Game Plan

“Gah!” Fillip jumped in surprise the moment the light came on. He expected the room to be empty and the unexpected occupant startled him. When he recognized his own face sitting on the bed he calmed down. “You’re early,” Fillip said. He walked to the computer desk and sat down facing the bed. “Which one are you?”

“Oh sorry!” the young man, 18 if he was the same age as Fillip, hopped off the bed and jammed his hand into his cargo shorts. He pulled out a small stack of multi-colored name-tags and stuck a green one to his black t-shirt. It showed the name, ‘Fillbert’.  

“Thanks for hosting, Fillip,” Fillbert gave Fillip the nametags, then shook his hand.”

“You’re the one with the idea,” Fillip shrugged. “I just have the space.” He stuck a purple nametage to his chest with his name on it. Fillbert nodded.

“Speaking of space, can I see the area you’ve got in mind?” He asked. Fillip nodded and cocked his head out the door.

“C’mon.” He led Fillbert out of the bedroom and through a door across from his. He flipped on the light to reveal a giant unfinished basement that made Fillbert wonder about the size of the house. Six freshly dug, human- sized pits formed a circle in the center of the room. “There’s still some loose ends to tie up, but they should all be ready in a couple of days.”

“Very nice!” Fillbert walked down the wooden steps with care. He reached the floor and walked to the center point. He admired all the empty space. “Man, what do you do on your Earth? It took me years to save for a mudroom, I’d never be able to afford six slots.” Fillip smiled.

“I picked some lucky numbers once,” he chuckled.

“HAH!” Fillbert pointed at Fillip with an accusing tone. “I knew one of me won the lottery,” he shrugged. “At least you’re sharing it.” A vertical black hole appeared in the center of the empty basement. A young dark-haired woman stepped out of the hole followed by a small group of people. A young red-haired woman, a brown-haired woman that looked like Fillip with glasses, then three other Fillips.

“Here you go guys,” the dark-haired woman said. “Do you want us to hang out, or are you going to be a while?” The four Fillips looked at the other two. Fillip approached them and handed over the stack of name-tags.

“I’m welcome here as long as I want,” he smiled at them. The woman stuck a blue tag to her grey hoodie. ‘Fillis’

“I’m not in a hurry to get back to anything,” she said.

“I can loaf anywhere,” an older version said. His orange nametag said “Filliam.”

“It sounds like we’re all gonna stay a while,” Fillroy, identified by his yellow name-tag, suggested.

“Yep,” Filler said as he placed a pink nametag on his shirt. The dark-haired woman shrugged.

“Okay, then I guess I”ll see you guys around. Give me a Whisper if you need a ride.” She gestured her fingers at the air and opened another black portal. Her red-haired friend tapped her on the shoulder and whispered something in her ear. “OH!” she turned away from the portal.

“Do you guys mind if we get selfies with you?” The various Fills gave each other confused looks.

“Who?” Fillbert asked.

“Why?” Fillip added.

“All of you!” she said. “You’re not famous, sorry.” she shrugged. “Serena…,” she pointed at the red-haired woman. “and I are on a scavenger hunt. One of the items is a selfie with five or more of the same Zero.

“Bonus points for multiple genders!” Serena added.

“Whoa, a multiverse scavenger hunt?” Fillroy asked. “That sounds awesome!”

“It is!” the woman replied. “But it’s rough. The selfie would be our first find.”

“You need to get out there more,” Fillis suggested. “You know, we’re lucky there’s a ton of Zeroes that would kill for a multi-verse taxi service.” She smiled at the pair of women. “We can spread the word if you’re willing to transport people. The more people you meet the more leads you’ll get for your list.”

“Yeah!” they both readily agreed.

“If you’re not in a hurry, stick around. Pizza’s on the way,” he shrugged. “We’ll do some brainstorming. We’ve got a lot to discuss anyway,” Fillip offered. Serena looked at the pits warily.

“What are you doing?” she asked and subtly shifted closer to her friend. Fillip caught the worry in her question and smiled.

“Those are mud pits to connect to the AlterNet, nothing to worry about.”

“What’s an AlterNet?” the dark-haired woman asked.

“WHAT?!” A chorus of Fills let her know how astonished they were.

“You’ve never heard of the AlterNet?” Filliam asked. Both women shook their heads.

“Well you have to stay now. You’ve gotta try it out,” Fillip smiled. “You’re gonna love it.”

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