Starstruck. Star strike.

“Ms. Sharp appreciates your efforts and loyalty,” Aurelio said with a nod. “And, I agree with her,” he added. The portly teenager sat across from a young woman with bright pink hair. She wore a crisp white blazer and was several years older than Aurelio. They met at midnight in the local diner. A handful of patrons tried to sober up at the counter while he and Lyra sat in a booth in a dim corner.

Any onlooker would think Aury was either trying to date out of his league, or Lyra was stuck on babysitting duty. But, Lyra knew why he was there. Nervous flutters began in her gut the moment he asked her to meet, two days ago. Now that he was finally in front of her and confirmed the reason for the visit, she was instantly on Cloud 9. He was now officially her boss; and, Lyra was one step closer to her goal.

Dana Sharp was the most amazing woman Lyra met in her travels between universes. She decided to try and follow her lead. Lyra gave her all for the company and worked her way up through the multiversal corporation. She turned in good work and made herself reliable and replaced each one of her bosses on her way up. She knew she couldn’t replace Aury, but he was already at the top level. He took orders only from Dana or Melody, but Lyra knew she could make room for herself in Dana’s inner circle. She took Aury’s personal visit as a very good indicator of her progress.

“Thank you!” was the only response Lyra could muster. She was beyond awed at his presence, but it was her own fault. Melody suggested to Lyra that she should avoid using her star sight on Aurelio. Unfortunately, Melody neglected to explain why and Lyra needed to find out for herself.

She flashed her vision for a brief moment when he arrived. Less than a second, but 10 minutes later the afterimage of his soul still danced in her vision. A large glowing, blue crescent moon floated in Lyra’s vision behind Aurelio. Its light was more intense than the sun.

“I asked you to meet here to have you start right away,” Aury said. “We were already monitoring the situation when you reported it. Ms. Sharp decided to bring this server down to limit this kind of information getting into the AlterNet.” Lyra nodded. She hoped and guessed the location was an intentional choice. As she waited for him in the diner she caught the news. Another human skeleton found on another Mars. She reported it to Melody immediately, but Aurelio was the one that responded. He only confirmed their appointment.

“Check for Uniques,” Aurelio said. Lyra remembered to look away from Aurelio before she used her star sight. Her eyes glowed with golden stars as she looked around the restaurant. Only two patrons remained aside from them. She shook her head.

“There aren’t any.” Aurelio chuckled and shook his head too.

“On the server,” he said, he held up his node to hint that she should use hers.

“OH!” She blushed, but was quick to pull her node out. Several new icons on her home screen made it apparent her status was already upgraded. She tapped one labeled, ‘Server Info’.

[N.F. Independent, contemporary. Unnamed.] [population: 7.92 Billion Zeros.] [Unique Souls: 2.] [#23 – La Luna; Aurelio Luno | #35 – La Estrella; Lyra Orphae]

“Just you and me,” Lyra said.

“Good, now change the permissions to make sure no other Uniques show up.” Lyra nodded as she swiped through the menus on her node.

“Got it,” she said.

“Now…,” Aurelio moved out of the booth and stood up. He took a moment to hike up his jeans. “Give me a head start, then do your job,” he smiled. He wiggled his fingers at the air and opened a black portal. Lyra’s eyes widened in surprise.

“Lunas can traverse!?” she asked. She’d never heard of a Luna copying that particular ability.

“I can,” he said idly and took a step toward the portal.

“Any other questions?” the teenager asked.

“Uhh. Oh!” Lyra nodded. She stood from the booth too. Despite their age difference, they were more or less the same height. “I think I know the answer, but, I don’t want to risk messing up the first day,” she said. “The server info said N.F. That means nano-free, right? So, I won’t be able to use the nanos?”

“Right. Just do an impression of Melody,” Aurelio chuckled then disappeared into the portal.

“That’s what I thought,” Lyra said. Her hands began to glow with hot, blue light.

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