Ares arrived home to find all the lights on, odd since it was two in the morning. It wasn’t too odd of an occurrence, Alecia use to keep all kinds of hours, and they frequently had visitors from all timezones. Also he was pretty sure Alecia was the only one in the family who needed a human amount of sleep.

He was mildly surprised at who was keeping the lights on, since it was apparently everyone. Jessica; who claimed not to need much sleep, but the doctors just said she was lying, and really needed to get more, was playing cards with Keanan. Keanan needed sleep proportional to how active he was, so he didn’t need much after a quiet day. The two were sitting off to the side of the living room, which was a mess.

Everything in the room had been pushed off to the sides, leaving a large open place in the middle. Where a holo projector had been set up. His wife, and daughter were using it like a 3d whiteboard, and yelling at each other. They were talking in english, but damn if Ares understood them. It sounded like Alecia was insulting his wife’s math, maybe.

At the center of their glowing incomprehensible scrawl was an image. It looked like a normal lens, but if he was reading the dimensions correctly it was the size of a hubcap. Also there was a materials list that included Pd, Ir, obsidian, Bi, ClF3, inherited silver, and something called a sympathetic net. There was also a bit that he though might be power requirements, but he really hoped not because they were insane.

“Good evening all, when did you get back Alecia? Also what is this?” Ares asked calmly, because this really wasn’t the weirdest thing he had arrived home to find.

“Hi dad, this morning, death ray.” Alecia answered without looking up, or even pausing from her writing. His wife didn’t even acknowledge him.

“They’re in the madness place, it’s not worth the effort to try and interact with them. Go fish.” Jessica said helpfully.

“Yeah, they wouldn’t even notice if you drew on their faces with a sharpie, I tried.” Keanan added.

“Yeah, Alecia just took the sharpie and started writing on the wall.” Jessica said, indicating the far wall.

The wall was indeed covered in esoteric scrawl none of which Ares understood. Worryingly some of the diagrams looked like a cross between circuitry, and spell circles. That had to be Alecia’s work, his wife would never touch magic, it was too flexible and unpredictable for her tastes.

“Is it really a death ray?” Ares asked.

“I think so, Alecia said something about building a new power armor suit and wanting help with the primary weapons system. That was eight hours ago. I think it shoots lasers.” Jessica answered.

“Lenses are good at that, but they usually require more parts to the system. I thought she wasn’t going to be back for longer? And what’s with the pills?” Ares asked. He had just noticed the three empty pill boxes, and a fourth open one, that was mostly empty. There were two more on the ground that were unopened.

“She caught a ride with some dimensional travelers, they warned her about an invasion, and she might be twenty percent tree.” Keanan said. “Oh and the pills stop her from freezing up, don’t know why.”

“She said she’d talk about the invasion when you got home, then they started on the lens.” Jessica added. “I think the tree thing might be a joke, but I can’t tell.”

Just then Alecia switched to a different language entirely, one Ares didn’t recognize. His wife apparently did and continued the conversation in the same language. They appeared to be arguing over a diagram that looked like sixteen interconnected tesseract diagrams, with an eye thing in the center.

“Anyone understand that?” Jessica asked.

“The language is in my memory banks, but I don’t understand it.” Keanan said. “Mom left a note, if I ever encounter cultists talking in that language I should blow them up, and not ask questions later.”

“Oh real comforting, if there isn’t anything else I’m going to take a shower. Try to stop them from ending the world in the meantime will you two?” Ares asked.

“Sure, just one thing. What do you do when a teammate gets out of the hospital?” Jessica asked.


“Well Gaslight woke up after the coma her powers put her in, and they’re letting her out of the hospital. We couldn’t visit her in the hospital, and we can’t throw a surprise party at her house. And I’ve never had a team to look out for before.” Jessica said.

“Invite her to dinner, don’t go to her house ever, and don’t throw a surprise party. That’s just good policy for life, even better for heroes.” Alecia said, before switching back into the strange language.

“She’s right.” Ares agreed. “Surprise parties are not a good idea for heroes. They don’t end well, or start well, usually they don’t get past sup, before shit goes wrong.”

“I threw a surprise party for this villain once. Should have seen the look on his face.” Uriel said chuckling. “You know I think we’re done.”

Alecia sat back, taking two more pills. “Your right, we’re done. It’s beautiful.”

“What is it?” Ares asked.

“Multiphase impulse beam emitter. “Alecia said sounding satisfied. “It going to be so much fun to build.”

“Good, how worried should I be?” Ares asked Uriel.

“Not at all it’s stable, unless you’re worried why your daughter knows so much magical theory. That worries me.” Uriel said.

“I picked up a few things traveling, besides magic is just manipulation of energy. It can be controlled like another rational process.” Alecia said.

“No it can’t.” Uriel replied.

Alecia stuck her tongue out at her mother.

“What’s this about an invasion?” Ares asked, just to change the topic.

“Oh yeah, you’re invading this reality with an army of evil alternates of us. We have about a year.” Alecia said dismissively.

“Oh, well that’s more time then we get with the Kronos invasion waves.”


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