Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer

Behind them, twisted bits of reality lie clattering and smoking as they destabilise amidst the ruins of what had been a picturesque side street in Old Carnville.
In front of them, a sparkling blue assault device lies on the ground, apparently made entirely of gems and crystals.
Turgen ignores the voice screaming over his headset to give Eleanor the nod. She leans forwards and shouts at the diminutive figure in a shirred yellow dress sat on an upturned crate opposite.
“I’m going to skip the formalities and get straight to the main thing my boss is having screamed in his ear right now: How in the name of Hallowed Devastation Herself did a junior like you get hold of a Kanzarlyn Sunderbeam?” She waves towards the beautiful weapon lying between them. “I could buy several star systems with what this cost!”
A thin-fingered hand rises to lift the floppy brim of her hat. Brown eyes shine. The reply is softly spoken.
“Did I kill it?”
Eleanor flicks a glance to Turgen. He gives another almost-imperceptible nod. She gathers herself, then launches another short tirade.
“Kill it? You rearranged the bit of the multiverse it occupied for point one-nine phases either side of us! It’s dead here, there, in the reality nineteen hops over, and every place between! Sweet Devastation, how could you miss?”
“I’ve never fired it in ripper mode before. Done lots of cutting and smoothing, even did a surgical once, but never used full chop.” She sniffs. “The thingy scared me. I lost it a little after that.”
Turgen bursts out laughing.
“Scared you? Young fem, the spontaneous manifestation of a Blemenase Voidbeast has emptied entire military bases! You took two steps back, produced that reality cannon from what I presume is personal crushspace, then blew ‘the thingy’ into several iterations of next week. So, please, do tell me and my intimidating-but-lovely partner: how did you get that cannon?”
Her eyes widen, her chin comes up, then –
“My father, well, biological sperm source, not my dead stepdad or Halden who’s my mother’s latest bed buddy and proto-dad, is Banan Kanzarlyn: don’t get bent out of shape, he took mother’s family name – I just use the alias Kanlyn to avoid attention – and it’s her dad who’s the Kanzarlyn you’re thinking of and yes grandpa is a super genius who invents all sorts and I loved hanging out in his workshop until he saw I had an aptitude and asked mother and she said yes so he taught me how to bolt reality keys into crystals, well, no, mainly sapphires because they’re my birth stone and I’m more attuned to gemstones rather than crystals, and that’s why I have my own Sunderbeam because I made it – and got it right on the second attempt; grandpa was so pleased about that because I melted the greenhouse with the first one but I got the idea for shattered crystal adjustment rings from the misfire and he added them to his designs and your eyes are really wide did I say something wrong?”
Turgen whispers to Eleanor.
“Did she pause to breathe?”
Eleanor chuckles. “No.” She rests an elbow on Turgen’s shoulder, “Captain, may I introduce you to Teagan Kanlyn, the prodigy sent to be our new lead technician?”
Turgen shakes his head in astonishment.
“She invented part of the technology we rely on, and did it while fine-tuning her home-made reality cannon. Sweet Devastation.”
Teagan heaves a sigh of relief.
“I thought I’d upset you.”
He smiles.
“I’m sure you will, Lead Tech Kanlyn. But not today.”