Preparations for oversizing Great Girl distracted Meztli until we could get underway. Unlike Shockwave, who was quite content just being fast, Great Girl didn’t want to just be big. She wanted to do something, which was actually sort of the same. Testing her new limits. That involved getting a large number of weights, mostly barbells used for the bench press and a bunch of extra weights. I helped carry a couple individual weights, but otherwise was of no use. Even Great Girl only carried a couple of the bigger weights under each arm, though I think that was more due to the fact that the ceilings were only about ten feet tall in the corridors, and she left some room between her head and the ceiling.
Then we were done. Great Girl looked over at me and asked, “So do I grow first and then you use the spell or…?”
“I have no experience using this on someone with super powers,” I answered. Or anyone, but I knew the theory of it. “I have enough mana to use it a few times if necessary.” I thought about trying to use it, and then I remembered. “Actually, I forgot. I need something. A pinch of powdered iron.”
“Material components?” she said. “Can’t you just wave a wand or something?”
I looked pointedly at my hands, where there was no wand. “No. And it doesn’t work that way anyway.” Not unless I had one specifically made for that spell. I could try it without, but that would be equivalent to using it at low mana. The effects would be much worse.
“Powdered iron?” Meztli asked. “Would shavings work?”
“I believe so, if they are small enough.”
“I’ll have the workshops send some up,” she said. A moment later, she was talking to someone, and then there was a short wait. Then a woman wearing overalls and a welding mask ran in, holding a glass jar full of iron shavings. She didn’t say anything as she held it out, her other arm resting on her thigh as she panted. “You didn’t have to run,” Meztli said as she took the jar.
The woman didn’t respond verbally, simply spinning about and jogging back out the door.
Meztli handed the jar to me, and I took a pinch out. I could feel that it would work just fine as I gathered the mana. “This should be fine, I’m ready,” I nodded to Great Girl.
The only sign she was putting effort into growing larger was that she took a wide stance and then a deep breath. Then again, her face was hidden behind a mask. I hadn’t been paying that much attention when I’d seen it the first time, given the nature of the situation, but it was fascinating how her feet moved apart even while planted on the ground. They weren’t slipping, but they also weren’t remaining still.
It only took a few seconds for Great Girl to reach her maximum size, somewhat larger than the twelve feet I’d seen if I was correct. I didn’t even reach her waist, so that seemed to be the case. I stepped forward and touched my hand against her boot, somewhere around her calf which was almost as wide as my torso. I expended the mana for Enlarge and then quickly backed up.
I had previously observed that Great Girl’s increase in size also came with increased relative muscle mass. At her largest size her muscles matched the best of the other supers I had seen. Enlarge only increased her size though. She would be stronger, but not visibly. Instead, she was just big.
This was what, three stories tall? That was the appropriate way for people to measure things like this, if I understood correctly. You could say thirty feet, but nobody had an actual feeling for that.
It was a good thing the room was very tall. I don’t think it was made for this specific scenario, but some things must have needed abundant room.
Even Meztli let out a small ‘wow’ upon seeing Great Girl’s new size.
“Nice!” Great Girl boomed. When she saw me wince, she lowered her voice somewhat. “Oh, sorry. I thought you might need me to be louder to hear from all the way down there.”
“It’s fine just like that,” Meztli said. “Can you hear us?”
“You’re a bit quiet, honestly. Usually that’s not a problem. But as long as you aren’t intentionally quiet it should be fine.” Great Girl looked down at the weights arranged nearby, which I now felt were actually far too small. We didn’t even have the machines for her to use that bar with. Then she picked up a barbell and started doing bicep curls, like she had some of the little weights we didn’t bother to bring. “This is weird. It feels kind of different, though I’m definitely stronger.”
“It won’t have any other effects you’d be used to,” I commented. “Whatever your power does besides being big, I mean. It won’t scale durability any more than required for you to avoid hurting yourself, though it does increase strength by more than what is required to carry your new weight.”
I saw her nodding, though she seemed to be concentrating on something. “How long does this last?” she asked.
“About ten minutes,” I said. “It’s less bursty than Haste, but it still can’t last forever.”
As Great Girl experimented with her new size, moving around cautiously- the room was large enough to hold her, but she could stretch out to touch any of the walls from the middle- my attention came back to Midnight. Meztli was focused on Great Girl, so I decided to talk to him. “You seem interested,” I said. “Want to be bigger?”
He flicked his tail. “I don’t know why I would. I mean, it would just make me further from the ground.” I sensed conflicting emotions inside of him, but he clearly felt something at this situation.
“It only makes you twice as big. So you’d be about this tall,” I gestured over his head, still having to bend down. I picked him up under the shoulders. “That’s not too high, is it?”
“No, this is… fine. And my legs would be longer, so I could step down from higher things…” Midnight was clearly thinking very seriously about this.
“We shouldn’t do it right now, given you aren’t supposed to be here and all,” I commented. “But later you can try it on your own. As long as you haven’t used any mana in the last hour, you should be able to cast it at least once without wiping yourself out. Though I might need to leave some of this with you,” I shook the jar.
He nodded. “I would like to try it.”
We finished our conversation, which should have sounded like meowing back and forth. I was specifically talking in Midnight’s language, after all.
Along with experimenting with moving around and lifting weights, Great Girl decreased her size. She shrunk down to about a third of her size, which I found strange. Was something going weird with the combination of powers? That was less than double her height. Well, there shouldn’t be any side effects after the spell wore off- magic was pretty convenient like that, most of the time.
As predicted, about ten minutes later the effects wore off and Great Girl returned to her normal size, just a bit bigger than myself. She was actually sweating somewhat from the exertion, which indicated to me her manual size changing could be quite tiring, since she hadn’t been particularly vigorous with her exercise. I’d seen her lift relatively bigger weights for an entire hour during the gym sessions. Of course, she might still be a bit fatigued from earlier but the point remained. Powers could make people tired, which only made sense because they weren’t using mana.
She wasn’t tired for long, however. Meztli’s power, among other things, was excellent for replenishing physical stamina. She just put a hand on Great Girl’s shoulder and besides being sweaty there was soon no signs of Great Girl’s exertions.
I realized I couldn’t really feel Great Girl’s power activating. There was a slight something, but it wasn’t the same as the more energy based powers. Perhaps they were closer to being mana, or maybe it had something to do with Great Girl’s power being personal. I hadn’t thought about sensing others’ powers much, but it was a very useful ability to have. Knowing that someone was doing something supernatural, even if I didn’t know what, could save me in an ambush situation.
There were no more incidents of note at work, and when I got home in the evening I began to fill out (electronic) paperwork to register Midnight. “You really should have done this a while ago,” I said.
“I had no idea there would be a registration process,” he said honestly. “I came here quite by accident. Teleportation mishap, you know.”
“You’re from this dimension then?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Probably?”
I took out my phone. A quick search for Celmoth brought up a very sparse page with little information. But it had a picture. “Is that another Celmothian?”
Midnight shrugged, “It might be… a cat. It’s difficult to tell from pictures.”
“Yeah?” I asked. “Why is that?”
“We share a natural connection,” he said. “Our species is able to bond to each other, like this Familiar Bond. But only between Celmothians.” That confirmed what I had surmised earlier.
“Oh, nice,” I nodded. “Got any other cool powers?”
Midnight wiggled his body in a way I understood was like shaking his head no. “We primarily made use of technology, you know. I just didn’t have access to any here,” he flicked his tail. “Without the ability to talk to anyone, it was… difficult.”
“Yeah…” I looked down at the article. Since Celmoth was listed, I had been about to ask Midnight if he wanted to go home. I didn’t know how much space travel cost, but it would have been a goal to work towards. Unfortunately, that seemed impossible. Location: Unknown. That was all the article said about the planet. Had all of the Celmothians gotten here by accident? There shouldn’t be that many of them, but it was a strange thought. Then again, it seemed that Earth seemed to attract or actively seek out this stuff. Especially New Bay, with people like Doctor Doomsday flinging portals around for… fun? I’d looked into him briefly, but nobody knew his motivations.
The Power Brigade was nice enough to allow me to take a day off to help finish getting Midnight registered. Apparently I got paid ‘vacation days’ and ‘personal days’, with the latter being for dealing with things like family necessities. Familiars probably counted, right? It basically said family right in the name! That was… probably an actual linguistic connection. Though English was kind of a difficult mess sometimes, and I only spoke it by virtue of magic and the tiniest bit of real practice at the moment.
“Good to see you again, Basant.” The dark-skinned man had been very helpful to me previously, and I still had his number. It seemed more expedient to contact him to see if he could help rather than waiting for the normal bureaucratic process. I think that could be called ‘using connections’. And who was better to be connected with than someone who actually got things done?
“Glad to have you back,” he nodded as he looked at Midnight standing on my shoulder. “We try to make things as painless as possible here so that people will come to us. People who don’t know they need to register can end up in a pile of trouble.”
I nodded. I’d gotten in a scrape on my first day, and things only went so smoothly because they had been able to verify that and everything I said with Malaliel’s help. Midnight had been on Earth for quite a bit longer than a day, but the fact that we were coming to register was a point in his favor. Knowing Basant and working for the Power Brigade also helped.
If we really wanted to, Midnight could have slipped under the radar. Pretty much everyone would believe he was a cat, after all. But the whole point of this was so he could accompany me at the Power Brigade. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to participate in missions, but he could help with training. It wasn’t clear if his mana regeneration was the same as my own, but he had his own mana pool to use and that meant he could help refresh Force Armor or use a few other things. And he liked using magic, so having an actual excuse was good. Not that I thought anyone would dislike using magic, of course. It was awesome.
“So, Midnight Deathstalker correct?” Basant looked down at the papers, then at Cat Buddy. “You can speak English?”
“Through magic,” Midnight answered for himself.
“That works on other people?” Basant asked me.
“Yes.” That was the easy answer, though the way it worked on Midnight was different.
“Interesting. This may have come up before, but are you interested in consulting with Extra? The ability to communicate is very valuable.”
“I’ll consider it,” I said. I didn’t mind helping out, but it wouldn’t give me any experience. I only got to fight at the Power Brigade. I could probably get into random fights on the street, but there were many reasons I wasn’t going to do that if I could help it.
As Basant worked with Midnight on the rest of the papers, I got a text message from a number I didn’t know. Which was most of them, to be honest. I had Basant’s number, the front office of the Power Brigade, Extra, my apartment complex manager, and Meztli. The text was weird. It was just a link to a website, followed by a single word.
Before I finished looking at the link, I got another text.
“Oh, this is GG.”
Great Girl? Well, that should be it, since I couldn’t think of another GG. It wouldn’t be strange for her to be able to get my number, either.
I looked at the link, and then replied.
“That’s a pretty accurate representation of Haste, but I’d say 30 feet is pushing it. It’s better to touch the target. And it doesn’t use licorice. Why would you write that?”
She also got the spell level wrong and forgot to list the mana cost. Though I wasn’t sure if I wanted that all publicly available.
There was a period of time with no response. I got bored and started to piddle about on the website. Why had she made a website instead of just sending me what she did in a text? It seemed to contain more than just that one page. The banner at the top said ‘Eighth Edition wiki’. I knew what wikis were, repositories of information. But I thought they had been around for a very long time. Was this really the eighth one in existence?
I finally got another text.
“Do you know what ‘Type F’ planet means?”
“I assume it’s something related to type E and type G.”
“… maybe look it up.”
So I did.
Weird. Something that they didn’t believe in came into their world and demonstrated its reality, and they called it a ‘fantasy’? For all the talk about ‘science’ here, they sure seemed unclear on accepting reality.
The important part took a while to find. Something about ‘interdimensional bleedover’. In short, things that were real in a type F world might be imagined by someone here with the thought that they made it up. There were many references to papers arguing about whether the thought created the things in the world or the other way around, but I thought it was pretty obvious. I didn’t use licorice, so my world had always been real and people just didn’t imagine it quite right.
Going back to the wiki, I found it accurately had many of the spells I could use, with some clear differences. There were also references to a world that was immediately not my own when I saw the name and pulled up the map. Unless Granbold was on the backside somewhere- which I supposed it could be since the image wasn’t a globe- this wasn’t my world. Though the fact that it was type F indicated that there was more than just a single instance of worlds like mine connecting to Earth. Perhaps this one in the game was a different dimension of my own world, just like there were apparently parallel Earths.