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Chapter - 12 Family

The Earth-boys spend days, game-days, in the Morin-server getting acquainted with the Morin version of All-World. Feeling they are familiar with Morin’s All-World, they all teleport to their hometowns; and then, log out and re-log into the Earth-server so their characters are no longer in the Morin-server. They log out of game and go back to real life. Less than an hour has passed in the real world.

Around the dinner table, Zack speaks to his team, “Next time we log into the Morin-server, we will all buy homes on that server so our personas have a place to sleep,” He looks at Zenny who is eating a slice of pizza, “I know you have to work tomorrow,” he looks at the other two men at the table, “We’re going tomorrow to qualify for the All-World championships,” he points at Zenny while looking back at him, “You’re going to have to qualify the day after tomorrow,” Zenny still munching down on his pizza, “Zenny! Are you listening!”

With a mouthful, Zenny speaks, “Yeah--yeah tomorrow.”

Zack slams his hand on the table and barks at Zenny, “The day after tomorrow, Zenny!”

Zenny gives a thumbs up.

Zack continues, his voice returns to its normal volume, “Once we are all qualified I’ll sign us up as an official team. You all will have to sign yourselves up for the solo comp if you also want to compete in that,” having said what he had to say, he looks around the table, “Everyone got that?”

They all nod. Jeff and Zenny start to head to the door.

“You guys can crash here if you like,” Leo offers.

“Yeah my parents wouldn’t even know I was gone,” Jeff’s voice showing his amusement.

Zenny thumbs at Jeff while he speaks, “It’s true, his parents don’t care about him.”

Jeff smiles as he rolls his eyes. “You’re an asshole Zenny.”

“You know I’m kidding. But serious I had to promise my mom before I left that I would come back tonight. And I didn’t bring my work clothes with me.”

Zack waves them off, “We understand. Good night.”

Jeff opens the door to the apartment and sees that it is still raining and thundering. He lets out a sigh, “Damn I wish it would stop raining.” And just like that, the rain starts to lessen, until, there is no more rain and the skies are tranquil.

They all look at Jeff. Is this more than coincident?

Zack says what they all are thinking, “Congratulations man! When did you start developing?”

Jeff looks at his hands as he speaks, “I don’t know.”

“Make it rain again. I just want to see,” Zenny says.

Jeff concentrates for a while but nothing happens, so he gives up. “Sorry guys. I don’t know how to fully control it.”

Without warning Zenny slaps Jeff in the face really hard. Then suddenly, a massive thunderbolt comes through the doorway of Leo’s apartment and hits Zenny dead-center in the chest. Zenny goes flying cross the room until his body is stopped by a wall. Shocked they quickly run over to Zenny’s smoking body. Zenny gets up and pats himself off as if nothing happened. “Don’t worry guys I’m fine.”

Zack is taken back, “Has everyone began to develop except me?!”

Zenny raises his hand, “I haven’t started developing.”

Jeff gives Zenny a look, “Dude, you were just hit by lightning. That would have killed you.”

“Oh yeah I guess you’re right. Do it again just to make sure.”

“Do what again?”

“The lightning thing,” Zenny says.

“You want me to shock you again?!”

“Yeah to make sure it’s my powers showing through and not just a fluke.”

Another bolt comes flying through the apartment door but this time Zenny is ready for it. He grabs the thunderbolt in his hands and somehow within his hands, he keeps it in a ball. The hair on his head stands straight up. Then Zenny pushes his hands outward as he says, “Hadouken.” The energy flies back out the door. Once the electricity leaves Zenny’s hands his hair falls back down.

“Well looks like I’m the only one that hasn’t started developing yet,” Zack says.

Zenny puts his arm around Zack’s shoulders as he tries to comfort his friend, “Don’t worry boss it will come.” He takes his arm off of Zack’s shoulders, and him and Jeff start leaving once again. Leo closes the door behind them, and Zenny drives to Jeff’s home. On the way, Zenny blurts something out, “Family.”

Jeff looks at him. “What are you talking about?”

“Family, that’s what Zack values more than anything in the world.”

“Yeah I could have told you that.”

Zenny explains, “That was the one question the Gen-Hulk asked me when we were in King Solomon’s castle.”

“Well better late than never.”

“You right,” Zenny turns the music up; and they bob their heads to the pop music of the time. They get to Jeff’s house. They wave goodbye, and Zenny drives to his place. He goes to his bedroom and before he goes to sleep he texts Melony: Good night sweetie. Then he passes out—resting up for his workday.

Back at Leo’s apartment, Zack is sweeping the living room, and Leo has just finished cleaning the dishes. Zack walks over to the trashcan and empties a full dustpan into the trashcan. Leo doesn’t outright say what his suspicion has been this whole time instead he offers Zack a friendly invite, “I’ve been thinking, why don’t you just move in here. It’ll save you the money you spend going to the café and Jeff and Zenny can come over here when we go into All-World. It’s closer than the café is for them.”

Zack acts causal as he pretends to think over the offer, “Yeah that sounds like a good idea. Let me sleep on it.” He already knows he is going to take Leo up on his offer. It couldn’t have come at a better time, and Leo kind of figured that.

“Alright, please do.” Leo goes to his bedroom and Zack goes to the guestroom—soon to be his room. Having the whole gang over really raised the natural-born leader’s spirits back up.

Night wears on and the sun begins to show itself. Zack is early to rise. Him and Leo get ready for their day while they wait for Jeff to get over there. It takes Jeff a little longer. The bus system is not the fastest way to travel. When Jeff gets there, they all help make breakfast. They eat there first, and as they do so, Leo tells about what he experienced at the last qualifier.

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