Hello?

XxX

The elevator was empty when Zoom Takazumi boarded, but he figured it was just chance – the story of what Spinner had done couldn't have spread that fast in a Multiverse that didn't have Facebook, Myspace, instant messaging, or Twitter.

Standing quietly in the corner, Zoom waited for a victim. When Spinner had described the prank, he had said that the number of victims didn't matter, but it was best to have one for as long as possible. His plan was to keep it to one person for as long as possible, then leave when other people came on.

Like his thoughts were a summons, the elevator reached the next Zone and opened up. It was all he could do to keep from grinning when he saw who walked in: Vert Wheeler! Zoom looked towards the corner where the camera was and flashed a grin, hoping that Spinner was paying attention, then got his game face on, doing his best to look completely nonchalant.

"Heya, Zoom," Vert said, barely looking up from his stack of Council paperwork to recognize who was before him and hit the Modulon 5 button.

"Hello," Zoom said in return – and Vert looked straight back up when it crossed his ears. There was no way Vert could understand what he'd said – unless, of course, the Battle Force 5 leader had learned Thai, Zoom's native language, without telling anyone. Personally, he found that possibility to be rather unlikely, especially considering the fact the blonde looked utterly bewildered.

"What?" the aforementioned Human said, trying to perform the universal (Earthly, anyway) signal that he couldn't understand the Muay Thai practitioner. "Speak English, Zoom."

It was now Zoom's turn to look confused, or try to. "What?" he echoed, once again in Thai, mimicking Vert's hand signals. "What did you say?"

Vert was now starting to look irritated. "Hel-lo," he enunciated, performing a slow-motion wave and most likely feeling extremely stupid. In return, Zoom continued the confusion act, and finally the older Human gave up and retreated into the paperwork. Smirking inside, the biker went back to leaning quietly in his corner, waiting for the elevator to open up again so he could get back to base.

When it did open, it was at the Tropical Beach Battlezone, admitting Agura as she hopped in on one foot, trying to put her other shoe back on – she'd probably been dumping sand out when the elevator had arrived. "Hey Vert, Zoom," she said, hopping to the wall and using it as a brace.

"Heya, Agura. See ya later," Zoom said in English, disembarking. Just before the doors closed, he got a very satisfying look at Vert's face, which looked utterly stunned. The Asian teen waited until the elevator had left again before bursting out laughing.

XxX

Vert's expression didn't change even when they had left the Tropical Beach, making Agura worry he had made the face too many times and now had it stuck that way forever. Sure, that was just something parents said to their grumpy kids, but when you traveled the Multiverse, you had to be willing to accept anything.

"Vert, you okay?" she asked, waving one hand in front of his face. "You look like you've seen a ghost."

Like he had abruptly snapped out of a trance, the commander shook his head, restoring his expression to its default. "No, I'm fine." Inwardly, though, he had decided that after he had reached Modulon 5 and the Councilhouse, he would find Sage or Sherman and ask if it was possible for someone to spontaneously forget and then remember an entire language. Before, he wouldn't have thought it was possible, but after riding up countless tornado-gates and fighting mutant animals, android armies, and wicked energy-creatures, skepticism tended to fly out the window.

XxX

Choza had arrived and was halfway through a download when Zoom returned to the base. Spinner grinned and offered his accomplice a high-five. The Asian returned it, then looked curiously at the Diad reclining on the couch, a USB cord plugged into her wrist and trailing to Spinner's laptop. "She's an accomplice now?"

"Yeah," the Hispanic teen replied as Choza's eyes opened, pulled the cord out of her arm, and then stood and stretched. "Just downloading the stuff for the next prank, since apparently Diads don't play Dance Central."

"Incidentally, do you have any other accomplices, Spinner?" Choza asked. "If it's just us three, someone will figure it out at some point."

"Don't worry. Zoom, give the others a text and tell them to meet up with us." The short Human winked at the Diad as the younger teen pulled out his cell phone and flopped onto the couch. "We think of everything."

The Black Diad couldn't hide her grin. "Indeed you do. Now it's my turn," she said, running for the elevator.

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