The portal opened and the monarch stepped through, bringing someone with her
"Hello Cass" said Garth as the portal closed
She regarded him coolly
"Figures" she sneered and turned back to Brittany, drawing her pistol as she did so to shoot the bitch in the face from point blank range
Irritatingly the blast just washed over whatever shielding technology the monarch was using and dissipated harmlessly
Brittany favoured Cass with the same look she had just given Garth
"That was tiresome" she said levelly, as an array of small matte black spheres shimmered into being in orbit around her "We have enough firepower here to obliterate a city. Please refrain from doing that again; it'd be such a shame"
Cass eyed the spheres suspiciously; they ranged in size, each somewhere between a golf ball and a softball in diameter, and while she couldn't see anything there that was obviously a weapon, Brittany, she reflected, didn't get to be the most dangerous entity in the universe without knowing a thing or two about taking care of herself
Relaxing her posture, Cass slipped the gun back inside her desert robes and scowled
"You can't blame me for being an optimist" she shrugged
"Quite" Brittany conceded, the ghost of a smile playing across her lips "Like with that Chrysler man; after what he did to you following our last little encounter, We never quite understood what you saw in him"
"Smeg off" Cass snapped, folding her arms defensively in front of her "That's off-limits!"
"Of course" Brittany shrugged dismissively as another time vortex opened behind her "C'mon" she inclined her head towards the black gate "Let's go do some stuff"
Cass glowered at her
“What stuff?”
“Just stuff”
“And if I refuse?”
“We fuck with your mind” Brittany smiled “We fuck with your mind the same way We do with little Garth here; and then you’ll really want to do stuff with us”
“Oh, whatever” Cass snarled, shaking her head as she stalked past Brittany and through the gate
The monarch turned to follow her, but paused to favour Garth with an evil grin
“As you were little man" she smirked "As you were”
And with that she was gone

Cass emerged out into misty sunlight, filtering down through the twisted foliage crowding in low overhead. The heat was oppressive; and even in the cool and flowing desert clothes she was wearing, she could feel her skin prickling with sweat almost immediately
Looking around, she found herself at the muddy edge of a shallow pool, in what appeared to be a vast and eerily silent swamp. The mud seeped up over the tops of her desert sandals and oozed wetly between her toes
“Smeg” she grumbled, paddling her feet out of the mire with a wet sucking noise and catching her robes up to stop them trailing in the mud and getting wet
“We won’t be too long” Brittany breezed as she strolled out of the gate, carrying a small metal box “We need to do a couple of things and then we’ll go home”
“Home?” Cass queried, but Brittany ignored this and walked past her to wade a metre or so out into the pool “What are you doing?”
Opening the box, Brittany tipped what looked like black sand out of it and into the water, before discarding the box by throwing it out into the deeper water with a flick of her wrist
“Done” she said and turned to wade back to the muddy shore, her white clothes somehow emerging pristine and completely dry
“What was that?” Cass asked
“Isotopes” Brittany shrugged “We’re just giving evolution a little encouragement”
Another time gate howled open behind Cassandra
“C’mon” the monarch nodded “Next stop in a million years”

The two women emerged from the gate onto gently rolling grassland beneath a dark, storm bruised sky. The heat was still ridiculous, and the scent of the coming rains hung heavy in the humid air.
“What’s this?” Cass asked
“Same place a million years later” Brittany replied “Oh, here they come...”
The earth thrummed underfoot as a herd of three metre high, horse-like creatures crested a nearby ridge, closely followed by a pack of what could only be described as wolf-like lizards
Brittany pulled a pistol of some sort from inside her jacket as the creatures approached, adjusted the weapon’s settings and fired the thing at the lead horse-creature, making it rear up and screech in pain as the other animals stampeded past
For Cass the whole episode was terrifying
The horse creatures were all hooves and bony tusks, and regardless of Brittany’s sanguine assuredness, at the speed the massive creatures were moving, she couldn’t help but expect one of them to collide with her and trample her to death
Mercifully, nothing of the sort occurred, and within moments the herd was past them, closely followed by the lizards who had spotted the now limping animal that Brittany had shot, and were circling around it, trying to separate it from the rest of the herd
“What was that for?” Cass frowned as the lizard-pack, padded around their chosen victim,closing in for the kill
“We wanted to introduce a virus into food chain” Brittany explained “It’ll mutate over the millennia and will eventually engender intelligence and self-awareness”
“So you just created a sentient species?”
“Why?” Cass scowled
“Why not?” Brittany retorted as another time gate opened behind her “Our involvement didn’t just end with Humanity”
“Let’s go home” she continued “There’s a paradox We need you to create”

It turned out that "home" was Tokyo

<tbc />

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