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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
DianeCastleFR132351,177,0232896485753,08112 Dec 1215 Nov 14Yes

…I’ll Cry if I Want To

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.

Alex was thrilled to see the national news that night. Senator Kinsey was officially impeached, which meant that he was going to be tried for those crimes in the Senate, starting next week, and he was already making speeches to defend himself. She just really hoped Terawatt wouldn’t have to go testify. After all, it wasn’t like the Senate could find her to hit her with a subpoena.

And Ray came over to watch tv with her. He even stayed to watch Saturday Night Live. Her dad stayed up to watch it too, so that cut down on the necking-with-Ray time. But SNL had Pamela Anderson as the host, which was probably why her dad was still awake and watching it. Alex wasn’t the world’s biggest Pam Anderson fan, but she figured a ton of guys would be watching this episode.

And the show was pretty good. There was a sketch where Pamela Anderson was a really shy, body-conscious nerd who had to pretend she was an exhibitionist for her job at Playboy, and Alex was surprised that Ms. Anderson was a good enough actress to pull it off. Then there was a Senator Kinsey sketch, with Pam Anderson as the slutty secretary in the background. And the musical guests were good. And the SNL news was really funny, especially when they hammered Senator Kinsey, and they made fun of the Orphans blowing themselves up with a volcano.

But then they did a Terawatt sketch. With Pamela Anderson as Terawatt! And with the hair and makeup and costume, she really looked a lot like Terawatt, except bigger in the bust.

Oh crud, everyone in the world would think Terawatt looked like Pamela Anderson under her uniform! This was terrible!

Ray noticed she was getting upset, so he hugged her and murmured, “It’s okay. Really. And anyway, you have a way better body than her, and you’re a lot prettier, and her boobs are way too big.”

Her dad said, “Those aren’t actually boobs, Ray. I think they’re tethered weather balloons.” Ray thought that was funny, but she wasn’t in a laughing mood.

And the sketch was Terawatt walking into a fast food place to get some lunch but not having her wallet because she wasn’t carrying a purse and didn’t have pockets. And she couldn’t convince the clerks that she was Terawatt. “Look, I’m floating a foot off the floor!” And the clerks all said stuff like, “Special effects.” “Yeah, standard George Lucas stuff.” “I’ve seen better.”

And even more annoying, everyone in the skit kept saying everything was tera-this and tera-that, almost like Jack had written the skit. “This burger is Tera-great!” “Gee, those Tera-hooters are even bigger than I expected!” “Wow, this dessert is Tera-delicious.” And then, when Terawatt gave up and stormed out, another person in a Terawatt costume came in and said, “I am Terawatt but I cannot carry a wallet in this uniform. Would you spot me a couple burgers?” And she didn’t look anything like Terawatt. She was a short, chubby woman with brown hair and no wig. And the clerks looked at each other and said, “Man! This is the fifth one today!”

Then there were a couple more skits, but then the last skit was a burglary and the policemen just kept telling each other, “This looks like a Tera-crime!” “Yep, here’s a Tera-clue.” And Terawatt flew in but couldn’t figure out who did it, even though on the wall behind everyone, it said in huge letters, ‘THE MASKED MARAUDER STRIKES AGAIN!’

And finally the skit ended with Terawatt back at the Tera-apartment, and The Masked Marauder rang her doorbell and wanted to turn himself in if she would go on a date with him. And he was the nerdiest crook ever, and he was like a mean parody of the guys in the Science Club. He said, “Has anybody ever told you you’re… Tera-hot?” And Terawatt groaned, “Oh just seventeen times. This week.” Then the guy stammered a bunch and begged, “If I cooperate, when I get out again, can we have a Tera-date?” And she had so many supervillains turning themselves in to get dates with her that she had to check her Tera-schedule on her Tera-phone. So then he rushed off to the police station to turn himself in. And then the skit ended with Azure Crush – the real Azure Crush – coming out of the bedroom in a teeny weeny nightie and taking Terawatt off to the Tera-bed for some Tera-sex! Eww! Ick!

She just knew Jack was going to tease her about this for ages.

Jack? Even Willow would tease her. Everyone except Riley would tease Terawatt about this. From now on, she was going to be doing real Terawatt stuff and having policemen and bystanders making fun of her because of that stupid skit.

She was so unhappy she didn’t even want to go drive with Ray to go get an ice cream sundae. But Ray was a great boyfriend, and he knew she was really upset, so he didn’t tease her about it, and he just held her and rubbed her back and told her it would be okay. Even if she thought the sketch was stupid and offensive and really annoying.

At least no one in church was doing Terawatt jokes. And after she had lunch, Sam Carter and Willow wanted to Skype with her.

Alex led off, “Okay, no Terawatt jokes.”

Willow and Sam looked at each other in confusion. Willow asked, “What?”

Alex complained, “Last night, Saturday Night Live did an extended Terawatt skit. With Pam Anderson as me. And they had me sexing it up with Azure Crush. And being lousy at solving crimes. And too dumb to remember to put money in my utility belt. And… and I really hated it.”

Willow gently said, “It’s just a skit, Alex. They make fun of everyone. And anyway, Jack and I weren’t watching tv at that hour last night.”

Yeah, Alex had a pretty good idea what Jack and Willow were doing at that time of night, and she wasn’t going to talk about it.

Sam told her, “I don’t watch tv. I was working on the new computer the general borrowed for me. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to use something at least as big as Willow’s supercomputer to do the computations I have in mind, and I still don’t know if it will give me any useful results.”

Alex frowned, “Well, Jack will hear about the skit. And then he’ll watch it on YouTube. And then he’ll tease me about it. And parts of it already sounded like Jack wrote the stupid script.”

Sam glanced at Willow. “That’s not why we called. We were talking with the general about the weapon that the Orphans used on you.”

Willow rolled her eyes. “Someone wouldn’t stop making ‘Ghostbusters’ jokes about the thing.”

Alex admitted, “I didn’t get a good look at it, except for a weird-looking rifle barrel thing. Okay, I didn’t really get a good look at any of it.”

Sam glanced at Willow and said, “Well, after talking with the general, we decided it was a weapon specifically designed to target your silvery form.”

Willow said, “Jack was standing right there in the room with the guy, and the guy never even tried to shoot Jack with it, just stalled until you showed up to do the rescue-age, and when you went silvery, he shot you.”

Alex admitted, “I felt like I got dropped in a blender and vibrated at about a billion revolutions a second. It was pretty icky.”

Willow teased her, “Pretty icky? Don’t get too technical on us.”

Sam just went on, “Your morph looks like mercury. And no matter what colors you’re wearing, it always looks silvery. Do you know why mercury is liquid at room temperature?”

Alex thought she remembered what Mr. Hooper said. “Relativistic quantum mechanics? Didn’t Niels Bohr develop that?”

Sam beamed, “Exactly! It’s been conjectured for a long time, but the hard math didn’t turn up until a couple years ago.”

Willow chipped in, “At least one of the authors on that paper is probably an Orphan and has vanished, so he’s probably off with Walsh’s bloc now.”

Sam kept going. “You end up with an s shell where the outer electrons are stabilized, so instead of forming bonds between neighboring mercury atoms, the electrons stay associated with their own nuclei, and the weaker interatomic forces such as van der Waals bonds hold the atoms together. Normally, van der Waals forces just don’t have that noticeable an effect.”

Willow gushed, “We think they built a weapon to disrupt van der Waals forces! And it worked on you!”

“Crud!” Alex didn’t like the idea of an anti-Terawatt weapon that didn’t do anything else. Okay, she didn’t like the idea of any kind of anti-Terawatt weapon.

Sam added, “But it’s only going to work on you when you’re in your silvery form, where you’re using your telekinesis on an atomic level, adjusting your nuclear forces to a balance where the van der Waals forces become the dominant force.”

Willow added, “And if you’re doing telekinesis on an atomic level to get your silvery morph, then your electrokinesis is probably telekinesis on an atomic or sub-atomic level as well.”

Alex thought out loud. “So if someone points a regular firearm at me, I want to be silvery. And if someone points a laser at me, I want to be silvery. But if someone points anything weird at me, I want to switch back to normal.”

Willow grinned, “And speaking of which, Jack gave Sam a huge diamond!”

Sam blushed a little and insisted, “But not like that. An unpolished industrial diamond.”

Willow smirked, “I think Jack’s words were ‘now go use that giant brain of yours and make me a big ol’ laser gun.’ Isn’t that right?”

Sam said, “It’s a phenomenal find, if the general’s right about it. But we’ll need to do some x-ray crystallography, and some systems design, and some detailed spec work before we’re ready to cut the diamond, then we’ll have power transmission issues, and then if we get a beam that can cut through a concrete wall even with 99% efficiency, we’d still have massive heat diffusion problems.”

Alex grinned at her, “As someone we know likes to say, ‘eggggggcellent’. If you can build it, I can power it and Yuki can cool it.”

Willow turned to Sam and said, “This is where Jack would say ‘if you build it, they will come’ so consider it said.” She looked at Alex and explained, “I love being able to tell him we already did his joke.”

Alex figured Jack was a really bad influence on Willow.

Alex got up Monday morning hoping for the best. But when she got to school, absolutely everyone was calling stuff tera-this and tera-that! And Alex couldn’t even complain out loud, because of the secret identity thing!

Kelly flounced by in a new skirt. “How do you like it? It’s tera-in!” And then Kelly’s minions had to compliment her.

“It’s tera-cool.”

“It’s tera-pretty.”

Alex just gritted her teeth and plastered on a smile. She lied, “I like the way you accessorized around it.”

Kelly smiled, “Thanks! Aren’t those the same overalls you wore last week?”

Alex pretended she wasn’t ready to zap Kelly right in the nose. “These? Oh no, the ones last Tuesday were a turquoise. These are teal. You can tell the difference, right?” Okay, that was a big lie, because she hadn’t bothered to look in her closet when she got dressed this morning because she was still really upset about the Saturday Night Live thing, and Shar was trying some Terawatt costume pieces as school clothes so Alex had spent more time fixing Shar’s wardrobe than focusing on her own outfit.

Kelly lied, “It must be the light here in the hallway. They look totally the same.”

“Oh yeah, they do.” Naturally, Kelly’s peons backed her up. What a surprise. Kelly’s peons would back her up if she claimed she could turn straw into gold.

“Whatevs.” Kelly flounced off down the hall, probably to go tell people Alex was wearing the same overalls as last week.

And Donna was calling the new school cheers ‘tera-great’. And at lunch, Louis was calling the cafeteria chicken patties ‘tera-greasy’. She really glared at him.

Okay, he wasn’t the only one. Those chicken patties were yick. At the next table, Donna’s BF was holding his chicken patties up and asking, “Okay, do you think these are coated in 10W-30, or do you think it’s 10W-40?”

And everyone in the caff was calling stuff ‘tera-cool’ or ‘tera-rad’, or else ‘tera-sucky’ or ‘tera-lame’. She was so upset she could hardly eat her lunch.

Ray saw how upset she really was, so he tried to tease her out of it. He put an arm around her and smiled, “Has anyone ever told you you’re… tera-hot?”

She just gritted her teeth and counted to ten. And then she counted to twenty, because counting to ten wasn’t doing it for her. She knew she wasn’t being a good sport about it, but she just wanted to zap someone. Or punch someone in the snoot with a big old tk punch.

Louis patiently told her, “You have to start saying it. It’s trending like crazy.”

She pulled out her phone and checked. Oh crud, ‘tera’ as a prefix was trending more than anything. It was trending more than Kim Kardashian’s new selfies and more than the hints about the trailers for the upcoming summer Marvel blockbusters and more than Lindsay Lohan’s latest arrest. Alex just wanted to bang her head on the lunch table.

She even texted Willow to complain. Willow texted back that it was all over the Terawatt fan websites too. And it was trending on blogs all over the internet.

Crud. So there was like zero she could do about it now, except pretend it wasn’t making her crabby. Even if it was making her really mega-crabby. Tera-crabby. As Willow pointed out, it wasn’t like Alex owned the rights to a standard prefix for scientific description of measurements.

She’d turned in her lit paper and Spanish homework and calc homework, but she still had to make up her chemistry pop quiz and chem lab. So she did that after chem class, which was normally a free period for her. Her teacher Mr. Hooper took her quiz paper and her lab write-up and grinned, “I’m sure it’ll be tera-great, as usual.”

She had to grit her teeth not to get mad at him.

When she left the classroom, Ray was waiting for her, because he knew how unhappy she was, and he was a really great boyfriend who might have gotten some boyfriendyness tips from a pretty smart guy who was really good with Willow.

So he gave her a big hug and asked, “Alex, are you okay?”

And she snuggled into his hug pretty hard and whimpered, “No, I’m really not. And I can’t make it stop.”

He rubbed her back and tried to sound reassuring. “It’s just one more stupid slang thing. It’ll be gone in a few weeks, and we’ll have something else.”

She really hoped he was right, but she didn’t really believe him.

She was grumpy while she was picking up Shar, and she was grumpy while she was fixing dinner, so Shar was being extra nice to her, and even her mom noticed she was upset. So her mom let her go up to her room. And Shar voluntarily stayed in the kitchen to help, which happened about once a blue moon when it wasn’t for desserts or candy or one of Shar’s personal fave recipes.

And Alex wasn’t sulking. She really wasn’t. But she was really unhappy, and she totally didn’t feel like doing homework, and she’d already pestered Willow and Nicole and Robyn and Ray. And she’d already been grouchy to Louis when he wasn’t doing anything that everyone else in the whole school was already doing.

Alex looked at the phone numbers on her tPhone, and she decided who she was going to call.

Terawatt was going to call Azure Crush and complain about that stupid skit and especially the sleazy Terawatt-Azure Crush bedtime thing at the very end!

She dialed that number. One ring… Two rings…

“Hi! Is this really Terawatt?” Wow, Az sure sounded excited about stuff.

“Yes, it’s really me, and I wanted to tell you I saw your skit with Pamela Anderson, and-”

“You did? That’s great! I’m so excited, I’ve been trying to get some serious stuff that’s not just showing up in a movie to take off my top, and my agent Bernie says this could be the first step-”

Alex gasped, “What? Your agent Bernie?”

“Sure! Everyone in Hollywood has to have an agent, or a whole agency, and maybe publicists once you’re making enough dough, and all kinds of stuff! And Bernie says this could be the first step to some decent roles! And Pam… She actually let me call her Pam, isn’t that awesome? She was really sweet… Well anyway, she’s a huge fan of yours, and she was worried you wouldn’t like the skits, and I told her you were great, and not at all stuck up, and you’d think they were really funny! And anyway, everyone knows you’re totally straight. And I think I was the only woman on the whole set who wasn’t all intimidated by Pam’s hooters, because when you see them in person… Holy fuck! And everyone there wanted to ask what you’re like, and whether you did personal appearances, and a ton of shit I have no idea about, but most of the writers would crap themselves if you agreed to guest host.”

Alex managed, “I don’t think I…”

“Oh, that’s what I told ‘em, and anyway I said it would be a tera-bad idea because if you had to rush off for some huge crisis, their show would be fucked. But me? I’m not a big superhero who’s on call all over the world.”

Alex disagreed, “Az, you are a huge hero, and you’ve put your neck on the line for the whole country…”

“Oh sure, I couldn’t even beat up one walking hairball, and you took out the entire Evil Legion of Super Evil, or whatever Leno was calling it a couple weeks ago. And I got fucking pounded, and Action Girl got shredded, and you didn’t even have your hair mussed up. But thanks for calling. And hey, would you be upset if I wrote on my resume that I know Terawatt personally?”

Alex blinked at that. “Az, you do know me personally. But why would anyone care?”

“Oh you’re such a kidder! Everyone would care! Even Hollywood producer types would care! You’re… you! And I really appreciate the call, it was really nice of you, especially when I think about how I started out, but I know you’ve got way better things to do than call people like me. So thanks just a ton, and I promise I won’t give out your secret number to anyone!”

Alex stared at the phone after Azure Crush hung up. She’d been about to be really mean about that skit, and… And Az had been so pumped about getting a break as an actress even if it was only for a minute, and she had sounded so happy to hear from Terawatt…

And Az had been sure Terawatt was calling her to be nice and supportive and helpful. So now Alex was still grumpy, but she felt like an even bigger jerkhead.

She was still grouchy at dinner. Everyone noticed. Even her dad, who asked, “Alex, what’s wrong? You only had two helpings of casserole, and usually you have a lot more. And you hardly touched your salad.”

Shar pouted, “Alex is really hurt because people are hurting her feelings all day.”

Alex explained, “It was that stupid Saturday Night Live skit. Now everyone in the whole world is saying tera-this and tera-that. Like ‘this is tera-sexy’ or ‘you’re tera-stupid’ or ‘this show is tera-lame’. And there’s nothing I can do about it! I can’t even complain about it in public because I can’t let people know I care about Terawatt so much. And it’s all over the internet now, and it’s trending, so even more people are going to be saying it tomorrow and the next day, and I don’t like it!”

Her mom put a hand on Alex’s shoulder, and her dad took Alex’s hand. Her mom frowned, “I know this is hard, honey. But really, if this is the worst thing that ever happens to Terawatt, I think we’ll be very lucky.”

Her dad said, “You spent so much time picking a name and working hard for that name to mean something, and… Well, it does. People are only saying this because you’re someone famous and important and… well, really special. Your name means something to everyone on the planet. Maybe you should let people have this.”

Shar suddenly hopped to her feet and ran off to the front of the house.

Alex’s mom pointed out, “Shar! You didn’t ask permission to get up from the table, or-”

Shar yelled, “It’s Louis! He’s here to see Alex, and he’s happy about something! And Marsha’s really proud of him!”

Alex’s mom and dad looked at each other. Alex suggested, “Maybe he’s got an idea. He knows how much this thing is bugging me.”

Alex’s dad looked at her mom. “We do owe him a huge one after he saved Ray.”

The front doorbell rang, and Alex heard Shar’s voice saying, “Hi Louis! Hi Marsha! Come on in, we’re in the kitchen because Alex isn’t eating right.”

Sometimes Alex wondered if Shar got that Too Much Information thing from Willow too.

Shar led Louis and Marsha into the kitchen, and Alex’s mom hopped up to get two more chairs, and Alex grabbed the chairs with her tk and floated them over to the corners of the table on either side of her.

Marsha whispered at Louis, “Go on and tell her!”

Louis glanced at Marsha and grinned, “Branding! That’s the answer.”

Shar asked, “Like cattle rustlers?” When most of the table looked over at her, she said defensively, “Well, Auntie Hanna said Charlie and his dad were showing her cowboy movies.”

Louis patiently explained to her, “No, branding in business is when you work to make a particular thing yours. Not just belonging to you, but so people on the street think of you when they think of that thing. And you design your branding concept so it says what you want about you and your thing. Like Ford trucks. For years and years, when people said ‘Ford tough’ they automatically thought of Ford trucks and how they lasted and lasted. People said ‘pickup truck’ and lots of them automatically thought of Ford Motor Company. Or think about the shape of a coke bottle. Nobody looks at that shape and thinks anything except ‘a bottle of ice-cold Coca-cola’. They’ve got branding working for them. Or Xerox. They were so successful that ‘xerox’ came to mean ‘copy from a copy machine’ even more than the word ‘copy’ does.”

“Wow,” Shar said. “How come you know so much about this stuff and Ray says your grades aren’t that great?”

Marsha gave Louis a look, like she’d said the same thing plenty of times. Louis admitted, “I concentrate more on business than on classes. Mainly because I like business a lot more than classes. When I’m taking business classes in college, it’ll all work together in a nice synergy.” He looked at the confusion on Shar’s face and added, “That’s when things work together so well it’s like they work better together than you figured they would just from looking at the individual pieces.”

Shar stared at Louis really hard, and then suddenly said, “Oh. Okay.” Alex suspected Shar had just cheated by looking in Louis’ brain for a better explanation.

Louis turned to Alex and clarified, “We need to make ‘Tera’ a name brand. You want it to mean awesomeness and goodness and righteousness, right?”

Alex frowned, “Well, mainly I don’t want people using it with words like ‘slutty’ or ‘ugly’ or ‘stupid’ or ‘lame’ or a bunch of words you can’t say in front of Shar.”

Shar piped up, “Oh, I already heard those words. Uncle Jack said ‘crap’ and told me to fib to Aunt Barb that he said ‘carp’ but I don’t think Aunt Barb would believe that.”

Louis kept going, fortunately. “So what we need to do is use ‘tera’ as the whole word. We market it as the newest, coolest slang idiom. It’s tera to say ‘tera’. It means… as awesome as Terawatt.”

Alex liked the idea. “But how do we do it? I mean, saying it isn’t the same as making other people say it.”

Louis grinned at her. “Au contraire, mon frère! I mean soeur. I think.”

Marsha muttered, “Vous stink at français.”

Louis kept going. “When we’re talking rad new phrases, it is the same as saying them to other people and waiting for them to say it to someone else.”

And he told her what he had in mind.

So the next morning, Alex was working on Louis’ master (business) plan even before the first bell.

She sought out Kelly’s posse and then stood where they’d walk past her. “Oh hi, Kelly! That blouse is totally tera.”


“Tera! You know, awesome.”

“You mean tera-awesome, don’t you?”

Alex rolled her eyes. “Come on, that’s so last week. Just say ‘tera’.” She looked over. “And D, those shoes are so tera! Did you get ‘em at Nordstrom’s?”

Kelly gave her a suspicious look. “Where’d you hear this weirdness?”

Alex pretended to be surprised Kelly hadn’t heard it yet. “It’s so trending! And it’s all over the cool websites!”

And it was. In a sense. Because Willow was perfectly capable of yanking the trending scores off every major website and twiddling them so Alex’s new word was the hot numero uno trend. And anyone who checked would find dozens of websites with people already using ‘tera’ the way Alex wanted, because several of them were Terawatt websites, and several were Willow Rosenberg sites, and a bunch were sites run by or written by Willow’s computer pals.

And then, as soon as everyone started checking the new trendy word, ‘tera’ would jump by massive percentages over its previous numbers, and it really would be busting the trending scores.

So, as soon as Kelly walked off, rapidly googling ‘tera’ while trying not to let anyone else see, Alex headed for Donna.

Nicole was already there, and had obviously used the cool new word on Donna. So Alex walked up and smiled, “Hey Nicole, that skirt is so tera. How’d you get your mom to buy it?” Because Alex knew it was a birthday present from Robyn. And everyone who knew Nicole knew her mom shopped like Nicole and her sibs were all stuck going to that Catholic school where Libby was going these days.

Nicole smiled, “Thanks, Alex. That hat is pretty tera too. And the skirt? Robyn. Robyn has totes got mom wrapped around the pinkie, because if I bought this, mom would have a cow, but Robyn bought it for a b-day prez, and so mom’s like ‘that Robyn is so cute!’ And I get to wear it.”

So then Alex checked her phone. She had six text messages already. Willow had most of the Terawatt fans using ‘tera’ already. Ray had used ‘tera’ on the b-ballers and their GFs. Louis had used it on Marsha in front of Marsha’s friends. Mina had used it in front of a bunch of Science Club and Robotics Team guys. Robyn had told the goths and skaterboys to be using it before the cheerios grabbed it. And finally, Willow had texted: Miss Hollywood said ok.

Wow, this might really work. Although Alex sort of wondered if some of Willow’s connections who were saying it on the web were really just some of Willow’s pseudonyms.

Before Alex left school that day, she was hearing the new buzzword all over the place, because everyone wanted to be cool. And on the way to pick up Shar, she got another text from Willow: H says ET tonite.

So after dinner, Alex even checked to see what time Entertainment Tonight was on, because she never watched it. And she sat and watched it until they covered this thing for Kim Kardashian, and there were tons of reality tv stars and stuff there, and there was Buffy Summers smiling for the camera and talking to the ET ‘correspondent’ Joe Zee.

Buffy smiled at him and said, “I love your suit. It’s so tera!”


Buffy smiled and shook her head. “That’s so last week, Joe! It’s tera! It’s awesome. Because, you know, Terawatt’s made of the awesome. Just ‘tera’, nothing else.”

“Well, your dress is pretty tera too, Buffy.”

Alex turned off the tv and just grinned like a goofball.

Her dad leaned over the couch. “How did you get Buffy Summers to pimp your new rad lingo?”

“Dad!” she squeaked. He was a great dad, but he was like years out of date. “Nobody pimps anything anymore, except actual pimps! And ‘Pimp My Ride’ which is a stupid show.” Seriously, ‘rad lingo’? Had anyone ever said rad and lingo in the same sentence before?

“Okay, for us oldsters, how did you get a tv starlet to say ‘tera’ for you?”

Alex explained, “Okay, you know she’s our secret Orphan in Los Angeles, right?” He nodded his head. “Well, she didn’t want to have anything to do with me or the badguys, but Acid Burn has been calling her to chat, and texting with her, and pretty much just being an actual friend instead of most of Buffy’s posse who are mostly in it for what they can get out of her. And Acid Burn asked Buffy to say ‘tera’ the next time she was on tv, and she went out of her way to be seen and interviewed just to be nice to Burn.”

Her dad asked, “So is this going to work?”

Alex shrugged, “I think so. Willow’s got it trending all over the net, and now it’s on tv, so we’ll see. I’ve got my fingers crossed.” He looked down at her hands, so she added, “Metaphorically, anyway.”

But Louis was right. By the next day, the whole school was saying ‘tera’ the way she wanted, including some of the teachers and teacher’s aides. And it was trending like crazy all over the web. And by Thursday night, there were news anchors and reality stars saying it on tv to be cool.

And on Saturday night, Saturday Night Live did a big sketch where they all acted like total jerkheads who were patting themselves on the back for inventing the cool new hipster word, and so they were trying to dream up the new cool phrase to use, only they were all acting like morons, so their ‘cool phrases’ were the worst things ever.

“My underwear is really itchy!”

“That needs an Atron-ectomy!”

“Who pooped their pants?”

“I’m not gonna pay a lot for that creamed corn!”

And on and on. Then it ended up with them picking one chunk out of most of the ‘cool phrases’ to make their new phrase, and it was totally embarrassing to say.

In the real news, things were even better. It made all the papers that General Anthony Kremer of the U.S. Strategic Command was clamping down really hard on Dr. Burns and the other jerkheads who hadn’t been nice to Sam. Even if the headline was a really bad doctor pun with the phrase ‘surgical clamp’ in it.

And Senator Kinsey’s impeachment trial was still dragging on, but more really bad stuff had turned up and he was pretty much doomed, and his numbers were dropping fast in the polls. Willow sent her a copy of an editorial from a paper in Kinsey’s home state where they said that pretty soon, Kinsey wouldn’t be able to beat homeless people in an election. That really made Alex grin.

So by the start of April, things were pretty tera.
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