I hadn’t originally planned to write a story from Cassie’s perspective yet, but I had the idea, and I’ve been wanting to get certain facts about her origin out for a while now. The main story hasn’t allowed it though. Fortunately, these short stories are a good way of going about that. Thus, this is a decent segue into the next major storyline or two.
Waiting rooms are boring. It doesn’t matter whose waiting room. Even top secret, government owned laboratories that exist solely to study metahumans still make me want to scream after half an hour.
Especially when they manage to stock the same seven month old copies of People as my dentist.
It had to be a conspiracy.
So that’s where I was. In a waiting room. The one for studying metahumans. Not my dentist’s.
Mom was upstairs a couple levels talking with her boss—which served her right because instead of going home after vacation in Aruba, she’d taken us to Washington D.C. I’d told her how I’d regenerated a huge chunk of my thigh, and she’d told someone at work, and they’d told her they wanted a sample.
And that’s how I happened to be sitting in a room in Langley, Virginia in a building that didn’t officially belong to the CIA, checking out an ancient copy of People, and realizing I knew someone mentioned inside.
A seventeen year old actress they’d interviewed mentioned Alex, the son of the superhero Preserver, as a “fun person” she’d met since moving to L.A. I thought that was interesting since I knew he was dating Brooke, someone totally not that actress. Except… I checked the date. They hadn’t started dating until months later.
So right, I’m calculating the date to find out if someone I barely knew was cheating on his girlfriend (and he wasn’t). Alex was Nick’s friend anyway. I’d only met him once.
God. I was so bored.
I dropped the magazine on the table next to a copy of Newsweek that was just as old.
The nurse opened the door, and called out “Cassie Kowalski?” as if I hadn’t been the only person sitting in the room for the past half hour.
I said, “She left, like twenty minutes ago.”
The nurse said, “Uh…”
“Kidding,” I said. “That’s me.”
I stood up, and that’s when Mom stepped through the entrance.
“Mom, they just called me,” I said.
“Then don’t keep them waiting.”
Meanwhile the nurse flicked her eyes between the two of us, shook her head, and stepped back into the hall, still holding the office door open for us.
I guessed the meaning of the nurse’s look. Mom and I don’t look anything alike. It’s not just clothes or personal style. That’s different too. Mom always looks professional—think dark suits. I wear a lot of jeans and hoodies. She’d done her makeup. I almost never do.
Even if we’d worn the same clothes, we still wouldn’t have looked like we were related.
I’m blond, light skinned, and stand four inches taller than she does. She’s got black hair, and her complexion’s a couple shades darker. If that weren’t enough, I’m skinny with muscles that are just shy of embarrassingly noticeable, and Mom’s got curves.
The nurse led us back into the office area which was busier than I’d have expected. We passed two conference rooms that were full of people in suits, and a room full of doctors, nurses, computers and a lot of medical equipment.
She led us into an examination room and I took a seat on the exam table. Mom sat in the chair. It was a cold room, all white walls and linoleum—like it was designed by robots or something.
The doctor stepped inside. He was kind of cute in a clean cut, and nerdy with glasses sort of way. Or if you really go for men in white lab coats.
“I’m Dr. Wilson, and I’m going to take two samples today. The first will be of the regenerated muscle tissue. Secondly, I’ll be taking a sample of the regenerated bone. If you could point out the affected area, please…”
“The ‘affected area’ is right here.” I made a big circle on my thigh below my shorts. I’d been so dumb. If the guy with the laser had been smarter, or luckier, he could have killed me for real.
“Ordinarily I’d give you an anesthetic, but due to your nature, I don’t have anything that would last long enough.”
My nature—by which he meant I regenerated freakishly quickly.
“It can’t be worse than getting shot.”
He opened a drawer next to the exam table and pulled out two big needles.
“Wait… What’s with poking me twice anyway?”
“Well…” He looked over at Mom. She didn’t say anything. “Given your origin, we want to track any changes.”
By which he meant, “Given that you’re your father’s clone except with some major gene splices (like not being a guy, for example), we’d like to make sure you haven’t turned into a doomsday device.”