Chapter 3 – The tour

Sharon and Aléi are walking down the hallway. Much like the lounge it’s red-carpeted and lit up by the gas lamp-like lamps. The hallway turns as soon as you enter and is very long. At the other end of it, Aléi can see a set of stairs going up and down. The hallway has a few branches.
Aléi isn’t sure what to make of it all, but at least she’s armed and have her magics.

“I guess I could tell you about some of us being composite characters,” Sharon suddenly says while they are walking.
“Composite? What do you mean by that?” Aléi looks at Sharon.
Sharon opens her mouth to answer, but is interrupted. The interruption is so sudden Aléi lets out a yelp of fright. Sharon wasn’t ready for it either and clenches her teeth and her eyes go wide.
“Composite meaning that they are a mix of different continuities,” Martin, who apparently have been following them, says.
“Let’s take Silver for example,” he says and nods to someone behind Sharon and Aléi. Aléi turns around to see who it is and lets out another yelp and even draws her sword when she sees what can be described as a living drawing.

The ‘person’ in front of them is slightly human shaped. His head is round end his eyes are just two black dots. His hair is brown and… poofy? For hands he got no fingers, only thumbs. He is also outlined by a, well… outline. A thick black outline.

The guy jumps back as Aléi draws her sword.
“Whoa whoa whoa, calm down!” he says, panicked. He sounds just like Martin.
“What… is… that?” Aléi slowly says, still holding her weapon ready and eyes wide.
“That’s Silver. Probably the biggest offender in being a composite character,” Martin points at Silver. Who raises his hand as a greeting.
“I have been using him for movies, games and drawings, so this Silver has bits from all of them,” he explains. Silver waves at Aléi. She slowly puts away her sword, and with wide eyes looks at his outstretched hand, not really wanting to touch something weird like that.
“All of them?” she looks back to Martin, away from the creepy cartoon character.
“Well, one for each continuity. I could technically get more than one here, but I’d prefer one of each,” Martin remarks.
“Are there more of me as well?” Aléi asks. Silver, realising his work here is done, walks past to enter the lounge.
“There’s always more of everyone,” Martin says.
“But for this place we take one and mix it with the others.”
Aléi gets scared.
“Even me? If I leave, wouldn’t you just take another me and do the same thing with her?” she asks, the fear starting to become apparent.
“Yes and no,” Martin answers, sounding a little bit too silly for the situation.
“We only invite the original and then mix that one with whatever seems fit. You are a fairly new character, so we don’t have much material for you, but let’s say I created a game where you were the star. I could then mix that you into this you to create a composite you. However, the game you would be based off of the original you, you. So there wouldn’t be that much of a difference except for additional memories and skills,” Martin explains. Aléi tries to follow the explanation as good as she can, but it’s really confusing.
“Hey Martin, I don’t think this is the right time to talk about things like that,” Sharon says.
“Good point, I will shut up now,” Martin nods and walks away, back to the lounge.

“A composite…” Aléi says to herself, a bit scared.
“Don’t worry,” Sharon says with a friendly voice.
“He has a habit of being weird,” she chuckles. Aléi gives a half-hearted smile, not sure what’s so funny. That Martin person is really strange and a bit scary.
“And Silver is one of three who are cartoons, the other two are support characters. They are actually real nice,” Sharon says and points towards the stairs in the other end of the corridor.
“Shall we continue?”
“I guess?” Aléi says.

From the stairs, the corridor turns left. At the end of that part is a big metal door and another left turn. Sharon explains that’s the gym and they head there. She points out which locker room belongs to the girls, and then they go through the big door to the right.

The door reveals another set of stairs which leads to bleachers overlooking a giant indoor gym. Three people are playing soccer at the closest end of the gym.
“Wait, isn’t that the Martin guy? Didn’t he leave?” Aléi looks at the person standing in the goal, having Martin’s same long, messy dark brown hair. He is dressed in grey sweat pants and a dark grey t-shirt.
The other two look identical. They have black, short hair. Their pants are blue and the sleeves on their white t-shirts are elbow length and light blue. A large black ‘1’ is printed on their t-shirts. The clothes on one of them is slightly darker.

The black haired boy with the lighter coloured clothes kicks a soccer ball and the goalie barely catches it by throwing himself. The ball bounces into the goal and the guy lands and goes from a somersault into standing position.

The guy with darker coloured clothes notices Sharon and Aléi and waves.
“Hey, Sharon!” he shouts as if it was a happy surprise they showed up.
The other two stops playing soccer to look at the visitors. Sharon waves back as the guys walk towards the bleachers. Sharon and Aléi heads down.
“Hi!” she says.
“You must be the new girl Martin was talking about,” the boy with darker clothes looks at Aléi. She’s feeling rather silly with her scale armour and sword as everyone else seems to be unarmed.
“Err… Hi, I’m Aléi Farnos,” she says, a bit unsure of what to do. The guys look friendly except for the guy in the lighter coloured clothes, who look like he doesn’t really care.
“Welcome!” the darker clothed guy says.
“I’m Cilantro Oshiro, nice to meet you,” he stretches out his hand, and Aléi shakes it. With everyone being so friendly, or at least trying to, the least she cold do is to be a little nice back.
“My name’s Martin. I’m the local superhero,” the person that looks like Martin says.
Now Aléi notices the differences from the other Martin. This one doesn’t have a beard or glasses like the other one did.

“Another Martin?” she confusedly asks.
“Yeah, we got a few,” Sharon answers.
“Silver’s name is actually Martin Silver. We try to distinguish between them by giving them nicknames. This Martin’s nickname is The Superhero,” she explains and points at The Superhero, who raises a hand to confirm it.
“And who are you?” Aléi asks the third guy who is standing behind the other two.
“Rodney Oshiro,” he simply says and looks up.
“Are you two twins?” she looks at Rodney and Cilantro. Besides one being dressed a bit darker, Cilantro is smiling.
“Something like that, but let’s not discuss it,” The Superhero advisedly says.
“So what do you think of The Meeting Place so far?” he asks to change the subject.
“Well… um…” Aléi begins, not really wanting to say that it’s incredibly scary and weird.
“It’s… good?” she finally says.

Later, Sharon and Aléi are walking down the stairs they passed by before, to the basement.
“Jordan mentioned something about the basement being new?” Aléi asks while they are walking. The stairs aren’t that long and they go in some half-spiral.
“Yeah, new areas of this place just… show up when we want them,” Sharon says.
“Martin thought it would be cool if we had a shooting range, so the basement showed up with one. I’m not sure how.”
“I… see,” Aléi says, even more puzzled than before. She decides that that’s how this place works and shouldn’t question it too much.

As they reach the basement Aléi can see that the right wall is made out of glass and is probably the shooting range. Three shapes can be seen at the other end firing what Aléi guesses are some kind of magic orbs. The feel is entirely different from the upper floor. As the other floor was bright and made out of wood, the basement seems to be made out of dark stone and the light is really low.
As they enter the shooting range from the other end of the corridor, Aléi sees three men shooting targets with some weird devices. Being from a fantasy world she doesn’t recognise plasma and laser guns.

The three men stop firing and turns towards the two girls, lowering their weapons. Aléi glances over to the targets at the far end of the range; the targets in front of the guy in the back seems to have gotten most hits. The one in the middle, not so many.

“You must be Aléi,” the first guy says. He has short, brown hair with a split fringe sticking out. He also has a soul patch beard.
“I’m Phor-ty I. This is Phor-ty II and Phor-ty III,” he says and points at the others. The one named Phor-ty II waves. He has dark blond, messy hair and a goatee.
The last guy got black, neck length hair. He got a fringe, but no facial hair. They are all dressed in different brown jackets or vests.

“Forty-one, two and three?” Aléi tilts her head.
“I guess you are also related?”
Phor-ty shrugs.
“Apparently we are, but we are not sure how and Martin refuses to tell us. We are from three different campaigns. But it’s Phor-ty, not forty,” he says.

“They are from the future and are actually sentient computer viruses that-” Sharon begins with enthusiasm, but stops once she realises who she is explaining it to.
“Moving on,” she says, trying to change the subject and drags Aléi out of the room.

The Phor-tys wave goodbye and then turn back to the firing range.

NEXT CHAPTER

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