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The Secret Return of Alex Mack

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This story is No. 3 in the series "A Brane of Extraordinary Women". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Alex is back from her 5-day trip to Hermione Granger’s world. But she's going to need everything she learned if she wants to survive, starting with finding her world's Willow Rosenberg. (Cross with BtVS, SG-1, HP, DCU...)

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > General
Harry Potter > General
Stargate > General > Characters: Jack O'Neill
Television > Secret World of Alex Mack, The
DianeCastleFR132351,177,0232896487753,88012 Dec 1215 Nov 14Yes

Slay Ride

A/N: Alex’s powers and new knowledge will make more sense if you go read the first story in this series: “The League of Extraordinary Women”. The disclaimers, spoilers, and other information are all in previous chapters.
A/N2: The title is not quite a Christmas jingle, but it’s only a homophone away…

Alex saw the string of fireballs shoot across the sky over her head, right at Gojira. Her brain instantly jumped to a crazy conclusion. Shar came to rescue me again.

But that was goofy. Jack would never let an eight year old…

Oh crud! It was Shar! On that stupid PyreJet that Shar didn’t know how to steer or anything! She was going to really yell at Shar a lot for this one. Then she was going to really yell at Jack a ton.

Assuming anyone survived the next few minutes.

Gojira took the first fireball in the face and really didn’t like it. So it aimed its mouth at Shar instead. Then it got hit with enough fireballs to turn a small town into an inferno. And it only managed to swat two of them away, one with a hand and one with its tail.

Alex really hurt a ton from that last whack by its tail, but she pulled herself up out of the crater her silvery form had made, and leapt into the air.

Oh crud, oh crud, oh crud! Gojira was roaring in pain from those fireballs, but Shar was going to crash head-first into it and kill herself! And one of the fireballs just blew Yuki and her ice floe to pieces! This was the worst thing ever!

Yuki spotted the huge fireball only a split second before it hit her. She never had a chance to react, or to try and protect herself.

The fireball had to be ten feet across when it landed on top of her.

Her first thought was, “Fire destroys the cold. I will finally die.”

Her second thought was, “This nightmare will finally be over.”

Her third thought was, “Why do I finally feel warm?”

She went flying through the air as her ice floe shattered, and she still didn’t feel any pain. Just warmth. Real warmth, for the first time since she woke up to the nightmare of being turned into some sort of Yuki-onna.

She saw the ocean rushing upward toward her, and she stretched out one hand. A big disc of ice formed across the surface of the waters… and she crashed onto it with an impact that knocked the wind out of her.

“I could have done that more gracefully,” she told herself. That had hurt more than she thought it would. She rubbed her forehead where it had smacked against the rock-hard ice.

Her labcoat was still afire, even if she felt fine. The icicles that had coated it had melted. The sleeves of her labcoat were even wet. She focused on the heat of the fireball, and found she was pulling all that energy into herself. The water on her sleeves instantly froze solid again.

Of course. She wasn’t some silly mythical ice monster that melted in front of a fireplace. She was a biochemical heat sink. The heat might even be good for her. Maybe she could find a place like a furnace room and not feel painfully cold all the time. Maybe if she found a place that was hot enough, she could have water that was liquid, and food that wasn’t frozen.

Maybe she could live, but she would still have to live as an inhuman freak.

And she still had to stop this monster that refused to be hurt.

Shar looked at the mountain-sized thing looming right in front of her, and tried to stop. But cutting off all the rockets didn’t stop her. It just sent her in a downward curve that was going to smash into the monster maybe a hundred feet lower, because she was still flying forward too.

She didn’t know what to do! She wished she hadn’t done what she did, except she’d saved Alex, and that was the thing that mattered the most. She did the only thing she could think of. She screamed.


Alex saw Shar’s rockets stop, either from running out of fuel or from Shar stopping the fire to run the rockets. Alex was guessing it was the second thing, because all the rockets went out at once. But Shar was still going to crash right into Gojira’s stomach because the monster was facing the beach now. And that would be like crashing into a mountain of rock at a hundred miles an hour.

Alex knew she couldn’t lift herself and Shar and Shar’s snowboard-rocket both, but maybe she didn’t have to. She jetted toward Gojira’s thighs.

And she used her tk to pull Shar downward.

She could hear Shar squealing as soon as she got close enough. She went silvery and kept pulling Shar downward, until Shar crashed into her. She pulled Shar into her morph and tried to flatten out like a kite. With the extra weight, she was going downward, but not nearly as fast as she was going forward.

She darted between Gojira’s legs and veered off toward her left, away from where that huge tail was writhing around, trying to smack Yuki. Shar’s weight, along with the snowboard-jet, was still pulling her downward some, but she was trying to get a sort of tilted airplane wing shape so her forward motion would give her some extra lift. It wasn’t working that well. She really needed a lot of practice to get something like this to work. Lots of planning and then lots of practice. She totally stunk as a smart superhero. Other-Sam and other-Willow and other-Hermione would be looking at her right now like she was a moron.

And it wasn’t like she could make her silvery morph take on any shape she thought of, like some Marvel Comics shapeshifter. Airplane wings needed to be non-blobby, and she wasn’t good at that.

She got clear of the area behind Gojira where she might still be in reach of that tail, and she went normal with Shar in her tk grip. They started going downward a lot faster, so she figured her wing-shape must have been working more than she’d realized. She made sure she was holding Shar vertically with the rockets pointing straight down, and she yelled, “Fire the rockets!”

For a second, she thought Shar was going to panic, or not be able to get the rockets going. But Shar put her arms down and out to the sides, and the rockets fired.

Alex darted backward and went silvery again to avoid getting roasted. Shar was firing the outer two rockets and lifting slowly, while she was using fireballs from her hands to stabilize herself. Wow! How’d she figure that out?

And Alex realized she finally had what she needed. Assuming she could be horrible enough to let Shar keep attacking something the size of a mountain that could kill you in any of half a dozen ways.

Alex could distract Gojira and stun it, but she couldn’t damage it. Yuki could confine it but couldn’t hurt it. Shar could damage it, but needed someone to keep Gojira from focusing on her. It all fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

She yelled, “Fly around it and keep burning it! Start with those spines on its back! Every time it tries to get onto land or out to sea, burn it on that side so we can keep it in shallow water. And watch out for the arms and the tail and the mouth!”

Shar gave her a nod and jetted straight up toward the spines.

Alex jetted around the massive legs to where Yuki was still stubbornly putting a massive coating of ice on both its ankles. Okay, that was easier to do when the thing was in water up to its ankles so Yuki was mostly just freezing water where she could see it. Alex yelled, “Keep it up but I can’t protect you from the tail!”

Then Alex jetted straight up along the massive body until she was passing its head. She hit it in the eyes again with as big a lightning bolt as she could, and she jetted off to its right, making lightning arcs the whole time to distract it.

Shar hit the glowing dorsal spines with a whole string of fireballs, and the spines exploded outward like defective rockets. Gojira roared in pain and staggered forward.

Alex hit Gojira in the face again with more lightning, and it stumbled toward her and took a couple awkward steps. But it wasn’t walking onto the beach or out to deep water. It was walking parallel to the shore, in about thirty or forty feet of water, trying to follow the energy she was giving off. Alex figured that was as good as they were going to get.

Shar hurled a fireball the size of a house. She went flying backward from the force of it and tipped over backward, her PyreJet pushing her so she was jetting sideways away from the monster while she tried to regain control.

The fireball hit Gojira smack in the chest and then exploded. Gojira roared in pain, and when the fire cleared, Alex could see the monster was really damaged. Not just hurt, but seriously injured, like even those missiles hadn’t done. A huge chunk of its skin was burned off, and layers of hideous grayish muscle underneath were horribly burnt.

It opened its mouth to unleash another burst of its deadly breath, and Alex jetted straight up to avoid getting hit. But its back sparked and burned without the dorsal spines there to do whatever they did. It roared, and – instead of a cone of bluish energy – it unleashed reddish flames that died out before they got three hundred feet from its mouth.

Alex swung back into range and blasted it right in the face again. It staggered back slightly, and Yuki swooped in between its feet. Alex realized that Yuki had two mammoth ice cuffs on its ankles, and its legs were now nearly touching. Yuki put her arms out to both sides, and ice flowed from both cuffs to crash in between its legs.

Yuki had just shackled Gojira by its ankles.

The ice was even strong enough and thick enough that it held. Well no kidding, those cuffs had to be twenty or thirty feet thick. Alex was kind of surprised Gojira could even lift its legs up anymore, with all that weight on its ankles.

Gojira stumbled and fell face-first into the water. Waves splashed a hundred feet into the air.

Shar came flying back, but looked soaking wet. Alex guessed that she had ‘splashed down’ before she got her PyreJet under control, but maybe she just got soaked from the huge waves when Gojira did a faceplant in the ocean. Shar hit Gojira along its back and the back of its head with more fireballs.

Yuki skated along Gojira’s left leg, building a massive wall of ice all along its leg, from the ‘ankle cuff’ up toward its hip. Alex suddenly realized that if Yuki had time to get ice all over it, it would be too buoyant to dive down into the deeps. Not that Alex intended to let it get away if she could stop it.

Alex looked down Gojira’s back at the burned craters. If this wasn’t a giant, destructive monster, she would have felt really bad for it, because Shar had given it a ton of third degree burns. Maybe even some fourth degree burns.

As it pushed with its arms and tried to lift itself up, Alex looked at Shar and pointed a couple times at the back of its neck. Then Alex flew around its head to attack its face. An immense fireball came in and exploded right at the base of its skull, and two frantic dino-arms came out of the water to slap at the fire. The tail flailed madly all over the place, batting around its legs and its back.

Uh-oh. They had to make sure Gojira didn’t bust those ice shackles on its ankles, or it would be able to get away.

Alex zoomed down the ruined back and attacked the tail at its base. She hit it with four straight blasts of lightning, until the tail spazzed out and started slapping the water off to the side like a crazed beaver.

She looked back, and Shar was hammering at the thing’s neck like a martial artist punching at a training dummy: left, right, left, right, left, right… Only Shar wasn’t touching Gojira. Every punch launched another vicious fireball right into the back of its neck, until finally a fireball punched all the way through and created a burst of steam that poured up from the water on either side of its neck. Alex couldn’t decide whether she was horrified or relieved.

But the thing still wasn’t still. Alex had read about primitive creatures that could still move after their brain stopped working. And she remembered years ago, Ray going on about how cool it was that a stegosaurus had to have extra nerve tissue between its hips that acted like a brain for the back half of the creature. She figured that was what she was seeing now. The arms writhed, and the tail was still thrashing. But that was about all it was managing, and Alex was really hoping that there wasn’t going to be any running or swimming or attacking now.

Yuki insisted on coating the entire left half with ice, then going around its head, then going all the way down its right side.

Shar flew down and hovered near Alex on her PyreJet. “Wow, she just doesn’t quit, does she?”

Alex said, “She may not be able to. She thinks her new powers are gonna kill her pretty soon, so maybe she doesn’t think she has anything else to live for.” She glanced over and added, “And once we’re sure this thing is really, truly dead and not gonna regenerate, you are in so much trouble I don’t even want to talk about it until we get home, and mom and dad can hear what you did.”

Shar whimpered, “I’m really sorry, but I had to. I just could see what was happening, and I couldn’t let you get killed!” She started crying really hard.

Alex wanted to be really mad at Shar, and she wanted to yell or something about how scared she’d been that Shar would get hurt, but she also wanted to go over and just cuddle Shar until she stopped crying.

Alex figured she was going to turn out to be one of those really awful moms who let their children get away with everything until they turn out spoiled worse than Libby.

She ordered, “You hover over the damage you did, and if anything looks like it’s regenerating, blast it. If the tail starts doing dangerous stuff again, try to burn it off at the base. I’m gonna fly inland and see if I can get enough cellphone coverage to give Jack a heads-up. And I’m gonna tell him what you did and yell at him a LOT.”

Shar winced, “Okay. He already yelled at me a bunch when I snuck off.”

It was Alex’s turn to wince. She pointed at the still-twitching monster, and Shar flew off to do her job. Then Alex shot over the beach and upward, hoping to get a cellphone signal pretty fast.

It took her about a minute, which really wasn’t too bad considering Gojira had knocked out all communications for miles just a few minutes ago. She called Acid Burn, who connected her to Jack’s sat phone.

“TERA! Tera, are you okay? Is Pyre okay? Is Mega-dino coming this way?” It sounded like he was in a helicopter.

She figured he might not be alone. “Colonel, this is Terawatt. Pyre is fine. Gojira is dead… ish. We don’t yet know if it can regenerate from what we did. Yuki is busy locking up the body in solid ice. We can use any assistance the national self-defense forces can round up, because I think it’s going to take a couple months to carve up the body and dispose of it properly. We need to find a way to help Yuki. And then, once we go home, Pyre is going to be grounded until she’s a hundred.”

Jack fumed, “I am not happy with that particular little… superheroine.”

Alex complained, “Why did you let her fly around on that jet-thing?” She didn’t yell at him. Much.

Jack growled, “She conned Scott into putting it in his Humvee and sticking it in the cargo hold. Then she conned our co-pilot into popping open the hold while I was inside the jet on the sat phone. She conned me into letting her step outside and stay in Finn’s sight. She conned Finn into going onboard to see what important thing I needed to tell him. Then she yanked out the PyreJet and her helmet and took off. She was probably half a mile away by the time I found out and a mile away by the time I got her on comms so I could yell at her, and she was completely gone before Finn could get to a chopper and even start trying to talk them into tracking her down.”

Alex muttered, “I should’ve known.”

Jack fussed, “YOU should’ve known? I should’ve known! It’s my job to know!” He sighed, “I think she might be using telepathy to know when she’s getting away with something and when it isn’t going to work. She’s gonna be a handful in another eight years.”

Alex winced, “I am totally not looking forward to telling someone what happened today, when we get back to base.”

Jack insisted, “You’re not getting that tasking. I’m jumping on that grenade. It’s my fault for bringing her along, and it’s my fault for letting her outsmart me and my whole team. So… Tell me how you stopped an unkillable mountain-sized mega-dino.”

By the time Alex finished telling what happened, a fleet of a dozen helicopters was coming toward her. Half of them were heavily armed, like Vipers, and the other half looked like transports, like a Super Huey. And ‘Super Huey’ was just a way better name for those things than ‘Venom’ which made them sound like vicious attack choppers which they really weren’t, even if you stuck a rocket pod on them.

She set off a huge flash of lightning so they had a beacon to aim for, but then she realized that was dumb when there was something the size of a cargo ship in the shallows behind her.

She flew back to Shar and asked, “Anything?”

Shar said, “Nope. No growing back. Yuki’s still trying to ice up that tail, but it won’t hold still for her.”

She ordered, “Go over to the beach, and land, and take off that PyreJet. And hand it to Jack when he lands. And you’d better hope he doesn’t put you over his knee and spank you right in front of everybody.” Shar looked horrified at the idea.

Then Alex flew over to Yuki, who was still obsessing about icing up everything she could get to. “Yuki! Yuki! We’re done. It’s dead.”

Yuki just said, “It is still moving.”

Alex explained, “Nerve tissue. It’s dead as a doornail. It’s just twitching.”

Yuki insisted, “It could still regenerate. We do not know.”

Alex admitted, “Yeah, I’m still kind of worried about that one. But Pyre pretty much decapitated it, or at least put a hole right through its spinal cord. Or notochord. Or whatever it uses instead. And you’ve got it locked up for now, and the good guys are here to deal with the rest of the tasks.”

Yuki looked over at Pyre and said, “Maybe she could provide some more fireballs for me. It would be nice to feel warm again.”

Alex didn’t say anything, but she was kind of surprised. She’d thought fire would hurt a person with cold powers. It hadn’t occurred to her that Yuki might want the heat. Or that Yuki might need the heat. Okay, it made sense if you thought about the thermodynamics stuff she’d learned in chem class. In fact, the more she thought about thermodynamics, the more it seemed like someone with Yuki’s powers probably couldn’t be any other way. Wow, that was mega-cruddy.

Two of the helicopters landed near the beach, while four of the heavily armed ones flew over to Gojira. Jack and his team hopped out of the first landing chopper, while a group of armed Japanese soldiers jumped out of the second one.

Jack and Riley and the sergeants came sprinting their way, so Alex jetted over to where Pyre was standing and looking really nervous.

Jack loomed over Pyre and said, “I am under orders to turn all punishments over to someone else. So you are off the hook… until you see your Aunt Barb, who is not at all happy with you!”

Shar whined, “But I had to! I really had to!” She dug her toe in the sand and stared at her feet. “I’m sorry I fibbed to you. And Major Riley. And the nice sergeant who bought me those great overalls and those really cute shirts.”

Jack frowned, “Well, you know what happens when people can’t trust you to do what you’re supposed to.”

Shar looked tragic. “They send me away from Alex and I can’t live with her anymore?” Big tears started running down her face.

Jack sternly said, “I don’t know what Barb and George are gonna decide to do, but I know what I’m gonna decide to do. You are no longer cleared to assist the SRI. That means that if something even worse comes up in the future, you’ll be stuck at home worrying, because you won’t be allowed to be on the jet, much less anywhere near the op. Also, all research work on the PyreJet is ceasing, and you’re not gonna be allowed to fly one of these until you’re sixteen. Maybe a lot older.”

Shar fussed, “But what if I hadn’t come this time?”

Jack said, “I could figure out on my own which building was probably trapping Terawatt. It had to be the last wrecked building before Mega-dino stopped the battle damage and went back to straightlining its way to its target. And we could have used C-4 to blast the endcap off that structure, even if that would have been riskier for Tera. But Team One has three people with demolitions training, including me. And we could have used FAEs and a dozen Mark 77s on Mega-dino. It wouldn’t have been pretty, but we can get the job done without you.”

“But I just saved Alex!”

Jack sternly said, “Maybe. I’m guessing Tera would’ve gotten out of whatever jam she was in, because she’s really good at that.”

Shar looked heartbroken. “I didn’t save Alex?”

Alex really wanted to run over and scoop Shar up in her arms and tell her how great she was and how she saved Terawatt and all that. But Jack obviously didn’t want her to.

Jack pointed at the helicopter he had jumped out of. “Go wait in the chopper, and don’t fib to anybody onboard.”

Shar trudged off, her little shoulders drooping and her head down. Alex opened her mouth to complain about Jack being mean, and he signaled for her to freeze. He pointed at Shar, and then pointed at his own ear.

Oh. Right. Shar might be able to telepathically tell what Alex was saying. Well, in that case, maybe Shar could tell what Jack was really thinking, so maybe this not-talking deal wouldn’t do any good. But Alex didn’t know. And she didn’t know any way to find out, especially if Shar was doing a lot of fibbing. Alex was pretty worried about that, especially if Shar was only doing the fibbing when her powers were telling her she could get away with it.

Alex lifted off into the air. She led Jack and the Japanese soldiers over to where Yuki was finally coming in to the shore.

She figured it wouldn’t hurt to make a big production out of things, so she flew over beside Yuki and said, “I am honored to present to you Japan’s first superhero! Sato Yuki. I don’t know if she wants to use Yuki as her codename too.”

Yuki glanced Alex’s way, and then looked down at her own clothes, which were so covered in icicles and rime that you couldn’t even see where Shar’s fireball had burned stuff. Yuki said to Alex, “I think that I would like to use the codename Tsurara.”

The Japanese soldiers liked that. They escorted her off toward the second helicopter.

Alex and Jack met up with Riley, and they all headed back toward their chopper. Jack casually asked, “So, major, do you know the Japanese word ‘tsurara’ by any chance?”

Riley wrinkled his forehead in thought. “Sir, I think that’s ‘icicle’. Did that come up in conversation with our ice-caster?”

Jack said, “She just picked it as her codename.”

Riley shrugged, “Makes sense, sir. If she doesn’t want to use yuki as her codename…”

Jack said to Alex, “I think we can call this op closed. I had a call with USPACOM about monitoring for anything else that Wacky Maggie might have let loose in the ocean, and I already had a charming chat with Colonel Watanabe about dissecting Mega-dino here to make sure it isn’t capable of laying eggs. Or hatchlings. Or whatever. Because I do not want to be fighting an army of these things. Oddly enough, neither does he. He wants to set up two cigarette boats with big ol’ electrical generators, just to have on hand in case this ever comes up again. I think that’s a really good idea, but I’m gonna recommend to General Hammond that we experiment with electrical wavelength generators we can slap into a Pave Hawk or two. Or three. We don’t need to generate a hundred megawatts of electricity. We just need something that puts off the same signal as a big generator. If the badguys could cram something like that in an Alfa-class sub, which has about as much spare room as Shar’s toychest, we ought to be able to get one in a Pave Hawk.”

Alex smiled to herself, because Jack was way smarter than he pretended.

On the flight back to Roswell, Jack didn’t yell at Shar. But he made her write out an apology to every person she’d lied to. Then he made her write out a situation report, although he didn’t call it that. He called it ‘the story of how Shar realized Terawatt was in trouble, went to the rescue, and nearly got herself really hurt or maybe killed.’

Since they had a gymbag for Alex, she had a computer tablet to work on, and it had all of Willow’s software. So Alex had most of each personnel form done before they flew out of the airport, and she had the whole, huge report done before they were even an hour east of Boso Peninsula. She figured she’d spend the rest of the trip reading about installing and maintaining a linux system on a regular PC-type computer with an Intel CPU. That, and sometimes encouraging Shar to keep working and get all her stuff done so she could take a nap. Alex was pretty exhausted too, but she was eating a bunch more energy bars and drinking more diet coke, and that was keeping her awake. For a little while.

When the words on the tablet started to swim all over the place, she put her head down on her tray table. She told herself it would just be for a few minutes.

A hand on her shoulder was gently shaking her. “Come on, Alex, wakey-wakey. Time to go see if the Teramom is done chewing out the Tera-sidekick.”

“Huh? We’re down already?” Alex had to blink a few times and look out the window, but they had landed while she was sleeping. Landed? They flew across the whole Pacific and then landed while she was sleeping!

Jack grinned, “Yep, about fifteen minutes ago. You needed the sleep, so I let you stay in the Tera-coma.”

She must have been really groggy, because it took her a minute to realize Jack had been saying a bunch of Tera-whatever things to her, just because he knew she was too sleepy to notice. Maybe it was because, with the eight hour flight, and the time change, it was the next morning already.

Tera-coma? She was so going to tell Willow on him.

He gave her a big smirk. “Willow told me you had the cutest snore in the world, but I didn’t believe her. It’s really more like a purr.”

“I don’t snore!” she complained.

“It’s the Tera-snore,” he teased.


Apparently, her mom was done reading Shar the riot act, because her mom was holding Shar in her arms while Shar bawled like a baby. Which was kind of weird, because Shar had just fought and killed the fourth-scariest thing Alex had ever seen in her life, but Shar was crying because Aunt Barb was upset with her.

And yeah, Gojira was scary, but not as scary as D’Lazza or Dark Willow, and Alex was putting Gojira just a notch below the cave full of giant baby spiders. There was something wrong with her life that the giant tarantula was now down to number five, and the Downingtown blob was even below the giant underground clam monsters and that dragon she fought in D’Lazza’s hell dimension. At the rate she was going lately, that blob was going to get shoved out of the top ten before her high school graduation.

By the time Sergeant Scott drove them to their quarters and they packed up their stuff – and Alex took four more pain relievers because she was really achy all over – there was a Cessna waiting to fly the three of them home, and the other Cessna was refueled and checked over and ready to fly Jack’s team back to West Virginia.

Jack smiled at Alex, “Let’s not do this again. I think you scared me out of ten years’ growth this time.” Alex hugged him, even if it hurt.

He said to Alex’s mom, “Turns out I’m not trustworthy with your kids, after all. Sorry.” Her mom hugged him too.

Then Jack knelt down and sternly said to Shar, “And I’m going to tell Auntie Willow everything you did, the good stuff and the bad stuff, so expect a call from her before long.” Alex thought Shar was going to burst into tears again.

On the flight home, after Shar fell asleep in Alex’s arms, Alex quietly asked her mom, “What did you tell Shar?”

Her mom sighed, “Well, I might have gotten a little carried away and lost my temper and yelled. But I told her how scared I was. And I went through everything I could think of that she shouldn’t have done. And then I hugged her for saving you. And honey, you look like you got beaten up by a hundred football players. You’re bruised all over!” Her mom got up and gently hugged her where Shar wasn’t snuggled in, and Alex pretended it didn‘t hurt.

When they got home, Annie had already taken her flight back to school, and Alex’s dad had the garage all cleaned up and aired out, so there must have been a lot of chemistry going on out there. And footage of Gojira was all over the networks. It looked like some photographers with really nice telephoto lenses had gotten pictures of Gojira appearing in Sendai, and then their battle with Gojira on the east side of Boso Peninsula.

Alex made a mental note to spend time studying some geography and political science, because what Riley knew about Japan had turned out to be crucial. It would have been mega-grim if Gojira had made a nuclear power plant go kaboom, or even if he had just blasted nuclear materials over miles and miles of heavily-populated land.

Also, Japan was really pretty. She was going to go back there someday and just take photos. Maybe she’d learn a bunch of Japanese first, and find some really interesting stuff to photograph.

The family sat around the kitchen table and had a long talk about Shar. And Alex ate an entire turkey breast, plus a whole bowl of mashed potatoes. Shar was pretty worried, so she was willing to take pretty much any punishment they came up with, as long as they didn’t send her away to another home. So they came up with a list of punishments, including being grounded for two months, along with dreaming up a story about what she supposedly did to get grounded for so long, so she had a cover story to tell her friends.

Then Alex called Ray and chatted, then Willow, then Nicole and Robyn and Marsha, then Louis, then Annie, then Hanna and Cindy and Grover. By the time she was done talking and Skyping and texting and IM’ing with everyone, it was time for bed, and Shar was already asleep.

Alex had a dream that night where she talked with everyone all at the same time on a huge conference call where everyone had their own picture screen so they could talk and gesture and stuff, only Jack wouldn’t stop being naughty the whole time, and he kept calling Ray the Teradate, and calling everyone else the Terafriends, and he called Shar the Terastinkbug.
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