Spacer Iron Butterflies 57
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    She didn't say anything about my origins or the people after me, so I guess Reilly didn't tell her. Interesting. If he doesn't think she needs to know I guess I'll keep my mouth shut.
    I went back in and returned to my own project. The past couple of months I haven't really done any constructive thinking about my situation. Now that I think I'm finally starting to pull myself back together and can contemplate it without undergoing the same sort of emotional roller-coaster it used to cause, I've been putting some research time into my immediate genetic forbear, Tempest. It's something to do, a lot more interesting than just hanging around waiting to find out if they're going to try to kill me again.
    I've got one of her mug shots clipped to the inside of the folder; looking at it is sort of eerie, still, especially since I haven't had my hair cut in months and we look even more alike. The folder is still pretty thin: the few sparse facts Reilly uncovered about Shannon; the local news brief from the Globe about Susan's death (the case is still officially "unresolved"), with a picture of her and a copy of her fingerprints; my own jotted notes from after Chandler's attempt with my memories, and then Daedalus'; and a very long list of questions without answers. Given that any information on Shannon will almost certainly be classified, and Susan's background presents obvious problems from an investigative standpoint, I'm starting with Tempest.
    I admit that right now, at least, I feel a sort of sneaky admiration—family pride?—about her. Heck, they're my genes too. And she managed to royally screw up their plans by haring off on her own to cause havoc like she did. I wonder a lot about her. Does she know what she is? How much of a choice did she have about what she's done with her life? (How much, I might wonder, did I?) What about their current plans? I got the impression from Zed that she's not involved in Phase 2 voluntarily. I'm planning to concentrate my efforts on the circumstances of her disappearance, hoping that if I can pinpoint where and when, it'll give me a clue as to who. And maybe how, as well—she's way out of my league, powerwise, and the fact that they managed to catch her at all does not bode well for the length of my future.
    Rather than spend any more time than I already have musing on that unpleasant subject, and since I'm probably not going to get anything further done, I believe I will set it aside for now and find something else to do.

April 20, 1987

Another one for the Book of Really Long Days, and probably for the Weird Shit album as well. I'll try to be careful about the order of events, but it might get a little mixed up, since I'm feeling more than a little shaky right now. Just when I think things are settling down, just when I start coming to grips with my life, something like this happens and I find myself spinning again, not sure which way is up. Good way for a pilot to get herself killed, that.
    The day started with a four-alarm fire in Chinatown, the most mundane of its many events. Promethean makes twice my airspeed; he got there first and started rescuing people trapped inside, protected by the envelope of plasma he can generate around himself. Scott and I got there together, a little behind Hans. Scott went into the building to help with finding people. They hauled survivors out and passed them to me for safe transfer to the waiting ambulances; in between I helped move firemen and hoses to the best positions, hampered as the ladders were by the narrow street and the abundance of telephone lines.
    I've never seen anything burn like that; it's as if the entire place went up at once, and quickly. The noise was incredible—the sounds of the fire itself, shouting people, hoses blasting furiously, and over it all hints of an ominous creaking as the building's skeleton began to succumb to the flames.
    Lucky was the last to show up. She caught the gloves Winters tossed to her, had a brief conversation with one of the firemen, and headed into the building. Apparently, three of the corner supports had gone, but the fourth was still stable, which meant that when the place collapsed it would so with a sideways list, spreading the blaze. A short time after she disappeared Promethean rocketed free and Scott more or less just tossed out two last survivors and expected me to catch them; I moved them to the ambulences and watched the building begin crumbling in on itself as Lucky took down the wall—for once, I wasn't inside a collapsing structure. It fell neatly in on itself with a vast rush of heat and cinders, from which Lucky emerged a few moments later, brushing herself off nonchalantly.
    Three or four people had already succumbed to the smoke by the time they were found, but no one alive was left in the building when it went. Two notes of interest: Promethean found a corpse, or rather a charred skeleton, in a reinforced room on the third floor. He suspected the person had been killed before the building went up. Second, while Scott was investigating the basement he found a large pile of white powder which burned quite well; thinking that it might be the accelerant used to start the blaze, he took a sample of the stuff. Lucky took one whiff and said, "Scott, that's cocaine." Can't wait to find out who owned the place.

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© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson