Mr. Lane's Interdimensional Field Trip

Keenan Lane looked through the wall at the classroom beyond with a critical, Vortal eye. The room was situated in the Magical Studies realm, but today he'd connected a number of other hallways and doors to it, to allow entry to certain students who wouldn't typically be able to access the location. There weren't all that many students inside, but that was as planned. Today was a special day. For them, and for him.

Very briefly, he took a look at his suit shoulders, brushed them free of invisible particles, and did the same motion over his perfectly-cut hair (not that his hair needed to be cut to attain that perfection, he hadn't had a haircut in decades). With his right hand occupied with his briefcase, he reached for the door handle with his left, and paused only the tiniest of moments before turning it.

There was always that flash of doubt, always that little bit of worry. But never let it be said that Keenan Lane showed that worry in any way on his lined, serious-looking face. He could pull off masking his emotions in a way that made him a deviously hard Poker opponent. Yet...

For this class, he thought as he stepped into the room and looked with more conventional vision over his students, he wasn't going to be wearing that mask for long. While he didn't mind putting on those 'expected-of-him' moods or affectations, he'd long since come to the realization that they weren't him, not for decades anyway. He wasn't nearly as stuffy as his business suit and severe flattop haircut implied. Those lines around his eyes and lips were from smiling and laughing, though he more often than not bore a bit of a frown or sneer. Those people who knew him best knew that he put up a front, an air of danger, an 'unapproachable badass' in the words of his Leggy Blond Conscience. It wasn't necessarily a lie so much as an act, and it was there for a reason.

He didn't like lying, though he'd spent the better part of a billion years doing so in the course of his 'work'. But now, 'work' was much more enjoyable, considerably less stressful in many ways and more so in delightful ones. Being an instructor suited him. And being allowed to teach was even more of a pleasure. He entered the room and left the hazy half-realm of the hallway behind, where it vanished entirely without him in it.

The door clacked open, the sound of his shoes tapped gently on the cement floor. He'd left a dozen folded printouts on desks around the room, and several students had already been reading through theirs. Others, it looked like they were untouched. Though he didn't turn his head to survey the class, his eyes caught more than most about the inhabitants that sat at their desks. They were, to say the least, unique kids. A non-Human alien, a demoness and a demigoddess, a superhero in training, a witch of high potential and a furry mage with natural talent, a youth that could only be called a 'relative' (in air quotes) of Lane's, a dimension-hopping surfer, and the most normal among them was a young refugee from an Earth that Keenan spent many decades living on. But to call even that one normal would be dreadfully under-estimating him.


It was Tuesday, even-numbered classes being held in their two-hour blocks at Carramba. Normally only three of the nine students gathered would be attending this class at all - and the rest that would have been there for 2nd Period Dimensional Travel and Pocket Universes were currently shunted off to a different class for the week. He could see the conflicted expressions on those three remaining kids: weren't they supposed to be attending some kind of seminar too? Why had they been singled out and kept back? And why were all these others here? But before they could utter any protests, Lane placed his briefcase on the wide desk and walked around to the side.

All of his students knew they needed to be silent and attentive at that point. Whether they were attending his Dimensional Travel course, the Teleportation Practice sessions, or another of his classes, it was clear that Lane would be expecting them to listen up. His behavior didn't change much between the assortment of courses he taught. Though a couple of the kids - the ones with more magical vision - thought they sensed something a little odd about their professor today, in addition to the rest of their circumstances making their senses bristle with wariness.

The witch, Delvin DiMeaux, couldn't help but look at him with a gaze similar to that which Lane himself had used moments before to scan the students before entering the room. Lane's aura was the same color scheme as usual, a mottled turquoise with green, cyan, teal, aqua, and white showing brighter in liberal turns. But it wasn't the color that Delvin thought was curious, she'd been able to detect it before. This time it was its visible nature, framing his whole form with a subtle churn. Normally if he let people see his aura at all, it was tucked behind those eyes of his which were in fact the same set of mottled turquoise as the energy. Sometimes, rarely, he would get angry or agitated or let his guard down, and it would burst out in a bright but quick manner - vanishing almost too quickly to catch.

Delvin wasn't the only one who actually saw it today; Carmen Seymour was apt to watch his instructor's energy, but he didn't think of it as unusual because it mirrored his own kinfolk's perfectly. If anything, Carmen wondered more at Delvin's response than that - she seemed to be confused by it for some reason. He didn't have much time to consider why. They both looked on as Lane stood beside the desk, in front of a large white wall panel that served often enough as a chalkboard or screen for demonstration videos, but today... it was just blank.

He hadn't opened his briefcase either, which was something others noted as atypical. Often enough he'd have it open with notes cluttering their way out, or pull his laptop from it, or set it behind the chair. It just sat there, with its faded-gold Black Mesa logo easily visible.

As the students settled and made sure their note-taking equipment was at the ready, Lane surveyed them one by one and tucked away whatever information he noted mentally. There were twenty-four individual desks, mostly empty.

Only nine hosted students. It was not the fewest he'd taught as a 'full' class, there was that one group of five who had taken a Summer course in Pocket Universe creation. But it was less than half his typical class size, so he relished being able to look at each one of them and not have to wait for them to slump in their seat or lean, to see the ones behind them. Enough empty desks meant they didn't clump up. Of course, only those three who took the course this period were in 'their' seats, there were no conflicts with the rest. He didn't ask that they gather into a different, closer arrangement. He didn't take attendance. But then he rarely did.

Lane waited just the right amount of time, so the students had quieted but were on the edge of becoming fidgety again. When he spoke it was with the faintest smirk, seen more in his eyes than his lips or voice.

"I suppose you're... wondering why your class schedule has been... disrupted this week." His pauses were typical, but they'd all heard him speak in a more smooth, unhalting manner. Whenever he drew out his s-sounds or gave those dramatic but often inappropriately placed pauses, he was either fed up with something or trying to prove a point. What was he up to that deserved that treatment today?

He was trying to unnerve them. Adelade furrowed her brows and glanced at Pace sitting directly to her left, who would have been with her in their own same 2nd period class - their Algebra Basics course, in that familiar seating arrangement. To Pace, that look on the demoness' face was enough to make him nervous. They both had 8th period Teleport Practice with Lane together, as well as with three others in the current group, and it seemed the rest were noticing their commonalities. They tried not to look like they were all glancing at one another and spun their heads toward the professor with the sound of his deep voice.

"I have spoken with a few of my... contemporaries," Lane continued a moment later, "and we have decided that a certain number of our students... you," he nodded toward the class in general, "were worthy of a bit more... personal treatment." He put his hands behind his back and laced their fingers together, it prevented him from tapping his fingers against his thigh.

"Is this like detention?" Pace asked, before he could stop himself. "Because I don't think I broke any rules!"

There was a collected hush, sudden holding of breath, everyone else in the room beyond Pace and Lane hardly dared to even blink. Pace was young, the youngest of the group of students, and had probably never been - or had to be - punished for any issue before. So when Lane turned his eyes so very, very slowly toward the boy, Pace suddenly realized his mistake and shut his mouth with a snap. The red-head pushed his glasses up but didn't even attempt to raise his head.

But Lane's expression was still oddly calm; not angry, not even judgmental. Delvin once more took a tilted-head examination of the professor's aura, and decided something was distinctly weird.

"It is not," Lane said, quietly but with enough force to quell any further outbursts, "detention. Nor is it meant to be punishment in the slightest."

Mathew raised his hand, carefully. Being a regular to the class, he sat in his normal seat on the right in the front row of desks. While he was quite good at the subject of dimensional travel, he wasn't the star pupil of the class by any stretch. He waited with a faintly worried expression, until Lane moved just his gaze to the boy and nodded.

"Then... um, sir, what's... what are they doing in our class, and what aren't we doing at the seminar with the others?"

With that said, Lane's stern face softened with a gentle twist to his mouth and eyebrows. "That... was what I was going to get around to," he shifted slightly from one foot to the other, finally leaning a bit on the desk beside him and examining his nails. Most of the students had seen him doing that, a habit just like his aptness to brush off invisible dust from his suit or, as he did a moment later, adjusted his tie though it was already perfectly settled.

It seemed fainly amusing to Lane, that he wasn't the only one in the classroom wearing a tie. Not just one but three of these precious students had the sense of formality to wear their own. ...And then to balance that, there were the three who didn't, wouldn't, or couldn't wear shoes...

"Our decision," Lane spoke again and didn't seem to be trying for eye contact or even a hint of menace, "was that you are promising in the field of... motion." Here he paused, tilted his head and blinked, and then gazed at each of the students. "Whether it be under your own power," he held his turquoise eyes on a number of them in turn, "or with the aid of devices or rituals," Lane's eyebrow went up very faintly when he looked at Pace and then the mage Delvin, then Mathew, and behind him, Adelade. "That... propensity to move through space and dimensions has a certain... charm... for some of us."

There was a reason he was teaching the class, after all. Since they all had at least one class period with Lane, they'd all seen him showing off those same abilities. He vanished and reappeared closer to a desk that needed adjusting, gently nudged it into place, and just as quickly returned to his casual lean against the desk. He'd weeded out certain inappropriate students from several of his classes in that manner: if they didn't notice him doing it, or hadn't bothered to try following his trail, they were politely but firmly sent to another course instead.

With some amount of amusement, however, Lane looked at the one obviously-alien student in the room, Eastamin, the Kthari female, who, by the nature of her build remained in the farthest back row. Those tall leathery wings of hers could only be folded down so far, and it was clear that even the normal sized desk was a bit too small for one from her world. That she was even here and not on her own world said volumes.

He knew that she was still quite new to her own abilities, which was why she'd wound up in his class. To Lane, having a group of talented kids around him was always a treat, but even more so when he got to actually teach them. "I realize that your abilities are... just blossoming, miss Eastamin," he could swear that the yellow on her high cheeks got tinged with a blush, "but that is actually helpful." He stood away from the desk once more, straightened his shoulders, "there is nothing quite like a challenge, to improve everyone's skills."

So it would be a team building event? Delvin wondered as she tapped her wand gently against her temple. As some students would click pens or tap their fingers, her ever-present wand sparkled slightly and responded to her needs automatically. Had anyone else looked (as it was easy for Lane to see it, even the girl herself wasn't much paying strict attention) they would have seen her notebook inscribing itself with notes directly from her head, via that wand. Lane wondered what specifically she was jotting down, but didn't pry. She'd notice that.

As was quite typical for him to do so, Raheem didn't bother raising his hand before asking, "so this will be the whole week? What about our other classes?" At least he'd read more of the briefing they'd all gotten instructing them to show up today - their Monday classes had been the same, but Tuesday through Friday were blocked out for this 'event'. "Won't we have to do make-up work?" That elicited several groans.

"Oh Ba'al I hope not," Adelade muttered, "I can't even imagine what I'll do with Algebra..."

She didn't quite notice the subtle shift of expression on Lane's face. He did purposefully grind his jaw a little, and his eyebrow as usual went into an arc. "Miss North, I am painfully aware of your... situation in my Algebra class."

The ice-blue skinned demoness suddenly realized she'd spoken out loud, subsequently blushing and letting her eyes go wide, and then narrow: what? Why would he say that? "....your?" She said quietly. "You don't teach that class."

"Of course I do." He paused and the corner of his mouth twisted upward. "Now, we'll be heading to-"

"Sir, I ... beg to differ, you're-"

Delvin once more let her wand scribble out magical ink, as she watched how Lane responded to that. He wanted her to ask; he really wanted her to speak. "I'm...?" He said, finally. It was a challenge, but frankly he was not only their instructor, but somewhat intimidating. Challenging him took guts.

Oddly though, it was Carmen who attracted Delvin's attention next. While Lane averted his gaze and was seeming to consider what to say next - or more accurately whether he would say anything more without being asked something specific - Carmen's own red-tinted aura flared up in the same manner as Lane's was apt to. It looked for all the world like the pale-skinned student was about to adjust his own tie. To Delvin, they could almost be father and son, if not for the radically different aura. The main thing separating them seemed to be experience; practice at hiding their aura, because today, Carmen's was just on overtime. He couldn't hide it nearly as well as Lane, obviously, and something made Carmen uncomfortable, likely that same thing causing Lane to tap his fingers gently on his desk. Plus, it was clear that the instructor noticed that excess of energy from the platinum haired boy.

Lane looked at the nervous Carmen. "It's all right, it's not like yours don't know about me. That's why you're in my class, ah'xil Vortal daa'vahh ha-dee." The rest of the class for the most part didn't understand his words, but clearly Carmen knew what he'd said, and shortly Delvin's wand produced, inexplicably, a translated form on her notes. Though it took three columns of notation and various 'definitions', the words You and I are rare birds, talented vortally, blending in but hardly common became the clear winners. Delvin knew she could read magic texts, but she didn't realize she'd write them without knowing the language!

A moment later she looked toward the pair, then back at the words and understood what they meant. For Lane and Carmen, anyway, their similar features went pretty deep. The rest of the class wasn't left in the dark for too long. Carmen's local reality level was filled with similar beings to Lane's, without question - they weren't directly related, no, but they might as well have been, by the way they could communicate. Carmen looked even paler than he'd started.

"Mister Seymour," Lane addressed him specifically, "your Convocation and mine are very, very different." There went that ultra-pale un-blush again. "And it's perfectly all right to mention them here, Carmen, they like me. They like you, they've granted you leave to come here after all." He gave off a smile, one which might have unnerved anyone else. "They're much more to my liking than my own, in fact." Lane shrugged and slipped away from the desk again, to walk around behind it. "Mine... are so stuck up, it hurts." He looked at his nails; no - he looked at his hand, put his fingers into a fist and back to flat, then looked back to the room in general. "Yours chose to live, as I did, as I do. Mine... chose not to live, choose to condemn the idea that matter is important. I take abuse for that choice every waking moment I'm around them."

That was a rather personal thing for him to admit to a bunch of kids, but most of them seemed suitably concerned for him. It explained something important to Mathew at least, why would he have helped bring so many from their Earth to this place? Mat had heard stories... Lane's point, however, was to put Carmen at ease. "We're both still... somewhat... bound by restrictions of course, but... Twoarth is more or less neutral ground to all of us."

That gave Carmen a bit of a pause; he knew, of course, that his reality level was different than, say, Pace's or Adelade's, or even Mathew's though they shared more than he'd like to admit. But... There were other Convocation? He'd thought they were all the same, moving through various realities. Carmen finally leaned back and nodded slowly, but still hadn't found his own voice. Whatever he was to Lane - student and teacher, comrades between dimensions, or just refugees in a dimension neither of them started out in - it was clear that the instructor badgered his mind a bit and they'd come to an accord privately. The energy exchange between them was something bright and off the charts for what 'color' it was. There weren't words for those colors. Possibly not even in Vortigese, which he'd spoken before.

Keenan straightened his tie on impulse and faintly glared at his own hand for doing it. Lane then pulled in a breath and said, "back to the subject..." Thus it was to Adelade and Pace that Lane addressed his next words.

"As an instructor, I've found that... I do enjoy reaching as many young minds as I can." Lane once more leaned against the desk, but not in a formal way. Relaxed, almost wistful eyes looked around the room. "It's all just a matter of practice and diligent record-keeping. And I have practice aplenty; there's a reason I became a lawyer, as I don't shy from paperwork. And I already had a... whole set of spares available."

Raheem mouthed 'spares?!' to Connith behind him, whose ears drooped with the implication. Lane continued unhindered though it was impossible to believe he hadn't noticed.

"So it's not hard to be in two places... two bodies at once, really." So he was just showing off? "I sort of cheat, given that I'm able to sense the differences between worlds and... move between them accordingly. Easier than time travel, anyway. I'm concurrent. You'll all have the chance to learn how to do that, hopefully soon." He paused, and added, "grading all that homework though, that I could live without at times. It's a good thing I'm fast enough. Time travel is actually rather difficult, even for me; speed counters the need for that."

"Wait - wait," Pace blurted out, eliciting an unhidden chuckle and grin from Lane, who didn't interrupt while the boy sputtered. "How - we - you have a - You're also..."

There was a long, long pause, as Keenan Lane pushed his head back and gazed upward, licked his teeth, and finally blinked to look back at the students. The words came out of his mouth as though they were completely foreign, and for him that seemed extremely unusual, as they'd all heard him speaking a dozen languages to various students or teachers.

Through gritted teeth and an affected sneer, he said, "Nachos California."

Sumire the cat-demigod burst out laughing, straight up. Raheem looked to be almost unable to prevent himself as well. And Lane didn't stop them. From the look on his face, he seemed at least as amused at this revelation as the students themselves. Pace was still confused, still having issues. So Lane tried to help him out a little. Only a little.

"Just at this moment, I'm shuffling that Algebra class over to the Speaker's Square, for that seminar you're not at."

To illustrate it, the white-board beside him lit up to a birds-eye view of that same event. Literally a bird's eye: there was a flock of ravens living atop one of the buildings, and they were Lane's eyes on the campus. The kids didn't know that. Nachos had slightly tanner and less yellowed skin, shoulder-length black hair though anyone who looked at his face saw the same sharp widows peak and intense eyes, albeit eyes not surrounded by lines, and cheeks not quite as sunken. It was indeed a younger-looking long-haired Keenan, for anyone who dedicated some amount of attention to those details.

Nachos was currently wearing his 'Horchata' outfit: white and slightly drippy; a stark contrast from the black-suited, red-tied man here. A parade of students, from Seniors needing a remedial math course, down to Freshmen enjoying their introductory higher math, went through the grassy area and down to where the stepped speakers' arena was. Near the middle of campus, where everyone was welcome and no one was ignored.

Several other classes were there; whatever seminar or speech was going on, would be fairly popular. Both Carmen and Eastamin noticed that their robotic Geometry instructor, Rex 903, was guiding their class down too. It seemed almost all the math or science oriented courses were getting this treatment, and frankly a couple of the students really wanted to know what they were getting to do!

Lane appraised himself in the image, watching the quickly-evaporating pseudo-horchata drip on the grass, faintly rolling his eyes and giving a sigh. Quicker than the students could see, he gave himself-here-and-now a once-over, checked the suit's angles, enjoyed the dark color. For good measure he brushed off the sharply angled short hair at the back of his neck, making sure he wasn't growing that damn pony tail...

"But you're here." Pace said, interrupting Lane's amused reverie. "Alter-egos aren't supposed to show up at the same time -"

"I am here. And I am also there, clearly." The look in his eyes, those turquoise eyes, said volumes to a few of the students. Perhaps it was that Pace wasn't old or experienced enough to recognize it. "Come now, Pace, that class you're taking from Professor Pepper can't be that hard for you?"

That did it, Pace realized that just yesterday he'd been in his first-period class regarding the creation and maintenance of time travel equipment! But hadn't Lane just said he didn't time travel? He remained a little baffled, but said nothing for the moment. The rest of the class seemed to be enjoying the revelation. They'd learn more about it? Well that suited him just fine!

"But you're nnnNachos Californiaaaaa?" Sumire purred, almost losing it and giggling at the end. "How in the world did you manage that? I mean, that's... no offense sir but that's a full-tilt ridiculous name."

Before he spoke out loud, Lane thought to himself: this coming from the girl named Purple? "I lost a bet," Lane said simply, "and learned never to play poker with certain people," he wouldn't say who, but the look in his eye said he did play poker with them, quite often. "Particularly when they've been at my liquor cabinet."

Raheem snickered and gave a hand sign from some arcane version of Hawai'i.

"But..." Pace sighed, "I don't even get it. Most secret identites, you put on a mask or a costume and you're done. But... You're old and he's got the hair and-"

"It's a different, younger body, yes; you didn't think I grew my hair out and chopped it all off every other class?" Lane said. He let out a snort, and grumbled below his breath, "old, you have no idea how old." And slightly louder, "but I assure you, it's my body, albeit a manufactured one. I actually created the... persona while in Paragon City," he looked with amusement at Pace who appeared a bit surprised at that, "and it stuck with me." He could tell they still needed a little more, so he added, "I'm known as Keenan Lane, but my name, Sumire," he glared with a mock annoyance at the feline demi-goddess, "is Nach'lih Kallah-Vahh. And it is that name which certain... friends of mine continually brutalize. It gets worse when they drink." He added in a mutter, "it gets worse when they're drunk and together in quantity. It was the best option they came up with, trust me. It could have been much worse."

Delvin looked at her notes and saw a distinctly different interpretation of those Vortigese words on her paper, a long series of alternate English words danced on the paper without imprinting fully. It wasn't just a name, then? She'd been curious how it would be spelled, but it was more than that. They kept changing. As though the words themselves couldn't make up their mind what they meant? They clarified a moment later when Lane spoke.

"The spirit's path through shrouded flesh, imprint of curiosity, Embodiment of the Mystery," he said, slightly breathless. That wistful look returned a moment later when he whispered, "seeker of truth." He gave a soft grin, "Mars and Cat simply cannot put the words Nach, Lih, Kallah and Vahh together without stumbling over it. Thus... Nachos California."

Delvin's notes were more clear when he'd spoken the words individually, though it seemed she'd be running out of paper with all the sub-notes each word needed. They remained when he spoke. Path, spirit, body, mystery. Imprint of curiosity indeed.

Raheem and Connith glanced at one another from their paired seats on the one side of the room. Raheem sounded it out, then burst out laughing again. "You lost a bet," he could be heard to say between chuckles. He could pronounce the name, Lane noticed. "And you're teaching what? Trig, Calc, Algebra..."

"Not as well as Atasenne Haital, I know, I know..." Lane muttered. "I don't play cards with her either. And if you tell her about that, you're going to be failing some classes, Mister Casteel." It didn't seem like much of a threat, given his slightly embarrassed grin.

Adelade however still sat with a little worried look on her face. "I'm totally failing Algebra, Mister Lane, and if I don't get that last assignment fixed up I am gonna be even farther behind."

With that, Lane rolled his head around and turned to her with a smirk. "Miss North, I understand that you're concerned, but while you're certainly not the top of the class, you're definitely not the bottom of it either. It's barely halfway through the first Quarter, my dear. If you were failing I'd have sent you to another class by now."

That did seem to allay some of her fears, she leaned back into her seat a little and scratched one of her short horns.

"Besides, you won't need to worry too hard about missing anything in your other classes." Now he seriously straightened his tie - it was for effect, it worked. "Playing catch-up won't be difficult, you'll... see soon enough." Behind him on that big white panel, replacing the gathering that was now settling down with lots more students, suddenly appeared a schematic? A blueprint of the school, it looked like to Mathew.

"I have taken the opportunity to... distract... the administration long enough to work a bit outside the expected framework of the school."

He paused, waited - the students shifted and glanced around while trying to mull that over. The image on the screen flashed with bits of the Admin Torus blurred out, along with the entry points to the Magical Campus where they were - only Mathew really noticed that they vanished.

Delvin could see a distinct connection between Lane's aura and that view though, what was he doing? He could alter... what, images, electrons, projections? She wasn't sure. She also wasn't sure he would be so forthcoming as he had been earlier. Several other images moved across that screen; one looked like a star system, another a diagram of some living thing, others incomprehensible.

"We will be on the move," he said quietly, "beyond the realms covered by the normal waivers that enrollment at Carramba High offers." There he paused, and gave a more serious look - but not at any student, just in general into the middle distance; daring the powers that be to challenge him. None came. It looked like he was relieved. And also, that he'd had practice with that glare.

"I realize that some members of this little... group... have been, for whatever reason, unable to acquire certain... permission slips, for off-world trips." Once more it seemed to be Pace and Adelade who got that frustrated, guilty look. Guilty because they were starting to suspect they'd be needing a permission slip, and frustrated because... Well, in Pace's case, his parents were sort of incarcerated in the Ziggursky prison in Paragon City; and Adelade, because she had none, and had wheedled entry to Carramba with slightly less than legal methods.

"You know I can't get..." Adelade said, her voice was barely audible and her own blue skin had adopted a darker hue in a blush.

"Not to worry. We'll... work around that," Lane said softly, and waited for her to nod in acknowledgement.

"But we'll totally get suspended," Pace breathed, "I can't - I mean I -"

"Mister McNabb, when I say not to worry, I do mean not to worry about it." Lane gave a more honest, soft smile. "I truly hate that children with such potential are restricted by arbitrary rules. But I've found," he glanced at Carmen, "that it's easier to ask forgiveness than to get permission. Even among our kind, oddly enough, it's true to an extent." He paused. "More or less. Sort of." He paused again, watching those expressions on the kids change. "Thankfully the Convocation aren't the ones we need to ask for either of those things today." At some point, he'd have to sit the kid down and just tell him to relax. The Convocation, Carmen's anyway, were hardly at the level of Lane's 'don't mention us' - but that didn't mean he knew that. Lane suspected this would be a running joke to some in the room.

"That her face at first just ghostly, turned a whiter.... shade of paaaaaale," Raheem quoted and Lane had to stifle a laugh. But it was true, Carmen was all but transparent with the words he'd been given.

"You learned that from my heir, did you not?" Lane said, slightly off-hand, and Raheem glanced at the walls, then back to his instructor.

"Ifff your 'heir' is also the Drama and Ironic Lit instructor, then yes?" Raheem seemed a little baffled.

"That would be him, indeed." Lane sighed and tossed his hand in the air a bit, "I suppose it's too much to ask that you've learned it from listening to Procol Harem, though. At least you did sing it properly." The blank looks spread.

He sighed even more deeply when he realized they were all far too young to even have an idea of who he was talking about.

And that Paxton was also too young - but far more pretentious; he would have quoted it directly from the Canterbury Tales and taught them to sing it without admitting where the riff was from. The little show-off. The fact that Keenan himself didn't immediately think 'Chauser' and went straight for 'psychedelic rock' was also lost on this group of teens. It worked considerably better on other professors and staff, that little quirk. Even back at Black Mesa, his office might randomly be heard to have Byrds, Bach, Bulgarian throat singers, or Big Band swing coming from it. It threw off the folks who expected him to be as straight-laced as he appeared, and that was just where he wanted them.

"Hm, speaking of musical accompaniment," Lane muttered and looked at the dark-skinned surfer, "you may want to keep a device on hand, recording or playback." He glanced to the others in the class, noting that Delvin's note taking would be adequate, he wasn't sure about the rest.

"Awesome," Raheem said, nodding slowly and digging through his ever-present kit bag for such a thing. He had tools that clattered but only while he touched them, a potted plant, at least one towel, Mr Zogg's Sex Wax for his surfboard (did he have the board in there too? Lane wondered absently), and an Electronic Thumb for good measure.

When he pushed that around, Lane furrowed his brows and gave a gentle cough. "Why do you even have one of those? You don't need it for this class, at least." Raheem found it again and held it up. It was small, though slightly longer than a thumb, fit with humanoid-finger grooves and had a small ergonomic button on the end.

"Actually, it's not for me, it's for if... Well it's for other people. If I'm not..." Everyone looked at him now, the curious eyes of his fellow students got him to glance at the floor in something like embarrassment. "I've washed up on shores a couple times, people don't know where I'm from, but sometimes I take hitchers along for the ride. They get lost, I'm not awake, they can still find a way."

With a look of appraisal and approval, Lane said, "that's remarkably considerate of you." Raheem smiled softly and continued to dig around for his uTune device.

Though he'd been reasonably quiet the entire time, the Usagi boy, Connith, finally raised his own blue, furry hand. Lane nodded once, and Connith cleared his throat. "So will we have to pack or anything?"

Lane was not above rubbing it in, "did you read your information packet?" But then smirked. "We'll ... be acquiring supplies along the way where appropriate. If there are things you cannot live without - and I don't mean 'your soap operas and facebook' - I will set aside some time shortly, to gather those things." He could tell, however, that Connith's question wasn't phrased as concisely as it should have been. The look on the Usagi's face was still a little confounded about something.

When Connith looked just about to raise his hand again, he made careful note of the obvious, slow crawl that Lane's eyebrow was doing above his eye. It was almost comedic, but then Connith wasn't dumb: "I'll just... re-read the pamphlet, then," he said, and did so. Three others joined him momentarily.

It was Eastamin who looked a little worried, "sir, I'm still really not that good at any of this." Her voice was deeper than Lane's, which surprised some folks at least a few times - but she was nearly seven feet tall with way more limbs to go around than most, and no one expected her to have a lilt or be remarkably sweet-voiced.

"My turn to beg to differ," Lane said, finally opening his briefcase and looking through it. He pulled a file folder out and looked at several pages, gave a half-smile, "you're doing well in everything overall, even my Teleport class; you've got the comprehension skills for a passing grade. You do, however," he added with more of an impish turn to his grin, "need a little work in terms of effort given. This... trip... will put your skills to the test, but I'd like everyone to also consider it to be something of a... retreat? Not quite a holiday, we'll be working on an assortment of things."

The Kthari slowly nodded, and picked up her own specially made leather travel sack. She was hardly ever without it, much like Raheem's was usually slung over his shoulder. The main difference was that Eastamin had made hers from leather on her home world, after having hunted, killed, prepared, and tanned the creature herself. Though she wore a simple green cotton jumpsuit today, she'd been seen in more 'formal' clothing from her homeworld that was clearly her pride and joy - woven with little animal skulls and preserved tails, fangs, gemstones, gears and technology, and whatever else she'd found on her journeys around the wilderness there. As far as wealth went, the girl was pretty well set, at least on her homeworld.

Mathew put his hand up again, "sir, what about extra credit? Is ... are we getting that for classes?"

"Oh my yes," Lane said with a grin. "As to which classes and how much, that will certainly depend on the individual... situations we find ourselves. But most certainly there will be... challenges for numerous types of class activities."

"Even Algebra?" Muttered Adelade.

"Even mathematics," was the reply. He looked about, and decided to add, "most of you reside on-campus, yes?"

"Nearby," Pace said, looking at Mathew who nodded. They both had nice dorms in the off-campus apartment building. Pace then got a really weird look, slightly queasy. "People keep asking if my 'rich family' got that way from tech sales..."

"They didn't?" Mat asked. Clearly he was 'people'.

".... They're super-powered criminals, Mat, they got rich by stealing from companies and selling corporate secrets! Dad built his armor from pieces of Blackwell's designs, mom's control helmet was all Crey tech." Pace slumped in his seat, regretting having said a word. But none of the others were really looking at him harshly - his own opinion on the matter was what meant anything, and he certainly didn't seem like the type to abuse his abilities to follow in their footsteps.

Given how Mathew himself was a refugee from another dimension, no one asked how he'd gotten in that dorm of his...

"Prepare a list for yourselves," Lane said, "if you've got any... allergies or needs, you'll want to make sure you've got something to help fix them, just in case. I'm afraid I don't know your species-specific needs, so that's up to you all to determine."

"Hot, cold, wet, icky?" Delvin asked, her wand up in the air instead of her hand.

"If possible, select for all of the above, but keep it simple if you can." Lane looked away, and then back with a strange grin. The image on the screen behind him was a... it was him, maybe one of his 'spare' bodies, wearing a sleek, snugly fitting set of combat gear? He gently nodded toward it, "running around in Paragon's sewer system, you start to think that nice shoes and a tie aren't the best choice for gear." He then made note of the expressions on a couple faces. "Should you... require specific outfitting, I believe I can... arrange that, as well. Wilson will enjoy the opportunity."

After a moment or two among the mixture of confusion and nodding by a couple students, it was Raheem once more that busted out with a bold laugh. "And I am just now realizing you guys look super similar... well him and Nachos do with the hair and all. What, he's your son too or...?" It was obvious that there were too many physical differences between the extremely-muscled, constantly-stubbled Wilson Carver and this man in front of the class, to be...

Lane looked with a touch of surprise at the dark skinned boy. "Well, I call him that, yes. I would not say too, because Paxton is my heir, not my son." He paused, visibly 'thinking' - though it was very obvious to a couple aura-gifted students that he was Vortally doing something way more than thinking - and muttered, "no wonder you're apt to blurt things out here. He does teach that class on it." To which Delvin also gave her own snarky chuckle.

Then Lane returned to a more normal mockingly menacing tone, "he is Paxton and Geoffrey's father. Though he - or they - may not admit as much." He drew in a long breath, "Wilson is my first clone, Mister Casteel. A very, very heavily altered one, and he was never me." He added in a very faint whisper, "thankfully." A moment later he also added with a glance toward one student, "it surprises me, Mister Davison, that you are not already aware of this connection. We are, after all, from the same dimension's Earth."

The blonde boy tilted his head, and then furrowed his brows. "Yeah, I... I guess I do know, but, I mean - it's been a while since the Events and all there."

With that said, Lane took his own head into a tilt. "How long has it been for you?" This might get interesting...

"Like..." his eyes scanned the ceiling, "forty years? I think they were gearing up to celebrate the twenty-year Freedom just before I left for Carramba."

Lane appraised that number with a contemplative lip-purse. "Not so long as I'd expected, honestly. It feels like centuries to me, but then I've been known to travel to places a bit ... out of sync with our home." This time, Pace seemed to be the one to make a connection. After a moment longer, Lane straightened up, and looked around at the others once more. "Enough dawdling, I believe it is time to gather your goods and your wits. Time... is not something I like going to waste."


In order of visitation and bonding: Raheem; Adelade; Pace; Eastamin; Carmen; Connith; Sumire; Mat; Delvin

Name Raheem Casteel
Gender Male
Homeworld West of California
Class Junior
Nut Not
Totem Leech -1 S/Gm, +2 RWP, -2 Luck, -1 Drive, +1 Cool, -1 Bonk, 30+5kk
Smarts 7
Bod/Feet 10
Luck 6
Drive 2
Looks 3
Cool 4
Bonk 3
Powers Reality Shifting + Portable Space


Grease Monkey
Clusters Mechanical Aptitude +3*
WaterSports +3
Skills Navigate Weird Places +3
Right World, Right Body +3
Knacks Surfing +5
Find That One Guy +3
Charming As Fuck +3
1 Drama / P. Fettel
2 Dimensional Travel / Lane
3 Betting and Odds / Haital
4 Ironic Literature / P. Fettel
5 Martial Arts Fasion Conscious / Carver
6 Theoretical Physics / Freeman
7 History of Warfare / G. Fettel
8 Snappy Comebacks+Heroic Banter / Carver
Dragon Balsamina

Name Mathew Davison
Gender Male (female during full moon)
Homeworld Repurposed Earth (enrichment center)
Class Junior
Nut Not
Totem Porcupine +1 Bod, -1 RWP, +3 Luck, -3 Drive, +1 Cool, 30+5kk
Smarts 6
Bod/Feet 9
Luck 7
Drive 1 (more a navigation issue)
Looks 3
Cool 3
Bonk 3


M4d 5ki11z



Guns and Munitions +3

Skills Gadgetry +4
Repair Anything +2
Stealth +1
Knacks Computers and Programs +3
1 Ancient Mayan / Cameron
2 Dimensional Travel / Lane
3 Netiquette / Charybdis
4 Computer Graphics+Animation / Ashigaru
5 Nexus Geohistory / T. Kshau
6 Martial Arts+Stealth Deselection Practicioners / Hart
7 Adv. Biochem / A.Vale
8 Way Off Base-10 / Saiintenella
Dragon Klebb

Name Carmen Seymour
Gender Herm (male dominant)
Homeworld Alternate Earth (Where Convocation Settled and Bred With The Natives)
Class Junior
Nut A Little Nutty
Totem Parakeet -1S/GM, +3Bod, -1 RWP, +1 Luck, -2Drive, 30+4kk
Smarts 7
Bod/Feet 11
Luck 4
Drive 2
Looks 4
Cool 4
Bonk 6

Favored By his Convocation

Convocation Powers

Clusters Movement is his Bitch +4
Skills Navigate Around Objects +3
Multiverse Sensing +3
Knacks Attract All The Wrong... Um, Right People +3
Know Your Pronouns +2
Impress With Fun Foods +3
1 Genetic Engineering / Paveh
2 Realtime Geometry / Rex 903
3 Greek Studies / A Caroline Clone
4 Locals History / Prescott
5 Ironic Literature / P. Fettel
6 Exotic Diets+Cooking / L. Sidki-Sanger
7 Interpersonal Relations / Rubio
8 Teleportation Practice / Lane
Dragon Stardip

Name Eastamin (ee YAS tah min)
Gender Female...ish (Morrisey fem)
Homeworld Kthari
Class Sophomore
Nut Nut
Totem Jackalope +1 S/GM, +3 Bod, -1 RWP, +2 Luck, -1 Drive, -1 Bonk, 25+5kk
Smarts 6
Bod/Feet 11 (6)
Luck 6
Drive 3
Looks 3
Cool 4
Bonk 9 (4)
Powers Latent Dimension Shift


Super Strength
Clusters Flying +3
Skills Kthari Martial Arts +3
Manipulate Items/Objects +3
Knacks Navigation (aerial) +3
Know Friend From Foe +3
Bash The Crap Out Of It +3
1 Hedge Mazes / Ihrinnah
2 Realtime Geometry / Rex 903
3 Current Affairs / Talshoy
4 Locals History / Prescott
5 Fiction Writing / Singe
6 Taxidermy / Herring
7 Warfare+Tactics / Hagen
8 Teleport Practice / Lane
Dragon Calyx

Name Adelade North
Gender Female
Homeworld Devilish Earth
Class Sophomore
Nut A Little Nutty
Totem Porcupine +1 Bod, -1 RWP, +3 Luck, -3 Drive, +1 Cool, 25+5kk
Smarts 8
Bod/Feet 7
RWP 0* Orphaned in her dimension
Luck 4
Drive 0* does not drive, this is wise
Looks 4
Cool 5
Bonk 6




Talk To - Photographs

Clusters Eye For Details +3
Skills Remember Names Perfectly +2
Precision Caligraphy +3
Doesn't Need Your Soul +2
Photograph Restoration +2
Knacks Not blow things up when she snaps her fingers +3
1 Genetic Engineering / Paveh
2 Algebra Basics / N. California
3 Mars+Venus Culture / Noah
4 Earth Geography / Rubio
5 Olde Englyshe Studies / Underwood
6 Environment Crafting / Penbardd
7 Warfare+Tactics / Hagen
8 Teleport Practice / Lane
Dragon Saxifrage

Name Sumire (sue mee rey)
Gender Female
Homeworld Inu Yasha Earth (feline deity grandparent)
Class Junior
Nut Zany
Totem Sea Cucumber (no mods) 30+7kk
Smarts 3
Bod/Feet 9
Luck 4
Drive 2
Looks 6
Cool 2
Bonk 8


Reality Shifting

Feline Companionship

Clusters Crazy Cat Lady +3
Skills Navigate Realms +3
Be Underfoot +3
Goes Into Heat +3
Knacks Never Has Cat Hair On Clothes +3
Cause Bad Allergies/Accidents +4
1 Genetic Engineering / Paveh
2 It's Astronomical! / Saiintenella
3 Mars+Venus Culture / Noah
4 Archaeology / A.R. Sanger
5 Olde Englyshe Studies / Underwood
6 Super Team Building / Dane
7 Deselection Procedure+Assignment Procurement / Hart
8 Teleport Practice / Lane
Dragon Rocavi'carr

Name Delvin DiMeaux
Gender Female
Homeworld Jade IV (Magical Human, father from Twoarth)
Class Junior
Nut Nut
Totem Porcupine +1 Bod, -1 RWP, +3 Luck, -3 Drive, +1 Cool, 30+5kk
Smarts 7
Bod/Feet 9
Luck 6
Drive 0* Really dislikes vehicles (Fly 3)
Looks 2
Cool 5
Bonk 3



*Broomstick-Free Flight

*Pocket Space

*Magical Vision


Clusters Magical Memory +4^
Skills Read Nearly Anything +3
Navigate (tport) +3
Interpret Auras +3
Knacks Catch Anything In Flight +2
Prepare For Travel +3
1 Teleport Practice / Lane
2 Fun With Physics / M. Vale
3 Way Off Base-10 / Saiintenella
4 Personal Space Creation / Lane
5 Nexus Geohistory / T. Kshau
6 Fiction Writing / Gray
7 Adv. Air Guitar (Sax) / Zeets
8 Snappy Comebacks+Witty Banter / Carver
Dragon Nossoet'ada

Name Connith
Gender Male
Homeworld Tenchi IV / Gelgelan (Usagi with a little Human blood, and with that color scheme is probably 2 generations removed from Royalty)
Class Sophomore
Nut Hardly Nutty At All but when he is....
Totem Lemming -1 RWP, +2 Luck, +2 Bonk, 25+5kk
Smarts 4
Bod/Feet 5
Luck 6
Drive 3
Looks 8
Cool 6
Bonk 5

Air Magic

Electricity Manipulation


Clusters Look Hot In Black +2
Comprehend High Tech Things +2
Skills Not Be In Wilderness +3
Repair/Program Electronics +3
Knacks Be Miserable In Wilderness +2
Navigate (genre) +3
Groom +1
1 English 101 / Milsap
2 Dimensional Travel / Lane
3 Video Gaming / Pattern
4 Modeling / Heddi
5 Oceanography / W.B. Poddie
6 Relatively Speaking / Smith
7 Arcane Draconic / Argle
8 Universal History / Argle
Dragon Supercooler

Name Pace McNabb
Gender Male
Homeworld Praetorian Earth (Loyalist to Cole)
Class Freshman
Nut A Little Nutty
Totem Jackalope +1 S/GM, +3 Bod, -1 RWP, +2 Luck, -1 Drive, -1 Bonk, 20+5kk
Smarts 7
Bod/Feet 9
Luck 4
Drive 11 (6)
Looks 4
Cool 4
Bonk 4

Teleportation (device based)

Hyperstat (drive/motion-based items)


Clusters Vehicles and Travel +3
Skills Navigation +3
Spare Parts +2
Knacks Snappy Dresser +3
Has Super Enemies +2
Always Smells Of Ozone +2
1 Time Travel Map+Tech / Q. Pepper
2 Algebra Basics / N. California
3 Mandarin Language / Hirayama
4 Galactic Geography / Huntington
5 Ironic Literature / P. Fettel
6 Manual Transmission Driving / Krueger
7 Super Team Tactics / Dane
8 Teleportation Practice / Lane
Dragon Oilslick