“No, seriously,” Galen said, his mouth full of wing.
Marie wrinkled her nose and looked away.
“I don’t eat meat. It’s a common lifestyle choice. What, you guys don’t have any vegetarians here?”
“We like to stay alive. It’s a common lifestyle choice,” Galen shot back at her. “You gonna eat it or what?”
Marie made a face, and he shrugged and pulled her plate towards himself.
“So, Marie,” Elsy started, as Hershel motioned for her other foot. “You still haven’t told us who you are and how you got here.”
“No, I’m not playing that game,” Marie replied through gritted teeth as Hershel poked at a particularly deep cut. “You guys are telling me where I am first.”
Galen and Alice exchanged glances, then Alice shrugged.
“Fine, but you’re not going to believe us,” Alice said. She shifted back in her chair and crossed her arms over her chest, drink still in hand.
“I told you before that you were on a different planet,” Alice started, locking her blue eyes onto Marie’s brown ones. “I wasn’t fucking with you, you’re actually on a different planet. But it’s worse than that. You’re also in a different dimension, and the rules here are not the same as on the planet where you’re from.”
“Okay, sure, and I bet there’s magic and you all have magic winged bunny rabbits you fly around on to get from place to place.”
“Fine. We’re on a different planet, in a magical otherworldly dimension.”
Alice sighed heavily. Marie pursed her lips and closed her eyes tightly for a second, as if she was trying very hard to bite back all the other things she had to say.
“Okay, okay. I’ll bite. What do you mean, the rules are different?” Marie asked, pulling her foot away from Hershel and leaning forward in her chair.
“The planet you’re on now is the personal property of a very rich man named Xionsyes Zelo. So rich, they probably don’t even have the unit of wealth that he’s got on your planet yet, and for whatever reason, he’s been running experiments, pulling people here from other planets, and fucking around with time.”
“I’m sorry, what?” Marie said loudly. “You can’t fuck around with time. Time just is.”
“Yeah, that’d be nice, wouldn’t it?” Galen laughed.
“How can someone just own a planet? I’d like a planet.”
“Carth 3-A is just a copy of the original planet, Carth,” Alice remarked, idly swirling the remains of her drink in her left hand.
“We just happened to be here when Xionyses bought it and started dicking around with it,” Galen added.
“What do you mean, a copy of a planet? You can’t just copy and paste a planet, can you?” Marie said incredulously. “What is this, the Matrix?”
Alice blinked. Clearly movie references were a waste of time with her.
“Oh, you can do a lot of things if you have enough money and power,” Alice replied vaguely. “Carth-2A was created a long time ago ago when the citizens of Carth decided they didn’t have enough elbow-room. Carth-3A was created for the same reason. When Xionyses bought it, a lot of the people who moved here went back to Carth-2A.”
“Why didn’t you?” Marie asked.
“I’m stubborn,” Alice said through gritted teeth.
“Gee, I hadn’t noticed.”
“Don’t be a dick.”
Word count – 14214