“Our DNA was altered?” said Sam.
“Is there an echo in here? Yes, our DNA was altered,” said Mrs. Sharma. “Well, four of the five of us.”
“Whose wasn’t?” said Jen.
“Isn’t it obvious?” said Mrs. Sharma.
“No,” said Angelina.
Mrs. Sharma shot her a look. “Who here hasn’t displayed any new and unusual symptoms or abilities?”
“Me,” said Lachlan.
He didn’t know whether to be relieved that some mysterious force hadn’t warped his DNA, or disappointed he didn’t get to have cool powers.
“You,” said Mrs. Sharma.
“He died and came back to life,” said Jen. “How is that not unusual?”
“I didn’t actually die and come back to life,” said Lachlan. “I died, and Super Sam here reversed time to bring me back.”
“You’re both wrong,” said Mrs. Sharma. “Lachlan didn’t die and come back to life, and no one reversed time.”
“It’s not even possible to reverse time,” said Angelina.
“Debatable,” said Sam, “but yeah, that’s not what I did. I just moved backwards through it. That’s not the same thing.”
“I’m so confused,” said Jen. “If Lachlan didn’t come back to life, and time didn’t get reversed, how is he alive?”
“We’re getting off topic,” said Mrs. Sharma. “We weren’t discussing Lachlan. I was explaining what happened to the four of us.”
“What did happen to the four of us?” said Sam.
“I’ll try to explain so you can call keep up, but I won’t make any promises,” said Mrs. Sharma. “There have always been weak points in our reality–“
“The Bermuda Triangle!” Jen interrupted.
Mrs. Sharma frowned at her.
“Sorry,” said Jen. “It was something Sarah was saying before. Something about time and space and ripping a hole in reality’s floor.”
Mrs. Sharma nodded, her expression softening when she heard Sarah’s name.
“Ripping a hole in reality’s floor,” Mrs. Sharma repeated. “I like that metaphor. 131 always had a knack for making complex concepts seem simple. And yes, the Bermuda Triangle is an example of a major hotspot for naturally-occurring weak points.”
“No way,” said Sam. “The Bermuda Triangle is a myth.”
“Looks like you’re myth-taken about that,” said Jen.
“Bad puns aside, you really were mistaken,” said Mrs. Sharma. “The Bermuda Triangle is no myth. It’s one of the largest hubs of unstable reality in the world. But there are many smaller, less active ones too. There’s some correlation between with unstable air masses in the atmosphere, and with altered weather patterns caused by large manmade bodies of water, but I’m not a meteorologist so I don’t know enough to explain further.”
“Not that this isn’t fascinating,” said Lachlan, “but what does this have to do with us?”
“It has nothing to do with you,” said Mrs. Sharma. “We’ve been over that. But it has a lot to do with your friends here. When I started working for CPSI, I was given access to a map of these hotspots, and one in particular stood out to me.”
“Which one?” said Jen.
“If you give me a second, I’ll tell you. Jaipur. The city where I grew up. At first, I thought it was a coincidence, but obviously, I zoomed in out of curiosity, and found the center of the hotspot just a street over from my childhood home. I didn’t understand the implications of it at the time.”
“Let me get this straight,” said Sam. “Whatever’s happening to us has to do with these hotspots?”
“Exactly,” said Mrs. Sharma. “Maybe you’re not as hopeless as I thought.”
“Wow,” said Lachlan. “Glowing praise.”
“You said something about manmade bodies of water,” said Sam. “My parents lived off Lake Wylie when I was a baby.”
“Interesting,” said Mrs. Sharma. “The Lake Wylie hotspot is a major one.”
“I’m from Fort Mill,” said Jen. “That’s not far from there.”
“The Borgo San Severino hotspot is a major one as well,” said Mrs. Sharma. “It was even before the disaster.”
“So what does this have to do with our DNA?” said Jen.
“Prolonged exposure to these hotspots causes certain changes to some people’s DNA, but these changes don’t seem to affect functional DNA. At least, not in our home reality.”
“But I’m guessing here is a different story,” said Sam.
“You’re guessing correctly,” said Mrs. Sharma.
2 thoughts on “8.7”
Doesn’t affect functional DNA? I’ve noticed that all the people who have developed special abilities are a little awkward socially, react differently than the typical person, and are hyper-focused on things that are important to them. My theory is they are all on the autism spectrum.
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Interesting! This wasn’t something I did intentionally, but since I’m on the spectrum myself, it makes sense that I inadvertently wrote a bunch of autistic-coded characters.
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