Chapter 1   All Fired Up

    Be warned right now; this year will be different.  How is that?  Well, for one, Grace Rug no longer attends the school or even lives in the same galaxy.  She’s been replaced by the one, the only Nova G.  Okay so, that’s simply the hype for the antics Gigi and the girls have planned for the trip, but comparing the cast roster with the norm will tell you that no one is letting the mishap of last year’s mid-lesson catastrophe take away from the energy that is driving this year’s travelers.  We’ll also probably tone down the number of pictures to what it was during the first trip, but I think you will get enough exciting visuals in your head to keep you tuned in to our fast-paced main event of Dogwood HQ’s System Guard Military Academy.

    Approaching her fellow teachers, Catherine Antonia Sky Rug scrutinizes their all-too-familiar appearances and complains, “You losers were supposed to join in the costume party.”

    Laughing, Ally J. responds with a playful tone in her voice, “Nobody told me about this.  I thought it was just the girls.”

    Examining her own suit, Jo asks, “What would I do to this thing anyway?  You know I like to wait until after work to get fancy so that I don’t mess up some new, amazing hairstyle.”

    “Yeah,” agrees Ally, “and your own stylish flair puts us to shame anyway, Cat…well, sometimes.”

    Cat slyly questions, “Is that overconfidence whispering, Ally?  I don’t remember you ever having a proper counterattack to my drop-dead gorgeous dress and boots from Corizandre.”

    “Oh, yes,” recalls Ally, “I got something.  I just haven’t found time to crush your dreams of being the most fashionable SG in the solar system.  Oh!  Speaking of which,” the girl in red then looks over to the senior officers that escorted her to class today and yells, “AB, sir, are you and Lady Vahnna really going to bring me here and just forget I exist?”

    The beckoned elders make their way over to the girls and notice the change on someone’s head.

    “Grandchild,” AB blurts out, “what’s with the smaller scalp fuzz?  Your head house has less roof now.”

    “My head house?” Duplica glares at her elder while giving a subtle smile.  “At least it’s better than scalp fuzz.  You make my hair sound like a beard.  Yeah, yeah, I know that’s basically what it is, just on top of the head.”

    Jo then pats Cat’s cranium and congratulates her.  “It seems you haven’t lost your sense of humor after all, pal.”

    “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Jo.”  Cat starts to play with her hair in a discontent fashion.  “Gramps, I have to warn you.  I sent a pic to Granny Cici of me trying out her hairstyle, but I’ll probably get bored and switch back while on the trip today.  It’s just too short for my liking.”

    For anyone familiar with System Guards but who hasn’t read the previous two Successor stories, the Dogwood Galaxy is inhabited by the descendants of all the Milky Way SG’s, thanks to time travel nonsense.  It’s for this reason that Duplica calls several of the old cast Granny and Grandpa, since they’re all her ancestors from very long ago…from her perspective.

    “Now, like I was saying,” Ally jumps back in, “Cat, you and Jo can finally see for yourselves who is to blame for me always being so busy…right, sir?”  This final part was obviously aimed at AB.

    “Guilty,” he admits.  “Since I know you two can handle the class, I usually keep Ally out on the field.  She’s never complained, but we all know what a hard worker she is, so I decided to give her a different assignment today.  Right, Ally?”

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