"It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense."
- Mark Twain
"Check it out!"
"Cause it's a lyrical power crash!"
"Your tracks make me laugh!"
"When you're put on the microphone!"
"You get smashed fast!"
"Not used to the nitty gri-"
Sasami vs. Drache...
Who's going to win?
You'd be surprised.
"You have to DODGE the claw. And then dodge it AGAIN after it flips over to use the beam cannon..."
Sasami glanced at up at me, slightly miffed and confused at my comment as I leaned on the back of the couch, looking right over her head.
It seemed that Washu had not yet explained about my temporal offset to anyone.
Truth be told, the more I thought about it, the stranger it got. Technically speaking, I'm anywhere from ten years, to twenty years ahead of everyone I've met in terms of what year it was in the timeline. So strange it was to believe that despite being different realities; Earth was practically identical in development in each case.
'How identical?' you ask...
Well, Sasami was playing, EINHANDER.
I remember playing Einhander when I was younger. Or rather, playing the demo on my old Playstation back in the day. And then I had watched some "Let's Play" versions on youtube maybe not more than a month ago... So for me, this was an exercise in memory. Because more or less, it was the same damn game to the letter.
The funny part, is even here, the game had yet to be released to the public. As it would turn out, Noboyuki has some nifty connections, and regularly uses them to get his hands on things most normal people would be hard pressed to find. Everyone got a little something now and again, just because he was a nice guy.
It was obvious where Tenchi had gotten his personality.
So Noboyuki's latest little gift: A beta release copy of Einhander, something like six MONTHS ahead of the official public announcement, if not more. Apparently he'd dropped it off some time yesterday, but Sasami was already engrossed in the beginnings of that thirty-hour Sailor Moon marathon. A marathon she'd finished shortly before dinner.
The game had its quirks for being so early. Some of the effects seemed off, extras were missing, and despite successfully triggering it, there had been no lower path through the level.
It was all I could do to keep from pointing out each and every little secret. The quip about the Drache's beam cannon was a momentary lapse in my self-control.
Now, you'd think Sasami, as she was depicted across the various continuities would DESTROY a game like this in no time flat.
In reality, well, it was kicking her ass. Now, I'd seen her go through a fighting game earlier, which she combo'd and cheaped her way through in twelve minutes flat. But Einhander...
'0 Fighters Left'
Yeah, that about summed it up.
Of course, a tiny portion of my thinking was off on the thought that, if Sasami got frustrated enough... What if Tsunami decided to get a little silly and metaphysically hack into the game data on the disk, and insert THE Tsunami into the game?
Frankly, that would be a very short game...
But still, it was a humorous thought as I smiled around a yawn.
"Alright! Bedtime for you."
I almost jumped, not realizing Washu had been standing right next to me. It came with that brief hot and cold flash I hated so much about being startled.
"Bed time?" I asked, feeling fifteen years younger all of a sudden. "Shouldn't I at least try to avoid jumping?"
"You can't avoid sleeping any more than you can avoid breathing," the Scientist pointed out to me. "You're going to jump at some point whether you like it or not, so it should be under more controlled conditions."
The exchange got the attention of the others. Sasami had paused her game to look at us, along with a stop in activities from everyone else...
"You also need to consider that you may or may not be able to get additional sleep on the far side of your jumps," Washu continued. "So you really should be taking more after Luna-"
Her name being mentioned, the advisor perked up.
"-And going to sleep MORE often. If you go to sleep sooner after much shorter days, you won't need to spend as much time asleep than normal. Essentially, you'll catnap. This way, you'll at least be alert enough to defend yourself if you have to, rather than driven to psychosis."
I never really thought of it like that.
"All things equal," Tenchi chimed in. He'd been sitting in a corner chatting away with Noike. "If you keep showing up places at four in the morning, you'll only get maybe four to five hours of sleep before most people get up and notice you."
"Right Tenchi," Washu nodded. "Chances are, even at your very best, you'll never get the full eight hours of sleep if you need. You might get six, which is the absolute minimum to stay on your feet... But that's unlikely."
"So instead," I filled in, starting to understand. "I take SHORT days, so that I don't require as much sleep each time I sleep."
Washu nodded, having become used to my ability to make sense of things. I sighed.
I paused, looking around, noticing everyone looking at me... It was almost like they were expecting me to trudge up the stairs, change into pajamas, and crash out. The silence this generated was quickly becoming awkward...
"So..." I began into the utter quiet. "How exactly do we do this?"
Collective facevault... I'd never imagined such an absurd physical gag to actually occur, let alone see everyone execute it at the same time. Washu, who was closest, literally looked like she'd been startled out of a deep sleep by an air horn to the face as she stumbled and caught herself with the couch.
"What do you mean?" the scientist asked as she recovered. "Isn't it obvious?"
"Well, it's not like I can simply sleep on command," I pointed out. "Especially knowing that I'm not merely going to sleep, but jumping realities. It would be like that first day I left home to ship off to basic training all over again. I spent four hours staring out the window that night unable to sleep."
Washu put her hand on her chin. Obviously, while a genius, she hadn't considered that.
"Come with me," she continued after a pause. "Luna, Senbei, you too."
Senbei teleported to my shoulder as Luna stood up and gave a bow to the others. Ayeka in particular returned said bow the most formally.
"You're absolutely right," Washu continued once we were through the lab door. Every time I went through that thing, it seemed to be yet another area of the lab. This section was actually familiar. Maybe it was because the new core module for Ryu-Oh was located just a hundred meters away. "Now that you understand what happens every time you go to sleep, you will definitely have a harder time doing so if you're not tired."
With a push of a button on her console, Washu made a bundled up futon drop out of one of her instant holes. Within moments, it unpacked itself until it was splayed out on the ground in front of me. Like everything else Washu had, it had her usual crab marking on it. I wonder if she realizes she's just as bad as Doctor Clay when it comes to marking everything with a logo.
Hell, I wouldn't be surprised to find out at this point, that when viewed at the macro-scale, the galaxies of this universe were arranged in a pattern that looked like a really huge crab.
"Lay down," Washu instructed. As usual with her, I complied without fuss.
"Now," she continued. "Before I get started. I'll just let you know that I already packed all the stuff you acquired, and then some, into your storage pocket. So you don't have to worry about that."
"I wasn't even thinking about it," I admitted. That reminded me rather blatantly how fast I could get complacent when I wasn't threatened in the least. I'd have to work on that. Thinking along those lines, I realized I had a question that needed a quick answer, if only to confirm.
"You certain the pocket will jump with me?" I asked.
"Well," Washu pondered. "From what I've seen, everything attached to your body that has a lower mass seems to jump. The storage space is bound to the watch, which is attached to you. And it only has a pseudo-mass when it's sealed. Seeing as Luna, with hidden pseudo-mass from her humanoid body, was able to jump with you, it should work just fine."
"What about me?" Luna interrupted, looking confused. "I won't have to be put into a pocket or something will I?"
"You'll just have to lie on top of him," Washu shrugged.
Washu must have intended that comment to sound the way it did, because one glance at Luna pointed out that with her current body, it qualified as a double entendre. It took Washu a moment to catch it herself. She must have been so used to being a touch perverse that she didn't even realize it.
"Oh! Hah!" She concluded when she did. "You didn't realize? I didn't just transform you; I fixed your transformation abilities. You can go back and forth at will."
"I can?" she asked.
"Of course!" Washu chimed in. "Give it a shot! It's easy."
Luna looked a little apprehensive, then glanced at me for confirmation. Uh, don't ask me, I'm not qualified in that field.
"Right..." Luna sighed. "Here goes nothing."
The advisor closed her eyes, concentrating. Having not done this in so long, it was probably a little work.
"Got it!" she chimed.
There were no flashy effects, no subtle glows, not even reverse growth scenes you would have expected. One second, Luna was standing as a humanoid girl in front of me, the next, air rushed to fill a spontaneous vacuum and a the dress she'd been wearing crumbled to the ground like Obi-Wan-Kenobi's robes in 'A New Hope'. It was more or less the same thing that had happened with Shampoo.
"Did it work?" she asked, slightly muffled. "Gah! I'm stuck! Help!"
"Hold on," I advised, learning over to sort through the pile of fabric. I found the neck of the dress she'd been wearing, and fished around for a second. Finally, I found a clump of fur that could only be the cat's neck, which I carefully gripped and guided out of the mess.
"Thank you," the feline, back in her more familiar form, nodded. "Looks like it did work."
"Of course it did," Washu smiled. "This is ME we're talking about."
Yeah, typical Washu.
Without so much as stopping for a moment, Washu stepped over and picked Luna up by the scruff of her neck, quickly lifting the feline into the air, and turning her around and around in her hands as if inspecting for defects. Luna did her best to conceal her chagrin.
"Hmmm." the scientist pondered. "The mode switch appears to be complete. No partial transformations."
She then looked at the pile of clothes on the floor.
"That however, might be a problem." She continued, setting Luna down again. "Your particular morphology and method of change does not appear to compress and store garments the way Ryo-Ohki can. Unless you want to be stuck in the nude every time you switch into your humanoid form, I'm going to have to do something about that."
I watched passively as Washu pondered over the solution to this problem. Wondering what Washu would do next was fascinating in person. For all the solutions she had so far, I've noticed a rather practical, but creative use of high and low-tech solutions. Mixed, matched, and jumbled in all kinds of ways. Like for example, the control 'watch' on my suit had little more than an LCD face. Though, in retrospect, that might just be to disguise it a little. It almost seemed like she was using some kind of technology oriented version of Occham's Razor.
"Aha!" The scientist suddenly exclaimed, reaching out to tap a few keys on her ghost-like console. Then she reached off to her right, dipping her hand into an instant hole and plucked out a small...
"A collar?" I asked.
"Simple solution really," Washu nodded. "An auto-sizing collar that will automatically compress and store whatever clothing Luna is wearing when she transforms down into her more compact feline form. And when she transforms up into humanoid, it will reclothe her instantly. Though it will only be with whatever she was wearing last."
"I'm not exactly fond of collars," Luna eyed it suspiciously.
"This one also has a backup beacon," Washu continued. "If for any reason, you two get separated, I will still know where you are."
"I don't know," Luna hesitated.
"Put the damn thing on," I cut in. "If we end up in Berserk, you'll wish-
"BERSERK?" Luna seemed to turn pale beneath her fur.
"Oh, so you've heard of it?" I raised my eyebrow.
"I'll take the collar," Luna snapped hastily, ignoring my query. Apparently she had... She could only get it from Usagi or Rei. Man, I wonder what else they've been reading. I mean, BERSERK? That doesn't seem like Usagi's typical fare.
While I pondered that, Washu bent down and quickly fixed the feline up.
"There," she commented after a moment, bringing a mirror out of seemingly nowhere. (Must be another portal.) "How's that look?"
Luna twisted and inspected herself in the mirror, looking almost like a woman who was preparing to go out on the town.
"Not bad," she commented. "The color matches my fur."
"Of course," Washu replied pointedly. "I'm not going to send you out a fashion disaster."
Then with the press of another console button, the dress Luna had been wearing dissolved into sparkles and vanished.
"And now that outfit is stored," the scientist nodded. "The next time you switch into humanoid mode should be a lot less embarrassing."
"Thank you," Luna imitated a bow with her head, betraying what I now understood as the humanoid nature sneaking body language in.
"No problem," Washu grinned. "You two will get me piles of data... Which reminds me."
Washu turned to look at me.
"Call me as soon as you're safe at your next destination," She instructed. "I have a few things for you to take care of when you do."
"Understood," I nodded. As I did so, Luna jumped into my lap and sat down.
"I'll keep watch like before," she commented. "If anything happens, you'll be the first to know."
"Got it," I nodded again.
"And I'll watch too," Senbei suddenly faded in. "We will be A TEAM."
"Good night you three," Washu grinned, acting like a mother who was turning the lights out at a slumber party. Then, with a brisk turn, she stepped through her main door. A few seconds later, the lighting in the area began to dim.
Flopping down on my back, I stared at what more or less was the ceiling. The place was confusing. It seemed so open, yet so closed. Luna, for lack of anything better to do, crawled up onto my chest, absentmindedly kneading it in the process of curling up to lay down.
"Watch the claws," I commented.
"Oh," she returned. "Sorry, habit"
Senbei teleported next to the feline and reclined against her, looking the least concerned of anyone. Someone like Senbei could be at home almost anywhere.
I'm not sure how long we just sat like that, might have been five minutes, might have been thirty. But I pondered my situation over that time. I almost smirked at everything that had happened up until now. Weird didn't even begin to cover it. By the time this was all over, it was likely that I wouldn't be the same. Neither would my life.
Musing on that, I continued to stare, until I realized something.
"Great," I started to glare at nothing. "I'm not the least bit sleepy..."
"You have to figure something out," Luna advised. "If you don't get some sleep before you're really tired, you'll be miserable trying to catch up."
"Knowing that only makes it harder to pass out," I sighed. There was silence as I stared some more, trying to will myself to blank. But I just couldn't.
"Do you smell something?" Luna perked up.
"Smell?" I asked, then took a whiff. "No, nothing."
"I smell something," the feline continued. "Rather odd smell."
I took another whiff, nothing. As I did so, I felt my body get a little heavier.
"Ah," I understood, then belted out a yawn. "Washu's gassing us. Figures..."
"That won't do," Luna belted out a feline yawn. "I have to be awake."
"I don't think you'll have to worry too long," I commented, resting my eyes as my body started to relax.
Leave it to Washu. If there's a problem, she'll find a solution. If I couldn't get to sleep on my own, she'd find a way to put me under. I should have expected gas, it was so basic I couldn't help but wonder why I hadn't thought about it even as the blackness took me.
Now, I couldn't tell you how long I was out once my eyes shut, but like every other nap I've had in the last few days, it seemed like I had just dozed off when I was gently informed that my resting time was over.
I was sitting upright in an instant. Like any other time where I knew I'd have to be up in a hurry, my mind instantly latched on to the urgency in Luna's voice and connected the dots. There was trouble, perhaps even danger.
"I'm up!" I snapped automatically as I started assessing our location. Even as I did so, I was greeted by a most confusing set of responses...
"YAY! BIG BROTHER'S BACK!"
"WH-WH-WHAT THE HELL!"
I barely processed the voices when Kaola Su did a flying body tackle, giggling like mad as she took me straight to the ground.
"You're here to play right?" she grinned from ear to ear.
My mind started to catch up, realizing that Kaola Su also meant-
Motoko finally found her voice amidst her stuttering false starts, and screamed that deceptively high-pitched, ear splitting shriek of hers. I winced at it, certain now that everyone in the building was awake. Memories of what happened last time I was here instantly sprang to mind as I worked to pry Kaola off me. Motoko was freaked out, and if she got to her sword, we'd all be in for a world of hurt.
I had to calm her down!
"It's okay!" I started snapping repeatedly. "It's okay! You're okay!"
Blast it Su! Get off me!
"This is hardly okay," Luna admonished me as she tried to back away. As she did so, I finally caught the look on Motoko's face. The moment Luna had opened her mouth, her eyes had gone wide as saucers and her mouth fell open.
There was no mistaking that she would attempt to KILL Luna on the grounds of being a demon.
"SENBEI!" I snapped.
"SIR!" He appeared.
Su dropped me like a bad habit as she ADD'd right into the pint-sized demon god. I have to admit I felt just a touch of pity for the little guy. Su somehow managed to snag him out of the air in one deft motion before the bringer of foul luck even realized he was in trouble. Sorry Senbei, I guess you're going to take one for the team on this one.
Still, his sacrifice served its purpose. I was now free of that little coiled spring.
"Motoko!" I snapped, desperately working to get her attention away from Luna. It worked just a touch. As she directed her absolutely mortified face at me this time.
"Y-y-y-" she stuttered again. The poor girl seemed to be short-circuiting.
"It's okay," I repeated, moving towards her with my hands where she could see them. "You're okay. It's just me."
"N-no!" Motoko gasped out, trying to scramble back. "Stay back!"
And here comes the cavalry. Though this time, it was Naru who came barreling through the door, stopping just long enough to identify what was going on. Being the only intruder of significant size in the room, I was instantly spotted.
This time around, Narusegawa was not the least bit afraid of me. Having pretty much seen how passive I had been last time. And thus, seeing me, in the same room as the now retreating Motoko, her aggressiveness won out, and she went ballistic.
I was mentally prepared for it this time however, and I also wasn't suffering from a cracked rib. On top of that, Naru wasn't anywhere near as clever as Motoko when it came to fighting. She just lashed out with brutal strength.
Her Akamatsu-Patented Iron Punch hit nothing but air as I did something that Keitaro, wherever he was at the moment, had never bothered to do.
"Chill!" I snapped as I recovered. Unfortunately in passing, Naru managed to grab my shirt with the opposite arm, yanking me down.
Is it really going to come down to another ground fight in this place? I think I established last time that I could win such a situation against a trained fighter, if only barely. Naru was no such opponent.
She was however, even more vicious than Motoko ever was.
"Cad!" she snapped, lashing out blindly as she rolled around to take a swing at me. "Sicko!"
I put my arms up to protect my face and let Washu's hazard suit live up to its name. Naru was waling on me, but aside from the sting from the nerve connections, the blows were notably less painful than they would have been unprotected. If she'd just give me an opening long enough to reach my wrist, I'd turn this whole situation on its head faster than you could say: 'By the Power of Grayskull!' But Naru wasn't having anything of the sort.
"That's about enough of that..."
There was a loud pop like a balloon. And suddenly Naru was caught by the wrist in mid-swing and forcefully yanked off of me. Luna, now humanoid, had absolutely no trouble as she damn near threw the student out into the hall. Naru stumbled to stay on her feet with a look of shock. Of course she'd be shocked! The room hadn't had an absurdly strong angry woman with purple hair just a few seconds ago. So busy had she been pounding on me, that she hadn't noticed Luna make use of her newly repaired transformation.
Motoko however, most certainly did. And I was positive that at this point she'd be totally convinced that Luna needed killing. My hand found the watch face, and I gave it a twist, one click to two-X, and I felt my body become 'looser'. But I would probably need more than that to easily overpower Motoko before she snapped out of it and turned into Ginsu Girl. So I twisted again, clicking up to four-X.
And damn near threw myself onto my back.
Four-X was to two-X, what two-X had been to my normal strength. I had to take a little more care as I rolled onto my stomach and started pushing up. The over-extending sensations were back in force, so everything felt just a bit wobbly as I turned to see Motoko, shakily going for her replica.
"It's okay," I barked again, trying to arrest her attention. "It's me!"
Motoko's face snapped between her 'multiple targets' at this point, her hand finally locating her replica Katana. Instantly she yanked the whole thing out, violently fishing to remove the blade from its scabbard.
No, no, NO! I will not have this devolve any further! I rushed the swordswoman, grabbing at her sword hand as she bared the first few inches of the blade
"No! GET BACK!" she snarled in terror, trying to yank free when I grabbed her wrist. It was clumsy, and overpowered, but it worked as I forced her to stumble backwards with the raw strength I had available. Motoko backpedaled into her bookshelf and came to an abrupt halt as I pinned her in place.
"It's okay!" I repeated, looking directly into her wide, terrified eyes. "You're okay! It's me! It's only me! Calm down!"
"Y-Yo-" she stuttered some more. "You vanished! Gone! It's not possible! There's no way!"
Aha! I thought this seemed a bit over dramatic, even for Motoko.
"J-just. BANG! Gone!"
"Calm down!" I implored again. "You're okay!"
"Y-You're a demon!" she continued to stutter. "I felt it! You're going to eat me!"
Oh for the love of-
"CALM DOWN!" I let my tone drop an octave. "Nothing, and nobody is going to eat you."
"B-but the cat-"
"RELAX," I snapped. "It's okay... She's a friend. The only demon around here is Senbei-"
I indicated Su with a turn of my head, who was now using Senbei like a dress-up doll. Oh my-
"And he's no match for her," I continued, trying to ignore the hilarious one-sixteenths scale combat fatigues Kaola had managed to shove the demon god into. Sorry Senbei.
Motoko eyed the pint-sized demon god, still on the verge of hyperventilating as I continued to lock her arms against the bookshelf.
"He-he's really a-"
I've had enough of this panic. Get a hold of yourself before I Bright-Slap you. What's it going to take to get your attention? Another 'turtle' attack? Or maybe-
"Aoyama Motoko!" I snapped in a tone I usually reserved for my niece and nephew's antics. "If you don't calm down RIGHT NOW, I'm going to pick up the phone, and give Tsuruko a call."
That did it. Motoko went as stiff as a board without another peep. I can't believe I never bothered to try fear of her sister last time. It ranked right up there with her fear of turtles.
"That's better," I nodded. "You're FINE. Nothing's going to happen to you."
Motoko just stared back, breathing in ragged gasps for several seconds, seeming to calm down. Satisfied that I had control of the situation, I pushed away, releasing her.
"See?" I continued.
Motoko remained unmoving. It was just a matter of seeing if she was going to relax, or go right back into her routine, or maybe now that she was getting over the fear, she'd get really REALLY pissed.
But what she did...
Her eyes welled up like saucers and her sword dropped to the ground. And in a single deft motion, she tackled me, bawling at the top of her lungs.
Wait, what? What the- WHAT?
What the hell? What is this? What's wrong with her? Why's she burying her head in my chest like a five-year-old who just woke up from a nightmare? This is 'I hate men!' Aoyama Motoko. And she's only been in contact with me for a combined total of maybe thirty minutes. What's going on?
"Now you've gone and done it," Luna commented with a shake of her head.
"Done WHAT?" I asked, carefully reaching up to my wrist to shut off my strength boost. "She's not supposed to be a crybaby like Usagi."
If not worse than Usagi's fits. What the hell man? Just... What the hell?
"Narusegawa!" I snapped my head to the entrance of the room, where the student was still rubbing her wrist. I also noted the other two girls had shown up, and were looking on in confusion. "What's wrong with her?"
"That's the same thing I was going to ask you after I was done beating you to a pulp!" Naru spat back. "She's been like this for a week. Ever since you left. Here I thought she'd just driven you off or something. Except she kept going on about how you just vanished."
"Well," I snapped back. "I kind of did. I just went through hell week hopping all over reality and back again. Sue me. Where's Keitaro?"
"He's stuck in the hospital," Naru replied. "Idiot went and broke his leg. And what the hell do you mean 'hopping all over reality'? I thought you were supposed to be some kind of government contractor working on top secret military tech."
"A what?" Luna asked.
Ah dammit, I almost forgot about that cockamamie story. Of all the times for this world to be right on the mark with it's seeming ability to bust lies.
"That's just some bullshit cover story Washu cooked up on the spot," I returned. "Even I thought it was absurd."
"So you lied then!" Naru snapped back. "I knew there was something wrong about you."
"What would you have me do then?" I started to glare. "Tell you the truth?"
"It usually helps!" Naru snarled.
"I'm a SLIDER," I snapped, only realizing exactly what I had said a moment later. Wow, I AM a slider.
"I don't believe you!" The student replied.
"EXACTLY!" I was almost yelling. "And knowing that, what would you have me say?"
"You PROVE it!" She snarled.
"That tends to require some form of PROOF!" I continued, my temper starting to flare up as well. "Proof I didn't have as I wasn't quite sure what was going on over getting my ass kicked! Though this time around, I think when it comes to proof, I'll just defer you to the FUCKING DEMON."
And I motioned around Motoko to Senbei.
Naru followed my indication over to the pint-sized demon god. And the retort I had seen her forming died in her throat. At six inches tall, currently hovering while Su was busy hunting for a helmet to go with his 'uniform', Senbei was not something that could be so easily dismissed.
"Or perhaps," I continued. "You would prefer to ask the talking cat who turns into a young lady."
Naru looked at Luna as I motioned to her. Luna crossed her arms and rolled her eyes, but remained silent. Behind her, the other two girls seemed equally shocked. Kitsune especially due to her wide open eyes betraying her.
More to the matter at hand though, I was reminded by yet another sob that the shirt I was wearing was subject to any attempts Motoko may make to blow her nose. As I had mentioned, I'm not exactly mister waterworks. So this was a very uncomfortable situation.
Still, what could I do? I can't just shove her off me.
Best thing I could guess would be to get her to stop crying. I did my best to think of something silly, or witty, or confident. But in the end, I had nothing. My wit just couldn't cover this one.
So at a loss, I just fell back on the child-managing standby I'd learned.
"It's okay," I commented, tentatively wrapping my arms around her shoulders to cradle her while she continued to sob into my shirt. "It's okay."
Combined with a few more repetitions of 'It's okay', patting her on the back, and some slight rocking, it seemed to work.
I'd never seen her this emotionally crippled, not even her worst in-universe breakdown.
After five minutes of damn near cooing and shushing like I was cradling an infant, Motoko was finally quiet. It was at this point that Luna sat down next to me, looking quite serious.
"So now what?" she asked. The remaining girls finally gained enough courage to likewise walk in and surround us. I looked down, remembering out of nowhere a single bit of my advice from Spacebattles. Don't make young girls cry.
Motoko was crying.
"I don't know," I concluded.