier. And we had the gadgets to help.
Silly as it seemed, the first thing we did was a little old-fashioned phone surveillance. We didn't wire-tap or anything-that was a little too Watergate for us-but while he was in the shower, we set up some audio relays that were definitely more advanced than a baby monitor so we knew what Sam said and when. We were probably going to hear a lot of swearing at his professor and muttering about mitosis, but he might let something slip that he wouldn't say to us.
My next idea was even more low-tech than phone-tapping. I set up a little alert on my personal e-mail that let me in on her internet activities. Keystroke loggers weren't going to be a possibility, but if she posted on the blog, sent an e-mail or posted on her Facebook wall, I would know about it. Maybe she would mention something there that would give us a clue.
Sharsky sifted through a few e-mails with disappointed grunts at the lack of steamy stuff, and then jumped up and jotted down several words in a row. When I demanded to know "What gives," he smirked and said, "E-mail signature."
I didn't think she would put it in that plain sight, but I gave him a cross-room high five 'cause I had to like the way he was thinking.
The audio stuff was even more annoying than anticipated, though. I heard some interesting conversations, but every time Sam started muttering, he would be interrupted by a ringtone. We spent the first minute wondering why the frack he'd chosen the Jaws theme and then decided that it wasn't going to be a breakthrough hint.
Sharsky IMed me midday on the 16th with a stream of gibberish, which meant he wasn't having any luck either. I had put him on crypwatch while I went out and earned a living, but that just meant he had to stare at incoming data and hope that something suddenly came up.
Fassbinder: That bad, huh?
Sharsky: She sent him three e-mails about how the freezer at work is busted. Then she IMed him to ask when his mom's birthday was. Sam just spent an hour "working on his homework" and all I've got is that he farted twice, burped once, ate my Doritos really close to the mic and played Farmville until he realized with an "Oh[censored]" that he didn't have his bio homework done and it was time to go.
I snorted. The guy only farted twice in an hour? Maybe he was an alien, after all.
Fassbinder: A good hour's work.
Sharsky: It's bull. I say we pull the plug.
Fassbinder: NO! Nononononono! We're not giving up this close to the prize!
Sharsky: Not that plug. The mic ain't getting us squat. I say we put it to good use somewhere else.
He had a point. The two farts and a burp were more than I'd gotten last time.
Fassbinder: Let's give it one more day. Lull him into a false sense of security.
Sharsky: That would mean he knows we're watching him. Mission failure right there.
Fassbinder: He's a conspiracy theorist. If he doesn't think we're watching him already, he's not really one of us.
But it couldn't be denied that Sharsky was burning out in a surprisingly short amount of time. I would have guessed that he could have lasted a few days, but he was going bonkers halfway through the first day on the job. I was going to have to go be in his corner, slap him on the back, give him a Bull and a towel and set him loose again. In the meantime, I decided to have a little mercy.
Fassbinder: I'll be home in a couple of hours and we'll work on it together. You're off the hook until then.
Sam was in the dorm studying still when I got back. I gave Sharsky a significant look, but he shook his head, 'no.' He still didn't have any leads on the password.
Sharsky tried the whole small talk thing for a few minutes, asking about his day and making it sound like he gave a crap about his well-being. It was the whole establishing a relationship of trust that Mom would approve of and it put Sam at ease because it had been a few days since we tried to trick him. The problem was that Sam was a little too preoccupied and only responded to be polite. After the first few questions, he sounded like he was ready to strangle the next person who asked him if he'd had problems with the on-campus wi-fi this morning.
I took a different tactic. "So…" I said eventually, making Sam finally lift his head and realize I was in the room. "Facebook quiz! Describe yourself in one word."
He just squinted at me in confusion. "Huh?"
"You know...and really, you don't want 'huh' to define yourself."
"Fetishist," Sharsky interjected, catching on.
"Also not the answer we were looking for," I said. It was helpful that he was going along with it, but if I was going to be privy to the crap going on in Sharsky's brain, I wanted some warning first. "Like Leo would be 'macho' or 'guapo' or 'master of the universe.' Sharsky would be…"
"Feisty," he tried again.
I was going to have to brain-bleach if Sam didn't catch on fast. I could hear him heading towards 'kinky' and I really didn't need that.
"So, what about you?" I asked pointedly.
Suddenly Sam's phone let out a moan of a female voice purring, "Camshaft." There was a pause in the conversation as we all turned to look at him and he reddened and shifted uncomfortably.
"Camshafts?" I repeated.
"Okay, that one's going on Facebook," Sharsky declared.
"That doesn't even make sense," I complained.
"It doesn't have to," Sam asserted.
So, what, the great secret of the universe was his obsession with muscle cars and hot rods?
"Okay," I said.
"And why are you taking notes?" he asked, sounding suddenly suspicious.
"Psych," I grunted.
"You're not taking Psych."
"Lisbeth is," Sharsky lied quickly. "We'd do anything to help her out."
Sam gave us both a look that was sort of understanding and sort of creeped-out. "I see how it is," he said.
"So...was that Mikaela who's into camshafts or what?" Sharsky pressed. "Is that, like, something secretly dirty like packages or backpacks?"
Now he was making less sense, but I was used to it. "Is this how you guys flirt?"
"In code?" Sam shrugged. "Of course. We wouldn't want you creeps listening in."
With Sharsky talking about fetishes, I wasn't going to disagree with the title of 'creep.' I was a decent enough guy that I was a little offended by it, though.
But if camshafts had some special meaning between the two of them, then it was definitely going on my list of potential candidates for a password. Of course, camshaft itself was too simple and wouldn't meet super secret government password security guidelines, but it would be an easy to remember base with some obvious substitution possibilities.
We then suavely extracted ourselves from the conversation without raising Sam's suspicions; that is to say Sharsky jumped up and shouted "Red Bull!" and ran from the room, leaving Sam looking as lost as my grandmother with a Ninetendo DS. I closed the notepad on my phone and gave him a strained smile, saying,"Thanks for your help. Lisbeth will appreciate it."
"Right..." Sam said uncertainly. I left the room with him shaking his head and attempting to return to whatever we had interrupted him doing.
Two days after Valentine's Day, things got really, truly weird. Sharsky and I had spent the afternoon in the common room arguing over what kind of gibberishy spelling she'd use. He was leaning toward C mshaft5, but I was thinking that was too obvious and it'd be cAm5h fts. We finally decided to go get some dinner and headed upstairs to get our coats and everything, but when we walked passed Sam's and Leo's room, we noticed the door was standing wide open and there were crepe streamers everywhere. I would have guessed that we'd been tp'ed by some of the weirder girls in the hall, but freshman bimbos didn't usually go for red and blue. If anything, they'd tp in two-ply and, if they could get away with it, Easter egg colors. Baffled, we approached the door with stealth skills worthy of either ninjas or Navy SEALS and I noticed the cake about the same time Sharsky must have.
"Mine," Sam said with a possessive tone in his voice before we could say anything.
I exchanged a glance with Sharsky. There was a stranger standing beside Alienboy, which meant it could be anybody from his crazy mom's brother to the head alien. Sharsky nodded in agreement - proceed with caution. He sidled into the room asking, "Who are you?"
"Guys, this is Op...timus," Sam answered.
Optimus...Optimust. Human or alien? We'd guessed he was alien but it wasn't exactly something I was going to blurt out, not when he had a good eight inches on me in height and probably a hundred pounds on me in weight - the kind of weight that meant he could tie me into a pretzel if he wanted to, even if he did look forty years old. And I'd never seen an alien with a 'stache...that I knew of.
"Uncle?" I ventured.
"Blood brother," Optimus said way too seriously.
Blood brother. What the hell was that supposed to mean coming from the probably-alien who'd brought cake for Sam for no apparent reason? Was this a "we come in peace" sort of thing or some kind of Portal reference?
"Long story," he said to us and then he asked this Optimus guy, "You want to go get something to eat?"
"Yes," he simply answered, nodding goodbye to us.
"But...but..." They couldn't leave now! There was no guessing if he'd come back. "...cake!" I finally said. They had to come back for the cake, right?
"The cake is a lie," Sharsky reflexively retorted.
"After I get a decent meal," Sam protested. Pointing at us one at a time, he added, "You touch, you die, I promise to share when I get back."
"I make no promises," Sharsky grumbled ominously. "So you'd better hurry."
Sharsky and I circled the cake, watching it like Spitfire might jump out of it at any second. "So...why is Optimust throwing a party for Alienboy?" I wondered as soon as they were out of earshot.
We were still stumped when Leo strutted into the dorm room a few minutes later and picked up one of his textbooks.
"Chamacos tontos, you guys threw him a birthday party and didn't invite me?" he demanded.
"It's his birthday?" Sharsky said at the same time I petulantly answered, "No, Optimust his blood-brother threw him one and didn't invite any of us."
"Ladiesman217," Leo said in his usual 'this is newbie stuff' voice. "Where did you think 217 came from?"
"House number?" I suggested.
"Number of conquests?" Sharsky guessed.
I laughed. I couldn't help it. Sam? Really? It was a fraking miracle that he had a girlfriend of any sort let alone a goddess with him being him and all of his awkward nervous stuttering even if he had a drool worthy car. No way that many girls had even taken notice of him.
"PIN number?" Sharsky's continued.
"PIN numbers are 4 digits," I pointed out. "And even old ladies aren't tech stupid enough to put their PIN number in their username."
"Maybe the inspector number from his tightie-whities?"
"You're weird," I announced.
"You're tonto," Leo added. "Insensato. Frigging oblivious, man!"
"So we forgot his birthday," Sharsky deadpanned. "Can I get a corner piece? With lots of icing?"
"You ain't getting nada," Leo snapped, swatting his hand away. "I had to frigging pre-order his present and you guys couldn't figure out his username. If he ain't here, I've got a chica en fuego who needs a little help with her HTML."
"That's my pick-up line!" I protested.
He just snorted derisively and strutted back out.
For a moment, I doubted our intelligence and our ability to figure out a password if we couldn't even decipher a username. Then my brain switched back on and I had a plan of action.
Rounding on Sharsky, I ordered, "Shoes on NOW. Where's the pizza fund?"
"Same place as always," he answered on his way to the bedroom to find his sneakers. "Where are we going?"
"We'll figure that out later."
"Okay..." I heard him toss several single shoes out of the way in search of a matched pair. "WHY are we going?"
"If we drop the ball on Alienboy's birthday, we're NEVER getting chummy with the aliens," I said reasonably. "We're going anywhere that's got swag."
Sharsky emerged from the bedroom with his sneakers on his hands, nodding "Good thinking. Swag will get us in his good books AND..." He pointed emphatically with his left shoe. "Cake. People who bring presents get cake."
"Sure," I agreed since I was used to his jumps in logic. It was second-grade logic, but it was logic all the same. "Where's the toolkit?"
Once I'd unscrewed the side of Leo's tower and swiped two twenties from the wad of cash that we kept there for pepperoni emergencies, we headed out.
"So swag," Sharsky muttered to himself. "Where's swag?"
"It has to be on-campus," I said. "I don't think we have more than an hour and our ride's off with his...blood brother."
"Yeah!" Sharsky stopped dead in his tracks. "What's up with that? I mean, are they all blood brothers? Do the aliens bleed? Is that sanitary? Is that like the guy who turns into a prawn in District 9?"
"Sharsky!" I barked. "FOCUS."
"Sorry," he said quickly and quietly. "Bookstore?"
It was as good a place as any. We weren't going to get him Langstraad's new book on Linux or a GO CATS! t-shirt. But the bookstore was attached to a crappy little convenience store that wasn't looking so crappy now.
We got back to the dorm with minutes to spare, Lucky for us, one of the things that the ClawZone had was a small variety of gift bags. Neither of us was good at gift-wrapping and it got worse when we were in a hurry, so we just shoved everything into a blue paper bag and threw some Kleenex in there to hide the goodies.
"What about a card?" I wondered, my mom's influence creeping in.
"I'm not springing for a card," Sharsky curtly answered. "Besides, what would we say in it? 'We really respect you, and are so impressed you were able to get a girlfriend so way out of your league. We will always be loyal to you, Sam, and will never betray you no matter how many times you work for the man and embarrass us in the news and marginalize us.' Probably not the way to get the corner piece on the cake."
When we got back to the dorm room, Leo was petulantly glaring at Cam Romero, who was defiantly standing between him and the cake. "Where's your hot date?" I asked him, trying to break the whole standoff vibe.
"She had a hot date," he grumbled.
Cam's phone played a laugh track, and Sharsky sympathetically said, "Sucks, man."
We were interrupted, though, by the arrival the birthday boy himself, with probably-alien Optimus in tow. Sam tried to give us crap about the cake, but eventually he caved and hauled us all into the server room to divvy it up.
I was downing my second piece when somebody knocked on our dorm door, and for no apparent reason, Cam stood up and hurried to Sam's and Leo's room. Whoever was at the door impatiently banged on it again, so Sharsky went to answer it.
To my shock, two drop-dead gorgeous brunettes who had to be twins strutted through the door like they owned the place, one of them growling, "Where is he?"
It wasn't until they'd followed Cam into the bedroom and kicked the door shut behind her that I realized they were talking about him. One of the girls started talking, but I couldn't hear what she was saying. When Leo stood up to put his ear to the door, I couldn't resist and did the same. It sounded like he was trying to talk her into leaving, but then somebody got slapped and I yanked open the door, ready to swoop in and break up their argument.
Instead, I blurted out, "What the eff?" They were all in bed, wrestling or…. something. Sam's bed, to be exact, which was kinky on its own, and our roommie looked as mortified as I was stunned. Cam was looking quite pleased with himself while pinning both women.
Whoa. I tried not to stare too hard at the girl on top, but this was like something out of the sort of thing moms were always finding under the mattress on TV shows. My brain fixated on that, though, since it was kinda… But the point was… But this meant…
Cam wasn't gay. Or at least, he obviously meant all the flirting he did with BikerChick. Maybe he was bisexual? Images of Cam, Sam and the two gorgeous brunettes in a really big bed flitted through my head. "We're gonna need a bigger bed," I muttered distractedly. I think Sharsky heard me because he looked like he'd just swallowed his teeth, but nobody else seemed to be listening to me.
Then the girl in the pink camo jacket bit Cam in the back of his leg and the other girl literally kicked his butt off the bed. They stood shoulder-to-shoulder like some kind of Charlie's Angels commercial and announced, "We'll visit the boy's dorm room whenever we feel like it. Deal with it."
Cam gave her a sheepish grin and held his hands up to her. They both took a hand and hauled him to his feet, but he used the momentum to slip an arm around both of the girls' waists and knock them backward. Since they were thrown off balance, he was able to scoop them up horizontally against his sides, carrying a girl under each arm. The brunette in the blue coat managed to wiggle free, but Cam ran off with the girl in pink carried over his shoulder. I had to dodge out of the way of both him and the girl in blue.
"What the eff?" I repeated. Cam and...BikerChick and her sister? Naw, they said that BC's sister had the hots for NotTheToothFairy, and somehow I doubted he'd share. But which one was which?
"Twins?" Sharsky squeaked at Sam. "Kinky, karate-bodied, wrestle-my-clothes-off-please twins? Dude, you've been holding out on us!"
"Triplets, actually," Optimus corrected blithely.
The bed in my imagination got bigger and bouncier. The girls' jackets shrunk a few sizes and I forced myself to think of chaste things like nuns and puppy dogs. It kept me fit for human society.
Cam strutted back through the door - alone, disappointingly - but we could hear BikerChick and her sister outside. "You are so dead, 'Bee!"
So that's who gave Cam that nickname. He sauntered over to the window and threw it open, poking his head outside. After a few moments, he waved and then flipped her off. With hands that big, there was a chance that Lisbeth's parents across town could have seen it.
"Yeah?" the twin in pink taunted, holding up a car key. "See this? See this? You can kiss your finish good bye!"
Cam's eyes flew wide and he bolted for the door, while the girls simultaneously grinned.
"That's low," Optimus murmured, with a chuckle.
"Let me guess," I said, fishing for more information about the twins. "The girl in the bomber jacket is majoring in gender studies."
"And the one in pink camo is in the ROTC," Sharsky added.
"You're not too far off," Leo muttered under his breath.
"So…" I couldn't resist asking, "were they a birthday present too?"
"Not unless somebody thought I needed another bodyguard or two," Sam said with a glare at Optimus.
"You mean…they're not strippers?" Sharsky pouted, looking utterly heartbroken.
Optimus blinked in surprise at the thought and then burst out laughing the same second Sam blurted out, "No!"
Sharsky heaved a disappointed sigh.
Trying to distract myself from Sharsky's even-dirtier-than-mine thoughts, I grasped for the only other mental straw available - aliens visiting our dorm room. Sharsky looked to me for some kind of bro-sympathy and I mouthed "Buzz" to him, giving Optimus a sidelong glance.
Sharsky caught on immediately, and he grinned conspiratorially. Acting all cool and calm for the alien, we strutted back into the server room and Sharsky plopped down in the computer chair.
"So which post should I pull up?" he hissed.
I choked on a very unmanly giggle and said, "Thanksgiving." Sharsky's shoulders shook with laughter, too, as he pulled up the post when Optimust got suckerpunched by a pregnant lady.
"What's so funny?" Leo snapped as he, Sam, and Optimus finally followed us.
"Nothing," Sharsky answered, but he was looking at Optimus. "Just reading a post on The Daily Buzz."
Leo cussed under his breath, and I demanded, "You've heard of the blog, haven't you Optimus?" I was taking a chance taunting him, but he just walked into it.
"There are several blogs with that title," he finally, evenly answered.
"Yeah, but this one is awesome," Sharsky pressed, turning the monitor so they could see.
Barely more than a beat passed. This guy was probably used to deep interrogation, especially in parent-teacher conferences.
"I don't believe I'm familiar with that one," Optimus observed just a little too calmly. "It seems to amuse you, though."
"Yeah! We've been following it for months. It's a real eye opener."
"Interesting," he repeated in that too-serene voice.
Just then Cam burst through Leo's bedroom door and slammed it shut behind him. He wildly considered the window, but he was too late. Three brunettes pushed their way into the room: the girl in pink camo, the one in the blue bomber jacket, and a new, third one – a triplet in a rose-red PVC mock-turtleneck that zipped down the front. The two sisters we'd met before both had dripping-wet hair, and all three of them looked ready for murder.
From his pocket, Cam's cell phone sang, "Hey, Soulsister…the way you move ain't fair, you know."
"Oh, we know," the girl in pink said, and the other two girls took up positions beside her. They moved like a posse or...no, like they had military training together (and that made my face flush hot again), or...it was just plain weird actually. They tackled him like they'd practiced doing it a million times and had him pinned so fast I had a hard time processing it.
Of course, seeing the lucky punk dogpiled by a set of triplets that obviously thought alike made it a lot harder to focus, too.
"It's like mud-wrestling, but with PVC!" Sharsky hissed in excitement. (He wasn't helping any.)
"You know what comes now," the girl in pink mock-growled, fighting a smirk. "In war, if you get caught, you get tortured."
He thrashed even harder, but her sister with the blue coat lay down across his upper chest and shoulders to hold him there, while the first one scrambled to kneel beside him. She yanked his shirt out of his waistband, baring his belly, and blew a loud raspberry on his stomach.
I blinked and just stared, stunned. It had been so much easier to concentrate before she started ripping his clothes off...
"Do you give up?" she eventually demanded.
Still wheezing with laughter, he nodded yes and the sisters climbed off him and straightened. It took him a few more seconds to stop laughing enough to get up, and even then, he held his hands out to the girl in pink to help him up.
I was beginning to think that she was BikerChick and her sisters were just there to back her up, but then they - all three of them - simultaneously rolled their eyes. It wasn't just that they were timed perfectly, though. They all tilted their heads in the exact same way and even shifted their weight a little into an identical stance. Three carbon-copies of the same expression, right down to the body language, with just their jacket coloring to tell them apart. Now that I looked, they even wore the same shoes.
My brain spun out wild theories - were they a hive-mind like the Borg or was one consciousness controlling all three bodies? - but I just knew that BikerChick really was an extraterrestrial, and the most alien of them so far.
She gave him a smug, affectionate grin with all three of her faces, and Cam caught the triplets in a huge group hug that they eagerly returned.
But now I was watching her closely for completely different reasons (though I still thought Cam was a lucky punk).
Sam cleared his throat, and all three of the triplets simultaneously turned to look at him. The way they moved together made it almost painfully obvious that they were linked somehow, and then she addressed me personally for the first time.
"Oh. Hi, guys. The name's R.C. Well, actually, it's River Christiansen…"
River, I remembered Leo telling us, and the hair on my arms stood on end. River the psychic - River was her real name!
"...but R.C. fits a little better. These are Lita and Mia," she added, nodding to the other two girls in her collective. "We're sisters."
"Really," Sharsky said, taking one of BikerChick's hands in an intimate way that made me want to sit him down in front of every sexual harassment seminar that YouTube could offer. "That's hot."
She yanked her hand free very quickly. Alien hive mind or not, she now understood the basics of how creepy humans could be.
"So…River was it?" Fascinated, and trying not to sound prying, I asked. "You like motorcycles? Fairings? Rotos, camshafts?"
R.C., Mia, and Lita simultaneously gave me a confused look and then glanced blankly at Optimus. A couple of heartbeats later, R.C. focused on me again. "We all drive one, yes. Now if you'll excuse us, we need to go dry our hair."
Yep, they totally were a collective!
The blue one broke character and glared at her fellow alien. "Cam, you're with us."
"I'm sure you have homework," Optimus said to Sam, clearly trying to keep all the ET's together. "I'll leave you to your studying, and we'll talk again later."
And with that, the aliens left the building.
Aliens - real, actual aliens - had visited our dorm, including the hottest triplet collective in the universe. And now, thanks to the perviest roommate known to mankind, they were gone to fix their hair.
It was too much. It was time to show them we meant business - do or die. As soon as the close encounters of the third kind had cleared out, I broke out my 14-sided die.
"First contact is upon us," I said gravely. "High roller takes point."
Sharsky rolled a twelve, a pretty damn-near-impossible score to beat. Then, because righteousness and karma and the frigging Force were with me, I rolled a fourteen.
He petulantly folded his arms. "We try my password guess first, then."
For rights to first contact, I was willing to make that concession. Fate or whatever really was smiling on us because his guess had been the right one and we got in on our first try. I will deny to my dying day that we both squealed like little girls at a My Little Pony party and we did not, no matter what anybody says, hug.
The only thing left to decide was content. We could have ranted but that would have made us sound like whiners, and we wanted these aliens to know we had it together and could handle the crazy. So we made it short and to the point. Over the last several months, we'd flagged a couple dozen videos of the fourth alien to land over Thanksgiving, the flyer that had zigzagged across Europe and the bloggers never seemed to have noticed.
We could have gloated, we could have whined. Because we were mature adults, we didn't.
We simply embedded those videos in a post, along with a little note introducing ourselves, and then sat back to obsessively refresh the blog to watch for comments.
TAKING THE CAKE
So while all you aliens and their buddies have been cosplaying human, you happened to miss a few things. - Bullhacker and Alienator