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Aberrant: The Middle Children of History - Anyone But Me

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I was supposed to be in a debriefing room two hours ago, not sitting in a cafe in St. Louis people-watching and drinking a Smirnoff I'm a year too young for. Dad -excuse me- Agent Carter hates it when I'm late. I hate debriefings, so I figure we're even on that. Besides, I'd already read the report:

It is my professional opinion that Agent Shae is at high risk of developing severe personality and identification issues. The recent augmentation of Agent Shae's powers to include a mental copycat effect strong enough to deceive telepathic scans and the ability to create temporary copies of xemself at will, coupled with the agent's previously known abilities and most recent psychological battery, seems to indicate a lack of personal identity. Although I do not yet believe that Agent Shae has manifested any of the mental aberrations or psychosis that occurred with Agent Hooks, great care should be taken with assignments and stress levels of Agent Shae. It is my recommendation that Agent Shae be placed on temporary medical leave for at least two weeks, with a full psychological battery upon the agent's return before being placed on a new assignment. ~Dr. Bradford

Thanks, Carol. Bitch. If they're going to put me on a forced vacation, what's it matter if I start a few hours early, right? Besides, they have all the excitement of figuring out what I changed their passwords to before I left; it won't take them more than five minutes to figure out who did it. They still haven't figured out a way to make sure it's really them and not me, especially now that I can think like them.


My OppPhone beeps in my ear, so someone must've cracked my clever little code. "Yeah?"

"What the hell do you think you're doing, Shae?"

Shit. That was not Dad. "Um, friendly joke before my vacation?" Dammit, this was unfair.

The speaker sighed in weary frustration. "Shae, you can't do this every time someone writes a report on you you don't like. You shouldn't even be reading them. You know that. Don't you think this is all just a little immature for you now? You're not a child anymore and your father trusted you. He's put a lot on the line to get you set up well with the field agents and you're making him look foolish."

Gee Mom, thanks; way to rain on my childish misbehavior parade. And I had candy to toss. "It's just a prank. C'mon, they've got, like, some of the smartest people in the world there. It's not like they can't fix it." Eventually.

"That's not the point, dear. Look, if you don't want to be an agent, just say so. No one's twisting your arm to do it, and this kind of behavior certainly won't get you anywhere in the Directive."

How does she do that? How does she make me care? Nova's have nothing on the Mom-Voice, even when they're not your bio-Mom. Maybe that's why it was worse: she cared, and they never had. "No, Mom, it's not that, you know that. I want to be an agent. I like it; it's fun."

"Honey, it can't be fun all the time. Dr. Bradford is worried about you, and with pranks like these, she's got reason to be. She, we all of us, don't want to see anything bad happen to you, and with the type of assignments you're given....Well, I don't want to have to explain to your father or anyone of the other dozens in the Directive that have watched you grow up and helped train you that we've lost you because we didn't catch it soon enough or didn't think it was important. We love you, Shae, even when it makes you mad."

"Mom, I'm not Hooks. I'm not crazy. I know who I am, and I don't get people stuck in my head. I'm not going to disappear on you." Not to self: Starbucks in St. Louis may not be the best place to have this conversation. No one's staring at me yet, but I'm starting to get agitated and that can be awkward for people that are used to the person in the corner leaving before becoming someone else. "I just need...."

"Some time?" There's the Mom-Voice again. The worst is when she's right, too. "That's what the vacation is for, to give you some time to figure these new powers out and get comfortable with them and you again."

"Yeah, I guess."

"Now, I'm calling you on my personal phone, since the system here is still locked down. I'll unfreeze your credit card and bank accounts as soon as you-"

"Hera-on-Olympus. With the hyphens." I could hear the click of the keys as she typed in the password and the bell chimes that she had set for her log-in.

"Cute. Are you Ares or Eris today?" Sarcasm was close to the Mom-Voice, but at least she levied it at all her agents equally.

I eyed my near-empty wine cooler and contemplated somewhere much hipper and more dangerous than St. Louis. "Y'know, I think I'll shoot for Bacchus for a few weeks."

"Have fun, and I expect you here and sober the last Monday of the month."

"Aye aye, sir."

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