HUMAN/SUPER First Contact 282

Eric sighed and slid the window open. Angela floated into the hotel room. She glanced around. The bed was a tangle of sheets, and a half-open suitcase sat beside it.

“You know, I’m a bit offended that you came all the way here without getting in touch,” Angela said. “I mean, we’ve played together for years. You’d think that would at least warrant a ‘hello’.”

On a desk by the TV, a massive book sat open. It looked very old, with yellowed pages and tattered leather binding. The text was an angular script that Angela didn’t recognize. Eric closed the book and shoved it into a drawer.

“Aren’t you the one who didn’t like meeting people in real life?” he said. “Wasn’t that the whole point of having online friends?”

“I suppose it was,” Angela said. “I used to avoid human contact as much as possible. But eventually I learned how to deal with my problems, and now I use what I learned to help others with theirs.”

“And that’s what you think I need?” Eric asked. “Help?”

Angela shrugged.

Do you?”

“No,” he said. “I’ve got everything under control.”

“So there is something going on,” she said.

“I didn’t say that,” he replied.

“You didn’t have to,” she said.

“If you really want to help me out, tell Amir to stop worrying,” Eric said. “This will all be over soon, one way or another.”

“Okay, now I’m worried,” Angela said. “Come on, man, don’t make me read your mind. Because I totally can.”

Eric rolled his eyes.

“Look, no offense, but there’s really nothing you can do,” he said. “Not unless you know something about feudal politics and interdimensional travel.”

“That’s an oddly specific combination,” Angela said.

“It’s an oddly specific problem,” he replied.

Angela took a seat on the bed and said, “Then explain it.”