Scion by Gastric Aztec

A  middle school girl learns her race is from a million years in the future!

Categories: New World Order, Teenager (13-19), Entrapment, Slave, Vore, Giantess Characters: None
Growth: None
Shrink: Minikin (3 in. to 1 in.)
Size Roles: F/m
Warnings: Following story may contain inappropriate material for certain audiences
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 24 Completed: No Word count: 49401 Read: 33480 Published: March 22 2022 Updated: April 14 2022
Story Notes:

Alexa shrinks a captive in chapter 6, so the story builds up until that point…


1. Chapter 1: Strange New Heritage by Gastric Aztec

2. Chapter 2: Shopping Excursion by Gastric Aztec

3. Chapter 3: House Selection by Gastric Aztec

4. Chapter 4: First Day of Classes by Gastric Aztec

5. Chapter 5: Debate Club by Gastric Aztec

6. Chapter 6: Alexa’s Acquisition by Gastric Aztec

7. Chapter 7: Summoned by the Dark Mistress by Gastric Aztec

8. Chapter 8: Recovery of Lost Technology Club by Gastric Aztec

9. Chapter 9: Election Day by Gastric Aztec

10. Chapter 10: Presidential Obligations by Gastric Aztec

11. Chapter 11: Halloween by Gastric Aztec

12. Chapter 12: Thanksgiving by Gastric Aztec

13. Chapter 13: Winter Break by Gastric Aztec

14. Chapter 14: New Year’s Traditions by Gastric Aztec

15. Chapter 15: The Hazing of Verso House! by Gastric Aztec

16. Chapter 16: Aerial Aquatic Tryouts by Gastric Aztec

17. Chapter 17: Under Siege by Gastric Aztec

18. Chapter 18: Plan of Action by Gastric Aztec

19. Chapter 19: Execution of a Plan by Gastric Aztec

20. Chapter 20: Zero Hour by Gastric Aztec

21. Chapter 21: Victoria Strikes Back! by Gastric Aztec

22. Chapter 22: The Game Isn’t Over by Gastric Aztec

23. Chapter 23: An Uneasy Truce? by Gastric Aztec

24. Chapter 24: Epilogue by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 1: Strange New Heritage by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 1: Strange New Heritage

Alexa Lockport was a beautiful 12-year-old girl with white skin and long auburn hair. She wore socks and sneakers with pink and purple colors that matched her shorts and a tank top. She was at a park that was near to her home, somewhere along the coastal area of Southern California. Summer would be over within a few days, and she would be starting 7th grade soon. She saw a cute Hispanic boy her age she knew, and walked over to him. 

"Santiago, what have you been up to?"

"I started lifting weights," Santiago replied. "My older brother is charging me five dollars a month to use his weight set."

"It sounds like he's ripping you off," Alexa replied. 

"It's worth it though, because he's showing me the ropes," said Santiago.

"Are you going to Shore Crest junior high in the fall with the rest of us?" Alexa asked.

"Sure, Lexie," Santiago replied. "Aren't you?"

Alexa lit up with joy when Santiago called her Lexie; that was her nickname, and she loved it when boys called her that. "I don't see why I wouldn't," Alexa replied. "My parents are rich, and all my friends are going."

"You don't have to be rich to go to Shore Crest," said Santiago. "I've got a couple of friends who will be going there, and they aren't exactly rich."

"You mean Terry and Bobby?" Alexa asked.

"Yeah," Santiago replied.

"They're cute, so they don't have to be rich to rule the school. I've got my whole life planned out. I will be one of the most popular girls at Shore Crest, I'll be on the debate team and my two best friends and me will be the alpha females of the school by the beginning of 8th grade. After graduating high school, I'll go to one of the best colleges in the country, and then on to law school."

"It sounds like you've got it all planned out," said Santiago. "I can't argue with you, because you've definitely been one of the most determined girls I've known at our elementary school. I don't think I know any other girls as assertive as you!"

"If you prove your worthiness to me, I might marry you some day, Santiago!"

"Thanks for the privilege!" said Santiago sarcastically. "As for my goals in life, I'll probably study to be an electrician, like my dad and my grandfather." 

Just then, Alexa's cell phone beeped. She pulled it out and checked. "I just got a text from my mom, she wants me to come home."

"See you around, Lexie." said Santiago, giving her a warm hug before she departed.

About fifteen minutes later, Alexa arrived at her home. It was a large two story house with an immaculately landscaped front yard. There was an unknown silver vehicle parked in the driveway. Alexa had no clue what was in store for her, or that her life was about to change forever. 

When Alexa entered the living room of her house, a strange woman dressed in business attire was sitting drinking coffee with her parents. The woman stood up and introduced herself. "Hello, Alexa! I'm Olivia Oraculi. I will be your guide on your new journey in life. It has come to my attention that your parents never informed you of your true destiny?"

"What destiny?" Alexa asked.

"I think you'd better sit down, Alexa." said Olivia. Alexa did as she was asked. There were plenty of couches in their large well furnished living room. Olivia set her cup of coffee down on the expensive coffee table, and made sure she used a coaster.

"What is this about?" Alexa asked. "Is this about the vandalism at the mall a couple of my friends were involved with? Because I wasn't even with them when it happened."

"No, it is nothing so trivial as that," Olivia replied. "You and your parents, as well as I, are from a race of futurians from about million years in the future. Our kind have been stranded in the past since about the year 1800, and we have tried to blend in with present day society."

"Do you have proof?" Alexa asked.

Olivia pulled out a device and said, "This is a space warp projector. It can be used to access regions of space nearby that may be out of reach. Allow me to demonstrate."

Olivia activated the device and an oval shaped energy field projected from the device. A second oval shaped energy field appeared near the coffee cup Olivia had left on the table. Still convinced that this was all some kind of a trick, Alexa expressed her doubts. "Is that some kind of a hologram? Because that's kind of conventional, and doesn't prove you're from the future."

Olivia held the device with her left hand, and reached her right hand into the energy field nearest to the device. Alexa caught it all on video with her cell phone. As Olivia's hand disappeared into the energy field, her hand emerged from the other energy field and grabbed the cup of coffee, pulling it into the energy field that was near the surface of the table, and then she pulled her hand and the cup from the energy field nearest to the device. Olivia turned off the energy fields.

"Does that convince you?" Olivia asked, and Alexa nodded her head in acknowledgement. "It's good that you're skeptical," Olivia continued, "it's better to have a critical mind about things. You come from a long line of futurians, some of the members of your family are very high up in our society. All of us are immortals, unlike your ephemeral friends and acquaintances."

"How did our ancestors get stranded in the past?" Alexa asked.

"They had colonized an Earth-like planet in another part of the galaxy. The star that planet orbited went super nova, and scientists were able to predict when the explosion would occur. Thousands of star cruisers escaped the cosmic cataclysm. The star cruiser our ancestors evacuated in was the last to leave. We got caught in the blast of the exploding star, so the chief engineer caused the ship to enter temporal space to escape the force of the blast. We got caught in the gravity well of a black hole cluster in temporal space that damaged the ship beyond repair. We used a sling shot trajectory to escape the gravity well of the black hole cluster, and when we emerged in normal space, we found ourselves stranded in the early 1800's. I am a member of that generation, I may look like I'm in my early 40's, but I am actually much older."

"Why can't we return to our own time?" Alexa asked.

"We are only able to make short jaunts through time," Olivia replied. "The shuttle that will take you to Futurian academy manipulates time to a certain extent, but we don't have the kind of power we need to get all of us back to our millennium." 

"What can this space warp gizmo do?" Alexa asked. "I mean, what practical purpose does it serve?"

"It can be helpful if you use a neutrino dissimilator on someone," Olivia replied.

Olivia had no clue what a neutrino dissimilator was, but before Olivia could continue, Alexa's father interrupted. "You're going to be attending Futurian Academy for junior high and high school, Lexie. It's a boarding school, so you will stay there nine months out of the year, and return home during the summer months."

"What?" Alexa shouted. "I'm going to that new junior high school called Shore Crest! All of my friends will be going there! You can't just rip me out of my life, dad! If all of this is true, why am I just now finding out about all of this?"

"We have always known you were a dominant personality type," said Mrs. Lockport, "so we didn't tell you sooner because we didn't want any of this going to your head. We wanted you to think of yourself as an ordinary 21st century girl, until we felt it was the right time to tell you about all of this."

"It takes a lot of responsibility to be a Futurian," said Mr. Lockport. "You'll have access to technology that can change the world. You need to be taught to use that technology responsibly."

"There are things about our culture you can only learn at the academy," said Olivia. "You'll get to wear a school uniform! The academy you'll be attending is located on another planet that occupies the same coordinates as Earth, but in a separate space-time continuum. A normal cell phone can't even be used to call from there, you will need a special device that I will give you."" 

"I need time to think about all of this," said Alexa as she headed out the front door, slamming the door behind her. She made her way back to the park.

At the park, her two friends Tricia and Roxie were there with Santiago.

"According to my parents, I'm not going to Shore Crest with the rest of you," said Alexa. "I'm going to a boarding school for nine months out of the year."

"Why do you have to go there?" Tricia asked.

"Apparently, my family belongs to a group of people from the future who have been stranded here since the early 1800s. I have to go to Futurian Academy to learn of my special heritage. My ancestors are from a million years in the future!"

All three of Alexa's friends started laughing, but Alexa remained serious.

"I don't think she's pranking us," said Tricia. "I've known Lexie since first grade, and I've never seen her so serious. Lexie, what are you going to do?"

"I don't know, my parents seem intent on me going to the academy."

"I wish I could go," said Roxie. "If they do make you go to school there, we will always be your friends. You could keep us informed about the things that you experience."

"A lady from that academy came to my house and used a space warp device to reach through and grab a coffee cup that was several feet away," said Alexa as she pulled out her cell phone and showed them the video.

"A video like that could've been faked," said Santiago, after watching the video.

"I just took this video ten minutes ago!" said Alexa. "How could I have had time to fake this?"

"I believe you, Alexa," said Tricia.

"So do I!" said Roxie.

"I wanted to be part of the first group of seventh graders to go to that new junior high school!" said Alexa. "All of you will be going there, except me! You guys get to wear your own clothes, I'll have to wear a uniform at the academy.""

"They say there will be hot chocolate dispensers at Shore Crest, and you can pay with your student I.D. if you have money loaded onto the card," said Santiago.

"Don't make her feel worse, Santiago!" said Roxie.

"Shore Crest is the most advanced junior high school in Los Angeles county!" said Alexa. "I don't want to miss out!"

"Maybe you'll look cute in your uniform," said Tricia. "If your parents are making you go, I don't think you're going to have a choice."

"Try to find the good in all of this," said Roxie. "If your ancestors hadn't journeyed back in time, you would've spent your whole life living in the future, and you never would've met us to begin with."

"If all of this is true," said Santiago, "then Roxie is right. You have a destiny to fulfill, so don't let your friendship with us hold you back."

"I guess you guys are right," said Alexa. "I'll go back and talk to that lady from the academy."

"Just make sure to keep us informed of what happens there," said Tricia. "When you come back every summer, keep in touch with us."

When Alexa returned home, Olivia's car was still parked in the driveway. She entered the living room and said, "I've thought about it, and I've decided to attend the academy. But those uniforms better look cute on me!"

"I need to take you to downtown L.A. to get you fitted into your uniform, and to get you some technological items you're going to need."

"I'm ready when you are!" said Alexa.

Olivia led Alexa to the vehicle, and they got in and put their seatbelts on.

"I think you're really going to love your new life!" said Olivia, as she put the car into gear.

Chapter 2: Shopping Excursion by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 2: Shopping Excursion

Olivia drove the car while Alexa sat in the passenger seat.

"So tell me," Olivia asked, "what are your goals in life?"

"I want to be a lawyer," said Alexa. "I have an ancestor that was a lawyer, and I want to follow in his footsteps. I want to be self sufficient, so I'm not reliant on a man to support me."

"Among our people, we need engineers and scientists. One of the reasons we can't get home is because some of the technology we once had was lost during the escape from the supernova because our computers were damaged. We need people to re-invent some of the technology we lost. How good are you at mathematics?"

"I've always been good at it," said Alexa, "but I'm good at most subjects."

There was a computer console in the center of the dashboard, below where the ash tray would normally be located. Two tabs on the monitor were open, one showing a map of where they currently were, and another showing their destination.

"What is that?" Alexa asked, indicating the console.

"This is a computer system connected to a space warp generator that will take us to downtown L.A. instantly. The computer knows when nobody is watching us, and when there are no video cameras on us. We don't want anyone to see us or record us when we emerge into and out of the dimensional portal."

Olivia drove the car down a street that didn't lead to any main roads.

"Is that why you're taking the side streets?" Alexa asked. "So nobody witnesses the car disappearing?"

"Exactly," said Olivia. "We don't want ephemerals to know about our existence."

"I told some of my friends about the academy," said Alexa. "Was that okay?"

"It's better if people didn't know about us, but assuming your friends aren't celebrities or involved in the news media, it should be okay. Just try to make sure they keep all of this a secret."

"Can you tell me more about our secret society?" Alexa asked.

"There are a lot of us, and we're divided into two camps. There are two houses for students at the academy, Verso and Recto. Verso believes that the powerful should exploit the weak. The motto of Verso is: Fortune favors the bold. In Latin that is: Audentes fortuna iuvat. You'll be sorted into your proper house when you arrive at the academy, a mind control device is used to make that determination."

"What do the other people believe?" Alexa asked.

"The motto of Recto is: Through adversity to the stars, or in Latin: Ad astra per aspera. They believe in helping the weak, and not exploiting them. Which side do you think you agree with?"

"I like Verso's motto and philosophy better," said Alexa. "I've always felt that the more powerful people deserve to rule over everyone else. People are like sheep, and they need good leaders to guide them. I'm not saying I believe in tyranny, I just feel that I was born to rule, and I think I would make a great leader."

"Verso and Recto have been fighting for supremacy for two centuries," said Olivia. "The followers of the Verso society want to alter history and rule over the ephemerals as a race of gods."

"Wouldn't that be changing history?" Alexa asked. "Did anything like that happen according to future history?'

"Normally, we aren't able to alter history. There is a female scientist known as Professor Morgan Lefevre who is developing a way to establish an alternate timeline, so the Futurians can rule the ephemerals. We had that capability in the time we came from, but that knowledge was lost during the diaspora into the past. A lot of people are trying to stop Professor Lefevre, but she has traveled to another space-time continuum and is hiding out there, working on her technology. We have no way to track her down. If you get housed with Verso, she might try to contact you to assist her. If that happens, you need to notify either me, or the headmistress of the academy, Professor Victoria Valerius."

"Why would she try to contact me?" Alexa asked.

"Whenever a new crop of students pops up, she scans for the most promising members of Verso house. She's been at this for almost two hundred years, so she knows what she's doing. Most people in Verso house agree with her philosophy in life, that we were born conquerors. If she thinks she can utilize your abilities for her benefits, then she will."

"Is she a criminal?" Alexa asked.

"Yes, but we have no way of capturing her. She is a renegade scientist, so her technology exceeds our capabilities."

"If you keep driving down these side streets, someone is bound to see us," said Alexa.

Just then, the vehicle went through the space warp and emerged in downtown Los Angeles, on a side street near a dry cleaning business.

"We made it!" said Olivia. "We're here, in downtown L.A."

"The atoms of our bodies weren't broken apart, were they?" Alexa asked.

"No, you've seen too many science fiction television shows. None of us would allow ourselves to be teleported or broken apart and reassembled. We went through a dimensional portal, and emerged farther away than from where we started."

"Why was there no sense of momentum?" Alexa asked.

"Objective time is what the rest of the world experiences, and subjective time is what we experienced in the vehicle. Our subjective time slowed down to almost a complete stop while we passed through the dimensional portal, so from our perspective, our journey seemed instantaneous, even though it took longer. We traveled backwards in time so the amount of time it took to travel was equal to as if the trip had happened instantly."

"So we traveled through time as well as space to get here?" Alexa asked.

"Yes, you're very bright!" Olivia replied. "You should become a scientist or an engineer. You seem adept at understanding these things."

"Where are we going now?" Alexa asked.

"That dry cleaning business is a front for a store where you can buy technology only used by the Futurians. You're going to need an electronic tablet with all of your class textbooks downloaded onto it, a communicator, as well as a neutrino dissimilator."

"I heard you mention neutrino dissimilators at my house. What are they?"

"A neutrino dissimilator is a pistol that can reduce the size, weight, volume and mass of a person or object."

"So it's a shrink ray gun?" Alexa asked.

"Yes, but neutrino dissimilator is the technical term. We're buying one for you today, but it will remain inoperative until you pass a test in a class at the academy showing you the scientific theory behind it, and the proper way to care for a miniaturized captive." 

The two of them entered the dry cleaning business, and Olivia flashed a specific type of I.D. to the man in charge of the business, and they were ushered to the back of the business. A doorway slid open, and they entered a large room that was clean, sleek and futuristic. There were dozens of devices on the walls, and several other students Alexa's age were shopping. 

"Those two girls are your age, Alexa!" said Olivia. "Unlike you, they have always been aware that they are Futurians. Maybe you could make friends with them."

Alexa did as she was told, and introduced herself to the two girls. "I'm Alexa, but everyone calls me Lexie. This is my first year at the academy."

"Hi Lexie, I'm Gamma! This will be my first year at the academy, too!" said a girl with red hair.

A blonde girl introduced herself to Alexa. "I'm Stratus, I'm here with my twin brother, Stratum!" Stratus pointed at her brother, who was looking at some electronic devices against the wall. "The girl you just met is my cousin."

Olivia walked up along side Alexa. "Olivia, how will I pay for the things that I need? Do I need future money?"

"Your parents set up an account for you the day you were born, Alexa. You have more than enough money for anything you will need during your years at the academy."

"Have you always looked forward to going to Futurian academy?" Stratus asked.

"I just found out about all of this today," Alexa replied.

"Are you serious?" Stratus and Gamma looked at each other with confusion on their faces. "Why didn't your parents tell you?"

"I guess I'm kind of evil," said Alexa with a sinister smile. "My parents thought I would misuse that knowledge, and they were probably right."

"You're probably going to be housed in Verso," said Gamma. "I have relatives that were housed there."

"Is that bad?" Alexa asked.

"Not if you want to try to take over the world," Gamma replied. "There are a lot of Futurians who want to do that. I wish there was a neutral house, because I don't fit into either category."

"Stratus, your brother's cute," said Alexa. "What house do you think he's going into?"

"He's definitely Recto house," Stratus replied. "He would get angry if he was housed in Verso. He's violently opposed to taking over the world."

"So I don't have a chance with him?" Alexa asked.

"Each kid from each house is paired up with a student from the opposing house," said Stratus. "Maybe you'll get paired up with him. It's to teach us about democracy or something. I have an older sister named Umbra who goes to the academy, she told me everything there is to know about it."

"They pair girls and boys together?" Alexa asked.

"Sometimes," Stratus replied. "But don't count on getting paired up with him. It's a possibility, nothing more."

Alexa looked at the neutrino dissimilators hanging on the wall. She picked one up and examined it.

"Don't get that one," said Stratus. "That's a Downsizer, the most popular brand is Decimatrix." Stratus handed a Decimatrix to Alexa. "At least, it's popular with the girls."

"Thank you!" said Alexa.

"You're going to need an electronic tablet and a communicator, too." said Stratus as she picked an electronic tablet from the wall. "This brand is the most reliable, it's been popular since my great grandparents went to the academy. Here's a good communicator, too."

"Thanks again!" Alexa replied, taking both items.

"So we'll be seeing each other at the academy this Monday?" Alexa asked.

"Without a doubt!" Stratus replied.

Olivia approached Alexa. "You will need three school uniforms, P.E. clothes and a backpack."

Gamma grabbed a backpack and handed it to Alexa. "Throw that tablet, communicator and neutrino dissimilator into the backpack!"

Alexa did as Gamma requested, and Gamma turned the backpack inside out, and there were no electronic devices.

"See?" Gamma asked. "Anything you put in here can go into another dimension, in case ephemerals try to look inside!"

"That's cool!" said Alexa.

Gamma retrieved the neutrino dissimilator and the communicator. "When you want them back, you can summon them again!"

Alexa took the devices from Gamma. "Thanks for showing me that, Gamma!"

Olivia returned with the uniforms and P.E. clothes. "We can check out now,"

"Don't I need to try them on?" Alexa asked.

"This isn't a typical store, Alexa," Olivia explained. "There is a scanning device that took your measurements the moment you set foot in the store, and these uniforms were custom fitted just for you!"

They went to the counter, and purchased the items with a credit card that Olivia pulled out of her purse and gave to Alexa. 

"This is yours from this day forward, you can use it to take a taxi shuttle from the academy back to Earth on weekends.

"Thank you, Olivia." said Alexa.

Once the items were paid for, Alexa took them in the shopping bag the cashier gave her, and the two of them exited the store, into the rear of the dry cleaners. Once they were outside the building, they went to Olivia's car.

"How will I get to school?" Alexa asked.

"There will be a taxi service at your house at seven a.m. Monday morning," Olivia replied. "It will use the same space warp technology as my vehicle, so get up early and be ready!"

"I'm really looking forward to this!" said Alexa.

Once they were in the car with their seat belts fastened, Olivia started driving.

"Is it okay for a Futurian like myself to be in a relationship with an ephemeral?"

"We have extensive computer files on everyone who was born between the 20th century and the millennium we originally came from," said Olivia. "If you want to find out the future of a prospective boyfriend, you can look through those files and find out everything about his future, who he marries, when he will die. It is highly suggested that you marry another Futurian."

"When can I look through those computer files?" Alexa asked.

"On Monday, after your last class of the day, you can get on a computer station and look up everything you might ever want to know about your friends. My suggestion is to not do that, however. You might find out things you don't want to know."

"Like what?" Alexa asked.

"What if something bad happens to one of your friends in the near future, and they knew you looked up their future? Would you want the burden of sharing that information with them?"

"I see what you mean," said Alexa

Chapter 3: House Selection by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 3: House Selection

On the Saturday before school started, Santiago invited Alexa over the phone to go to the movies with him, so she approached her mother to get permission.

"I only want you going if Roxie and Tricia go with you." said Mrs. Lockport. "You're only twelve, I think you're too young to go to the movies alone with a boy."

Less than an hour later, Alexa was with Santiago, and her two best friends standing in line to buy tickets at the theater.

"So what do you want to see?" Santiago asked.

"How about the movie about that teenage girl who lives in a dystopia and tries to overthrow her government?" Alexa asked.

"That film series is really popular," said Santiago. "Good choice!"

Soon, the quartet were seated in the theater. Alexa sat with Santiago on one side, and her two friends on her other side. When the film got going, there was a scene where an extremely intellectually challenged boy tried to win the heart of an attractive girl his age, but she rejected him.

"Isn't that just like Joey?" Alexa asked Santiago as she laughed, indicating someone they went to school with. "He actually tried to ask me out!"

"You're cruel, Lexie!" said Santiago. He wasn't upset with Alexa, but clearly wasn't amused. 

Tricia saw the connection between the character in the film and the boy Alexa was referring to and laughed, but Roxie was angry.

"Joey isn't that bad of a kid, Lexie! I know of a couple of girls who want to go out with him. You shouldn't be so hard on him! Most people would give just about anything for the love of another human being, and you treated him like garbage!"

"I was just trying to be funny!" said Alexa with a look of guilt on her face.

For the rest of the movie, Alexa tried not to interact with her friends.

Over the rest of the weekend, Alexa stayed away from her friends and stayed in her bedroom studying her textbooks that were downloaded onto her electronic tablet. The textbook that had the least amount of information was also the most difficult to comprehend; it was the theory explaining neutrino dissimilation, otherwise known as a miniaturization device. Alexa read it from page one to the end many different times, until she understood the material. Alexa had never pondered the existence of a shrinking device, but now that she knew they existed, she wanted one. 

Alexa continued to study as she waited for Monday morning. She set her alarm for five thirty a.m. but she was so eager to see her new school that she woke up before her alarm went off. She got ready and dressed in her uniform. Her parents were awake, and her mother made a huge breakfast. Alexa's parents were whispering about whether or not she would be classified for Verso house, which would embarrass them, since they were in Recto house when they were students. They stopped whispering when Alexa entered the room, but she had heard what they were talking about.

"You're going to make a lot of new friends at the academy, Lexie." said Mrs. Lockport.

Alexa took another bite of her corned beef hash. "I already met a couple of girls in my grade who were at the store where I bought my uniforms. One of them has a cute brother."

"It would be good if you only dated boys who are members of our kind," said Alexa's father. "That boy Santiago might live a much shorter life span than you, so it would be unfair to both of you if you remained young upon reaching adulthood, and he got older."

"What happens when we run out of eligible Futurians?" Alexa asked. "If we only marry each other, eventually there aren't going to be any of us left."

"We will find a way to get all of us back to our own time before that ever happens," said Mr. Lockport.

"Don't mind him, Lexie!" said Mrs. Lockport. "There's no way of knowing if and when we're ever getting back to our own time. Our best scientists have been trying to find a way for 200 years!"

"If the taxi that will take me to the academy can travel through time, then why can't we chart a path back to the time our ancestors came from?" Alexa asked.

"It's like comparing a model remote control plane to a jumbo jet capable of carrying passengers," said Mr. Lockport. "Taking all of us back that far into the future is a significant task. Traveling through temporal space isn't like traveling through normal space. Every star and black hole has a gravity trail that extends back through temporal space from when that star first formed, to the point of its annihilation."

"But if we came back into the past, why can't we go back through time the way we came?" Alexa asked.

"In normal space, the gravity well of our sun exists as a sphere," Mr. Lockport continued. "In temporal space, it is like a cable the same width as the sun is in normal space. Every single star and planet have gravity trails that must be charted. If we pass too close to a gravity well of a black hole cluster, it could rip any starship apart. The taxi that takes you to the academy just makes short jaunts through temporal space. Do you see our problem?"

"Yes, I guess so," said Alexa.

Just then, a car horn honked, and Alexa's mother looked out the window. "It's the taxi here to take you to the academy, Lexie!"

Alexa took her backpack that contained her extra two school uniforms and her electronic devices she had purchased several days before with Olivia, and kissed her parents goodbye.

"You'll be back for Christmas break," said Mrs. Lockport.

Alexa exited the house and went to the taxi. The rear door popped open automatically, and Alexa got in. A middle aged man was in the driver's seat. He had a mustache, and greeted Alexa.

"I'm Ozymandias, I'll be your time captain!"

"I'm Alexa Lockport, you can call me Lexie."

The door closed automatically, and the vehicle started moving.

"How long will it take to get to the academy?" Alexa asked.

"The academy is located in a parallel reality on a version of Earth where human life never evolved. It is in the same coordinates as Earth, but in a different space-time continuum. The academy is located where Carrizo plains are on the earth you know, but tectonic stablizers keep the area safe from Earthquakes."

"That still doesn't answer my question," said Alexa. "How long will it take?"

"I'm sorry, I'm required to explain that to all first year students. Once we phase into temporal space and subjective time slows down, from our perspective, the trip will seem instantaneous."

Alexa looked out the window just as everything outside the wondows became blurry. "We're phasing now," said Ozymandias. In an instant, they were at the academy.

"Here we are!" said Ozymandias. The rear door popped open for Alexa, and she took her backpack and exited the time vehicle.

She looked around. The sun had recently risen, and she could see the architecture of this strange world. Some of the buildings looked like Spanish buildings like some of the missions in California she had been to, but there were examples of futuristic styles of structures. There were half domes covering seating areas, with an obvious purpose of keeping people out of the rain while being seated outside.

Alexa was amazed that none of the sidewalks had cracks in them. She could see students walking around. In her amazed state of mind, Ozymandias had left and returned with another student in the time it took Alexa to become aware of her surroundings. The rear door popped open, and Stratus and her brother Stratum exited the time vehicle.

An older girl greeted the twins. 

"Lexie!" said Stratus. "This is my older sister Umbra, she's a third year student! She can show us around."

Alexa shook hands with Umbra. "My sister Stratus has told me about you, so you didn't know about your heritage?"

"My parents thought I'd try to take over the world or something," Alexa replied.

"Are you evil?" Umbra asked.

"Some people think so," said Alexa.

"You'll probably get selected for Verso house. I'm also in Verso, and my brother Stratus should end up in Recto, but my sister Stratus should end up in Verso, so you'll have some company."

"When does this take place?" Alexa asked.

"It's at the sorting station, they use mind control devices to determine your mental disposition. It's completely painless, you've got nothing to worry about. Follow me, the twins have to go there now, too. The earlier you get there, the better, so you won't have to wait in a long line."

Alexa, Stratus and Stratum followed Umbra to the sorting station. It was an unimposing structure with multiple doors that slid open when you entered. There were chairs lined up against a wall, about ten of them. Alexa saw a boy sit down in one of the chairs. Two metal rods extended at head level, one on the left side, and the other on the right. Within a few moments of sitting there, a red light on the left arm of the chair lit up.

"You're going to be housed in Verso house," said a woman who was in charge of sorting the new students.

"This will determine your for the rest of your life," said Umbra.

When it was Alexa's turn, she sat down, and within a few moments, the red light lit up on the arm of the chair on Alexa's left side.

"Verso house for you!" said the woman. Before Alexa could get up, a hologram appeared in the air above the seat where Alexa was sitting. A woman said a weird rhyme: "The heroine is humble, she has many flaws; without seeking payment, she stands for a cause." The hologram disappeared.

"What does that mean?" Alexa asked.

The woman in charge of the determination process said, "That was Professor Morgan Lefevre! It looks like she has taken a liking to you, Alexa!"

Alexa got up from her chair and waited to see the results of the twins. Stratum was selected for Recto, just as Umbra predicted, and Stratus was chosen for Verso.

Stratus approached Alexa. "We're both housed in Verso!"

"Do you know anything about Morgan Lefevre?" Alexa asked.

"She lives further in the future than we are, and in another space-time continuum," Stratus answered. "Nobody who works at the academy can catch her."

Just then, a tall blonde woman walked through one of the main sliding doors. She had long, blonde hair and was dressed like a business professional. She approached Alexa and shook her hand.

"I'm Victoria Valerius, the head mistress of this academy. It has come to my attention that Morgan Lefevre has taken interest in you for some reason. If she tries to make contact with you, it is imperative that you report it to me immediately. Are you okay with that?"

"Sure!" Alexa replied. "But why would she try to make a pact with me?"

"She contacted you today from several years on our future. She obviously knows more about you than we do, and she sees you as a potential apprentice."

"Status told me she lived in the future," said Alexa. "Why is she so much more powerful than your scientists?"

"She was our best engineer. She started out as a student here, much like you. She single handedly re-discovered technology that we had lost when the computer mainframe on the star ship that brought us here was damaged escaping from the gravity well of that black hole cluster. Do you know anything about those events?"

"Yes, Olivia explained all of that to me," Alexa replied. "But are there any clues that could give you any insight as to how or why she chose me?"

"You must have above average, even exceptional, scientific ability. If you excel in math and science, she might have a use for you when you get older. Tell me, what career path do you see for yourself?"

"I've always wanted to be a lawyer," Alexa replied. "Maybe Morgan Lefevre made some kind of a mistake choosing me. I just want to join a debate team and promote Verso house."

"Morgan Lefevre is never wrong," Victoria replied. "I don't want to keep you from your classes."

"Thank you, it was nice meeting you," said Alexa.

Umbra was standing nearby, so she approached Alexa. "Now it's time to pick your electives. Math and science and other general ed classes are already selected for you, but you get to choose a couple of classes of your own."

"What would you recommend?" Alexa asked.

"There is a class you have to take to get your neutrino dissimilator functioning, it's required by your second year, but first year students can choose it as an elective."

"That sounds cool!" said Alexa. "What are my other choices?"

"Temporal psychology," Umbra replied. "They teach you not to share that you're a time traveler with just anyone, because it can make them freak out."

"I'll take that class too, then." said Alexa.

Umbra showed Alexa where the computer console was where students could sign up for classes. Within a minute, Alexa was signed up for the neutrino dissimilator class and temporal psychology.

Chapter 4: First Day of Classes by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 4: First Day of Classes

Alexa took out her electronic tablet and checked her class schedule. Temporal psychology was her first class. Umbra showed her to her dormitory so she knew where her room was, and she put her spare uniforms away. She had enough time to get to her first class on time. There was a digital map on her electronic tablet that guided her to the classroom.

When she got to class, Stratus and her brother were there, as well as Gamma. The class was an even mix of boys and girls. There was a huge electronic monitor on the front wall of the classroom. When the bell rang, the teacher entered the classroom and the class door slid shut. He checked an electronic tablet of his own, and took roll call. Once he knew all the students were present, he activated the huge monitor.

"Most of you are very familiar with how we all got here," said the teacher. "But I want to illustrate it on this monitor, in case there are those of you who don't quite understand the details."

He pushed a button on a control console on his desk, and an image appeared on the monitor. The blackness of space was punctuated by silver strands spiraling from the left side of the screen to the right.

"As you can see, this is an artistic representation of temporal space, also known as the dimension of time; that is a misnomer, because time, like space, is three dimensional. Every star that has ever existed on our galaxy leaves a gravitational signature in temporal space. These trails spiral through the time continuum from the distant past, to the distant future."

The teacher used a stick to point at a thick silver area on the screen.

"This is the gravitational trail of the black hole cluster that almost ripped apart the star ship your ancestors arrived here on. When the star of the planet we had colonized went supernova, we were the last to evacuate. The shockwaves almost ripped our star ship apart. Our chief engineer chose to phase into temporal space to escape the blast, not knowing that a black hole cluster at the center of our galaxy would pass through that area of the galaxy. Since time is space in temporal space, even though it would be millions of years before that black hole cluster would pass through that area, in temporal space, anywhere the gravity well of that cluster exists wherever it had been in the past, or would be in the future."

A male student raised his hand. "How did they escape?"

"The helmsman utilized a slingshot trajectory that forced us over one million years into the past."

The boy raised his hand again. "Why didn't they try to travel into the future, instead of the past?"

"Good question. In the era we are from, we frown upon people from the past arriving in the future. We don't want them to use future knowledge to gain an advantage over past events. But the secondary reason is that the star ship was being ripped apart, and the past was the safest direction to travel in order to get out of the gravity well of the black hole cluster.”

Alexa raised her hand, and the teacher called on her. "Do people in the era our ancestors came from know we're in the past?"

"That's another good question," the teacher replied. "As far as we know, they think our star ship was destroyed in the supernova, there was no evidence that we survived. And we have been exceptional at staying out of the way of history, so nobody in that era knows we were stranded in the past."

The teacher looked at his electronic tablet. "The topic I want to discuss today involves how people react to being told that time travel exists. By a show of hands, how many of you have told ephemerals that you are a Futurian?"

Several kids raised their hands, including Alexa.

"How did those people react?" The teacher called on a girl in the front row.

"I've told three people, one of them thought I was crazy, one of them believed me, and one of them got paranoid."

"Paranoia is a common response to an ephemeral being told the truth about time travel. It gives some people anxiety. You have to be careful who you tell the truth of your existence to, because you don't want to create panic."

The bell rang that ended class, and the teacher gave them one last piece of advice: "Remember, we need more engineers and scientists! We don't need as many artists, actors or musicians, although if you could follow both the sciences and the arts, that would be best."

When the class was over, Stratus asked Alexa what her next class was.

"I've got P.E. next," Alexa replied.

"I think my Cousin Gamma has P.E. with you!" said Stratus.

When Alexa changed into her P.E. uniform in the locker room and met with the coach in the main gymnasium, he said that he would be teaching them swimming today.

"First year won't get in the water today, you'll have your first day tomorrow," said the coach. "Once you see the swimming area, I think you'll see why. I have some second year students who will demonstrate for you."

When the first year students reached the swimming pool, Alexa was astonished to see a sphere of water floating in the air. Huge pieces of metal extended on six sides of the ball of water; they seemed to be generating force fields that kept the water aloft. A group of second year students stood on a balcony above the water, ready to jump in.

The coach blew his whistle, and the six students leaped into the water. They swam toward the center of the water sphere, but the color of the water was dark enough that they couldn't be easily seen. After swimming for less than a minute, a boy emerged carrying a globe about the size of a softball. He placed it into a holder that had empty slots the same size as the ball.

"Fifty points!" said the computer.

A girl jumped out with a globe, and placed it into an empty slot.

"Thirty points!" said the computer. This went on for some time, until each slot was filled with the metallic globes. The students emerged from the water and re-joined each other on the balcony where they had started from.

"As you can see," said the coach, "If we had two teams playing against each other, it would be a pretty good team sport. This sport became popular in the early 22nd century, and has remained popular ever since. One thing you first years need to understand, is that we refer to future centuries in the past tense. Just get accustomed to it!"

For the rest of the class period, the coach took the students around and showed them the weight training area, and a track they could race on which was indoors. When P.E. was over, Alexa went to the snack bar, where her friends Gamma, Umbra and Stratus were waiting in line.

"Hi Lexie," said Umbra. "Do you have your school credit card?"

"Sure do!" said Alexa, holding it up in the air.

"Did you know that the snack foods here are nutritious?" Umbra asked.

"Really?" Alexa asked.

"They have the proper ratio of protein, complex carbohydrates and fats. You could live off of the pastries here!"

"And best of all, they won't make you fat!" said Gamma, and all four girls laughed.

When the girls had purcahsed their snacks, they sat down at a table together and ate their food.

"What class do you have next period, Lexie?" Gamma asked.

"Neutrino dissimilators," Lexie replied. 

"My brother Stratum has that class next period," said Stratus.

"You really need to pay attention in that class," said Umbra. "There is a test you need to take in order to get your neutrino dissimilator activated. It won't work unless you pass that test."

Lexie made sure to follow Umbra's advice, by studying the neutrino dissimilator text book in her electronic tablet. When Alexa arrived in class, she studied the text book on her electronic tablet as she waited for the class to start. When class started, the teacher took roll and began to explain the structure of an atom.

"The nucleus of an atom is composed of protons and neutrons. Protons have a positive charge, while neutrons are neutral. Electrons orbit the nucleus, and they have a negative charge. Protons and neutrons are composed of smaller particles known as quarks and gluons. A dimensional field surrounds the person being miniaturized, and opens a singularity within the center of each quark and gluon particle."

Stratum raised his hand. The teacher called on him.

"Aren't there two dimensional fields?" Stratum asked. "One opens a singularity the same size and shape as the person being miniaturized, and in the other dimensional field, the singularities pull matter from the center of the quarks and gluons into the first dimensional field?"

"Yes," said the teacher, "you really seem to know your stuff. I was just starting off with the basics for the students who are unfamiliar with this technology."

The teacher pointed his teaching staff at two transparent plastic boxes. One was vertical, and the other a horizontal shape.

"If you swallow a miniaturized person," the teacher began, "but you needed to vomit them up, which would be the best container, and why?"

Stratum again raised his hand, and the teacher called on him. "The horizontal container would be best," said Stratum, "because the vomit would be spread out over a wider area, allowing the captive to reach the surface more easily."

"Excellent observation," said the teacher with a smile on his face. 

Alexa took notes on her electronic tablet by typing with her fingers on the touchscreen display. She already knew the structure of an atom from talking to Santiago; his father and grandfather were electricians and he had volunteered information about atoms since they were a lot younger. Alexa raised her hand, and the teacher called on her.

"When is the earliest that we are allowed to take the test for this class, so we qualify to have our neutrino disimilators activated?"

"You could take the test today," said the teacher, "but very few people in our history have passed this test on the first day of class!"

"I want to take it now," said Alexa. "I think I'm ready!"

"Maybe you should wait longer," said the teacher. "To give yourself more time."

"I'm ready now," Alexa replied, "the study guide wasn't that long, and I've absorbed the information as well as I'll ever be able to. I don't think I'll need more time."

"If you say so," said the teacher. "I'm uploading the test to your tablet now," the teacher hit some buttons on his touch screen tablet. "Are there any other people who need to take the test today?"

Stratum raised his hand, and the teacher uploaded the test to his tablet as well.

When the test was completed, Alexa notified the teacher, and it was graded by the computer.

"You scored one hundred percent, Alexa!" said the teacher. "Congratulations!"

Stratum also passed, but scored ninety-eight percent. He turned to Alexa and said, "There's only one person in our history who passed this test on the first day and scored one hundred percent!"

"Who was that?" Alexa asked.

"Morgan Lefevre!" said Stratum.

"Really?" Alexa asked.

"That may be why she appeared to you in the form of a hologram," said Stratum, "she knew you would pass this test just like she did! Everyone in the academy will be talking about it!"

The teacher asked both Alexa and Stratum for their neutrino dissimilators. He inputed the data code that unlocked them, so they were functional.

By the beginning of lunch time, Alexa found out that Stratum was correct. Gamma and Startus sat with her, while Umbra sat at a table with her friends, who were in the same grade as her.

"Stratus, I have a functional shrink ray now!" said Alexa as she held her neutrino dissimilator up for all to see.

"Everyone thinks you're going to turn over to the side of evil," said Stratus. "If you do decide to become the apprentice of Morgan Lefevre, don't let the school officials know about it."

"How could I do that without them knowing?" Alexa asked.

"Beleive me, it is possible," said Stratus. "My older sister has told me about people over the decades who have worked for her to develop lost technology."

"The only thing that passing that test has made me sure of, is that I'm going to become an engineer some day, instead of a lawyer!" 

"But that's exactly what Morgan Lefevre wants from students like you!" said Stratus. "You would be useless to her as a lawyer!"

"It doesn't mean I've lost sight of what a lawyer does," said Alexa. "I still have debate class as an extra-curricular after my last class."

"Whatever you do, don't defend Verso house!" said Gamma.

"Why not?" Alexa asked.

"Because everyone will think you're turning to the dark side!" Gamma replied.

"Defending Verso house is the only reason I want to join debate in the first place!" Alexa replied.

Chapter 5: Debate Club by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 5: Debate Club

After taking English class and math class, Alexa went straight to the debate team meeting room. There were about a dozen other students there. Two of the other students whispered to each other and pointed at Alexa. A couple of kids, a boy and a girl, walked up to her and introduced themselves.

"I'm Matrix," said the boy.

"I'm Analog," said the girl. "We heard about the holographic greeting from Morgan Lefevre this morning! We want you on our debate team!"

"Yeah, with you on the team Verso will win for sure!" said Matrix.

"Sure, I'll be on your team," Alexa replied. "But I have a question. Does everyone at this school have a name that corresponds with a science term?"

Matrix and Analog laughed.

"Most of us do, though there are some here with conventional names," said Matrix.

"I'm surprised that anyone would even want to defend Recto house," said Alexa.

"Believe me, there are plenty of people defending Recto," said Matrix. "We're actually outnumbered by them, that's always been a thing here at the academy."

"Really?" Alexa asked. "I didn't know that." 

Another kid, a girl, approached Alexa and the other two kids she had just met.

"Hi, I'm Hellion. I overheard your conversation about the names here, my last name is Perry, and if you shuffle my first and last names it sounds like perihelion."

"That's cool," Alexa replied. "I'm Lexie."

The two girls shook hands. "Everyone knows who you are. I heard you scored one hundred percent on the neutrino dissimilator test in class today, and that a hologram of Morgan Lefevre appeared to you. If you aren't Verso material, no one is!"

Matrix pointed at the other eight students. "All those kids are representing Recto house! We're outnumbered."

Hellion pointed to the boy who was leading the other Recto house students. "Do you see him, Lexie? That's Vector, he went to the same elementary school as me. He's a natural leader, you're going to need to out debate him."

When roll call was taken, the teacher grouped the students into Verso and Recto. Alexa and her three friends were the only ones in the Verso group. An even mix of four boys and four girls were in the Recto group. The teacher asked for a volunteer from each group; Alexa from Verso and Vector from Recto volunteered. Alexa and Vector stood at podiums facing each other from across the room, and Vector went first.

"Societies since prehistoric times have traditionally been composed of a stronger group helping and aiding the weak, the disabled and the elderly. Everyone had a place, with the weaker members of society being cared for. As Futurians, we should do no different. We should blend with 21st century society and help them to achieve the society our ancestors built for us. By working together, we can create the future that spawned us."

The teacher held a stopwatch and clicked it. Vector stopped talking, and the members of Recto house clapped for him. "Okay Alexa, your turn," said the teacher.

"It is human nature for the strong to exploit the weak," Alexa began. "To quote the Bible, if you want to rob a strong man, first he must be bound. If we are stronger to begin with, then why should we cater to a society of primitives? Why should we figuratively allow ourselves to be bound? We can do more for them by taking control of them, than by letting them destroy the atmosphere of our planet with green house emissions. Maybe by taking control, we can create the conditions that allowed our society to be created in the first place."

The teacher clicked the stopwatch. "Time!" The Verso students clapped for Alexa, but the Recto students remained silent. "You've both done a good job. I want to see other volunteers when we adjourn here next week. Hopefully, you can do as good of a job as Alexa and Vector. I want each of you to type up a speech in advance for next time."

The students got their backpacks and prepared to leave.

"Professor?" Alexa asked. "Why do we only meet once a week?"

"This class is strictly extra-curricular, Alexa. I don't want to over burden my students, you all will have enough of a tough time with your regular classes." 

When Alexa exited the classroom, Matrix, Hellion and Analog were waiting for her.

"I've got ideas for the next speech," said Hellion. "Back in the 1980's when robots took over human jobs, Recto would've probably taken the side of the laid off workers. We need to find a way to show that it was more logical to replace those workers with machines, despite how heartless that sounds."

"That sounds like a good approach, Hellion," said Alexa.

"Maybe we should all do a different variation on that theme, and check in with each other before we meet with debate class next week, to use the one that sounds the best."

"I agree," said Alexa, and they parted ways.

Alexa went to the dorms for the first time. It looked like a place where the offspring of the wealthy elite would live, with a futuristic flair thrown in for style considerations. The dorms of Verso house were divided into the boy's section and the girl's section. Stratus showed Alexa around.

"Boys aren't allowed in the girl's dorms at any time, and we can't go to the boy's side, either." said Stratus.

"Where is the library?" Alexa asked.

"It's located between Verso dormitory and Recto dormitory. They wanted to encourage mingling between the two houses, so we would be exposed to different points of view."

"I want to go study," said Alexa. 

"Dinner is at 6 pm on the main dining hall," Stratus reminded her. 

Alexa wandered around until she found the library. She sat down at a desk, and pulled out her electronic tablet. She began studying for her classes. Each class had a textbook, and the tablet had a digital version of each textbook uploaded to the tablet. There was also a digital notepad so she could type out her assignments. There were plenty of othert students at the other desks studying. By the time Alexa was done with the homework for all of her classes, it was dinner time. She hurried to her dorm and put her backpack and tablet away, then headed to the dining hall.

There were long wooden tables with seats. Plates and silverware were set up for each student. When Alexa got there, she was in time to see Stratus and Gamma, and went to sit by them. Matrix, Analog and Hellion came up to them and Matrix asked if they could sit with Alexa.

"Sure! It's okay by me," said Alexa. Gamma and Stratus both agreed that the others could sit with them. Matrix, Analog and Hellion sat next to each other across from Alexa, Gamma and Stratus.

There were huge plates of food the students could scoop onto their plates. There was turkey, meatloaf, and pot roast for the main course. Mashed potatoes were available along with vegetables on another dish, and Mexican food and Chinese food could be had. There were dessert plates with every dessert known to man.

"Alexa," said Matrix, "did anyone tell you about the food here?"

"I heard the junk food is nutritious," Alexa replied.

Matrix snapped the fingers of his right hand in defeat. "Darn! I heard you didn't know you were a Futurian until recently, and I thought I could be the one to tell you about our culture."

"There's still a lot of things I probably don't know," Alexa replied. "Maybe you could be my guide to this strange new world!"

"I'd be glad to!" said Matrix.

The six of them ate to their heart's content. When they were full, they sat back and conversed with each other.

"So what are your life goals, Alexa?" Matrix asked.

"I wanted to be a lawyer, but now that I've read up on neutrino dissimilators, I think I want to be an engineer. I'd rather work with technology in some way, shape or form."

"You've got to be really good at math to be an engineer," said Matrix.

"Math has always been one of my better subjects," Alexa replied. "I'm one of those people who are good at math and English, not one or the other." 

"There's an extra-curricular class called recovering lost technology," said Matrix. But you'd probably have to drop debate to take it, because they're held at the same day and time. If you have any skills as an engineer, maybe you could help re-invent some of the technology that was lost when our ancestors escaped from that supernova."

"If I drop debate, will you drop it too, and take lost tech with me?" Alexa asked.

"My destiny is to become a master debater in the world of the Futurians," said Matrix. "But if you drop debate, I'll still see you around."

"It’s  too bad you can't take both," said Stratus.

"Do we have to take our dirty dishes to the kitchen?" Alexa asked.

"They have robots to take care of that," said Matrix.

Everyone departed from the dining hall and returned to their dorms. Alexa and Stratus talked about the friends Alexa had made that day.

"Matrix is cute!" said Stratus. "If you don't want to date him, I will!"

"Can we date boys here?" Alexa asked.

"Yes, but nothing too crazy. We are under surveillance most of the time here, so if you try to get too affectionate with a boy, one of the androids will break it up and you'll be reported. My sister Umbra had that happen to her during her first year."

"I won't do anything too crazy," said Alexa.

There was a common room for the Verso girls, so Alexa went there and sat on one of the couches. There were other girls there, too. Analog was having a conversation with a girl Alexa didn't recognize. Some of the girls surrounded Alexa.

"A girl like you happens once in a generation," said a raven-haired girl. "You really could be the heir apparent to Morgan Lefevre."

"We'll help you to team up with her," said an older girl. "I'm tired of Recto propaganda! We can finally get even with them. This academy is firmly in favor of Recto house, I hope you know that!"

Another girl said, "Lexie, if there's anything I can do to help you, just let me know."

"Actually," Alexa replied, "I'm trying to decide whether or not to quit the debate team and join the recovering lost technology club instead. What would Morgan Lefevre want me to do?"

The girls gathered together in a huddle and whispered to each other. Alexa couldn't make out what they were saying. When they broke the huddle formation and faced Alexa again, the oldest girl in the group said, "You should definitely quit the debate club. You're needed in the recovery of lost tech club, if you're good at science and math, you should be able to re-invent something important."

"That sounds like a good idea," Alexa replied.

A girl who wasn't part of the original group of girls walked over to the group, and addressed Alexa.

"None of you should be mentioning working with Lefevre. We're pretty much under surveillance at all times, except for the bathrooms or locker rooms. If Victoria Valerius found out you were conspiring with Lefevre, you could get in a lot of trouble."

"I'll keep that in mind," said Alexa.

The girl turned and walked away. When Alexa got up to return to her dorm, Stratus was at the top of the stairs. When Alexa reached her, Stratus said, "You're the most popular girl in school, do you know that?"

"I'm slowly figuring that out," said Alexa. "I wonder what Morgan Lefevre sees in me? What makes me so special?"

"It may take a long time to find out," Stratus replied, "but I think it might have something to do with your technical prowess. Have you always been good at fixing machines? Or good with computers?"

"Yes," Alexa replied, "but my only interest is owning a functional neutrino dissimilator. I want to go shrink someone!"

"My sister Umbra can go with you in the taxi back to Los Angeles," Stratus replied, "there are places you can go to find people who will disappear from society. You can shrink them and keep them prisoner, and the academy won't try to stop you."

"Are you serious?" Alexa asked.

"Yes, Recto has been trying to eliminate that exception to the rules against shrinking ephemerals. Just remember, you can only shrink someone who history listed as missing, my sister can show you how to use your communicator to track someone and find out if they qualify.

Chapter 6: Alexa’s Acquisition by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 6: Alexa's Acquisition

Over the course of the next few school days, Alexa got the feel of the academy and knew what she needed to do to pass her classes. By the time Friday afternoon rolledaround, she was ready to get the kit she would need to acquire a shrunken man. There was a store for students on campus that had a terrarium with an air ventilator for keeping a shrunken captive.

Alexa teamed up with Umbra, and made accounts on several social media sites under an assumed name. With her communicator, she was able to get online easily. It sent signals from the reality where the academy was located to the real world. Umbra instructed her to ask if people wanted to become the shrunken captive of a 12-year-old girl, if it was hypothetically possible.

Within a few hours, they got about five hits. Umbra took Alexa to the school library where she looked up the names of the people who agreed to be Lexie's captive. One of them, a 20-year-old man, was due to disappear on Saturday; by Sunday, nobody ever saw him again.

"It looks like you've found your captive!" said Umbra. "And he looks cute, too. That's important, because the most popular girls with captives all have cute guys as pets."

"Do we need to make an appointment with the time captain to return to the real world?" Alexa asked.

"Yes, but you won't have any problems. Just make sure you meet your target at a public place, like a miniature golf park with an arcade. I'll help you book the appointment."

The next morning, Alexa went with Umbra to the area where the taxi usually came and went. Ozymandias was taking students to different locations, but because the taxi was a time machine, he returned a moment after he left. There weren't too many other students in front of them, and soon, it was Alexa's turn to ride in the taxi.

When Ozymandias greeted them, they said hi and got in. Within a few moments, they were in southern California at a golf park. 

"This is the place where I got my shrunken captive," said Umbra. "Whatever you do, don't act like you're in a hurry. Make small talk with him, then try to get him to go to a secluded location, so you can zap him. Any 20-year-old man who would try to pick up on a 12-year-old deserves to get shrunk!" 

The 20-year-old man Alexa had met online had agreed to meet her there. Umbra and Alexa split up, and Alexa went inside the arcade. She recognized her target instantly. He had dark hair, and a slightly muscular build. He was dressed casually.

"Alexa?" the young man asked.

"Yes," Alexa replied, "but everyone calls me Lexie."

"I wasn't expecting you in a schoolgirl uniform, you get extra points for that!" said the young man. "Would you like me to buy you a soda?"

"Sure, but first can we go somewhere in private?" Lexie asked.

There were some older adults who looked at the young adult and Lexie and got weird ideas. The young man could sense that they were questioning his motives, so he turned to the group of adults and said, "She goes to my church, it's okay."

They went over to where the bathrooms were, and Lexie whipped out her neutrino dissimilator and had it set on 1/72, and she pulled the trigger. The young man, who stood almost exactly six feet tall, was reduced down to an inch tall. Alexa quickly snagged him and held him firmly within her cupped hands, so no one else could see her miniaturized captive.

She made her way around the arcade until she found Umbra.

"Let's go, I've got him!" said Alexa.

Umbra contacted Ozymandias, and within a minute, the taxi arrived. To casual observers, it looked like two teenage girls getting into a taxi; nothing out of the ordinary. They soon arrived back on campus.

"He is immortal now," said Umbra. "He will probably live a longer life as your captive than he ever would have as a free human being. You don't ever need to give him food or water, just keep him in that terrarium."

"Well, I can tell you one thing," said Alexa. "He's never escaping from me!"

Umbra followed Alexa to her dorm, to help her set up the terrarium where she would be keeping her captive. Umbra got the terrarium down from a shelf and placed it on a desk. There was furniture inside the glass prison, so the tiny man would have a certain degree of comfort. Alexa lifted the heavy lid, and placed the shrunken captive inside. He took to his new environment well.

"You should get him acquainted with you before leaving him in there," said Umbra. "If you can get him to like you, he is more likely to develop Stockholm syndrome, which is very desirable."

"What's Stockholm syndrome?" Alexa asked.

"It is a psychological condition that is sometimes instilled in kidnap victims that makes them develop an affinity for their captors. If you get him to like you, he won't try to escape."

Alexa did as Umbra suggested, and reached in and grabbed her captive, then placed him on the desk.

"There's no escape from me," said Alexa. "We are a race of people from the distant future and I kidnapped you. As far as history is concerned, you ended up missing today, and you were never seen or heard from again."

"But I'm only missing because you kidnapped me," said the tiny man. "If you hadn't abducted me, I would still be free."

"That is neither here nor there," said Alexa, “because I did abduct you, and you are now missing. But know this, if you ever try to escape from me and I catch you, I'm sending you on a one way journey to my belly!"

The tiny man had a look of fear and apprehension on his face, and he swallowed in fear. Alexa and Umbra both saw this, and started laughing at the plight of the tiny captive.

"You won't need food or water from now on because you're immortal," said Alexa. "You'd better get used to your new life as my loyal toy!"

Alexa and Umbra laughed again before Alexa grabbed her captive and lifted the lid of the terrarium, and placed him gently inside, then closed the lid.

"That lid is heavy enough that an inch tall captive could never have the strength to open it," said Umbra.

"What about the glass?" Alexa asked. "Can he break it with the furniture?"

"It's transparent titanium," Umbra replied, "so he's not escaping any time soon, unless you allow it."

Back in the common room, the other girls were amazed that Alexa acquired a captive during her first week at the academy.

"I am so jealous!" said Stratus. "That neutrino dissimilation theory is so complicated, I don't know how you passed the test,"

"Did you cheat?" Hellion asked.

"I don't even know how to cheat here," said Alexa.

"Oh, there are ways," said Hellion.

"I studied the textbook," Alexa replied. "It's not as substantial as some of the other textbooks."

"Yeah," said Hellion, "but it's really technical. Only the smartest of the smart can pass that test as quickly as you did."

"Thank you," said Alexa.

"Don't take it as a compliment," said Hellion, "I still think you cheated."

"We're all in Verso house," said Alexa. "We don't need to make enemies."

"I'm not your enemy," Hellion replied, "I just don't understand why you became so popular during your first week here, there are some older girls who have been here for several years who aren't ten percent as popular as you."

"It wasn't my decision to become popular," Alexa replied.

"But Morgan Lefevre hand selected you personally to become her apprentice!" said Hellion. "I would die a thousand times for that privilege!"

Stratus got in between them. "She's just jealous, Alexa! Don't pay her any mind."

Alexa and Stratus walked toward the dining hall together.

"You're going to have to get accustomed to that here," said Stratus. "Everyone in Verso house wants to help Morgan Lefevre try to conquer the world. A lot of people are on your side, but some people are just born to be jealous."

When they got to the entrance pof the dining hall, they were among the first in line for lunch. A girl approached them, with an electronic device in her hand that Alexa was unfamiliar with. She stuck the device in Alexa's face and asked, "Are you Alexa Lockport?"

"Yes," Alexa replied. "Who are you?"

"I'm Sissy Spreitler, a reporter for the school newspaper. You're the talk of the whole academy! Can I ask you some questions?"

"Sure!" Alexa replied. "Ask away!"

"What gave you the courage to take the neutrino dissimilator test on your first day of class?"

"I've had other people ask me that, and one girl thinks I cheated," said Alexa. "I just studied the textbook over the weekend before the first day of class, I got into a tiff with some ephemeral friends at the movie theater, that played a part in the whole thing. I just stayed away from them, and studied reallly hard."

"Is it true you acquired a captive today?" Sissy asked.

"Yes, a friend of mine helped me make the arrangements, and I took a taxi back to the real world and met up with my victim."

Sissy clicked the electronic device, turning it off. "I'm in Recto house, so this is strictly off the record, but I agree with Verso that we should be allowed to keep captives. I think everyone should have one!"

"I think it's crazy that there are people who disagree with that," said Alexa.

Sissy pulled out a stack of stickers with her name on it, and pulled two off and gave one to Alexa, and one to Stratus. "Be sure to vote for me in the student election!" Sissy stormed out of the area before either girl could respond.

"You should run for class president," said Stratus. "A lot of people would vote for you."

"Do you think I should?" Alexa asked.

"I don't know anyone in Verso house who wouldn't vote for you."

Soon, more students arrived to get in line for lunch. When there were a lot of students, Alexa stood away from the line and asked them as a group, "Who would vote for me if I ran for class president?"

Most of the students cheered for Alexa. Some Verso students came up and shook her hand, encouraging her to run. A Recto student even appraoched her and said he would vote for her.

"Stratus, I don't even know the process of running for student government," said Alexa.

"My sister Umbra can explain it all to you," said Stratus. "She ran for class president before, so she can give you the best advice. There are probably a lot of students who can give you advice on this, just don't listen to anyone from Recto house, because they might try to sabotage your efforts."

"I think that's obvious," said Alexa.

"Well, you told me you didn't even know about Futurian society a week ago, so it's not like you can count on your parents. You have no clue whether they ran for student government when they were students here," said Stratus. "You can only count on people you know here at the academy."

"The only reason my parents never told me about our unique heritage is because they knew I was too evil to use that knowledge for the right reasons."

"Were they Verso, or Recto when they were here?" Stratus asked.

"They were both Recto!" said Alexa.

"That's messed up," said Stratus. "One of my parents is Verso, and the other is Recto, so we have a balance. I feel really bad for you! I can't believe they lied to you your whole life in an effort to protect you!"

"They didn't lie to protect me, they lied to protect society from me!" said Alexa. "And in my personal opinion, I don't think they were far off the mark."

"Why would they need to protect society from you?" Stratus asked.

"I have always daydreamed about taking over the world, like Alexander the Great or Julias Caesar," Alexa replied. "My name is Alexa, so it's only natural that I should try to follow in the footsteps of Alexander of Macedon."

This response got some applause from some Verso students. "I'll vote for you, Lexie!" a girl shouted. Alexa waved at her new fans

Chapter 7: Summoned by the Dark Mistress by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 7: Summoned by the Dark Mistress

Alexa wandered around the Verso common room, bored. Stratus approached Alexa with a small hand held device and a roll of string. "This is a neural stimulator, you're going to need it if you have shrunken man."

"Thanks," Alexa replied. "What does it do?"

"It stimulates the area of your brain that induces vomiting, in case you swallow your captive," Stratus replied. "This string is edible, it will dissolve in your stomach, and it's cherry bubble gum flavored. You can have your captive climb on it before you plunge him into your mouth."

Alexa went to her dorm room.

Alexa decided to spend some time alone with her shrunken captive. She opened the heavy lid and pulled him out, then placed him on her desk. She had some edible string.

"Climb onto this edible string," Alexa commanded. He complied and climbed up the strand of string, and when he was halfway up the six inch length of edible string, Alexa lifted him above her mouth and lowered him in. Once he was firmly on her tongue, she closed her mouth with a small length of the edible string hanging out of her mouth.

Just before she was about to swallow her captive, Alexa changed her mind. "I can swallow you later," she said as she placed him back inside his terrarium. She placed the neural stimulator and the edible string in a drawer of her desk.

She got up to go to the bathroom, but when she was done and about to exit the bathroom, the room was in reverse, a mirror image of how it was supposed to look. There was a tall mirror five feet high and about two feet wide, the bottom of which was six inches above the floor. When Alexa looked into the mirror, she could see the way the bathroom was supposed to look.

"It looks like a reflection," said Alexa to herself. She peeked out the door of the bathroom. On her desk, the terrarium containing her shrunken captive was gone. "What's going on?" Alexa asked.

Just then, a woman entered the dorm. It was the same woman who had been in the hologram on Monday morning.

"Greetings, Alexa!" said the woman. "I am Morgan Lefevre, and I've summoned you here."

"Where am I?" Alexa asked.

"This is an alternate space time continuum. This dimension is a halfway point between your universe and the one I dwell in. I've developed a base there, and I created a mirror image of your dorm building here in this halfway point. It appears exactly as it would if you looked in a mirror in your world. There is a hologram of you in your real dorm room bathroom, to fool any surveillance devices."

"Who exactly are you?" Alexa asked. "Nobody can give me a straight answer about you."

"I was a student at the academy about a hundred years ago," Morgan replied. "I graduated at the top of my class, and about fifty years later I tried to take over the world of the ephemerals. The academy stopped me. Since then, I have been developing lost technology in an effort to gain an advantage over the scientists of Futurian academy."

“Why does the academy oppose you?” Alexa asked.

“They don’t tell students the truth about the time we originally came from,” Morgan replied. “Our people came from around 800,000 years in the future, not one million years, and in that era, whites are the master race, and all non-whites were miniaturized and enslaved. Between the 21st century and our own era, there have been at least half a dozen race wars. The white race was almost wiped out more than once, so the whites enslaved them. My goal is for everyone to be equals, but the academy opposes that, because they feel that making everyone equals will once again endanger the white race, as has happened before.”

"What do you want from me?" Alexa asked.

"I want you to consider becoming my appreantice," Morgan replied. "My technology allows me to scan the mind control devices that they use on the first year students to determine whether they go into Verso house, or Recto house. Your readings were off the chart. I've never seen a student with more Verso potential than you possess!"

"What's so special about me?" Alexa asked.

"People like you and me are seen as evil by the outside world," said Morgan. "But we just want to bring order to the chaos that is the present day world. We can end the wars, and poverty and disease by establishing a new world government, with ourselves as absolute rulers!"

"How close are you to your goal?" Alexa asked.

"I am less than a year away from developing technology that would allow me to create an alternate timeline where Futurians rule the world of ephermerals as gods!"

"That sounds cool," said Alexa. "I must possess some kind of skill that is valuable to you, am I right?"

"Yes," Morgan replied. "You have the potential to become a great scientist some day. I wanted to approach you and explain that to you."

"When I studied neutrino dissimilators, that inspired me to want to become an engineer," said Alexa. "Before that, I planned on becoming a lawyer."

"Over the next school year, I want you to focus on science. Quit the debate team, and join the recovery of lost technology club instead."

"I was already planning on doing that," said Alexa. "I was also planning on running for president in the student election."

"That would be great," said Morgan. "The more people you can influence, the better!"

"How do I get back to my own world?" Alexa asked.

"There is a mirror that connects to the mirror in your dorm room, just step through it, and you'll be back in your dorm at the academy. I'm using technology that the greatest scientists at the academy don't currently have. If you do decide to become my apprentice, you can enter this parallel world through the mirror in your dorm to find me. Only you will be able to pass through the mirror to this alternate world."

"The head mistress wants me to get in touch with her if you try to contact me," said Alexa. "How should I handle that?"

"I want you to contact her, but don't tell her about the mirror or the hologram. Just tell her I asked if you wanted to be my apprentice, and you said no. Also, don't tell any of your friends about meeting me, I know girls your age love to gossip, but you must keep our meetings a secret. Now get back to your reality, before people get suspicious that your hologram is hanging around a mirror for so long. If she gives you a tracking transponder to wear, don't worry, she won't be able to track me down." 

"Okay," Alexa replied.

"Be sure to step out of the mirror backwards, and your hologram will disappear and you will replace it."

Alexa did as Morgan instructed, and found herself back in the bathroom of her dormitory. When she exited the bathroom, she did as Morgan had instructed her and headed to the office of head mistress Victoria Valerius. Once there, she knocked on the door, and was summoned inside.

"I saw the dark mistress," said Alexa.

Victoria Valerius was holding an electronic tablet, and quickly put it down when she heard this news.

"What did she say to you?" Victoria asked.

"She wanted me to become her apprentice," Alexa replied. "I told her I wasn't interested, and she left."

"Our sensors show no signs of any inter-dimensional contact," said Victoria.

"Her technology outmatches yours," said Alexa. "She even told me so."

"If she did summon you, I want to try to discourage you from joining up with her. She tried to take over the world half a century ago, and she will probably try again. If you become her apprentice and she tries to take over the world again and fails, she will cast you aside like trash. She is not your ally!"

Victoria got up and went to an electronic station and said, "Dimensional transponder, please." A small electronic device appeared on a tray below the monitor of the electronic device.

"What is that machine?" Alexa asked. 

"It is a matter duplicator, it can take a pattern stored in the computer's memory and make a physical copy of it." Victoria held out the small device. "This is a transponder, if Morgan Lefevre ever takes you to her home dimension, this transponder will send us a signal so she can be located by us. I want you to wear it like a necklace."

Alexa took the necklace and put it on. When Victoria dismissed her, she returned to the common room of Verso house. There were about a dozen Verso girls socializing in the room, sitting on chairs and couches, and having a good time. Umbra and Stratus were there. When Umbra saw the necklace Alexa was wearing, she approached Alexa.

"Did the Dark Mistress summon you?" Umbra asked.

"No, what makes you think that?" Alexa asked.

"You're wearing a transponder necklace," Umbra replied. "I've read about those! It's worn to track you if you journey to another space-time continuum! Did the head mistress give it to you?"

"Yes," Alexa replied, "but not for that kind of reason. It's just for protection, in case I do get contacted by the Dark Mistress."

"Those aren't given out frivolously," said Umbra. "You must be in some deep trouble if they're forcing you to wear a transponder!"

"Aren't we your friends?" Stratus asked. "You can tell us anything! If you're going to help Morgan Lefevre take over the world, I want in on it! I can help you."

"I don't know what either one of you are talking about!" said Alexa, and she departed from the common room and headed to her dorm. Her terrarium was still on her desk, where she had left it before being contact by Morgan. She opened the lid, and retrieved her tiny captive and the ball of flavored string.

"How do you feel about becoming my captive?" Alexa asked.

"How would you expect me to feel?" the tiny man replied. "I've been yanked from the life I knew and taken here and held hostage."

"It's really not too bad," said Alexa. "You would've lived to be about a hundred years old or so, give or take a decade or two, but in this life, you can live for hundreds of years!"

"Are you really going to keep me around that long?" the captive asked.

"You're immortal, so you've got nothing to worry about." said Alexa. "There's nothing I can hypothetically do to you that would put you in danger."

"But I can't eat, or enjoy foods like pizza," said the captive.

"You don't need food any more," said Alexa. "Most people would give their life savings to be in your position!"

"What would've happened to me if you hadn't abducted me?" the tiny man asked.

"Who knows?" Alexa asked. "History regards you as missing from the day I abducted you, so maybe you would've diappeared some other way."

"Is it remotely possible," the tiny man asked, "that the only reason I'm missing is because you abducted me?"

"I'm sure that's a possibility, but we might never know," Alexa replied, as she broke off another piece of cherry bubble gum flavored string and held it at the waist level of her shrunken captive. "Now, grab on!"

The shrunken man did as he was told, and grabbed onto the edible string. Alexa lifted him above her face, and began to lower him toward her open mouth. Just before she could drop him inside, Stratus showed up. Alexa set the captive down on her desk.

"Alexa, you have to tell me the truth! If the dark Mistress contacted you, could you tell me?"

"Stratus," Alexa replied, "I told your sister that the head mistress gave me this transponder as a strictly preventative measure, because of the hologram of the Dark Mistress that appeared Monday morning. There really is nothing more to it than that!"

Just then, the shrunken captive interrupted the conversation. "Who is the Dark Mistress?"

Stratus slammed her fist down on the desk with all of her might. "Speak when spoken to, you pathetic toy!"

The shrunken captive was alarmed at the ferocity of the cruel girl, and stepped back.

"You shouldn't let them get the better of you, Alexa. They are toys, not people! They don't have the same rights as us."

Alexa thought this was funny, so she gave a sinister smile. "This is something I could get used to!" Alexa turned her attention to her shrunken captive. "How does it feel to know you will spend the rest of your life as my tiny little toy?"

Stratus got angry when the shrunken man failed to respond. She slammed her fist down again. "When you're questioned by your mistress, you will respond, is that understood?"

"Yes!" the tiny man replied loudly. "I apologize!"

"Now answer the question your mistress gave you!" Stratus said sternly.

"I don't mind at all," said the tiny man. "I could get used to it, there are worse fates!"

"He wasn't saying that earlier," said Alexa. "He was lamenting the fact that he wouldn't have gone missing if I hadn't abducted him."

"They all get accustomed to a life of servitude," said Stratus. "It just takes time. Once he realizes he's never going back to his original lifestyle, he'll accept his fate! My sister has a shrunken man, and it took the better part of a semester for him to accept his new life, but now there aren't any problems."

Alexa smiled as she pondered her friend's words.

Chapter 8: Recovery of Lost Technology Club by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 8: Recovery of Lost Technology Club

When Monday came, Alexa finally mastered the swimming pool game. The teams were divided into two teams, with an equal amount of boys and girls on each team. Alexa was able to dive in and retrieve the highest scoring points for her team. After school, she went to the debate club to resign, then walked over to the classroom where the recovery of lost technology club was being held.

The teacher was very enthusiastic about another girl joining the club, because it was mostly composed of boys. He sat Alexa down in a seat in the front row of the room. On a huge electronic monitor in the front of the room, there were images of schematics of machines that scientists were trying to re-discover. Alexa raised her hand. The teacher called on her.

"What is the most technologically advanced device your scientists are trying to re-discover?"

"In our own era close to one million A.D. there was a device that could generate alternate timelines," the teacher began. "Normally, when you travel through time, whether you journey into the past or future, you become a part of history. It is impossible to make alterations to the timeline. We once had a way of creating an alternate timeline that skewed off of the original reality, making it possible to alter history in the new timeline."

"How close are your scientists to re-developing this technology?" Alexa asked.

"We don't know," the teacher replied. "Morgan Lefevre was the closest to making a breakthrough, but she took her research with her into another reality, and we can't track her down."

"Is it true she tried to take over the world fifty years ago?" Alexa asked.

"Yes," the teacher replied. "But she was defeated by our best soldiers."

"Why don't the ephemerals know about any of this?" Alexa asked.

"We've managed to keep our existence a secret from them," said the teacher. "Even in the era we came from, the existence of Futurians was unknown to the general population."

"Does that mean we're going to find a way back to our own time?" Alexa asked.

"We can't be sure," the teacher replied. "We don't have enough fuel to travel that far into the future."

"What about a time probe?" Alexa asked.

"We could launch one, but it wouldn't have enough power to return to normal space when it reached one million A.D. It takes power equivalent to an exploding star to breach temporal space."

"Ozymandias took me back to the world of the ephemerals this past weekend," said Alexa. "So you're saying it took that much power just to go there and come back?"

"You don't understand," said the teacher. "Traveling that far into the future, to one million A.D. requires navigating around the gravity wells of stars and black holes. It takes too much power to travel that distance and also breach temporal space to return to normal space. Traveling back and forth to Los Angeles is within our grasp, but not retiurning to our own time."

"I understand," Alexa replied. "What technology should we be focused on recovering?"

"The most vital piece of technology we need now is the ability to generate alternate timelines," said the teacher. "The sooner we develop this, the sooner we can find a way to circumvent it, to stop Morgan Lefevre."

Alexa raised her hand again, and the teacher called on her. "What is so bad about Morgan generating an alternate timeline where we rule over the ephemerals?"

"If she does that, there would be two sets of us," the teacher replied, "one set of us in the original reality, and another set in the alternate timeline. We would have a different quantum signature than our counterparts, and we could be mistaken for usurpers. A war between those two realities could spring up, putting all of us in danger, with both groups of us thinking we are the originals."

"How far away is Morgan Lefevre from developing an alternate timeline generator?" Alexa asked.

"We think she's still several years away, but she's still a lot closer than our scientists are. That's why we need students to go into science and engineering. There are too many students here who are interested in the arts, and we really need to pressure you into becoming scientists."

"What can we do as students?" Alexa asked.

"I'll upload the schematics of the timeline generator schematics we have so far to your electronic tablets. If you can do research on your own time, that would help."

The teacher went to the desk and mainipulated a control console, and Alexa saw that a file had been downloaded onto her tablet. She accessed it, and she saw a complex schematics design. The teacher went over several other inventions, then the club let out.

Alexa walked to her dormitory and waited until there were no other people in her area of the dorm. She entered the bathroom and made sure no other girls were inside, and approached the mirror. She put her hand through, and it disappeared into the other side of the mirror, so she stepped through with the rest of her body. When she arrived on the other side, the room seemed to be the mirror image of the bathroom in her reality.

Morgan Lefevre showed up. "Why are you here? I didn't expect you back so soon." Morgan asked.

Alexa showed Morgan the electronic tablet. "I joined the recovery of lost technology club, and the instructor uploaded a file to my tablet. It shows how close they are to developing an alternate timeline generator!"

Morgan handled the transponder that Alexa wore as a necklace. "I see you did as I instructed. I really needed to know how well their transponder technology had progressed.” Morgan used a scanning device on the necklace, and waved it over the tablet. "Now I have all that I need. You've done well, Alexa! In the new order, your voice will only be second to my own!"

A sinister smile crept across Alexa's face. Her smile turtned to a look of concern. "The teacher said that if you created a divergent timeline, it could start a reality war."

"You leave that to me," Morgan replied. "The academy has been known to villify me, I don't know what they have against us ruling over ephemerals."

"Those people on Earth right now in the 21st century are our ancestors," said Alexa. "Don't they at least deserve respect for that?"

"If I create a divergant timeline, the only ephemerals we would be dealing with would be duplicates. The original timeline would be unaffected."

"But we would have to be dealing with doubles of ourselves who would see us as usurpers." Alexa reasoned.

"These are all valid questions," Morgan replied. "But you have no need to worry. I have all of this figured out. Now get back to your reality before someone enters the bathroom while you're here."

Alexa returned to the real world, and went to the Verso common room. There were a lot of girls there, including Stratus and Hellion. Stratus appraoched Alexa.

"Lexie, I've been thinking. You know how your captive is rebellious? Hellion thinks you should use a mind control device to make him more obedient."

"Here's what I'm thinking," said Hellion. "One of the older students could get a hold of a mind control device and show you how to program it."

"I'd rather that he came around on his own," Alexa replied. "I think I should only use mind control as a last resort. Does anyone know where I can buy a burrito?"

"At the commisary," Hellion replied. "You can even go there after hours, if you wanted to. It's fully automated."

Alexa went to the commisary and purchased a burrito with her student credit card. She took it back with her to the Verso girl's dormitory, and showed it to Stratus and Hellion. "Where do I heat it up? Is there a microwave oven?"

Hellion laughed and grabbed the burrito. "You use one of the time inverters,"

"Time inverter?" Alexa asked. "What's that?"

"You’ve been here a week and you've never used a time inverter?" Hellion pointed to something that looked like a microwave oven.

"I've seen people using those, but I thought they were microwave ovens," Alexa replied.

Hellion unwrapped the burrito slightly, and set it inside the oven. She pressed the setting for burrito, and one second later, the oven beeped. Hellion pulled out the burrito, and it was piping hot.

"See?" Hellion asked. "Why wait for two minutes with a microwave oven, when you can use this?"

Alexa took the burrito.

"There's also a device that can freeze things instantly," said Stratus.

"After I eat my burrito, do you want to watch me play with my shrunken captive?" Alexa asked Stratus. Stratus agreed, so Alexa quickly finished her burrito. "Don't tell my captive what I just ate, I want to play a game with him."

The two girls walked to Alexa's dorm, and Alexa got the terrarium and a large plastic bowl down from the shelf. Alexa lifted the lid and scooped out her captive. She got out the cherry bubble gum flavored string and the neural stimulator that Stratus had given her.

With her shrunken captive in the palm of her hand, Alexa addressed him. "We're going to play a little game, you're going to have to figure out what I just finished eating."

Alexa held the flavored string down for her captive to grab onto. He climbed up the strand of string, and Alexa lifted him above her open mouth, then dropped him in. She was easily able to gulp him down. He slid down her esophagus, and splashed down in her stomach. He tried to conserve his air, not knowing that he couldn't die from asphyxiation because of his immortality.

Meanwhile, Alexa and Stratus were laughing. "Now you can test out your neural stimulator!" said Stratus.

Alexa lifted the device and aimed it at her head, and moments later, she was vomiting into the bowl she had gotten from the shelf. She grabbed her tiny captive and took him to the bathroom to clean him off in the sink. She carried him back into her dorm room when he was clean.

"What food did I just eat?" Alexa asked.

"Mexican food?" the captive replied.

"Yes, but what specifically?" Alexa asked.

"A bean and cheese burrito?" the captive asked.

"You got it right!" Alexa said. "Now you get to ask me a question, and I'll answer it honestly."

"Can I have time to think about my question?" the captive asked. "I don't want to waste this opportunity."

"He just used his question!" said Stratus.

"I won't do that to him," said Alexa. "Tiny man, you have as much time as you need to think of the question you want to ask me."

"You give your captive way too much latitude," said Stratus. "You should watch how my sister treats her captive. Lexie, I think your problem is that you think of your captive as a person, instead of a toy. I guess you just need to get used to the idea of owning one."

Alexa put her captive back in the terrarium and closed the lid, then set the terrarium back on the shelf. Alexa looked at the bowl of vomit, and asked, "Would you like to help me clean this?"

"There's a machine that can do that, it has a time inverter installed in it, too," said Stratus. "She took the bowl and went to the Verso common room and set the bowl inside a large machine. She pushed a button, and in one second, there was a beep. Stratus opened the door hatch, and the bowl came out perfectly clean. She handed the bowl to Alexa.

"You could get really used to this technology that you won't even want to return to the world of the ephemerals." said Stratus.

"Now I'm hungry again!" said Alexa, and Stratus laughed.

"It's almost time for dinner," said Stratus. "You need to rally people together to vote for you for student body president."

"I forgot to register!" said Alexa. "Is it too late? What office do I go to?"

"You don't need to go to an office, you can do it right from your tablet," Stratus replied.

The two girls walked back to Alexa's dorm and Alexa got her electronic tablet. Stratus showed her how to register as a candidate for student body president.

"Everything is so much easier here!" said Alexa.

"That's why we need to help Morgan Lefevre," said Stratus. "She can create a new reality for us where we rule over the primitive humans." Stratus looked at the transponder necklace Alexa was wearing. "The rumor around the school is that Morgan contacted you and you're keeping it all a secret."

"Stratus, I don't want to argue about this again," said Alexa.

"I'm on your side," said Stratus. "I'm just letting you know what most of the other kids are saying about you."

"Thanks for keeping me informed," Alexa replied

Chapter 9: Election Day by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 9: Election Day

The next day was a Tuesday. At lunchtime, Head mistress Victoria Valerius had all of the first year students gather together under the geodesic dome where there were tables and chairs for them to sit. A blonde boy bumped into Alexa on the way to get to a seat, and a ring he was wearing brushed against her skin. Alexa didn't pay attention to what he was doing or where he went. There was a podium, and Victoria stood there making an announcement. 

"There will be a student president for each year. There are two candidates for student president for all six years. The two first year candidates for student president will give their speeches now, Recto will go first, followed by Verso. Sissy Spreitler will represent Recto house, and Alexa Lockport will represent Verso house. When they are done, the second year students will have their turn, then the third year candidates. Ms. Spreitler, you are up." 

Sissy Spreitler made her way up to the podium carrying her electronic tablet. Alexa paid close attention to Sissy's speech, in case she needed to ad lib. 

"I want to stand for Recto values and morals," Sissy began. "Even though Recto composes 52 percent of the student population, Verso house is a vocal minority. If they succeed in Morgan Lefevre's plan to take over the world, then that would threaten our past."

Most of the Recto students started clapping.

"There are rumors that students here are helping the Dark Mistress on her latest goal of trying to take over the world once again. She was defeated fifty years ago, but if she manages to rise again, it will be Recto students who will rise to the occasion to stop her!"

Again, a large group of Recto students began clapping. Alexa had her speech on her electronic tablet, and went over some of her key issues while listening to Sissy.

Sissy continued: "I also want to stress that I share common goals with Recto and Verso when it comes to issues that affect both houses, and I feel that we must work together as a whole unit to accomplish our goals this school year. If we continue to act as enemies, we will never get anything accomplished. As the famous patriot Thomas Jefferson once said, united we stand, divided we fall."

"Now it is Alexa Lockport's turn to give her speech for Vero house," said Victoria.

Sissy stepped down from the podium to cheers and clapping from the audience. She shook hands with Alexa and wished her luck as Alexa stepped up to the podium. Alexa set up her tablet so her speech that she had typed up was visible, and began her speech. She took to public speaking like a duck to water. In elementary school, she had always excelled at oral reports. She had wanted to be a lawyer from a young age, so she had always known that public speaking would be important.

"I am the Verso house candidate, my name is Alexa Lockport. You may have heard of me already, I know rumors travel faster than truth. As my opponent Sissy Spreitler has said, Recto house and Verso house need to work together to meet common goals. If you have any doubts about whether or not I plan on serving the Dark Mistress, I have already thought about it, and though I admit I was tempted, I would never jeopardize our ancestry in the ephemeral world to achieve my own ends."

When Alexa stepped down from the podium, there was clapping and cheers from Verso house, but as she turned and walked toward the audience, a strange device appeared out of nowhere in front of her and sprayed her with a dark liquid. Alexa was covered with a brown dye.

An amazing event happened, a duplicate of Victoria Valerius arrived, and took the podium. Her counterpart who had announced the student election speeches, stood nearby.

"I just came from the temporal recon office of the academy, a student named Carl Vidler is guilty of creating mischief. Victoria turned a device toward the small cylinder that sprayed the liquid on Alexa, and did a DNA scan. Carl, you  can go straight to the office. This is inappropriate behavior for a member of Recto house!"

A crowd gathered around Alexa. "I'm voting for you, Alexa!" said a boy, "Even though I belong to Recto house. I don't like people who play dirty!" 

Sissy Spreitler was taken to the office, despite her pleas that Carl had acted alone. More people from Recto were telling Alexa that she had their vote. The second version of Victoria asked Alexa to follow her, and escorted her to the medical facility to get cleaned off.

Once inside the medical office, Alexa was taken to a tank where she stepped inside, and in a few moments, after some kind of energy surrounded her and the messy grease that had covered her was removed. When she stepped out of the chamber, she was as good as new. Victoria approached Alexa with an electronic tablet. She showed a video to Alexa. It was Carl, the boy who bumped into her, planting the device that sprayed her.

"He planted that device early this morning, and used a continuum shifting initiator so it was hidden in another dimensional continuum until he summoned it. Did he touch you in any way before you approached the podium?"

"Yes, he had a ring that scratched my arm," Alexa replied. "I thought it was an accident."

"It was no accident," Victoria replied, "He got a sample of your DNA when he scratched you with that ring, and he used it to program that device to phase back into this space-time continuum to spray you."

"Why would Carl do that to me?" Alexa asked. "Is it because he's in recto house? Am I going to constantly have problems with them?"

"Carl is the youngest of seven brothers," said Victoria. "His older brothers were pranksters, and he feels that he has a lot to live up to. I'm sure he's perfectly harmless, the pranks his brothers pulled when they were students here never harmed anyone."

"That's good to know," Alexa replied, "Do you know if Sissy was involved?"

"Not that we can ascertain at this point, though I assume a lot of students will blame her."

Alexa returned to where the speeches were being held. Before she could reach the geodesic half dome where the older students were giving their speeches, Gamma and Stratus ran up to her to give her good news.

"Lexie, you won the election!" said Stratus. "The election isn't over yet for the older students, but the first year votes have been cast and tallied."

"That was a quick election!" said Alexa.

"Here at the academy, everything is done by computer," Gamma explained, "so it's faster than it would be in the regular world."

The three girls jumped up and down, excited at Alexa's victory.

"I think getting sprayed by that kid helped you win," said Stratus. "A lot of Recto house kids voted for you, because they assumed that Sissy was involved."

"Head mistress Victoria said Sissy wasn't involved," said Alexa.

"Be quiet!" Stratus whispered. "You don't want them to re-do the voting, do you? If you won, you should take it however you can!"

"Yeah, I guess you're right," Alexa replied.

The three of them watched the speeches given by the older kids. Umbra joined them, and pointed out how some of the candidates ran for student president every year. After each candidate in a particular year gave their speeches, the election was held. Only the students in the same year as the candidates voted.

When all six presidents were determined, Victoria escorted them to the committee room. There was an oval table surrounded by chairs.

"I know it's still lunch time and you all have class soon, but this is where you'll hold meetings. Believe it or not, the student presidents have a lot of sway in what goes on at this academy. You can all make a difference in the lives of your fellow students!" Victoria dismissed them, and they all went to their classes. 

After their last class of the day, the girls in Verso house had root beer floats in the common room to celebrate. They toasted their drinks to Alexa's victory. When the celebration was over, Alexa took her root beer float to her dorm room. She set it down on her desk, and got her terrarium and set it on the desk and took the lid off. She scooped her captive out.

"Guess what?" Alexa asked. "I won the student election for my year! I'm class president!"

"Congratulations," said the captive.

"Since you're eight years older than me, can you give me any advice on being class president?"

"I have a sister who ran for election in high school," said the captive. "But I never hit her up for information about what the process was like, or what she did after she was elected."

"Did she become class president?" Alexa asked.

"No, she became treasurer," the captive replied. "But the process was the same, she was sophomore when I was a senior. I was pretty busy, and didn't get involved in the student election."

"Then how can you help me?" Alexa asked.

"Can you let me contact my sister, and ask her for the details?" the captive asked.

"I'll have to ask my friends for advice on that," Alexa replied. "I have an older friend named Umbra, and I rely on her wisdom. But the short answer is no, I don't think that it will be possible. You're considered missing in the real world, and if you contacted your family, they would find out your fate. That could lead to ephemerals finding out about the Futurians."

"What exactly are you people?" the captive asked. "You've never bothered to explain any of that to me. I don't even know where I am."

Alexa explained how her ancestors journeyed from nearly one million A.D. and became trapped in the year 1800, and how they have blended in with society since that time. After several minutes, she had her captive all caught up. Alexa even explained the plans of Morgan Lefevre, the Dark Mistress.

"So, all of this time, I've been in a parallel reality, shrunk down to an inch tall?" the captive asked.

"Yes, and you'll live a longer life here. I'll take you home with me during the Holidays." Alexa gave her captive a prize winning smile as she collected him in her hand. "You used up the question you won by answering correctly about what food was in my stomach."

Alexa dropped him back in his terrarium, and closed the lid. After setting the terrarium back on the shelf, she finished her root beer float. 

She took her electronic tablet and went to the library to study. Now that she was first year class president, she had more responsibilities to deal with, in addition to her regular class work. It took her an additional half hour to finish her homework, because of her civic duties.

Sissy approached her. "Alexa?"

"Yeah, sissy?" Alexa replied.

"I just wanted you to know that I was in no way responsible for that prank today, Carl acted alone."

"Victoria told me she didn't think you were involved," said Alexa. "I believe you," and Alexa gave Sissy a hug.

"All of my older sisters went to this academy, and they all became student president their first year, except me!"

"Well, don't let it get you down," Alexa advised. "It's not good to follow in the footsteps of other people, you should blaze your own trail.”

"Thank you, Alexa!" Sissy replied.

"Maybe you can accomplish things in life that your sisters didn't." said Alexa.

"I can give you advice about how to govern," said Sissy. "I've learned a lot from my older sisters."

"I'll keep you in mind," said Alexa. "But don't count on it, because people might think of me as a confederate leader, because I'm getting advice from you. They might think I'm your puppet."

"I understand," Sissy replied. "I think you'll be a good leader, you really seem able to stand on your own two feet. If our positions were reversed, I would've jumped at the chance to have you help me. Maybe I don't have what it takes to be a good leader."

"Being a good leader doesn't always mean standing on your own two feet," said Alexa. "I think a leader who listens to the advice of his or her top people is better than someone who tries to wing it when they don't know how to proceed."

"That's good advice," said Sissy

Chapter 10: Presidential Obligations by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 10: Presidential Obligations

Alexa had set her alarm the night before so that it would awaken her earlier in the morning than she usually got up. The alarm was set to play her favorite music, alternating between various pop songs on different days. She woke up and got ready, then went to the office of the head mistress. Once in her office, the receptionist informed Victoria Valerius that Alexa Lockport wanted to see her, and Alexa was summoned inside.

"What brings you here today?" Victoria asked.

"I wanted to make sure that Carl isn't punished too severely," said Alexa. "I think I would be a bad sport if I didn't take that prank in stride."

"I can see to it that Carl won't be punished too severely," said Victoria. "He does have thirty days of detention, however."

"Can you waive that?" Alexa asked. "Does my ability as first year student president grant me any privileges?"

"I think I can swing that, if you promise to let me know if the Dark Mistress contacts you again," said Victoria.

"I saw her again recently," said Alexa. "But we didn't talk long."

"Did you travel to an alternate reality?" Victoria asked.

"I'm not sure," Alexa replied.

"Let me see your necklace," Victoria asked, and Alexa took it off and gave it to her. Victoria took it to a machine that scanned it. "I'm not seeing any signs of inter-dimensional travel." Victoria gave the necklace back to Alexa. "But since you were so forthcoming, I'm taking Carl off of detention status."

"Thank you so much, head mistress!" said Alexa as she stood up and shook hands with Victoria. Alexa turned and left, and headed to breakfast in the dining hall.

At lunch time, the six student class presidents were allowed to go to the front of the line, so they could get to the podium outside to give updates on the latest news as student leaders. The first year president had to make her speech first; it was a privilege to be able to take your time with your lunch, so the older presidents gave their speeches afterwards. It was first year, then second year, and so on until the sixth year student president went last.

Alexa stood at the podium and made her speech. "I spoke with the head mistress earlier this morning, and I convinced her not to punish Carl for that prank yesterday." The students began cheering and clapping. "If I couldn't take a simple practical joke, I wouldn't be fit to be your leader. I can give and take practical jokes with the best of them!" When Alexa was done, the students cheered for her. As the second year class president took the podium, Carl approached Alexa.

"The head mistress spoke to me this morning and told me what you did for me. I really want to thank you for getting me off detention," said Carl. Alexa could see that Carl was cuter than most of the boys her age, and realized she wouldn't mind getting to know him better. Carl made the first move. "Would you like to go to the Halloween dance with me in October?"

"That's over a month away," Alexa replied. "I'll go with you to the dance, but what should we do until then?"

"Would you go out with me?" Carl asked.

"Carl, I'm twelve years old," said Alexa.

"So am I!" Carl replied.

"Yeah, I guess so!" said Alexa.

Carl took off a skull ring he had, and gave it to Alexa, and she put it on one of her fingers. Alexa took off a ring she wore, and gave it to Carl.

"That makes it official!" said Alexa, and they briefly kissed.

"Two little love birds, I see!" said Umbra. Alexa and Carl turned and smiled at her, knowing they had been caught. "I just finished my speech. Alexa, we're meeting in the conference room today after school to go over some things, so don't forget."

"Okay, Umbra!" Alexa replied. "Thanks."

Later that afternoon, after the last class, Alexa and the other student presidents met in the conference room. Umbra was three years older than Alexa, so she was the fourth year president. The three youngest presidents sat on one side of the table, while the older three sat on the other side. 

Verso house was represented by only two presidents, they were outnumbered four to two. Alexa had found out through other Verso house students that the elections were usually skewed in favor of Recto house.

Alexa was in charge of the minutes, that meant she had to type on the notepad on her electronic tablet. It was a huge responsibility, but the younger class presidents usually didn't have anything else to do.

"The meeting will come to order," said Sally Taron, the sixth year Recto house class president. "We have too few school dances, but as most of you know, we go all out for Halloween. We need a theme for this year's Halloween dance."

The meeting dragged on, and nobody could agree on anything, so they adjourned. Alexa uploaded the minutes to the main computer in the conference room, so the other class presidents could download them onto their electronic tablets. Not too long afterwards, Alexa went to her desk in her dorm room to study. She was approached by Stratus.

"You can't study in here, Alexa."

"Why not?" Alexa asked.

"You need to study in the library, so other first year students can access you if they have a problem to bring to your attention. It's a school policy."

"Okay, I'm going there now."

Alexa and Stratus carried their electronic tablets to the library. Carl greeted Alexa, but didn't interfere with her obligations as first year class president. There were a crowd of students waiting to ask questions to the class presidents of their respective years. There was a boy and girl waiting to speak with Alexa.

"We want to know something about relationships," said the boy. "Can first years be in a public relationship together?"

"We've heard different opinions," said the girl, "and we want to hear it straight from you."

Alexa hadn't anticipated a question like that, so she spoke to her electronic tablet, and the paragraph dealing with underage relationships displayed on the screen. Alexa read it to herself silently, then read it out loud to the couple. 

"Discreet relationships are tolerated, but boys aren't allowed in the girl's dormitory at any time, and vice versa. Couples engaged in inappropriate conduct will be referred to the head mistress. It is up to the school staff to determine what is and isn't deemed inappropriate."

"Thanks for clearing that up," said the boy. "I've seen older couples making out, but I wasn't sure about kids our age."

When the boy and girl departed, Alexa got back to doing her homework. Over the next few weeks, as September gave way to October, there were a few kids in the first year of the academy who needed help from Alexa about different things. Carl was a good boyfriend, and they never got in trouble for being together during that time. The student government meetings went on, and the students finally figured out how to best celebrate Halloween. As the holiday dance approached, Alexa asked Umbra for advice on a costume.

"You could be a goddess, or a cheerleader," Umbra replied. "You should dress up in a way that makes your boyfriend go wild!"

Alexa decided to ask Carl what he wanted her to be for Halloween. "Whatever you want," said Carl.

Alexa could see that he wasn't getting the message. "Do you want me to dress as a goddess, or as cheerleader or something, Carl?”

Carl thought about it for a few moments, then replied, "A goddess sounds cool. Anything you want to be is cool, I guess."

"What are you going as?" Alexa asked.

"Maybe a biker," Carl replied.

Umbra showed Alexa how to order several goddess costume designs from the matter duplicator, and all of the costume jewelry that came with it, such as arm bands and a tiara. Umbra warned Alexa about one of the costumes, but she had it duplicated any way. Alexa took her costumes to her dorm and tried one of them on. She looked at herself in the mirror, but wasn't sure if she liked this design. She decided to let her captive decide. She took the terrarium down from the shelf and got her shrunken man, and placed him on her desk.

"How does this costume look one me?" Alexa asked. "My boyfriend is a twelve year old boy, and I don't want to over-do it."

The shrunken man took a whole minute to look Alexa over. She had a Roman style girl's tunic that showed her navel. The costume jewelry looked extremely realistic, and her hair was held in place by a golden tiara. The skirt was extremely short, showing her upper thighs.

"Well, what's the verdict?" Alexa asked.

"It's too provocative for a twelve year old," said the shrunken man. "Do you have another design you want to try on?"

"Yes," Alexa answered, and went to change into one of her other costumes. Her captive remained on the desk, knowing there would be no escape. Within five minutes, Alexa was back. The shrunken man looked her over. Her navel was covered this time, and the skirt was much lower, about the same as the length of the tennis skirt that was part of the school uniforms. It did bare more of her shoulder, however.

"This is much better," said the captive. "That other costume could've gotten you detention!"

Alexa scooped up her captive and returned him to the terrarium, then went out onto the hallway dressed in her Roman goddess costume. She stopped a girl in the hallway, and asked her to go get Stratus. A minute or two later, Stratus arrived, and looked her over. The two girls went inside Alexa's dorm room.

"This is the other one, my captive said it was too inappropriate for someone my age," said Alexa.

"I agree," said Stratus. "The one you have on is good, the other one could get you into trouble with the school staff."

Alexa laughed, and that made Stratus laugh. "Umbra warned me about the other costume, but I had it duplicated any way."

"It would be good to wear if you were sixteen or older, but not at our age," said Stratus.

The following weekend was Halloween, and Alexa was excited. It would be her first school dance, and she would be going with her first boyfriend. She changed back into her school uniform, and went to the library with her electronic tablet to study. Carl met her there. They had been texting on their communicators every evening, and they both knew a lot about each other. When she returned to the Verso common room, Stratus approached her.

"How are things going with your boyfriend?" Stratus asked.

"Great!" Alexa replied.

"How does he compare to Santiago?"

"They're about the same, but I never went out with Santiago," Alexa replied. "But I wanted to. I've had a crush on him since I was eleven."

"It's not good to crush on ephemerals," said Stratus. "My sister can show you how to use the library computers to find out the destiny of Santiago, and any of your other old school mates."

"I don't think so," said Alexa. "I believe in charting my own path in life, I don't want to believe that we all have some inescapable destiny in life. There might come a day when I'll want to marry Santiago, and what if I checked the library computer and found out that he gets married to someone else?"

"If your parents are like my parents, they won't approve of you marrying an ephemeral," said Stratus.

"I don't care what they think," said Alexa. "If they didn't want me marrying an ephemeral, then they should've told me I was a Futurian before I fell in love with one! How old were you when you found out?"

"I was about six," Stratus replied.

"You see?" said Alexa. "I was never given that opportunity. I found out a few days before the first day of class."

"How would things have been different if you had known?" Stratus asked.

"I don't know," Alexa replied. "But it would've been better than not knowing at all!"

"I have an older sister about seven years older than me, and she is the oldest kid in my family. She already graduated, but she found out like you did, the weekend before her first year at the academy."

"How did she deal with it?" Alexa asked.

"She became very rebellious. She is the reason Umbra and I became Verso house members, that's how she got back at my parents. When my parents went to the academy, they were strictly Recto house."

"How did your parents take it?"

"There was nothing they could do. That's why they informed my sister and me long before we were going to be students here, so we might join Recto house, but it didn't work. My oldest sister rubbed off on us too much, so we joined Verso house. She even influenced my cousin Gamma to join Verso house."

"Your family history is interesting, Stratus," said Alexa. "If your parents hadn't lied to your oldest sister, I wouldn't have had any of you as friends here at the academy! You all would've joined Recto house!”

Chapter 11: Halloween by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 11: Halloween

The six class presidents finally decided on how Halloween would be celebrated. As they sat in the conference room, Alexa took the minutes as usual. Both members of Verso house, Alexa and Umbra, wanted to allow students to bring their shrunken captives to the Halloween dance. All but one member of Recto house were opposed, so they were tied three to three.

Umbra addressed the group. "The faculty has left the decision of allowing shrunken captives at the Halloween dance completely up to us, but our votes are deadlocked. Two years ago, captives were allowed at the Halloween dance, and it was great. I think it's good for captives to socialize with each other. The older captives who have been around longer can teach the new conquests that escape is futile, and they can show the younger captives how to better serve their owners."

"Two years ago," began Sally Taron, one of the Recto house presidents, "a group of captives tried to escape from the Halloween dance. That's why they weren't allowed at the dance last year."

"But they were easily re-captured," Umbra replied. "I don't think it will be a problem this year, because we know in advance how they almost got away two years ago." 

"What about gambling?" Sally asked. "I was here two years ago, and might I remind you that it was Verso house students who were caught gambling with their captives, which is strictly against academy rules!"

"I can make an announcement at the dance," said Umbra. "You need to chill out! You're acting like you're faculty. The good far outweighs the bad, we need captives to socialize with each other at least once or twice a year."

"If we vote to allow captives at the dance," Sally continued, "and things get out of hand again, it would make all of us look bad."

They voted a second time, and since two of the Recto house presidents were in favor, the presidents who wanted captives to be allowed at the party won four to two. When the meeting was adjourned and Alexa uploaded the minutes to the conference room computer, one of the Recto house presidents approached her.

"I just wanted to say, last year at the Halloween dance we couldn't bring captives, and the year before we could. I thought it made the party better when we had captives. There was a special table for them, and everything!"

"What do the captives do?" Alexa asked.

"They just socialize with each other," said the boy. "Two years ago there was some gambling taking place, and some girls won captives from other students during a dice game, and gambling isn't allowed on campus. That's why having captives at the Halloween party was banned a year later."

That afternoon after her last class, Alexa went to the campus store with her credit card to buy a portable container to carry her captive in to the dance. It was metallic, with air holes punched into the top. It was just the right size for an inch tall man to fit inside of. She used her credit card to pay, then took it back to her dorm. It had a chain, so she could wear it like a necklace. The lid screwed on, so escape would be impossible for someone tiny enough to fit inside of the container.

She set the container in a drawer, and took her electronic tablet and went to the library to study and do homework. That coming weekend was the Halloween dance, and she was eagerly anticipating it. When the day of the dance finally arrived, Alexa got dressed in her goddess costume after her last class. She put her captive in the portable container and wore it like a necklace. She went into the Verso common room, and everyone else were in costumes. There were girls dressed as princesses, goddesses, and superheroines; there were some girls dressed as cheerleaders or gothic girls.

When she entered the dance hall, she was astounded by how fantastic everything looked. There were long tables with table cloth and every kind of snack food and beverage imaginable, and a long table set aside for shrunken captives. Verso house was on one side of the dance hall, where the table the captives were on was located. Recto house students mainly stayed on the other side of the dance hall.

Alexa noticed the dramatic difference between the costumes worn by the Verso girls, compared to the Recto girls. The verso girls wore outfits that showed a lot more shoulders, arms and legs, while the Recto house girls were more covered up. The Recto house girls were dressed as judges, business women and traditional scary costumes, such as witches and monsters.

Umbra stood at a podium in the back of the dance hall, and made an announcement. "This is a message to all students, we're allowed to have captives here tonight, so please don't ruin it by gambling with them, which is strictly against school rules. Last year we couldn't have captives at the Halloween dance because of the rowdy behaviour of a few bad apples the year before, please don't ruin it for next year!"

Umbra stepped away from the podium and greeted Alexa.

"I brought my captive, did you bring yours?" Umbra asked.

Alexa took off her portable container and unscrewed the lid, then dumped her tiny captive out onto her palm.

"I forgot how cute he is!" said Umbra. "Put him on this table with the others."

Alexa did as Umbra instructed. There were about two dozen captives on the table.

"Umbra," Alexa asked, "I noticed that most of the Verso girls are dressed in costumes that are more provocative, while the Recto house girls seem to be dressed more conservatively."

"Yes, that's a Verso house tradition," said Umbra. "We don't try to dress like monsters or ghouls, we try to impress the boys!"

Alexa smiled when she heard this. As more students brought captives of their own, the number of captives increased. Carl approached Alexa, dressed as a biker.

"Hi, Alexa," said Carl. ‘Would you like me to get you some fruit punch or lemonade?"

"Sure!" Alexa replied, "Lemonade would be fine." Carl used the ladle to scoop out some lemonade for her. Alexa took the cup and drank from it.

"I brought my captive, do you want to see him?" Alexa asked.

"Sure!" Carl replied. Alexa found her captive and picked him up, then showed him to Carl.

"Did you hear the captives tried to unionize?" Carl asked.

"Are you serious?" Alexa asked.

"I'm just kidding," said Carl with a smile. "I can't believe you fell for that!"

"You're such a practical joker," said Alexa. "I guess that will never get old."

While Alexa and Carl socialized, Alexa's captive Terry got to know some of the other captives. He had already been introduced to Umbra's captive, a man in his 30's. His name was Joe.

"How long have you been Umbra's captive?"

"Since the end of her first year at the academy," said Joe. "I was hitting up girls on social media, and she made friends with me. I agreed to meet her somewhere, and she shrunk me with a neutrino dissimilator."

"Same thing happened to me," said Terry. "I was at a miniature golf course hanging out at the arcade, when this twelve year old girl shrunk me."

"Did you meet her online?" Joe asked.

"Yeah," Terry replied, "I kind of wish I had never heard of the Internet!"

Carl held Alexa's hand. "There's teachers all over this dance hall," said Carl. "There's nowhere in here where we can get some privacy!"

"Why, did you want to kiss me?" Alexa asked.

"Yeah, but not with the Gestapo watching our every move!" Carl replied.

Back on the captive table, Alexa's captive Terry was conspiring with Joe, Umbra's captive. "So, you've been here longer," said Joe, "what are the chances of escape?"

"You might as well forget escape," said Joe. "It's so close to impossible that nobody has ever succeeded."

"Has anyone ever tried?" Terry asked.

"I know of a group that tried two years ago, they were won by a senior girl in a dice game, there were about three of them. They made it to the courtyard during the Halloween dance, but they got rounded up pretty quickly. We all have subcutaneous transponders built into our bodies, they're microscopic, but easy for the normal sized people to track us."

"Is there a bright side to any of this?" Terry asked.

"We might live a lot longer than we normally would've," Joe replied, "these Futurians live basically forever, and since they made us immortal when they shrunk us, we can live a pretty long time, too. The only downside is getting swallowed."

"I already got swallowed by Alexa once," said Terry, "How many times have you been swallowed?"

"Too many times to count," Joe replied.

Alexa listened to her captive talk to Umbra's captive. She smiled as she thought about what Umbra had said at the meeting, that the older and wier captives would teach the younger captives to never try to escape from their owners, and she was right. 

Stratus, her brother and Gamma arrived slightly late. Stratum was dressed as a pirate. He went straight over to the Recto side of the dance hall and started conversation with a cute Recto girl. Stratus was dressed as a harem dancer, and Gamma was dressed as a witch. Stratus looked at the captives and asked Alexa, "Did you bring yours?"

"Yeah," Alexa replied. "He's on the table getting schooled by Umbra's captive. He's learning the three T's: There's no possiblity of escape, there's no hope of escape, and there's no chance of escape."

"Aren't those all the same thing?" Stratus asked.

"Yeah, I guess," Alexa replied. "I was just being goofy."

A group of Verso girls who were a year or two older than Alexa and Stratus approached them, their names were Flux and Ion. They were dressed as superheroines in bright primary colored costumes.

"Which one of you has a captive?" Flux, the oldest girl asked.

"I do," said Alexa.

"I'll bet you a captive that you can't swallow yours faster than I can swallow mine!"

"I'm class president, and we're not allowed to gamble, it's school policy," Alexa replied.

"Are you too scared?" Flux asked as she stroked Alexa's cheek. "Captives are hard to come by, if you win, it'll be worth your while!"

"But if I lose, I'll be very upset," said Alexa. "I'm very close with my captive, and I don't think he would appreciate being owned by someone like you!"

Ion, the other of the two girls, said: "She's too much of a baby, all the first year girls are like that!”

Alexa said, "Where are you a superheroine at, strip club city? Your costume leaves little to the imagination!"

The older girls departed, laughing in their wake.

"Don't let them get to you, Lexie!" said Stratus. "You need to set a good example because you're class president."

"You should keep an eye on them, Lexie!" said Gamma. "If they tried to gamble with you, they'll probably try to gamble with someone else. They could get this whole dance shut down!"

"I'll keep an eye on them," Alexa replied.

"That was a good comeback, by the way," said Stratus.

"Thanks!" said Alexa. "I always wanted to be a lawyer, so I got good at comebacks."

Meanwhile, Alexa's captive, Terry, was still talking to Umbra's captive, Joe. 

"I'm still not sure about all of this," said Terry. "Can you fill me in on what exactly happened to us?"

"We're toys now," Joe replied. "We're alive, and we're flesh and blood, but we're regarded as toys. When your owner is thirty years old, you will still belong to her, and you won't be a day older than you are now."

"What happens when she's eighty?" Terry asked.

"You'll still be the same age, and they stop aging around twenty-five, if I'm not mistaken."

"How do they pass as regular people in the real world if they're immortal?" Terry asked.

"They come over to this reality for a while, then they return to the real world with a different identity. At some point, they won't need to do that, because immortality will be discovered in the real world."

Not too long after Alexa's encounter with the two older girls from Verso house who wanted to gamble with her, they successfully challenged a second year girl to the bet. A crowd gathered around them, and they both tried to swallow their captive at the same time, with a cup of fruit punch to help them swallow their captives faster.

The older girl was faster, and beat the younger girl by three seconds; one of the students had a stopwatch. After they used a neural stimulator to vomit up their captives, the older girl grabbed the captive she won from the younger girl and departed.

Alexa got there just as the girls who had been gambling left, and realized she might be in a position to inform the faculty, but an older Recto class president did it first. The head mistress shut down the dance early because of the gambling, and everyone went back to their dorms.

Chapter 12: Thanksgiving by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 12: Thanksgiving

The six class presidents cleaned the dance hall after everyone went back to their dorms. There wasn't a lot to do, because the cleaning androids did most of the heavy work, but there were some things such as taking down posters and designs that made the work go by more quickly. When they were done, Alexa took her shrunken captive and placed him in the flask that she wore around her neck, and screwed the lid on, then walked back to her dorm.

For the next three weeks, Alexa did good with her studies, even getting top marks in her recovery of lost technology club, which gave her extra credit that added to her grade point average. During the last club session, which was on the Monday before Thanksgiving break, the teacher gave the class an ultimatum.

"You must try to develop a plausible theory for establishing an alternate timeline using what you have learned so far about Futurian technology. This assignment is due the Monday after Thanksgiving break!"

When the club let out, Alexa had no clue how to complete the assignment. None of the other kids knew, either. When Wednesday came and the last class was over, Alexa packed her baggage and headed to the garage where Ozymandias was waiting to take the students back to their homes for Thanksgiving. When it was her turn, she got in and greeted the driver, and arrived at her home soon afterwards.

She was greeted sat the front door by her mother. "Did you bring your shrunken captive?" she asked.

"No, Umbra said I wouldn't be gone long enough, so I should leave him behind. But I'll bring him on Christmas break! We get two whole weeks off from school." 

After putting her baggage away in her bedroom, Alexa went into the kitchen and looked around. A huge turkey was thawing out in the sink, and she could see other food items in the refrigerator that meant Thanksgiving was near. There were six boxes of stuffing, and plenty of potatoes.

As she shut the refrigerator door, she got a sense of vertigo, just as she had in the bathroom in her dorm when she had journeyed to that alternate reality to meet with Morgan Lefevre. When she turned around, the kitchen was a mirror image of itself; everything was arranged as if someone had took a photograph and reversed the negative, then developed it. She could see the calendar, with the writing and numerals reversed.

Just then, Morgan Lefevre emerged from another room. "Greetings, Alexa!"

"Professor Lefevre?" Alexa asked. "What are you doing here?"

"I've been monitoring you, and I wanted to inform you of some breakthroughs I've developed. It has been longer from my perspective since I last saw you than it has since you've seen me. I know how to establish a parallel reality!"

"What do you need from me?" Alexa asked.

"On Christmas break, when you have more time here, I will take you to a halfway point between my reality and the reality of the academy. I know of a way so that Futurians won't be duplicated when I establish the new timeline. But until then, I wanted to give you this flash drive," Morgan Lefevre handed it to Alexa, "This has the schematics for a simplified version of the timeline generator, so you can turn it in to your recovery of lost technology club. I can't have you returning empty handed!"

"Thank you, Professor Lefevre! You're not risking the faculty at the academy finding out your secrets, are you?"

"The schematics I've given you are an earlier design that I was using a few years ago, but they won't be able to duplicate my latest breakthrough. I just want you to get ahead in school so you can become my apprentice!"

Morgan Lefevre turned and walked into the hallway connected to the kitchen, then the room switched back to the way it was supposed to be. Alexa held onto the refrigerator as this happened, to avoid getting dizzy. 

Her mother entered the kitchen and asked, "What are you doing in here, Lexie?"

"I just couldn't make my mind up whether I wanted a bottle of water, or a soda," Alexa replied. Alexa opened the fridge and grabbed a bottle of water. "See? I made my decision." Alexa opened the cap of the bottle, and took a swig. "I'm going to the park to hang out with my friends."

Twenty minutes later, Alexa was at the park, walking around. Santiago showed up to play basketball with his friends, but took a break to talk to Alexa.

"How is that academy you're attending?" Santiago asked.

"It's great," Alexa replied, "you wouldn't believe how grreat it is there. The whole school is divided into two factions, Verso and Recto. The verso students want to take over the world, and are outnumbered by the Recto students, who want to maintain the status quo."

"Let me guess, you're in Verso house?" Santiago asked.

"How did you know?" Alexa replied.

"I've known you for a long time," Santiago replied. "One of the reasons I developed a crush on you is because you're kind of evil. You're not like other girls who just live to please me."

"How long have you had a crush on me?" Alexa asked.

"About two years," Santiago replied.

"I've had a crush on you since fifth grade," said Alexa. "But the bad news for you is that I've got a boyfriend now, at my school. His name is Carl. My parents don't want me dating ephemerals."

"Ephemerals?" Santiago asked.

"That's the term for people like you, whose ancestors didn't come from the distant future."

"So we don't have a future together?" Santiago asked.

"I'm leaving all of my options open," Alexa replied. "At the academy, there is a way of checking the school database to find out about events that haven't happened yet. Anything that will occur over the next one hundred years is ancient history to the academy, so I can find out who you eventually will get married to, how long you will live, and any other things I might want to know.”

"So what did you find out about me?" Santiago asked.

"That's the whole point," Alexa replied, "I didn't bother to look. I refuse to believe my destiny is bound by choices I'll be forced to make when I'm older. I want to be in command of my own destiny!"

"You sound wise," said Santiago.

"I'm not in love with the boy I'm dating at the academy, I just think he's cute. I'm still keeping you on the back burner as a possibility. My parents can try to control me now, but once I turn eighteen, I'm free to make my own choices."

"What else is different about your new school?" Santiago asked.

"There is a woman called the Dark Mistress who wants to take over the world, so people like us will rule as a race of gods!" Alexa grabbed the pendant on her neck, and held it aloft for Santiago to see. "See this? It's a transponder, if the dark Mistress takes me to a parallel reality, the school should be able to track her down, but so far, it doesn't work. Her technology is too far advanced compared to the science of the academy."

"How could their technology be further behind than hers?" Santiago asked.

"She's a scientist, and she's been working on recovering technology that was lost when our ancestors traveled back in time during that time warp. She was just better at it than they are." Alexa pulled out the flash drive given to her earlier by Morgan Lefevre. "See this? The Dark Mistress gave this to me. It's supposed to help me get a better grade on a school assignment."

"You've been contacted by the Dark Mistress?" Santiago asked.

"Yes, she wants me to be her apprentice. I was wondering what your thoughts were on all of that."

Santiago took the flash drive and held it in his hand. "If she took over the world, what would happen to me?"

"I'm not sure," said Alexa. "Either a parallel reality would be created we would rule over your duplicates, and you would be unaffected. Or, a duplicate reality would be created and there would be a reality splice, and you would trade futures with your counterparts in the other reality."

"So we would become enslaved in the second option?" Santiago asked.

Alexa nodded her head in agreement.

"I'm going to tell you this, and you can make your own decisions, Lexie. It's different when your talking about role playing games or childhood fantasies, but you're in a situation where real people could get hurt. I know what's going on, but there are no people I can turn to who can help me, anyone I talked to about this whole situation would think I was mentally ill, like my Cousin Hector. You're going to find yourself in a situation where you are the one who decides whether real people get hurt or not. I believe in you enough to know that You'll make the right decision."

Santiago handed her back the flash drive.

"I'm surprised you gave it back," said Alexa. "I thought you would try to throw it, or stomp on it."

"I trust your judgement," Santiago replied.

At Thanksgiving dinner the next afternoon, as Alexa's dad carved the turkey, Mrs. Lockport asked Alexa a question as she passed the potatoes.

"So, when do we get to meet your shrunken captive?"

"I left him at my dorm, I'll bring him when I come home for Christmas break."

"I had a shrunken man once," said Mrs. Lockport.

"What happened to him?" Alexa asked.

"I lost him gambling," said Mrs. Lockport.

"Gambling?" Alexa asked. "I thought you and dad were in Recto house, and you could do no wrong."

"I had my wild days," Mrs. Lockport replied, as her husband smiled at her.

It was a four day weekend, so Alexa downloaded the timeline schematics given to her by Professor Lefevre onto her electronic tablet. She stayed in her bedroom most of the day studying the theory. When she felt she had absorbed all she could, she wrote up a thesis based on the theory and had it ready for the recovery of lost technology club on Monday.

When she returned to the academy Sunday night, she uploaded her thesis onto the club computer system and waited. After her last class on Monday, she went to the club to see the results of posting the theory. The instructor approached Alexa.

"The thesis you uploaded was incredible! I've shown it to the other science experts who are faculty members here at the academy, and we're just astounded! Alexa, how did you arrive at such a sophisticated level of scientific expertise?"

"My dad is an engineer," Alexa replied, "and some of his skills must've rubbed off on me."

"I want to get you in as a science adviser on the project the Futurian scientists are working on! We could really use your skills!"

"Thank you, professor!" said Alexa. "Does this mean I get an A?"

"An A?" the instructor asked. "If I could give you a higher grade, I would! You deserve much more than an A!"

Later that afternoon, at the Verso girl's common room, Alexa was surrounded by older girls who heard about what happened in the club. Ion and Flux, the two girls who had challenged Alexa to a contest at the Halloween dance were there.

"So you're an expert on alternate timelines?" Ion asked.

"They say I'm the best," Alexa replied.

"Can you help me with my temporal mechanics homework?" Flux asked.

"What's in it for me?" Alexa asked.

"Don't even bother asking her," said Hellion. "She cheated on that exam in neutrino dissimilator class, and I think she cheated with this, as well!"

"How did I cheat?" Alexa asked.

"Everyone knows you're working with the Dark Mistress," said Hellion. "Nobody wears a transponder pendant unless they have ties to the dark side!"

"Prove it!" said Alexa.

"I don't have to, everyone here knows it," said Hellion. "Unless they're too gullible to see the truth!"

"I never cheated on that test in neutrino dissimilator class!" said Alexa.

"Even if you didn't cheat that time, it doesn't really matter!" said Hellion. "Because all the signs are there that you're working for the Dark Mistress!" Hellion stormed out of the room.

"Lexie," said Stratus, "if you are working for Morgan Lefevre, remember me when the new order is established! I want to be your second in command!”

Chapter 13: Winter Break by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 13: Winter Break

For the next several weeks, Alexa studied and went to her classes. She tried to stay away from Hellion, because at least one of her accusations was true; Alexa was in fact working for Morgan Lefevre. She did well in all of her classes, and was very intuitive in the recovery of lost technology club. As time went on, the weather got colder and Winter arrived. There were days when it was cold and rainy, and Alexa wore wool leotards under her skirt to keep her legs warm. Most days after the last class, the Verso girls sat in the common room drinking hot chocolate.

Before long, it was time for Winter break. The students would get two weeks off from school when they could return home to their families. The week of Christmas, and the week of New Year's. When it came time to leave, Alexa packed her bags and used her neutrino dissimilator to shrink her terrarium, along with her shrunken captive. She stored the shrunken terrarium inside a backpack.

She caught a ride on the rocket sled with Ozymandias, and returned to her home in Southern California. The rocket sled pulled up and dropped her off early enough in the morning to avoid drawing attention. 

Alexa put her things away in her room, then took out her terrarium. From reading the technical manual for the class she took about neutrino dissimilators, Alexa knew that if she re-enlarged the terrarium with the shrunken captive inside, he would be restored to normal size. She took him out, then re-enlarged the terrarium. The shrunken man was on a much smaller scale than he had been when she first miniaturized him; he stood about as tiny as an ant. In order to re-enlarge him, Alexa would need to restore him to normal size momentarily, change the setting on her shrink ray gun, then pull the trigger and reduce him to an inch tall once again.

Alexa could have gotten her mother to help her with a second shrink ray gun, but she thought she could do it on her own. When the shrunken captive was restored to normal size, he bolted for the door. Before Alexa could change the setting and aim, he was on his way out the front door and running down the sidewalk. Alexa grabbed her communicator, because it had an app that allowed her to track a transponder injected into her captive when he was first shrunk. She used it to track his location.

Alexa ran out the front door, and followed him with her communicator in one hand, and the neutrino dissimilator in the other. Terry didn't know the neighborhood Alexa's parents lived in, but instinctively, he headed toward the park, which wasn't far away from Alexa's home. He was much faster than Alexa, but eventually, he got tired by the time he reached the park. 

Alexa was in great shape, so she caught up with him quickly, and fired the shrink ray gun. He was instantly reduced to an inch tall. Alexa approached him and towered over him.

"Don't ever try to do that again!" Alexa commanded, as she bent over and picked him up. Just as she turned to leave, Santiago ran up to her.

"Lexie!" said Santiago.

Alexa wasn't sure if she should show Santiago the captive or not; up until now, everything she had told him about the academy could have been dismissed as the ramblings of a lunatic. If Alexa ever wanted to play that card, she never could if she showed Santiago the shrunken captive.

"Look!" said Alexa, "This is my shrunken man. I had to re-size him, but when I wanted to return him to an inch tall, I had to restore him to normal size, and when I did, he tried to get away. I've got him now, it won't happen again."

"I made the mistake of telling my parents about the academy you're attending, and they think you're playing a practical joke on me," said Santiago. "Their other theory is that you're crazy like my cousin Hector. They basically convinced me that everything you said about being from the future is untrue, but now that I've seen your captive, I know you were telling the truth!"

"Just don't tell them any more about what I tell you or show you about the academy," Alexa replied. Santiago agreed to keep everything a secret from here on out. 

When Alexa returned home, her parents were concerned about ephemerals finding out about Alexa's captive, but Alexa reassured them that everything would be fine. She went to her room and set her shrunken captive on her dresser, which was long and horizontal.

"You're not to do that ever again!" Alexa demanded, slamming her fist down. "What if someone saw you? How would I explain you to a police officer?"

"I saw my chance and ran with it!" said Terry the captive. "You would've done the same in my position!"

"But I'm not in your position!" said Alexa. "You belong to me now, you will never return to your former life! Don't you realize that the only reason I found you is because the academy computers have you listed as missing after the date I acquired you?"

Alexa lifted her captive above her head and opened her mouth. "To my belly with you! Maybe that will teach you some obedience!" Alexa dropped him onto her tongue and closed her mouth, then swallowed firmly. He went plunging down her esophagus and splashed down in her stomach. It was dark in there, but he didn't need air to survive because of the immortality imbued by the shrink ray to anyone who gets shrunk. 

Alexa played video games for half an hour, and by that time she had forgotten that she had a shrunken man inside of her stomach. This thought made her laugh out loud. She then decided to vomit her captive back up. She got a bucket from the bathroom and used her neural stimulator to activate the gag reflex area of her brain, and her captive came forcefully out of her mouth, into the bucket. Alexa rinsed him off in the bathroom sink, then placed him in the terrarium. She went to the bathroom and cleaned the bucket really well, then returned it to its place under the sink.

Alexa returned to the living room, and watched television with her parents.

"Mom, why don't we have Futurian technology in our house?"

"We don't want ephemerals to find out about us," Mrs. Lockport replied. "Your father is an engineer at a company, and all of his associates are ephemerals."

Mr. Lockport added: "Now that you know you're a Futurian, when you're older we can take you on vacations with other Futurians. We know of other places where we can really let loose with our advanced technology."

When Christmas day came, Alexa helped her mother peel potatoes in the kitchen, and did the dishes as they were used so her mother could keep the kitchen presentable as she cooked Christmas dinner. When they sat down to dinner, there was a huge turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and home made buttermilk biscuits. For dessert there was apple pie and pumpkin pie.

When everyone was done eating, they were stuffed. It wasn't dark yet when Alexa went to her bedroom. She felt the same sense of vertigo as she did when Morgan Lefevre had summoned her in the past. The room was now the mirror image of the way it normally was. Alexa turned and looked at the closet and Morgan Lefevre was standing there.

"It is time to put the plan into action," said Morgan. "Now we shall rule as gods over the ephemeral world!"

'What do you need from me?" Alexa asked.

"When you return to the academy, I want you to set off this device," Morgan pulled out a cylindrical machine from a duffel bag. "Take this with you and don't let the faculty know that you have it, or what it is. This will prevent anyone in that reality from being duplicated when I set of the timeline generator."

"What about the Futurians in this reality?" Alexa asked. "I don't want my parents getting duplicated."

"I already have satellites in orbit in another dimension that will prevent Futurians on Earth from getting duplicated in the alternate timeline," said Morgan. "I have one more device that I want to give you, Lexie!" Morgan pulled another small device from the duffel bag. "This machine will allow you to abort the launch sequence that will activate my alternate timeline generator."

"When do you plan on launching the alternate timeline?" Alexa asked.

"After all the students and faculty are back on campus, about 48 hours after you return to the academy."

"Why do you want me to control the abort sequencer?" Alexa asked.

"I don't," Morgan replied, "I want you to activate the alternate reality generator. This device will allow you to do that, but I also have an abort function in case something goes wrong!"

"Victoria, the head mistress, said that if your plans don't go the way you expect, you're just going to kick me to the curb."

"On the contrary!" Morgan replied. "If I get captured by the faculty, you will have the abort sequencer to stop the launch, so in their eyes, you'll be the hero of the day! Then I can utilize you in the future, when I try this again!"

Alexa didn't appear confident. "How exactly will your plan work?"

"The device I invented and constructed is a reality splicer," Morgan replied. "The alternate timeline generator will establish a new timeline where we will rule over the ephemerals as gods. The reality splicer will switch the future of the reality on Earth as you know it with the future of the alternate timeline."

"So back on Earth, we will rule, but in the opposite reality, that will be the future we came from?"

"Precisely!" said Morgan. "We will the switch the futures of both realities! The reason I gave you the schematics of the timeline generator is because I wanted the faculty of the academy to be thrown off by what I was really working on, a way to splice realities. With my plan, I will be able to control the future of both realities, once we reach eight-hundred thousand A.D. through the process of aging, I will rule everywhere!"

"I hope I don't let you down," said Alexa.

"I will now return you to your reality," said Morgan, and Alexa got a sense of vertigo again and when she snapped out of it, she was back in her own bedroom. She hid the two devices Morgan gave her in her closet. Alexa's parents never knew she had been gone. She sat with them in the living room and watched television with them.

On new year's eve, Alexa met up with Santiago at the park. It would soon be time to return to the academy, and she wanted to catch up on what had been happening in his life. When he wad done sharing his personal experiences, he asked Alexa about her recent experiences.

"Morgan Lefevre wants me to help her with her plans," said Alexa.

"She wants you to help her take over the world?" Santiago asked.

"Yes, she asked me to activate something of hers when I return to the academy. Alexa went on to explain everything Morgan had told her when she brought her into a parallel world the other day.

"I guess there's no reason for you not to go along with her plan," said Santiago, "but I hope for my sake you consider what I told you on Thanksgiving break."

"I remember what you said," said Alexa. "But I'm divided. If I go along with Morgan's plan for world domination, I'll get everything I've always wanted, absolute power. But if I do that, I know my friends will be in a bad position."

"I hope you make the right decision!" said Santiago. "I know that will be hard for you, you're the most dominant person I know, out of the friends I grew up with. But if not for me, think of Roxie and Tricia, and our families!"

"That's the only reason I would choose not to go through with this!" said Alexa. "But like I said, I haven't made a final decision yet."

"Can Morgan do anything to you if you defy her?" Santiago asked.

"She has more technology than the faculty of the academy," Alexa replied, "but I still think they can imprison her if they capture her. Other than that, I don't know. We're dealing with immortal people who can manipulate time, so even if they locked her up for twenty years, what is to stop her from returning to my time to enlist my aid on another evil plan?"

"Maybe they can modify her behavior," said Santiago. "To rehabilitate her or something."

"I'm sure the people running the academy can do something like that, it's just a matter of whether or not it's against their rules and laws.

Chapter 14: New Year’s Traditions by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 14: New Year's Traditions

When New Year's Eve arrived, Alexa invited Roxie and Tricia over for a sleepover. Before they arrived, her parents forced her to hide the terrarium in her parent's bedroom closet. They were unaware that Alexa had already told them about being a Futurian. They brought sleeping bags and blankets, and camped out on the bedroom carpet of Alexa's bedroom.

They helped Alexa's mother bake brownies and other goodies in the kitchen. There was sparkling cider and root beer, and Alexa's parents ordered pizza. Roxie and Tricia gossiped about kids that Alexa had grown up with, and informed Alexa about which girls liked a particular boy, or which boys and girls had become couples at Shorecrest junior high. When the countdown came on television, all three girls watched the television in the living room as Alexa's parents styed in their bedroom, and watched the countdown on the television in their room.

"Now it's time to talk about boys," said Roxie. "Alexa, you mentioned having a boyfriend. What is he like?"

"He's cute!" Alexa replied. "I'm in Verso house, and he's in Recto house, but we get along. If students from Recto tried to haze us, my boyfriend would warn me."

"Has that ever happened?" Roxie asked.

"No, not yet," said Alexa. "But from what I've heard from the older girls, it happens from time to time."

"Would you do the same for him?" Tricia asked.

"No!" Alexa replied, "I wouldn't betray Verso house!" 

Tricia laughed and threw a couch pillow at Alexa. "Still the same Lexie!" said Tricia.

"Who do you like better, Santiago or Carl?” Roxie asked.

"I admit I have a bigger crush on Santiago," Alexa replied, "but my parents only want me to date guys from my academy. Carl is nice, but he's too nice of a guy. I want someone more adventurous, someone who will stand up to me if I'm ever in the wrong."

"Santiago is nice, too," said Tricia. "What's the difference?"

"Santiago isn't afraid to stand up to me," said Alexa. "I need that from a guy. Carl pulled a prank on me when I first met him, but other than that, he's just this really nice guy who let's me have my way."

The morning came for Alexa to return to the academy. She used her neutrino dissimilator to miniaturize the terrarium, so it and her shrunken captive could fit inside of her backpack. She also shrunk the duffel bag given to her by Morgan Lefevre. The rocket sled arrived, and Ozymandias took her luggage and placed it all in the trunk. They took off for the academy, and Alexa disembarked and walked with her luggage to her dorm.

Once inside her dorm, she unpacked and set the miniaturized terrarium on the desk, then went and got Stratus, and told her to bring her neutrino dissimilator. When Alexa got her shrunken captive and placed him on the desk, She re-enlarged the terrarium, and had Stratus aim her neutrino dssimilator pistol at the captive as Alexa briefly re-enlarged him to normal size. The instant he was normal size, Stratus reduced him down to an inch tall, the size he was supposed to be at.

"He got away when I tried to re-size him at my house in Southern California," said Alexa. 

"You should always have another person with you with a second neutrino dissimilator gun when you're re-sizing your captive."

"I know that now," Alexa replied. "I don't know how I could be so stupid!"

"Did ayone see you re-capture him?" Stratus asked.

"Just a boy I know," said Alexa. "But he already knows I'm from the future, I know him really well."

"You need to be careful about who you trust in the ephemeral world," said Stratus. "For all you know, that boy could grow up to be famous and he might mention the Futurians. Exactly how many people do you know who you've told about us?"

"Three," said Alexa. "Santiago, and my two best friends, Roxie and Tricia."

"Don't tell anyone else," said Stratus.

"I won't," said Alexa as she grabbed her captive and returned him to the terrarium. 

Stratus turned to leave, then said, "Did you punish your captive for trying to escape?"

"Yeah," Alexa replied, "I swallowed him and kept him in my belly for half an hour!"

Both girls started laughing at this, then Stratus left. When she was gone, Alexa got the duffel bag given to her by Morgan, and set it pn her desk. She used her neutrino dissimilator pistol to re-enlarge the two electronic devices Morgan had given to her, then activated the transponder as she had been directed to do. Now, it was only a matter of time before the plans of the Dark Mistress came to fruition.

She hid the two electronic devices inside of a drawer, then went about her day. Since it was a Sunday and there were no classes, she decided to go to the library to study for upcoming classes. There were girls and boys from both Recto and Verso houses there, and most of the kids were socializing rather than studying.

They were so loud that Alexa couldn't concentrate, so she went to see what all of the commotion was about. There were a group of kids, both boys and girls, watching a group of captives go through an obstacle course. There was a wooden box with an open top, filled halfway with water. Two wooden slats extended from one end of the box to the opposite end, and a shrunken captive was on each slat. The goal was for each shrunken man to reach the other side without falling into the water, but to make it more difficult, their owners were twisting the wooden slats so it was more difficult to get across.

A boy about two years older than Alexa and his captive were manning one slat, and a girl about the same age as him was manning the other. Alexa could see that the boy was a Recto house student, and the girl wass a Verso house student. There was a digital scorekeeper, with points for Verso and points for Recto. Alexa could see that Recto was ahead by one point.

"What's going on?" Alexa asked. "You guys aren't gambling, are you?"

"We're not gambling, if you would pay attention to what's going on around you," said Hellion.

Umbra took Alexa aside. "Nobody is gambling, this is an annual tradition here. Every new year, when we first get back on campus, we have a friendly competition in the library, with both houses competing against each other. There are several different obstacle courses. You can get your captive to play, if you want."

Alexa ran to her dorm and retrieved Terry, her shrunken captive. When she returned, she placed him on the gaming table to reserve her spot. When it came time for her turn, there was an onstacle course where the captives were forced to retrieve certain items that were hidden inside a wooden box with no lid. There were obstacles inside the box that obscured the view of the items being retrieved. The items were coins from various contries and tokens. There were two small ladders on either side of the inside of the box, and each captive had to climb up the ladder with the token or coin, and toss it over into a bowl on each side. While they were trying to accomplish this, their owners tried to rattle and shake the box to make it more difficult for the captives.

Alexa was playing against a Recto boy a year older than her. When she tried it, and found it to be fun, better than video games. Her captive was more athletic than the captive belonging to her opponent, and he made it up the ladder twice for each time her opponent's captive went up the ladder with a coin. Alexa won the game, so now Verso house was tied with Recto house.

Alexa continued to watch the games, and Verso house won again. Carl joined her when Recto house scored another point.

"Looks like Verso might pull this off," said Carl.

"It sure does!" said Alexa. "How many games do we play? I know in the World Series, it's the best four games out of seven."

"Best seven games out of thirteen," said Carl. “That's how an older Recto student explained it to me, and each player can only go once. The score is tied six to six right now. You did pretty good for your first time."

"My captive is more athletic than the other person's captive," Alexa explained. "It was like stealing candy from a baby."

Carl held Alexa's hand, and she returned the favor. Carl and Alexa looked at each other, and they both smiled.

"One good thing about having a girlfriend in Verso house," said Carl, “is that if they win, I still have a reason to be happy."

Just as Carl finished saying that, a Verso house boy won against a Recto house boy, for the winning point. Verso won, seven to six.

"Since my house lost, how about I buy you a hot chocolate?" Carl asked, and Alexa accepted. She stuffed her captive into the portable container she wore as a necklace, and went with Carl to the drink dispenser near the cafeteria. After they both had drinks, they sat down on a table outside.

There weren't very many other students around in that area. Carl sipped his hot chocolate and said, "One of the older Recto guys said they're going to haze Verso house if they lost the new year's games."

"That's weird!" said Alexa. "I was telling one two of my ephemeral friends about you, and I told them that you would probably warn me if they were going to haze us."

"Would you warn me if Verso was going to haze us?" Carl asked.

"Probably not," said Alexa.

"At least you're honest," said Carl. “I'd rather deal with a person who would wrong me who tells the truth than a person who would wrong me and lie about it."

Alexa stood up. "I've got to warn Umbra, is it just the boys versus the boys? Or are the girls getting involved?"

"I'm not sure," Carl replied. "But I don't want you to warn them, they'll know I told you about it. We’re the only Verso/Recto couple on campus!"

"Carl, you're asking too much of me!" said Alexa. "What did you expect me to do with this information?"

"I see it as a test of loyalty," said Carl. “You're either loyal to me, or to Verso house. If you warn them, I'm breaking up with you."

"Carl, that's completely ridiculous!" said Alexa.

"I've been debating breaking up with you any way," said Carl.

"Why?" Alexa asked.

"There's a rumour going around that you're working with the Dark Mistress. I personally don't know anyone who disagrees with that!"

"That's all a lie," said Alexa.

"I can tell you're lying about this," said Carl. "I've seen your face before when you were lying, and I know when you're telling the truth. The only reason you're wearing that transponder necklace is because you're working with Morgan Lefevre, and the faculty is trying to track her with it."

"If you believe that, why are you going out with me?" Alexa asked.

"I'm into dangerous women," said Carl. “I always have been. But unlike you, I come from a family of older siblings who attended Futurian academy, and I know how dangerous Morgan Lefevre really is. I think you're naive, if you really are working with her. She would betray other Futurians to create the future she desires."

"I didn't know you could stand up for yourself like this, Carl. Will you stay with me if I don't warn Verso house?" Alexa asked.

"Yes," said Carl. “I don't care if you're working with the Dark Mistress, but I think you should go through and read up on the people who worked with her fifty years ago. She tried to take over Earth, and almost succeeded."

"Why doesn't anyone on Earth know about it?" Alexa asked.

"The Futurian scientists used mind control to remove any memories the ephemerals had of the incident."

"What happened to Morgan Lefevre?" Alexa asked.

"They put her in prison, but she can manipulate time, so she just came back to the time she was first incarcerated and picked up where she left off."

"Can you show me the files on what happened with her?" Alexa asked.

Carl agreed, and the two of them walked over to the library. They studied for close to an hour, and read up on a lot fo the information about the uprising fifty years prior.

"At least she didn't kill anyone," said Alexa.

"Futurians can't die," said Carl. “Our technology is too advanced for that. But Morgan can disrupt our lives to the point where we would wish we were dead.”

Chapter 15: The Hazing of Verso House! by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 15: The Hazing of Verso House!

While Alexa and Carl were in the library studying about the history of Morgan Lefevre, the girls from Recto house were planning their attack. A sixth year student who knew how to use a mind control device retrieved the password to the Verso house common room from the mind of a Verso girl who was sitting outside on a bench. The Verso girl had been completely unaware that her mind had been scanned.

Once the password was distributed, the Recto girls went in groups of three, so they wouldn't arouse suspicion. They infiltrated the Verso house common room and the girl who had gotten the password used that same mind control device to put everyone in the common room to sleep. The Recto girls began going to the various dorm rooms and wreaking havoc. One of them went into Alexa's dorm and ransacked her room; they found the transponder Morgan had given Alexa, and took it. Within twenty minutes, all of the unoccupied rooms were infiltrated, and several more items were taken from various people. They were gone before anyone woke up.

When Alexa and Carl split up after returning from the library, Alexa was the first to arrive at the Verso common room as the girls began to awaken.

"What happened?" Alexa asked.

"We got hazed!" said Umbra. "We were infiltrated by Recto house!"

Alexa went to her dorm to check on the transponder. Her room was in disarray, but no matter where she looked, she couldn't locate the transponder that Morgan had given her and told her to activate. Luckily, she still had the other device in her backpack along with her electronic tablet.

Stratus and Gamma entered Alexa's dormitory. "Did they take your shrunken captive?" Gamma asked.

"No," Alexa replied, holding up her portable captive container attached to her necklace. "I had him with me, since the games earlier today."

"Did they take anything else of yours?" Stratus asked.

"Yes!" said Alexa. "They took an electronic device from me, a transponder that Morgan Lefevre gave to me."

"You've actually met Morgan Lefevre?" Stratus asked. 

"So the rumors are true!" said Gamma.

"She is about to unleash her weapon on the world," said Alexa. "She has an alternate timeline generator, and a reality splicer."

"A reality what?" Stratus asked.

"A reality splicer," Alexa replied, "it switches the futures of one reality with another. Somehow it will allow her to rule both realities, but if someone turns off that transponder she gave me, then all of the Futurians in this world will be duplicated!"

"And that's bad?" Stratus asked.

"Yes!" said Alexa. "The transponder gives off a signal so that none of us will be duplicated. If we do get duplicated, we might be seen as usurpers by our counterparts!"

"So, they might try to destroy us because they think we're the imposters?" Stratus asked.

"Exactly!" said Alexa. "Morgan is almost about to unleash her plan! We have to find that transponder before it's too late!"

"It's a good thing you told me and my cousin Gamma," said Stratus as they exited the dorm room. "We can keep all of this a secret!"

"How can I keep the transponder a secret from Recto house and the faculty, seeing as to how they have it now?" Alexa asked.

"My sister Umbra knows some of the older Recto girls," said Stratus. "She can make them cough up the transponder!"

The three girls walked to the Verso common room and told Umbra what had happened, then the four of them walked to other side of campus, where the Recto girl's dormitory was located. They marched past the front door, but were stopped when they had to enter a password. They waited nearby, until an unsuspecting Recto girl entered the building, then they pounced on her and forced her to let them inside.

Once within the Recto girl's common room, Umbra made an announcement.

"Girls of Recto house, we know you conducted a hazing run at our dorms tonight! We need all of the items you took back, or there are going to be problems!"

"What can you do to us?" asked a Recto girl. "The head mistress won't be on campus until tomorrow morning!" 

The other Recto girls began laughing. Two of them pulled out neutrino dissimilator pistols. Alexa pulled hers out, and Stratus pulled hers out.

"No one better get shrunk here tonight," said Umbra. "Alexa and myself are members of the student government, and we can and will make your lives miserable for a considerable length of time if you don't give back all that you took from us."

The two Recto girls who had been pointing their shrink ray pistols at them lowered their weapons.

"It was just a practical joke," said one of the Recto girls. "We were going to give the stuff back, eventually."

One of the oldest Recto girls barked orders at the younger girls; within five minutes most of the stolen items were returned and placed at the feet of Alexa, Umbra, Stratus and Gamma. When they were done, Alexa looked through the purloined items, and didn't find her transponder.

"There's something of mine still missing," said Alexa. "It's an electronic device."

One of the older Recto girls had something in a duffel bag. She pulled it out, and it was the transponder Morgan had given to Alexa. As Alexa walked up to grab it, the girl withheld it from her.

"I can't give this back to you," said the Recto girl. "This looks like Dark Mistress technology. I'm handing it in to the Head Mistress tomorrow morning."

"You can't do that!" said Alexa. "That belongs to me!"

"Then tell me where you got it?" the Recto girl asked. "You didn't get something like this on campus, I would know about technology like this."

"If you don't get it now, we won't be able to get back in here, Alexa." said Umbra.

"Where did you get this technology?" the Recto girl asked again. "I won't ask you a third time. If you can convince me this isn't something given to you by Morgan Lefevre, then I'll give it back to you, but if you can't, then I'm going to keep it and give it to Victoria Valerius in the morning." 

Just then, a boy's voice from behind them said, "Simon says, go to sleep!"

Alexa and everyone else in the room fell into a deep sleep. Alexa was awakened by a boy's voice.


Alexa woke up to see a cute third year Verso boy with her electronic device in his hands. "I believe this is yours!" said the boy.

"Who are you?" Alexa asked as she took the device, making sure it was still on. "Cool, it's still on!"

"I'm Simon, I used a mind control device to put everyone in the room into a deep sleep. Come on, we've got to get out of here!"

"Wake up my friends, too!" said Alexa, and Simon aimed a device at the heads of Umbra, Stratus and Gamma, and they awakened.

"We've got to get out of here!" said Alexa to the other three girls. "I've got the transponder!"

Simon walked the four Verso girls back to their dormitory building. "Alexa, a lot of us really look up to you. I know you can't publicly admit that you're working for the Dark Mistress, but I just wanted to say that ever since I learned of what she tried to do fifty years ago, I've always hoped something like that would occur when I was a student here!"

"Thank you for all you've done to help us," said Alexa.

Once back at the Verso common room, Alexa hugged Simon and said goodbye. The other four girls spit up; Alexa went straight to her dorm room, and the other girls went to theirs. Alexa got to work straightening out her room. She placed her shrunken captive back in his terrarium, which had been untouched by the hazers.

Stratus returned to Alexa's dorm. "Those girls are going to turn you in to Victoria tomorrow, whether or not you got the transponder back!"

"I know, I have away of dealing with this," Alexa replied. "Just let me go into the bathroom by myself, and don't let anyone else in there while I'm in there, okay?"

"Okay, but why?" Stratus asked.

"I'm going to contact Morgan Lefevre!"

"In the bathroom?" Stratus asked.

"I have a way of contacting her in there, trust me!" said Alexa.

Alexa took her backpack and went inside to make sure nobody else was inside, then walked through the mirror as she had done before. She felt a sense of vertigo as a mirror image of the bathroom appeared in front of her. She asked for Morgan, and she came out of a blind spot and addressed her.

"What happened?" Morgan asked.

"Recto house hazed Verso house, and some of the girls stole the transponder you gave me. It's only a matter of time before the Head Mistress gets a hold of it tomorrow morning, when she returns to campus!"

"That does put us into a bit of a bind," said Morgan. "Do you have the transponder with you?"

"Yes, it's in my backpack. There's something else I need to tell you, I told my friends Umbra, Stratus and Gamma that I'm working with you!"

"I gave you strict orders to keep this all a secret!" said Morgan.

"I know, but I didn't have a choice! The only way to get the transponder back was to tell someone what it is and what it does. A third year boy named Simon knows now, too. He got it back for me."

"I'm prepared for this type of eventuality," said Morgan as she pulled out a tool kit from one of her jacket pockets.

"What are you going to do?" Alexa asked.

"I'm taking out the functional part of this device, and giving you a dummy. People who have seen this will think it's the same device, but anyone who takes it apart won't be able to find anything functional."

"But what about your plan?" Alexa asked.

"I'll have to postpone everything until all of this blows over. When people aren't as suspicious of you, we can try again."

"But everyone is suspicious of me!" said Alexa. "Everyone in both houses think I'm working for you." Alexa held up the necklace transponder Victoria gave her to wear. "This thing makes everyone think I'm working for you!"

Morgan seemed to be ignoring Alexa as she pulled a disk from the cylindrical transponder device. "I've got it! Now, if Victoria Valerius takes this thing apart, there will be nothing to incriminate you."

"When will you proceed with your plan?" Alexa asked.

"I'll contact you when I'm ready," said Morgan. "You obviously can't keep a secret very well, but what could I expect? You're twelve."

"I'm sorry for letting you down, Morgan!" said Alexa.

"Just take this and go back through the mirror," said Morgan.

Alexa did as she was told, and returned to the reality of the academy. She exited the bathroom with the deactivated transponder, and Stratus greeted her. "What happened?"

"She took out the brains of the device, so if the faculty take it apart, they won't find anything that can connect it with her."

"Was she mad that it got taken?" Stratus asked.

"Not really, but she wasn't thrilled, either." said Alexa. "What could happen to me if I got caught with technology given to me by the Dark Mistress?"

"I don't know, I'm just a first year student," Stratus replied. "But you could go to the library and look it up. I know kids who are in there studying past midnight on weekends."

"I just might do that!" said Alexa.

Ten minutes later, Alexa was at the library with her backpack and electronic tablet. She got on a computer station, and looked through the school rules. After about ten minutes, she found what she was looking for. It seemed that a student could get suspended for a period of time, but never expelled.

"That works out perfect!" said Alexa out loud to herself. "If I get suspended, I could spend time with Santiago and Roxie and Tricia!"

A Recto boy who had been listening to her came over. "It's in house suspension," the boy informed her.

"What?" Alexa said.

"If you get suspended, you have to stay on campus. You still go to class, but electronically. You stay in your dorm, and food gets delivered to you. Nobody goes back home when they're suspended."

"That sucks!" said Alexa. "Thanks for letting me know!

Chapter 16: Aerial Aquatic Tryouts by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 16: Aerial Aquatics Tryouts

The next morning, Victoria Valerius showed up at Alexa's dorm room.

"Alexa? I need to have that device I was told about, our scientists need to examine it thoroughly."

Alexa knew exactly what Victoria was talking about, and went and got it out of her backpack and handed it over.

"When you're through with lunch, I want you to come to my office, so I can share the results with you."

"Sure, Victoria!" Alexa replied.

When Victoria left, Stratus arrived at Alexa's dorm. "What did she want?"

Alexa explained that Victoria wanted Alexa to go to her office at lunch time, but she had failed to take the device that could abort Morgan's plan.

"They have mind control technology they might use while you're in there," Stratus warned. "You have to keep your mind occupied on something else while you're in there, or they'll figure out you're working for the Dark Mistress."

"What should I think about?" Alexa asked.

"Aerial Aquatics," said Stratus. "The playoffs are coming up soon, the coach is picking students tomorrow, so keep your mind on that. You're a pretty good swimmer, maybe you could end up winning the championship."

"Thanks for the advice," Alexa replied, "I'll do that. I've been thinking about Aerial Aquatics a lot lately any way."

After attending her first four classes, Alexa went to lunch and ate quickly. After she was done eating, she went straight to Victoria's office. The receptionist ushered her inside, and she sat on a couch to wait for Victoria. A few minutes later, Victoria invited her in.

Alexa sat at a chair on one side of Victoria's desk, while Victoria sat in her office chair. The cylindrical device that Morgan had given Alexa was on the desk. Alexa tried to keep her mind on the upcoming Aerial Aquatics tryouts.

"It doesn't have any crucial tech that we need to be concerned about," said Victoria. "I don't think we need to worry about this device. I can understand why some of the Recto girls were frightened of this, it does look like something you might have gotten from the Dark Mistress. Where did you get it?"

"I got it in southern California when I went to visit my family for Winter Break," said Alexa. "A friend gave it to me."

"I'm inclined to believe you," said Victoria. "It doesn't contain any Futurian technology whatsoever, I guess those Recto girls were just paranoid."

"This necklace you gave me has everyone thinking I'm working for Morgan Lefevre, they all know you're using this to track her through me."

"We need you to wear it, Alexa. It's the only way we have any chance of stopping Morgan Lefevre."

Victoria told Alexa she was welcome to leave, so Alexa got up and went to her next class. She took the cylinder that Victoria had confiscated from her, and put it inside of her backpack. After her last class, she attended the recovery of lost technology club, then went to the Verso common room. Stratus greeted her.

"What happened in Victoria's office?" Stratus asked.

"She doesn't think there's anything dangerous about that device," Alexa replied. "Maybe we should go to my dorm and talk."

Once they were safely inside Alexa's dorm room, Alexa continued their conversation: "She has no clue that I'm really working with the Dark Mistress! Do you think she suspects anything?"

"I don't know, but anything is possible," said Stratus. "I would be careful if I were you!"

The next day, Alexa was in P.E. class in her one piece swimsuit. The globe of water was levitating above them, the murky water hiding the location of the objects they would need to find.

"I'm going to be picking people for the playoffs," said the coach. "I want the best person from each year and each period to form a team to go up against a rival academy up north. Most of you are pretty good, but for the first year team I want people with talent. Who here thinks they've got what it takes?"

Alexa and two other first year students stepped forward.

"All three of you are pretty good, I want you to go up against each other to determine a champion for this class."

The coach had Alexa and two other students compete. Alexa got the first two trophies that were submerged, and each of the other two students each got one. Alexa found another one, then two more at the same time. When the competition was over, Alexa had the most trophies.

"We have a winner!" said the coach as he lifted Alexa's hand. "Alexa won by a mile!"

Later that day, in the Verso common room, the other girls congratulated Alexa on being chosen by the coach for the first year team. Even Hellion, who was normally critical of Alexa, praised her: "Keep up the good work, Lexie! The only reason we lost the past three years is because students at this school didn't practice as hard as Ridgecrest. If you practice five or six days a week, you can get really good!"

"You should practice every day," said Umbra. "The coach will let you into the pool after hours, since you'll be competing. That other academy up north has won for the past three years in a row, we really need to beat them."

"How does it work?" Alexa asked. "What if the first year team wins, and some of our other teams lose?"

"It doesn't matter," Umbra replied, "a win is a win. Even if only one year beats them, that's still one win. There is a contest for each year. So far though, they have won every year. It doesn't look good for us, they have a great coach."

Ion appraoched Alexa. "I'm heading over to the gym in a few minutes, I made the team for my year, do you want to practice with me?"

"Sure!" said Alexa, and she got her swimsuit and headed over with Ion to the gym. 

Once they were in the gym and dressed in their swim wear, they got on the catwalk and dove into retrieve the trophies that were submerged. There were six other girls there, and Alexa was the youngest. Still, she managed to keep her own and retrieved some trophies. After the first session, the robots set the trophies back in the water in random positions. Everyone went a second time, and this time Alexa did better than the first time. After about five sessions, the other girls were ready to head home, but Alexa remained to practice more.

When Alexa got back to the dorm, she was tired, but felt that she had improved her game. She showered and got dressed and did her homework until it was time for dinner. When she got to the table with all the food laid out in front of her, she piled her plate more than usual.

"She's in training," said Stratus as Hellion looked with wide eyes as Alexa ate. "She needs more calories."

All of the food Alexa ate was healthy, and she skipped dessert.

"Do they have all the teams picked out?" Hellion asked.

"I think so," said Stratus. "this is the most important time of the year, we have to beat Ridgecrest this year! My sister has hated them for three years, and she came home every summer and told me about it every time they won the championships." 

When it was time to go to bed, Alexa fell into a deep sleep because she was tired from so much swimming. When she woke up the next morning, she went to breakfast and ate more than usual. After her last class, she went to practice and swam for several hours. She was the first student there at the gym, and the last student to leave. This went on for a couple of weeks, with Alexa only taking off one day a week to rest. She burned up so many calories swimming that she had to continue eating more at meal times than she did before she started training.

By early March, the teams were ready to go to Ridgecrest for the playoffs. The teams were assembled by year, and the first year students would go first. Alexa was in her black bathing suit, standing on the catwalk above the sphere of murky water. The Ridgecrest students wore white swimsuits, while the Southridge students wore black.

When the bell rang, they all dove in and tried their best to retrieve the trophies. Alexa was first with a one hundred point trophy, the highest possible score. A Ridgecrest student retrieved a fifty point trophy, and two Southridge students both retrieved trophies at the same time. When the first round was over, Southridge had won. Since it would be best four out of seven games, they had to go again. Alexa was the best out of both teams, retrieving the most trophies. After four games, Southridge won in a sweep.

The Southridge students cheered as Alexa returned to the stands.

"That was really good, Alexa!" said Umbra. "You were the best student out there!"

When it came time for the second year students to play, they didn't fare as well, and Southridge lost in six games, four to two. The third year team did better, and won a close victory in seven games. Ridgecrest won the next round, but Southridge won the next three rounds. Southridge won four rounds, while Ridgecrest won two. When Alexa returned to Southridge academy, she was cheered on by both Recto and Verso students.

As she socialized in the outdoor area where the student government presidents gave speeches, one of the older athletes, a blonde girl, gave a speech. "We couldn't have done it without Alexa Lockport, when we saw how hard she trained over the past two months, it got the rest of us in gear, and we trained harder and longer. When Alexa's team won the first round, that gave us encouragement that Ridgecrest could be beaten! Alexa, we couldn't have done it without you!"

Alexa approached one of the administrators. "Where is head mistress Victoria?"

"She went with Ozymandias on a temporal reconnaissance mission, we're not sure when she'll return."

Just as the administrator said that, the ground began to shake.

"I thought the tectonic stabilizers prevented Earthquakes here?" Alexa asked.

"That's not an Earthquake," the administrator replied, "we're under attack!"

Flying vehicles flew in and landed on grassy areas of the campus. Shock troops deployed and spread out over the campus, armed with rifles of some type. Each faculty member was sought out by the soldiers, and forced into a group on the field between the classrooms. The Recto students looked alarmed, but for some reason, the Verso students weren't afraid. 

Umbra approached Alexa. "Lexie, what's going on?"

"I don't know!" Alexa replied.

"People think you know what's going on, we're under attack by the Dark Mistress!" said Umbra.

"She didn't tell me anything about an attack today, I haven't heard from her in a couple of months. She did say she had some kind of a plan, though."

A flagship landed once the campus was secure, and Morgan Lefevre stepped out. She approached the podium and announced her plans.

"As some of you may know, I am Morgan Lefevre, the Dark Mistress. I am taking over all of the schools on this reality, and from this day forward until further notice, Verso house is in control of this campus. I need to know the whereabouts of headmistress Victoria Valerius."

Alexa approached Morgan. "She left with Ozymandias on a temporal recon mission."

"No doubt to track my whereabouts," said Morgan. "But it will do her no good, my technology reigns supreme!"

Umbra and some of the other Verso students gathered near Morgan.

"So we're in charge?" Umbra asked.

"Yes," Morgan replied. "I need all of the students to remain in this reality while I unleash my plan. I'm about to generate an alternate timeline where I will be absolute ruler, and I don't want any of you to get duplicated accidentally. If that should happen, you might be seen as usurpers by your counterparts, and they could try to kill you."

The Verso students began cheering and clapping.

"When will you launch your alternate timeline generator?" Alexa asked.

"On the Vernal Equinox," said Morgan. "So that is less than two weeks away! We will rule over the ephemerals as a race of gods!"

The Verso house students began cheering again. Alexa was happy, but she had doubts about the world that was being created; what would happen to Santiago, Tricia and Roxie? Alexa still had the device that could abort Morgan's plan, but she wasn't sure if she should use it. If she did try to use it, would it still work?

Chapter 17: Under Siege by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 17: Under Siege

"Congratulations on your victory in Aerial Aquatics at Ridgecrest today, Alexa!" said Morgan.

"Thank you, Morgan!" Alexa replied, as she watched a group of faculty members being marched into one of the flying vessels. "Where did you get an army?"

"Those are androids," said Morgan. "Even Futurian technology can't stop them or shut them down."

"What type of rifles are those?" Alexa asked.

"They are memory suppressors," said Morgan. "They can close off most of your memories, so they are inaccessible to your conscious mind. They don't erase your memories, they just suppress them. The people of our era do not kill in wars, that’s what separates us from ephemerals!”

"Why do you need to wait for the Vernal Equinox to activate your alternate timeline generator?" Alexa asked.

"It has to be calibrated so that the alternate timeline is generated on a day when day and night have an equal amount of time. I've done computer simulations, and that is really the best day to establish an alternate timeline. On any other day, there would be problems. If I miss that day, I would have to wait for the Autumnal Equinox in September."

"What are we supposed to do until then?" Alexa asked. "All of the faculty have been captured, so there will be no more classes."

"You can continue with your studies in the library," said Morgan. "In fact, because you're my second in command, I'll put you in charge of making sure the students do their studying."

"What about Victoria?" Alexa asked. "She's still out there somewhere."

"She's the wild card in this equation," said Morgan. "It's possible that she could stop me, but I will do my best to prevent that from happening. Now run along and arrange for the students to study at the library."

For the next hour, Alexa set up study times for the students. Each year had their time in the library, for an hour and a half a day. First year would be in the library from 8:00 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. and second year would be in their from 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. They would break for lunch from 11:00 a.m. until 12:30 a.m.. then at 12:30 p.m. third year students would study until 2:00 p.m. Fourth year students would study from 2:00 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. and fifth year students would study from 3:30 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. They would break for dinner from 5:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Sixth year students would study from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. For the time when they weren't in class, the students could study with their electronic tablets. 

The next day, Alexa reported to the library at 8:00 a.m. right after breakfast. The other first year students were there, too. Alexa received her lessons for the day and downloaded them into her electronic tablet. She didn't have enough time to study while she was in the library, because she had to pay attention to what study material she had to download for each class, and an hour and a half was just enough time to accomplish that.

Meanwhile, Morgan Lefevre took up residence in the office of Victoria Valerius. If anyone had any questions, they could approach her there. Alexa had a question, so she went to the office. Morgan let her in, and they sat down, Morgan sat in Victoria's old office chair, and Alexa where she normally sat when talking to the headmistress.

"That device you gave me, that can abort your plan," Alexa asked, "does it still work? I still have it."

"It still works, but you are only to use it if Victoria is certain to defeat me. The only reason I gave it to you is so you would appear to be their saviour if they developed a plan to stop me. I want you in their good graces if they capture me."

"Why?" Alexa asked.

"They can throw me in prison for a thousand years, but they would have to release me eventually. Since I can manipulate time, I could come up with another plan and travel back in time and implement it. This cat and mouse game could go on indefinitely."

"So if they defeat you, it would be easy to just try again?" Alexa asked.

"I'll try until I succeed," said Morgan. "There is no death penalty among the Futurians, so there is no legal way for them to stop me permanently. How are you doing with the instructions I gave you?"

"Good," Alexa replied, "I have the students divided up so each year studies in the library for an hour and a half a day, Monday through Friday."

The days went by, and Alexa kept up with her studies. The artificial intelligence at the library and on her electronic tablet negated the need for teachers, so she was able to get ahead. If she had a quiz or exam, she took it and passed. Meal times were a somber experience, even the Verso students weren't thrilled that all of the faculty had been captured and imprisoned on Morgan's scout ships.

By the end of the day on Friday, long after dinner had been served, Alexa took her shrunken captive out of his terrarium and set him on the desk.

"I don't know what to do, Terry! If my friends back home get enslaved by Morgan, I'll feel bad, but if I don't go through with my plan to help Morgan Lefevre, I'll feel bad, too! What should I do?"

"Why is it up to you?" Terry asked.

"I have a device that can abort Morgan's mission," Said Alexa as she pulled the device out of her backpack. "The faculty never found it, but Morgan doesn't want me to use it unless it looks for certain that she will fail on her mission."

Alexa went on the explain how Morgan needed to set her device off on the Vernal Equinox, which was less than a week away. She also explained that Victoria Valeris was missing in action ever since the school was attacked.

"I don't think you should listen to Morgan," said Terry. "The fate of the Earth hangs in the balance. You told me you were raised as a normal 21st century human, so you know how it feels to be one of us. Imagine if you weren't a Futurian, and someone was trying to take over the world."

"But that's just it," said Alexa. "I only found out I was a Futurian just before I attended this school. That makes me angry, so I want revenge against my parents for not telling me sooner!"

Alexa put her captive inside the terrarium, and placed it back on the shelf. She got a message on her communicator, Morgan wanted to see her. She grabbed her backpack, along with her electronic tablet inside, and headed for the office of the headmistress, where Morgan had taken up residence. Once she got there, Morgan was ready to leave.

"I want you to come with me on my flagship."

"Where are we going?" Alexa asked.

"We're heading to south America, to the equator."

Alexa followed Morgan onto her flagship, which was slightly bigger than the scoutships. The gull wing door slid shut, and Morgan sat in the pilot's seat. Alexa strapped herself into the passenger seat. Morgan keyed into the control console, and the flagship took off vertically into the night sky. While they were flying to the equator, they had time for a conversation.

"I want you to see the alternate timeline generator that I've constructed. It's a huge piece of machinery, my androids finished constructing it earlier today."

"Why does it need to be built exactly on the equator?" Alexa asked.

"It just makes it easier when both realities are lined up like this," said Morgan. "If I tried to do it on any other day, there would be problems. It's really too technical to get into, but maybe when you get to your final year at the academy you'll know enough about temporal mechanics to understand."

"What's going to happen to the faculty at the school?" Alexa asked.

"They will be freed as soon as my plan comes to fruition," said Morgan. "I wasn't planning on keeping them prisoner beyond that time, I just needed them out of the way while I implement my goal."

The flagship landed soon after, and touched down on a mountainous area that had been cleared off to form a mesa. The landing platform was big enough for ten flagships, and on one end of the mesa there was a huge construct; it was a massive piece of machinery that was at least three hundred feet high. A cylinder that resembled a cannon was at a forty five degree angle, pointed skyward. There were flood lights illuminating the area, and blue lighting from circuitry shone from the device itself.

"At 2:37 a.m. your time at the academy on Saturday, March 20th, this device will be set off. It will create an alternate reality identical to the world of the ephemerals."

"It's massive!" said Alexa.

"This is why I needed to take over this reality," said Morgan. "The faculty of your academy and other academies on this world would've stopped me from doing this. It took decades of research to be able to find a way to thwart their technology."

"Some of the kids at my school think Victoria is out there somewhere, and that she has a chance to stop you. It's mostly Recto students saying that, though."

"That's actually true," said Morgan. "I haven't been able to locate her with my technology. It's possible that the academy has been working on counter technology that can rival my own."

"How is that possible?" Alexa asked.

"I've been working with inter-dimensional physics and time manipulation," said Morgan, "they may have been focusing on other technologies that can stop me from achieving my goals."

"I'll text you the coordinates of this location, in case you need to come here on your own. I'll prepare a scoutship that you can use for your personal errands."

"That's fantastic!" said Alexa. Morgan texted the coordinates, and Alexa's communicator beeped. Alexa pulled out her communicator and looked at it. "The latitude, longitude and altitude?"

"Yes, if Victoria contacts you and she is able to defeat me, this will give you a way to win her good graces until I can try this again. You might need to give her these coordinates."

"Why is it so important that they think I'm on their side?" Alexa asked.

"I don't want them to be certain that you're my apprentice," said Morgan. "If they stop me this time, it will be okay, because I can try again a year from now. Let me show you how all of this technology works."

They made their way to a control console with dozens of monitors and keyboards.

"Once the alternate timeline is manifested, I'll use this reality splicer to trade futures, so the home reality of the ephemerals will be traded with the new reality I'm generating. This will allow me to rule both realities, without letting anyone else know I'm behind all of this. In eight-hundred thousand a.d. I will be absolute monarch, and when the star cruiser our ancestors were on escapes the supernova and enters the past, I will take over!"

"So you'll rule over your own people?" Alexa asked.

"Yes, eventually, but it will take a long time to get to that point."

The two of them returned to the flagship, and departed. They arrived at the academy, and Alexa and Morgan disembarked. Morgan returned to the office of the head mistress, and Alexa went to the Verso common room. Umbra, Stratus, and Gamma met with her.

"So what happened?" Umbra asked. "Where did she take you?"

"To the equator," Alexa replied. "She has a machine that will generate an alternate reality built on the top of a mountain. The whole top of the mountain was hewn off to make a platform for her machine and for her flagship to land."

"When is she going to set it off?" Umbra asked.

"This Saturday, on March 21st," Alexa replied, "at 2:37 a.m."

Stratus and Gamma high-fived each other. "We'll finally rule!" said Stratus. "As we were meant to!"

"According to Morgan Lefevre, Victoria still might be able to stop her," said Alexa. "Nobody knows where she's at right now, she could have technology that Morgan doesn't know about."

"I doubt it!" said Gamma. "Morgan wouldn't have taken over the school unless she knew what she was doing."

"Don't be too sure about that," said Alexa. "Morgan warned me about Victoria, I don't think she would've said anything if she knew she had this wrapped up."

Umbra, Stratus and Gamma stopped smiling.

"She's right," said Umbra. "Victoria could still throw a wrench into Morgan's plans. If we made it public knowledge that we supported Morgan and she loses, we would be seen as traitors, so we should be careful about showing admiration for Morgan or her plans.

Chapter 18: Plan of Action by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 18: Plan of Action

The next morning, after her class and after she finished her homework, Alexa wandered around drinking a cherry slush beverage. Carl saw her and approached her.

"Lexie! I haven't heard from you in several days. They're only letting Recto house students out and about for a few hours a day."

"I know, I helped implement those rules," Alexa replied.

"Why?" Carl asked.

"I don't know, I just felt like it," Alexa replied. "I didn't realize I would be dissing my boyfriend!" Alexa closed in and kissed Carl on the cheek. "If Recto house hadn't been treating Verso house like second class citizens, we never would've needed to do something this extreme."

"Is this it?" Carl asked. "Is it over? Morgan is going to win?"

"It looks that way," Alexa replied. "Nobody has heard from Victoria Valerius since before Morgan took over the academy."

"I'd better get to my dorm," said Carl,  "I have a lot of studying to do."

When Alexa was done talking to Carl, she went to the office of the headmistress to speak with Morgan. She entered the office and knocked on the door leading to the main office. Morgan ushered her in.

"What can I do for you?" Morgan asked.

"I want my own bathroom, the one by my dorm."

"I can arrange that," Morgan replied, and got on her communicator and typed in a message that went to the communicators of all the students. "Done! The bathroom is yours, all of the students got the message."

"Thanks, Morgan!" said Alexa, and she got up to leave with her beverage.

Once she returned to the Verso house dormitory, she went straight to the bathroom. She still had her backpack with her. As she looked into the mirror that she had used to travel to an alternate reality to visit with Morgan, her image disappeared and the image of headmistress Victoria Valerius filled the mirror.

"Victoria?" Alexa asked.

"Alexa, I need your help to defeat Morgan Lefevre. I only have a minute to speak to you before Morgan intercepts this transmission. What are the coordinates of her alternate timeline generator? Don't try to contact me by communicator because Morgan would be able to triangulate my location."

"Can I get back to you on that?" Alexa asked.

"Billions of people will be enslaved if you don't help me, Alexa!" Victoria pleaded.

In a split second, Alexa made up her mind and pulled out her electronic tablet. She pulled up the coordinates Morgan had given her, and turned the tablet so it faced the mirror. Once Victoria had written down the information, she said, "Thank you, Alexa! I'm using technology that will prevent Morgan from perceiving your conversations as long as you're wearing that transponder necklace I gave you." 

Victoria's image disappeared from the mirror, and Alexa could once again see her reflection. Alexa put her electronic tablet back inside of her backpack, and exited the bathroom.

She went to her dorm, where she got her terrarium and pulled her captive out, and set him on her desk.

"Victoria Valerius contacted me just now," said Alexa. "I gave her the coordinates of the location of the timeline generator Morgan constructed in South America. I hope I did the right thing!"

"It won't make a difference to me, because I'll remain as your prisoner either way," said Terry, the shrunken captive. "But if you help her defeat Morgan Lefevre, you will have done a great thing. You'd be better off going down in history as a liberator, rather than a tyrant."

"I don't know what got into me," said Alexa. "I had less than a minute to decide, and for the past week I've been going back and forth on whether I should be loyal to Morgan or to the academy, but in the end, the academy won out."

"Why are you worried about all of this?" Terry asked.

"If Morgan wins, she might lash out against me!" said Alexa. "There are no guarantees that Victoria and the academy will be successful! Morgan has an entire army at her disposal!"

Alexa, deciding that the conversation was over, picked up her captive and placed him back inside of the terrarium, and set it back on the shelf. She went back to Victoria's office to see Morgan. Once inside, she had another request.

"Can boys be in the girl's dorms?" Alexa asked. "If you approve that and they know I asked you to do it, I might become even more popular."

"I can swing that," Morgan replied, and got out her communicator and typed in the message. "Done!"

"Thanks, Morgan!" said Alexa as she left the office. She headed straight for the Recto boy's dormitory and asked for Carl.

"Lexie?" Carl asked. "What are you doing in here?"

"I convinced Morgan to let girls go into the boy's dorms, and vice versa. Didn't you see the message on your communicator? Come with me to my dorm!"

Once they were both in Alexa's dorm, she got the terrarium down and pulled Terry, her shrunken captive, out and set him on the desk.

"See my little man?" Alexa asked. "He's so cute!"

"Alexa is working with Victoria to try to stop Morgan Lefevre!" said Terry.

"She is?" Carl asked.

"Terry!" Alexa shouted, "I did not want you to tell him about that!"

"Well, it's too late now!" said Terry. "What could go wrong?"

"He is a member of Recto house, if they all find out about that, Morgan might find out!"

"You're arguing with a man who stands an inch tall!" said Carl. “It's kind of ridiculous!"

Alexa slammed her right fist down on the desk. "From now on, you shall remain silent unless you are spoken to! Is that understood?"

"Yes, mistress!" said Terry.

"Now I know why Umbra is so aggressive with her captive! They need to be kept in line."

"If you're worried about me telling the recto guys about you contacting Victoria, I'll keep my mouth shut."

Alexa grabbed Terry and put him back inside the terrarium, then set the terrarium back on the shelf.

"I might as well tell you what happened, now that you already know part of it," said Alexa. "I have a way of getting on touch with Morgan, back before she invaded the school. It is some kind of a dimensional portal built into a mirror. Today, Victoria appeared and asked me for the coordinates of the timeline generator in the Andes mountains along the equator. I gave them to her, so now she might be able to defeat Morgan!"

Carl put his arms around Alexa's waist. "Lexie, that's fantastic! You're a hero!"

"But what if Morgan wins?" Alexa asked. "And what of she finds out I helped Victoria?"

"Nothing in life worth having ever came easy," said Carlos. "When the colonists wanted freedom from the British, the British didn't say 'sure, no problem,' the colonists had to fight for their freedom! You chose a side, and now you have to live with it. You had less than a minute to make your decision, and in my opinion you made the right choice, so don't regret it now!"

"You're right, Carl,” said Alexa as she gave him a hug. "Thanks for schooling me! But whatever you do, don't tell anyone I helped Victoria!"

The two of them got up to leave Alexa's dorm, Carl headed to the library, while Alexa headed to the Verso common room. When she got there, it was an even mix of boys and girls. A lot of the older girls were kissing their boyfriends. Alexa had her backpack with her electronic tablet, so she decided to head to the library.

When she got there, she was greeted warmly by the Recto students, something that was unusual. Typically, they didn't get along with her now that everyone knew she was second in command to the Dark Mistress.

"Great job, Lexie!" said a Recto boy.

"You've given us hope!" said a Recto girl.

Alexa was suspicious. She saw Carl from behind, talking to a group of Recto students of various ages.

"Carl,” Alexa asked, "you didn't say anything to anyone, did you?"

"Lexie!" said Carl. "I had to tell them! Everyone was worried that it was the end of the world as we know it, I had to tell them to cheer them up!"

"I told you to keep it a secret!" Alexa shouted. This caught the attention of the other students, but they were just happy that a rumor was floating around that Morgan was possibly being defeated. "I can't believe I trusted you! What if Morgan finds out?"

"I can verify that none of the Recto students will tell on you to Morgan!" said Alexa.

"The same way you promised not to open your big mouth about this?" Alexa asked, as she turned to walk away from the library.

Carl caught up with her out in front of the library. "You just went from the most hated student to everyone's favorite, at least as far as Recto students are concerned!"

"I don't care about any of that, I just wanted to do what was right!" said Alexa. "Ruling the world sounds cool and all, but not at the expense of everyone else's freedom. I can't stand to think of what would happen to my friends back home if Morgan succeeds."

"You can look at it another way," said Carl. “It wouldn't be you ruling the world, you would always be second in command to Morgan Lefevre. You would just be her puppet, a paper champion."

"I guess you're right," said Alexa, "but that still doesn't make it right what you did."

"I'm sorry, Lexie!" said Carl. “But instead of being mad at me, you should be focused on doing whatever it takes to help Victoria defeat Morgan."

"Do you think she can?" Alexa asked. "I've been to her base on the equator, she has dozens of android soldiers guarding the base. I don't see how Victoria working alone could stop her."

Just then, Alexa's communicator beeped. She checked it, and there was a message from Morgan. "Morgan wants me in the headmistress's office, I've got to go."

Alexa headed over to the office, and Morgan ushered her in.

"I've been monitoring different areas on campus, and it seems that wherever you are, I have trouble picking up a signal. Can you take off that transponder necklace? I want to examine it."

Alexa did as she was told, and tried to maintain her composure; she didn't want to give off the signal that she was experiencing the least bit of anxiety, despite the fact that she was. Alexa handed the necklace over to Morgan, who ran an electronic device over it.

"Interesting," said Morgan, "this thing has some type of cloaking technology built into it. Victoria must've designed it that way for some reason."

Morgan ran the device around in her hands for a few moments, then handed the device back to Alexa.

"Victoria Valerius is up to something," said Morgan. "I know she has a plan to try to stop me, but I need your help to stop her. If you know anything or come into contact with her, can you keep me notified?"

"Sure!" said Alexa, hoping that Morgan couldn't see through her lie. "I don't see how she could be a threat, though."

"She has counter technology the Futurians have developed on their own, some of it exceeds my own. Let me explain it to you with a metaphor. Let's say you went back in time a thousand years, and you and your enemy decided to arm two rival factions of an island. You might give them gunpowder, but your enemy might teach their opponents how to make Greek fire."

"What's Greek fire?" Alexa asked.

"It was a type of fire developed by the ancient Byzantines that couldn't be put out with water. In fact, water made the fire stronger. The people you helped might be able to defend themselves against rifles, because you taught them about gunpowder. But they might have difficulty defending themselves against Greek fire, if they had never encountered it before. Do you understand?"

"So you're saying you and the academy have two different and competing types of technology, and they could just as easily defeat you as you could defeat them?"

"Exactly!" said Morgan. "If it comes down to us versus them, can I count on you to help me if I need you?"

"If I help you and the academy wins, what will happen to me?" Alexa asked.

"Nothing," said Morgan. "At worst, they would place you on probation. They would never incarcerate you, because it would interfere with your education."

"That's good to know!" said Alexa. "You can count on me, Morgan!

Chapter 19: Execution of a Plan by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 19: Execution of a Plan

The day before the Saturday when the Vernal Equinox would occur which would be the day that Morgan was set to unleash her plan, Alexa was in her dorm with Carl, when Hellion knocked on the door. Alexa invited her in.

"I wanted to talk to you about something," said Hellion.

"What?" Alexa asked.

"Speaking for myself and a few other members of Verso, we don't like the idea of Morgan trying to take over."

"Why the sudden change of heart?" Alexa asked.

"When I was younger, I thought the idea of taking over the world was a good idea, mainly because everyone I knew was into it. But now that I've put some thought into it, I don't think I want to change the world into a monarchy. I like the world the way it is. If you have a plan for helping Victoria overthrow Morgan, I and a couple of other people would like to help."

"I changed my mind about helping Morgan, also," said Alexa. "I'll try to contact her. Go and get the other people who are on your side."

While Hellion went to get the others, Alexa went into the bathroom and looked into the wall mirror where she had been contacted by Victoria Valerius. She stuck her hand through the mirror, and it disappeared into it. Alexa stepped through, and the room spun around, giving her vertigo as it had done the other times when she had been contacted by Morgan Lefevre. Victoria entered the room.

"Victoria," Alexa asked, "how is your plan to stop Morgan going?"

"I need your help," said Victoria. "I can't stop her from using her alternate timeline generator, but I can use an electromagnetic pulse weapon to destroy the reality splicer so she can't splice our future with the future of the new reality she's going to create."

"What do you need me to do?" Alexa asked.

"I have three devices," said Victoria, "one will destroy the reality splicer, one will erase any schematics of the reality splicer, and another device will erase the memory of the schematics of the reality splicer from Morgan Lefevre's mind. I will need three of you to do this, preferably all members of Verso house."

"Hellion is against Morgan's plan, and she knows of a couple of other people who are on your side, as well."

"Great!" said Victoria. "Go get them, and bring them here, so I can carry out my plan."

Alexa returned through the mirror and met up with Hellion, who had just returned from the Verso common room with two of her friends, Ion and Flux. Alexa brought them to the bathroom, but they couldn't step through the mirror, because it was programmed to only allow Alexa to enter. When she passed through again, she got the three devices from Victoria, but before she could carry them back through the mirror, Victoria gave her instructions.

"You need to take one of Morgan's scout ships to the Equator, and bring those other girls with you. You must plant the electromagnetic pulse weapon against one of the bulkheads of the outer hull of the reality splicer. It has a cloaking device that will be activated once you turn it on, so it will be hidden from view and undetectable by Morgan's technology. It will destroy the reality splicer once Morgan tries to turn it on."

"What about the device that will erase the memory of the computers?" Alexa asked.

"While you are on the scout ship, Hellion could be uploading the computer virus into the scout ship's mainframe computer. This will cause a cascade effect, wiping out the schematics on all of her computers. She won't know how to get that information back again!"

"What is the next step?" Alexa asked.

"You must enter the office and speak to Morgan, and turn this device on when you enter. It has been keyed into her unique chromosome pattern, and will selectively wipe out her memories of how the reality splicer works."

"Why do we have to do everything?" Alexa asked. "Don't you have an army or something?"

"We rely on an android army, and Morgan used a computer virus to shut all of them down. She struck when we were defenseless!"

"But why do me and some of my friends need to carry out your plan?" Alexa asked.

"I had to single handedly manufacture these devices," said Victoria. "You and me and whoever is choosing to help you are all that stand in the way of stopping Morgan Lefevre!"

"Okay, I'll do it," said Alexa.

"Make sure you use the mind control device on Morgan after you plant the device on the reality splicer and erase the schematics on the scout ship mainframe," said Victoria.

"Okay!" said Alexa, and she thrust the three devices into her backpack and returned through the mirror.

Hellion, Ion and Flux were waiting for her in the bathroom when she emerged on the other side. Alexa explained the plan, and gave the other two devices to Ion and Hellion.

"Put them in your backpacks, we need to fly to the Equator," said Alexa. "I'll meet with Morgan to get permission to use a scout ship, you three meet me in the Verso common room when I return."

Alexa walked to the headmistress's office, and met with Morgan.

"I would like to take a scout ship to the Equator, to show some of my friends the reality generator."

"You already have my permission," said Morgan. "I already told you that you could take one of my scout ships."

"Thanks, I just wanted to let you know where I was going," said Alexa.

When Alexa returned to the Verso common room, she met with Hellion, Ion and Flux. "We're clear for takeoff!"

Once the four of them were strapped into the seats in the scout ship, Alexa told the autopilot to take them to Morgan's base on the Equator in the Andes mountain range of Colombia. The autopilot did as it was told, and they rose vertically into the air and headed southeast, toward Colombia.

When they arrived, Alexa contacted the computer controlling the base and had it lower the force fields surrounding the site, then the scout ship touched down on the landing pad. The gull wing door opened vertically. When Alexa and the others exited the scout ship, they were met by members of Morgan's android army. The leader checked with Alexa, and she was able to confirm that they were there with Morgan's permission.

The girls walked around, and Alexa pointed out where the reality splicer was located. It was in a spot that would take some care to reach; whoever decided to plant the electromagnetic pulse weapon would need to do some climbing. Ion volunteered, and climbed up and planted the device. She activated it, and it disappeared from view, just as planned. When she was done, she climbed down. Now it was Hellion's turn to plant the computer virus that would wipe out the memory files of the reality splicer device. They went back to the scout ship to do this, just as Victoria had told Alexa, and Alexa had repeated the instructions to Hellion.

"I've succeeded," said Hellion. "Alexa, now you have to complete the final step of the plan. You're closest to Morgan, you have to use the mind control weapon on her!"

They strapped themselves into their seats and Alexa told the autopilot to take them back to the academy. They got clearance from the base computer that the force fields were lowered, and they rose vertically into the air. They arrived back on campus not too much later.

When the other girls returned to the Verso common room, Alexa activated the device in her backpack and headed into Morgan's office.

"Did you need something?" Morgan asked.

"Do I need to come with you tonight to set of the reality generator on your base on the Equator?" Alexa asked.

"It wouldn't be the same without you," said Morgan. "You'd better get some rest, we set off the device at 2:37 a.m. our time, so set your alarm for midnight."

"Okay," said Alexa, and she got up to leave.

Alexa returned to the Verso common room, where there were mixed results as far as the reaction of the students. A small group seemed happy that Alexa was turning against Morgan, but most of the others were unhappy with Alexa. Hellion approached Alexa.

"I feel bad about what we just did, I think I should inform Morgan," said Hellion.

"Are you kidding?" Alexa asked. "Victoria said we're the only ones who can stop her!"

"Exactly," said Hellion. "If the odds are so stacked against Victoria, then if we just did nothing, Morgan would win. We really could rule the world some day!"

"But all ephemerals would be enslaved," said Alexa. "I have friends who are ephemerals!"

"I'm informing Morgan," said Hellion, as she spun around and headed for the front door.

Alexa whipped out her neutrino dissimilator and pointed it at Hellion. "Take one more step toward that door, and I shrink you!"

Two other Verso students pulled their neutrino dissimilators on Alexa. "Drop it!" said one of them.

Ion and Flux pulled out their neutrino dissimilators and aimed them at the students who were pointing theirs at Alexa. "You drop yours first!" Ion shouted at the boy.

Flux, while aiming her neutrino dissimilator at one of the students aiming their weapon at Alexa, spoke to Hellion: "Go with Alexa to her dorm room and talk this over."

Hellion did as she was told, and Alexa followed her to her dorm.

Once they were inside Alexa's dorm, Alexa started shouting at her.

"We've come this far, Hellion! Why should we stop now?"

"I could say the same thing to you!" Hellion replied. "We're this close to world domination!" Hellion had her index finger and thumb close toogether for emphasis. "Do you know it would feel to walk down the street and be seen as a race of gods by the ephemerals?"

"Then why did you agree to help me?" Alexa asked. "You should've stayed completely out of this. If Morgan finds out what we did, there will be consequences for both of us, regardless of whether you take her side again!"

Hellion sat abruptly down on Alexa's bed. "I hadn't thought of that, I did help you, if she finds out, she could do anything to me."

"The reality generator goes off after midnight tonight, around 2:37 a.m. so we won't have to wait long to find out if Victoria was successful!"

"But what if Victoria isn't successful?" Hellion asked. "What will happen to us?"

"Either way, Morgan will succeed in generating a parallel reality," said Alexa. "Verso house will get what they want, a world to rule over. Victoria couldn't stop all the contingencies of Morgan's plan."

Hellion stood up and paced the room. "I never should have gotten involved! I don't know why I can never make up my mind, I should've stayed on Morgan's side in all of this!"

"Well, no matter what happens, we're in this together," said Alexa. "We haven't always seen eye to eye, but we did accomplish something together."

"I guess you're right," said Hellion. "It was stupid of me to try to inform Morgan, when I'm just as guilty as you!"

The two of them got up and exited the dorm, and headed back to the Verso common room. When they arrived, the other students were back to normal.

"Did the two of you come to an agreement?" Ion asked. "Yes," Alexa replied, "Hellion is just as guilty as me, and she would be telling on herself if she told on me."

"I hope this plan of Victoria's works out," said Ion. "Because if it doesn't, we're going to have a lot of problems with Morgan."

"I'll go talk to Victoria," said Alexa. "I need to inform her that we accomplished our mission."

Alexa turned and walked back to the bathroom, and entered the wall mirror. She experienced vertigo as the room turned around on her, but it subsided once she was completely on the other side. Victoria emerged.

"Did you accomplish your mission?" Victoria asked.

"Yes, we planted the electromagnetic pulse weapon and erased the files of the reality splicer schematics from the scout ship mainframe, and I used that mind control device on Morgan, but Hellion regrets helping us. She almost told on us! What will happen to us if you fail to defeat Morgan?"

"I don't know," said Victoria. "The consequences could be grave, but without your help, we never could've succeeded. I thank you for that."

"What good is destroying the reality splicer if she's going to succeed in generating an alternate reality?" Alexa asked.

"There would have been no way of destroying all of her equipment without her knowing," said Victoria. "Trust me, this was the only way.

Chapter 20: Zero Hour by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 20: Zero Hour

At 2:00 a.m. Morgan went to the Verso house girl's dormitory and woke Alexa up. Alexa was still wearing her school uniform.

"We don't have much time!" said Morgan. "We're taking my flagship to the Equator."

Alexa got up and went to a mirror and combed her hair, then went with Morgan to her flagship. They strapped themselves in, and took off. Before long, they arrived above the base high in the Andes on the Equator in Colombia. Morgan deactivated the force field protecting the base, and they descended to the landing pad.

"The force field has to be off when I activate the alternate reality generator," said Morgan. "If Victoria was to strike, now would be the perfect time."

"How long before you set off your device?" Alexa asked.

"Less than ten minutes," Morgan replied. "I have a tendency to cut things short, but another reason I came so late is because I didn't want to give Victoria any leeway to attack this base." 

They disembarked and walked over to the main control console of the alternate reality generator. The gullwing door of the flagship closed vertically behind them. When they arrived at the command center, Alexa could see a countdown on one of the monitors, and below that, an image of the Earth.

"When we reach zero, the timeline generator will fire into another reality, and commandeer it for our purposes."

"So you're not creating another reality from scratch?" Alexa asked.

"We're taking some random space-time continuum and making a duplicate of the reality of the ephemerals. In a matter of moments, everything you know about the world you came from will co-exist in this other reality I'm creating, with the exception of any Futurians living on Earth, they will be the only things not duplicated."

"So I can see my friends, and they will recognize me in the reality you're creating?" Alexa asked.

"Yes, why wouldn't they?" Morgan asked. "They won't even know they're duplicates until you tell them."

"What are you going to do with those people?" Alexa asked.

"I will rule over them with an iron fist, but they will be so appreciative of the technology that I'm giving them that they will be blinded to my true purposes."

"What technology will you give them?" Alexa asked.

"Cures for every type of cancer, a cure for heart disease, a cure for diabetes and blindness, to name a few. I also plan on giving them nuclear fusion. I want to bring them out of an age of primitivity!"

"What purpose will that serve?" Alexa asked.

"They will help form an army!" Morgan replied. "Once they have all of the technology I will give them, they will be loyal to me! If the academy or really any other Futurians try to stop me, they will be armed with the same level of technology that we have!"

Just then, the countdown reached zero. The timeline generator fired into space, and a new reality was established.

"It is done!" Morgan shouted, with her arms in the air victoriously.

"That quickly?" Alexa asked.

"Look on the monitor," said Morgan.

On the monitor where there had been one image of Earth, there were now two.

"Are you going to inform them that they are duplicates?" Alexa asked.

"Not officially, but if you want to tell some of them, you can. It's too early on the west coast right now, but tomorrow morning if you want to go with me I can drop you off in your neighborhood for a short time."

"When are you going to activate your reality splicer?" Alexa asked.

"After some preliminary work in the new reality," said Morgan as she deftly maneuvered some buttons on her control panel. "What? This can't be true!"

"What's wrong?" Alexa asked.

"The reality splicer has been damaged beyond repair! Victoria must have done this! I don't know how she did it!"

"Is that a huge problem?" Alexa asked.

"It would take years to rebuild it!" Morgan screamed. Alexa reacted by backing away from Morgan, worried that she suspected her. In a calmer tone of voice, Morgan said: "Get back in the flagship, I'm taking you back to the academy. I'll pick you up tomorrow morning so you can explore the new reality."

As the two of them retuned to the flagship, Alexa asked, "Does this screw up your plans?"

"Not completely, it just gives me more work," Morgan replied. "That reality splicer was the one piece of technology that the other Futurians couldn't duplicate on their own, I've spent decades developing that weapon!"

There was silence on the trip back to the academy. Alexa was thrilled beyond belief that Morgan didn't suspect her as a culprit, but tried not to show it. After landing at the school, Alexa went to her dorm and changed into her pajamas and went to bed.

The next morning, after showering and changing into her school uniform, Alexa went to breakfast in the dining hall. Gamma, Stratus and Umbra sat nearby.

"She did it," said Alexa between bites of toast. "Morgan generated a new reality!"

Alexa went over the details, and explained the technology Morgan would introduce to the new reality.

"I told you it was a good idea to help Morgan," said Stratus. "That new reality will be better than our old one!"

"Morgan is taking me to see the new reality," said Alexa.

"I want to go!" said Stratus. "Can you ask Morgan if I can go, too?"

"I'll ask her," said Alexa.

A while after breakfast, Morgan arrived to take Alexa with her to see the new reality. Stratus tagged along, after Alexa asked if Stratus could go, too. Morgan agreed, so the two of them got into the flagship, and strapped themselves in.

They arrived in the park near what would be Alexa's neighborhood if it was her own reality. The flagship touched down, and the gullwing door opened vertically. Alexa and Stratus disembarked.

"I'll be back to pick you up in an hour," said Morgan, and the gullwing door closed. The flagship took off into the sky.

"If we encounter anyone I know," said Alexa to Stratus, "don't tell them this is a duplicate reality."

Santiago was playing football with some guy friends of his, and threw the football back to his friends and ran over to talk to Alexa.

"I didn't know you were coming back from the academy today, what's the occasion?"

"It was the Vernal Equinox last night," said Alexa. "This is my friend Stratus."

Santiago shook her hand. "It's nice to meet you!" said Santiago.

"You, too." Stratus replied.

"I wanted to walk to my house, Santiago." said Alexa. "Do you want to come with me?"

"Sure!" Santiago replied, and he walked with Alexa and Stratus to Alexa's house a few blocks away.

"What's the real reason you came home today?" Santiago asked as they walked.

"I can't tell you," Alexa replied. "I just want to check out my house, to see what it looks like after all this time."

When they arrived at the house, it looked abandoned.

"What happened to your house?" Santiago asked. "I don't remember it looking like this." 

The front door was locked, so Alexa went to the backyard, followed by Stratus and Santiago. Alexa broke a window, and Santiago crawled through and opened the door for the girls.

"It looks like a hurricane went through this house!" said Santiago.

All of the furniture was missing, and the house looked like it was in disrepair.

"Could you tell me what exactly is going on, Lexie?" Santiago asked.

"Morgan Lefevre generated a duplicate reality. All of the Futurians, including my family, weren't duplicated."

"So they crossed over into the duplicate reality?" Santiago asked.

"This is the duplicate reality, Santiago!" said Alexa. "You didn't exist 24 hours ago!" 

"What's going to happen to us?" Santiago asked.

"The technology of this duplicate world will increase a thousand fold," Alexa replied. "Morgan will cure most diseases, and she will introduce technology that will rival that of the Futurians."

"Cool!" said Santiago. "Not bad!"

"That remains to be seen," said Alexa. "Morgan plans to rule this reality with an iron fist!"

"What can we do to stop her?" Santiago asked.

"Nothing!" said Stratus. "And nobody can protect you from her, either!"

"She's right," said Alexa. "Our headmistress tried to stop her, but could only succeed so far, our academy was taken over by Morgan's android army. Even we can't stop her completely."

"It will be interesting to see how this alternate world pans out," said Stratus. "We can see what would happen to our world if Futurian technology had been introduced!"

"How long will it take for her to introduce all of that technology to our world, and take over?" Santiago asked.

"It could take a week," said Alexa. "I'm not really sure. I don't know what her time frame is."

"If I didn't exist 24 hours ago, then how did I get created?" Santiago asked.

"This space-time continuum existed before, but it was devoid of life," Alexa replied. "Everything and everyone on this planet were put together by technology that I don't even understand."

"But I have memories of last week, a year ago, when I was a little kid," said Santiago."

"You and everyone on this planet are duplicates of the originals back on the Earth I came from," said Alexa. "And Santiago, I want you to know that I have always loved you, and you are the reason I chose to betray Morgan Lefevre, to try to stop her."

"Will you say that to my counterpart back on your version of Earth?" Santiago asked.

"Nope!" said Alexa. "I've always wanted to tell him, but I don't want to put my business out on front street like that. But I don't mind telling you!"

Alexa moved in and put her arms around Santiago and kissed him on the lips. "I love you, Santiago. If Morgan ever tries to hurt you, I'll try to stop her. Even if you are just a duplicate version of the Santiago I know and love!"

"It's almost time to meet Morgan back at the park," said Stratus.

"Okay," Alexa replied to Stratus, then turned and looked at Santiago. "Be sure to tell Tricia and Roxie what happened, but try not to scare them, okay?"

"Will do," said Santiago, "but it's too bad you can't stay here and help the people of our world."

"I can't stay here," said Alexa. "I have a life back on my own version of Earth! I have to go back there eventually."

The three kids exited through the back door, and walked to the front of the house. They walked down the sidewalk toward the park.

"I'm really gonna miss you, Lexie!" said Santiago. "For what it's worth, I'm in love with you, too."

"I can still come back to visit," Alexa replied.

When they arrived back at the park, Alexa and Stratus waited for Morgan to arrive in her flagship. About five minutes later, the flagship descended and the gullwing door opened vertically. Alexa and Stratus walked up the gangplank and the door closed behind them. They strapped themselves in, and headed back to their own reality.

"I uploaded a message to the people of that reality, let me upload it to your electronic tablet, Alexa. It was on every television channel and radio frequency."

Once back at the academy, Alexa took her electronic tablet back to the Verso common room, to view the message Morgan sent to the people of that alternate Earth. Stratus watched it over her shoulder.

"To the people of Earth," Morgan could be seen sitting in the command chaor of her flagship, "I am Morgan Lefevre, your creator and benefactor. Less than 24 hours ago, during the Vernal Equinox, I created this reality. You are all duplicates of the original inhabitants of Earth. I am from a race of people from nearly one million years in the future. I've established this reality to end all diseases and hunger. Within 48 hours, I will give you the secrets of nuclear fusion and advanced spacecraft propulsion systems. You will be far more technologically advanced than your counterparts. All I ask in return is that you accept me as your absolute ruler!"

"Wow!" said Alexa when the video was over. "Imagine how the people of that world must feel!"

"It's like they're crushed under the boot of a conqueror!" said Stratus.

"I wonder how long it will take Morgan to make an army out of the people of that world?" Alexa asked.

"I don't know," said Stratus, "But Victoria will definitely have her hands full when she gets back!

Chapter 21: Victoria Strikes Back! by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 21: Victoria Strikes Back!

Monday morning, after school was out for the first year students at the library, Alexa went to the office of the headmistress to speak with Morgan Lefevre. Morgan ushered her in, and had her sit at the desk in a chair.

"What can I do for you?" Morgan asked.

"I've been thinking about something," said Alexa. "My shrunken captive, his name is Terry. He doesn't have a counterpart in the new reality because I removed him before the new reality was created, right?"

"That's correct," said Morgan. "There is only one of him. What are you getting at?"

"I want to take him to the new reality and un-shrink him."

"What for?" Morgan asked.

"He can tell the people of the new reality about the Futurians, so they can be better prepared to help you build an army. When I acquire him by shrinking him a second time, he can tell us what the word on the street is, about how those people feel about us."

"I like your thinking," said Morgan. "I'll meet you with your shrunken captive at the flagship in ten minutes. Don't un-shrink him until we get to the new reality."

Back in her dorm several minutes later, Alexa explained to Terry that she was letting him go in the new reality. She took him in his portable container and her neutrino dissimilator pistol and met Morgan at the flagship. Alexa strapped herself in, and they took off vertically into the sky. They landed at the park near where Alexa lived.

As Alexa unstrapped herself, she said to Morgan, "You'd better give me a few hours this time, I have to take the bus back to the mini golf park."

"You have your communicator if you need to contact me," said Morgan. Once Alexa disembarked, the gullwing door closed vertically downwards, and the flagship took off into the sky. Alexa made her way to the bus stop. She knew how to get to the mini golf park, she had taken the bus there before when she was a student at the local elementary school.

An hour later, she was there. She got off the bus and walked over to the spot where she had first shrunk Terry. She took him out of his portable container, and set him on the ground. She stepped back, and set her neutrino dissimilator on assimilate, and pulled the trigger. In less than a second, Terry was normal size. Alexa quickly pushed the button on her pistol that would reduce someone to 1/72 of their normal size, in case Terry tried to take the pistol from her.

"I don't know how to thank you!" said Terry.

"When I see you again, just give me a report of how people are reacting to Morgan Lefevre. I need to know if they are on her side, or against her."

"You've got it!" said Terry, and he ran off. 

Alexa pulled out her communicator with a sinister smile on her face. "Too bad Terry doesn't know he's been fitted with a subcutaneous transponder, so I can track his every move!"

Alexa went to the bus stop and waited for the bus. After getting on the bus, she was back in her old neighborhood and decided to go talk to Roxie. She went to her home and knocked on the door. Roxie answered.

"Did Santiago fill you in on what happened?" Alexa asked.

"He didn't have to," said Roxie. "Every TV channel is playing Morgan's message. The weird thing is, I don't feel like a duplicate."

"Santiago said that, too," said Alexa. "I guess that's the weird part about all this, you were all duplicated right down to every last atom and chromosome!"

"Are you going to rule over us like Morgan is?" Roxie asked.

"I don't know, that's up to Morgan." said Alexa. "I wouldn't mind helping her rule this world. Maybe I could give you and Tricia special jobs, as my helpers."

"Could you?" Roxie asked.

"I'll try," said Alexa. "Well, I've gotta go. Take it easy!"

Once Alexa was back at the park, she summoned Morgan with her communicator. Within seconds, the flagship arrived, and the gullwing doors opened vertically and Alexa entered.

"That pathetic toy thinks I set him free!" said Alexa with a sinister smile. "It's only a matter of time before he's back in my hands again!"

Alexa strapped herslf into her seat, and the flagship took off into the sky.

"I've got a proposition for you," Alexa asked, "Can you give jobs to the counterparts of two of my best friends in the new reality? They want to help us rule the world. Maybe they can be my generals or something."

"I don't see why not," said Morgan. "We need a power structure in place to rule over those people."

Soon, the flagship was back on campus, and Alexa and Morgan disembarked. Alexa returned to her dorm, so she could monitor the whereabouts of Terry. As she tracked him with her communicator, she had to use the bathroom. She went in to her private bathroom. When she was done and washing her hands, she saw Victoria in the mirror.

"Victoria!" said Alexa. "Everything went according to plan, but what are you planning to do next? Morgan is building an army of people from the new reality."

"I'm assembling an army of my own," said Victoria. "I have an android which is better than the model Morgan is using, it's just a matter of time to duplicate it so there are enough of them to stop her."

"What do you need me to do?" Alexa asked.

"I need you to knock Morgan out," said Victoria. "She trusts you, if you can use a mind control device I'll give you to render her unconscious, I can do the rest."

"I just re-enlarged my shrunken captive so he could do reconnaissance in the new reality, if you plan on doing this today, I hope I can get my little man back."

"If everything goes according to plan, I'll be sure your shrunken captive is returned to you, Alexa." Victoria's hand reached through the mirror, holding a small device. "Just take this to her office and push the button. You will be knocked out, also. That is part of my plan."

"What if she takes me somewhere on her flagship?" Alexa asked. "Should I set it off there?"

"No, the device must be set off in my office. If she is onboard her flagship, I won't be able to access her. As soon as Morgan is unconscious, that device will signal me, and I will arrive with my armada. Now go, hurry!"

Alexa took the device in her hand and headed to the office of the headmistress. She entered, and Morgan ushered her inside, as usual. "Take this ring and put it on," said Morgan. "It will allow you to contact my future counterpart, in case I am thwarted. If you try to take the ring off, it will send a signal to me, so keep it on."

"What makes you think that's going to happen?" Alexa asked, as she took the ring and put it on.

"Something very strange occurred," said Morgan. "There was a device planted on a structure on my timeline generator, and some of my equipment was destroyed. The problem is, I don't seem to recall ever building another device. Did you have anything to do with that?"

"What makes you think I was involved?" Alexa asked.

"Are you working with Victoria Valerius?" Morgan asked.

Alexa clicked the button on the mind control device, and she fell face first onto the desk in front of her, along with Morgan. Both of them were unconscious. 

Within seconds, an armada appeared from the sky; thousands of star cruisers descended and landed on the campus. Hundreds remained in the sky. The flagship of this armada landed not far from the office where Morgan and Alexa were sleeping. The gullwing door opened, and Victoria stepped out, followed by a dozen androids. One of the androids carried Morgan back to Victoria's flagship, while Victoria took Alexa's communicator from her. When she had it, another android carried Alexa back to the bed in her dorm room.

While Victoria walked back to her flagship with the androids, some of her star cruisers shot energy beams at Morgan's scout ships and her flagship, reducing them to a fraction of their former size. Androids collected the smaller ships and brought them onboard Victoria's flagship.

"I need her mind scanned immediately, for any passwords we might need to access her equipment," said Victoria. "I hope she's not an imposter! If this isn't the real Morgan Lefevre, we've got a lot more to deal with!" 

The androids complied, and before long, Victoria had the information she needed. The miniaturized flagship that once belonged to Morgan was small enough to fit on a table. Victoria miniaturized an android to go onboard armed with Morgan's passwords, so he could link her computer systems with the computers onboard Victoria's vessel.

Victoria piloted her flagship back to the new reality Morgan had created, followed by a thousand of her star cruisers. When they encountered the orbiting scout ships belonging to Morgan Lefevre, Victoria used her passwords to have them lower their force fields so they could be miniaturized and teleported aboard. When all of the scout ships were shrunk and on board, Victoria landed her flagship in a parking lot. She used Alexa's communicator to locate Terry, and followed him on foot.

At some point, Alexa began to wake up. Victoria was seated beside her, in Alexa's desk chair.

"That was the best sleep I've ever had," said Alexa. "I feel so rested!"

"Morgan has been overthrown," said Victoria. "And we couldn't have done it without you!"

Alexa sat upright. "What about my little man?"

"I went and retrieved him from the reality Morgan generated," said Victoria. "He's in your terrarium!"

Alexa got up and walked over to her shelf, and sure enough, Terry was an inch tall again, safely within his little habitat.

"There's something important I need to tell you," said Victoria.

"What?" Alexa asked.

"All of the students have had their memories modified. They have no memory of Morgan taking over the campus. You are the only one who remembers."

"Why did you do that?" Alexa asked.

"We can't have the students lose respect for the faculty of this academy. Since you did so much to help overthrow her, you're getting special treatment. Just don't reveal any of what happened to the other students."

"Thank you for sparing my memory," said Alexa. "But why was everything on me? Isn't that a heavy burden for a 12 year old student?"

"I apologize for that, but Morgan caught us unaware this time," Victoria replied. "But we will be prepared of she tries this strategy a second time. And we learned something from you, Alexa."

"What?" Alexa asked.

"You are a person who started out kind of evil, but you made the right decision in the end. This taught me that it is better to trust someone who is bad but makes the right decision in the end, than to be betrayed by someone we think is a good person."

"But I'm not a good person," said Alexa. "If you didn't have a chance to stop Morgan, I would've been more than happy to stay on her side."

"Nobody is perfect," said Victoria. "Power can be a very desirable thing. I don't blame you for wanting to rule a world. Morgan will be detained for a very long time, until we can recondition her mind."

"But she can use time travel to come back, after you eventually release her!" said Alexa.

"That is the unfortunate truth," said Victoria. "The Futurians don't believe in capital punishment."

Victoria got up to leave, then set Alexa's communicator on her desk, before leaving the room.

Alexa waited then went to the Verso common room. Stratus and Gamma were seated, looking over their homework on their electronic tablets. Hellion was nearby. Alexa approached them.

"Hi!" said Alexa, trying to see if what Victoria had said was true, that their memories had been tampered with.

"Well if it isn't Morgan's little minion!" said Hellion.

"What makes you think that?" Alexa asked.

"Everyone thinks that," said Hellion.

Stratus got up and stepped closer to Alexa, whispering. "Do you know what Morgan's plan is?"

"No," said Alexa, "she probably doesn't even have a plan."

"If she does, would you let me on on it?" Stratus asked.

"Even if she had a plan, I don't think she could defeat the faculty of this school," said Alexa.

"How can you be so sure?" Stratus asked.

"I guess you can call it a hunch," Alexa replied. Alexa was eager to tell her friends everything that happened, but Victoria had sworn her to secrecy. There was no way of knowing if her mind would be tampered with, if she revealed anything to the other students, so she wasn't willing to take that chance. Alexa looked at the signal ring that Morgan had given her before she had been defeated, astonished that Victoria hadn't found it and removed it.

Chapter 22: The Game Isn’t Over by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 22: The Game isn't Over

After her last class the next day, Alexa went to her dorm room and got her terrarium down and got her shrunken man out. 

"Terry? What was it like being free for a short time?"

"I was able to have pizza again, so that was a plus," said Terry. "I should've known you wouldn't re-enlarge me permanently."

Alexa laughed. "You were just meant to be a toy! The reason I got you out was to ask you something." Alexa showed Terry the signal ring Morgan had given her. "Morgan gave me this to signal her if she got defeated. If I take it off, it will signal her."

"I think you should notify someone," said Terry. "A member of the faculty."

"I'll get a second opinion," said Alexa, and she put Terry back in his terrarium and placed it back on the shelf. 

Alexa went to the library after her next class the next day, and met up with Carl. Alexa took him to a secluded area, and showed him the signal ring Morgan Lefevre had given her.

"Morgan gave me this ring to contact her in case she was defeated. If I try to take it off, it will send her a signal. I didn't want to show my Verso friends, because they would want me to help Morgan. What should I do, Carl?”

Carl thought about it and said, "You should go straight to Victoria, and let her know."

Carl escorted Alexa to the headmistress's office. After being let in by the receptionist, Victoria ushered Alexa and Carl into her office.

"I have this ring," said Alexa, showing the ring for Victoria to see. "Morgan gave it to me before she was rendered unconscious. She said I could choose to signal her, but if I tried to take the ring off, it would automatically signal her."

"Why didn't you bring this to my attention before?" Victoria asked.

"I don't know," Alexa replied. "I kind of forgot about it."

Victoria got on her communicator and contacted the medical office. "Get a medical professional down here immediately,"

While Victoria was waiting for a medic, she looked over the surveillance footage of what had transpired just before Alexa and Morgan were rendered unconscious the day before. Victoria watched as Morgan gave the ring to Alexa.

"Why didn't you activate the mind control device before putting the ring on?" Victoria asked.

"She would've known something was up," Alexa replied.

In less than a minute, a doctor rushed in and Victoria explaiend the situation. They used electronic equipment to scan the ring.

"It is definitely technology supplied by Morgan," said the doctor. "If we try to cut into it, take it apart, or take it off, it will send out a signal."

"To where?" Victoria asked. "Morgan is asleep in a rehabilitation center, so if the signal got sent to her, I don't think it would do any good."

"I think Morgan Lefevre has a contingency plan in place," said the doctor. "Maybe she has an A.I. this ring will contact, to try to break her out. My suggestion to leave the ring on Alexa Lockport until we can find out where the signal would be transmitted to."

"Are you sure there's no way to get it off of her finger without triggering it?" Victoria asked.

"There's like a two out of three chance that I could, but I'm still not happy woth those odds," said the doctor. "I think we should wait until we can go over the schematics, I have a copy of it on my scanning device. It will take some time to look it over."

"Are you okay with that, Alexa?" Victoria asked.

"I think he should try to get it off without triggering it," said Alexa. "Two out of three sounds like good odds to me!"

"I think you should try to take it off, then!" Victoria told the doctor.

"You're going to listen to the opinion of a twelve year old?" the doctor asked.

"Hey!" said Alexa, "I turn thirteen next month!"

"Just try it," said Victoria. "With Morgan Lefevre unconscious, I don't think we have much to worry about."

The medic tried to pry the ring off with a special tool, but the ring lit up when he tried to do that.

"The signal!" the medic shouted, "It's been activated!"

A control console lit up on the side of Victoria's desk. 

"Morgan has escaped!" Victoria shouted. "The satellites we put up in orbit around the planet Morgan created have been destroyed! You were right, she had a contingency plan!"

Outside, in the sky above the academy, hundreds of scoutships similar to the ones Morgan had used to take over the school previously descended upon the campus. A larger vessel, the flagship, landed and Morgan stepped out with two people Alexa would recognize. Alexa emerged from Victoria's office and saw them.

"Santiago?" Alexa asked. "And Roxie?"

Her two friends were dressed in military uniforms, black and gray. Roxie's had a short miniskirt with a long sleeved tunic. Santiago and Roxie appraoched Alexa, while some students watched in awe.

"Morgan recruited us and made us generals," said Santiago. "We're from the new reality she created."

"Our technology exceeds that of the Futurians!" said Roxie. "There is no hope for them to defeat us."

"Will you join us?" Santiago asked. "You outrank us! We will obey your every command, as long as it correlates with the desires of Morgan Lefevre."

"I'll leave these two with you for a while," said Morgan. "You've got some catching up to do. Meanwhile, I'll be at a hidden location waiting for you. Santiago and Roxie have transponders that can contact me." Morgan departed and walked up the gangplank of her flagship. Once inside, the gullwing doors closed, and the vessel moved vertically skyward until it was out of sight. The other scoutships left, too.

Alexa walked with Santiago and Roxie to her dorm room. Once they were alone inside, they got down to business.

"So, tell me exactly what's going on," said Alexa.

Santiago and Roxie looked at each other, unsure of who should go first. Santiago decided to lead the conversation.

"Morgan took about two hundred people, and got them from ten different times over a 48 hour period of time. When it was done to me, the first time I was debriefed and given specific mission parameters. When I got back, I only had time to eat and take a short break before she picked me up again. So far, I've been picked up ten times and this is the most recent time."

"We get a lot more done that way," said Roxie. "Each of us are about a week older than our calandar age, but the time we are officially from sees that 48 hours has passed."

"Morgan is building an army," said Santiago. "Certain military leaders from different countries on our version of Earth have been recruited to serve Morgan Lefevre."

"How is the technology of your world now?" Alexa asked.

"It's a lot more advanced," said Santiago. "Morgan probably lived ten years of her life within the last 48 hours of our time, she knocked out all of the technology the Futurians isntalled, and replaced it with her own. She has defensive satellites in orbit, and weapons to protect us from the Futurians."

"We have things that only existed in science fiction shows and films just a week ago," said Roxie. "Nuclear fusion reactors power everything now, we have alloys a hundred times stronger than titanium, and force field generators that can protect us from just about anything."

"You forgot to mention space propulsion systems that can get us to Mars in a matter of hours," said Santiago. "The space vessels aren't as fast as Morgan's vessels, but they're a quantum leap more advnced than anything you have on your Earth."

"The world is an amazing place now!" said Roxie.

"How did Morgan accomlish all of this?" Alexa asked. "She was unconscious in some kind of a rehabilitation center, from what I heard Victoria Valerius say."

"She had a crew of androids in a scout ship in another space-time continuum," said Santiago. "They broke her out, and she spent a great deal of time planning this secondary attack. When she had everything she needed to succeed, she traveled back in time and conquered our version of Earth, the way we described it to you."

"How did she deal with her mind being tampered with?" Alexa asked. 

"She had a mind scan done each time before she came to this world, so her androids just uploaded her most recent memories." said Santiago.

"She had a contingency plan for anything Victoria could think of," said Roxie. "Your birthday is coming up soon, Alexa, don't you want to celebrate it with us, on our world?"

"I don't see why not," said Alexa with a sinister smile.

"That's the Alexa we used to know!" said Santiago, as he pulled out his transponder. "Should I contact Morgan, and tell her you're coming with us?"

Alexa left her backpack behind, and carried her terrarium with her shrunken captive inside, and went with her two friends outside to the courtyard to wait for Morgan's flagship. The flagship landed almost immediately after Santiago contacted Morgan, and the gullwing door opened vertically and the gangplank lowered. The trio stepped onboard, while Victoria watched helplessly from the courtyard.

Once inside, the three of them strapped themselves in and Morgan greeted Alexa.

"Will I have a palace on the new world?" Alexa asked.

"Of course!" said Morgan as she punched in the sequence of buttons that closed the door and piloted the flagship vertically upwards into the sky. "I've set up a command center in Griffith park, where you have a mansion and an armed sentry of androids. It should only take a few seconds to land there."

When they landed and disembarked, Alexa could see the mansion Morgan had spoken of. It was huge, and surrounded on all sides by Griffith park.

"You just built a mansion out on the middle of Griffith park?" Alexa asked as he carried her terrarium. "How long did that take?"

"It was almost instantaneous," said Morgan. "I used a pattern stored in the computer system, and through the manipulation of matter and energy, it was duplicated. This is what homes look like on other planets we have colonized in the future, we have more room to build there."

"It looks spectacular!" said Alexa. "But if it was so easy for Victoria to defeat you before, what is to stop her now?"

"We're in what's known as a time war," said Morgan. "Both sides are using time travel to their advantage. They won't kill me, and I won't kill them. It's a battle for domination."

"How long until you win?" Alexa asked.

"I have to put the faculty of each academy into stasis," Morgan replied. "When they are frozen, they won't be able to stop me any longer. It's just a matter of time until then."

"Tell her about some of the changes you've made to this world, Morgan!" said Santiago.

"I've ended world hunger across the globe," said Morgan. "Most illnesses have been cured, but I'm trying to establish space stations across the solar system for the vast swath of humanity that will be born over the course of the coming decades."

"That sounds great," said Alexa. "It sounds like you've done more good than bad."

"I also plan on shrinking the criminal population of the world," said Morgan. "They will be sold as pets, to stimulate the world economy. I'll put you in charge of that, I know girls your age love to deal with miniaturized people."

"Thank you, Morgan!" said Alexa with a sinister smile. "I'd love to be in charge of that!"

"Get your self acquainted with this mansion, I need you to fly with some androids in a scout ship and observe the locations where some minaiturization chambers will be built. You can't go to every location, but I want you to get acquainted to how they are constructed and to become familiar with some of the technology you will be dealing with."

"Where is my bedroom?" Alexa asked.

"Roxie will show you where," said Morgan. "It's up stairs, an elevator will take you there."

Alexa followed Roxie, and headed into the elevator carrying her terrarium. The doors opened, they entered, then the doors closed behind them. A moment later they were on the second floor, and the doors opened.

"That was quick!" said Alexa.

Roxie opened the door to a huge bedroom. Inside, there was a massive bed fit for royalty, and a large bathroom off to one side. There was a balcony, with a sliding glass door leading to it.

"This is the biggest bedroom I've ever seen!" said Alexa. "I think I'm going to like it here!

Chapter 23: An Uneasy Truce? by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 23: An Uneasy Truce?

Alexa looked around the huge bedroom. There was a device built into a wall that looked like some of the food and beverage devices in the Verso common room back on campus. 

"What's this?" Alexa asked.

"That's a duplicator, it has patterns for every food known to humanity stored in the computer's memory files. Go ahead and ask it for something, it responds to voice command."

"Root beer!" said Alexa, and a moment later a glass mug of root beer appeared. Alexa took the mug down, and took a sip. "This is the best root beer I've ever tasted!"

"Look at this computer screen," said Roxie, as she turned on a monitor with a remote control. Alexa watched as people stood in line; an android in the front of the line was inoculating them, one by one, with a strange device.

"That device he's using on them cures all known diseases," said Roxie. "You've got a lot of catching up to do to learn about all of the advances Morgan introduced to this reality."

Meanwhile, back at the academy, Victoria was looking through Alexa's backpack, and found the device that could de-activate all of Morgan's machines. Victoria took it to the research department and had Valence, their top scientist, look at it.

"It seems to have a kill switch built into it," said Valence. 

"What exactly does it do?" Victoria asked.

"It will de-activate all of Morgan's technology," Valence replied.

"Could it be a trick?" Victoria asked.

"I don't think so," Valence replied, "I think this was a contingency plan to make Alexa look like our savior in case we were coming close to defeating Morgan Lefevre."

"If that's the case, then activate it, and prepare an invasion force!" said Victoria, and Valence complied by pushing the button on the device.

Back in the new reality, Morgan's androids fell inoperative wherever they had stood. Across the globe, all of Morgan's technology shut down. Back in Alexa's bedroom, Roxie looked at her signaling watch.

"Something's wrong!" said Roxie. "All of our technology is shutting down!"

"How could that have happened?" Alexa asked.

"Did Morgan give you a device with a kill switch?" Roxie asked.

"Yes, I have it in my backpack... wait a minute, I left my backpack in my bedroom back at the academy!"

"Someone must've found it and activated it!" said Roxie.

The two girls walked to the balcony and looked out the window. An invasion force filled the sky above them, with Victoria's fleet there to conquer and subdue Morgan once again.

"I need to end this right now, before we get into another futile time war!" said Alexa. She went to the elevator followed by Roxie and went to the first floor, then walked through the living room and exited the house.

Victoria's flagship landed in Griffith park, not far from the house. Alexa approached the flagship, and Victoria and Valence disembarked.

"We need to form a truce!" said Alexa. "We can't get into a never ending time war! First you won, then Morgan wins, when will it stop?"

Victoria was close enough to speak to now. "I have no plans of making a truce with Morgan Lefevre!"

"She has done a lot of good on this world!" said Alexa. "She has cured all diseases, and poverty has been eliminated!"

"Morgan Lefevre is not to be trusted!" said Victoria.

"At least call a temporary truce for a year, and see how things go. Morgan only wants what's best for this world!"

Valence whispered something to Victoria.

"My top scientist agrees with you," said Victoria. "But only a temporary truce! We will see how Morgan does over the next year, and if she has turned over a new leaf as you have claimed, then maybe we can forge an alliance between her world and ours."

"Thank you, headmistress!" said Alexa, "I promise you she won't let you down. I'll go get her to come out and talk with you."

Alexa ran to get Morgan inside the house. Morgan was trying to get a control console to function.

"Morgan, I've convinced Victoria to forge a temporary truce with you! If you keep your nose clean for a year, they won't do anything to you."

"How did you manage to swing that?" Morgan asked.

"I told her about all of the good things you've done for this world. You've eliminated poverty and disease, Victoria is impressed by that. Come out and talk with her."

Morgan followed Alexa outside, where Victoria and Valence were waiting.

"This time war can go on forever," said Victoria, "or we can call a truce right here, right now. I can allow you to keep this world, you can make it over in your image, but I'm only giving you a one year truce. If you can maintain good behavior for that period of time, we can make the truce permanent."

"I agree to your terms," Morgan replied, and the two shook hands.

Alexa leaped into the air and shouted, "Yes! The time war is over!"

"Alexa," said Victoria, "I need you to come back to Southridge academy with me. I can't let you remain here."

"Are you serious?" Alexa asked. "Can't I stay here part of the time?"

"Your education is important," said Victoria. "If your parents agree to let you spend the summers here, then you have my permission to come back here."

"Okay," Alexa replied. "Maybe I can spend part of the summer here, and the other part with my parents." 

"I can allow you to come back for part of the summer," said Morgan. "As long as your parents give the okay." Morgan handed a communication device to Alexa. "Here, this is how you can contact me." Alexa took the device and thanked Morgan.

Not too long afterwards, after everyone said their goodbyes, Alexa was back on Victoria's flagship. Morgan's devices were re-activated, and Alexa was strapped in with her terrarium and her miniaturized captive. The flagship rose vertically into the air, and took off into space.

"I still don't want you alarming the other students by letting them know about everything that happened with Morgan these past few days," said Victoria.

"I won't tell them," said Alexa.

"And another thing,' Victoria continued, "I don't want you to ever speak of the reality splicer she built. When my device destroyed it, I erased it from her memory so she remembers nothing about it. Do we have a deal?"

"Yes," Alexa replied.

Once they landed back on campus, Alexa took her terrarium back to her dorm room. She set her terrarium on her desk, and got her captive out.

"It looks like we are the only ones who know what truly happened the past few days," said Alexa.

"The faculty know what happened," said Terry the captive. "If you're anxious to talk about it, you can speak to one of them."

"I know, but I really wish I could talk to Stratus and Gamma about it, they're my true friends here. Ion and Flux don't even remember helping me."

"What's the purpose of having a shrunken man as a pet?" Terry asked.

"I don't know, I've always wanted one, a lot of girls I knew back on Earth talked about it, but it was only a pipe dream to us then. Here, we can make it a reality. Have you gotten used to being my shrunken captive?"

"As used to it as I'll ever get," said Terry. "When I was a kid, I always wanted to be shrunk like this, and have some beautiful woman capture me."

"That was part of the paramenters I set up," said Alexa. "Umbra helped me with that. I only wanted a willing captive, that's why you were chosen."

"But how would your computers know something like that?" Terry asked. "I never volunteered that information online."

"The Futurians have satellites orbitting Earth, but in other dimensions. They have the capability of reading the minds of the potential targets. It read your mind, and found that you were submissive, and would be a willing captive."

Over the next couple of weeks, Alexa went about her usual routine, attending classes and Aerial Aquatics. Eventually, April 13th came around, Alexa's thirteenth birthday. Some of her Verso friends had arranged for a surprise party for her in the common room. She was surprised when she walked in and they threw confetti and streamers on her. There was a huge cake and punch bowl.

"Happy Birthday, Alexa!" they all shouted.

"You guys, this is so awesome!" said Alexa. 

They sang happy birthday to her, and gave her presents. One present, from Stratus, was a container for her shrunken captive that was made from platinum, and there were diamonds and other jewels built into the container.

"This is really nice!" said Alexa, and she hugged Stratus.

"The one you already have can be used for emergencies, but this newer one you can use every day," said Stratus. "When the container is empty, it has a red ruby on the front. If your shrunken captive is inside, there is a built in cloaking device that will shield him from view. so when you open the container and he's inside, but you can't see him, the red ruby turns into a blue sapphire. That's how you'll know he's inside despite him being invisible."

They celebrated until late into the evening. That night, Alexa went outside to get some fresh air, and Carl was waiting for her.

"Happy birthday, Alexa!" said Carl. “It's too bad your birthday wasn't on a Friday, then it would be Friday the thirteenth!" Carl handed her a present.

It was a case for her communicator, and it was hot pink.

"This is perfect, Carl! Thank you!" said Alexa, and she kissed him on the cheek. "Do you want me to bring you a piece of cake?"

Carl nodded, and Alexa went inside to get cake. When she came back out, Carl was seated on a bench. Alexa gave him some cake, and he started eating.

"I have a question," said Carl. “Do you remember talking about a boy back home?"

"Santiago?" Alexa asked.

"Yes," Carl replied. "Have you made a decision about whether or not you're choosing him or me?"

"I'm too young to choose who I'm going to marry," Alexa replied. "But I'm keeping all of my options open for the time being. I might choose you, or someone else."

"I guess that's fair," said Carl.

Later that evening, Alexa was alone in her dorm room with her captive. She had him standing on her desk.

"I'm thirteen today," said Alexa. "I'm officially a teenager."

"Congratulations," said Terry. "I hope I'm still with you when you're a hundred and thirteen!"

"And hopefully I won't look a day over twenty one!" Alexa replied.

Over the next few weeks, finals came around, and everyone was studying. Some of the older kids took over the library and stayed up late studying. Alexa, Stratus and Gamma formed a study group, because they had some of the same classes together. The last day of school was in mid May, so everyone was looking forward to summer break.

Alexa was able to help Gamma and Stratus with math, while Gamma and Stratus could help Alexa with subjects she was deficient in. During finals week, there was a final on a different day in each class, sometimes two finals on the same day. At the end of day one of finals week, Alexa was exhausted, but didn't give up. On day two, she had two finals. Normally, class was 45 minutes long, but each class was two hours for finals. Since the finals were graded by computer, the students received their grades the same day.

By the end of the week, Alexa took her last final and then relaxed. She had passed all of her finals, some of them with extremely high grades. The following day would be the first day of summer break, so everyone was packing and getting ready to take the rocket sled with Ozymandias back to where they lived. Some of the students lived in far flung places like San Bernardino and Riverside. 

The next morning, after breakfast, Alexa got all of her things ready, and said goodbye to her new friends, and to Carl. She planned on staying in touch with Stratus and Gamma and Umbra, she still had her communicator to contact them with.

She stood in line with her luggage, Terry was inside the portable container that Stratus had given Alexa for her birthday, and the terrarium was minaiturized down to a more portable size. When Ozymandias notified Alexa that it was her turn, she got in and he took her to her parents home in southern California.

She went inside and was greeted by her parents.

"So how was your first year at Southridge academy?" Alexa's mother asked.

"It was unusual," Alexa replied. "Morgan Lefevre recruited me and wanted me to help her take over the world. She got defeated by the faculty of Southridge academy, but then Morgan fought back, and now they have a truce. I'm the only student who knows what really happened, their minds have been tampered with so they don't remember. Is that anything like your experience at Southridge academy?"

"No," her mother replied. "But I'm glad you're safe. I baked brownies, would you like one?" Alexa's mother held out a tray of brownies, and Alexa took one, and took a bite.

"I've got a question for the two of you," Alexa asked, "Could I spend half the summer here, and half in that new reality Morgan Lefevre created? I need to help her get things organized there. She permanently got rid of poverty and diseases there."

Mr. and Mrs. Lockport looked at each other. Mrs. Lockport replied, "We can talk this over, we need time to think about it.

Chapter 24: Epilogue by Gastric Aztec

Chapter 24: Epilogue

"Why don't you go to the park and socialize with your friends for a while," said Mr. Lockport, "and when you get back, your mother and I will give you the verdict on whether we will let you spend time with Morgan Lefevre."

"Thanks, Daddy!" said Alexa. She took her belongings to her room, and re-enlarged her terrarium with her neutrino dissimilator and set the terrarium on a shelf. She put her clothes away, then grabbed her cell phone that had been in her room while she was at the academy, and put it inside of her backpack along with her neutrino dissimilator, and her neural stimulator and set off for the park nearby, to meet up with her old friends. Alexa still wore her portable container that Stratus had given to her on her birthday, with Terry still inside.

Since it was a Saturday, Roxie and Tricia were hanging out there at the park.

"What kind of a necklace is that?" Roxie asked.

"It is made of platinum and has diamonds and other gems built into it," said Alexa. "I keep my shrunken captive inside. His name is Terry."

"Can I see him?" Tricia asked.

"Sure," Alexa replied, and she opened the flask containing Terry.

"Hey, there's nothing in there," said Tricia as she peeked inside.

"It has a built in cloaking device," said Alexa, as she dumped Terry into her palm. "See? When he's inside the container, you can't see him. Now the blue sapphire turned into a red ruby now that he's not in there."

"Can I hold him?" Tricia asked.

"Sure," Alexa replied, dumping Terry into Tricia's hand.

"Remember when we were younger, we always wanted to shrink people?" Tricia asked. "Now you finally have a shrunken man!"

"I know," said Alexa. "I've swallowed him twice."

"Can I swallow him?" Tricia asked.

"Sure, but you're gonna have to puke him back up, though."

Tricia popped the shrunken man into her mouth, and swallowed. Once he was gliding down her esophagus, she giggled, and Alexa and Roxie laughed, too. Tricia lifted her shirt slightly, revealing her belly. "I can't believe he's really in there! This is like a dream come true!"

"How long can he stay inside of her stomach?" Roxie asked.

"He's immortal, so he can last a long time," Alexa replied. "I just don't want to lose him, so Tricia is going to have to vomit him up soon."

"What's the longest you've had him in your stomach?" Roxie asked.

"About half an hour once, I was punishing him because he tried to escape from me."

Terry, at one inch tall, found himself swimming around within what to him was the vast expanse of Tricia's stomach. He swam around in her chyme, trying to hold his breath as much as possible. Logic told him that he was immortal, and he had nothing to fear; he could survive indefinitely within the belly of a girl. But emotionally, he still felt anxiety, because eventually, he knew his oxygen would run out. He could smell the contents of Tricia's most recent meal.

Alexa spent the next ten minutes talking about the events of the school year, and what had happened with Morgan Lefevre. Her initial victory, then her defeat, then the rematch and the truce.

"So you get to go visit her reality this summer?" Tricia asked.

"Maybe, I'm still waiting for my parents decision on that. But in that new reality, Roxie and Santiago are my generals! I've got two sets of each of you to be friends with. Morgan wants me to go back and help her with getting all of the world's criminals minaiturized and sold at auctions."

"That's so cool!" said Tricia. "I wish I could go!"

"I have an easy way for you to puke Terry up," said Alexa as she put her backpack down and pulled out her neural stimulator. "This is a neureal stimulator, it will stimulate the area of your brain that is responsible for your gag reflex. If you have anything inside of your stomach, you will vomit it up."

"Is it painful?" Tricia asked.

"No, not when I used it on me," Alexa replied.

"Okay, use it on me!" said Tricia, and Alexa fired the gadget at Tricia's head.

Tricia vomited, and Alexa scooped Terry up out of the grass.

"How does he feel about being your captive?" Roxie asked.

"I think he accepts his fate," said Alexa. "One of the reasons I picked him out was because he's submissive, so he's less likely to try to escape."

"But you said he did try to escape," said Roxie.

"Yeah, but he's used to me now," said Alexa.

The three girls talked for most of the afternoon, until Alexa decided to return hom to face her parents' verdict about whether or not she would be permitted to return to the reality created by Morgan.

Once Alexa arrived home, her parents were waiting for her.

"We've come to a decision," said Mr. Lockport. "We've spoken to Victoria Valerius, the headmistress. She told us about how responsible you were, and how you were the decisive factor in defeating Morgan."

"We're proud of you for calling a truce," said Mrs. Lockport. "Without your cool head, they might still be in the middle of a time war."

"So what's the decision?" Alexa asked.

"We've decided to let you go to Morgan's reality," said Mr. Lockport. "You can stay there for half of the summer, and here for the other half. Pack your belongongs, Ozymandias is going to pick you up in an hour." 

Alexa hugged both of her parents, and packed her luggage. She was thrilled that she had the permission of both her parents and the faculty, and wouldn't have to sneak around behind anyone's back to visit with Morgan Lefevre. When Ozymandias arrived in the rocket sled, he took her luggage and loaded it, and off she went to visit the new reality for the summer.


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