"What did you knock her out for?" Subject 6 said. "She's going to fight us when she recovers."
"Not if we keep her out," Subject 11 said as she steered the sedan around a stalled truck. "Can you believe the mouth on her? And how she went on about her mother? What sort of kid talks about her mother like that?"
"It doesn't matter now, Karen. We have her. If that bothers you so much, we can get Sergei to reprogram her to swear less and love her mother. Right now, I'm more worried about her waking up. You saw the medical reports on those jocks. Concussion and internal injuries. Broken rib and collar bone. I don't want to fight her."
"Then wrap her up. Do I have to think of everything? Christ, Adam, it's not that difficult."
"Then find somewhere to pull over. I don't want her breaking out easily."
Eric scanned the stands. "She should've been here by now," he said.
"What's that?" Tia asked, her attention still on the action on the field.
"Tasha. She should have been here by now. It's not like her to be late."
"Don't worry about her. She's probably still working."
Tia sighed. "You're missing the game. Go! Go! Go! Damn!" On field, the Seward receiver was tackled on the opponent's fifteen yard line. "C'mon! Let's get 'em!"
"How much longer?" Eric asked.
"Longer? Oh, for Nasty. I don't know. I'm not her, thank God."
Eric turned his attention back to the game. "She suggested meeting here. The game's almost over."
"Look, Eric, about Nasty," Tia said. "I wouldn't worry about her too much."
"She's never been late before."
Tia turned to Eric and took a deep breath. "Eric, you haven't heard the stories about her. Nasty's earned her nickname. She fights all the time. She's even been arrested."
"Tasha never mentioned that to me."
"She's dangerous, Eric. I'm worried about you when your with her."
"My mom even likes her, Tia," Eric said.
"Your mom is weird, Eric," Tia said. "Just be careful around Nasty, okay? I don't want her to hurt you."
"Tia, she's never even raised her voice around me."
"She's only using you, Eric. Someone like her doesn't care about anyone else beyond herself. You're better off if she doesn't show up."
"You just don't know her."
"I don't need to know her, Eric. I've heard what she's done. Trust me on this, okay?"
Tia turned back to the game. "Get him! Get him! Yes!" She jumped from her seat, cheering and clapping. "Let's go! Sack him again!" She sat back down, then smacked Eric' arm.
"What was that for?" Eric asked.
"You haven't said anything about the cheerleaders' outfits. It took me several days to make the original outfit."
Eric looked at Seward's cheerleading squad. The twelve girls were dressed in a tight orange sweaters with white miniskirts, and shook pompoms of the same colours. Eric returned his attention to Tia. "What's different?" he asked.
Tia smacked Eric's arm again. "You are so oblivious, Eric!"
Maria collapsed in her chair after a long day at work. She twisted the cap off her bottle of beer and took a swig. Stretching out, she lay back in her chair, letting the alcohol take effect. She looked at her coffee table and the hole in it. Maria sighed. Damn that girl. I can't afford to replace that table. When did she leave that can there? She knows better than that. Where the hell is-- Maria cut herself off mid-thought. Right. She's not here anymore. She drank another swallow of beer. It's going to be quiet around here without her. Maria drained the rest of her beer. /Good./
The phone rang, startling Maria. On the second ring, Maria set the empty bottle down, and after the third ring, Maria answered the phone. "Hello?"
"Hi," a young man's voice said. "Is Tasha there?"
"Tasha? Oh, you mean Natasha. No, she's not here," Maria said.
"Oh. She was supposed to meet me after she got off work. Do you know when she'll be home?"
"Not for some time. She's probably out of town by now. She never mentioned anything to me about meeting someone this evening."
"I see," the young man said. "Well, if you hear from her, could you ask her to call Eric? She knows the number."
"Eric?" What does he see in Natasha? "I'll let her know."
Maria hung up the phone. Natasha isn't sleeping with him, is she? Why haven't I heard of this Eric? She reached for her beer. Damn. Empty. With a groan, Maria got out of her chair. She grabbed the crushed Coke can from the table and took it to the kitchen. She dumped the can into the garbage, then went to the fridge to get another beer.
Why hasn't Natasha told me about Eric? Maria wondered as she opened her bottle. He didn't sound like one of her punk friends. Another altie? She swallowed a mouthful of beer. Can't be. He would have known about her. If he's not an altie, I'm not going to let him know my girl's a freak. Maria returned to the living room.
How did Natasha become an altie? She's never showed anything before. How long has she been hiding it? Between her temper and her power, she could have killed me. Maria drained her second beer. And why did she turn herself in? That's not like her.
Nasty woke up to her alarm clock blaring. She reached over to turn it off. Weird dream. A couple of weirdos took me from school for bondage of some sort. Gah. Weird. Nasty looked around. What the hell? When did I get home? What the hell am I doing here? She got out of bed and stormed into the kitchen. "Mom!"
"You don't have to yell," Maria said, sipping her coffee. "How are you feeling?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Your school called me at work yesterday. You passed out in class. They sent you to the hospital, remember?"
"The doctors said you might forget details. You couldn't even tell him. Were you taking anything?"
"I'm not you, Mom," Nasty said. What the hell?
"Fine. If you don't care, I won't either."
"So sorry for the school calling you at work. I'm sure it took you away from something important. Sheesh." It's tomorrow? Damnit. Eric's going to wonder where I was. "Is it safe for me to go to school today, or are you going to babysit me all day?"
"I'm not making you stay," Maria said.
Nasty returned to her room. That was weird. Mom almost cared. Must have been serious yesterday. Eric's going to be so worried. She dressed, then left for school. When she reached the apartment building's foyer, she cursed. The Kawasaki's still at school. Great. She started walking.
"Is the paperwork complete?"
"It's all in order. Subject 13's school has been given transfer papers; her mother thinks the girl is with the Secret Service; Subject 4 has started the training. Everything is going to procedure."
"Estimated time for completion?"
"Two or three weeks. I'll know better when Subject 4 reports."
Name: Sherry Meyer
Birthdate: August 23, 1977
Deceased: June 17, 1999
Cause of Death: Self immolation.
Birthplace: New York, New York
Hair: Light brown
Mother: Nina Meyer (nee Henderson)
Father: Robert Meyer
Creation and projection of plasma to a maximum range of 1500 metres. Temperature of the plasma is in excess of 800 degrees Celsius. No drawbacks have been found. (See also file:\\FS16735-2\Projects\Lambda\i-lamba13-beta.doc)
Subject 9 died as a result of pushing her abilities beyond previously established limits.
[End Issue 9]
Next Issue: Lather, apply conditioning, rinse, repeat.