An invitation to a party appears on various university billboards inviting people to the Kappa Alpha Frat house located in the mostly finished Castle Commonwealth mall on the edge of town. The notice instructs people to follow the access road at 67 Lost Nation drive and enter through the back door and promises that signs will be posted to guide people to the party itself.
"You're probably right," she agrees, shaking her head. "Although I'd really rather not think about the possibility of 'scientific study'." She shrugs. "Unfortunately my 'spoiled rich girl' comment earlier? That comes with a healthy dose of paranoia about kidnap and ransom."
"That makes sense, on both counts. I'm not really sure what to expect. This whole thing is strange and it's only really the word of this place that indicates we've been teleported to another star system, at least so far."
Tamaris sighs. "The lack of phone signal implies...something. I'm not sure what. And how are we supposed to get independent verification exactly? I mean, we can't call home and ask whether we've suddenly left the solar system. Not sure how they'd even tell." She runs her fingers through her head. "I mean, Joss might be able to discern something, and Rex definitely thought something wasn't right but. I don't know if they'd be able to tell if we were in a different solar system."
"It might not be proof positive, but when the clouds clear and it's daytime the sun might look different here, that would be a evidence that we're in a different solar system."
"Well, it's probably the best plan we have right now," Tamaris agrees, sitting back in her seat, tapping one foot. "Provided this place even has a daytime?"
"It was light out when Alice and I got here, just overcast."
"Okay, so there is a daytime," Tamaris says, nodding thoughtfully. "We just have to hope that the cloud cover leaves. Unfortunately manipulating weather is not something I can do," her tone has turned half teasing there, trying to inject some levity. She sighs. "Well, if we're not going to find anything else out tonight, I suppose I should at least try to sleep..."
"Yeah, sleep is probably a good idea. There's a lot to read but nothing seems likely to be urgent."
"I really doubt they're just going to hand us the way home," Tamaris says, slightly regretfully as she gets to her feet. "But everyone says that things look better in the morning."
She tilts her neck from side to side as she heads for the bedrooms. "Good night," she says over her shoulder.
"Good Night." Zahn finds a bedroom for himself and goes to sleep.
The next morning Alice wakes up early and goes to the kitchen in search of breakfast.
Joss is already awake, perched on one of the counters with a glass of water, staring at the ceiling as though it had personally offended her.
"G'morning," she greets without looking to Alice. "Sleep well?"
"Reasonably well, I've travelled a lot so I'm used to sleeping in unfamiliar places. I had to meditate a bit to clear my thoughts first."
"Good to hear," Joss says, sliding off the counter and stretching. "Tam and Rex are still conked out asleep. Or at least Tam is. She was using Rex as a pillow last I saw so it might be some time before he's willing to move."
"That's cute." Alice starts looking through the cabinets and finds a box of cereal. "Are you doing alright?"
"Better this morning. Sleep does occasionally feel like a miracle cure." She bends over to touch her toes. "If we can't find a way home in the next couple of hours I was thinking of grabbing one of the bikes and checking out the outside."
"That sounds like it could be nice. I don't really like to be cooped up."
"Yeah, me neither... or Rex for that matter. Rex will probably not want to wait on that count. We'll see though." She taps her fingers against her thigh, clicks her tongue. "I suppose we'll be spending at least part of this morning in the library then. And probably need to find some sports kit if we end up going for a cycle..."
"I'm sure we can find something in the mall." Alice pauses for a moment gazing out the window. The clouds have cleared and the sky outside is tinged green. "The sky is the wrong color."
Joss swears, inventively, and in three languages. (One of which does not sound precisely human.) "So. Either this is some really messed up hallucination or we are a very long way from home."
"That's about the shape of things. It could also be a complex illusion but that doesn't make much difference."
"It doesn't...feel like an illusion? I don't think? I like to think I'd be able to tell if it was an illusion..."
"You'd know more than me, I didn't know magic was real until you and your friends told me."
"S'kinda weird for me to think about people not knowing, even though I know they don't. I've known as long as I can remember."
She sighs. "For all I know, this is a hella complex illusion that manages to fool me. But- It still wouldn't explain a green sky. That's kinda a dead giveaway that something is up."
"Yeah. I expect we'll find some answers today, though I don't think we'll find all of them anytime soon."