It's a long drive up to Canada to see Jackson's family, but Brian likes driving and Jackson doesn't like airport security (he doesn't have all the official stamps of approval he needs to avoid extra scrutiny for being a psion). They've recently crossed the border into Montana.
"...I don't see how my sex life is relevant to this conversation?"
Why did they have to get picked up by the weird kinky ones. "We're not... presenting as anything."
"What she means," adds Daria helpfully, "is 'stop shoving your kinks in our face.'"
"...I think we're missing something."
"'Are you doms or subs, it's hard to read," quotes Daria. "I can't tell what you're presenting as. Oh, are you switches, I forgot that.' I don't think she misheard." Then, to Mariam: "No, you're right, they're being... very casual about that."
"Listen," she says, apparently to the roof of the car, "I had just about come to terms with some kind of inexplicable time travel bullshit, please tell me today hasn't gotten any more sci-fi."
"- oh. Do you really think...?"
"We assumed it was some slang term for necromancers! I can't believe I'm saying this but this conversation would make a lot more sense if I'm right. ...please tell me I'm wrong and you're some kind of kinky hermits who think everyone's like them and that necromancers can do time travel."
"Can you explain mages, psions, the role thing? Assume we're, I don't know, aliens or something."
"We're not actually aliens," she reassures him. " - I think. We don't have any of that, though. Daria's theory was that we'd traveled to a different universe, dimension, whatever the word is. It's... really implausible, but not actually that much more implausible than time travel."
She notices Daria open her mouth to speak and makes a cutting motion with her hand that translates to something like do not tell the nice people giving us a ride the other option is that they're delusional.
"You're telling me," Daria mutters.
"You don't, that's what I've been saying, I have no idea how we got here. Theoretically I could imagine modifying whatever it is that lets spirits be called instantaneously in a focusless ritual, but we don't even know if something's traveling or if spirits are omnipresent after they die. If anyone had made progress on that I would know, there's no reason to keep that kind of thing secret."
"Neither," says Daria, rolling her eyes. "- actually, good question, does it count as one of those here? Can you tell? Does it even work here? Our link works, that's suggestive but not conclusive, maybe it's only passive but not active - I was going to try a call, I should really do that." She starts pulling things out her bag, continuing her questions as she does so. "How does magery work, how does psionics work, can anyone do them? Are either of you mages or psions? What does "do magic to the mind" mean, is it that they interact with what's left when someone leaves a spirit, can mages affect neurons or something?"
Eventually she has a bit of hair wrapped around a chunk of lead in the center of a complicated geometric figure drawn on lined notebook paper, the entire set-up balanced precariously on her lap.