“The future?” exclaimed Kepa, an edge of panic in his voice. “What do you mean, the future?”
“Well, why not?” asked Maite, rhetorically. “Our time is the future for Marina and de Lancre, and they’ve both gone there. Why wouldn’t there be zatiak in what we would consider our future?”
“But, but,” began Kepa. “At least for the other bubbles we’ve visited, we had some historical context. We had some sense of what was going on. Here, we have nothing. We’re complete strangers.”
Maite nodded, turning her full attention to Kepa. “I agree.” She paused for a moment, really looking at Kepa for the first time since they arrived in this new bubble. “Ehm, what are you wearing?”
Kepa looked down at himself. He was essentially naked, a thin, clear film covering his body, adding a shine to it as it reflected the ambient light. It hugged his arms, legs and chest, following the curves of his muscles. The only part that wasn’t transparent was a strategically placed black circle, almost like the fig leaf of old paintings, covering his groin. He looked up at Maite and blushed.
“Why am I wearing this when you are wearing that?” he asked.
Maite could get glimpses of herself in the reflections off of Kepa’s skin-tight suit, but all she could really discern was a flurry of colors. She looked down at her body. She was covered in fur that almost seemed a part of her until she tugged at it and realized it was fabric. The costume went all the way past her hands, ending in gloves that had sharp claws at the tips. She turned, and noticed a tail that seemed to sway to her thoughts. The fur itself looked like the stripes of a tiger, but the colors shifted randomly every few seconds, leading to some very strange color combinations. She felt the top of her head. Pointy ears stuck up.
“What does my face look like?” she asked hesitantly.
Kepa smiled. “Looks like you are all ready to go to a Halloween party.”
Maite sighed. “What have we gotten ourselves into this time?”
At that moment, a woman walked up to them. She was wearing a pure white suit that billowed out at her forearms and calves. Above her arms and legs it was skin tight. The jacket flared out as it passed her hips. It was accented with black seams that ran the course of her arms and legs. She wore a wide brimmed hat that was also white with black edging and, to top it off, she wore dark sunglasses with a white frame. The white of her clothes contrasted with her dark skin.
The woman began talking to them, seemingly asking a question, but in a language that neither Kepa nor Maite had ever heard before. After a few moments, the woman paused. Kepa and Maite looked at one another.
“Ez dugu ulertzen,” said Maite in Euskara. “We don’t understand,” she repeated in English.
The woman just stared at her in disbelief, gesticulating and raising her voice. She kept pointing to her ear, where Maite noticed some kind of earpiece. Maite simply pointed to her ear, shaking her head, and repeating “No, we don’t have one.”
The woman walked away, clearly frustrated, shaking her head.
“What was that about?” asked Kepa.
“I don’t know,” replied Maite, “but it seems that those earpieces translate for you.”
A tall figure suddenly materialized behind them. It stood at least a head taller than either of them. Like some of the others they had seen, it wore a flat black headpiece with fabric that fell to the floor, hiding whoever was inside.
“Indeed, they do,” replied the figure in perfectly recognizable Euskara.
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