I stood over a desk staring at my own mug of coffee and wondered if heaven and hell were both frozen solid. They had to be. Real human beings had invited me into their home, let me stand there calmly, and provided warmth and a friendly smile knowing full what followed in my wake.
I mean, who I was had to be obvious. There were at least a dozen different pictures of me playing out in ten second motion captures all over a series of monitors. At least six computer keyboards were laid out. Screens took up a huge wall. Other statistics played out to my right. Spreadsheets and loose leaf paper were everywhere. Ted’s little group clearly had brains or a lot of methodical madness.
At the forefront were two people hunched over one of the screens. A short woman with glasses and dark hair stood next to another figure with curly hair and a goofy smile. The pair of them watched a video.
"Look, look, look, here it is,” the man said while bouncing on his toes. He pointed towards a video capture of me inside Ted’s car almost two weeks ago. I looked dirty, tired, and confused. Little had changed.
I watched the screen. Seeing my own face while remembering the moment where I'd stared at Ted from the side stuck me as out of place. That had been when my mind was racing; trying to figure out if I should throw my lot in with this unknown group. I still didn’t know for sure.
Someone had filmed it all. We watched as that shifted ahead to us flying over the edge and being rescued. The camera distorted slightly and showed the world from Ted’s flailing point of view. Through every inch of footage the pair kept on commenting with level of humor beyond me. He stood, she sat, both paid more attention to the screens than to me.
"There's the hook dude. We’ll get a lot of hits. People are dying to know more about the ever elusive Adam! You’re like a ghost appearing everywhere the action is. That's why Ted’s the man. He got you talking!”
"This whole thing was my idea," the other girl stated. Her name started with an A but I struggled to recall it. She was flat and maybe one hundred pounds at most. "Ted's been whining for months about retirement. Once he stumbled into you, it was perfect."
Ted had met me before. Telegraph had anyway. I think we were technically up to five kidnapping attempts over the last few years. Only this time he started to pay attention.
"He won't retire,” the other man said with a chuckle. He brought a knuckle to his lips and bit while rocking side to side. His eyes rarely left the screen. “I mean, give this up?”
I stood to one side then tried to understand all the displays again. There were scenes playing out along with bar graphs. One portion of the monitors showed only incoming traffic to their website and all the links clicked. Another portion tracked projected ad earnings and showed the top and bottom pages in terms of view counts.
"He couldn't quit even if he wanted. Too much child support," the woman said flatly. She rarely sounded excited about anything. The woman had shown no ability to travel towards higher pitches.
"Ted has kids?" I asked. My voice felt out of place and both people lifted their heads away from the screen at once.
“Yeah. He’s got a few.” The bouncing man said. He waved towards a corner of the room where a lone computer sat. The monitor was dim and desk full of dust.
"Ted stuck his dick in crazy and came out with three kids," E-something said. Her words were sharp and annoying. The lift of her eyebrow implied that everyone should know better than to trespass into crazy territory.
I glanced around and tried not to think of Alice asleep on the couch. Crazy generated very real attraction. Fuck, any woman would have had appeal simply by glancing at me and smiling. They could even be an alien in disguise at this point and I might not have batted an eye. That whole line of thinking, or repressed hope as Jade considered it, would eventually be the death of me.
"There’s only two kids. Jesse and James. And his ex is still a smoking hot blonde. I would have gone back for thirds at least," the man said. He was a D-something. They needed name tags.
"Launa Moore, the evil whore” the woman’s head snapped from side to side. “She started banging someone else behind his back. Got the runts against him. Then filed for divorce after the new guy was hooked."
"She worked him over for every cent he owned. Now she lives in the Hills." The man shook his head. I was still trying to figure out which of them had been talking. Their banter never ceased.
"I've was the only one here with any brains. It was my footage of her taking Golden Sun’s tiny pencil that won the settlement." Emily, I think was her name. It took me all that time to remember it.
The room itself had been divided into two in terms of decorations. One portion had all these weird little stickers and destructively dark artwork. That probably belonged to the dour girl Emily who managed to remain monotone the entire time.
"Golden Sun’s a prick. She's just with him for the money," she said.
"Looks don't hurt," the curly haired man winced as he responded. His eyes drifted down to a thicker belly then he shrugged.
"He has like, a two inch penis," she muttered to the screen. Her fingers kept right on dancing as items were spliced together at high speeds. It looked like she was responding to an Email at almost the same time.
It made me happy to think that maybe even heroes didn't get it all. Golden Sun wasn't too bad, just snobby, rich, and reclusive. He only showed up when space aliens invaded, and we’d met more than a few times. That particular hero showed up in shorts and little else most of the time.
"Hey. There's more to men than the size of a prize. I mean, being charming and having a sense of humor count right?" The man’s side of the room looked neat and orderly. Everything had been recently dusted and the smell of pine still lingered from a fresh cleaning. With all the screens, polar opposites in work spaces, and Ted standing there with his coffee, I felt overwhelmed.
"Whatever helps you sleep at night." Emily checked out and went back to her side of the room, taking her wireless keyboard with her. The woman’s fingers moved right back into typing away at whatever page was being created.
I looked at the big screen and watched as the two of them spliced together segment after segment. Between the two of them they wove Ted’s conversation and my own together and kept up their banter the whole time. Between bouts of insulting other people they remarked on how the layout should change, that certain portions were more important up front, and a more completed dossier needed to be assembled.
God help me, they were actually clipping together parts of me smoking a joint while talking to Ted about how much shit I had seen over the years. I sat there slack jawed as people managed to make me look like a jaded been everywhere done everything sort of person that they were bringing up for exclusives. They could have woven in an insane amount of stuff but chose not to. I got to see my own calm wind milling of arms as I fell of the side of a bridge. They put in footage of Wonderland and tromping along with The Alice. I even saw a picture of me standing on top of the Golden Gate Bridge with my arms wide in the air.
They weren't the first to try and abuse my nature like this. They wouldn't be the last. I'd had reporters camped outside my house in vans for weeks before they realized exactly how dangerous it was. Those idiots had just assumed that being across the street was far enough away to be safe, and close enough to get some good footage.
At some point I had inched myself towards the door. I wanted to get to a less personal room. Somewhere that wouldn’t be damaged when the invisible hit.
"What do you think?" Ted stood behind me blocking the exit. He'd switched to a mug full of tea and seemed more interested in the aroma than my response.
"They're a little off."
"Aren't we all?” He stared ahead. “They do great work. I don't say it often, but this entire thing would fall apart without them."
"So those two are the brains behind the face of Hero Watch?"
Ted set down his cup and motioned me out into the other room. We left the pair with their millions of computers and parts behind.
"Nothing’s a solo gig in this world. None of us can exist along. Heroes, Villains, news, family. It takes a village to do anything worth doing," he said quietly.
Alice sniffed and turned her face into the couch’s corner. I stared down while trying to figure out how to sort out all these new wrinkles in my life.
"Are you really sure about having me be part of this? Even with my recent no-go thing?”
"You already are. We'd just prefer it be official. The no-go hurdle I’ve talked to Miss Heartland about, at length. Then the brains as you called them believe it will actually help ratings. No other member of the no-go list has a website "
That was a lot to take in. Everything seemed to line up and put me here, in a position where I could really do something useful with my job. I just needed to say yes, and I only hesitated because life had taught me to expect disasters.
You get it right? At this point in my life I was used to waiting for shoes to drop. All of them left feet, all of them with meaning a new dose of nonsense. It just rained down in a never ending shit storm of headache, heartache, and backache. I had a right to hesitate as long as I wanted.
But someone wanted me for who I was. That’s what made me first listen to Ted. That’s what kept me considering it over the last few weeks. It hadn’t actually been that long and the way my body tensed every time the thought played told me this was big. This was life changing.
So I focused on something easy. There were more than a few issues to clear out anyway. I mean, Ted’s life barely made sense. "Are really cameras in everything?"
"Of mine, yes. Everything, at almost every moment."
Which meant our entire time together, complete with him singing here’s to you missus Robinson, had all been recorded. My gut sank wondering what on earth Alice might think seeing some of that footage. How much of her dream life did she understand? Did she approve of doing drugs or holding guns?
Those were all questions for another conversation. I went back to Ted’s life and stopped trying to figure out my own. "And your villain thing? Is part of this?" I hoped not to wear that alphabet soup getup, tights, or a tutu.
"Being a bad guy gives me perspective, and adds a running story to the site. I play a part that’s well documented so it’s not a lie but simply a piece of me. You can go that route if you want. But for you, being yourself while recording everything around you is a good start.”
I considered the floating camera with its red glow.
“You saw the sheet. The data it’s based on makes little sense, but their numbers plotted out a lot. It should be possible to predict roughly when your powers will flare up. They’re regular enough that we’ll have constant footage. Which is why in thirty minutes we’ll be leaving here and going to the bazar.”
Prior to watching the ‘wonder duo’ splice together videos of my life there had been a long chart and graph with colors. We’re skipping it because most of the information was gibberish. The information all blended together nicely into a confusing jumble. I honestly couldn’t separate out one line from the next. The gist of their combined attempt at explaining had been clear however.
My powers activated on a sort of curved timer. The bigger the event, the more the cool down. Apparently they had been playing around with the model using their own data along with more from Jade Heartland’s case files. I could actually see an intensity curve along with trigger events that caused spikes. I mean, I saw lines that went up and down with pretty colors.
I didn’t really understand all the math behind it, but the idea that anyone had plotted out when the next disaster might hit felt like amazing progress. They only asked that I film everything during the events, and try to ask questions for the audience. Anything they could get to be first on the scene, scooping the competition, and making money.
Whatever. I didn’t understand how they made the charts, but I could use their results. Until then it was back to my questions for Ted.
"Do I need to wear a suit?" I asked.
"We’re going to try and get you a setup like mine. Something that auto dry cleans, fixes rips and tears. Mine are core powered, and we may need an alternative for you."
Over our time together, Ted had pulled out a lot of different tricks from his little bag of tricks. Having one of my own would make life a lot easier. Assuming I could hold onto the item. Knowing my luck I would get a fancy laser blaster then be ninja chopped two seconds later. I would wake up on a freeway with no memory, no clothes, and in the middle of ten other people.
It had happened before. I lost a moped that way.
"How many of those red things do you have?" I asked.
"Too many. I've been in this business a long time." There was a drag to Ted's eyes that I hadn't noticed while we were out on the road. Maybe it was because he was home and felt comfortable enough to let the fatigue show through. He still hadn’t cracked a single accent or complained about my sarcastic tone.
“What about that one?” I pointed to the glowing red device. My camera companion sat in a corner of the room with a dim light. I still couldn’t get over how it followed me. The silly thing looked exactly like one of Ted’s floating cameras. “Is that one of yours?”
“All my devices are accounted for,” Ted looked away briefly then smiled with his wooden grin. “But it is possible to miscount. It certainly is tied into our systems and has been projecting footage nonstop for days. Once you agree we’ll be airing, one daily.”
The admission that this robotic contraption might not be Ted’s was worrying. He kept checking his watch so time was short to move on. I shook my head; so far the silly thing hadn’t hurt anyone. It also wouldn’t be the first time I picked up a stalker of some sort. At least this one didn’t have claws and a desire to eat hair. This one was filed under ‘shit that will annoy me later’, a pile to be explored once out of Ted’s home and away from Alice.
Ted patted a small pile of papers. Legal documents all looked the same to me. Some were the pieces Jade had left with me, but others were new. They were probably super important like ‘in case you don’t have a bank account, where do you want your money?’ to which I would write in Jade’s information. Her name went on nearly everything. I had very little for myself.
My head dipped and I gazed at the floor while considering the major choices. To job or not to job. Grinding mental gears for this offer had been ongoing since day the lair. Here, forced to decide, I finally realized there was no choice at all. Not if I wanted to be better and take control.
I doubted the duo would let me have all those graphs and formulas without joining up. I wanted to know ahead of time when events would go wrong. I wanted to be useful and have an outlet for all the names on my life. I wanted to feel like a member of society even if most of them hated what my presence meant.
“If you’re willing to deal with all that comes with me then yeah, I’m in.” I licked dry lips and held my breath.
“That’s not sarcasm?” Ted asked while angling his head to one side.
A short laugh escaped. “No. I mean exactly what I said.”
“Oh. Well we’re serious as well. Taking the right risks can make a good thing great. Or burn it all down,” Ted said while looking around in thought. Then he made me sign papers.
We went through them quickly. He tapped down new sheets almost as soon as I finished glancing over the old one and filling in the blanks. The forms each had fancy titles that went over my head. Some said terms, others said conditions, and one more talked about who the property issued belonged to. That one I read a little. In short it sounded like I still didn’t own anything but myself and the relationship drama.
If I read the rest correct, I also didn’t get health insurance or dental. I asked who managed our healthcare and Ted simply blinked at me in response. After a full minute of deep breathes, longing glances towards his tea, and the background murmur of my further coworkers, Ted said “No. We don’t have a health plan.”
“That’s a shame. I could use a better plan than the one I’ve got.” I looked at Alice and wondered how much of a disaster adding her to the mix might be. The idea kept popping up because at the time there were simply no good solutions. I didn’t have the luxury of worrying about survival or starvation like a sane person so this crap floated by over and over.
“I will not miss your wit,” he said simply. He finally seemed to be understanding when I was sarcastic or not. “Alright, the wonder twins have reviewed your footage and gave me notes to coach you on during our turnover. I think they skipped sleeping to do it.”
He looked at me then pointed to a jacket behind me. I grabbed one and handed it over. Ted point again for me to go get my own and kept talking.
“If, and bear in mind that I can’t lie, not even here, if, we’re able to get you outfitted then all of us will be reduced to a bug in your ear and nothing more. We won’t be with you in the field.”
“Okay,” I said.
Ted lowered his eyebrow and flattened both lips together for a moment.
“You’re okay with that?” he sounded puzzled as a hint of Scottish accent flared up. “The old catch and release. That doesn’t bother you?”
“I’ve been mostly on my own for years. I’ve had people try to help me before. Most of the time they stayed too close, and got hurt. So yeah, I’m okay with having someone to talk to and knowing that I’m doing something useful. I’m even happier if those people rarely get close to me. I tried so hard not to shut down and give the simple answers. Opening myself to anyone was hard, but I wanted to and that helped.
“That sounds lonely.”
“Oh I love the quiet nights and empty warehouses,” I winced at the dry tone that refused to be suppressed. I took a deep breath before Ted could question my words then moved on. “If you’re all going to be watching footage somehow then you’ve got to know, it may get bad out there. It may get really bad. Like it did with Cindy, only worse. I can’t control the things I end up seeing.”
Some events made Underdog look like a saint. Gore still shocked me but it happened frequently; mostly in rural farmhouses or alien spaceships. It was like my power came with a background setting option to help warn me of the terrible event about to occur. I would end up in a long metal corridor feeling weightless and know the next few events were hostage demands, awkward nakedness and experiments, or a ship full of undead space zombies.
Ted wet his finger then flipped through the stack of papers again checking the forms and counting under his breath. He nodded, pulled out a pen and initialed in multiple spots. Checkmarks were made and extra blanks filled in. The entire time he talked.
“Do not believe us to be novices to this lifestyle. We all chose to work in this business despite the risks, because someone has to. Someone has to show the world what really happens and not let political agendas destroy the story. We need attention and revue to bring light to our other agendas.”
I nodded. He could claim a grand purpose if he wanted to, but they cared about making a profit. All that equipment wasn’t free, all those projection lines and ad revue pieces of information served a purpose too. The full explanation mattered little to me. I was willing to sell my life to any bidder if it gave me a real purpose.
“I have my own, agenda, I guess,” the lingo still escaped me “I want to get some screen time to talk about the people who had died near me. They need to be talked about, and it would help give closure.” To me, and those who wondered what happened. “I hope you’re all okay working with me on that.”
“We can discuss it. Maybe they can set you up a separate sight and keep things at arm’s length from the Hero Watch brand.” Ted stacked the papers neatly; paper clipped one edge then put them on a counter. He walked around briskly grabbing objects and started speaking louder. “I don’t know when we can make it work. One step at a time Mister Millard. One step at a time.”
I nodded but kept my mouth shut. Tension loosened between my shoulder blades. A wave of wariness hit me. I wanted to lie back down and wake up in a better world. One where I was already a clever journalism professional. Alice stirred slowly then stretched.
At the time, it sounded too good to be true. If we would really have a communication method that was more regular than calling Jade, great. If we could work out time for me to share some of the names and what I knew about their passing, even better.
“I mentioned items to improve upon. First point to harp on, when you meet people ask for a name.” He yelled across the room while fishing through a refrigerator. “Their full name! A hero name! It doesn’t matter which. Get it on video. That also leads to my second point, you don’t ask questions! You don’t ask enough questions! In this business there’s recording the action, but we need to get feedback and responses from those involved.”
“Okay,” I said while lowering my forehead. “Names and ask questions.”
“There’s more to a person than what they do. There’s a dozen ideas that passed through their minds that weren’t chosen. When a hero lands they’re thinking of their training, of past experiences, of potential disasters or whatever makes them afraid. We don’t know the truth of why something was done without asking questions.”
“Exciting,” I let my next bit of dry wit escape then closed my eyes tightly.
“It’s not. It’s dull and monotonous and normally they’re full of shit.” Ted paused then glared at me again. “Sarcasm aside, we can edit out the dull portions about grandma’s favorite cat or recipes for cannoli, but if you don’t ask questions we won’t get the good stuff. Keep, them, talking. Provided we can get a link going, the three of us will coach you.”
Ted paced around again then set a round object on the counter. Both my new coworkers came out of the other room. Alice had sat up and was rubbing one eye.
“Look, and about these other pieces, I get it. I really do get it, and maybe there’s a market for it, but we need stories people will pay attention to, so avoid too much angst. No one wants to read or hear a sob story.”
“Says you,” I muttered.
“No he’s right. People don’t like too much of any one angle.”
Emily nodded. She held out Ted’s bag with all the orbs in it. The fabric itself sat flat, but I had seen him open it wide to reveal some dimensional storage place. Ted gasped in delight, took his bag then locked in into place under an arm.
“Puppies and kitten stories attract attention consistently. Current events are good. Memorials, not so much.” Ted was moving faster now. The other two glanced at a clock while Emily shook her head slowly. One lip pulled back then she sighed heavily.
“Explosions, cleavage, and drama get attention that we need to shed light on every other topic. You practically walk into the explosions and drama, but that middle one leaves a bit to be desired.” Ted gestured to the other room. “Most days. Not that I would ask you to put such a dearly deranged girl on camera.”
“Oh you’re awake. Pardon my discourteousness. Your, alter ego is quite a handful and did try to kill me. I would take umbrage with your actions but I was stoned out of my mind at the time.” Ted’s face stayed flat as he kept marching around the room. His movements picked up speed. “As such deranged feels polite. I can also offer homicidal and severely inconsiderate as well as socially oblivious.”
Alice’s eyes went wide and I hastily spoke up.
“So spice up the sex scenes?” And the words out of my mouth weren’t helpful.
“What? No,” Alice said. “You’re mine, hers, I’m-” she drifted off in confusion. Alice’s head shook briefly as she tried to stand up but fall back into the couch.
“Nothing too explicit. Don’t be afraid to talk to girls but nothing more, alright?” Ted said this to me but stared at Alice. His tone took on a heavier British accent and word style changed. “No one is asking you to do anything uncouth. However, we can’t deny that certain ladies are very attractive. It’s not for Adam, he is of course a very dedicated person and wouldn’t seriously consider another woman. That would be discourteous.”
Alice nodded slowly but her eyebrows pressed together in confusion.
“It’s time to go. Anything more and we’ll probably have a stage one or two event right here,” Emily said.
“In laymen's terms,” Ted said without taking his eyes off of Alice. His intense stair left me uncomfortable.
The D-something man whose name still escaped me answered. “Stage one is a home robbery, flying hero crashes into the wall, electrical outage, Lutherans.”
“Oh. Yes, well we’ll have to take the express way out.” Ted looked out the window.
“You shouldn’t have let him sleep,” Emily said while crossing her arms and tapping a foot.
“You saw the two of them, they were dragging ass. They needed some private time to get to know each other,” the curly haired man said. He winked at me and gave two thumbs up.
“We did? Wait, Adam, where are you going?” Alice sounded confused and lost but managed to blush red at the same time. “I’m going too. Let me just find,” she looked around but had nothing to grab. Alice owned about the same amount of possessions I did.
“No, you’re staying here. Could one of you kindly provide Miss Doormouse with a headset so she doesn’t lose touch with Adam?” Ted asked the other two.
“Yeah. Yeah,” D-something said quickly. He already had a large thick white pair of headphones ready to go. He handed to the blonde girl and she stared at it. Eventually D-something set it down on the small reading table by Alice’s couch. “Here, you’re very own headset. Once Ted gets him hooked up, we can all talk in his ear with this. We should be able to. We’ll figure it out.”
“But we’ll be listening. So keep your freaky phone sex to a minimum,” Emily glared at Alice. Alice glared back. I tried not to take notice of the budding drama and smiled to the woman who had traveled god knows how far to find me. She looked down and blushed again. Both her legs fidgeted and breathing turned rapid. It reminded me very awkwardly of Jade’s actions earlier.
“We’re making Mister Millard part of our team. We want to help your gentleman, and of course we’ll help you too. Even if you did try to kill me,” Ted brought up the whole attempted knifing thing again. I suspected he might be lying about the not being bothered thing. They kept talking and I didn’t have time to think about what was being said.
“The first nasty thing I hear out of you, and off goes the comm,” Emily said.
Alice wrinkled her nose and narrowed her eyes. Both hands tightened around the giant headset she’d been given.
“Angie, really. If they want to have phone sex, that’s on them,” the other man said.
“What? No. Oh god. I don’t want to hear whatever demented fantasies might go on in her head,” E-something’s spoke while keeping her eyes narrowed and lips downturned. Her eye nose turned up as she looked away. “It’s bad enough Ted forgets to signal us for private time.”
“You’re the one watching,” D-something said.
She elbowed the taller guy in the guy abruptly. “You’re on the couch tonight,” E-something said.
While they talked, Alice stared at the headset then put it on. It made her face look even smaller, but the woman’s lips curled in a slight smile. She readjusted it past strands of blonde hair. My own heart thudded loudly and skin felt flushed. Things were looking up, and that feeling of brief elation should have been a clue of things to come.
“Alright, times up. Time to arrange our transportation before a thing happens,” Ted said and held up a plate sized mirror. It was the same one he had set out earlier. “Mirror, mirror, on the wall! I need a portal to the best bazar of all!”
It faced towards us, blocking out the trio behind. A face appeared in the mirror's surface blotted out our reflects. It looked like wet clay given human shape. The face looked around the room and frowned. They cleared their throat with a wet cough then asked, “Mirror Mirror at your service. How many, and which account?”
“Heroes Watch, for two. Me and the asshole standing next to me,” Ted answered.
“Just his asshole, or the rest of him?” the phlegm filled voice questioned.
Alice’s head leaned over becoming visible from behind the plate. Her eyes narrowed while a hand twitched and chest puffed out. She worried me, from fear the girl would start stabbing people. I tried to separate Alice and her alter ego when thinking about them. Each little action, the way she took offense as other people insulting me, her questions about spicing up sex scenes, all it implied the line might be thinner than I expected.
“Better make it all of us,” Ted said.
“Alright. Five hundred dollars for two to the bazar. One way, round trip is eight hundred.”
“One way is fine. I agree,” Ted said.
“Your account is being charged accordingly. One moment, a relocation is forming and will trigger ten seconds from now. Please stand still, keep your arms and legs inside the formation until the new destination has completely come into focus.” The clay face said with a rasp. On the floor a bright blue line was rapidly forming. It linked together and looked digital in nature. “Thank you for choosing Mirror Mirror and please enjoy your trip.”
Ted tossed the mirror to Emily. She stood there letting it fly towards her and the curly haired man quickly snatched it away. They were talking to each other in more snappish tones which were growing harder to hear. A slight howl of noise filled my ears.
Alice’s lips moved, it looked like she said my name. She stood well out of arm’s reach from anyone else. Behind her sat Ted’s collection of heroic memorabilia and it almost drowned out the woman. I tried to give a reassuring smile and felt like a failure. She pressed one hand against the headset then made a kissy motion which rapidly devolved into a jerking hand and puffed up cheek.
I think she just kissed me goodbye then implied a almost frantic blow job. The realization hit me and my eyes went wide in confusion. That combination of motions implied serious instability. Girls were scary. Even more worrisome, her hair had darkened a little during the motion.
The world turned white as teleportation hit me. I forgot to loosen my gut.
Notes on when being moved from here to there sucks
Translated from Technobabble by Captain Longhall, the sucker currently in charge of Area Fifty One
Someone locked the door two hours ago and I didn’t register it until this passage. Until that time I used to have a teleporter contracted for movement of myself and priority one agents. Now I don’t even know how much of my write up and reviews actually matter.
Of course those idiots assume they’ve figured out all my tricks.
Nevermind, so here’s this file. The long story is that teleportation sucks. It takes all your molecules or something and moves them somewhere else. Hey, people can breathe fire, who am I to question the logic of moving through space? It uses energy and each one is a bit different. Some connect two points in space then step across it. Others pick people up and put them elsewhere. Some do these wormhole things. Oddly the drain for them is pretty consistent.
The other universal aspect is disorientation. After about the two thousandth teleport the effect becomes easier to navigate, but until then everyone reports sickness that makes them throw up. Teleporter heroes, or dislocators, anyone who does a personal move from here to there - have the same sort of urge to throw up. Even alien species do, but they get a ton more practice.
After about the four thousandth (and I’m making these numbers up) portal the get kind of an an awareness of where they’re going to land. Most people reaching this category don’t like sitting still for experiments.
Which brings me back to my starting point. They locked me in, and I’ve had at least six or seven thousand teleports in my time here. Hopefully they’ll throw me in the vat downstairs so I get reconstructed. This pile of papers won’t solve itself. Or could it? I think we might have something locked up that’ll help.