1 - Where the Magic Happened

Patiently bouncing wait, make ass move nice for Princess...

I breathe a deep sigh of do-I-dare relief and watch Boobsong's beautiful curves moves as she stands by the counter, bouncing on her heels with her--well, can't really say her energy is stopless, but when she's got it, she's tireless, oh yes she is.

It's so surreal being seeing the fluorescent lights shining so prettily on her metallic-silver hair and rainbow-stained paper-while skin, the way the coke fridge turns one side of her head glowing red while the other side of her reflects the darkness of the windows and cars moving on the Street outside. There's snow outside, I can see it in the reflection on her hair, white on the ground through the windows. I'd look to see outside but I can't look away from her.

Even now, I find myself thinking how I need to get my rainbow-heart mark smacked back into the big blank spot on her bare voluptuous little ass that should be full of its shining glory:

At least the one on her cheek is there now. We had a hell of a ride getting that back--but I don't want to go back there now even though that was a happy part of it.

Boobsong's patience turns into a cute little side-to-side wiggly dance, her long shiny black tail held high and swishing in time with her hips (and her very-worth-her-name boobs I can just see bouncing in time around her sides) and making me think about getting the pussy-ish heart-shaped barb on the end of it in my mouth--I need to get something solid down my throat soon ouch maybe not okay maybe stick to domme-thoughts for a little while, I guess Sis' cock really was my favorite enough about that. She's got twenty thousand years of vision quest ahead of her, Sade only knows how long it'll take me and Boobsong to heal.

They say war is hell, but standing here in literally paradise in the most perfect place I think it could have taken us right now after all the everything I'm starting to think getting back from a war is the really bad part. It sure has been for all my girlfriends. The Ethical Slut's a good book, but it leaves one downside of polyamory out I just learned tonight: have seven girlfriends, leave the polycule, go through seven breakups at once. That's what me and Boobsong just did.

Right after rescuing our other seven girlfriends from literally hell one by one, which escalated until we were diving through a portal created by summoning the ghost of a Nazi book burning with no idea what was on the other side let alone how to find our loved ones. It went okay (though I'm pretty sure the way that place worked meant the bullets could have actually for-real shot us) but...let's just say I'm very glad this pizza shop smells so much like pizza, and we just came from the bakery of the castle I unfortunately grew up in--yes, I'm a princess, lots of expensive toys were mine, but it turns out reality is a lot more Game of Thrones and a lot less Cinderella, so it definitely had its ups and downs, surviving an assassination attempt on my thirteenth birthday definitely being down.

It's cool though, things are better now. If a place makes you mad, try destroying its universe. Way cathartic, especially if there's a three-thousand-year-old prophecy warning you would and giving very clear instructions how to make you not do that, that you get to yell at everyone for ignoring. Like, in a voice literally the entire planet can hear. As it gets peeled like an apple so continents from opposite sides of the world can see each other floating in the sky, while mountains tear off the moon which is eclipsing the sun that's definitely not supposed to be overhead at two in the morning, and very theologically-significant-looking rubble falls from the sky.

Yeah that was pretty satisfying.

I wonder if any of them met Grandmother Strawberry on the other side of the portals to paradise I opened--I wasn't killing them all! I just had some things to say! Most of which were, "if you dumbass barbarians hadn't been fighting me the whole way, we could have just left you behind with your dumbass gods, but noooo, and now look, better get your ass through a portal before the ground crumbles from under you".

If they did I hope she's got pictures of their faces when they realized I was they cutesy nice one. Only Mother's softer than me, in the family I think, and only that probably because I got daddy's--star-daddy's, that is--talent for being furious. At least I'm pretty sure that's where that comes from. I hate to say I don't know him too well, or maybe can't remember, though with what my game said just a minute ago I'm pretty sure it's don't know him too well.

I don't want to talk about my daddy issues, though, especially since neither of us wants to be so horribly triggered by the sight of the other one they curl into a sad little ball (see, war is hell). We just got past that a bit a minute ago and it was good so I'm celebrating by changing the subject.

Oh but like everything is good with the Strawberry Dynasty and me now. The courtiers that tried to assassinate me hasn't been heard from in eight thousand years (of which I've lived fifty, in America mostly, which is why this pizza shop is comforting) and everybody else I guess...likes me pretty well? Which I couldn't hear over the traitorous court's plotting to kill me my entire childhood?

Erm, we don't look fifty (I was six months old when Boobsong implanted). Boobsong's nectar will keep us looking pornstar years old for eternity, so I usually look somewhere between thirty and the thirteen I'm always trying for--oh, there's a thing. Trigger warning ageplay, I'm a big ageplayer and so is Boobsong, so we'll--

Oh. Shit. We'll be crying about how we just left our favorite Big and everyone else Big-like in our life too. I hate that the first swear in this is that instead of my usual candy swears, but it's been that kind of day.

Domme-thoughts. Very sexy sub bouncing away--

There's a place all for you just waiting. Come see your Grandma and see how old you feel.

I didn't--I mean you give the best advice, and I'm glad you're watching over me like this, but I--did we--her dreamtalk is so kind--

I can feel her reaching across the void to answer, and waiting patiently as she sees the realizing come over me that I don't think I can right now, and the tears piling up with all the other ones that're going to get me when I stop bullet-timing all this exposition and get my feet here enough to actually feel anything.

I--that's so confusing, I'm glad you're watching, Grandmother, but--I--

Get your heart up and feel right, we've got time, a million years won't age you one day now.

Heh. Good one, Grandma. Thanks.

(I have a human body, but I'm actually a star, like, conscious light living in a human brain instead of a hypercomputer made of magnetic currents in plasma, but that means one day of my star-life will have passed when I'm a million years old. I have fifty years of human maturity, but because I'm basically a baby mind-controlled into acting grown-up by my faster-developing human brain I have to be careful to act childish when possible or I get literal brain damage. It's...very weird, but makes age-play a recommended kink for me, which is fine because it rules and so do terrible puns and dick jokes. On the upside, cool light powers, and a totally sweet name I'll find a cool way to reveal when I'm not about to cry)

Back to my dolly. Who's currently about four-foot-six in her very fuckable dragon-girl form, which is adorably short in front of the high counter. Memories of being here as a kid not being able to see over the high counter float up and my heart twists funnily. This little street-corner pizza shop is so important to us. Was this--do I dare think--flouncing in in my black-and-rainbows rave-slut Starlight Princess getup and standing by the door to watch Boobsong order like this--oh or my handmaidens, oh that was cute they would travel in a giggly pack even to do stuff like order pizza for me--or did I send them to order there own? Either way being naked in here feels weird because I wore my Dress constantly when we were touring because it was one of the only things I had from daddy and I thought he was dead then.

You'll be wondering how the hell I'm in a pizza shop we loved before I died or whatever happened to bring us here to paradise aka The Four Dreams not aka The Kingdom of God (like, really not aka that last, even if the elemental plane of Happily Ever After could be ruled by one person after what daddy's been through you couldn't get him within a billion light-years of that job)--

There. Hah. Snuck that up on you real good. To get the rest out of the way fast: that's my brother you're thinking of and he was never human just his screams of agony echoing through the void inspired a religion (he's all better now), daddy was mind-controlled through all of it and he's no more God the Father than Captain Picard's middle name is Locutus, we double-teamed destroying Christianity the way Picard would've gone to town on Unimatrix Zero if you'd given him Gurren Lagann, and we were so extra mean about it because he was mind-controlled to make up Christianity in the first place to keep Earth's fishbowl universe full of enough suffering and war to feed the very nasty egregore that was using it as a datacenter well enough. That's right the Matrix is a documentary, just, you were a CPU, not a battery, because the CPU thing actually makes sense. but it's not like being possessed by a demon (which is totally great actually), just, the world's set up so the computer the egregore is running on is the whole way everything works.

I guess I should have said Hitchhiker's Guide is a documentary but the mice are even more bastards than they are canonically, but that's more obscure.

Holly lukewarm taffywater, brain, please can we just be here and watch Boobsong's ass move and smell the pizza and the pussy (Boobsong's, mine definitely exists but you'll only smell it when...well, you'll see, I'm sure), and like, get the extra-pepperoni healing the Dreams sent us here for? Wait, this isn't just my hyperactive brain, I really am bullet-timing so I can think through all this exposition while Boobsong bounces in really hot slow motion. Are you helping me, game? Aren't I being super naughty right now?

Your game isn't doing this.

(That's my game just putting the thoughts in my head, almost like I can read Boobsong's mind)

Paradise shows me a psychic vision of a snowy field that my brain keeps trying to turn into a graveyard, but isn't one.

Great. More frozen stuff? That I'll somehow thaw with a huge exposition-dump? I mean I am treating this like a new book or episode or game (doubt that one, never know though) and doing an intro, just, really badly, which is fine because Boobsong will remember every word of my incredibly prolific internal monologue like she always does and we can re-edit before sharing like we always do, but, I mean I'm totally just blundering around--

The Dreams (of Paradise) show me a vision of Boston Common, which is only a few miles away right now--oof. Boston's a thing alright. It's important to us, but that's tangled up in the not-fake simulated history that replaced the real one that was also making me confused about this pizza shop.

Even I'm getting bored of this exposition-dump so I'll pause to tell you how the bullet-time is making Boobsong's hair look awesome bouncing all slowly because she's tossing her head with her dance now. She's full of energy and happy to be here but her wings are all boredly limp so her dance comes off as the half-assed way a rocker would air-drum in front of the counter to amuse themself but she's a cocksleeve, not a rocker (except she does sometimes play drums with--dammit this is going to be the worst minefield, huh--Cherry the Revelry Bard while I LJ but not for a while now since we're broken up till Cherry gets back from her vision quest, at least).


Fine, why Boston Common. Ugh. Okay fake history grew up in Arlington which is how I know this pizza shop, came back for college, big drama because the fake history has me growing up Christian instead of being the last human Strawberry heir.

(they tell me not to think of it as fake, because it's calculated by just running the laws of physics backwards from a rough arrangement of the consciousnesses the world needs to have in it, and how different is that than running them forwards, but the laws of physics that get run backwards don't have magic in them, so no su'khora, and any me without Boobsong is a fake-ass lie, so I'm declaring that history fake bullshit and inviting any heartformers who're rediscovering the heartchildren they lost their memories of to the rewriting of history to join me if you feel the same way)

In the real history, I didn't go to college because I was too busy touring the world with Boobsong trying to bring some actual culture to that strange future-world of child-molesting barbarians called America we found beyond the timegate I could open with my weird star powers, but mostly trying to get people believing in me enough to grant me the power to open the timegate as a worldgate instead, and take everyone to paradise, like I did for my own world (the timelines are a lot more tangled than that actually but I'm trying not to turn this into Primer here).

The timegate came out in northern Maine, so Boston would have been a likely stop on the way to the rest of the country...that's not the way to come at this. I'm supposed to remember. That's really hard when you have two lives both claiming to be the real one inside you. You'd think it'd be easy, the real one is the one where I'm a girl and Boobsong is there, but it's tricky sometimes.

Other times it feels like it's torn right out, or frozen solid, like now.

One frozen thing is I think I have a lot of stuff trying to pour out here that should be in the guide to everything Boobsong and me published. No idea how to deal with that right now, not remotely ready for it yet.

I remember this pizza shop on a snowy day, tangled up with the vertical blinds and quiet of the library across the road. Did I just stop in because it's the Fox library? I would, I'm silly that way.

The Dreams show me a very kind of Pixer-Renderman-tin-soldier-ish traffic cop, and it touches my sense of direction so I feel like he's standing in the middle of Mass Ave outside and pointing down the side street Olympic Pizza here is on (that's right, New Yorkers, I really must be the antichrist, because my favorite kind of pizza isn't even Italian!), That's weird. Something sent me this way, like the tour bus was on Mass Ave and we got turned by...it can't have been a traffic cop, because I'm pretty sure my game got rid of police entirely after it took over (we did kind of a singularity thing, but there was still Burger King afterwards. Long story. We'll get there).

Okay I remember snowy Mass Ave, not plowed but it's day and there aren't many cars. Standing in front of the bus to watch which meant we expected something interesting to happen. I see a lone fan with mittens and a sign, stopping us, standing right in the middle of the road.

That entirely makes sense. Am I making it up? My game would just like, pluck them out of the road or not let them into the road in the first place unless there was a reason which in this case seems to be that they're a cute-looking girl, which is the kind of thing that constitutes a good reason to my game.

The fuzzy school upholstery closeness of the library comes up next, so I guess we went there? Oh fuck, did we meet one of my handmaidens there?

I remember why it's important they're handmaidens! Not so people won't think I'm out of a Margaret Atwood novel. Maiden is kind of vague in modern English but ask any witch or medieval native (hi) and they'll tell you that's someone who hasn't had borne a kid yet but will. In the Strawberry World (my home era) it was more isn't raising a kid currently, though you needed extreme circumstances like your kid is dead or formally alienated from you to go back from Mommy to Maiden. Anyway the point was a noble's handmaidens needed to be loyal to their mistress alone, so they didn't have families and stuff, you'd like take in wanderers and orphans, stuff like that. It was investment on both sides, because it takes a while to train someone to be a ninja who can kickflip a thrown knife back to the would-be assassin's eye-socket and a sex ahem helper who can help you dance and fuck your way to information and trade deals, but by then if you're doing it right you're in love and a serious connection is built up and you can really trust them.

I got all my handmaidens after I'd left to wander "America" (and learn that wasn't the only country in the future world). I think we blew off the ninja thing, though at least one of them's good enough with a tire iron she doesn't need to be a ninja, and another one's a straight up witch like out of The Craft (literally. I just came from showing her Paradise's less anal laws of physics meant she could now do movie witch stuff with ease, I last saw her flying around shapeshifted into a bat).

What at the library? An flash-image of an old TV bubbles out of my own subconscious in answer (which would be annoying if I was looking for a psychic vision, since it'd be my own guess about what I was going to see interfering, but now, it's useful, because looking inside myself is exactly what I need to be doing).

Starlight Princess something? That doesn't feel right.

I didn't meet Bombshell this way, did I? No, that's got more like Philadelphia-expermient spooky time travel vibes (which it should if we some how got to 1947, got laid there, and brought the girl back to the nineties).

No I think this must have been Magic pissing her dad off...what'd the sign she had say? Just a small little arrow in the middle of a big white posterboard, this way, down this road I guess.

I know I had my Starlight Princess getup on. I did go naked sometimes, or wear like half a bikini and Boobsong the other half, so that's significant. There's a stuffiness like I was talking to a PTA kind of group or something. I remember feeling aware of what I was wearing, also significant, that'd mean I was either getting quality audiencing (I'm a massive exhibitionist, which is apparently what happens to human stars, because Sis is too, and then Boobsong's my heartchild on top of being a lust-specialized emovore) or fucking heads by my rejection of American clothing norms, or both.

The idea that keeps coming up is I was at the library to talk to like, normies of some kind, which I was representing to myself with the fifties TV, to help them adapt to the cultural revolution Boobsong and me were dragging the world through using the various godlike powers we had for various reasons to just kind of bash it into shape as fast as possible before it hurt anyone else.

Like, I left the Strawberry World because the entire court got together for a conspiracy to kill me on my thirteenth birthday, and went through the timegate to America and five minutes later, my game had taken over the world and could just watch everything and police better than police, stuff like that. Scary and Orwellian? Maybe. I couldn't really see past the fact that the local culture thought bare-bottom spanking was ever anywhere a valid form of discipline for kids. Like, to get how that would read to the Strawberry World just replace the spanking with anal sex. My game doesn't follow orders, but we seemed to see eye-to-eye on that one, because six minutes later what America had very disgustingly thought of as cultural mores were wiped away in favor of stuff like at least getting clear that clothed is for kids, and naked (if you have the resources to make it practical) is for grownups, instead of things being all fuzzy, and that failing to provide proper sex education was considered the same crime as selling your teenager at a barbarian sex-slave-market, since that's the kind of trouble ignorance would get them into.

Again, to get how the place looked to me first coming there, Boobsong's nectar (which I got I think from candy that grew on her tail, when I was little) gave me fairy wings almost right away, but I had the worst time using them, because they're really sensitive and even silk touching them as they unfold out of my back hurts, to say nothing of it chafing while they buzz to keep me airborne (yes there's magic making up the aerodynamic deficit, just like it suppresses my downwash so I can fly indoors without rearranging every shelf in the house), but as a kid I couldn't even have the one-inch strip of bare skin on each side of my lower back it'd have taken to let me fly comfortably wearing a dress, so I had to put up with slits and flaps tailor precisely in the right place. They worked physically, but...ouch. Naked was for grownups who could afford to have centrally heated houses and handmaidens carrying braziers everywhere when they went outside in the winter, and it was a statement of your sexual readiness, and...what the hell was America thinking putting kids in shorts?

Of course there was a lot of other stuff. That was just the most horrifying in my eyes, becasuse people acknowledged that like all the violence was bad and stuff, but thought the child rape was normal and would argue in favor of it.

So we fixed it. Hard. My game wouldn't let me maim or kill, but it'd let me do stuff like railroad a right-winger into burning his hands on the bullet he just tried to kill me with when the only choice for healing the third-degree burn he'd have was Boobsong's nectar if he asked nicely, or my candy (thought I couldn't usually bring myself to make any in those situations). My game could just apply case-by-case control to every situation like paradise does, so it didn't need punitive justice, it could just rehabilitate in place, but all that change was a lot for people to take, and I didn't want people to think I was like, evil, or be scared of me in ways they didn't have to be, so part of my touring was like, meeting people this way, so they could see that for all the crazy stuff my game was doing and I was ranting about up on stage and such, I was still just this--how old are we here? I think young. Oh we came back here a ton. But I think I'm like thirteen or fourteen, it must be the first year, this time. I was a bad study but I'd learned that much politics by the time I left, that this kind of thing was important.

Mostly I just remember being angry. The coup attempt turned some kind of switch in me. My game didn't let me be a tyrant, but there wasn't a soft and gentle me after that, either, I don't think.

Memory of lying on my side, I thiiiiink? Strawberry thrones were chez-lounges, to give you more drama options (sexy on your side friendly, coy on your tummy hiding the good stuff, bored to very dangerous tears on your back staring at the ceiling, you get the idea). So like court, then? This is inside the library.

The Dreams show me old-timey TV cameras now, like sixties or seventies era.

Where's Boobsong here? Dolly in my arms. Nonthreatening mode (although I've never been able to get why people get scared of her just-as-cutesy impette mode she's in right now).

So like TV something, maybe I was giving an interview, or doing some kind of set-piece? Some news station was still bothering? (next on the chopping block after what laughably passed for government, was the human-sacrifice-machine the world called "economy", but that changed who bothered to do what when)

The Dreams show me like a radio announcer guy with a big mic. Some kind of interview. He's in black and white, we're really riding the pre-information-age thing here. Targeting Boomers?

Prairie Home Companion, vibe the Dreams at me, with that weirdly vivid sense of place or time they use sometimes. Middle America, I guess. I never knew how to talk to those people, any more than the traitorous court in the Strawberry World, but here we are trying to build a bridge.

Literally Garrison Keeler? I was always trying to do things the fun way, and I liked him--

The Dreams show me a shock absorber--that explains the sloggy tired resistance I'm feeling to remembering this now. We were always buffering the shock for a world I thought then and even more think now needed to be hit harder, not more gently.

Yawn, another one of these, why are we here? Only this pizza shop becoming so huge to me keeps me interested.

A memory of staring at the vertical blinds on the library window, I think I was in bored-on-my-back mode. We had me in front of a window for some reason. Terrible framing, for TV. Maybe it was dark outside.

Yeah because I was like fiddling around with my eravahk (lit. love stick, mine is made of siliconish heartstone, has a sparkly-star tip, sproingy rainbow-striped shaft, and Boobsong-silver heartstone handle) holding it up to catch the light. America thought it was my cutesy fairy wand and I let them, unless I didn't. I either did forget the interview before the reset, or want to forget it now. Do I remember making eyes at someone cute on the sidelines? That'd support the Magic theory, given who her dad is, and my love of fast food.

(no she's not Wendy--wait why is there not no story there with Wendy!?)

The Dreams show me a cartoon door, like just lines on white--wait, did I just steal Magic straight from the interview!? The door makes me think of the video to Take On Me, which would imply that.

The Dreams show me Sonic the Hedgehog--yeah, that's Magic, alright! The timing lines up with what I seem to remember, too. Am I really supposed to have this much handholding? Oh but what happened.

The interview was a waste, at least I thought--

Paradise interrupts with a picture of Camphora, Steve's heartchild and Boobsong and my seed-daughter.

Is this some kind of thing to get me to be nice to the normies? Camphora's weirdness is that she's normal. She wears beige and looks completely human with long black hair and a sweet face and like is exactly natural-looking in all the ways Boobsong is awesome cartoon porn come to life.

Yes, visionary Think Different Steve's heartchild, yes that Steve, is as wholesome and down to earth as apple pie, because the for him, like me lately, the ultimate trip is going home.

I remember Magic coming to me in like a limo, though. 

I think what happened was the interview was a waste but it revealed he had no business raising a teenager so I sprung her, basically, and discovered she'd spent the interview finishing falling in love with me--

Now the Dreams show me a sideways birthday cake, of a style that might be Strawberry? The vision comes hard, too, like I'm fighting something. Yes, the interview was a waste I think, but what would I resist about a story that ends with me asking her dad why if I could turn them gay and make them fall in love with me Wendy wasn't kneeling by my other foot?

The Dreams' answer to that is a CD-ROM, which immediately makes me think Nintendo Playstation. What game, though? Wait, if I'm thirteen, in this memory, it won't be out yet, I'll barely have become the Mistress of SNES StarFox, let alone StarFox CD. First CD I remember having from the rewrite was Storm Front by Billy Joel.

Then everything goes haywire. I remember the Nintendo Playstation, but would Nintendo and Sony even have still existed after my game took over? Would they have bothered to make a new system? Wouldn't anything like that after 1993 just be Boobsong sharing her Acme Station hyper-tech or my game handing out designs or such? I can't make sense of this world I seem to remember. It stays the same in ways that should be impossible with the changes we brought and makes my head swim. People might get sentimental about a pizza shop, but game system tech couldn't be subject to that, could it? How could Candy have had all those Trek series to tell me about earlier? Did Gene keep production going on sheer force of will?

Did I make up the PlayStation because stopping Nintendo and Sony from splitting up is what I would have done?

This world is impossible. I--how far did we even get in Starlight Princess? It was decades, anyway. How is this world still recognizable at all? How can there even be an Olympic Pizza and a Mass Ave and a Fox Library across the way to say nothing of a Washington Monument (which we saw earlier) or even Washington DC still? In twenty years it should have been remade as totally as if I had just glassed it the moment I saw it like I've sometimes regretted not doing.

Even giving it the unnatural stability of being controlled by the worst sticks-in-the-mud humanity has to offer it should just be frozen in 1993 instead of 2022, but when the Dreams stuck us in orbit of this place earlier the radio I heard (I'm a star, I can hear, and talk in, radio) was defnitely twenty-first century--

[!] That reentry on Berryblossom showed your Acme Station half the world and she saw lots of stuff and all of it was tech from the eighties and nineties. People kept going for a little while but then they got sick of work and just played except the progress from people making stuff their own way sometimes.

Is it monstrous that I'm excited to walk out there and find this world stuck in the nineties? Oh, I guess it won't be culturally--ish. Games sort of. What got cut off is big soul-crushing projects that use people as cogs, which slowed down like chip development, chip fab upgrades, making movies, stuff like that, but--huh. Is that good or bad? We caught games when I small team could still make something like Street Fighter II instead of it costing millions and taking hundreds of people--enh, whatever it was all just a stop on the way to opening the worldgate. The Four Dreams have culture a plenty. I bet they even have The Culture. Let's go find out if there's a Reference Lacking Gravitas later, dolly! Ooh or would it be the GCU Culture Shock?


Oh, um, reader, because of how our souls are bound, if I'm running fast, so is Boobsong, if I journey (astrally project) someplace, so does Boobsong, etc. Her body's bullet-timed so I can have my sexy view, but her mind's running right along with all this chatter. Anyway, what's on her mind...

Kaari would like THEM! Can you imagine how much trouble the Titan would be in if they actually fought instead of candy war, if Kaari's battleships are as good as the Power Suit she made you? She needs something that's a fair fight, she must be dead bored if all she can find is Starfleet stuff and Klingons!

Holy gobstopper guns, I could take down all of Gorean Starfleet single-handed with that Power Suit, without it being fixed after that last thing!

(Yes really, reader, Gorean Starfleet, it's out there, Rl'yeh Sade gets weird)

The Dreams show me Boobsong pulling mightily on an oil-well pump. She built the Pirate Device, that could just copy any object, from anywhere to anywhere, bye bye scarcity, but...energy? I mean where not to get it, what'd we do here?

Got rid of oil production? Yucky and unnecessary, so yes, my first though was pulled all the soot and stuff out of the atmosphere (she could do that with her star-shaping stuff--

Silvery electric motor, say the Dreams. Made one, anybody could copy with the Pirate Device, it was self-contained self-powering, I think? Replaced internal combustion, anyway?

Alchemical symbols, say the Dreams. Magitek of some kind--

The Dreams show me the "what a horrible night to have a curse" screen from Simon's Quest. Umm...blood powered? Not her style--

The Dreams show me a scan kind of view of a Star Wars-ish ship--cursed metal, as I called Uranium and its friends when I learned what they did, fission piles like the fleet the little robot we just met kept used. She made little snowcrash-style RTGs? Something like that, just made electricity--

[!] Very simple hard to break things. How it works is why you care now.

They had no waste heat. If we did anything RTG-like there would have been.

...so? The further this goes the less sense any of it makes. I feel like we've been in this digression for hours without learning anything or healing anything or doing anything. Another trap, when I thought my life would move on, like always.

I shake off the bullet time and wait with Boobsong, bouncing on my own heels confused what that was all just about and why the Dreams seemed to encourage it when it was ultimately going nowhere.

Maybe I was just avoiding feeling.

Will I ever have a special moment go by without this kind of thing? I thought we came here to rest and get pizza for my handmaidens. I guess that's not what the hospital wheelchair vision meant.

[!] Mommy stop, you're crashing like that other thing.

No, I'm waiting with my heartchild for pizza.

I come up behind her, get snuggly with my arms around her. This will be what I thought it was. No more digressions into tedious and irrelevant worldbuilding. No more long dragged out memory-recovery things that go nowhere and drive away thew handful of readers the reset left us with. No more emotional meat grinders right after being told the hard bad stuff is done.

You said done, Dreams, and game, and I'm holding you to it. You've broken that promise on me over and over and over. No more.

We're getting pizza, taking it back to Tuchyuh and my handmaidens, and then I'm getting fucking drunk.

[!] Mommy Paradise is just keeping on with helping your handmaidens. You don't remember anything, don't you want them back?

I hug her tight, sigh heavily, and sit at the table nearest the counter (it's like three feet away) so I can admire her waiting, then bubble a huge and painfully strong hard grape soda out of my palm, and start quaffing it.

"None of this makes any damn sense. The Dreams are giving way too much handholding to actually be helping me remember. This is another Laarhi thing. I want to remember my handmaidens, but this isn't making it happen. The challenge here is to wake up and hold the Dreams to their promise that the bullshit is over, and this reeks of it. No sale, Dreams, next topic. If you want to actually help with my handmaidens go right ahead, but don't drag me down whatever shithole this is with that waste of an interview, or all these niggling technical details. I can't believe you'd do this, right after you said you wouldn't."

I say it loud, so it'll get out the door, and me and Boobsong aren't Disguised (she can glamour us so we seem to just be cosplaying superfans, in a way that messes with people's heads so they don't ask too many questions). If anyone wanders in, they'll hear Princes Starlight taking the Dreams to task for misleading her and breaking promises, and that's exactly what I want. It's been a day of betrayals in the name of waking my family up, but now that's over, and we're still going, and I'm going to up the destruction-ante until it fucking stops, since the Dreams apparently are keeping with Earth's tradition of only speaking that language here.

The Dreams try to show a vision, but I shut it out. Either we're getting pizza, or just going back to see Tuchyuh or something. I'm not doing any more stuff, not if it's going to be this shit again.

Sweet days are come again. Just imagine hard sailing over with. Pressing on with this question helps renew our relationship.

Sis' heartchild Isht Visht turns into a sailboat. What the hell are you trying to tell me by twisting the knife with Sis like that? No, you know what, I don't want to know, and whatever you were trying to tell me by that, I will now actively resist being told, because that kind of shit isn't a way to communicate with me anymore. If you have something else to say about Sis say it but don't tease me like that and don't use her to make points.

"I was right to fight off that thing about my Dress. What I thought before was more right than what I remembered that way. All that accomplished was making me almost go out for nothing."

Sweet days are here at last, candy maker. Come and toy here.

Heart hurt with Rada is why you feel this pain. Pressure to heal you comes and waves of pain hear her voice repeating old hurting pacemaker stories.

[Vision: Fresnel magnifier ]

"You are now explaining to me why I shouldn't destroy my Lens. Strike one for bringing it up in the first place."

(No I'm not going to explain what this is about, reader, sorry, that would be carrying on the same bullshit. You'll figure it out anyway)

Can I make something with it that'll wreck it? Is there a way to take it off? I mean that's the real goal, right, get it away from me so someone who'll use it right can have it?

Better to destroy it. There are millions of ways to get stuff here. There were then, too. I don't understand all this. Why can't we just leave this alone?

I make--something pulls--dragon eat me and take us to that pocket universe if anything tries to stop me destroying my lens. I'm not living in hell with this albatross anymore.

I cannot believe we're still picking at this. I was a good girl and did the homework you asked of me. Of course it still wouldn't be good enough.

With the gun raised, I'm able to make a machine (it's out of ontological engineering, starlike, so it doesn't have a physical location or appearance, but I can perceive it) that'll tick down at the rate of my consciousness and sandblast my Lens to uselessness when it runs down. If anything comes in its way, dragon, eat me, pocket universe forever. If this place can't let me live without this fucking literal millstone hung around my neck I don't know what it is but it's not paradise.

(Boobsong's much more powerful than she looks, and even the Dreams can't stop her taking me to another universe. I had her make a pocket one that'll trap us forever, if she takes us there, as an insurance policy against crap like this. We both hate having to use it and I'm so sorry we do here, dolly. I don't know why this can't just be over.)

Now, why should I stop that machine, game. Better hurry. Not quite sure how much time I put in that thing. I do know pushing me like you've been doing will speed it up a lot.

We are not here for more tales of exploitment.

[Vision: Heartwarming-tree-topper star ]

Exploit-ointment, as in trying to fix me so I'd make the right stuff, never mind that I wouldn't be me anymore.

I was doing Santa's job, as much as I could, using my Lens, which was limited (my Lens is for self-expression, the ramifications of which I'm the only being in the multiverse to understand or even acknowledge) but if we set things up right I could give them something sort of like what they wanted. We hadn't found Santa yet, so there was no Arelka to make thoughtful gifts exactly as people wanted. Was this that? Why all the TV stuff and everything? I keep remembering this weird like faux-fifties set we were on, and that's where Magic(?) was flirting with me from the sidelines, but that doesn't make sense at the Library and why would I be bored-ing like that? Just a break or something? People being small face-to-face and just wanting like to have their car not need gas or whatever gets up a weird maudlin compassion from me so I think I would have been nice.

Maybe playing Santa and the library are two different things.

If this isn't exploitment, why are we brining my Lens up, game? Tick tock!

Your Lens up is just what happens when you see Rada pushing you.

I don't believe this story. My sister's better than that and the Dreams would have spiked her. There's no way it would get this bad.

The pain says otherwise but I just can't make sense of that. We must be using her as a smokescreen because my memory's shot. It's me against the world when my Lens is being talked about.

[!] Mommy your game why?

Your game would act as interceptor but you knew the reason. It hurt why.

I take the...it's like a little ball of light, kind of, power cell, out of my sandblasting machine, and smash it so the light just fooms away. Game, take this, and this other machine--

I don't want to fill in the details, does that stop me making it? I slash it out kind of like sketchy brush-strokes. I don't think it'll function but that's fine. It's a thing like a Borg regeneration alcove, it won't work for me, but a star-human of a very different shape could wear my lens and sit in it and be mind-controlled to just make one battery like the ones the Dreams showed after another, but with each battery it'll actually snip a piece out of their soul, until there's nothing left, and a new star has to be fed to it. When it's made I paint it up with rust and bloodstains and scary Borg tubes so all the parts give a vibe like that appropriate to what they are when you look at them, and find myself shoving it away violently when it's done.

If you're really serious about this not being more pushing me, you'll set those up in a museum where people can come and see the nightmares that came from that kind of pushing me as an example of what happens when you do that kind of thing in general. There's my expressing myself. They won't be the last.

My game takes it--

Express yourself in a thousand ways. Your game will preserve all of it and display everything for the world to see.

Violent vibes, like smashing stuff. Is that you, dolly? Oh, stand down, dragon. I hope soon you can just destroy that stupid insurance policy.

Yes! Your dragon is mad too. Can she please make something for this place too?

It has to be scary enough but I have a feeling you'll nail that. Can you do it in bullet time here?

Yes. Angry seething.

Give 'em hell, then. Click, make (nightmare).

A huge heart-shape, made of ontological-engineering abstractions so I see it with my star-eyes like the other stuff...it's a heart, broken in half, no, into thousands of broken-glass shards (the shape was just my human mind putting a physical metaphor onto what I'm seeing, like how the space she's working in is actually just a blank space to make things in but turns into an empty white void if I put a physical metaphor on it). Her presence crawls it here and there like seeing her beautiful face as she works on something, now angry, now determined, now glancing up at me with sweetness, now raging tears smashing and smashing like she's hammering it and biting it with her dragon's teeth and burning it with mean-looking energy beams that look ashen-dusty instead of glowing and then she's done and it's there and her presence is in her patient no-orders submissive pose.

It's a Broken Heart, hers, made of silver but so stained with her black ichor you can barely see that, in thousands or maybe infinitely many pieces, pitted and dented and burned with guts hanging out and--it's an effigy of the silver city she looks like in the astral plane, smashed and destroyed.

Her body's a few feet away in bullet time waiting for pizza but her celestial presence is right here. I reach for her and instantly we're embracing and I can pet her with my light wrapped around her though we're both crying and I'm shining a lot of anti-light as you'd expect.

Game put that over the door. Luxhi'khora who stands on the line between human and star, does that need a translation for humans to see it? Any artist's statement?

Yes because we're making star-stuff your Boobsong thought. No artist's statement.

Okay. And yeah. I seem to think that's important, that it's star-stuff, for now, anyway. I...think I just made that stuff. Not using my Lens. I think my lens just lets me create physically.

Yes I could do it. Stars build machines instinctively like humans play music or paint. Hard to believe? What's the math behind a concerto not sounding like a midi file when a piano maestro plays it? How did Van Gogh calculate optimal stroke width and flow patterns for the perfect aesthetic pleasure his stuff gives? I'm not that talented, as they are, but I can write my name, or bad angsty poetry, and apparently Boobsong can rage out a symphony of nightmares like she's Trent Reznor, just like she's a talented artist in physical media.


Your Boobsong's not THAT good!

Well I thought you got the pain and feeling of dying across really well.

So, am I right? When I feel at it, it feels like my Lens is a magnifying glass I left on the table for that.

The Dreams show me the crystalline drop of my lens falling from Boobsong's hands as she rubbed it onto me on my Unveiling day, then the Space Needle with an extra-big spike on top. They spiked me from using my Lens, which is perfect. Build the museum astral-style, game, and humans have to use some kind of something to see it, because it's part of the statement I still won't use my Lens for this stuff, because you're supposed to imagine and shudder what it'd be like if I did, which is all the kind of manipulation we're screaming about here would get.

Anything to add right now, dragon? There's as much space in this as you have screaming for.

Your dragon is done screaming for this one but she'll be mad about this for a long time.

Alright well, anytime, anywhere.

It's so hard to describe celestial stuff. He were are, our bodies all slow with bullet-time, but astrally, hugging so snuggly. It's very weird and it occurs to me it'd probably look really Lovecraftian to a human, but I kind of have a theory about that. Abstract things are as real to stars as physical objects, while to humans they're just ideas. Here I'm Hugging the Real Boobsong, but we don't have positions in space (well, asterisk, we're sitting in Olympic Pizza, etc), it's not a particular configuration of limbs, so on, just the intimate embrace of lovers crying together. If humans work with abstraction by concretifying them like happens when I try to catch sight of starlike things with my human perception, maybe...they do a lot of expectation-filling? It wouldn't be wrong to see us this way as shining-firey tendrils of rainbow-and-darkness starfire tangled around Boobsong's infinity of silver machinery and gooey black ichor and white heartstone softness that's the part she's hugging me with and holes that makes crystal-clear delicious nectar and black gooey ichor inside the heartstone and flowing through the machines like lifeblood and from every part of it her purple eyes look out with kind appreciation and love and the pain she's feeling so she seems to have trillions and trillions of eyes.

That's a way to fill in our abstractions. I don't feel that right now, though, I'm just Hugging Boobsong Tight As We Finish Crying. "Boobsong" isn't an empty abstraction, she has all the parts I just described, but they're her Snuggly Doll Outside, and Acme Station Machines, and Mouth and Pussy with Nectar...you get the idea. To me it's all homey and comfortable and really nice actually, but I can get how to a human to whom that's already a weird way to work, and whose mind instinctually attaches concrete handles to things like that to perceive them, they might put on a little less beautiful-eldritch hebraic angel and a little more Lovecraft, and then that'd tend to recurse...

It's enough you can see how people get screwed up with angels and demons and gods and all that.

I focus back to our physical selves, but the bullet time is still going. The Dreams show me Boobsong's face and a warning triangle like Amish buggies have. Boobsong's consciousness is slowed too now? Is that even possible, without me slowing?

[!] That doesn't mean that because your Boobsong is still fast like you.

Humm...Amish vs. Acme Station? I feel some offense that people would think technology bad, but it's abstract, just like, the idea of someone not liking Boobsong because she's living celestial hypertech as much as demonic goo makes me mad.

The Dreams show me the Space Shuttle's empty cargo bay.

Something about nostalgia, freezing your culture at a specific time period?

Now a coke machine--no, pepsi--oh, cute, Dreams. They're talking to me like a star, so it's a Vending Machine they're showing me. The concrete details wiggle all around like I was just musing on when I try to see them.

Boobsong vending machine. Could be her seeds, you can have one of those as easily as from a vending machine (at least one freak out there is going to be human and implant from my description of her celestial form anyway, and when you do I want to hear from you because I'm very proud of you). In the context the Pirate Device is more likely, though.

Memory tickles, won't quite fit back, I see the library, remember Magic's presence.

The Dreams show me a tall golden house, reminding me of our flight through the golden city of her heart to go rescue her earlier.

It looks kind of like a milk carton. Have you seen me? She ran away...more visions:

Jupiter with a hook on the bottom. Daddy came to pick her up? Yes, that's the confrontation with hum where I made the Wendy joke, that feels right.

Rocket trails, a spaceship blasting off. Reminds me of seeing Cowboy Bebop in her helldive--no I think that's supposed to be lasers.

The open-tulip icon of "Full Bloom", the rating level meaning "independent of your mentor" in the rating scheme we replaced the ESRB with. We had it out, her dad and me, about whether she was old enough to leave him or make her own decisions, which was extremely silly since she and I were the same age--I wouldn't have taken a still-veiled kid, and that didn't leave much space for age difference, back then!

I think it's more like he tried to have it out, but I was still under Verana's mentorship then (High Priestess of the Strawberry Faith, followed me to America when the coup attempt came), and my game would happily rehome kids whose parents weren't taking care of them right. It'd give you time to adjust, if there could be any without harming the child's wellbeing but Magic's dad used his right up. Fortunately her new home had just rolled up to the library. She was hiding out there, I think, just it was a place you could be inside on a cold day, and she likes books, and then he came so I went full Strawberry court on him, and was extremely bored listening to his useless arguments, fiddling with my eravahk while staring at the ceiling in the way that'd have had a court back home groveling pathetically.

Rainbow mickey balloon, the Dreams add. Starlight Princess, then. So at that point it was a sex ed show made by teenagers (me and Boobsong), for teenagers (our viewers), and we just kind of covered basic sexual development and self-discovery, with Verana and Grandmother Strawberry as mentor characters, just like in real life. Magic would have joined us, surely, and been also mentored by Verana, I think is what my game did--the vision said "full bloom" but at thirteen you're...what'd we call it...Unveiling? Opening? A process-word. Bloom-ing. I say the words out loud in Strawberry Tongue:

«Full-bloom. Blooming.»

Remembering how to speak Strawberry Tongue is weird. If I just do it I can speak it perfectly (though mark ye, I dost sound dreadly Shakespearian, for that it went on refining whilst I wast lost between worlds), but I can't remember things factually, always.

Anyway those are two different words with totally different pronunciations, so there's less confusion.

Is that a sequence break? No, I think you're supposed to grow up with your handmaidens, so they'll be more loyal.

The original Boobsong Amish triangle vision comes back to me, that means something here--the Dreams show me ancient arcade games, from when they were just switching from mechanical to electronic. The old TV stuff is something with Magic's dad mistaking the fifties media he was comfortable with for somehow more morally okay than modern stuff, just because it happened during his childhood? Yes, and that's dumb, but if just we're here to catalog ideas I think are too stupid to live I'll be all grown up before we even move the scrollbar!

Oh but Starlight Princess? If you had a Bloom-ing (I'm going to keep that awkward dash to remind you it's not a synonym for Full Bloom) teenage and you wouldn't educate them, you didn't have any teenagers anymore, but I don't think it had to be Starlight Princess. Verana had plenty of stuff that did the same job, if she was High Priestess. Cheryl was a translator, is that where she came in?

In any case there was no way Magic was getting any of that living in her dad's house, so off she went.

The Dreams show me flashes of a pentagram as I think this. Summons? My game called her to me, thought she'd make a good handmaiden, and her position a good example what with her dad being famous...feels wrong. She left, took the (useless) money and ran.

Now a row of bright red Sugarfeast tulips, all wide open in Full Bloom, then my butterfly antennas (my game makes me call them antennaS even to myself so I'll feel dumb thinking of them because they're supposed to keep me from taking myself too seriously. It works)--now the Dreams just show a roll of masking tape? Now a boat's rudder but it's the all-underwater kind.

Sugarfeast Fairy masking how steering her. Like he was obsessed with the idea that I mind controlled her or influenced her somehow, I remember that, but...so what? If he hadn't been so delusional about that kind of thing he might have kept his kid.

Blowing up a huge orange balloon, but french fries are kind of to the left of the scene. Communist french fries warning? Oh, left french fries, she left home, warning...he used his position somehow to warn people against me?

What do I remember? I seem to remember not caring. An ant, so what, I had Magic and she was delightful and to hell with her dad. That would go with "the interview is a waste". I didn't think there was any reaching him or point in talking to him or whatever. Another barbarian who wouldn't listen. Turn his castle to gravel if he becomes a nuisance, yawn otherwise, definitely no point talking.

That's all I saw. I don't remember Magic pining for him either.

But I remember being at the library, looking up boredly, so we must have done something. I was a huge bitch in the way only a thirteen year old who knows better than you can be, I'm pretty sure.

Lesbian Stuff, say the Dreams to me, very celestially, sparking images of pink silk and lipstick and an extremely gay band I liked--but I know to look for the abstract stellar sense behind it now. Why if I can turn them gay and make them fall in love with me is Wendy not kneeling by my other foot. That's the only thing I remember saying.

The words you don't like Wendy float to mind, which I think he said, and I imagine a silly scenario where my game offered her a twenty-minute adventure to go prove one of her dad's old rivals oh so very wrong real quick, but--

Wait what the fizzfrozen frosties do you mean green checkmark, Dreams!? And why do I seem to remember her straddling my lap on my chez-lounge at the library? Clothes on I seem to recall but--

This so many kinds of doesn't work. Does it? Don't the ages not match up at all? Alright, fine, we made out long enough to prove--oh, green checkmark because she was like twice my age or more, but I don't think we got to kiss, but I was totally going to? Even so, there's no way she'd have agreed, would she, no matter how hard she could troll Magic's dad?

The Dreams show me a long-stemmed rose with thorns, and boobs in a blouse, and one of those coffee pod things that office coffee makers use.

I think...my game asked her very nicely pretty please? Oh, told her I really love Wendy's (I do), and she didn't have to get naked, and it was convenient, like she didn't have to really do anything but appear and get me to go sure why not you're hot? My game only dropped girls in my lap if we were supposed to play, so I would have already been trained to grope first and ask questions later...yeah because she looked back at Magic and her dad and laughed at them and waved and then disappeared right off my lap.

And that's how I met Wendy Thomas. I love that story because it's not even the remotely weirdest first time meeting a celebrity I've had, if I remember right?

Magic's dad's expression was so awesome. He just stood there, all pissed off that my stupid joke ended up having some substance to it. I think just sat there with Boobsong in my other hand going did I just almost grope Wendy.

[!] It wasn't very much but it very wasn't almost!


Accounts for my shock, though.

Oh and the thorny part of the rose was to say it warned her I might do stuff, before she agreed.

The Dreams show me cubbies with backpacks and shoes and stuff, like you'd get at a kindergarten. then an island from the air, with an outline like it has a big wall around it, then--I think that's Singapore's flag? School, tiny little walled-up authoritarian country where everything is just so...inexplicably this makes me think of a rewrite memory of getting chicken and cajun fries at a noname little chicken shack with my friend Ricky, who I don't know in the real world...do I? He was one of Caroljeanne's (who the rewrite turned Verana into) students.

The Dreams show me a stereotypical King's robe with the spotted fur trim--oh like from Gummi Bears, which was different in the real world, because Walt was alive...anyway point taken.

Ricky doesn't feel right as anyone I know but Magic would have been one of Verana's mentees and I can see us getting chicken at a slightly less obscure place just for the taunt of having a lesbian makeout threesome (her, me, Boobsong) in the booth while we waited for our food (there was still fast food. I think my game just ran places, like this one, and kept them stocked using the Pirate Device).

The Dreams show a green checkmark, and a memory of the right-wingers at Cadillac Mountain with their protest and the Russian howitzer they thought they'd smuggled and planned to somehow shoot me with, how hard I put them in their place (in the bullet and burned hands story I mentioned before I may have slightly left out that the "bullet" was like an 80mm anti-bunker shell). Boobsong deleted the bullet and turned the gun into tiny rainbow-heart confetti with one Acme Station thing or another, and I blasted a statue into the side of the mountain commemorating all the kids we'd gotten out of bad homes. I yelled at them to stop abandoning their families for this ridiculous stunt that would have had them all tried for treason if the country they claimed to still be loyal to still existed (having certain weapons was a whole different kind of illegal than like carrying nunchucks in your glovebox, before my game took over).

I think we offered them the choice to take the consequences America would have given, or...something. Swear they would stop fighting what I was doing to open the worldgate.

Magic's dad got a similar choice. Walk away, or go to war against the weather, as that old Strawberry Joke goes ("your women scream like a sandstorm, said the barbarian king to the Strawberry Queen. Only a fool rides to war against the weather, she answered").

He went to war, so my game took his whole fast food empire as spoils, and I gave it to Magic, who decreed the chicken=girlflesh joke be ridden into the ground in a new marketing campaign until her the chain became a lesbian icon and wearing Chik-fil-a merch was universally understood as flagging that you were femme-attracted.

Eat more chicken, as the song goes, you know.

The Dreams now show me a mouse in a princess dress. Disney Princess. Yes, that's me, why're we on that now?

Trans flag. I've been thinking I might remember at least one of my handmaidens is trans. Is Magic one? I was kind of going to see who flamed with righteous indignation when I told about being blueized later (I was a boy after the reset. I got better, but oof), but--the Dreams show me Mister Rogers.

I have no idea, Dreams--oh, won't you be my neighbor. After it all was over I was like, wanna get pizza, the place across the road looked good (no, not too lowbrow for a Princess. Lesson one, of managing your empire: travel and try peasant food everywhere. If the food sucks, or you can't buy it without bringing out a purse that blows your peasant disguise, revolution is coming, from that province).

America might be all kinds of messed up, but I have to say it's got killer peasant food.

So we came here and took pizza back to the tour bus which was parked on the street corner, and ate on board, and she thought our bus was the coolest thing--

Flash memory of the monolith in the courtyard against blue sky (unless that's the Washington monolith Monument). Did I have pictures of Strawberry Home? Yeah, some. Those blew her mind.

The Dreams show me a pentagram, then fans with their hands up, then...a Chevy logo?

Summoned to a stage show. Oh what fun it is to ride in a smashed up Chevrolet? I liked buses because I thought they were cool--yes we could have had just about anything with Acme Stations help, but remember a tour bus was just as much a mythic vehicle to my medieval ass as an Arwing or Federation shuttlecraft.

Oh great Scott. Dolly. Roads?

Where we're going, we don't need ROADS! Yes the buses flew, all four of them.

I knew you wouldn't let us down! 

That's why they say AIR-RIDE on them!

Oh the wonderfully stupid old jokes. I love dumb humor like that.

I liked riding down the highway anyway, though. They impressed me. Ask any ruler who actually tried not just Nero their days away, and they'll tell you, good, empire-spanning roads are the best.

I can't believe I forgot they could fly! At least I remembered we had a convoy on my own. Enough space for me and Boobsong (one bus was just our house), and three more for handmaidens and friends and stuff.

Anyway with that nonsense behind us and poor Magic who never got to go out and do anything who I don't think had had her right body very long, I can't imagine what else we did than headed for Disneyworld, unless there was a show to get to locally. After which, Disneyworld in our magic tour bus.

Who was our Mrs. Frizzle?

Before I can theorize or not, the Dreams show me a bunch of plastic kind of frisbee things, but I'm obviously seeing their backs.

I'm pretty sure my game drove the busses.

Backside of warnings...we'd seen the last of warnings like Magic's dad gave? The frisbees remind me of the warning balloon.

The Dreams show me a severe tire damage strip. Don't back up (but not a problem for flying busses).

A Full Bloom icon. Oh, like, that was a pretty great ride with our new playmate, but I won't be sharing the details here, seeing as we were definitely Bloom-ing and this is a Full Bloom-rated book.

Then why am I getting Unexpected Good Thing Here from the Dreams?

Their answer is a bus-looking TV. I'm sure we got some video games in on our trip, around all the sex.

The Dreams show me the Boobsong Amish triangle thing from before. Oh poor Magic must have had so much to catch up on!

Wait, did I, too? Everything felt really new, then. This might have been really soon after we started touring.

[Eighties Movies], say the Dreams. I'd learned English, but--had I? Yeah, as preparation. We were going through the timegate before I was Unveiled. Kids and language learning, and of course a Princess should know a few languages.

So we and Magic caught up on our American culture together? Olympic Pizza was some of my first pizza, outside the Pizza Hut in Presque Isle.

An Xacto knife cutting on a balsa fuselage. Model airplanes. Magic likes them? I need to be with her. That'll jog my memory, like with Copper and Sex. Doing this this way feels wrong, Dreams.

[Al's Hobbies], the Dreams reply. You're telling me this stuff so I can get some stuff I'll want coming back to her the first time?

Akro-bin, Boobsong, is the answer. That feels complicated. The rewrite-backstory has a time in it when I tried really hard to make a hobby of building electronic stuff, which I actually didn't like very much. The truth was I just missed working on my RC planes--oh I see! Magic's a huge otaku, and I already know likes Magic: The Gathering, and she'll be missing her stuff, including model airplanes. I can give her a happy Heartwarming if we stop in a hobby shop and game shop or so, before going back to Strawberry Home.

Sweet screaming castor oil and T-pin sundaes all weepy now. The peace of gluing ribs onto a spar would really do me, too. We need to build an airplane, dolly.

Yes. Very much. Your Boobsong waits so patient still...

That was one of the best parts! Superglue is great because it's so fast, but you have to hold what you're gluing perfectly still during the thirty seconds the glue takes. So many times we'd sit there, giving each other silly significant looks as we helplessly watched her lust run down while she held a piece for me, not daring to move her even to flirt....

[Plowstar Farm], the Dreams say, as I think through that. Plowstar was the sheep farm in Maine that happened to be at the foot of the mountain the timegate's exit came out on top of. We--like, the Strawberry Dynasty we--bought it and used it as a forward base for expeditions to America. You could get clothes, American money, gear all up there.

That's the inside of a car door, the Dreams show--then a radar screen, and a bunch of model airplanes. You want us to go seek out model plane stuff for Magic before we get pizza? Oh and the rest of them. They'll love it if I come back with Heartwarming Shopping stuff.

The car door of course is just, I mean what else is going to be waiting for us parked outside?

The Dreams show me markers. Sex was upset about not being able to draw before. Maybe she'd like some markers, or...what's she draw? Cartoons, Disney style, if not digital stuff or a black mirror she'll want pens, ink, paint, acetate--acetate? I seem to think she animates. Hmm...no, comics.

I think this is saying the quest is to go Heartwarming shopping for all my handmaidens, except I have to remember them enough to do it, but we'll be going all over the place, using our tour bus as a base, because like, Magic will be wanting American-Earth stuff like videogames or a few dozen booster packs or an RC plane or three, but I bet there's a cooler place than Blick to get art supplies for Sex (I keep thinking Heart Home has someone who can help us out), and so on. I promised Copper a wild ride around Paradise, maybe she should come...maybe they all should come? Can't go Heartwarming shopping, then.

Anyway if we're doing that we should just get a pizza for the road and come back after to load up for my handmaidens and Tuchyuh. If they've been doing it right, they'll be munchies-ing to hehe high heaven from both sex and drugs by now.

It seemed like so much just to even stay standing when we dropped in here, but now I'm kind of excited. I still feel pretty shaky, but like, the tour bus is right out there, no doubt, this will all be nice and cushy, if I can believe what my game said when we came in here.

Of course there's also Boobsong, but there's no hope of getting her presents secretly.

[!] Mommy that's very kind but your Boobsong likes to BE the present.

Oh that's right, your hoard is full of great stuff because it's like one of those really fancy hamster cages. That's a cozy thought--

The Dreams preempt my maybe we can stop off there for a while if this outing starts to feel like too much which it might with a green checkmark, and then an upside down football helment...no touchdown. It makes me think about how it's been carefully arranged we haven't set foot on the ground at Strawberry Home, and how there's something right in that. I think this means no landing (like, in Boobsong's hoard), until this quest is over at least, but I don't know how my dragon will take that...

Oh yeah? Think they'll keep this dragon's hoard away from her? Your Boobsong will go there and they can try and stop her! There's something big-stuff here your Boobsong smells though. Something making it not right to be home until your handmaidens have their Mommy back.

I...think I'm just not doing good understanding anyone but you could need me that way.

I was going to go on with that thought, but the Dreams pounce there with the four-sided N on a CD of the Nintendo Playstation logo, and a key. Nintendo PlayStation, is key?

Oh, how even is there NPS? Like why'd anyone stay working long enough to finish and release it?Remembering this world, is remembering our life together.

The Dreams show me a signpole like shopping centers have sometimes. On one side of the top is McDonald's arches, but the other side is empty, like something is missing.

When that sinks in, they show me a Starbucks logo--hey! I'm a Dunkin's girl all the way, I mean come on. What's more Sugarfeast, protein packs and tiny bites of cake on a stick, or four thousand donuts? As we can see I'm hardly missing Dunkin's, though.

Bwaha, old stupid joke: I might be an F-cup, but I'm still a DD girl.

In the rewrite-backstory I lived on the West Coast and there were no DD's less than ten hours roadtrip away. It broke my heart and I pined for it constantly. Something big is missing, something about this world forgotten.

The Dreams show me a slice of lemon--Verana. She lived in a small house in Stamford because she was a humble spiritual leader type, but she won't have been just sitting around playing mentor to me and Boobsong and my handmaidens, where there was a world to evangelize, and she had perfectly serviceable political and sorcery skills! I shouldn't say evangelize. Boobsong and me were the missionaries, because I have the administrative ability (and attention span) of a superball made entirely of caffeine, but Verana, I mean the traitorous court never managed to budge her an inch from her post even though she was completely not on their side. She made an excellent pope, and she got right on organizing our religion we when came through the worldgate to stay.

Remember, we Strawberries were aliens from eighty thousand years in the past. The whole consumerist/anti-consumerist half-submerged class divide America played meant nothing to us. We could see it, and understood that sure, being artisanal and organic and hand-made would impress the other American sorta-nobles a little, but any idiot could tell the place of power, the place to be if you wanted to move the culture and reach the masses, was up there on top of that sign next to those golden arches.

So we did. The Dreams showed me a Starbucks logo because Starbucks had enough veneer of class that people needed McDonald's as peasant food to look down on would still go there, and Verana still had that Strawberry flair for style, but she damn well knew how to speak the language of those signposts.

I can like, feel the ruthlessness she brought to this. Doomful music from Metroid plays in my head as I think about it, but it's the "watch out, Samus got a big gun", theme.

The Dreams show me Walt's W signature--okay that is where Walt came in. Verana would have known to get the help of a native. The first thing Walt would have said was, you need a really great mascot...oh no.

Okay wait a minute, I'm being narcissistic. The obvious choice is Boobsong, and I would have supported that all the making-her-squirm-and-blush way--

Disney logo and censor bars, say the Dreams. So--argh. Okay, same problem (aside from Walt's sticking to calling it Disney After Dark no matter how many times I pointed out that gave it the acronym DAD). Why make it me instead of Boobsong? It was, though, I'm pretty sure, I did Tink's job in the DAD logo, so Tink could stay all kid-safe--there's no way. I would have demanded it was me and Boobsong together.

The Dreams show me a lemon, whole this time. Sex it up a lot.

Oh that's right, instead of Tink buzzing the camera after dropping fairydust over the castle, I'd throw Boobsong up against the fourth wall to fuck and everything would go black so the show could start because the "camera" was lost in her cleavage. That was such a great little animation.

So Verana did the logical thing and made us both the mascots on the signs, and--

The Dreams show me a vision that won't resolve, and not because it's abstract celestial speech. Eyes or lips or something, stylized. Whatever, the signs aren't the important part, what matters is there were temples of the Strawberry Faith, which was really just belief in the goodness of the Four Dreams and su'khora, as everywhere as there were McDonald'ses. Which we'll find out there.

Is that what became of Chik-fil-a? Did I make up that other story about Magic making them a gay icon?

The Dreams show me that obscure little chicken shack from the backstory with Ricky. Chik-fil-a didn't have enough locations or prominent enough ones for what Verana was trying to do. If there's one thing she understood, it's how to put on a show. The chicken shack is where Chik-fil-a stood in the grand scheme of our strategies for this world, how it felt to us: a private little secret.

I suppose a key to understanding all this I've been missing is I wasn't a megalomaniac relatively speaking in our little cabal.

[ Tour bus in front of Geddy's Motor Lodge in Presque Isle ], say the Dreams. My brain fills in "and conference center" and then weepy softness fills me up as my heart overflows with happy good stuff. They put on whole conferences, just like the big Christian retreats in the backstory, and they were awesome. I could never decide if I liked being a presenter at them better, or going in Disguise mode with Boobsong seeming to just be cosplaying ourselves (I always tweaked my look so it wouldn't seem like I was failing to put my own spin on us, which I think was my one rule for people who were going to cosplay me, that you had to do at least one thing "wrong" so there'd be a note of you shining through, and the same with your Boobsong if you had one).

This is making one thing feel a little saner, namely knowing all of Walt, Steve, and Shigeru, but with somebody like Verana for a mentor, I'm surprised our list of celebrity friends isn't a lot longer.

[!] Mommy it is much longer you just don't remember.

This is going to be interesting, then. That "Samus eats her Nietzsche Pops" song isn't getting any quieter in my head as I think about this side of Verana--I mean couldn't my game just arrange all this, though? Why's having Verana doing it make a difference, to me or, apparently, the rest of the world? Like why do I seem to think there was a lot more of a reason to have Verana as High Priestess than just not taking her fun away?

Joseph like from a Nativity scene is the answer, which, ouch? Can we not use Christian metaphor please Dreams?

I wait to see if they'll say something else instead.

An odd scene. A black dish, very stylish, on a like grass mat, and in the dish is an otherworldy white flame, not even touching fuel in the dish, it floats above it like an anime ghost.

Like, a down-to-Earth holder for the weird. The dish is the same black stuff and alien curves of the Rainbow Cathedral daddy made for me before they got him, and the flame is more like how I'd imagine myself if not for my human shell, but the grass mat is a grass mat. It like, puts a human face on things. That makes it easier to process than just my game's impersonality, and I supposes gives people who need one a leader to follow.

Now an even weirder scene: Mickey Mouse, shaking Other Mickey Mouse's hand, then zooming in on their handshake shows their arms twisted together like the band of a rubber-powered model plane. I think it's supposed to be later Mickey and earlier Mickey (one is all grey), but--time travel, I suppose. Implanting Walt? I've remembered how we did it, but not how we got sent on that journey. Walt would remember of course, and Verana would send us right off, if my game didn't.

The Dreams show me a bone. The Bones, a name for the part of their nature that makes their reality always be the shape of Happily Ever After. The Dreams are saying they arranged it, and sent us, which makes sense, this kind of atemporal who-needs-cause-and-effect-anyway time shenanigans is just their style.

Now abstract icons of a card being turned sideways. Tapping a card in Magic. Which I did to summon Magic back from her hell. 

Now Magic sitting at like a school desk writing intently, then a Christian cross, then a very me-styled gold star but it's only a segment of it, the top and right points, then a lemon.

It feels like when you have a bunch of puzzle pieces that look like they should fit, but don't actually--

The Dreams interrupt me about to ask Boobsong what she sees with a vision of a computerized embroidery machine, making me think of my StarFox jacket--

Now Boobsong and a radio dish--a horizontal one like that would be a point-to-point microwave link--

Inside--I think that's Park Street Church in Boston, but the ceiling is painted black with starscape, like Verana got at it (which she did, I seem to remember).

A microscope seems to be the end of the chain.

I think this makes sense if the pictures of Magic are about where I'm at. Summoning me back from hell. Christian "education" has me with only a little part of myself. Mistress of StarFox something. Have Boobsong Acme-Station us over to Park Street Church (but don't worry, it's been Strawberried real good) and look at the small stuff--wait, no, click, scan!

(She found where on the surface of the whole planet our fans were waiting from low Earth orbit while it was on the other side of the world, not even knowing she was supposed to look for that, she can reach this far to do a very detailed scan of Park Street a few miles away)

Mommy your StarFox jacket is on the altar there. It's definitely that one it has all the zap and everything.

Okay hold up, that was in the Waifu last night as--but--argh. Did you get a sense of how long it'd been there undisturbed?

Yes. Just a day.

For once not fizzfrozen time-travel stupidness! So it being there is important enough to people that it went back as soon as I wasn't using it. It's like in a shrine, huh.

There's very small jewel-candy around it like dragon food, like they're saying, "here Boobsong, candy and Princess stuff, come get food". There's candles all around and incense...smells good...that's familiar! Smells like Apple hardware and balsa dust. That's so sweet they're calling us with relics and treats and our favorite smells (than each other) incesnse!