Kammy squints at the woman.  “’When’?  What did you just say?”

    Grace laughs, both at Kammy’s funny expression and at the fact Gracie Grace understands something Kamron Crystal doesn’t, for once.  “Kammy, what she is saying is that she is from this era, but this is not the Vahnna that is a part of the story we’re visiting.  You can think of her as the future version, even though it is the present from our perspective.  Think about if we visited our past.  Present-day you would be future you in that—”

    “Thanks, babe.  I get it.”  Crystal tries to smile in appreciation, despite being annoyed at losing out to Gigi on this one.

    “Yes, so if you do happen to meet my past self in the next few stops along the way, please be careful with what you say to me.  I mean, I’ve forgotten all those encounters until each time we’ve caught up again, but all the same, just know that this is the only time I plan to visit you in the present day from our view of things.  Of course, when the trip is over, you can hang out with us at Planet HQ.  It’s not like I’m dead or something.”

    Faye raises her hand.  “Speaking of dead, should we start the body count of who’s kicked the bucket since we passed through the portal?”

    Duplica’s lips do a funny puckering motion as she bites the inside of her cheek, thinking of what to say.  “I question your sense of compassion, Faye.  Eh, no better way than to hit sorrow in the teeth, I guess.  So, how ‘bout it, Lady V.?  In fact, tell us who you three are, then start up the story.”

    Vahnna clears her throat in polite expectation.

    “*Sigh* Please, ma’am.” Duplica bows a little with this.

    “Hee hee!  Thank you, baby!” The elder is quite delighted.  “I’m Lady Vahnna, this is Patriarch and that is my.…” Vahnna giggles.  “I’ll just leave it at saying this is Noin.  Mwahahaha!!  Now, we start our story at the beginning, as you might suspect—”

    Noin lightly skips over to the speaker and bumps into her.  “Since I’m only a name, do you mind if I show I can talk, too?  Haha!  I can tell a little of the story to give you a break, if you want.”

    The two women play fight over who will tell the story.  As she seemingly wins, Noin takes over.  “I couldn’t let her hog all the fun after that little disregarding comment, now, could I?  Although, I don’t want our joking to give you kids the wrong impression that we’re tactless glory hogs.”

    Vahnna concurs, “Nope, we’re just a trio of goofs, that’s all.”

    Noin goes on.  “Oh, man!  The world that I grew up in was the top of the line in Ruyngardian history.  Okay, get this, we had artificial islands, like Angel Isle and Volcano Spa, as well as the fully functional Space City.  Angel Isle was a manufacturer of XII’s equivalent to the techbots you may be familiar with from other System stories.  My cousin even had her very own angel techs to follow her around wherever she went.  How off the charts is that?”

    Grace is concerned.  “We don’t say ‘off the charts.’  Please stop trying so hard.”

    The eyes of young Faye, however, look to the sky in captivated imagination.  “Just think of the luxury that would come with having your own robotic angel servants to do your every bidding.”  Suddenly, this turns to a practical monologue.  “Although, as my lovable mother’s lackey, I have to say that if I had my own children to watch over, I’d be much more considerate of their personal liberty as individuals.  Mm-hm, mm-hm.” Faye nods her head philosophically as she ponders this aloud.

    Jo pats Faye’s noggin and teasingly says, “I’ll be sure to tell your ‘lovable mother’ what a lackey you feel you are to her.”

    Waving her arms frantically in front of her as she realizes how that sounded, little Faye attempts to clarify.  “I wasn’t complaining about my living situation.  My mother is the sweetest woman alive.  I w-was just expressing my thoughts on modern parenting, that’s all.”

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