A R K

Team: TBA

Unique: #47 – La Corona: These Uniques are able in control the minds of any Zero within range. Range increases by tier with S-tier Coronas able to control the world. They are also able to influence lower-tier Uniques. They have no other Unique abilities.

Tier: A

Name: Alexander Royce Kingston

Login phrase: TBA

AlterNet Character: A R K

Race: TBA

Soul: TBA

Class:  TBA

Spec: TBA

Favorite l.oadout: (can be changed during a pit stop)

Agility: TBA

Charisma: TBA

Dexterity: TBA

Intelligence:TBA

Stamina: TBA

Strength: TBA

Flair: TBA

Physical Description: Tall, lean and pale. Standard teen vampire with long flowing rainbow hair.

Family: Alicia, Unique unnamed father, and Monday

Background: Alexander Royce Kingston is a Unique Soul born to a vampire mother and unicorn father. Alexander is a Corona and his mother was immediately under his influence. His father is able to resist Alexander’s influence, and bolster Alicia to some extent. However, he’s not around enough. When Alicia had a another child, she gave Alexander the honor of naming his new sister. He chose Monday because it was a Monday and he wanted to do other things. He only held his sister once but that was enough for her to copy his ability.

Alexander’s father visited infrequently as he grew up and over time his mother was able to resist him more. However, she’d fallen in the habit of spoiling him by then. As spoiled as he is, sometimes it seems like the universe does what it can to ruin his day. Even if he does happen to get a freebie from the universe, there’s always someone ready to take it away. Luckily, he knows he can always count on his mother to spoil him.

His mother, Alicia, is a Zero Vampire that runs a hotel for mythical creatures. His father is a Unique(#35) Unicorn.

Alvin

Team: n/a

Unique: #34 – El Soldado: These Uniques are the ultimate soldier. Their abilities most commonly include supernatural fighting talents, supernatural intellect, regeneration, longevity, beyond peak human performance despite appearance.

Tier: S

Name: Alvin Majors

Login phrase: TBA

AlterNet Character: Alvin

Race: TBA

Soul: TBA

Class:   TBA

Spec: TBA

Favorite l.oadout: (can be changed during a pit stop)

Agility: TBA

Charisma: TBA

Dexterity:  TBA

Intelligence: TBA

Stamina: TBA

Strength: TBA

Flair:

Physical Description: tall for his age, tan skin, athletic. chestnut brown hair cut neat and short. light brown eyes.

Family: Alvin comes from a family of Zeros.

Background: Alvin was born on an Earth where destinies were pre-determined. His was to join the B.A.A. His mission is to blend in at the Nexus Academy; but, to keep a low profile. The B.A.A. told him that joining a roller derby team was off the table, after he tried out for a team. He decided to attend the AlterNet study hall during that period instead. He met Dara and Quinn there. As friendly as they were, he quickly formed a close friendship with Moose. When spending time with his friends, Alvin has a tendency to talk too much. Enough to attract Ballisea’s attention.

After Ballisea gave him an assignment, he invited Moose to investigate Abby’s disappearance with him. On a caffeine-free Earth, Moose talked his way into the B.A.A. too, as Alvin’s partner. They make a great pair and get their missions done with ease. He’s not on Moose’s team, The New Luchadoras, but, he considers them all close friends. Close enough to volunteer for Turbo’s experimental virus.

Most of his time is spent working through busywork missions for the B.A.A.

Moose

Team: New Luchadoras – sponsored by Sharp Development.

Unique: #45 – El Venado: These Uniques are gifted with supernatural grace when awakened. Many Venados also subconsciously generate a timid aura that keeps them safe from those that would normally wish them harm. They can be hard-headed, and S-tier Venados have been known to defend themselves with ethereal antlers.

Tier: S

Name: Moose

Login phrase: TBA

AlterNet Character: Moose

Race: Minotaur

Soul: Minotaur

Class:  Clown

Spec: Rodeo

Favorite l.oadout: (can be changed during a pit stop)

Agility: TBA

Charisma: TBA

Dexterity: [Gag Reflex] – 35MP – [Clown, Passive] – Character automatically drops a random object when damaged, if they have sufficient MP. Inflicts a random debuff on the Opponent that damaged them for ¼ lap. Upgrades increase duration. Maximum tier triggers when attacked, regardless of damage.

Intelligence: TBA

Stamina: TBA

Strength: TBA

Flair: TBA

Physical Description: Tall and muscular for his age. Dirty blond hair, with a messy cut.

Family: Moose comes from a family of Zeros.

Background: Moose was recruited for the Nexus Academy by Dirge and Dread. He learned about defeating Dark Lords from Duchess’ class. He quickly hit it off with Alvin and joined him on a quest. He also made friends with Dara and Quinn. Moose may look like a standard dumb jock; but, he’s sharp and observant.

He’s good at keeping his calm and managed to stay cool when he found out that Dana Sharp tried to kill God. He joined the B.A.A. as a result of his friendship with Alvin and his intelligence, and they began doing boring, newbie missions together. Though he does his homework on his own.

Though, the boring missions seem to never end.

Monday

Team: – solo

Unique: #23 – La Luna: These Uniques have the ability to copy up to six Unique Abilities. They copy abilities by touching other Uniques. A-tier Lunas and above also have the ability to copy Zero Super powers. These Zero powers do not take up one of La Luna’s slots. Mundos and Estrellas are able to see what abilities a Luna has copied and how many slots they have left, and any Super powers they copied.

Copied Abilities:

Corona’s Command, Calavera’s Might, Estrella’s Flame, – , -, –

Tier: S+ (copied abilities have the power of La Luna’s tier.)

Login phrase: TBA

AlterNet Character: Monday

Race: Goblin

Soul: Dragon

Class: Merchant

Spec: Trader

Favorite l.oadout: (can be changed during a pit stop)

Agility: TBA

Charisma: TBA

Dexterity:  TBA

Intelligence: TBA

Stamina: TBA

Strength: TBA

Flair:  TBA

Pads: 

Physical Description: Short, rainbow hair. Pale and average height. Navy blue eyes.

Family: Ark, Alicia, unnamed unicorn dad.

Background: Monday grew up on her own around her family’s castle. One night she stumbled across a neon-green skeleton killing servants on castle grounds and followed it to town. The skeleton turned out to be a girl named Outbreak who had a friend named Nax. They told Monday she was a Luna, and let her copy their abilities. Then, Monday decided to leave her family’s castle. She was tired of living on her own and decided she wanted a family instead.

After she found a new home, Monday started working on her AlterNet character with quests. But, she’s still learning how to socialize with others. Though, she is learning.

Monday has decided to pursue her own goals instead of attending Toku-high. To that end, she began rustling up business deals anywhere she could. Once she had enough, she managed to turn a military base into a farm to gather high-value crafting materials. The farm runs itself and she’s able to sell her talents to increase her revenue streams.

Although Monday does not consider herself a student, she is friendly with several students of the school, including Turbo. They arranged a deal that allowed her to sell his custom-made visors. Part of that deal also put Monday to work gathering information on Abby, another student at Toku-high, for Turbo.

Things were going well and her dreams were thoroughly underway; but, then Ballisea dropped some important information on her. She needed someone to talk to; but, didn’t feel comfortable enough opening up to any of her friendly acquaintances from the school. So, she sought out a Glory.

Glory helped put things in perspective for her. At some point, Mrs. Sharp visited with Monday to help clarify what Ballisea said. Not long after that, Monday began trading in souls. And, she is backed by Sharp Development. Her intelligence, natural charm, and eye for opportunity make her very efficient at slinging souls. So much so that she quickly became an official representative of Sharp Development.

Her biological mother, Alicia, is a Zero Vampire that runs a hotel for mythical creatures. Her biological father is a Unique(#35) Unicorn. And then, there’s ARK.

Meredith

Team: Chrome Court

Unique: #37 – El Mundo: These Uniques are the embodied spirit of the Earth they are born on. If a Mundo dies, its Earth also dies. They are able to read and broadcast to the minds of all humans on an Earth. They may also manipulate all the primal elements, and reshape the Earth itself. Mundos are Rooted to their Earth like other Plant souls, and may not leave. Although there are two Munndos that have managed it so far; Peppermint and Meredith. Both are S-∞ tier.

Tier: S-∞

Name: Meredith

AlterNet Character:

Race: TBA

Soul: TBA

Class:   TBA

Spec: TBA

Favorite l.oadout: (can be changed during a pit stop)

Agility: TBA

Charisma: TBA

Dexterity:  TBA

Intelligence: TBA

Stamina: TBA

Strength: TBA

Flair: TBA

Physical Description: short and leathery-bronze skin. Aquamarine stubble/shaved head with a bright red rat tail.

Family: TBA

Background: Meredith is El Mundo of the Chrome Court. Like the rest of them, she’s a dragon too, and as ancient as Ballisea. She makes her home in the sea; but, she insists on being referred to as a sea dragon and not a sea serpent. Chroma asked her to maintain the Nexus Academy server and be its designated Mundo. She is often tasked with rearranging the server to accommodate special events including holiday festivals for the students. Although, she prefers it to be empty when she does.

Unlike most other Mundos, Meredith is able to Traverse between Earths. The only other Mundo capable of this is Peppermint, from Ballisea’s Court. However, Peppermint may only Traverse to an Earth where his plants are planted. Meredith Traverses using the ocean and may visit any Earth.

Her current task involves collecting Voidsteel for Minerva. But, she always finds time to for her hobbies.

Turbo

Team: New Luchadoras

Unique: #42 – La Calavera: These Uniques are the strongest, physically, of any Unique Soul. A baseline, D-tier Calavera has the potential to shatter an Earth with little effort, once awakened. Though all Calaveras have immense strength, they also tend to have a secondary ability associated with their name. Zeros that birth a Calavera are compelled to give their child a name that warns of their ability. Calaveras also have several ways to increase their strength. They may align themselves with a Celestial’s court and share the group’s strength. Calaveras may also choose another Calavera to be their rival; this bond works like a mentorship. The strength of the weaker Calavera grows to match its rival the more time they spend around each other.

Tier: S

Name: Turbo

AlterNet Character: Turbo

Race: Human – [Drive to Improve] – Character may master a single Active Ability one grade higher than normal. This Ability cannot be upgraded.

Soul: Cyber – [Synchronicity] – Character is able to optimize every action. Reduces cost of every Ability by a Minor amount.

Class: Engineer  – [Project Lead] – May summon an additional Drone. (2) total.

Spec: Swarm monarch – [Monarch] – Engineer begins with One nano-colony each Half. Nano-colonies are used to interface directly with the nanos that operate the Derby Track. Each interaction consumes a portion of the colony. The colony will regenerate over time as long as at least 10% of the colony remains. This number can be manipulated with skills.

Favorite l.oadout: (can be changed during a pit stop)

Agility: [Jet Dash] – Uses jet thrusters to dash across ⅓ lap. Soul Sync- starts at lvl 2. ½ lap.

Charisma: [Medic Drone] – summons a Drone that gives the team a Minor regeneration Aura. 

Dexterity: [Mist Drone] – Summons a  Drone that Generates a mist visible only to the Opponents. Summons a Drone that reduces the Team’s visibility by a Minor amount.

Intelligence: [Scout Drone] – Summons a Drone that flies alongside the Caster and grants buffs to the team. Can see [Invisible]. Caster is Immune to [Blind].

Stamina: [Shield Drone] – summons a Drone that grants each teammate 3%HP as Armor.

Strength: [Plasma Turret] – character summons a star-channeling turret. Turret remains in place on the track. Turret may be attached to a Drone. Upgrades increase max number of turrets.

Flair: – Garage Key – Character gains access to all storage inventory and crafting surfaces during a pit stop. The character may craft freely during a pit stop. May only be used once per half. This equipment cannot be leveled up.

Physical Description:  Dark straight hair, short for his age, toffee colored skin. His tattoo is a brain with jet thrusters on the bottom of his left foot.

Family: Turbo has two Zero parents. And he’s spending more time away from them once he learned about the updates.

Background: Turbo always felt that he was meant for more. He managed to talk his parents into letting him attend a school for assassins; but, Principal Mundo sent him to the Nexus Academy instead. Once there, he hit it off with Riot and she asked him to join her team. And, he was there when Abby returned to the school after her kidnapping.

While getting into the flow of an AlterNet school, Emily asked Turbo to spice up the Halloween party taking place at the school. He realized he needed a more high-end workspace than he was using, and began looking at different labs. Then, during the event, he decided to quest for CyberRiot’s faction to get some gear and have a chance to work with Roger. His time with Roger helped him finalize the zombie nanos for Emily. While she was there, he invited her to an A.I.’s wedding for a member of CyberRiot.

After finishing the nanos, Turbo started a new project. It took some trial and error, but he finally found compatible parts. However, Chroma informed him that his zombie virus began spreading across universes.

While questing, he met Outbreak; another Calavera who had strong feelings about her name. Then, while helping a stranger, Turbo found someone else that needed urgent help. It took some coordination; but, Turbo was able to help. That’s how he met Chronos.

Even after meeting Chronos, Turbo continued working on his project. After acquiring some more resources from Ozone, he was able to finish it. It turned out to be a gift for Abby. Then, he returned to learning about Chronos. Now he’s started a new, more challenging project.

Minerva

Team: Skull Crushers

Unique: #42 – La Calavera: These Uniques are the strongest, physically, of any Unique Soul. A baseline, D-tier Calavera has the potential to shatter an Earth with little effort, once awakened. Though all Calaveras have immense strength, they also tend to have a secondary ability associated with their name. Zeros that birth a Calavera are compelled to give their child a name that warns of their ability. Calaveras also have several ways to increase their strength. They may align themselves with a Celestial’s court and share the group’s strength. Calaveras may also choose another Calavera to be their rival; this bond works like a mentorship. The strength of the weaker Calavera grows to match its rival the more time they spend around each other.

Tier: S+

Name: Minerva

AlterNet Character: Mnrva

Race: Sun Elemental – [Radiant Warmth] – Adds Minor HP heal at lap completion to any Aura. Upgrades add greater tiers and reserve MP. Maximum tier  has a Minor chance to heal when damage is taken.

Soul: Unicorn – [Radiant Magic] – Adds Minor MP gain at lap completion to any Aura. Upgrades add greater tiers and reserve MP. Maximum tier has a Minor chance to refund MP cost when using an Ability.

Class: Knight – [Self Sufficiency] – Character may Craft on the Skate track at the risk of interruption. Upgrades increase efficiency to reduce cost and crafting time. Maximum tier may not be interrupted.

Spec: Banner – [Banner Drone] – Automated drone that flies alongside the Character and displays a Banner for the team. Each Banner provides multiple Auras for the team. The drone increases the amount of Auras each teammate may use by 1. Upgrades increase Aura effectiveness. Maximum tier increases the amount of Auras each teammate may use by 2.

Favorite l.oadout: (can be changed during a pit stop)

Agility: [Balanced Movement] – Minor MP reserved. [Aura, Movement, Passive] – Character maintains an Aura that increases Stability by a Moderate amount. Reduces the chance of Knockdown and Interrupt. Upgrades gain greater Stability. Maximum tier grants immunity to Knockdown.

Charisma: [Banner of Sunlight] – Minor MP reserved. [Aura, Banner, Passive] – While this Banner is active, any Opposing Ability that obscures a character has reduced effectiveness. Upgrades grant greater reduction. At Maximum tier, Opponents cannot use invisibility.

Dexterity: [Aura’s Shadow] – Moderate MP reserved [Aura, Passive, Shadow magic] – Any Aura dispelled from the character retains its effect for the rest of the lap at a reduced effectiveness. Upgrades increase effectiveness. Maximum tier absorbs the Ability that dispels an Aura and grants the character the MP cost of the absorbed Ability. 

Intelligence: [MP Battery] -0MP [Elemental, Nature, Passive] – Character’s MP pool gains a Moderate bonus at Level up. Upgrades grant greater bonuses retroactively. Maximum tier refills Moderate MP every ½  lap.

Stamina: [Armorsmith] – [Crafting, Passive, Smith] – Character may use patterns to create items. Character may repair damaged armor. Upgrades unlock higher tier patterns. Maximum tier may use Legendary patterns.

Strength: [Flat Smack] – 25MP – [Active, Weapon skill] – Character smacks the target with the flat side of their sword. Deals Minor damage and dispels one buff from the Target. Upgrades deal more damage. Maximum tier dispels two buffs from the Target.


Flair:  Chrome Scale – Character is Immune to one random damage type each lap. If the character completes a lap without triggering Immunity, the character heals a Moderate amount of HP and MP. Upgrades heal for greater amounts. Maximum tier activates every lap, whether the Immunity is triggered or not.

Physical Description: Olive skin. Short, curly coffee-brown hair. 6’4″. Athletic.

Family: Chroma – adopted mother; Ruby – adopted sister; Ruin – Fiancé

Background: Minerva was accused of being a witch because of her supernatural strength. She was rescued by Chroma; she needed a Calavera to grow her own power and invited her to join the Chrome Court. Due to the events surrounding the Pineapple Cup, the Chrome Court picked up a bad reputation for a while. But, Minerva remained proud of her adopted family even when it caused trouble for her love life. After adjusting some settings on her dating profile, she met Ruin.

They clicked instantly and saw a movie instead of their first brawl. Though, their date was interrupted by Ballisea. After the interruption, Ballisea asked Minerva for a favor which led to meeting Frost. Then, she met back up with Ruin again to finish their date. When it was over, she met his derby team, the Green Tornados. Upon introductions, Minerva revealed she was with the Skull Crushers, An all-star derby team formed specifically to challenge the Green Tornados.

While waiting for the match, Minerva spent time with her sister, Ruby. While cleaning out a facility, they discovered Oren was still around; he was assumed dead after the match between SoundCrowd and the Conquistadors. Then some time later, Ruby asked Minerva to get Tim, after a meeting with Melody left her uneasy. Ruby decided to wake her mother up, but she wanted the afterlife taken care of first before Chroma could stop her. So, she sent Minerva to handle it in her place.

As a result of the Green Tornados winning the derby match, Minerva had permission to reveal the secrets of the Chrome Court to Ruin; but, his reaction was wholly unexpected. During a later meeting, Minerva stood by her sister’s decision to Chroma herself.

With the school year in gear, Minerva continued her daily life spending time with Ruby and dating Ruin. Then, things took a serious turn, and Ruin and Minerva announced their engagement. She wants to wear something special for her big day and asks for Chroma’s help. She’s also getting the materials she can get on her own; but, she always makes time to help.

Stellar Tour 5: Zero Waiting

June 23, 2021 A person finds a computer, and upon opening up one of its tabs, finds that he can edit, remove, or add aspects to any object in the universe.

“Well, that went…,” Oz sighed. He was glad to be out of the goblin’s boardroom. “…on.” He looked around to take in his new surroundings. Astra took them to another Earth straight out of the meeting. He was outdoors now and cycled through several deep breaths. He hoped the fresh air would rinse his lungs of the stench of goblins. When he first arrived on the Paradise server he encountered a horde of zombies. At the time, it was the foulest smell he’d ever encountered in his life. Then, he walked into the goblin’s boardroom. It was hot and humid. But, the stench made him wonder if all the humidity in the air consisted solely of goblin sweat.

If there was one thing he was thankful for, it was that the goblins barely let Astra talk, much less him. Oz did not have to open his mouth once and risk tasting the air. Now he happily gulped as much air as he could, and he caught the delicious scent of cooking meat. It wafted through a giant open archway ahead of them. Beyond it was a city of tents and stalls with dozens if not hundreds of patrons pushing through the crowd from vendor to vendor.

“We shopping?” he asked. Astra shook her head but walked forward through the arch.

“Now that we got help from the goblins, we need a team. That means you need to make your AlterNet character. This server is called ‘The Schoolyard‘. It was meant to be a tutorial server; but, since it was the first stop for most new players it drew some unsavory types. Sharp Development, along with plenty of helpful players, have managed to keep reasonably civil. Now the entire Earth is pretty much a grey market.”

“The goblins agreed to help? I was holding my breath so long I might’ve blacked out; I don’t remember that. All I heard was they wanted us to challenge them to a derby game. It was hard to keep track with them talking over each other.” Astra giggled as she led Oz through the crowd.

“We’re going to need all the practice we can get anyway. That’s why they’ll only help us if we beat them.” Astra turned right. Oz turned with her and stumbled in surprise at the new path. He had been enjoying the sights and sounds of the bazaar; he saw fairies, ogres, mermaids, and more purchasing deadly weapons and shiny trinkets. But, the new path changed under his feet from a worn dirt path to a paved concrete thoroughfare. The tents and wooden stalls lining the sides were replaced with brick storefronts, glass windows, and neon signs. Oz did a quick double-take to look back down the dirt path to make sure he didn’t miss Astra Traversing them to a new Earth. The crowded bazaar was still behind them and he could return to the dirt path with a single step. Astra continued walking and he dashed to catch up as she walked into a shop. A blue neon sign on the glass door only had three letters: “Jny”.

Walking in was like stepping into a new world again. Oz wasn’t sure if he’d ever get used to the sudden changes. Before he entered, the interior appeared to be a standard curio shop with knick-knack-lined shelves. The actual shop was a white room with no one else in sight. Oz had given up trying to keep track of Ben; Astra’s pet wolf. It could turn invisible, and she could send it to another Earth with a thought. As large as it was, it spent most of its time out of sight. Then, Oz noticed a sudden movement from under the white floor. A white and red koi fish swam out of the ground and sprouted crystalline insect wings. It flitted upward to hover before Astra. The young girl waved at it.

“Hi Flynn, is Jenny around?” she asked. Oz watched the fluttering fish hoping to see a talking fish for the first time. Instead, Astra shook her head, then sighed. “No, I didn’t make an appointment. Melody sent us.” The koi’s wings disintegrated and the koi plummeted to the ground and splashed into the white floor.

A white splash ring radiated outward from Flynn’s impact. The wake of the ripple replaced the white ground with green and white checkerboard tile. A counter appeared on one side of the room; then, a small red, round table sprung out of the tile along with two seats for the table.

“We wait,” Astra said, then took a seat. Oz noticed a lit brick oven behind the counter then took in the rest of the new room.

“Is this a pizzeria?” Oz asked. He wandered to the brick oven to take a closer look.

“It’s the AlterNet,” Astra said. “It can be anything.”

“Whoa!” Oz said. He’d turned from the stove to head to the table but flashing lights on the counter caught his eyes. A smooth glass keyboard seemed to be imprinted on the wooden, worn counter. Blue letters glowed under the elongated grid of squares. Oz couldn’t suppress the instinct to reach out and bump the neon blue spacebar.

The moment he did, a large display materialized before him on the counter facing him. The screen showed a single table in a pizzeria matching the room they were in. Oz didn’t see anything that resembled a mouse and his curiosity led him to hit the backspace key.

“Ow!” Astra yelped when she landed on her bottom; both chairs were gone from the room.

“Sorry!” Oz replied. He quickly hit the spacebar to try and bring them back. Instead, the table moved about a foot away from Astra.

“It’s better if you stop,” Astra said as she stood up.

“Yeah, It really is,” a new voice said. Astra and Oz turned to see a young woman focused on Oz behind the counter. She pulled back her purple hood to reveal her dark spiky hair; then, she crossed her arms and raised a single eyebrow at Oz.

Stellar Tour 4: Strolling through Paradise

June 22, 2021 A new park opened for the wealthy called Zombie apocalypse. You need to fight zombies to stay alive and find the antidote. The winner team gets a huge sum of money. But if you die, you return to your real life unharmed. You can only participate once each year.

“Welcome to Paradise,” Astra said. She spread her arms wide and gestured at the neon cityscape before them. Pink and blue glowing skyscrapers rose high into pitch blackness. The heavens refused to back down from the bright neons trying to pollute the unnatural, inky sky, and that only magnified the contrast. Despite Astrid’s showmanship, Oz was focused on the street level. He heard approaching footsteps and noticed two people sprinting towards him and Astra; on closer inspection, he also noted a large crowd chasing the two runners.

“Astra…,” Oz said. He pointed forward and Astra brought her gaze down as the two strangers whizzed by at full speed. “…are those…zombies?” The chasing crowd was now close enough for the neon lights to give their rotting corpses a sickly pastel color with shades of pink and blue.

“Yeah,” Astra giggled. Ben, her white wolf, relaxed on his haunches in front of her. “Just let them pass, they won’t bother you.” Despite every muscle fiber in his body at the ready, Oz put all his trust into Astra. Oz needed to be there, but Astra didn’t. She had been nothing but kind since they met that morning on their own home Earth. He closed his eyes and held himself still as the zombies moaned and shambled past them. Oz felt dry, crusty skin rub against him and flake off; and, the odor was the most putrid thing he ever took a whiff of. A carton of rotten eggs would have been as refreshing as a tropical glade at that moment. Fear of attracting their attention was the only thing that helped Oz keep the funnel cakes from the fair in his stomach.

“Whoo!” Oz exhaled, then breathed in as much fresh air as he could as soon as the last zombie passed them. “Why didn’t they bother us?” he asked. Astra began walking up the street in the direction the zombies came from.

“‘Cause we’re not playing,” she said. “The zombies used to attack anyone; until a goblin cartel set up shop. Sharp Development used to keep them in check; but, once Ms. Sharp died, the goblins took over the whole server. They set up a game show on other Earths. Bring the competitors here and let them try to survive.” Oz tilted his head at Astra.

“Didn’t I just meet Mrs. Sharp?” Astra nodded at him.

“You met Mrs. Melody Sharp, Dana Sharp’s widow. She owns Sharp Development now.” Astra turned a corner into a significantly darker alley and continued walking. Golden stars filled her eyes; they glowed brightly enough to give Oz some light too.

“Oh..,” Oz nodded. “…if she owns the AlterNet and this server.. why doesn’t she just make the goblins help us instead of giving us a messenger quest?”

“I told you; the goblins took over,” Astra replied.

“But.. how? Can’t she reprogram the nanos?” Oz asked.

“How they did it is exactly why we’re here. The goblins managed to string together enough loopholes to win the server from Mrs. Sharp in a game. We need their sneaky little brains to get you off her..” Astra put her index fingers to the sides of her head to imitate horns. Oz appreciated that she did not use Ballisea’s name. “…radar.”

“We’re going to challenge her to a game?” Oz asked. Astra nodded.

“If the goblins will help us, yeah.”

“But… I don’t know a thing about roller derby. I don’t even know how to skate,” he added with a softer, more embarrassed tone.

“Well we’re not doing it right now,” Astra smiled. “We still need a team. So far it’s just you and me.”

“And Ben,” Oz added. Once Astra agreed to help him, Oz decided to try and be more inclusive of her companion.

“Nope,” Astra said. “I’m a Beastmaster, Ben and I are one character.”

“Oh, I see,” Oz replied. “But, why would she even accept a challenge?” Astra stopped walking and turned to face Oz; the golden stars in her eyes provided the only light now. The neon skyline could not be seen from the dark alley.

“She already lost one major game and is in preparation for another,” Astra said. “When you’ve been around as long as she has, entertainment is wherever you can find it. And since she can’t kill anyone right now, she’s probably bored out of her mind.” Oz’s day had been a whirlwind starting that morning on his home Earth. He’d learned way more about the universe than he thought possible. With every new revelation, he was too busy to consider Ballisea’s age until Astra mentioned it. Once she did, he was filled with curiosity. “How old is she?”

“Older than time and the universe itself,” Astra said. “Literally.” Oz chuckled.

“Which universe?” he asked with a smug grin. He’d been in almost a dozen different universes since they met.

“No matter what universe you go to, the oldest you’ll find is about 15 billion years old,” Astra said. Then, she shrugged. “So… all of them.”

Stellar Tour 3: Solar Celebration

June 21, 2021 You wake up a normal summer day. Everything feels normal until you check the date. 32.07.2021.

Oz felt relief wash over him now that Ballisea was gone. He relaxed and finally took a moment to take in his surroundings. Minutes ago, he was at a park on his home Earth. It was a cool December day; but, now he could feel sweat beading on his brow. He was now at the same park on an alternate Earth. The trees lining the park path had a slight blue tint to them. Now that he could appreciate the differences of a new Earth without running for his life, he wanted to take advantage of it.

“Why’s it so hot?” Oz asked Astra. She shrugged.

“I dunno. It’s a hot day, I guess?” she said.

“In December?” Astra shook her head and pulled something out of her jeans pocket. Oz had seen plenty of technology while in training; but, Astra was tapping and swiping at a card-sized pane of glass. It was more advanced than any of the advanced phones his organization used.

“It’s July,” she said. “I think.” She showed the small display to Oz and he saw the date: 32.07.2021.

“But..it was December a little bit ago…,” Oz asked. Astra smiled and nodded.

“Yeah. On our Earth,” Astra said. “That doesn’t mean it has to be December here. Winter on our Earth doesn’t have to be winter here, and time is just humans keeping track of things. Each Earth starts doing that at different times in different ways.”

“Oh boy… I need to sit down,” Oz replied. He moved to the nearby wooden park bench. “I was not ready for today.” Astra giggled and joined him. Ben padded behind her and sat on his haunches by her feet.

“When traveling the multiverse it helps to just kind of go with the flow,” Astra said. “I mean, I wasn’t expecting to get kidnapped today either, you know? Things happen.” Oz chuckled

“You’re not going to let that go, are you?” Astra smiled and shook her head.

“Not yet,” she said. Oz nodded and returned the smile.

“So. Time is different on every Earth. What else do I need to know?” He looked around the park again. A part of him was hoping to see whether humans from this Earth were any different. But, as scenic as the blue trees were, the park was empty.

“You’re going to need a Mundo to give you the talk,” Astra replied.

“What’s a moon-doe?” Oz asked.

“Mundos are Uniques that usually love to explain the truth of the multiverse.” Oz nodded.

“What’s a Unique?” Astra sighed but smiled.

“Okay, I’ll give you the lite version. Most people you meet are known as ‘Zeros’,” she said.

“Yeah, Ballisea called me that; what does it mean?”

“It means you’re worthless,” Ballisea’s voice echoed around them with a light laugh. Oz froze. But, Astra put a hand on his shoulder to put him at ease.

“Oh yeah. That’s something you need to know; she’ll almost always hear her name. No matter what universe you’re in.” Oz instantly decided he’d try to avoid speaking her name again.

“But, it doesn’t mean you’re worthless,” Astra said. “It’s what we call alternate universe doppelgangers. Unique Souls have no Zeros. I am Unique Soul #35, La Estrella,” she said. Then, she clarified when Oz’s brow crumpled in confusion. “It’s ‘star’ in Spanish. No Zeros means I’m the only me in all of infinity.”

“#35? How many of you are there?”

“There are 54 types of Unique Souls, but I’m not the only Estrella.”

“Can they all travel between universes like you and…” Oz gestured at the empty park path in front of them to avoid using Ballisea’s name. Astra shook her head.

“The 54 Uniques are separated into six tiers. I’m not going to go into all that; but, the top tier is a group of Uniques called Celestials. Those are the ones that can Traverse universes.” Oz had a sudden insight and then turned to focus on the large white wolf sitting patiently next to Astra.

“Animals can be Unique too?” he asked. Astra nodded and reached over to pet it.

Ben is Unique Soul #33, La Araña. The spider.” Ben chuffed at Oz, then dozens of small, moving, black dots appeared in his fluffy white fur and began crawling around like fleas. “La Araña can summon spiders from other universes through their pores and control them.”

“But what about that giant one that appeared behind me?” Oz asked. Astra pointed at the park path. Oz turned and noticed a horizontal, saucer-sized portal hovering three feet above the ground, then placed a hand on Ben’s head. The portal rained out half a dozen black widow spiders onto the cobblestones. After a moment, a portal appeared under them to swallow them again. “We can use our powers together,” Astra explained.

The sudden sound of footsteps distracted Oz from his next question. He turned toward the sound and was slightly disappointed to see a normal human jogging their way.

“Morning!” the stranger smiled and waved as he jogged by. “Happy Sun day!”

“Happy… Sunday,” Oz replied. “It is the best day of the week,” he added. The stranger slowed and turned back to them, then grinned.

“Traversing, huh?” Oz turned to Astra in surprise, and she nodded at the stranger. “Sun day only comes around once a year here. Ballis 7th, is when we celebrate the Sun with a giant festival in town. If you’re not rushing through, you should give it a look.” Oz tilted his head.

“Ballis 7th?” he thought back to the date on Astra’s device. “It’s not July?” The stranger chuckled and shook his head.

“Not with this heat it’s not. Around here, Ballis is the 32nd month of the year.”