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the way in which one acts or conducts oneself, especially towards others.

I hadn't read a book, or watched a movie, or listened to music, for months. This thought occurred to me as we snuck out of the spy room with all the screens and jumped back down to the warehouse floor. It's weird how quickly your brain adapts to what's going on. I'd always wondered how wars could happen, because surely people would remember the good times and just want to go back to that? But actually, it just becomes your new reality and you carry on.

My reality involved parallel dimensions, one-armed guys that I kinda fancied and a shape-shifting genetic anomaly. And no showers. Absolutely no showers, at all, for far too long. Even that had become normal. We must all have stank, but even my senses had just got used to it. Gross.

"We should have grabbed that guy when we had a chance," Cal said. "There was no way we were ever going to understand what was going on in here." The blue flame in his eyes matched the glow from the huge sphere in the centre of the warehouse.

Marv stared off into the distance. "He probably hasn't gone far," he said. "I've still got a faint thermal trail. He went out past a couple of guards. Maybe we can catch up?"

Cal looked at Marv askew. "You can detect thermal trails? I can't do that."

"I guess you're just not as good at being me as me," Marv said. "Trails don't last forever. Let's go."

We headed back to the end wall of the warehouse. Cal took hold of me and Marv and we did his little dimensional trick - jumping back to the desert planet, moving a few steps, then warping back in on the other side of the wall. The guards had no way of protecting against intruders like us. We were super sneaky. Or, I guess, Cal was. We were just holding his hand. Which made us less cool.

The facility was darker now, with only a few sparse security lights still illuminated. We darted from shadow to shadow, Marv pausing every-so-often to check our direction. He explained that thermal trails were usually useless because of the noise from multiple people, but our guy had been staying late tonight and there was far less interference. Plus, it was a pretty good bet that he was headed towards all the parked cars at the other end of the complex.

We passed the smaller buildings and then the car park was before us - now populated only by a handful of vehicles, probably belonging mostly to security staff. The guy from the warehouse was halfway across the tarmac. One of the vehicles had lit up with welcoming lights and its door had popped open automatically.

"Pretty fancy car," I said.

"It's enough to make a parallel civilisation feel inadequate," Marv murmured.


The guy was already getting in, and there was a patrolling guard nearby. No way we could get to the car before he drove off.

"Anyone got a plan B?" I asked.

"I've lived most of my life on plan B," Cal said. "We need to get back on the other side of the fence. Quickly, with me."

We followed him and warped back through the security fence to the rolling fields on the other side. He'd barely released our hands when he started genoshifting, his blue eyes extinguishing and his arms loosening as if his joints were popping out. Then there was a series of cracks and bony ridges protruded out of his back. He pulled off his shirt just in time for the frames of wings to flex outwards. Leathery membranes dropped into place like a falling theatre curtain. The wings were larger than I'd seen before, more bat-like than the feathered wings he'd had when I met him.

"I've got that bad feeling again," Marv said.

"You're going to have to run with me, but once we're airborne I should be able to hold all our weights."

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