Terra's Incarnation

by Jane Seeber

The sun lit up the trees on the other side of the lake, highlighting them against the storm clouds. Ruby stopped and admired the view. After a minute or so, something flickered in her peripheral vision. She turned, and almost knocked over a young woman standing right behind her. Ruby yelped, and jumped back.
"Where the hell did you come from?"
The woman looked at her out of deep, dark eyes.
"I... I don't quite know how to explain it."
Fantastic, Ruby thought. A lunatic. Just what I need. She looked around - naturally, there was no one else in sight.
"What's your name?"
"Terra." Ruby shivered. No way. She shook her head.
"Ahhh... as in 1/0?" she asked.
"Yes... yes!" Terra answered, taking a step closer. "I was wondering how I was going to explain that to someone."
"You're really Terra?"
Ruby looked at her watch. 3.24pm. The last one had been going up today.
"Wow. Well, welcome to the world. Where are the others?"
"I really don't know. We were ... there, and now I'm here."
"Well, at least you came through dressed. The Terminator thing would have been a bit much."
Terra smiled at her uncertainly.
"Never mind. Umm... do you know what you're going to do? Where you're going to go?"
"Not really... I mean, first I have to find Zadok. I thought he would be here - I wonder where he went."
"Well, I wonder why you're here."
"Where is here, exactly?"
"Ah. Well, this - " Ruby waved her hand at the lake behind them - "is Lake Monger. Which is in Perth, Western Australia."
"Oh. Ohhh..." Terra swayed.
"Here, perhaps we should sit down." Ruby grabbed her arm and they moved to a nearby bench. Terra put her head in her hands, dark hair falling through her fingers. She sighed.
"Why aren't we together? At least Zadok and I should be together. I'm not going to miss Junior or anything, but I thought... I thought _we_ would be together."
"Shit. Junior as a human." Ruby laughed. "Scary." Terra looked at her.

"Sorry. Look, I don't know why you were split up, but we can get in touch with Tails later and ask him about it. I do have a theory, though." She sighed, "It's just that, well, you bear this uncanny resemblance to this actress..."
Terra interrupted her.
"Christina Ricci!"
"Yup. So my guess is, Zadok will look awfully like Steve."
"Why would he split us up though?"
"Well, perhaps it wasn't deliberate. He's your creator - perhaps his obsession with that couple dictated what you look like, and where you went. Maybe because he knows no-one in the real world is going to tell the story he wants, he's sub-consciously trying to bring it into being. Or perhaps its just that the two of you are in a Story and its not finished yet. Either way, I think you'll be on a Quest, to find One Another, and Yourselves."
"Out of a webcomic and into a Story." They shook their heads in unison and sighed. Ruby patted her on the back sympathetically.
"I wonder what sort of story it will be?" Ruby asked. Terra tilted her head and raised an eyebrow.
"Well - mad cap romantic comedy? Hi-jinks caper as two lovers travel the world in search of one another? Serious story about love conquering all? Tragedy of the world tearing down love? You could be in for anything."
"Well, definitely not the last one, if I have any say in it." She stood, and kicked the grass disconsolately. "So much for happy ever after." "Sorry, I don't think that was in the contract."
"So, I get to travel the world looking for my boyfriend, who may or may not look like Steve Buscemi. Hey, do you wanna be my best friend? You can pick whether you want to be the wacky sidekick, the sensible advice-giver, the maternal type... you might even find a guy yourself! "
"Gee, tempting." Ruby rolled her eyes. "Actually, I'm going to have to turn you down, I'm sorry. I'm quite happy with my life here, and going on most romantic movies, you'll end up in New York. Or perhaps Paris, but I would pick New York. Unless this is a weird Pygmalion thing, in which case you're going to Canada."
Terra wrinkled up her nose. "Mmmm... I don't think it's a Pygmalion thing. My second name is Williams. I'm thinking that's paternal." She patted the pockets of her jeans, and pulled out a purse. "Look! I even have ID... see, Terra Williams."
"Oh, right. Cool - you have money too. Well, let's go email Tails, and then we can figure out how to get you to New York."

They stood up and started to walk away across the lawn. A group of young men in tight shorts was running around the lake toward them.
"Now you're human - and I'm only asking out of curiosity, mind, nothing else - do you still like girls?"
Terra stopped, and looked Ruby up and down. She turned, and watched as the football players ran past.
"Oh no, I definitely like boys. Definitely." Ruby grinned, and they stood and watched as the guys ran out of sight.