Part Five of a Series
The First Adventure
All characters are mine and mine alone. If they look like anybody you know or think you know, it's sheer coincidence. This story does contain some violence, foul language, and sexual content. If you don't like any of these, please try your call again.
Synopsis: When Brice wakes up in the hospital, something isn't quite right. Matter of fact, nothing is quite right. Everything and everyone are different and she seems to be the only thing that hasn't changed.
My eternal thanks to Rosa for being my number one fan and editing this story.
Dedicated to you, the readers. Thanks for sticking with me and Brice through her adventures and not killing for me for the long waits between updates. I heart you all.
Questions? Comments? Rude remarks? email@example.com
The genetic material of all living things on Earth is composed of nucleic acids. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the predominant form.
DNA must make exact copies of itself for successful reproduction. However, copy errors called mutations occasionally occur. Some mutations are fatal to an organism, most are inconsequential, but a few offer advantages and are passed on to future generations. This is how evolution occurs.
Greer screamed as she watched an unconscious Brice fall into the vat of green, toxic waste. Noel, reacting on instinct, grabbed what appeared to be a lifeguard ring on the wall next to her and threw it in. It wasn't the best idea she had ever had, but she was in shock. Her best friend had just fallen into a vat of toxic waste and there hadn't been a way to save her.
“NO!” Lamb, the mad scientist, screamed, “What have you done?”
Lamb ran to the edge of the vat, and leaned over the railing to watch the lifeguard ring start giving off arcs of electricity.
Noel shook her head and this allowed her to think more clearly. “Greer! Use your powers! Get her out of there!”
Greer concentrated on Brice to telekinetic lift her from the vat. However, she was still feeling weak from her ununseptium cage so her efforts only allowed Brice to surface. Somehow she was able to lift Brice up through the middle of the floatation ring and ease her on it. She weakly leaned against the railing, trying not to faint.
“I don't have the energy,” Greer cried, “We need to get her out of there.”
“That is not a floatie!” Lamb screamed.
“I don't give a shit what it is,” Noel growled, grabbing the scientist by his neck, “You help me get her out of there or so help me I'll…”
“You'll what?” Lamb gloated, “Kill me? I laugh in the face of death. Ha ha hagguuu…”
Noel tightened her grip around his neck, cutting off his laugh, “I'll tell your mother that you've come over to the good side and have been working with us all along to help superheroes prevail.”
Lamb's eyes widened in fear, “You wouldn't!”
“I would. Now get her out of there!”
Lamb started looking around the lair. He shouted as he started to point, “There! There's the pulley! Get that girl to tie a rope around the woman and pull her up with this remote!”
Noel didn't have to command Greer to do as he said, she did it automatically. A rope was easy for her to handle. She just didn't have enough strength to pick up Brice's weight. Noel took the remote from Lamb's hand. As soon as the rope was tied off, Noel pushed it. It seemed to take forever as Brice was slowly lifted out of the vat. As soon as Brice was placed on solid ground, Noel and Greer ran to her side. Actually, Greer had run to Brice's side and Noel had run to stop her.
Noel caught hold of the 19 year-old before she could get too close, “No! You can't touch her! She's covered in nuclear waste.”
“I don't care,” Greer growled, trying to get away from the white-haired superhero, “Let me go. She's not breathing.”
“Then use your powers to do chest compressions and open up her mouth. If she starts to vomit, roll her on her side. The medics are a few minutes away. Greer, she'd never forgive me or you if you got damaged from the nuclear waste that she tried to save you from.”
Greer glared at the other woman but did as she was told. She had no way of breathing into Brice's lungs. So she did chest compressions and prayed the medics would arrive soon. Just after the 28 th compression, Brice started to cough and Greer barely had time to roll Brice onto her side as she vomited green fluid.
The medics arrived shortly after in white hazmat suits. They took over caring for Brice and soon had her loaded up in their emergency jet plane. Greer tried to go with them, but they refused to let her on board. She couldn't be exposed to the nuclear radiation.
Noel placed handcuffs on Lamb as he stood crying over the flotation device that had fallen off Brice as she was lifted out of the vat.
“It's ruined,” He moaned, “All that work and it's ruined.”
“It's just a damn float,” Noel muttered. All she wanted was to get to the hospital and see how Brice was. She knew Brice's chances of surviving the radiation weren't good and even if she did survive, she would never be the same.
“It was not a float! It was a quantum mechanical event generator!”
“What the hell is that in layman's terms?” Noel snapped.
“It teleports you to an alternative universe.”
Noel sighed, bored, “So it's a teleporter?”
“Did it work before I threw it into the vat?”
“Well, no, but…”
“Then shut up and move,” Noel growled. She pushed Lamb out the doors and into the hands of some officer. She then made a run for her SUV, which was about to take off with Greer in the driver's seat. She had barely gotten the door closed before the vehicle flew off into the air.
“She's going to be fine,” The white-haired superhero said.
“I would normally accuse you of lying, but I hope you are right now.”
“I hope so too,” Noel whispered to herself.
Brice could hear voices but nothing they said made sense. She tried to open her eyes but found they were too heavy to open. She slowly slipped back into blackness.
When Brice became conscious again, she didn't hear anything. When she opened her eyes, everything was bleary. She blinked a few times until things came into focus. She was able to recognize that she was in a hospital room and looked down at herself to see all sorts of wires attached to her. Attached to her hand was Greer's hand, as the teenager lay sleeping next to Brice's bed in a chair.
Once Brice got over the joy of seeing Greer was perfectly okay, she concentrated on the fact that Greer was holding her hand. She thought it was really sweet and debated whether or not to tease the teenager about it later.
Brice's eyes flickered to the door as it opened. She felt relieved to see it was Noel and Alice and that they were both okay. They seemed happy to find her awake.
Noel fiercely grinned, “Looks like sleeping beauty finally woke up. You had us worried there, pal.”
Before Brice could answer, Greer was awaken by Noel's voice. She looked sleepily at the couple before turning to look at Brice. The bus driver would never forget the look on Greer's face when she realized Brice was okay. She would never forget what happened next either. Greer kissed her and it wasn't a little peck on the cheek or lips either.
Greer leaped forward and solidly planted her lips upon Brice's. Stunned, Brice allowed the kiss to continue on for several seconds. When Greer pulled away, the bus driver was left stunned.
“What was that for?” She asked.
Noel moved closer to Brice's bed, laughing. Greer, who still held onto Brice's hand, used her free one to wipe away a tear. The white haired woman said, “You've been unconscious for over a day, Brice. She's just happy to see you awake, dummy.”
“Oh,” Brice muttered. She supposed that was an okay greeting for someone who had been unconscious for over a day. She gave Greer a smile to let her know she was feeling okay, and turned her attention back to Alice and Noel. She gasped as she closely inspected Noel.
“What happened to you? How did you get that scar?”
There was a scar running across Noel's right ear down towards her mouth. It was healed over and didn't look knew, which meant Noel hadn't received it during the fight with Virus. Even if she had, there was medical technology to heal wounds without leaving scars.
Noel, Alice and Greer shared a worried look. Noel asked, rubbing her hand across the scar, “You don't remember?”
“No. What happened?” Brice asked, still concerned. Who had harmed her friend? Had Virus or Duster done something to her?
Noel tried to laugh, but she shared another worried look with Alice and Greer, “You gave it to me, pal.”
Brice felt like she had been sliced open, “What?”
“You did. Remember? Back after we saved the academy, you got this one good slice in before Alice stepped in to stop us from fighting. I was going to have it healed, but Alice said she thought it was really sexy.”
Alice purred, “It is.”
“Wait, wait,” Brice demanded, “What's going on here? What happened?”
“What's the last thing you remember?” Greer asked, squeezing Brice's hand.
Brice gave their clasped hands a questioning look before looking up at the blue-eyed teenager, “Well, I remember Duster grabbing me and slamming my head against the railing. After that I don't know.”
Alice, Noel and Greer shared another worried look. Noel said, “Well, that's sort of what happened. Duster was trying to stop you from throwing in the canister while Greer was recovering from the Ununseptium. I was busy fighting Guardian and Lamb to throw the canister myself. You slipped and hit your head really hard on a crate. That's why you're here at the hospital.”
“But no worries,” Noel cheerfully added, “You managed to get the canister into the tub. Duster hesitated to check on you instead of going after the canister, which allowed you to complete the mission and you even rescued Greer.”
“My hero,” Greer teased. She leaned in to kiss Brice again but the bus driver backed away as much as she could in the hospital bed.
“What…what's going on here? What canister? What mission? And who is Guardian?” Brice demanded to know. What they were saying was not what she remembered. What where they talking about and why did Greer just try to kiss her again?
Alice gave Noel and Greer a serious look, “I think we need to call the doctor in. She may have hit her head harder than we thought.”
“What?” Brice asked for what felt like the hundredth time.
“I think you are experiencing memory loss, Brice,” Alice simply stated.
Noel and Greer looked torn between worry and confusion while Brice just looked confused. While she didn't know what happened after Duster rendered her unconscious, she was fairly certain she wasn't experiencing memory lost. She just didn't know how Noel got that scar on her face or who the hell was Guardian or why Greer kept kissing her or why Greer was wearing an engagement ring.
Brice stopped her train of thought at that last realization as she zeroed in on Greer's left hand. Unable to stop herself, Brice held up the hand in question and asked, “When did this happen?”
Greer frowned down at her hand as Brice used her thumb to wiggle the ring. The blonde asked, worry tainting her voice, “You don't remember?”
Brice started to get angry. She would sure as hell remember if her brother, Michael, had given Greer an engagement ring. Her mother would never allow them to get married so young.
“Let me go get a doctor,” Alice said, quickly exiting the room. She soon returned with a doctor by her side. Brice spent the next hour being asked questions and undergoing tests. At the end of the hour, the doctor gave his verdict.
“It seems Brice is experiencing amnesia, though it doesn't fit any of the common types. She recollects all of you and shares some memories, but seems to misrecall others. It's hard to say where it's coming from. At best I can guess she has developed memory distrust syndrome, which causes her to distrust her memories and make up new ones. Perhaps the miscreants you were fighting injected her with something that's causing problems in her brain. We'll have to do more testing to prove that theory though.”
Once Noel heard it could be blamed on someone, she jumped on that theory. She growled, “I knew those jerks had something to do with it. I bet Duster injected her with something. I'm going to find and beat her so bad that there will be a particle of her in every country.”
“How long will this last?” Greer asked.
“We have no way of knowing. We can run some more blood and chemical tests, but hopefully, this will wear off. We should keep her here another few days for observation.”
“I feel fine,” Brice snapped, “And I don't want to stay here.”
Brice was normally a level-headed person. She was a firm believer in obeying medical workers, but after being ignored and talked about for the past hour, she had had enough. She didn't know what was going on but she knew she wasn't experiencing amnesia. She remembered the time she caught her father on Christmas Eve putting presents under the tree and he quickly morphed into an old, plump man who said he was Santa Claus. She remembered her first kiss and she remembered what she had for dinner the previous night.
The only problem was she didn't remember over half the things Noel, Alice and Greer seemed to agree on. Everything around her seemed to be wrong.
Greer said, taking Brice's hand again, “Babe, I know how much you hate hospitals but it wouldn't hurt to stay another day.”
Brice sealed herself off at that moment. Greer had never called her babe before and she didn't hate hospitals. Nothing was right in this world.
When Brice had been accepted as a bus driver for the International High School for Gifted Students, she spent an entire year undergoing training. During that year of training, she spent two months filling out paperwork and watching videos on things such as sexual harassment, using government property and workplace ethics. There were videos and papers on every possible scenario Brice could ever encounter and two of those scenarios fit what she was going through.
The first scenario was what to do if kidnapped by supervillains. She had been instructed only to give her name and employee number. Brice and the government knew that was a ridiculous instruction. Bus drivers weren't hired for their tolerance to pain and sooner or later, they would crack if kidnapped and questioned by supervillains. Still, the instruction had been to keep quiet for as long as possible.
Brice figured it was entirely possible that Virus had kidnapped her and was now holding her hostage in a simulated reality. He had stated he wanted to test her before making her join his side. Perhaps this was a fake world he had created to get her to join his side or tell secret data. The only problem with this scenario was that she was a lowly bus driver. She didn't know any secrets and what would a supervillain want with a bus driver anyway?
The second scenario Brice quickly dismissed. She had to read over and sign a document that the government was not responsible if she was abducted by aliens or transported into an alternate dimension. Aliens wouldn't want her and the only alternate realities were just in fiction.
Brice also realized she could be in a coma. She knew Virus had wanted her to jump into the vat of toxic waste and Duster might have thrown her into it after striking her unconscious. It honestly seemed like a plausible possibility. If she could just wake up then everything would go back to normal. The only question was, how to wake up?
The brown-haired woman spent the next few minutes pinching and trying to will herself awake. She would close her eyes and demand herself to wake up in the real world. It didn't work.
The bus driver felt this was the longest and most awkward day of her life. Noel and Alice sat in the room with her for a time, not really knowing what to say, and finally excused themselves to go home. Noel promised to find Duster and rip her to pieces and Brice hoped she did. If Noel found Duster, Brice was certain some of her questions would be answered.
Her parents had shown up and Brice was relieved to see they looked and acted the same as she remembered them. Marge worried over Brice profusely, sharply questioned her doctors, and made violent threats to the bastards who had hurt her baby. Mark spent most of his time alternating between reassuring Brice that she would get her memory back and trying to calm his wife down. Brice insisted they go home after spending an hour with them, saying she was fine. They hugged her and Greer before leaving.
She was now alone with Greer. The blonde-haired woman had spent the entire time sitting in the chair by Brice's bed. She hadn't tried to take Brice's hand again, sensing it made her uncomfortable. She hadn't spoken much either, merely studying Brice the entire time. When Brice suggested she go home, Greer quickly and firmly shot down the suggestion.
Brice decided it was best for her to ask questions rather than give wrong answers.
A flicker of relief crossed Greer's face, relieved that Brice remembered her little brother, “He's with Mom. He's worried about you too.”
That answer only left Brice with more questions. Greer and John's mother was still in a mental hospital, recovering from a mental breakdown. John didn't even like visiting his mother because he barely remembered a time when she wasn't crazy.
She continued with her questioning, “So how did I become unconscious?”
“Well,” Greer started, “I was on a simple mission to destroy a vat of renewable fuel that Lamb had created. We had received information that Guardian was ready to ship out barrels of the new fuel to all the major chemical companies. If that fuel was released to the public, there would be no need for oil. It's cheaply made and has been proven that all types of engines run off of it. The Corporation couldn't let something like that hit the market. It would destroy the stock value of crude oil, so I was sent to destroy it. Unfortunately, Guardian and Duster caught me. Fortunately, you and Noel came to my rescue. You saved me and tossed the canister into the vat, destroying it. While it doesn't stop Lamb from creating more in the future, we have stopped them for now.”
Brice was only more confused. That wasn't the way she remembered it happening. Also, the stock value of oil was already low and almost all industries and vehicles ran off of renewable fuel. And what exactly was the Corporation?
Brice then asked the question that burned inside her the most, “What are we?”
“I mean, what is our relationship?” Brice asked.
Greer countered, “What do you think it is?”
Brice answered in the form of a question, “We're friends?”
Brice knew she had answered wrong when a flash of sadness crossed Greer's face.
“We're more than that?” Brice asked. Greer nodded and looked down at her ring. Brice followed her gaze and looked at the ring too. Apparently in this coma or computer world, she was more than friends with Greer. That meant they were dating. Greer also had an engagement ring on. Greer was dating her and wore an engagement ring. Brice shouted the answer when her brain finally connected the clues, “We're engaged!?!”
Greer gestured for her to lower her voice, “Calm down, Brice.”
There was no calming Brice down. She loudly asked again, “We're engaged?”
“Yes, yes. Now calm down before they come in here and give you a tranquilizer. Or before I give you one myself.”
Brice's mind was reeling. She was engaged to Greer. Greer was engaged to her. Her mind couldn't comprehend it. So many things were wrong with this news. Greer was dating Michael. Greer was only nineteen while Brice was twenty eight. Brice wouldn't deny there were hints of something between them, but neither of them had acted on it. Brice had never even thought of acting on it because Greer was her brother's nineteen year old girlfriend and her housemate. Now Greer was her fiancée.
Brice covered her face, “None of this matches my memory. God, I hate this. I just want everything to be right again.”
Greer couldn't stop herself from reaching out and touching Brice's leg, “It will be, babe. Between Noel and your Ma, they'll find Guardian and his helpers. They'll find a way to fix your memory.”
Brice wanted to say it wasn't her memory that needed fixing, just everything in the world around her.
“I just want to go home,” Brice said, “Can't we just go home?”
Greer hesitated and Brice pleaded, “Please. I want to be in my own home, in my own bed. We can come back later for all tests and tests results. I feel fine. Nothing hurts. I just want to go home.”
Greer broke, “Okay, we'll go home. But if your Ma tries to kill me for letting you leave A.M.A., I expect you to save me.”
“Deal,” Brice grinned.
As Greer went to fill out some forms, Brice changed into a set of clothes Greer had brought her. She was happy to see they were clothes she remembered.
She let Greer drive her home. Again she was pleased to see the car was the new SUV her parents had bought her for her birthday. Sitting in her car wearing her own clothes, Brice assumed her home would be the same. It couldn't have been more opposite.
Instead of flying to the Tennessee mountains, Greer flew them towards the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The sun had set in that time zone, so Brice was unable to see where they were until they were right on top of it.
Greer was flying them towards a remote island in the large ocean. From a small amount of moonlight, Brice was able to make out cliffs on one side of the island and a tiny beach on the other. She watched as they flew at the cliffs. She didn't have time to do anything as it looked like Greer was going to crash them into the rock side, but instead of crashing, they kept going.
Brice couldn't keep her mouth closed as they kept flying down a long tunnel carved into the rock. She would later figure out that it was an holographic illusion that made the cliff seem solid when it really held the entrance to her home.
The tunnel suddenly opened up into a large garage area. Brice was happy to see her large, yellow bus parked beside Greer's motorcycle.
“Home sweet home,” Greer said as she parked the SUV. She turned to look at Brice who was still taking in everything. She frowned, “You don't remember any of this, do you?”
Brice shook her head. Greer sighed, “I guess I'll give you a tour.”
She followed the teenager across the garage area toward a door. Walking inside was very disconcerting for Brice. The layout was very different from the home she remembered. Everything was on one floor and it was large and spacious. There were all kinds of rooms. There was a living room and a dining room. There was a viewing room where the bottom was glass and showed a pit full of lava hundreds of meters below. Brice wasn't sure if she liked that room. They had an entertainment room with a screen that took up an entire wall, a pool table and various other games. There was a gym with a small pool. They passed by several guest rooms before Greer finally stopped at a door, “This is our room.”
Brice had forgotten about the fact she was engaged to Greer. Of course they would share a room. She felt her face pale and then flush when she realized that she and Greer probably had sex. She couldn't even remember kissing Greer except for today. However, Brice didn't have time to continue that line of thinking. When Greer opened the door, a large mass came flying towards her.
Brice braced herself only to have the large mass stop short. She could now see it was a German Shepherd well over a hundred pounds. At first the dog seemed out of its mind with happiness to see Brice and then it stopped in front of her. It sniffed at her and started growling.
“Fluffy, stop!” Greer ordered. Brice remained still. She would have been afraid to have such a large, menacing looking dog growling at her, but she was only heart-broken. If this was her dog then there was no Monty, Python or Grace in this world. Her home was different and her pet was different.
Fluffy whined at being scolded and ducked his head. Greer patted it, but gave Brice a serious look, “It's like he doesn't recognize you.”
“I don't recognize me,” Brice softly replied before going into the room. She was surprised to find it looked like her old bedroom. The bed was a bit larger, but the sheets were the same. Some of the pictures she had on the wall were the same, but as she looked closer she saw pictures she didn't recognize. Mainly pictures of Greer and herself wrapped in each others' arms or kissing. That was a different Brice with this Greer.
She peeked into the bathroom and was amazed at the large size. It had a black granite theme with a large bathtub and shower. It should have comforted her to see one of the sinks set up just the way she had in her original home but it only made her depressed. She went back into the bedroom and sat heavily on the bed.
Greer came to sit beside her and placed a hand on her back. She didn't ask how Brice was feeling. She knew she didn't have to.
“I don't remember this house or that dog,” Brice admitted, “But I remember my bus, my car, your bike and these clothes. I don't remember half of those pictures.”
“You don't remember us,” Greer guessed.
“Yes,” Brice said. She knew the statement hurt Greer and that caused her to ache.
“Well,” Greer said, trying to stay positive, “We'll just have to jog your memory while we wait for Noel to catch Guardian. Thank goodness school is out so you can stay at home and rest. I'll take a leave of absence from work and stay home with you.”
“You don't have to do that,” Brice said. Greer hushed her, “You may not remember us, Brice, so I have to be here to remind you. I always win arguments because I'm always right, by the way.”
Brice chuckled, “Oh really?”
Greer smirked, “Yes. I also love you.”
Brice's smile faded at the confession. Except it wasn't really a confession but a statement. The other Brice would have heard that every day, but it was the first time that she had heard it.
She cared for Greer deeply. She would give her life for Greer and do anything to see her happy. She thought Greer was beautiful, especially when she smiled, but she didn't know if she loved Greer.
Seeing the uncertainty in Brice's face, Greer changed topics. She said, gesturing to the large dog sitting nearby, “That's Fluffy.”
“Fluffy?” Brice repeated, shaking her head, “I'm so corny that I named my giant dog Fluffy?”
Greer grinned, “You wanted to call him Tiny, but I said no.”
Brice shook her head again. She then asked the question that they both wanted to know, “What if we can't fix this?”
At that point, Brice was beginning to doubt her sanity. What if her memories were mixed up? What if everything she remembered was caused by a chemical? What if this was the real world?
Greer rested her head on Brice's shoulder, “Then we'll work it out.”
They stayed like that for some time before Greer lifted her head again, “Look on the bright side if you never regain your memories.”
“There's a bright side?”
Greer grinned, “Yes. I can retrain you to be the perfect mate. Don't you know you do all the household chores? You're a stay-at-home wife and you are my sex slave.”
Brice blushed. This was going to take some getting used to. She had just ended a relationship with Amelia and now she was in a long-term relationship with Greer.
“Sure I am,” Brice managed to say. She had never once thought about sex with Greer or had a sexual related discussion with the girl before. Brice corrected herself. She had never had a sexual related discussion with the woman before. She had to start calling Greer a woman since she was engaged to her.
“Let's make dinner. By the time we're done eating, you'll disappear. It's Tuesday after all.”
“What?” Brice asked, “What do Tuesdays have to do with anything?”
Greer looked stunned, “I never thought anything in this world would make you forget what comes on Tuesday nights. You sometimes say you love it more than me.”
“I may not remember us, but I doubt I could love anything more than you,” Brice said. She didn't know if that was true, but she felt it was.
A soft smile came over Greer's face. She had been doubting that it was really Brice beside her. She looked like Brice, sounded like her, smelled like her but Greer could have sworn it wasn't her Brice. However, only her Brice could say something like that.
“I'm tempted not to tell you since I'm not a large fan of the show, but I guess it would be a cardinal sin for me not to remind you. Tonight a new episode of Glee comes on.”
“Glee?” Brice asked. What the heck was Glee?
Greer shook her head, “It's a TV show that comes on FOX. You and Noel adore it. Every Tuesday she comes over and you watch it like avid schoolgirl fans.”
Brice had never heard of Glee in her entire life. She enjoyed several TV shows, but she didn't remember anything about Glee.
“Is it a popular show?”
“One of the most popular ones out there,” Greer stated, “I suppose if you don't remember it, you can just watch it over from the beginning.”
“Will…will you watch it with me?” Brice asked. She didn't know this Greer, but Greer was the only thing connecting her to the world at the moment.
Greer agreed even though she didn't really like the show. After dinner, they settled on a couch in the entertainment room. Greer may not have liked the show, but she thought it was worth sitting through the first three episodes just to watch Brice's face light up. Brice exclaimed, “I love this show. It's amazing. God, it's so great. And it's currently on its second season? Do Rachel and Quinn get together? What about those two cheerleaders? They're pretty hot.”
Greer laughed, “I can't tell you that.”
She then yawned, “It's almost midnight, babe. Let's go to bed.”
Brice hesitated. She was hoping to avoid sleeping. Going to bed meant going to bed with Greer. Greer, who was her fiancée, her incredibly beautiful and sexy fiancée.
“Umm, I'm not really tired,” Brice lied, “Why don't you go on to bed? I'll stay up and watch the show a little longer.”
“Okay,” Greer replied, not believing her and both women knew it. She hesitated and Brice knew she was wondering whether to kiss her or not. She decided not to and Brice could tell the decision took its toll on her.
“Goodnight,” Greer said, sadly, before walking away.
Brice watched her leave before turning her attention back to the TV. She didn't feel like watching any more episodes. Instead she got up and started wandering around the house. She was looking for her computer. If she found her computer perhaps she would learn more about the other Brice's life.
“God, this place is so big,” She grumbled to herself. After a few more minutes of searching, she found a room that looked like an office. Seeing the room was setup like her own office, she figured it was hers. She headed towards the desk when a large, growling dog jumped in her path.
“Jesus,” Brice gasped, taking a step back. Fluffy continued to growl at her, baring his teeth. Brice had had enough for one day. She placed her hands on her hips and said in a stern voice, “Now you listen here, Fluffy. I may not be your Brice, but I am Brice. You will obey me and behave. If you don't, you're in big trouble. Now stop that growling.”
Fluffy cocked his head and stopped growling.
“Sit,” Brice ordered. Fluffy sat and started to whine, wagging his tail. “Now that's a good boy. Don't start that again.”
Brice patted the dog's head before sitting down at the desk. She opened the laptop in front of her.
The computer turned on instantly but she hit another barrier as it asked for a password. She didn't think her password would be ‘montyandpython' in this world. A soft whine drew her eyes towards Fluffy, who was now lying next to her chair, still wagging his tail. She leaned down to ruffle his ears and sat back up to type in ‘fluffy'. She grinned as the computer logged on, “God, I'm so predictable.”
Once logged on, she didn't know where to go first. She decided ‘My Pictures' would be the place to go. Inside the folder she found several subfolders. Some contained pictures that she had taken from her bus and of the island. Others were of family events and holidays. There were several albums of herself and Greer.
Brice spent the next several hours going through all her photos and watching videos. It was surreal to see herself on film, saying things she had never said, doing things she had never done. It was her, but it wasn't.
Through all the pictures she was able to confirm one thing. In this world, she loved Greer with all her heart. Brice could see it in herself. She hoped the other her told Greer she loved her every day.
“What are you doing?”
Brice jumped as she looked up to see a sleepy Greer in the doorway of her office. She looked down at the pictures and back up, “Trying to remember.”
Greer yawned, “Well, you can remember more tomorrow. You need to sleep because I promised the doctor we'd be back at hospital in the morning.”
Brice held back a groan and shut down the laptop. She tried not to act surprised when Greer took her by the hand and led her to their bedroom. The room was lit only by a bedside lamp. Greer released Brice's hand and went to crawl back under the covers. Brice realized how tired Greer looked and felt guilty. She was sure the blonde had slept little the past few days while being kidnapped and having Brice in the hospital.
Brice looked at the pair of matching dressers in the room and tried to guess which one was hers. She deduced that the one with her watch and bus driver ID on top was hers and opened the second drawer. She was pleased to see it full of familiar, old t-shirts, boxers and various other pajama sets. She pulled out a shirt and a pair of boxers before heading into the bathroom.
Trying to buy time in hopes that Greer would be asleep when she got out, Brice took a shower. It ended up taking quite some time to figure out how to turn on the shower from the remote outside. Finally she clicked an option that said Brice. She growled when this only led her to another menu. There she clicked ‘body wash minus hair'. Finally the shower started from a few nozzles on one side. When she stepped into the spray, the water was just the perfect temperature and she was able to wash up without wetting her hair.
Brice brushed her teeth after drawing off and took a deep breath to steel her nerves. When she walked into the bedroom, it seemed her wish had been granted. Greer looked fast asleep.
She climbed into bed, trying to keep as much distance between them as she could. As soon as she was settled in, Greer was snuggled by her side. With her arm firmly around Brice's waist she whispered, “It's good to have you home.”
“It's good to be home,” Brice lied.
Even though she had never slept in the same bed with Greer before, her body didn't seem to mind. She didn't remember falling asleep and the next thing she knew, someone was kissing her awake.
“Babe, time to get up. We have to get back to the hospital for more tests.”
Brice tried not to jerk away from Greer, but it was shocking to wake up beside someone. Greer, seeing her discomfort, muttered, “Sorry. I'll go get breakfast.”
The bus driver hated seeing Greer so upset. She wished for a solution.
Breakfast was a quiet meal though Greer did seemed pleased that Fluffy no longer growled at Brice.
“I guess you just smelled like the hospital,” She commented as she made him stand on his heels for a treat.
“I guess so,” Brice lied in agreement. Fluffy had been on edge because she wasn't his true master but that was between her and Fluffy for now.
It was a quiet flight to the hospital. Brice spent the next few hours alternating between giving blood, answering questions and waiting for answers. Greer held Brice's hand for most of the waiting and Brice didn't object. She told herself it was just to calm Greer's nerves, but she knew it was to calm her own nerves.
After being questioned for the sixth time by some doctor, Brice learned it was best to play dumb. The more she answered truthfully, the more upset Greer became and the more notes the doctors wrote.
Around noon Brice and Greer went to lunch in the cafeteria. As they went to stand in line, Brice accidentally bumped into someone causing the person to drop the charts she had been holding.
“I'm sorry,” Brice apologized as she and Greer bent down to help the woman pick up the charts. Brice almost dropped them again when she saw who the woman was.
“Amelia,” Brice exclaimed, stunned to see her ex-girlfriend.
Both Greer and Amelia looked confusedly at Brice.
“Do I know you?” Amelia asked. Greer asked at the same time, “Do you know her?”
Brice suddenly realized she was in deep trouble. If she was engaged to Greer then she probably never dated Amelia.
“Umm,” Brice mumbled, searching desperately for a lie. She said, knowing she was starting to blush, “I've just seen you around before.”
Amelia and Greer exchanged another look. Brice abruptly turned around and walked off. Greer handed the Hispanic doctor back her charts and went after Brice.
“What just happened back there?” Greer asked as she picked up a tray to join Brice in line.
Brice shrugged while looking everywhere but at Greer.
“You knew her name.”
“It was on her badge.”
“You addressed her by her first name instead of her title,” Greer retorted.
“Just a mixed up memory,” Brice said, “I realized quite quickly that it couldn't be real.”
Greer looked like she wanted to press the matter, but didn't. Instead she picked up a piece of pecan pie and placed it on Brice's tray.
“I don't like pecan pie,” Brice said, looking down at her tray, “Right?”
“No, you don't, but I do.”
Brice chuckled while she shook her head. After eating their food, they went back upstairs. Marge and Mark soon joined them.
“How are you feeling?” Mark asked, leaning down to kiss Brice's head.
“Bored,” Brice replied, “Greer borrowed my phone so I've been left without entertainment.”
Greer looked up sheepishly from the game of Angry Birds she had been playing. Marge chuckled, “No one in this room likes waiting.”
“You're right,” Brice said, “Can't you hurry them along?”
“I'll go ask someone for information,” Mark volunteered.
“So, anything on finding Guardian or his helpers?” Greer asked, handing Brice back her phone.
“None of my informants have any information on where Guardian could be. Noel's still searching as far as I know.”
“We'll find them,” Greer said reassuringly, “Guardian had something to do with this. This has Lamb's name all over it. Only Lamb is smart enough to make something that could do this.”
“What?” Brice asked.
“Lamb's the smartest person on the planet,” Marge confirmed, “I can't think of another person who could do this to you.”
Greer and Marge kept talking, but Brice tuned them out. If Lamb was the smartest man in this world then he was probably the smartest scientist in her world. That means he could have made something to transport her to another world. Perhaps the vat of toxic waste wasn't toxic waste. Perhaps it was a teleporter, she thought. Perhaps Lamb knew a way to get her home.
Now all she had to do was find Lamb. She would have to find Guardian first.
“Who is Guardian?” Brice suddenly asked. If Guardian was Lamb's boss then she assumed Virus was actually Guardian, but she wanted to be sure.
Marge seemed startled by the question. Brice felt horrible for asking. She could tell her mother felt helpless and she knew her mother hated feeling helpless, especially when it came to her children.
“Guardian was at the academy a year before your father and myself. He was one of the most powerful students, handsome. He worked at the Corporation for a few years. He had a promising future ahead, so everyone said. He went rogue though. Took the name Guardian and has been fighting against the Corporation ever since.”
Brice was reminded yet again that asking questions only led to more questions. She had no clue what the academy and the Corporation were. She assumed the academy was the high school she drove for, but she didn't have the slightest clue about the Corporation.
“So bad things has Guardian done?” Brice asked. She was trying to connect Guardian to Virus.
“One of his biggest feats was taking over the academy a few years ago, but thanks to you, Brice, we were able to get it back. Other than that, he's a pain in the Corporation's side. It's a constant job watching him. He keeps trying to reveal us to the world.”
“Reveal us, Brice. You know, tell the world about us.”
“Oh, you mean he tries to reveal your secret identity,” Brice said, thinking she understood.
“No,” Greer said, “He wants to reveal to the world that people with superpowers exist. He wants to kick the superhero community out of the closet. He feels everyone should know that we exist.”
Brice was dumbfounded. No one in this world knew that superheroes really existed? That there were people with the ability to control time, gravity, elements and so many other things?
Mark chose that time to walk back into the waiting room. With him was Amelia. Mark said, “Dr. Delgado was all I could find on the floor.”
“She's not Brice's doctor,” Greer protested.
“Right you are,” Amelia said, flipping through a chart in her hand, “Ms. Johnson's doctor is currently busy, but he gave me Brice's chart to give you some information.”
They waited as Amelia flipped through Brice's papers. The doctor briefly scolded before looking at them, “Well, there seems to be nothing I can tell you. No new information has been found.”
“What?” Marge exclaimed, “They have been sitting here since morning. Someone could have said something.”
“I apologize for your wait,” Amelia said, “I would recommend going home and I'll have your doctor call you if there's any news.”
Brice watched as Amelia looked at her without recognition and looked away. It pissed the bus driver. She had been ignoring Amelia's existence as part of their breakup experience. Amelia had to one up her by forgetting that Brice existed completely. The bus driver didn't want her ex to get the better of her. However, she quickly dropped that line of thought when she noticed her current girlfriend was staring at her.
“Let's go home,” Brice suddenly said, “Ma, Dad, would you like to join us?”
“How are you feeling?” Marge asked.
“As fine as someone can be with a screwed up brain,” Brice replied.
“So basically you're saying you're the same as always,” Marge teased.
Brice rolled her head, “Thanks, Ma. Knew I could count on you to make me feel better.”
Marge kissed Brice's head, “Your father and I will go home. Don't worry, Brice. We'll find Guardian and make him pay.”
“Love you, Ma,” Brice said.
“I love you too. Now you and your father go ahead. Greer and I will sign you out. Always have to file paperwork for this sort of thing.”
Brice looked between the two women. She knew something wasn't quite right, but she let her father guide her away from them.
“Something's not quite right with her,” Marge said the moment Brice was out of sight.
“Yes, I know.”
“Don't let her out of your sight. Don't leave her alone.”
Brice spent the next few days at home, waiting for news. She finished all the episodes of Glee that were available to watch. She went on long walks with Greer and Fluffy around the island. Brice could see why the other her enjoyed living on the island so much. There was always something new to find on the shoreline.
The bus driver was a little unsettled at how closely Greer seemed to be watching her. She almost never let Brice out of her sight. The bus driver didn't mind on one hand. Greer wasn't bad company, but Brice couldn't do the research she wanted to do with the blonde looking over her shoulder.
The most awkward parts of Brice's days were actually the nights. Greer hadn't kissed her in days, which relieved and confused Brice. However the one thing Greer didn't give up was cuddling at night. She always held Brice or had Brice hold her.
It confused Brice at how well she handled the sleeping arrangements. She enjoyed cuddling as much as a kid loved cuddling with a puppy, but sometimes she just wanted to roll over and go to sleep. That hadn't happened with Brice yet. Even though part of her brain told her she shouldn't be holding the nineteen-year-old woman, she couldn't deny how great it felt.
Brice had been in the strange world for five days. On the fifth day, they called her back to the hospital to give more blood. She complained about it and she realized that she was starting to dislike hospitals.
Greer made her go and they waited an hour for the doctors to tell them there was still no news.
“I don't think they know anything,” Brice grumbled, “Just got their heads up their ass.”
Greer agreed, but she couldn't help but grin, “That sounds like the Brice I know and love.”
Brice didn't know if it was necessarily a good thing that she was changing into a different Brice.
To soothe her girlfriend's frustrations, Greer let Brice drive home. The bus driver didn't go directly home but flew around for a time.
She was flying at a low altitude as they passed over Virginia. Brice took them along the path of a river, flying over bridges and people fishing. It was a beautiful view. If she hadn't been flying along that river, she would have never seen the car.
The brunette didn't know how the car lost control. She didn't know what had happened and she would forget to look it up later, but she saw it hit the edge of a bridge and go crashing into the water.
“Did you see that?” Brice exclaimed as she did a U-turn. She looked around from above, but there was no one around to help the people who had just crashed into the water.
“See what? Hey, what are you doing?”
“Those people need help. They're in the water. The car might sink.”
“That's none of our concern. Brice, stop! You can't land!”
“We have to help them,” Brice declared, as she landed the SUV near the river.
“No, we don't and we can't. It's against regulations,” Greer retorted.
“Whose regulations? Who would make up a stupid rule about not helping people?”
“The Corporation, Brice. The people we both work for.”
“Well, screw them,” Brice snarled, “I'm going with or without your help.”
“Don't you dare,” Greer called out. It was already too late. Brice was out of the vehicle and running towards the water. The car had already started to sink past the middle of the door. She waded through the water until it was up past her thighs and then she started swimming.
There was a woman in the driver seat. She was panicking, trying to get into the backseat to get her toddler son out of his car seat. She hadn't noticed Brice until Brice was swimming right next to the car. The mother looked up, wide-eyed, as Brice pounded on the window. She tried to pull on the door, but the pressure of the water made it impossible to open.
“We have to get this window down,” Brice shouted back, “Can you roll it down?”
The car was sinking faster as Brice trod water. The woman rapidly shook her head no and Brice felt around in her pockets for something to break the window with.
“Hurry! Please! The water's rising! Please!”
Brice was about to slam the window with her fists when Greer swam up beside her. The blonde shouted to the woman in the car, above the now crying toddler, “Just calm down! We're going to pull on the door! When it opens, water's going to rush in! We'll get you both out!”
“I'm going to ‘pull', Brice,” Greer warned. Brice nodded to show she understood what Greer meant. She made a show of helping, but it was really Greer's telekinetic powers that wrenched the door open.
The woman screamed as water started flowing in profusely. Greer reached in to grab the boy and handed him off to Brice. Greer grabbed the woman with her other hand and tugged, but the sinking car and water pressure started pulling them both under. Greer tugged mentally and pulled free from the car, even though she tugged the woman's shoulder out of place.
Brice tried to calm the boy as they all swam to shore. It was hard because the toddler wouldn't stop thrashing and the woman could only swim with one arm.
The mother took her son from Brice and looked at them both with a look of profound gratitude, “Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you both. Oh my god, we could have died.”
“No problem,” Greer said, but she was looking around. They could all hear sirens in the distance, “I called 911. We had better go.”
“Go? But I don't even know your names,” The woman protested, “I can't even begin to thank you properly.”
Brice said, seeing how much Greer wanted to leave before people started arriving, “She's really shy. Deadly shy. Don't mention us.”
They walked quickly to their SUV, leaving the woman standing bewildered. They managed to get away from the scene before the police officers, firemen, and medics started to arrive.
“Are you happy?” Greer snapped as soon as they were invisible and in the air, both soaking wet, “I could lose my job for this. I could go to prison.”
“For helping someone? You just saved two people's lives.”
“Is it worth the cost of trading our lives for theirs? What has gotten into you? This goes against everything I was taught to believe in. This goes against stuff taught at the academy.”
“Well, maybe what you were taught is wrong,” Brice muttered darkly as she ran a hand through her wet hair, “Maybe that academy is training you to be mindless morons who only care about their damn selves.”
Greer looked like she had been slapped, “How could you say that? How can you fucking say that? You sound like Guardian and his group of wannabes.”
“Nothing you can ever say will make me regret saving that mother's and son's life,” Brice snapped, turning in her seat to glare at Greer, “What we did was the right thing to do. If gaining my fucking memory back means I will no longer believe that then I don't want to remember!”
Brice slammed herself angrily back in her seat and turned her head to glare out the window.
Greer didn't know what to say, so she fumed as she drove them home. They went in opposite directions once inside the house to get out of their soaked clothes and shower. Fluffy whined as he went back and forth between the two angry women. He didn't like it when his masters fought.
When Brice was frustrated, she liked to take hikes on her mountain. After showering in a guest bathroom and changing into some dry clothes, she went to the beach exit. Fluffy followed her timidly, wanting to go outside. She paused at the door and looked down at him. His tail gave the briefest wag and she sighed, “Well, come on then.”
The blonde stormed around the house after she took a shower. She took her wet clothes into the laundry room and tossed them into the already running washer with Brice's clothes. She allowed herself the satisfaction of slamming the lid shut.
“Why is she being so difficult?” Each woman muttered to themselves.
Greer checked a security screen to see where Brice was. Satisfied the brunette wasn't running away, the blonde decided to work off her frustrations in the gym. She pressed a few controls on the wall and from the ceiling dropped six large punching bags and a wall slid back to reveal a few, unattached bags. With her mind, she pulled the large bags from their hiding place and put them in the center of the room.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. When she opened them, chaos entered the room. The unattached bags went flying across the room in different directions, hitting different walls and each other, making loud thuds. The six bags from the ceiling started to swing back and forth as she punched at them randomly telekinetically.
An hour passed before Greer stopped working out. The bags fell heavily to the floor as she let them go. She panted as she stared at them. Making the decision to put them back later, she went to have another shower.
While drying off her hair, Greer called up a security screen to see where Brice was. She growled as she saw the woman was sitting on the beach and it was pouring with rain.
A bark made Greer look down to see a soaked Fluffy standing beside her. She scolded, “You know better. Now get in the shower.”
He whined and meekly walked into the large shower. Greer went to the shower control panel and clicked on Fluffy's options and quick wash. She watched as a flood of water poured on the dog, followed by streams of soapy water hitting him at all angles before another flood of water. The large German Shepherd looked so sad all soaking wet and he shook himself. The shower turned into a dryer as vents of warm air hit the dog everywhere as he continued to shake himself. Mostly dry, he was allowed to exit the shower.
Greer programmed the shower to self-clean while she went to make herself something to eat. If Brice wanted to brood and catch a cold, that was her business. She would be right there to rub it into the brunette's face when she did. The only problem with that was Brice never seemed to catch colds, Greer thought enviously.
Brice came into the complex before it grew too dark. She took another shower and changed into another set of clothes. Greer seemed to be sleeping when she went into their bedroom for the clothes so she went back to her office. Finally she had the chance to research more without Greer hanging over her shoulder.
She went straight to the internet this time. People always said Google had all the answers so she typed in its address.
Brice stared at the Google homepage for a long time, not knowing what to research first. Finally she just started searching and she couldn't stop.
The main link for ‘Majesta' was the Toyota car. Brice was semi-relieved at first until she couldn't find any document saying they had named that car after her mother. Her mother had saved Tokyo from giant robot cars in the early 90's and to thank her, Toyota had named a car after her. There was no mention of that incident or her mother anywhere. There was no Majesta the superhero.
She couldn't find any of the superheroes or supervillains she knew. The only ones with superpowers existed in comic books, graphic novels, movies and TV shows. No one in the world seemed to know about those with superpowers.
Brice was horrified when she looked up major events from the past decade. It was filled with terrorist attacks, war, shootings, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes and so much death. So much needless death.
She tried not to stare at the pictures from all those events. It filled her with pain, shame and anger. Where were the superheroes? Where were the Natural Disaster Teams? Why were the only heroes brave people without powers?
More searching led to more terrible news. The thing that scared Brice so much that she turned off the computer was the picture of a global view of HIV infection. HIV had been cured in her world over a decade ago. Why were people still dying from it?
A few hours later, Greer sleepily walked into the office to find Brice sitting on the couch with Fluffy's head on her lap. Greer stretched before moving closer to her girlfriend, “Trying to remember more?”
“No. Having horrible nightmares,” Brice replied softly.
“Ah,” Greer said. She stared at Brice for a moment before saying, “Fluffy, up.”
Fluffy struggled upright and sat on his hunches, panting. Greer moved him over and sat beside the quiet woman.
“I thought you were mad at me,” Brice grumbled.
Greer shrugged, “You're too cute to stay mad at. I thought you would have a cold from sitting out in the storm so long.”
“This isn't a Japanese anime. People don't always get colds from staying out late at night or walking in the rain,” Brice commented.
“True, I guess,” The blonde agreed. They sat quietly for a few minutes before Greer turned to look at her girlfriend, “I don't feel bad about saving those people. It even felt kind of nice to help someone. But Brice, you obviously don't remember how much power the Corporation has. They control everything. They control the economy, the media, the price of oil. You name it, they have their hand in it. If we defy them, they can make our lives a living hell. All we have to do is follow orders and not expose ourselves to the outside world. The world would go crazy if they knew we existed.”
“It just doesn't seem right.”
“What's wrong and right is subjective,” Greer countered.
“I guess so.”
Greer made the decision it was time for both of them to go to bed. She stood and held out her hand to Brice, who took it.
Brice didn't protest when Greer snuggled beside her in bed. In fact, she welcomed it. She hadn't forgotten about their argument, but she didn't want to think about it. She whispered, unable to stop herself, “Please, tell me there is something in this life worth living for.”
Greer didn't speak for a moment. She finally replied as she started rubbing Brice's stomach, “You mean besides living for the chance to worship the ground I walk on?”
Brice cracked a tiny smile, “Yes, besides that.”
“I live to watch Fluffy trip you at least once a day. I live to watch you and Noel squeal like schoolgirls over Glee. I live to eat dinner with my mother and brother. I live to watch House and read all of J.M. Redmann's books. I live to complete missions at work. I live to come home and see you after each mission,” Greer said, “That's just part of what I live for. I hope not remembering hasn't taken away all the things you want to live for.”
Brice started up at the darkness above her, searching for something. Finally she said, “From…what I remember, I live for new stories and updates. I live to see the man John will grow up to be. I live to laugh with Noel. I live to watch Ma and Grandma argue every holiday. I live…to watch you smile. Because you become twice as beautiful when you smile.”
Greer released a shaky breath, “I'm going to kiss you now, Brice. I just have to.”
“Okay,” Brice agreed with a slight stammer.
Greer was obviously used to finding Brice's mouth in the dark because she didn't miss. Her lips touched Brice's lightly at first and pressed harder when they came back for a second kiss.
Brice rolled them so she lay on top of Greer, allowing her hand to travel down Greer's body as she explored her mouth. Greer, not as patient as Brice, ran her hand up under Brice's shirt and cupped Brice's breast.
Brice arched, inhaling deeply, but Greer pulled her back down. She slipped her own hand under the band of Greer's bikini underwear, cupping her to pull Greer's hips more firmly against her own. Brice's hips started to rock on their own accord as Greer's hand started playing with her breast.
The brunette briefly thought it was unfair how Greer seemed to know exactly how to touch her and she didn't know anything about touching the blonde. She no longer cared when Greer seemed to respond to her, pushing up hard against her.
The sound of Fluffy walking into the room, his nails clicking on the floor, caused them both to pause and pull back slightly from each other.
“We should…stop,” Brice said, out of breath, as she hovered over Greer. Her eyes had adjusted to the dark so she could make out Greer, but she couldn't see into her eyes.
“Yeah…I guess we should,” Greer replied, equally out of breath. She moved her hand down from Brice's breast and around to rest it lightly on her back. Brice moved her hand up as well.
If Brice found it odd that Greer gave up so easily, she didn't think about it. She was just glad for the chance to stop. Even though it was intoxicating to make out with Greer, it felt wrong. It felt like she was cheating and if they did go any further, she knew it would be cheating.
Brice rolled onto her side and Greer followed to snuggle into her side again. Brice laced her fingers through Greer's hair and gently started starching her scalp. The way Greer shivered, she knew it was something Greer liked.
“I love you, Brice,” Greer muttered sleepily. Brice replied, wondering if she truly meant it, “I love you too.”
She stayed awake long after Greer fell asleep. Even lying next to an incredible woman who loved her couldn't change the way Brice felt about this world. She needed to go home and prayed for a way to get back there.
“What the hell is that?” Brice asked the next morning as Greer took a bite out of the sandwich she had made.
Greer looked confused as she continued to chew. Once she swallowed she asked, “What's what?”
“That thing you're eating.”
Greer looked down at her sandwich, “It's a peanut butter and banana sandwich.”
Brice wrinkled her nose, “Gross.”
Greer rolled her eyes, “You're not going to start fake gagging like the time I ate a mayo and banana sandwich, are you?”
Brice felt her eyes widen in horror, “You made a sandwich with mayonnaise and banana? And ate it?”
“It's a Southern thing. Bite me,” Greer retorted. She took another bite out of her sandwich for good measure.
“I'm never kissing you again,” Brice stated.
“Oh really?” Greer challenged, moving closer. Brice took a step back, “Really. Back away with your offensive sandwich.”
Greer grinned and Brice felt herself jerking forward until she was pressed close to Greer. Brice frowned, “I don't approve of this display of superpowers.”
“I don't approve of being told by my fiancée that she'll never kiss me again.”
“Well, then you shouldn't eat disgusting food,” Brice retorted, trying to ignore the growing desire inside of her to kiss the beautiful blonde in front of her.
“Sorry to interrupt, but I have some incredible news,” A voice said behind them. They both turned to see Noel grinning like a mad woman.
Brice growled, “I see you have forgotten how to knock, Noel.”
“Whatever. I got great news. A nice, big surprise for you in my car.”
“This better be good,” Brice muttered as they followed Noel out to her car. It still bothered Brice to see the long scar across Noel's face and knowing she had put it there. Just another reason why she couldn't stay in this world. What kind of person was she to slash her friend's face?
Noel opened her trunk to show a large black bag, “I have a bar of ununseptium in there to keep her quiet.”
“What? Her?” Brice and Greer asked at the same time.
Noel grinned, proud of herself, “I found the bitch. I found Duster. I'll just take her down to the dungeon. I can't stay too long. I have to head out for a short mission for the Corporation as soon as I have her secure. I'll be back to question her tomorrow morning.”
The white-haired woman pulled the large bag out of her trunk and Brice winced as she let it drop heavily to the ground. Noel then picked up one end and started dragging it to the elevator. Brice frowned as Noel gave the bag a kick before pressing a button inside. Before the door closed, Noel smirked at Greer, “Don't start questioning her without me, Greer. This will be lots of fun.”
Greer stuck out her tongue while Brice tried to recover from shock. She focused on the strangest part of Noel's speech.
“There's a dungeon here?” Brice exclaimed, “We're not into kinky stuff, are we?”
Greer chuckled, “It's not for us. Noel asked if she could create an ‘office space' here and you agreed. Looks more like a holding cell and it's on the bottom floor so you call it the dungeon.”
“I let Noel… interrogate people in our home?” Brice asked, unable to believe it.
Greer shrugged nonchalantly, “It's the fastest way to get answers without going through all the paperwork.”
That was the final straw for Brice. She had always kept herself pleasantly ignorant of Noel's work because in the end, she didn't want to know all the things her best friend had to do. She knew, without a doubt, that Noel had tortured people below where she slept and possibly Greer had helped. The fact that the other Brice had allowed something like this to happen in her home, Greer's lack of desire to help people in need, and all the information she had read last night made up her mind. She had a link to Guardian and Lamb and she was going to free Duster later that night.
She waited until Greer was asleep that night before sneaking out of their room. Brice made her way down to the lowest floor of the complex. She had to pass several DNA screenings before finding herself in a large room. The room was brightly lit and divided by a large, thick pane of glass.
Duster sat handcuffed to a metal chair that was bolted into the floor. The woman couldn't go anywhere since next to her sat a small block of ununseptium. That amount of ununseptium drained most of the woman's energy, taking away her ability to evaporate into dust, but leaving her with enough strength to raise her head and look at Brice when she entered. Brice had no idea how Noel got that into the room without collapsing herself, but she decided not to dwell on it.
Brice moved to the intercom embedded into the glass. She pressed a button, “Duster, I need you to listen to me with an open mind. I need you to take me to Guardian and Lamb.”
With great effort Duster raised her wrist and shot Brice a bird. Brice shook her head, “I'm not the Brice Johnson you know. I believe I'm from an alternate dimension. In my world, I think something happened with one of Lamb's experiments. I was transported here and now I have to get back. I need your help.”
The bus driver watched as Duster rolled her eyes. The woman obviously wasn't believing Brice's story.
Brice decided drastic action was needed. She opened the door in the glass pane and walked towards Duster. She picked up the block of ununseptium and threw it into the other room. Duster quickly evaporated out of the cuffs and reappeared several feet away from Brice.
“Why did you do that?” Duster asked, looking around, “Is this a trap? A sick game?”
“It's not a trap. I just needed to talk to you. Please, Duster, think. Is Lamb working on anything that could transport someone to an alternate dimension?”
Duster stopped to look at the other woman. She did recall from all of the scientist's ramblings that Lamb was working on a machine that could transport people to alternate dimensions. Brice Johnson couldn't have possibly have known that.
“How do I know this isn't a trap?”
Brice said, “You don't. I'm your only option for escape. I only ask that you take me to Guardian and Lamb so that I can ask Lamb for myself. I just want to go home. I can't be here anymore. I can't stand what the Corporation has done to this world. I can't stand what they have turned my family and friends into. Please, I just want to go home.”
Brice looked as if she were about to cry and Duster finally relented, “Fine, but from now on, you're my prisoner. I'll kill you if I have to. Now how do we get out of here?”
Brice and Duster quickly made their way up towards the garage, pausing briefly at the armory for Duster to pick out a few weapons. She attached a holster to her hip and carried a dart gun in her hand. Brice refused the gun that Duster held out to her.
They were in the living room, almost to the garage, when they heard a gun fire. Brice gulped as she looked down at her feet to see a smoking hole between them. She looked up to see an enraged Greer pointing a gun at them.
“Greer, nice to see you again,” Duster greeted with a steely grin. Brice fought not to roll her eyes. Why did super powered enemies always feel the need to engage in conversation?
“I'll deal with you in a minute, Duster. First I want to know who this bitch is.”
Brice raised her hands in surrender, “I'm Brice.”
“Funny. Now who are you really?” Greer growled, cocking the gun.
“I'm Brice, Greer. I'm Brice.”
“The fuck you are. You're not my Brice. You're an impostor. Otherwise what would you be doing with her?” Greer asked, slightly jerking the gun towards Duster.
Brice knew this could end badly. Duster and Greer both had superpowers, but she held onto the hope that Greer didn't really want to shoot either of them. Otherwise she would be using her telekinetic powers instead of holding them at gunpoint.
“I know this will be hard to believe, but you need to listen to me.”
“Shut up!” Greer shouted, “I don't want to hear your lies! You've spent the last week fooling me into thinking you were Brice when you're not! Now where's my Brice?”
Brice was now sure she was a dead woman. Greer looked furious enough to kill her. Just as she thought she was going to be shot, Fluffy came barreling down the hall, barking wildly. He jumped between Greer and Brice. Brice thought he was going to tackle her but instead, he turned to face Greer and barked furiously, like he was trying to protect Brice.
“Fluffy, move!” Greer ordered. The dog didn't obey and Brice knew the dog's fierce loyalty was causing Greer to hesitate. Duster realized this as well and used the opportunity to shoot Greer with the dart gun.
“No!” Brice shouted as Duster fired. Greer pulled the dart out of her and the look she gave Brice was mixed with loathing and hurt from the betrayal. She then fell to the floor.
“You bitch!” Brice shouted, rounding on Duster. Duster said, rather calm about the entire situation, “It's just a sleep dart and a mild one at that. She'll wake up in thirty minutes. She wasn't going to let us leave, Brice, and now we have to go.”
Brice knew Duster was right but she didn't like the situation any better. She said, “Help me get her on the couch.”
“We don't have…”
“Now,” Brice ordered. Duster reluctantly helped Brice pick Greer up and place her on the couch. Brice took one last look at the woman who loved her. She hoped she could give Greer her Brice back.
They took Brice's SUV out of the garage and Duster flew like a crazy woman. They left the car in a Las Vegas parking garage where Duster stole another one.
“I thought you were one of the good guys,” Brice exclaimed as Duster disappeared and reappeared inside a car. Duster unlocked Brice's door before leaning under the dash to hotwire the car.
“I am one of the good guys,” Duster replied, not really concentrating on Brice, “We're just driving it out to the desert. This car has a GPS tracker, they'll find it again. Still, you have to realize that in this world, nice guys finish last. Supervillains beat superheroes. No one comes to save the day. How do you think we get funding? We have to break laws.”
“So you steal from the rich to give to the poor?” Brice asked as the car started.
Duster grinned as she put the car in reverse, “Lamb is a certified psychiatrist. She's declared we all have Robin Hood syndrome.”
Brice might have laughed except for one detail of that sentence that caught her attention, “Did you say she?”
“You know, Duster, I was pleased when we received your emergency beacon from the desert of Nevada. After scanning the area with satellites, it seemed like it wasn't a trap. So I sent Reader and Kitty to retrieve you. You'll understand my surprise when you came back with that,” Guardian growled, pointing at Brice.
“Boss, you have to understand. She freed me. I knew it could be a trap, but I had Reader and Kitty search her before we boarded the plane. She told Reader her story and he said she was telling the truth. She has no tracker on her. She says she's not Brice Johnson.”
“You could have fooled me,” Guardian retorted as he moved to stand in front of Brice.
“I mean she is Brice Johnson, but she's not,” Duster tried to amend. She finally just decided to keep quiet.
“Okay, Ms. Johnson-who-isn't-Ms. Johnson, who are you?”
Brice, on her part, had been stunned to discover who Guardian was. She knew Guardian was really Virus in her world, but the difference was amazing. Virus and Guardian physically looked the same, but their aura was different. Guardian appeared strong and kind. Perhaps it was the neatly trimmed beard that separated him from the slick CEO look Virus had. Brice had no trouble recognizing this man as Noel's father.
“I am Brice Johnson…just a different one. I know this sounds crazy, but I'm from a different world,” Brice braced herself for the laughter.
Laughter didn't come though looks of disbelief crossed everyone's face.
“I don't take kindly to being played with,” Guardian warned.
“I am,” Brice cried, desperately, “Do you know how hard it's been not to say this to anyone? I am not from this world. In my world, everyone knows about superheroes and supervillains. Superheroes try their hardest to show up and save the day whenever they can. I drive a bus for the superhero high school, not some academy to train future, mindless villains. There is no Corporation, no Glee, you're the bad guys in my world, Noel doesn't have a scar and I'm not engaged to Greer Watson.”
“You do know how ridiculous that sounds, right?”
“Actually,” A feminine voice called out, “It sounds completely plausible.”
In any other circumstance, Brice's mouth would have watered at the stunningly beautiful, Asian woman who walked out of the shadows.
“Explain, Lamb,” Guardian ordered.
The woman said, adjusting a pair of glasses that only made her look sexier, “I've been working on a quantum mechanical event generator in my spare time.”
“What is that in layman's terms?” Guardian asked.
“It teleports you to an alternative universe,” Lamb explained, “I've found that alternate universes are possible. My machine isn't complete yet, but I wouldn't doubt that in another universe I have finished it.”
Guardian looked stunned, “When were you going to tell me about this machine? What were you planning on using it for?”
Lamb shrugged, “I was just wondering if I could. I never really gave any thought about what to do with it.”
Guardian shook his head as he turned to look at Brice. He sighed, “So let's assume you are from another dimension. How did you get here?”
“Now that I don't know. As I was saying, everything is backwards in this world. Everybody I know is on the bad side of the equation. They're the supervillains. In my world, you're the supervillains. You're the one who causes all the trouble, so I assume you did it.”
Duster chuckled, “We still do cause all the trouble if you ask the Corporation.”
Brice ignored her, “Before I came to this world, you had kidnapped Greer and were holding her hostage. You asked me to come alone and I did. When I arrived at your lair, you told me that you wanted me on your side. I have no idea in hell as to why. I'm just as ordinary in my world as I am in this world. I just drive a bus. You said I had to pass a final test before I could join you.”
“To jump into a vat of toxic waste.”
Guardian looked stunned, “Why would I ask you to do that? Am I so sadistic in that world?”
“I don't know,” Brice sighed, “You ordered me to jump or you'd kill Greer. You said all I had to do was jump in and then I could climb right back out.”
Lamb mused, “So he didn't want to kill you. He just wanted you exposed to the radiation.”
“Why would I want to do that?” Guardian wondered. He then shook his head, “We can figure that out later. Lamb, I want you to put your full energy into finishing your machine. We have to get Ms. Johnson back to her own world before we have to deal with any consequences.”
Lamb didn't move at first. She had started to stare at Brice hungrily. The look on her face made Brice want to take a step back.
“Can I take a sample of her blood?” Lamb asked, which sounded more like a plea, “Please, can I have some of her blood?”
Now Brice took a step back, “I don't know if I feel comfortable around her with needles.”
Even Guardian looked unsettled by Lamb's look but he consented to her wishes, “Just a small blood sample. Small.”
Lamb practically tackled Brice before dragging her off to a lab. Duster mumbled, “I better go with them.”
Brice gulped as Lamb pulled out a large needle and tube. Duster said, reminding Lamb, “Guardian said a small blood sample.”
Lamb pouted as she put it back for a smaller one.
“So what am I like in the other world?” Lamb asked, unable to keep the excitement from her voice. She started hooking Brice up to monitors even though that hadn't been part of the deal.
Brice didn't know if she should tell Lamb, but she got the feeling Lamb would know if she was lying.
“Well, you're a man.”
Lamb squealed, “I'm a man? Duster, would you still sleep with me if I was a man?”
Duster gave Lamb a weary look and then turned to Brice, “Is she a hot man in that world?”
“Ah, not really. You're short, plump, and…bald.”
“It's safe to say that I am not sleeping with you in the other world, Lamb. I only sleep with hot people,” Duster declared.
Lamb didn't seem upset by the news at all. Instead she ordered Brice to tell all the differences between the two worlds. The whole story took almost two hours. Guardian entered the lab to hear most of Brice's story while Lamb listened while doing things with Brice's blood sample.
“I like that I'm a rebel no matter what world I'm in,” Duster grinned. The smile faded, “Though there is one thing I'm confused about.”
“Only one?” Brice remarked dryly.
“I don't understand how you could survive being shot by me.”
“It was just a superhero killing drug which I can survive since I'm a baron,” Brice reported.
Duster shook her head, “I don't think I would just stick to one killing drug. If I were evil, I'd throw in some other stuff. I bet I had something else in the dart gun. Something that could kill any normal person I would have encountered. Just for kicks and giggles, I'm sure.”
Brice shook her head, “If you had done that, I wouldn't be alive.”
“Maybe Duster did do that,” Guardian mused, “Maybe that's why we want you.”
“Oh my chromosomes,” Lamb exclaimed. Everybody looked at her as she let out a moan that sounded like she had climaxed. Lamb turned around in her chair to stare hungrily at Brice, “I have to have you.”
The next thing Brice knew, the incredibly beautiful scientist was in her lap raining kisses all over Brice's face. Guardian gestured to Duster, who went over to pull Lamb off of the bus driver.
Lamb moaned, reaching out for Brice, “No, please. I want her. She's perfect.”
“Lamb, explain,” Guardian ordered in a stern voice.
Lamb tried to compose herself but every time she looked at Brice, she shivered. She said, shakily, “She's perfect.”
“That's lovely and I will happily marry you two later. Explain first,” Guardian said.
“Her DNA is perfect. Completely, textbook perfect. Oh God, I want to sleep with her.”
Brice, Guardian and Duster all looked confused. Lamb shook her head before going over to her workbench. A minute later, a strand of DNA was on a large computer screen.
“This is a picture of her DNA. It's perfect. There are no mutations.”
“I already knew I was baron,” Brice said.
Lamb shook her head, “No, no. Everybody has mutations in their DNA. Humans, barons, superheroes, everybody. When a person's DNA is mutated over 6%, they have some type of superpower. Most sidekicks have 6% to 10% of mutated DNA. Superheroes can range from 11% to 20%, though anything over 18% is very rare. Anything over 20% is no longer considered human.”
She continued, “Your DNA, Brice, has zero mutations. Even the most normal person would have a mutation level of 0.85%. Over the years, scientists have figured out what the perfect DNA strand would look like by comparing and contrasting at least a hundred million different people's strands. No one has even considered the possibility of someone having perfect DNA. It's so amazing.”
Brice was stunned, “So I wasn't lying all those years when I said I was 100% ordinary.”
“But that makes you 100% extraordinary,” Lamb exclaimed, “There is no one like you in the world. Do you know what we could do with your blood? Guardian, we could find a cure! We could find lots of cures!”
“Are you serious?” Duster asked, “What we've been looking for was in Brice Johnson's blood the whole time?”
“Uh, hello,” Brice said, trying to get attention, “What do you mean what you've been looking for?”
Duster and Lamb looked at Guardian, who was stroking his beard. He finally looked at Brice, “You see, Ms. Johnson, I'm one of those with a rare 20% mutation level. I started out with one power when I was young and then I gained another, then another. I just kept developing more powers. Everyone in my family has been the same way. It may seem incredible, but it isn't. The only problem with this gift is that we all develop Percale's Malignant Neoplasm. I'm the only one in my family to live past the age of fifty. Up until last year, I was cancer free. Now it's starting to grow inside of me.”
“And we can use your blood to make a cure,” Lamb finished.
Brice was shell-shocked. Her blood could cure PMN? Her blood could save so many of the superhero community affected by the disease?
“And not only can we find a cure for PMN, we can use it to cure other diseases like HIV. We can truly help the world with your blood.”
“Wait, wait,” Brice ordered, still trying to wrap her mind around what was being said, “How can my blood create cures?”
“The problem with making cures and vaccines is that viruses are complicated. They affect everyone and can change their structure over time. We make vaccines all the time but they don't work on most people because everybody's DNA is different. That's why you have vaccines that only work on certain age groups or races. Your DNA covers all the bases. A vaccine from your blood would work on anyone.”
“Wow,” Brice stated. Her DNA was extraordinary. If only the rest of her was too, she thought.
There was a moment of silence before something Guardian said clicked in her head. She jumped up, suddenly afraid, “You said everybody in your family contracts PMN? Does that mean Noel will too?”
“How did you know Noel was my daughter?” Guardian asked, surprised. He then shook his head, “Sorry. I keep forgetting you are from another world. Yes. Noel has inherited my mutation level. She keeps developing powers and one day, she will develop PMN.”
Brice had asked Noel how she had learned to be telepathic when she had only had the ability to control and make ice when they were younger. Noel had just shrugged it off. Now Brice knew the answer and she wasn't pleased with it. Brice lived with the fear that any of her loved ones could contract PMN at anytime and now it was confirmed that Noel would die from it. She just didn't know when.
“I can't vouch for myself in your world but all that I do in this one is to save my daughter. We've been looking for a way to make a cure. I guess that's why we've been hunting you in the other world. It's why I made you jump into that vat of toxic waste.”
“Wait. What does that have to do with anything?” Brice asked. She spoke again before Lamb could answer, “I'm saying wait and what a lot, aren't I?”
“I imagine this is hard to grasp,” Lamb said, trying to comfort. It might have comforted Brice if Lamb didn't still have that gleam in her eye. The scientist continued, “Brice, your DNA is perfect. That means you aren't affected by things that would affect everyone else. Have you ever had a cold? Or an infection?”
“No, but my parents are superheroes. We had good healthcare when I was growing up to say the least.”
“Did you ever have a pimple?”
Brice shook her head, “Good skin runs in my family.”
Lamb said, tiring, “Did you ever have a red spot after getting stung by a bee or bitten by an ant?”
Brice remembered a time she and Michael had disturbed a wasp's nest when he was about five and she was fifteen. They had both gotten stung and ran back into the house. The spot on Michael's leg had swollen up, turned red, and the boy had cried before their father fixed it. There was no mark on Brice except the pinprick where the wasp had stung. She had felt pain but there had been no inflammation. Her father had joked she must have gotten a wasp empty on toxic.
“You see, your body won't let you succumb to infection. I imagine you would survive any type of poisoning. You won't have any side effects from jumping into toxic waste. You and your body will remain perfect.”
“This is a lot to take in,” Brice muttered as she rubbed her face with her hands.
“Lamb, how long will it take you to complete your machine?”
“Factoring in the time required to eat, sleep and to have intercourse with Duster, I'd say three days and thirteen hours.”
Now Guardian was the one covering his face. Brice looked over at Duster, who shrugged.
“Just get it done. Ms. Johnson, it seems you will be staying with us for a few days. We'll make arrangements for you to have a room.”
“I don't suppose I could send word to Greer?” Brice asked, “To let her know I'm okay.”
Duster shook her head, “I'm sure she just wants you dead right now.”
Guardian also shook his head, “I'm sorry, but I can't let you do that.”
Brice nodded sadly, “Just thought I'd ask.”
The next day passed slowly for Brice. They allowed her access to a computer but had someone seat beside her, monitoring everything she did. She just spent most of her time reading Glee fan fiction since it seemed to be the only thing she could look up without the person beside her getting fidgety.
She didn't see much of Duster or Guardian. She tried visiting Lamb, but Lamb got distracted by her making it impossible for the scientist to work on her machine so Brice left her alone. She was surprised when Guardian came to her room with an old bottle of whiskey and two glasses.
“Care to have a drink with me?”
“Sure, why not?” Brice replied. She didn't like whiskey by itself, but alcohol sounded good. She was pleased when he pulled out a can of coke from his pocket and made them both a drink. He used one of his powers to chill the cups.
“Thank you,” Brice replied when he handed her a drink. They sipped quietly for a moment. The bus driver knew Guardian wanted to ask her something so she waited.
“What's my daughter like?” Guardian asked, “In your world? Why are you two friends? I mean no offense, of course. It just seems like you two are very different from each other.”
Brice couldn't believe Guardian only wanted to know about his daughter.
“Uh…well, we are different. I just know she's my best friend. We have a strange relationship, sir. Always jabbing at each other and our flaws. Somehow it works though. Noel is brutally honest to the point where she forgets manners. She's loyal to the core and cares more than she would like others to know. She loves saving the day. Not just for the glory, though she does love that part, but also because she truly wants to help people. She doesn't have many other friends. Her personality doesn't go well with others despite being insanely beautiful.”
“Yeah, she gets her personality from me. I've always had trouble being social. I'm surprised her mother tolerated me for the two years we were together,” Guardian laughed. He then said, with a proud smile, “I'm glad she's a superhero in your world. I'm glad she's using her power to help people. Makes everything I'm doing in this world worthwhile.”
He took a sip of his drink and leaned his head back, “Do you think I'm crazy?”
“The other you wanted me to jump into a vat of toxic waste. I can't be unbiased in my answer.”
He chuckled, “I mean, is my mission crazy? Do you think the world needs to know people like us exist? That there are people with superpowers?”
Brice drank before answering, “Again I'm biased. I love the world I'm from. I mean there are some good things here, I guess, but I couldn't stay here. My family and friends no longer have the desire to help people. They just work to keep everything under wraps and stop people like you. I mean in some ways, I can see why they do it. I can't imagine people in this world being able to handle a supervillain threatening to create a hurricane in the middle of downtown Atlanta. The Corporation does seem to keep most of the community under wraps and tightly controlled.”
“On the other hand, I've looked up several disasters from the last decade. That oil spill in the gulf, that would have been over in an hour in my world. They would have gotten a group of superheroes together and fixed that pipe in a heartbeat. Japan's tsunami? Can you imagine how much better that situation would have been if thousands of super-powered individuals had been there to help with search and rescue? To stop the nuclear reactors from exploding? Someone might have been able to stop the wave altogether.”
Brice took a long breath, “I think when you have a gift you should use it to help people. You shouldn't hide it from the world.”
“Agreed,” Guardian said, raising his glass in a toast.
“ Intruder alert! Intruder alert! ”
“What is going on?” Brice said as she rushed out of her room.
“Greer Watson,” A minion said as he ran by, gun in hand, “She found our lair.”
Brice took off after the man in a run. She would not let them shoot Greer.
“ Suspect has been apprehended. Return to your stations .”
The minion stopped running and Brice ran into him, nearly knocking them both over. She ordered, “Take me to where she's being held. Now.”
He led her to a small room down a corridor she hadn't seen before. She could hear shouting.
“Get your hands off of me! I want to see her!”
“Ms. Watson, if you would calm down, I'm sure we can find an easier way to do this.”
“I'm not letting Dustbunny here touch me!”
Brice entered the room, where Duster and Guardian were standing on either side of Greer, all looking ready to fight. When Greer saw Brice, she relaxed just a little. Guardian glanced at Brice, “There, see. She's fine. Now this doesn't have to get physical, Ms. Watson. Just let Duster check you for weapons and trackers, and this will go much better.”
Brice nodded to Greer, who reluctantly agreed. She spread her legs and let Duster approach.
“What are you doing here?” Brice asked, “Are you insane?”
“I could ask the same of you,” Greer asked as she was frisked by Duster.
“So how did you find this place?” Duster questioned as she took all of Greer's possessions away.
“Obviously you forget the part that I don't like you, Duster, and therefore will answer all your questions with ‘Go fuck a vacuum cleaner.'”
“Feisty little blonde, aren't you?” Duster smirked, “I'm sure I can calm you down.”
Duster withdrew a pair of cuffs and Brice knew they were ununseptium restraints. She protested, almost pleaded, “No, no. You don't need those. She's not going to do anything.”
Duster looked between the two women and then at Guardian. Guardian nodded, “Let's leave these two alone, Duster.”
“I'll be watching,” Duster warned, “One wrong move and your ass is grass.”
“I'm so scared,” Greer mocked as Duster exited. As the door closed by behind her, Greer finally looked at Brice.
“Why are you here?” Brice asked again.
“Who are you?” Greer asked at the same time.
Brice let out a heavy sigh, “You won't believe me.”
“Well, tell me anyway,” Greer ordered, “You look like Brice, but you're here with Guardian. Your personality is different. You kiss differently.”
“I kiss differently?” Brice asked, suddenly curious, “So who's the better kisser: me or your Brice?”
“Really? That's all you're concerned about?”
“No,” Brice said, shaking her head, “Sorry. I'm Brice. I'm just not your Brice. I'm from another world. I know this sounds crazy, but Lamb will confirm everything I'm saying. She's literally in the other room working on a machine to take me back to where I belong and bring back your Brice.“
Brice couldn't tell if Greer believed her or not, but she was betting on the not. She continued nevertheless, “That's why I seem so different, because I am different. My memories aren't screwed up from a chemical. I've lived a different life so my memories are different things.”
“So that's why you don't remember us,” Greer said. She wasn't sure she believed what Brice was saying, but she was going to go with it, “Cause in your world…”
“There is no us,” Brice finished.
“Your world sucks, just saying,” Greer said, crossing her arms, “So you've been making out with me and you don't even love me. Me or the other me. You're a jerk.”
“Hey,” Brice protested, “This past week's been confusing for me. I went from being single to engaged in a day. The thing you and I have in the other world is…complicated. You're nine years younger than me…”
“Which you didn't seem to have a problem with the other night,” Greer interrupted.
Brice continued, ignoring the statement, “And you're dating my brother?”
Greer's jaw dropped, “Michael? I'm dating Michael? He's younger than me.”
“You can't use that as an excuse,” Brice commented dryly, “Look at our relationship.”
“I've never been once interested in Michael. It's been you since I was sixteen.”
Brice felt her face go a little pale, “We were not dating when you were sixteen. Please tell me that.”
Greer laughed a little, “We weren't, though not for the lack of me trying. You waited until I had graduated high school. Brice, I've known I wanted you since we first met. You shook my hand on the bus and I had a vision. I went still and gasped as I was overwhelmed by images. I couldn't look at you in the eye for days until we accidentally touched again and I received another premonition. For the first year or so, I almost always received a vision when we touched.”
The bus driver remembered Greer acting in such a way when they first met. She remembered the way Greer always acted when Brice touched her. Brice had assumed Greer was receiving premonitions, but she had never asked. She was afraid to know what the premonitions were about. Now she realized she had a right to be afraid.
“Do I want to know what you saw when I touched you?”
“I don't know. Do you?”
Brice thought of it heavily for a moment. She then shook her head, “No. I'll ask my Greer what she saw.”
Greer grinned, “You do that. Perhaps we can get the ball rolling on your side.”
“You're taking this very well,” Brice remarked.
The blonde woman shrugged, “I have to. My only other option is that my girlfriend has turned rogue and no longer loves me. So bring on Brice from alternate universe theory.”
Brice figured that made sense, “Well, if you promise to behave then I think Guardian will let you into the room as the transportation happens. If all goes the way it should, you'll have your Brice back tonight.”
“I promise,” Greer said, mentally crossing her fingers. If she needed to misbehave then she would. Brice led Greer to the room she had been using for the past few days. A few of Guardian's minions followed them closely as they went and stood outside the door once they entered the room. She sat in the chair while Greer went to sit on the bed. They were silent for a time, not really looking at each other. Greer finally said, “If you answer one of my questions, I'll answer one of yours.”
“Okay,” Brice agreed.
“If you're not seeing me in the other world, who are you seeing?”
“No one,” she answered.
“You have the same expression my Brice has when she's holding back. If you aren't seeing someone then you were. Who is she?”
“No, play fair. It's my turn. Why did you come here?”
“I had to know what happened to you,” Greer softly stated, “You didn't leave me on the floor. You stopped and put me on the couch. I had to know what happened. Had to know why you were doing this.”
Greer then said, meeting hazel eyes, “So who were you dating?”
“Ah,” Brice hesitated. She got the feeling if she told the whole story, Greer would want to kill Amelia.
“Wait,” Greer interrupted as if reading her mind, “It was that woman from the hospital, wasn't it?”
“Yes,” Brice reluctantly confirmed.
“Knew I didn't like that bitch,” Greer grumbled, “Why did you break up?”
“How did you find this place?” Brice retorted.
“I had a premonition when I picked up one of your shirts. Noel was furious when she came back to find you and Duster gone. I lied and told her Duster had taken you hostage. She has the habit of shooting first and talking later, and I needed to talk to you. So we've been searching these past few days, and I finally saw where you were when I picked up one of yours shirts.”
“So why did you break up?”
Brice hesitated, “Well…we weren't…right for each other. Yes, that's it. We weren't right for each other. We had different…morals.”
Greer arched an eyebrow, “You're still not telling me something.”
“You suck at following the rules,” Brice said, not quite looking at her.
“So I've been told,” Greer replied with a lazy grin.
“Well, who is the better kisser: me or your Brice?” Brice asked, wanting to know how she compared to her other self.
Greer rolled her eyes, “It's not easy just to pick a winner. You're both different, that's all. You seem like the person who likes things slow.”
“Slow?” Brice repeated in disbelief, “That night was anything but slow. I am shocked at how quickly I just jumped in and made out with you like a horny teenager.”
Greer laughed, “What can I say? You arouse me and my condition is spreading.”
Brice shook her head. While Greer may laugh, it still shocked Brice at how easy it was to make out with Greer. At how fast she was turned on and how much she wanted the blond woman.
“What aren't you telling me about the break up? The truth,” Greer demanded to know.
Brice was saved from answering, thus saving Amelia's life, when there was a knock on the door. Duster opened the door, “Lamb told me to tell you that she pressed some button, turned some dial, jacked off the machine…whatever and the machine is ready now if you're ready.”
Brice took a deep breath and glanced over at Greer, “I'm ready.”
Greer nodded and they followed Duster to Lamb's laboratory. Greer said as she watched Duster walk ahead in tight leather pants, “You know, those pants would suit you better if you had more of an ass.”
Duster shot a glare behind her shoulder and Brice could only shake her head, “You are so much more like Noel in this world. That's not a good thing.”
“It's what Duster and I do, Brice. We've been arch-nemeses since I was in high school.”
“And only in your delusional world are we equal enough to be enemies,” Duster retorted from in front of them.
Greer smirked. Brice said, after remembering something, “When your Brice returns, Guardian and Lamb are going to tell you both something. Something that involves saving Noel and helping the rest of the world. I need you to listen to them and believe them. You have to convince the other me as well.”
Brice stopped and took Greer's hand, “I mean it, Greer. Promise me on whatever you feel for the other me, that you'll listen to Guardian and trust what he says. Noel's life depends on it.”
Blue eyes met hazel for a moment. Greer trusted what she saw in them and agreed, “We'll listen to him. I promise.”
“Thank you,” Brice said, squeezing her hand before releasing it.
They made their way into the lab, where Lamb was putting on the final touches on her machine. It was a large machine with three columns. Each column was covered in buttons, dials, and levers. Between the columns hung a metal ring.
After sneering at Duster because she could, Greer asked, “So what are the chances of this thing really working?”
“Well,” Lamb mused, “There's a 50% chance both Brices will end up as vegetables, their minds lost in space, a 20% chance it will kill them both instantly, a 10% chance a completely different Brice will be teleported into this world, and a 20% chance it will work the way we want it to.”
Greer growled, “There's an 80% chance it won't work? No, no, no! Brice, it's too dangerous.”
Brice took hold of Greer's hand, making the furious blonde look her in the eye, “Greer, I can't stay here. I have to go home. You don't really want me to stay. You want your Brice back.”
“Did you listen to her?” Greer argued, “There's a 70% chance I'm going to lose my Brice and you anyway. I'd much rather have you and let the other me have my Brice than to lose you all together.”
Brice shook her head, “I have to take the chance.”
“You'd feel differently if you really loved me,” Greer snapped, pulling her hands away.
Brice persistently grabbed Greer's hands again and pulled her close, “I do love you…in a way. But I need to go so I can figure this out with my Greer. If I stayed, you'd grow to hate me. You'd always look at me and wonder where the woman you fell in love with was.”
Greer refused to look at Brice. Brice said, her decision final, “Even though I have you in this world, I can't stay here.”
She placed a kiss on Greer's cheek and turned away. Before she could walk away, she found herself abruptly spun around. Greer kissed her passionately and Brice returned the kiss with equal fervor. When it ended Greer said, out of breath, “Something to remember me by and to look forward to when you start dating the other me.”
Brice still wore a smile as she went over to the machine. Lamb directed her to stand under the metal ring and she started pushing buttons.
“So how does this work?”
“The ring lowers and when it reaches the bottom, you should be back in your own world and we'll have the old Brice back. Theoretically.”
She looked at Greer as she said, “I'm ready.”
Lamb grinned as she pulled a lever, “It was nice knowing you, Brice. Can't wait to work with the other perfect you.”
The machine made a whirling sound and Brice looked up as the ring started to descend. As it passed over her head, the room started to spin. Everything kept spinning faster and faster and she could no longer see anything but a gray whirl. Her head felt like it was going to explode, not so much from pain but from pressure. Just when she thought her head would pop, everything stopped.
Brice gasped for air as she jerked her eyes open. Everything was white and she was terrified something had gone wrong. She looked around rapidly, trying to figure out where she was. There were wires and IV lines attached to her. She looked up, trying to see where she was. She seemed to be in a bed and there was a thick, clear plastic boundary around the bed.
“Brice,” someone cried out. Brice was able to focus on someone behind the boundary and she was relieved to see it was Greer. She just hoped it was her Greer. Greer moved to Brice's bedside and pressed up against the wall. She was soon joined by Noel and Alice. Brice almost cried in relief to see Noel's scar-less face.
“Oh, thank God, Brice. You're awake. Brice,” Greer said. Greer glared briefly at the boundary between them before turning to look at Brice again.
“Where am I?” Brice asked, “What happened?”
“You're in the hospital because Duster dropped you in the vat of toxic waste,” Noel explained, “You're giving off radiation like crazy. This is to protect you and us. You've been out almost a week.”
Brice almost collapsed in relief. She was home.
“It's been one hell of a week. I have so much to tell you guys,” Brice stated. She turned to Greer, “We have something very important to talk about.”
“Okay,” Greer agreed, not knowing what she was talking about but so happy to have Brice awake.
A soft beep drew their attention to a machine beside Brice. Brice immediately felt sleepy. She tried to fight it, “Damn it, it's making me sleepy. I have to talk to you.”
“Brice, relax,” Alice said, “It's just some medication. We'll have the doctors change it.”
“It's okay,” Greer said, spreading her hand out against the barrier. She wanted nothing more than to touch Brice, “We'll talk later.”
“Promise,” Brice ordered sleepily.
Brice soon fell off to sleep and not long after, a team of doctors and nurses entered. Brice's main doctor, Dr. King, listened to all the things the women had to say about Brice's awakening.
“It's good that she woke up. It means she's out of the woods, but we still have a long way to go. Now that her vital signs and brain waves are stable, we can start the anti-radiation treatment right away. I'm ordering it placed in her IV now.”
“ She'll receive several doses of Intravitcus over the next few days. It should stop all the mutation from this point on. We won't know what the mutation has done to her until more time has passed. Radiation effects can appear weeks, months or even years later. We'll examine her cells after the anti-radiation treatment to see how much they've changed. That should give us an idea of what to expect,” Dr. King stated.
“Intravitcus. That's the drug you're giving her? What are the side effects?” Noel demanded to know. Even though Greer's attention was already focused on the doctor, she now fixed her eyes on him as well instead of upon Brice, who lay behind the barrier.
“Mild headaches, nausea and memory loss.”
“Memory loss,” Noel exclaimed, “Are you out of your mind? You can't take away my friend's memory!”
Dr. King held up his hands, “I'm sorry. I should have clarified. The drug seems to affect people's memories up to about a week or two. All the patients who have taken Intravitcus have experienced memory loss. Sometimes they remember some things, but it will most likely seem like a dream.”
“So she won't remember waking up just now?” Greer asked.
The doctor shook his head, “Very unlikely. She won't remember this last week, which isn't a terrible thing. She's been in a coma the entire time. All she could possibly forget is the dreams she's had while she was unconscious and perhaps the accident itself, which you can remind her of. Now I need to go get permission from Mr. and Mrs. Johnson to start the treatment, since they are her next of kin.”
The doctor left the three women to stare through the clear barrier at Brice. Greer said, gently touching the wall, “She won't remember what she wanted to tell me. To tell us. It seemed important.”
Noel gripped the younger woman's shoulder, “Perhaps it was something she wanted to tell you before the accident. If not, maybe she'll remember one day. The important thing is that she's alive.”
“Yes,” Greer agreed, “That's the important thing.”
In another universe
“ So there was another me living here while I was in another world in a coma?”
“Something like that yes.”
“Damn. I would like to meet another me. So tell me, did you sleep with her, Greer?”
“Of course not!”
“But you made out with her, right?”
“Well…a few times.”
“So who's the better kisser: me or her?”
“Oh, definitely you.”
“You're not just saying that to make me feel better, right?”
“Shut up, get over here and I'll make you feel a lot better.”
In Brice's next adventure:
A year has passed since Brice was dropped into a vat of toxic waste and life has gotten harder for our favorite bus driver. She has shown no sign of mutation, which was her only hope of gaining a superpower, supervillains are chasing her constantly, and Judy Watson wants her children to move out of Brice's home.
Return to the Academy