So what happens now?” Charles had been shown to the shower, still a little dazed. A bar of soap was a piton of familiarity, and I didn’t have the heart to explain the array of bottles he’d be facing once James started teaching him about modern grooming. While he was washing, we had a chance to talk to the professor. Somehow it had escaped our notice that our training had covered general skills without delving into the specifics.

You take him home in that wonderful vehicle of yours and answer his questions as they come up. You’ll be observed,” which made James and I share a Look, “and we’ll give you a number to call if there’s any trouble, but mostly you’ll be able to act as seems best to you. The point of this is, after all, to introduce him to the world as it is today, and acclimate him.” I nodded as he said this, as though it wasn’t a crock of shit. He went to the other room, presumably to turn the machine off, leaving the three of us alone again for a moment. Alex gave me a probing look, to which I replied with a circular flick of my finger over my left wrist – later. I went to my bag and took out another set of clothes, since Charles was my size.

I’ll show him how to get dressed, you guys pack the car. If we leave within an hour or so we can be home for dinner.” The other two took their cue from my casual tone, and we each made the necessary preparations without undue any signs of rushing or nervousness.

Charles had apparently figured out the taps for himself, and the small bathroom we’d been sharing was full of steam when I opened the door. I flicked the switch for the extractor fan and called out into the cloud.

I brought you some clothes. Shall I pass them over or bring them in?” The water shut off.

Oh… pass them over, I’m sure I can dress myself.” There was the sound of rustling for a moment or two.


The tags go inside and to the back, the smallest item goes on first, legs through the small holes.”

…Thank you.”

James charged through the door at his usual pace.

You guys ready?”

Charles opened his door, his shirt slightly askew but otherwise looking somewhat presentable, I guess.

Holy crap, you two really do look like twins. Come on, the car’s packed. I wanna be in Taupo for lunch.”

Erm… before we leave… could one of you two gentlemen please direct me to the… conveniences?”


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