Nasty woke up in the morning with a start. The alarm sounded wrong, and the bed was uncomfortable. She sat up, then realized where she was. I'm in Rennie's room. No need to panic. Nasty looked around. Rennie turned over in her bed, her dark hair a tangled mess.
"Stupid alarm," Rennie grumbled. She smacked it, turning it off. "What time is it?"
"Seven," Nasty answered. "Why so early?"
"So I can hit snooze for another half hour." Rennie flipped over on her stomach and was soon asleep again.
Nasty considered doing the same thing, but instead got out of her cot. She stretched, working out the kinks the cot left her. As quietly as she could, she gathered her school uniform and underwear, then left her friend's room. She tiptoed to the bathroom, where she ran the water for a shower. Making sure the water was hot enough for her, Nasty stripped out of her T-shirt and sweatpants, and stepped in.
The shower worked out Nasty's muscle aches, and she stepped out of the shower a few minutes later feeling refreshed. She dressed, then walked downstairs into the kitchen. Rennie's mother sat at the table, reading the newspaper. She looked up as Nasty entered.
"Hi, Ms, um, Hayes," Nasty said.
"'Morning, Natasha. It's 'Mrs.' now," Mrs. Hayes said. "Sleep well?"
"Rennie still asleep?"
"She hit snooze."
"I see. You know where the cereal is?"
"Think so." Nasty opened a cupboard and looked over the choice of cereals. She grabbed the box of rice crispies, then found a clean bowl.
"Another fight with your mom?" Mrs. Hayes asked as Nasty sat down at the table.
Gee, how'd you guess? "Yeah, another," Nasty answered. She poured milk on her cereal. "It's getting bad between us. I just want to move out."
"So she doesn't know you're here?"
"We weren't exactly speaking to each other."
"You should really try to get along with your mother, Natasha. It's a shame, really, about you two."
"I can't live with her anymore," Nasty said, keeping her voice level. "As soon as I'm in college, I'm out of there."
"Your mom's just looking out for you."
"She's got a funny way of showing it." Nasty finished her breakfast. "I'll see if Rennie's up." She stood up, then left the kitchen. Returning to her friend's room, she knocked softly. Nasty heard soft grumbling from inside. She entered.
"Up already?" Rennie asked as she turned over in her bed.
"I'm going to head off," Nasty said. "I'll see you tonight."
"School?" Rennie scrambled out of bed. "Why don't you skip class today and spend it with me?"
"Can't. The school'd call Mom, and then she'll storm in. I just don't want a major scene."
Maria Giuliano woke at the sound of hammering. She rolled off the couch, knocking over a couple of beer bottles. "Alright already!" she grumbled. Clutching her head, she shambled to the door. She looked through the peephole and saw a blond man and a dark-haired woman, wearing similar suits. Maria opened the door. "Yeah?" she said.
"Ms Giuliano?" the woman asked. "Maria Giuliano?"
Maria smoothed her clothes. "That's me."
"May we speak to you about your daughter?" the man asked.
"What has that girl done now?" Maria said. She turned, then yelled, "Natasha Teresa! Get out here right now."
"May we come in, please?" the woman said, stepping into the doorway.
Maria turned back to the pair. "Who are you? The police?"
The man pulled out a badge and identification. "Adam McArthur, Karen Walsh," he said. "We're from the Treasury Department."
"Treasury? Is this about the altie around here? Shouldn't you be talking to the FBI?"
"The Secret Service takes over when a metahuman has been identified," Walsh said. "Please, ma'am, may we come in?"
Maria stepped to the side to let the agents in. She picked up the empty beer bottles around the couch. "Please, have a seat. I'll go get Natasha." She left the living room to go check her daughter's bedroom. "Natasha, I called you once. Get out of bed, now." The door to Nasty's bedroom was open. Maria looked in the room, puzzled over why the door was open. "Natasha?" She looked around the room from the doorway. Her daughter was nowhere to be seen. Did she even come home last night? Hell with her. I've had enough. She returned to the living room, where the agents sat on the couch. "My daughter isn't home," Maria said.
"That's okay, Ms Giuliano," Walsh said.
"We just need you to sign some papers," McArthur said. "Natasha is still a minor, so her parent or guardian has to sign the authority for her."
"Ms Giuliano," Walsh said, "your daughter turned herself in last night. We're not pressing any charges against her, but we would like to get her into a proper training program so she can control her power."
"What about her school?" Maria asked.
McArthur removed papers from his suit pocket. "We can take care of the school's paperwork, too, Ms Giuliano. All you need to do is sign these, and your daughter will get the best care for metahumans."
Maria took the papers. She unfolded them and read them over. "I suppose. Do you have a pen?"
Nasty mounted her motorcycle and left her friend waving to her. Her jacket blocked the morning chill in the air, and she easily slipped through traffic. Away. I need to get away from here. Maybe Rennie is up for a road trip. A crowd on the sidewalk caught Nasty's attention. Several girls and boys stood around a smaller boy. None looked to be older than eleven years old. Nasty pulled over to the curb to watch, taking off her helmet. The gang pushed the smaller boy around, causing him to fall. Nasty dismounted, took off her helmet, and walked over.
"Leave him alone," Nasty ordered, looming over the children.
"We're just playin'," a girl said.
"Yeah. Tell her, Jimmy," a boy added.
"We're just playin'," Jimmy, the boy on the ground, snuffled.
"See?" the first girl said.
Nasty glared at the children. A younger boy fidgeted under Nasty's gaze, then slowly began to back up. "Leave him alone," Nasty repeated. "Don't you have school to go to?"
The children slowly walked away, warily watching Nasty. She bent down beside Jimmy, who inched away from her. Nasty smiled, trying to reassure the boy. "Are you okay?" she asked.
"Do you live around here? Where are your parents?"
"I shouldn't talk to strangers."
Nasty held out a hand to Jimmy. "Let me help you up."
Jimmy got back to his feet on his own. "I hafta go to school." He ran off.
Nasty returned to her motorcycle. They're gonna wait for him. She checked her watch. If I'm late, I'm late. She started the engine, and followed little Jimmy. Nasty saw the group of children several times, waiting. A rev of her engine sent the kids scurrying away each time. Jimmy reached his school and found his friends on the playground. Nasty kept an eye on him for a few minutes before turning off her bike. She saw the gang of tormentors still around, watching Jimmy.
They're not going to leave him alone today, Nasty thought. She spotted a teacher in the yard. Nasty took off her helmet and jacket as she dismounted her motorcycle. She walked to the edge of the playground, then waved to get the teacher's attention.
"This is school property, young lady," the teacher, a middle-aged woman said. "You'll have to leave."
"There was a problem with one of the kids," Nasty said. "Some older kids were picking on him, pushing him around." She pointed at the pack. "Over there. They kept trying to ambush Jimmy."
"I'll make sure the issue is dealt with," the teacher said.
"Can you keep an eye on Jimmy? I think they'll still go after him after school."
"I'll keep an eye on him and call his parents." The teacher looked over Nasty. "Seward? You're a little out of your way. How long have you been watching Jimmy?"
"A few blocks."
"Are you going to be late?"
Nasty shrugged. "School isn't as important as a kid's right to left alone by bullies. I just don't like seeing a gang preying on someone."
"I'll look after Jimmy. You should get going, too, um, I'm sorry, I never caught your name."
"Natasha. Natasha Giuliano."
"You should get going, Natasha. Do you need a note or anything?"
"Nah, I think I can get there in time." Nasty started to return to her motorcycle.
"Thanks for looking after Jimmy."
"Sir, Subject 6 has reported in. The girl's mother has signed her over."
"Excellent. They are bringing the girl in now?"
"The girl wasn't home when Subjects 6 and 11 visited. They're going to her school to pick her up. The girl's mother was very helpful in telling them what the school expects."
"Will we have the girl by the end of the day?"
"I have full confidence in Subjects 6 and 11."
Name: Elaine (Elly) Wells
Birthdate: May 16, 1979
Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska
Hair: Dark brown
Hair colour changes upon the whim of Subject 7.
Mother: Isabelle Wells, nee Lopez
Father: Ernest Wells
Enhanced reflexes, best estimate through testing is five times the human norm. Strength and endurance appear to have been improved, however causality is still being investigated.
See file:\\FS16735-1\Subjects\7\analysis.doc - Subject 7 will, without warning, change her mind drastically. This has threatened at least one assignment. It is expected that she will turn on us in the future. When, not if but when, this happens, Subject 7 is expendable and to be eliminated.
[End Issue 7]
Next Issue: Now that Maria has signed her daughter away, what will happen to Nasty?