- Descendant 108 – Lost Angels – Chapter 01
- The Descendants 96 – Kill Hope
- The Descendants 97 – Heir of Hyrilius
- The Descendants 98 – The Precocious Prodigy
- The Descendants 99 – Huddled Masses
- Descendant 108 – Lost Angels – Chapter 02
- The Descendants 100 – Paradigm Shift
- The Descendants 101 – The Battle of Freeland House
- Descendants Special #9 – Outted
- The Descendants 102 – Tales of Consequence
- The Descendants 103 – VIRAL
- The Descendants 104 – Hardcore Fans
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 01
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 02
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 03
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 04
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 05
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 06
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 07
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium — Chapter 08
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 09
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 10
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium Epilogue
- Descendants 106 – The Away Team – Chapter 01
- Descendants 106 – The Away Team – Chapter 02
- Descendants 106 – The Away Team – Chapter 03
- Descendants 106 – The Away Team – Chapter 04
- Descendants 106 – The Away Team – Chapter 05
- Descendants 107 – The Baroque Revival – Chapter 01
- Descendants 107 – The Baroque Revival – Chapter 02
- Descendants 107 – The Baroque Revival – Chapter 03
- Descendants 107 – The Baroque Revival – Chapter 05
- Descendants 107 – The Baroque Revival – Chapter 04
- Descendants Special #10 – The Weight of Responsibility
- Descendant 108 – Lost Angels – Chapter 03
- Descendant 108 – Lost Angels – Chapter 04
- Descendant 109 – Old Devils – Chapter 01
- Descendant 109 – Old Devil – Chapter 02
- Descendant 109 – Old Devil – Chapter 03
Gallium’s inattention was brought to a swift end by the boom of a shotgun. A single deer slug sank into the small of her back, it’s momentum making her stumble forward, almost tripping over the sprawled Partlowe.
“Oh, you are very much asking for a beat-down,” she muttered, turning to face a man dual-wielding sawed off shotguns. He hadn’t fired again, favoring his shoulder from where his gun’s kickback had likely done some real, lasting damage. Still, he tried leveling the weapon in his good hand.
Annoyance crossed Gallium’s face. “And any other time, I’d give it to you. Sadly, I’ve got a hard time limit and way more important things to do.” With a roll of her eyes, she raised her hands. “I surrender.”
Predictably, the racist goon started to pull the trigger. The training room’s magic was faster however, and he and the world he inhabited folded in on themselves, reduced in an instant to a sparse white broom closet.
“Next time,” Gallium muttered as she exited back into the Tower’s main room.
She was greeted by the sight of the mirror portal set up once more, but currently inactive. For a moment, she stood transfixed by its reflective surface. Sure, she knew what she looked like because Warrick and Cyn knew what she looked like, but it was her first time seeing herself.
That explained why she hadn’t noticed she wasn’t alone.
“Wow. I… didn’t expect you to be this tall.”
Gallium whirled to find Lisa at one of her research tables. Along side her, wearing what could only be described as black hazmat suits with purple runes along every seam, were Kay and the speaker–Tink
It had never really seemed important given the chaos of the past week, but Gallium suddenly found herself realizing that she was nearly the tallest person in the room. Not only was she almost of a height with tall and lanky Tink, but she was actually taller than both Warrick and Cyn in her base form.
That was another question for the pile.
“Um… hey.” she said lamely, giving a weak wave. If she had a heart, it would be beating and sending blood to her face. That just raised even more questions; Warrick was beyond his school kid crush on Tink and well into comfortable companionship. So why was she feeling so nervous?
“I’d hug you but…” Tink gestured to her suit. “Plus, Cyn would probably hate that.”
Right. Gal Gallium wasn’t Warrick. Or she was… and she was Cyn too, but she was her own being all the same. No one else in the room knew that, and in fact, this was her first time meeting any of them.
“About that. Um…” She poked her two index fingers together, her distraction failing to keep the two from merging together as she did so. It took a minor effort of will to disentangle them. “Lis, don’t blast me or anything, okay?”
The Latina witch raised an eyebrow. “Why would I blast you? Did you damage something in the training room?” After a tense second, she remembered herself. “Oh, Tink and Kay are here to run a few tests they couldn’t do remotely. We think–”
“Yeah, that’s not going to be necessary in a few minutes,” Gal cut her off. “See… they were right; Warrick and Cyn. The fusion only last about ten… maybe fifteen minutes depending on willpower and stuff. What they weren’t right about was that the fusion actually needs to complete to start the clock. They were so freaked out for different reasons that they never finished the fusion… becoming me.”
There was a beat as the full implications settled in. When it did, it happened for all three heroines simultaneously.
Suddenly, Lisa had her staff and Tink had pulled a PSM pistol. Kay, with an utterance and a few hand gestures, was holding a ball of pink fire.
“I said don’t blast me!” Gal squealed. Her legs melted into the floor and she brought her arms, flattened into shields, up in front of her. “I’m six minutes old! I haven’t had time to deserve it yet!”
“Explain.” Tink said tersely.
“Okay. The Yellow World is a singularity out in a region of space where the physics for time and space are nothing like our own. Everything that can happen there does has and will all at the same time. It is… really hard to put into words.
“Anyway, every piece that’s ended up in our world carries its weird metaphysics with it. Even dead ones; they just don’t have the Yellow World Consciousness inside them anymore. When Cyn tried activating the piece you guys had, it responded and tried to impose its metaphysics on her and Warrick. I’m the result: a conceptual blending of the two plus whatever pieces of embedded knowledge from the Yellow World left in the gem.
“I don’t want to hurt anyone, I just want to explain what happened until I stop existing and split up again in a few minutes, okay? If it helps, my name’s Gal. Gal Gallium. Cyn’s idea, obviously.”
Kay gave Lisa a side-eye. “Well she did say ‘explain’.”
“It’s all really a little too super-convenient, don’t you think?” Lisa asked, “That once the fusion ‘completes’ it knows everything it needs to to tell us what happened, and that explanation means it isn’t dangerous anymore?”
Gal peeked out from behind her shield arms. “You make a pretty good point, actually. You’ve got no reason to believe me. now that I think about it, I know too much about how this works and it’s weird that I didn’t think that was weird until now.” She frowned for a long moment before putting up her arms again. “But please don’t try and hurt me, okay? I’m not going to fight you. I’ll just… sit here and wait out the clock until it’s time to turn back.”
Lisa didn’t lower her staff. “If you really aren’t working against us, then give us more information: how did this happen? Why Warrick and Cyn? How do we prevent accidents like this from happening again.
Shifting so that she was sitting cross-legged on the floor with her hands on her knees, Gal offered a little smile. “That’s all I was trying to do int he first place: help.”
When none of the leveled weapons moved an inch, her smile disappeared. “So. As for how, that’s not really clear. Same with what Cyn asked before about why it had to be those specific phrases in English. I think Warpstar messed with the pieces from the Yellow World he got and thanks to some kind of… quantum entanglement thing, it’s infected all the pieces. Probably Mad-Mad’s too. Or maybe someone meddled with them in the past or the future and the same thing happened.”
“That’s a fantastically complicated way of saying ‘I don’t know,” Kay pointed out.
“It’s a best guess. I’m only part Yellow World knowledge after all. And believe me, the physics and metaphysics involved here is insane. Our math can’t describe any unit of measurement here. An inch and a mile and a quart are all the same thing and not, but also the same as ever inch and terabyte. We’ve been using ‘weird’ a lot, but that’s not the half of it. This stuff makes Lovecraft look sensible.”
Tink seemed to already be contemplating the implications there. “And what about the rest of what she asked? Why Warrick and Cyn?”
Gal shrugged. “Ever hear about people being on the same wavelength? Honestly, anyone can probably fuse, but the gem took the path of least resistance. Again; hard to explain, but being such good friends made the whole thing easier – which is to say not as easy as you’d think given the past week.”
She looked thoughtful. “As for keeping it from happening again? Theta wave shielding and sound proofing. Even when it’s dead, the gem is a lot like a brain. It needs to sense things to be triggered.”
Upon finishing, she gave them a hopeful look. “Was that helpful enough for you?”
The trio looked at one another. “It was… a lot to think about,” Tink admitted.
“But we still can’t just trust you,” added Kay. “Good things don’t happen with Yellow World stuff.”
“You won’t get any argument from me,” said Gal, grimacing a little. “But for now, looks like it’s all you’ll get from me. “She closed her eyes tightly and took a deep breath dispute not needing to do so. A pale light began to suffuse her silvery skin.
Lisa conjured her trademark red wall of translucent plates between her and the others.
“What now?” Kay asked, still brandishing her fireball.
“Be ready for anything!” Lisa instructed as the light get more intense. Soon even Gallium’s silhouette was washed out in the brilliance.
Tink stepped closer to the wall, trying to squint through it. “Warrick?!”
The light dimmed, its color darkening to a rich amber. The outline of the gem hung in the air for a brief second. Then shadows sketched themselves into being; standing back to back, the gem between them.
A sound like a reverse thunderclap followed; a suppression of ambient sound no one remembered hearing previously that intruded on their senses for ten rolling seconds before subsiding… and the light winked out, retreating until it was a glint in the rough stone of the Yellow World gem. Then nothing more.
“Gah!” Warrick and Cyn squawked as one, and jumped away as the stone clattered to the floor.
Warrick pawed at his chest and sides for a second until he confirmed that he was indeed fully clothed and in his armor again. Once he was sure of that, he ripped off the helmet, taking in gulps of air.
For her part, Cyn transformed her own outfit a few times, transformed into her Facsimile shape, then with a happy noise fluttered into the air. “Wings! Beautiful wings! I missed you so! I’m gonna name you Flappy and you Feathers and I swear I will fly every day!”
She landed with aplomb and patted her stomach. “I have never been so happy to be hungry!
Behind her, Warrick flexed his arms and the twins reformed from the bands around his biceps. He didn’t speak to them out loud, but presumably he’d gotten a lot better with mental communication over the past week. Isp and Osp looped around him in a full body hug.
Cyn watched over her shoulder and decided not to interrupt. Instead, she looked to the others behind the wall. “So… what now?”
Lisa’s reply was cut off by the sound of screaming metal. They all looked to find Warrick; both arms of his armor missing, concentrating on a ball of metal forming around the Yellow Word gem.
His eyes blazed white as black flecks fell from darkening metal. After a few minutes, he stopped, satisfied.
“Sorry. Didn’t want to risk that thing deciding something else we say is a magic word.”
“I am in no way complaining,” said Lisa, dropping the wall spell. It faded instantly from being.
Tink wasted no time. Dropping her weapon on a nearby table, she launched herself at Warrick, ignoring that he was in a full breastplate as he wrapped him in a fierce hug.
“Also not complaining,” Warrick said, returning the embrace, “But shouldn’t we still be quarantining? I don’t want anything to happen to you. Uh… any of you.”
“Just take the win, War.: Cyn laughed. “Worst case scenario, she’s our new roommate.”
Lisa knelt down before the tungsten sphere now serving as the gem’s new prison and cast a quick analytic spell over it. “Hmm. It’s dormant now. Just like when we brought it in.”
“I’m not even going to ask if this is over,” Cyn sighed. “More tests?”
“No readings of any residual Yellow World signatures,” Kay reported to Laurel on the big screen. They had arrayed several mismatched tables into a kind of conference surface in front of it in the Tower’s main room. “I’ve used every tool I have. Nothing got through the new anti-magic hazmat either.”
“And thanks to Tink and Kay, the new containment has a new extra layer of protection,” added Warrick. He and Tink sat at the far end of the table, keeping close together with their fingers interlaced. Completing the scene, Isp and Ops were loosely draped around both their shoulders.
Laurel looked a tiny bit more rested, possibly from hearing the good news. “And what do we think of the information that the composite entity… that Gallium gave you?”
“Not sure if it helps,” Cyn’s area of the table contained three empty pizza boxes, an empty doughnut box, several candy wrappers and a soon to be empty fried chicken bucket, “but Gal we sincere when she was talking. War and I both remember it. Which is trippy as hell by the way: being a different person along with someone else.”
“On the other hand, she had a lot of holes in her memory—like, the Yellow World memories were all fuzzy and scattered, not really there,” said Warrick. “I feel like we can trust that everything she said is what she believes, but maybe it’s not what it seems.”
“Anything not match with what you got on Device World?” Kay asked Cyn.
The shapeshifter shook her head. “It’s like asking if both these drumsticks were from the same chicken,” she held up the food in question to demonstrate. “Someone who know what they’re looking at might know the difference, but I don’t. I don’t think Gal did either. What she knew, she knew, but I don’t think she really got why or how. I wouldn’t trust much of it.”
Laurel nodded. “What I’m hearing is that we just don’t know enough to safely pursue study of this thing. Any other opinions?”
“The possible fusions might be something. Gallium had a whole different power set from Warrick or Cyn and if we believe what Gallium told us, there might be dozens of combinations between everyone on the team… but no, we can’t trust it,” said Lisa.
“Could be something we keep on hand as a last resort,” said Kay. “Not that we have a lot of choice in keeping it. The ROCIC lost the last Yellow World thing they had to Mad-Mad, and frankly, after this, I don’t even want it going back to Mayfield.”
Tink bit her lip. “I agree. It should stay here. But this just goes to show that we know way too little about everything out there. We need to know more, because Maeve does know and she’s going to have access to it.”
Nodding, Lisa folded her arms and flicked her gaze to a work table in a far corner. “Right. I need to find a way back to the Orrery…”
“Or we need to get out and track down those other sites that we detected when Avalon rose. Hyrilius wasn’t the only one who knew about the other worlds. There might be other useful bits out there.”
Laurel nodded resolutely. “I’ve been trying to avoid us going international for a while after our identities were revealed, but you’re right. We need to follow every lead and every opportunity. As long as you think it’s safe; come home. It looks like we have some trips to plan.”
To Be Concluded…