Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Chapter Thirty-Six - Homecoming

"She's waking up."

Annabelle opened her eyes after hearing her own voice. She was in some kind of machine that seemed to be feeding stimulants directly into her brain, which helped her to awaken without feeling drowsy or ill from falling onto the metal floor of whatever building she was in. When she teleported, she was hoping she would see her friends and family in front of her, not an alien planet and someone who looked identical to her calling her "the original". Still, she was on Torra Sev, a planet that she had heard of multiple times growing up by multiple people, and came to a conclusion that this was her home planet.

Yeah, she was born here, but it wasn't "home", not by a long-shot.

Annabelle stood up and looked at the other Annabelle, who called herself "A'jhanie Tozal". Annabelle remembered that name from when she was a teen, when a strange orange-haired Alien called her by that name and that she wouldn't be able to return to Torra Sev for a long time. Well Annabelle figured that was done with because she was now was here, on this planet, for who knew how long.

As Annabelle tried to register the fact that she was in a strange location talking to an identical copy of herself, minus a hairstyle and eye makeup change, another woman walked into the room and stared her down. Annabelle knew this was the very same woman she saw when she was a teenager, the same one who told her how to teleport, whose information had helped Annie twice now. She realized that this was her only chance she had to get answers she needed, and so she decided she would get any information she needed, and then return to Earth and help Tom and Kelly and all the rest, somehow.

"Hello. My name is Verena Tozal. Your name is Annabelle Jade Kethrin, I know. It's been a while since we've talked."

"Yeah. Well you called me A'jhanie last time we talked, like her." Annabelle replied, pointing to her clone, who waved back. "Who is she? Who am I?"

"Yes I know you are a bit confused, there is no doubt there. Most people very rarely wake up in a strange place with no discernible clue how they got there. And even rarer still, to see someone who looks similar to them."

Annabelle sighed. "Well it's happened to me about ten times in my life."

"Oh." Verena said, surprised. "Well then. You certainly are a strange one, Annabelle Kethrin, but then again that's coming from someone who, from your perspective, has solid black eyes and fangs. All pure Torrans share these features."

Annabelle looked confused. "Then why not me? Or A'jhanie?"

"Because you are hybrids. Human/Torran hybrids. You, in particular Annabelle, are The Original."

Annabelle was internally floored. She heard the robot tell Vu that she had human DNA a few days before, but didn't realize it was the truth. However she stood strong, focusing on what Verena had said. "Original what?"

"Why, my original daughter. I am technically your biological mother, Annabelle. Not only that, but you and your sister were the first two children born in the third phase of Project Hybrid."

"'Project' what-now?"

Verena gestured for A'jhanie. "My daughter, could you go into the other room and call your father? Ask him how he and Izora are doing on their camping trip."

Annabelle looked bewildered as her other self smiled and nodded, leaving the room. Verena then pointed to Annabelle herself. "Come with me, though you are on a bit of a time limit, you need to learn about yourself if you want to understand us. It's time for you to learn about Project Hybrid."

Something Verena said didn't sit well with Annabelle. Well, everything she said didn't exactly sit well, including her introduction. This bothered her as they walked into the other room. "Wait, how do you know I'm running out of time? How do you know my real name? How do you know all of this?!"

"Young child, I know these things because I'm psychic. Many pure-blooded Torrans have that little feature as well."


"Yes. When you were asleep I simply rested my hand on your forehead and learned quite a bit there is to know about you, including your propensity to love humanity and do good for others. You were raised right by Maria Kethrin. Then again, I knew she would raise you well. That's why I picked her."


 "This device was built with a magnetic core that is repelled and connected by that disk-like device you see below you. I cannot move this drone without that disk thing moving, and I cannot change the height of it or alter it's rotation. It's 'tied' to this disk."

John was in the living room with the rest of his family minus Isobelle and Deacon, overlooking the destroyed Vazir drone that Scarlett shot with magic. John, who had taken it apart and put it back together after looking inside it for a few minutes, quickly discovered many things to know about the object, and it's weaknesses, all the while sensing a familiar hint to it.

"Even if the device is shut down or destroyed, it won't fall to the ground, not with that disk holding it."

Kelly was intrigued by what she heard, and then said "So what happens if you destroy the disk? Will it then fall to the ground?"

"Well if you can get through an energy shield surrounding the disk and destroy that, the device's magnetic core will have nothing to tie it to the ground. This will cause the drone to float away into space like a psychotic, metal, weaponized helium balloon."

The family breathed a collective sigh, then Keera spoke up. "If it's anything like a symbiotic fashion, the drones may be able to repair each other during combat. But they can't repair the disks if they're floating away. It's obvious, right? Our goal is to destroy these disks holding the drones. If we do that, we remove the most dangerous part of their defenses. Either that or we destroy and separate them so they CAN'T repair."

"Yup." John said. "Now I'm gonna turn this robot back on."

A very large, collective "WHAT?!" spiked the air as everyone aside from John cried the word out at once. John smiled and motioned his hand.

"When I was putting Humpty Dumpty back together I noticed a control screen establishing that he was connected to a main command console. I didn't locate the console itself using, but considering all the robots are surrounding the graveyard I'd have to assume that it's NOT there. Why place something that controls your defenses inside the place you're defending? If I was tactical I'd put that someplace safe, far away from the robots, especially if it was automatic."

"There's a point to this and I'm sure you're trying to find it." Keera said, half-jokingly.

"My point is I used the control screen to disconnect it from the main console. And I also placed a bit of a device in there called a Multi-Interface Kinetic Ethics chip. I've been working on this thingy for quite some time."

"How come this is the first I've heard of it then?" Scarlett asked. "You share everything with me."

"I was keeping it a secret from everyone because of what it does. It's a highly advanced AI chip that is capable of mimicking any personality traits of anyone it interacts with. It's a learning computer. I didn't want anyone to know because of what people could do if this chip gets into the wrong hands, like this robot design clearly did."

Tom was slightly confused. "Wait, what are you saying?"

"I originally came up with the design for this robot."


"You 'picked' her?!" Annabelle was still at a loss for words, but forced them to the top anyway. "What do you mean by that?!"

Verena shrugged. "In order to make a Hybrid we needed human DNA. I traveled to Earth about twenty-two of your years ago and saw a single woman driving down the road. I read her mind from a distance and took note of her personality traits. Everything about her seemed suited for raising a child so I used my vessel to abduct her for a few moments, took blood from her, and implanted her with an organic tracking device, sending her back on her way a short time later."

"When I returned, I had my doctors here inject Maria Kethrin's human cells and DNA into my abdomen, as I was pregnant with you, off of my husband Nalrik. The embryo accepted her DNA and it bonded with them before your birth, giving you humanistic traits such as your relatively human eyes as well as your unique abilities. Your pointed ears did not come into the picture until your eighteenth birthday, as did my own daughter, A'jhanie. As was the Custom of Sentimentality, when you were born I cloned you and your sister, kept the clones, and sent the two of you to your mother on Earth. When you arrived, the tracking device within your mother dissolved into her bloodstream."

"So you're saying... Maria Kethrin is related to me biologically, as well? This whole time I thought she was merely my adopted mother."

"Yes, biologically she is your mother, and so am I. So, technically, you have three parents. Like the others."


"You were not the only child born of this third phase of Project Hybrid. Of course you have your twin sister, Isobelle, but there are others, far more others. Some of them were sent to Earth at about the same time as you. Some a few later. All in all there were roughly fifty Hybrids sent, each to their own parents."

"This is amazing. This whole time I thought I was alone on Earth. I have Mirabelle, Isobelle, and Keera but other than that I believed we were the only Aliens. How can I find them, when I get back I mean?"

Verena smiled. Annabelle was taking this news rather well, better than she expected. However after reading her mind, she had seen the things Annabelle had gone through in her life, and believed she was merely desensitized by those events. In regard to her question, she shook her head. "I do not know. They landed all over the planet twenty-one of your Earth Years ago. You can recognize females instantly. All female Torran Hybrids are, by default, visible to their peers via their green skin."

"And males?"

"Males are trickier. They don't have the green skin of their Alien ancestors, but the skin color of the human that was responsible in their creation. This is due to the difference in biology between both human and Torran genders. It's been that way since the beginning of Project Hybrid."

Annabelle nodded. "I'll have to find out more information at home when I get back. But can I ask you another question?"

Verena turned to her and nodded positively. "Anything. I am willing to share all I know."

"You said that I was part of the Third Phase of that project. What happened to the other two?"

Verena walked over to the other side of the large room and looked out the window. "That is a sad event in Torran history. Both of them were. Only one Hybrid was created in the first phase, in what syncs with your planet's time period as the 1920's. Her name was Andromeda Roshali. She was raised on Torra Sev for the first twenty years of her life, and we did not tell her why she looked so different from us."

Annabelle felt a sense of familiarity with this. She had a vision of Mary Knight, that villainous woman who used magic to shape-shift into a unicorn and terrorize her. Mary told her that she crash landed on the planet Earth in 1947 and did not know why her companions in the ship looked different from her. Now Annabelle knew. "You tried to send her to Earth in 1947, but her ship crashed, right? She vanished for years."

"Yes. This is true."

Annabelle continued. "I met her. When I was a teenager she tried to kill me."

Verena looked confused when she turned back to Annabelle. "Really? I did not know this. I did not sense it when I read your mind. I wonder why that is."

Annabelle shrugged this time. "I guess it doesn't really matter. Who was the second hybrid?"

"That... is a terrible story." Verena said, and looked out to the rain again. "Back in what you would call the 1970's, we created another Hybrid, born out of a test tube. Over a decade, in Earth time, he spent his life on this planet thinking he was human, because he looked that way. We all thought he was a nice young man, but he wasn't. No, he wasn't."

"What happened?"

"He eventually went insane, killed a fellow Torran, and carved his skin off. He then tried to wear it and claimed he was truly a Torran, that he looked like one so he had to be. He died shortly after."


"He ran into a building that exploded a few seconds later. We searched the rubble but could not find his body, we assumed it was just vaporized."


"It was stolen. The design I mean. I drew up a sketch of it when I was in high school back in 2016, and all it's bells and whistles, and sent it into the patent office. Well my design never got there. I didn't send it via E-mail, by actual mail, and the truck that was carting it was hijacked by some criminals en route. I can only assume those criminals stole my design and sold it to Vu. Maybe they wanted my robot designs specifically, which would mean that someone I knew was respons-"

"Jack." Kelly said, interrupting him. "Jack must have overheard you talking about it when he visited our house, hired the thieves, stole the designs, and gave them to Vu. He was Vu's Benefactor, right? He knew Vu could build the robots, which means he could use them to defend something. ... Oh my God. Jacob Thompson is Jack Toomes!!"

Another loud "WHAT!?!?!" filled the room. Tom especially looked furious. Seeing their reaction, Kelly continued.

"I knew something was up with the remains of Jack from that meteorite, when he was destroyed at the police station. There was a lot of metal pieces which I initially thought were parts of the car he was in, but now I get it: A robot design that was stolen a short time ago from Sunset Valley was used to build an advanced droid that looked and sounded like Jack. Using this, Jack himself escaped, used something to make himself younger, which I assume was your Young Again potion, John, and replaced himself with the android. When the meteorite hit the car that held the fake Jack, everyone thought he was killed, so Jacob could go on living."

"That's why he hated me so much." Tom said. "Annabelle too. We both caused him to get arrested four years ago. Kidnapping Annabelle was part of his revenge. WHERE IS HE?!"

John looked back to the group. "We'll have to find that out. But now that we know who we're dealing with, this mission of ours just got much more serious. Jack Toomes will use that lamp to take over this planet, that was his goal from the very beginning. We HAVE to stop him!"

"I agree." Scarlett said. "And when I get my hands around his neck I'm gonna wring his body dry of blood! NO ONE kidnaps my best friend and gets away with it!!"

"As much as Scarlett is scaring me." Mirabelle said. "I agree with her. Jack Toomes is too dangerous. We may have to... you know... end him. I can't say I haven't thought about it. After all he's done, it's crossed my mind more than once. What about you, Tom?... Tom?"

Everyone looked over to where Tom was to see him gone.

"Where is he?"

The group turned around to see him walking upstairs. They collectively breathed a sigh of relief, thinking he was going to go fight Jack Toomes alone, which was in all accounts a one-way trip. After this, John turned to the robot and pressed a button on it's side. Seconds later the drone sprang to life, it's original red coloring now a cool blue."

"Drone, speak."


"MIKE?" Kelly asked. "Where did you get that name?"


"Oh yeah." Keera said. "That AI chip gives it personality. It's refreshing to see a robot who does not act like a robot."

"MIKE. What was your mission prior to being shut down?" Kelly asked. "Why did you come to our home?"


"Jack?! Why scout our house?"


"The REST?!" Mirabelle yelled out. "As in more of you?!"



"Why did you come to me when I was in Bridgeport? Why did you call me A'jhanie, like the daughter you have?"

"That is something I was hoping you wouldn't bring up." Verena replied. "Four of your Earth years ago, A'jhanie was sick. She had a disease that was tearing apart her organs from the inside out. I thought if you came to Torra Sev, you could... be the one who would replace my daughter. That is why I called you A'jhanie. I thought if I called you that, you could eventually accept the name, and be with me and your genetic father as our own.

"I'm not sure if I could have accepted that." Annabelle replied. "I had my own life on Earth."

"I was sure of this. However while you were here for those few seconds, I was able to scan you, and heal your own injuries from the explosion you were involved in. After sending you back in clothes A'jhanie had, I used your DNA's structure to clone fresh organs for A'jhanie, and she was healed of her disease. She doesn't know about this. She was in cryostasis at the time, still aging but asleep. It's lucky you were brought before us when you did. If she was in there too long, she would have had her hair, eyes, and clothes turn white from the cryo-freeze solution."

"Isobelle." Annabelle murmured to herself, now knowing why her twin sister looked so bizarrely different from herself. "But this 'bleaching' would fade eventually, right?"

"Yes. Could be months, or years. I know you ask because of your twin sister. She was trapped in orbit for ten years, only pulled back to your planet via the use of a device pulling debris from the upper atmosphere. That was part my fault. I should have sent you in the same ship, but my mistake caused the girl you know to think herself different, and to see things for what they really are."

"Why isn't he red? He's supposed to be red." Annabelle thought back to Isobelle's words when they were teenagers, when Isobelle took her to the graveyard to show her Deacon. She complained that Deacon didn't look red to her. Perhaps this is what Verena meant by "seeing things for what they were". Rather than push the subject, Annabelle remembered the whole Eclipse event back on Earth, and decided she had to get home as soon as humanly possible. Verena sensed this and led her silently to the next room, where she opened a large door revealing something to Annie.

"Oh that's awesome."


 Tom was despondent. He didn't know what to do. As he stood in Annabelle's room, he remembered things that happened in there. He remembered the two of them forgiving each other after their argument, and smiled as he remembered what happened not long after that. He remembered laughing with Annabelle the next day, and smiling with her, before... that explosion.

Then he remembered her lying on the bed. injured from that explosion, and his confession to her unconscious form that he often wondered what things would have been like had he kissed her in the ruins of the library four years before.

Thinking of this made Tom upset for more reasons than one. He could have told her back then, he could have confessed his true feelings to her when she was awake, and maybe she wouldn't have been kidnapped and possibly killed. He felt guilty for her being taken, as he did when she was kidnapped when they were teenagers. If he had told her the truth, she probably never would have been in this situation, and they could have been somewhere else entirely.

Upset, he walked over to the window and looked out to the stars. "Please come back to me."

"She's gone isn't she?" Tom turned and saw Isobelle standing behind him. At least he thought it was her, as the white part of her hair and eyes were now a darker color, with turquoise in it. He didn't see her in the living room when John was talking about the robot, and figured it was because she was talking to Deacon.

"I'm not sure, really." Tom said. He didn't tell anyone what he saw, Annabelle being shot and probably vaporized by the robots, but Isobelle was smarter than she looked. She noticed his stance, his expressions as he walked into the house. "She might be."

"Might is a good word to use in this case." Isobelle replied. "It indicates a sliver of hope that the 'might' means 'no', which would mean she's still here, and alive. I always use words like that. There are some things you can never be truly sure of."

"And on the flipside, what are you truly sure of?"

Isobelle smiled. "That everything will be alright, no matter how it looks."

Isobelle left the room and Tom took her words to heart. With that, he left the room himself, turning off the light. As he walked out, Mirabelle bolted up the stairs and ran towards him. "We have a serious, serious problem."

"What's wrong?"

"Robots, lots of them. They're coming, Tom, and they're going to try and kill us all. We need you downstairs to help defense."

"What can I do?" Isobelle, who was standing nearby, asked. "I don't know anything special, not even any type of magic."

Mirabelle nodded. "You can fortify every door leading in this house aside from the main one, we'll use that to get in and out of this house. We can't let them get inside." Isobelle ran off to do what Mirabelle said, then the latter turned to Tom. "You, me, and all the ones who have a magic wand will stand at the ready. These things will be coming, and we can't let them."

Tom and Mirabelle ran down the stairs and gathered some things for what was to be their first battle of this little war. '

If MIKE was telling the truth', Mirabelle thought, 'then we're in for something fierce.' 


"I take this is A'jhanie's spaceship?" Annabelle asked as she looked at a hovering craft in front of her, due to the black and purple scheme that A'jhanie and Annabelle wore. "I can't take this, I would feel guilty."

"She has two more in storage." Verena said. "She told me while you were asleep that she wanted to give you this one as a way of getting back to your home planet, and you could use it to help in whatever you need."

"It's true. I said that." A'jhanie replied as she walked into the room with the two. "You need to get home fast, and you can't teleport at the moment because you used all that energy to get here, so go ahead and take it. But you can't go like that because this ship requires an interface suit to be worn if someone's using it for the first time. Luckily I have a spare, and I think its just your color."


A short time later, Annabelle stood in the garage, looking at the pair. She was wearing a spacesuit, the same type A'jhanie had worn, and noticed how incredibly comfortable it was. "Now I see why you wear these. I may keep this as part of my wardrobe back home."

Verena smiled. "Yes. And speaking of home, you should go soon."

"But... I have so many more questions to ask."

Verena smiled again. "There are things you must know, and I must tell you, but not right now. Maybe later on you can come back to Torra Sev, or I can come to your world and meet this family you've built up. From what you've told me through your thoughts, they must be great people."

"They are."

Verena walked up to Annabelle, shook her hand and, surprisingly, held her other hand to Annabelle's forehead. Annie didn't know why she was doing this, perhaps it was a way of saying goodbye, but when Verena stepped away Annabelle could sense something was in her mind now, but she couldn't understand what.

A'jhanie walked up to her afterwards. "I placed a tracker in your new ship, so I can see where it is. I figured I could, you know, come and visit you on Earth myself later on down the line, and bring my sister!"

"I'd like that." Annabelle said. "I would like to get to know you more. By the way, do you know why Verena just, like, did the mind meld thing?"

"She did the same when I was sixteen years old. Earth years I mean." She then smiled. "You'll see momentarily."

Annie shrugged, then stepped over to the craft. "Thank you both for your hospitality, and thank you Verena for telling me what I needed to know. Now I just need to learn how to... fly... this." Annabelle walked over to the ship and found herself being teleported into it.

She reached down and looked at her new vessel's controls, and somehow instantly knew what function did what, and how she could get back, including knowledge of Earth's location. Suddenly she knew what Verena did just then: Imparted to her the knowledge of flying this spaceship.

"Too cool."

She then pressed a button on the console, and seconds later she and her ship were gone in a flash.

Two Hours Later

"Alright, is everyone familiar with our plan?" Mirabelle asked, looking at everyone, with the exception of John who was preparing things, around her. Seeing as it was a good area with large windows, everyone was standing in a group inside the study room, with Isobelle using said large windows to look out to the city to see if any drones were coming.

"Yep. Use distraction to hide our numbers, then boom! But what if they can detect heat signatures?"

"Well Deacon and Isobelle will be in the garage. By cutting open the backs of some old fridges, the cold air will freeze the nearby wall and, hopefully, mask their signatures while the rest of us will stand outside. We WANT them to know we're here, not Deacon and Isobelle." Mirabelle explained.

Tom then chimed in. "What if they detect the two inside?"

Mirabelle looked at Isobelle. "Let's hope they don't. Isobelle and Deacon can't fight, they don't have any means to fight right now and Deacon's still injured from falling off the roof of our house four years ago.

"Don't remind me." Deacon said, upset.

"They're coming. I see an awful lot of red off in the distance."

"Great, on time." Keera said, sarcastically.

"Vazir drones are nothing if not punctual." MIKE said. The rest of the family looked at him, realizing their robot just made a sarcastic remark. They collectively thought that the personality chip John gave him must have begun to work it's wonders.

Using stealth to move across the house and outside it, the main group made their way across the front lawn to the side of the building, then they split into two groups, with MIKE, Mirabelle, Scarlett, and Kelly standing on one side of the house while John, Tom, and Keera stood on the other side. As per their orignal idea, Isobelle and Deacon stood in the garage, due to their injuries and inability to fight.

John told them that the Vazir drones could repair each other if one of them was damaged, so their goal was to either separate them, destroy them quickly enough so they couldn't repair each other, or destroy the device holding them on the ground. Mirabelle looked and spotted the drones heading down the street towards them, gesturing her group silently while Tom's group moved around the house to the back.

The group of drones, nearly thirty of them, stopped at the abandoned house across the street from their own. They scanned the house, looking for signs of organics, and some of them even went inside for an unknown reason.

As drones moved towards the large house house, one of them broke off from its original group and headed to the side, where it noticed a large heat signature. When it reached the location of the heat signature, it turned and saw... a bonfire, one that had recently begun burning. It figured the heat of this bonfire was causing a large signature to pop up, and turned around to regroup.

Just as it turned, Mirabelle came out of the shadows and grabbed the drone, punching a hole into through it's outer shell to grab it's central processor and shut it down. She then grabbed the remains and pulled them back against the house next to her.

When two more Vazir drones came around the corner to investigate, Scarlett and Kelly shot them with fire spells, shutting them down as well.

"Three down, who knows how many to go." Scarlett said, loudly.

"Shh." Replied Kelly. Scarlett looked at her with a confused glance.


"Didn't you just say something? Like 'two down' or something " Kelly asked.

Scarlett was even more confused, which kept her that way until she turned around. Suddenly three more drones were behind her, having seemingly teleported out of nowhere.

Scarlett motioned for everyone to get back before a blue beam of light shot out and destroyed the three drones at once. Kelly turned to MIKE, whose laser cannon was still smoking.

This laser blast, however, alerted the rest of the drones to their presence. Kelly, Mirabelle, Scarlett, and MIKE made their way down the side of the house as the robots turned the corner.

Just as the Vazirs headed down the far corner, everyone who was wielding a magic wand was waiting for them, and a huge flash of light burst out from their respective locations, destroying all the Vazirs at once in a volley of magic.

"Check them, make sure they're all shut down." Tom said. The group did so, and after a few short minutes the all clear was given. Tom, Kelly, MIKE, Keera, Mirabelle, John, and Scarlett congratulated themselves on a job well done and walked back towards the front door... where they were stunned to see even more Vazirs across the street.

"INSIDE!" Deacon yelled out from the garage. "They just popped up out of nowhere!"

"I think they built some kind of local teleportation device in that house!" John yelled out as he ran inside. "We have to find out what it is and shut it down!"

"How many of these things are there?!" Keera angrily said as she started throwing volleys of magic at them, which was futile as with each one destroyed, the one next to it got it working within seconds. A stun bolt shot from one of the closet Vazirs and hit Keera in her chest, dazing her for a few seconds. John, Scarlett, and Tom tired to get to her, but they were cut off by the bolts firing at them from across the street.

Taking this opportunity, four Vazir drones maneuvered some of themselves across the street to corner Keera. Just as the drones surrounded her... they were all destroyed within seconds.

"Thanks!" Keera yelled out to the group. However she quickly found out that they weren't the one to shoot the drones, but instead something above them did. "Oh great, what now?!"

The hovering craft stayed in the air for a few seconds, then started shooting a volley of glowing spheres at the robots across the street, decimating them in seconds and blowing up the house that they were inside and coming out of. John was surprised to see he was correct in assuming that there was a teleporter in the house, as it violently exploded seconds after he caught a glimpse of it.

Everyone that was outside ran indoors as the robots violently exploded, some of them damaged so bad they started to float up towards the sky as John predicted. The craft which saved Keera and, by extension, everyone else landed in the street in front of the house.

Keera, recognizing the color scheme of the craft, didn't know whether to be happy or freaked out, as did the rest of them. Then Annabelle smiled as she teleported out of the alien craft, looking at everyone as they stepped outside, who understandably had shocked looks on their faces after seeing her like this.

"Did you miss me?"

"ANNABELLE!!!!!" Tom yelled as he ran out towards her. Everyone, who was shocked, pushed past that emotion and ran as well, with the exception of Keera who had stayed back a bit. Tom, having ran out first, hugged her tightly. "You survived! You're okay! Wait... what the HELL happened?"

"The same-old same-old. I teleported to an Alien planet this time, that was kinda new."

"And ALIEN PLANET?!" Kelly yelled out. "As in, a different world?!"

"Yeah. I met my birth mother and everything. Can I talk to you about this later? The first thing I want to do is talk to everyone. I've been gone for a couple days, so I'd like a chance to chat. Then I want to find Jack Toomes and shove a laser cannon down his throat and blast his damn-"

Mirabelle quickly interrupted her doppelganger. "No one's been able to find him since he relayed a message across the town. Then again no one's been looking. This town is abandoned, we're all alone."

"Jack threatened everyone." John elaborated. "He said if anyone goes near the graveyard, he'll destroy the town with the meteor device."

"How did he get his hands on that again, anyway?" Kelly asked. "I suppose they just made a new one, because Cambridge told me he still has the one I gave him on lockdow- wait a second. Annabelle, I'm very glad you're back and okay, and you have a spacesuit and spaceship. That's new, and I'd love to chat about it but I have to go. I uh... have to send a message. John, Red, come with me. I could use your expertise on these things."

John and Scarlett nodded and followed her. After they left, the rest of the group went inside, where it was safer. When they were all in, Isobelle smiled as she walked up to Annabelle. "It seems you have some stories to tell.", she said happily. "You've been off on some faraway adventures while we were here fighting some robots. Sounds like a comic book."

"Well if our life was a comic, I'm sure there would be a lot more random explosions for no reason." Tom said, jokingly. "But Annabelle! I am so glad you're back. How did you teleport yourself out of that craziness?!"

"I thought of someone, someone very close to me." She replied. "Someone I care for a whole lot."

Tom, knowing who she was talking about somehow, smiled. "I know, Mrs. Jenkins, our fifth grade teacher. She was nice."

Annabelle smiled back. She wanted to say "No, you." But she figured Tom knew what she meant. Suddenly she looked around and didn't see someone in particular. "Where is Keera?"    

"I'm right here." Annabelle looked past Tom and smiled at her daughter, who walked up to her. She was hiding in the corner, not sure what to say. Finally, after a short time, she started to speak. "You're back now, so please..."

"Please what?"

"PLEASE! Don't ever leave me again!" Keera replied as she fell into her, crying. Annabelle patted her back lovingly, assuring her that she wasn't going to go anywhere else for a while. The teenager realized right now why she was so angry, because Annabelle was always there in her past to help her, and with her gone, she had no one. Mirabelle was busy with helping everyone learn magic, and everyone else was busy.

Besides, Annabelle was home, and that was all that mattered.

As Keera stepped away from Annabelle's embrace, she turned to Isobelle and Deacon. "I am so sorry for what I said earlier. I really didn't mean anything I was saying."

"Don't worry about it." Deacon said. "I'm sure Izzy and I both have been where you were, and we both can empathize and understand what you were going through."

Isobelle nodded. "Yes, we know what it's like to be angry at the world."

Keera smiled and turned back to Annabelle, hugging her again. She then walked back inside the house with Isobelle, Deacon, and Tom in tow, the latter going to make sure everything was alright with everyone. Annabelle decided to walk inside as well, followed by Mirabelle who was the only one in the foyer with her."

"I'm glad you're back. Honestly I tried to fill your shoes, to come up with the ideas and plans, but since my creation, I've basically stepped into a different pair of shoes than yours. Besides, that's not the only reason I'm glad. I'm glad you're back because you are the only one I know who can bring this place together, and this family united. Somehow everyone gravitates towards you, and since you were kidnapped, everyone's felt alone and isolated. Welcome back."

"It's good to be back!" Annabelle said, "And you have a robot behind you."

Mirabelle quickly turned around and noticed MIKE hovering behind her. "Oh don't worry. John reprogrammed him. He's good."


"Yeah. He helped us in our battle. His name is MIKE."

"Greetings again, Annabelle Jade Kethrin."     


"Correct. I was there when you were captured. I healed your injuries. I replaced your clothing."

"You were the drone that was with Vu. You told Vu about me being half-Alien."

"Half?!" Mirabelle said, shocked. "What do you mean, HALF?!" 

"Oh yeah, with all the excitement from arriving back on Earth, I forgot to tell you. Tell everyone to meet me in the living room, I have quite a story to tell."


An hour later, everyone was reeling over Annabelle's story regarding Torrans and Project Hybrid. Mirabelle, who had experienced Annabelle's life up to a certain point, was more shocked than anyone to learn her true origins. Keera was shocked as well, but not as much due to the fact that she herself was a clone. After finishing her story, everyone went to bed, exhausted from their ordeal they just went through. Keera, Mirabelle, Tom, and Kelly all got their sleeping bags and slept in the living room while Annie took the couch, as they all wanted to make sure she was safe and protected.

The only one who didn't sleep was MIKE, who patrolled around the outside house in case more Vazir drones were coming. As he did so, he approached a group of damaged drones located nearby, ones that the family destroyed...


September 17th, 2022 
Three Days to the Solar Eclipse

The next morning, Annabelle walked through her house. She was happy to be back from a few-day captivity she endured, and that little trip to an alien planet afterwards, and was loving every nook and cranny of her home for what had been nearly a month now. Finally, she stopped in the ground floor's rec room, having seen MIKE analyzing an arcade game for what amounted to no reason.

"Hey there, I have a question that's been bugging me for a bit."

"I may have an answer."

"You scanned me and noticed I had human DNA in my body. Is there any way you can scan anyone else and find out the same for them? I heard that there were more Hybrids like me on Earth, and I wanted to find some."

"ANALYZING. ANALYSIS COMPLETE. There are five subjects in my databank that contains information regarding Extraterrestrial Hybrid technology, which I have collected from the people I have interacted with in the past."

Annabelle counted in her head. "Wait... five? That you've met? There's me, Mirabelle, Keera, and Isobelle. Who was the fifth one?"

"ANALYZING. Answer: The fifth Hybrid you speak of is named..."

"Yes, I know Torran biology when I see it, 'A'jhanie'."

"I will then run for President and win, where I will launch an invasion the planet of Torra Sev and steal the technology. With their technology, I can truly build my glorious city within my lifetime, and I will rule it all. My empire will be the most powerful one in history, and then, I will take over this entire planet, and create the first ever Empire of Earth!"

Annabelle heard what MIKE said, and for a split second, everything made sense. Why else would he know about Torrans from the start? Why would he want to take over Earth? He knew about Annabelle, and named Torra Sev, and he knew about Nightmare, as she was the first Hybrid. To that end he knew what to say to manipulate her, lying to her to "know the truth" about their home planet. After all this, Annabelle realized that he was pure evil, and that no human on Earth could be so... alien...

He was the second Hybrid.

"Could you repeat that, please?"  Annabelle asked, in shock from this revelation.   

"Repeating: The fifth hybrid is named 'Toomes, Jackson', nicknamed 'Jack'."