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Aberrant: 2011 - Stupid Things Happen For No Reason At All


Balm

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"Sometimes stupid things happen for no reason at all."

Ricardo Montoya-Bernal would remember those words with a sense of irony as he stood at the edge of a broken window smeared with blood, looking down at the shattered body below. It had been the second-last conversation he'd ever had with his newest recruit, and the one he knew would haunt him until he died.

A trip on a bunched-up rug, a stunning blow on the head from the top window frame, a crash through the window to the unforgiving pavers in a three-storey fall.

What a waste.

Ricardo barely had time to turn as a rush of displaced air announced the arrival of Pax, courtesy of Melissandra Estevez. Below them all, the Utopian forensics specialists were doing their work, though everyone knew the finding would be a formality.

"It was an accident?" Pax asked, his chiselled face set into an expression of displeasure. "I can't have it said a T2M'er committed - "

"It was an accident, Pax," confirmed the forensics person who had just walked into the room to photograph the blood. "If she wanted to be dead, there were easier ways to pull it off."

True. But with a history of depression and setbacks, it was better to be safe than sorry. The Project could not afford any more bad publicity.

Ricardo felt disgusted with himself that with the death of a T2M'er, he was worried about the PR backlash.

God, of all the things to happen.

Pax actually sighed, rubbing his bald head. "Issue a statement, make all the usual noises to the media, execute her will. Damn, what a waste. She had a lot of promise as a T2M'er."

Of course, with the death of Australia's most popular T2M'er since the Apollo Kid left, their popularity was going to go downhill in that country. But the biggest loss was Balm. She could have been Australia's Slider, the PR folk said.

"We're going to need to replace her with another weather manipulator," Pax continued, sounding aggrieved.

"We can't replace them," Ricardo answered slowly. "Not Jenny, not Janet, not Angie..."

For once, the world's mightiest nova looked at him with something resembling compassion and regret.

"I know, Rick. Unlike Jenny and Angie, Janet's death was preventable."

Ricardo nodded. "Sometimes stupid things happen for no reason at all."

"God, I know. Don't I know it."

Below, someone put a sheet over Balm's body before putting it on a stretcher to be wheeled away.

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