For a writing prompt on the BICP Tumblr.

(That awkward feeling when you realize you already made the day’s content, but forgot to schedule it. Oops. We’ll get back on the normal schedule…next week, probably? First I have to figure out what Chapter 27 should have on the cover.)

Sparrow names her new pet Donni, after her favorite Inspector Spacetime companion. Donni’s new look is handsomely androgynous, with enough bicep to deter most people from harassing them in the street over it.

Poe’s attempts to meet-cute with the Dog’s new Master are a total disaster. For one thing, he tries to do it as a guy before figuring out that’s not what she’s into. For another, she doesn’t have a public-facing customer-service job, and he can only “bump into her” so many times at the Stop’n’Shop before it gets creepy.

Bad end: Miranda gives up and just confronts Sparrow at the T one night after work. Donni defeats Poe in the battle, then Sparrow demands that he explain exactly who that was and what’s going on. Out come all the details: Cohen’s identity, Miranda’s childhood, the erasure on Patrick’s contract. Sparrow, understandably, flips out. Rich people with superhuman tracking abilities are after them! How is she supposed to keep Donni safe?

…A little research on the Internet suggests that she ask for help from even-richer Being-researcher and successful businesswoman Ann Walker, she takes off with Donni for Chicago, and things go downhill from there.

Cohen ends up paying for Donni’s continued safety with his research. Miranda manages to keep some of her own efforts secret, but she can’t work out her issues enough to coordinate with her dad for a successful rescue. Timothy has nowhere to go when he gets fired. Kara Lynn has days where she can’t move for hours at a time.

Good end: Miranda doesn’t manage to confront anyone before the visit to the gay club. When the Rabbit shows up, Sparrow waits until the end of the Rabbit-vs-Cat battle, then has Donni tackle Nevada-san and pull off his mask. Cybele manages to disappear into the night while Bennett is taken into police custody (completely missing his cue to yell “and I would’ve gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids…and that dog!”).

Sparrow is hailed as a hero, gets offered a paying job with a Democratic campaign, frantically rushes to lock down all her fanfiction before anyone digs it up. Cohen gets brought in, meets Sparrow and Donni, susses out who Donni is and treats them with an appropriate level of apologetic humility. Assures them that Donni’s bank account is at their disposal. (Sparrow is understandably suspicious, but she sets it up to make a bunch of regular donations to her favorite nonprofits, and none of them get interrupted.)

When Donni indicates that they’d be happy to give Miranda visitation rights, she gets them without having to beat anyone up first, a state of affairs which she finds deeply confusing. It’ll be a long time, if ever, before anything happens that motivates her to test Sparrow’s DNA. In the meantime, they do become sort-of friends.

Meanwhile, Cohen visits with Bennett in jail – partly to ward the place against Cybele secretly breaking him out, partly to assure him that Cybele won’t be hurt or punished for his mistakes, but does have to be brought in for the sake of public safety. Bennett is a mess, but in some ways it’s a relief not to have to keep up all these lies anymore. They bond.

Sparrow doesn’t go to WhiskerCon, but Bianca does, and notices a girl with a talking lizard on her shoulder. Cohen pays for them all to get flown to Boston for a complimentary battle. And maybe some gay clubbing.

Somehow (hacking from Miranda? successful casting of the Knowledge sigil? call from Köhler asking for help? Lots of options here) they figure out that Walker is up to no good, and when Timothy gets fired it frees him up to visit as a deliberate infiltrator. So we get a coordinated final confrontation…ultimately not that different from the one that’s coming up now, but with a whole lot less stress along the way.