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The Experiment - Part 2

Written by CavemanNinjaJoe :: [Thursday, 01 April 2010 06:59] Last updated by :: [Tuesday, 02 April 2013 10:19]

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Title: The Experiment - Part 2

by Caveman Ninja Joe

 

Synopsis: Now free of the underground bunker, Scorpion sets out to find the people responsible for what happened to her.

 

Far out in the desert, miles from anywhere, Scorpion trudges along the side of a paved road carrying nothing but the folder clutched tightly against her unclothed chest. The sun is just starting to rise in the east, peeking around the looming pillars of ancient, windswept rock that dot the landscape.

After nearly three long hours without anything but the sound of the whistling desert wind to keep her company, Scorpion hears the distant rumble of a car's engine approaching. Turning around, she sees headlights piercing through the darkness. The beams of light grow closer and closer.

Hey!” Scorpion calls out, jumping up and down and waving her free arm, “Can I get a lift? Hey!” The car begins to slow. Scorpion perks up.

Suddenly, just as the car's high beams get close enough to illuminate Scorpion's naked body, the car picks up speed again.

Hey! Where are you going?” Scorpion yells. She watches, dumbfounded, as the car zips right past her. She sees a harassed looking woman in the passenger seat yelling at her husband, as their kids point and squeal excitedly at the naked lady. The green sedan gradually disappears back into the night. Scorpion reluctantly sets off along the road once more, grumbling all the while.

About half an hour later, Scorpion hears the rumble of another, larger, engine behind her. By now, there's enough light for her to make out some of the details of the vehicle, a dark green SUV. Scorpion sticks out her arm, and flags them down. The driver's eyes widen in surprise as he pulls up alongside the statuesque blonde.

The tall, scruffy, and somewhat pudgy man leans over to wind down the passenger side window, and nervously asks, “Um... err... are ya okay? Ya need a lift?”Scorpion nods. The man clears some empty junk food containers off the passenger seat and asks, “Where ya headed?”.

I am trying to find a town.”

Any town in particular?” the man asks.

No.”

The man rolls his eyes, “Well, whatever. Hop in,” he says, indicating the now (mostly) clean seat beside him. Scorpion climbs into his car, and they drive off.

So what do I call ya?” the man asks.

Scorpion.”

That what your papa call ya?”

Hmm. I suppose you could say that,” Scorpion says thoughtfully.

Uh huh. So what happened? Why're ya out here in the middle of the night, walkin' along a highway without a stitch of clothin' on ya?”

I am not entirely sure,” Scorpion says, preferring not to dwell on the subject at the moment.

Not entirely sure?” the man says in disbelief, “Did someone... do somethin' to ya?”

Yes,” Scorpion says simply.

The man goes quiet for a moment, then asks, “What? What'd they do?”

It is a long story,” Scorpion tells him. The man starts eyeing her very, very strangely, Scorpion grows to feel distinctly uncomfortable under his gaze.

Well, um, there... somethin'... ya need?” he asks her, somewhat suggestively.

What do you mean... 'something'?” Scorpion asks.

The man's eyes zip back towards the road as he answers, “Oh, nothin'. Nothin', really. Nah, I was just thinkin' that if you needed... somethin'... I might be able to help. Ne'er mind.” Scorpion looks at the man suspiciously.

For nearly an hour, they drive, barely a word passing between them. The man casts an occasional glimpse at his lovely passenger, while she sits beside him, stony faced, staring out the passenger side window to watch the sun rise.

Suddenly, the man spots rooftops on the horizon. He breaks into an apprehensive sweat, his eyes flick back and forth frantically between Scorpion and the road.

It... err... it may be a very long time before we get to town,” he lies. “Maybe... maybe we should find some way ta pass the time?”

What did you have in mind?” Scorpion asks, still gazing out the window. The man leans as close in to Scorpion as he can while keeping one hand on the wheel.

Well...” he gently places his hand on her shoulder, “...I thought maybe we could...” his hand starts to slide steadily down towards her chest, “...get ta know each other...” his hand keeps sliding. Scorpion turns her gaze toward him, “...a little better,” the man finishes suggestively, his hand continuing its trek along Scorpion's smooth, pliable flesh. She feels the faint tingle that follows in its wake.

"What do you think you are doing!” Scorpion exclaims, shocked by the man's behaviour. She bats his hand away.

"What's it look like?" the man says. He reaches over to her again, and starts to stroke her cheek, "I'm a guy, and you're a real babe, and we've got a long trip ahead of us and...."

Scorpion smacks his hand away again. "Stop it!" she shrieks, as a sudden wave of panic washes over her. She grabs for the door handle, trying to get out, not caring how fast the car's moving.

The man lunges to stop Scorpion opening the door. His arm grazes Scorpion's bare nipple. Her arm lashes up. She grabs his arm, and holds him in her vice like grip. Scorpion tightens her grip on the offending limb, eliciting cries of agony from the man. She screams, “I said, NO!” The man groans in agony, he grabs frantically her arm as he tries to free himself. He tugs on her arm as hard as he can, but she won't budge. He grabs her fingers, one by one, and tries to pry them loose, but its futile. She's far, far too strong.

Steadily regaining control of herself, Scorpion asks the man, “Now, are you going to behave yourself?”

Just...let... GO!” he yells back.

Will you behave?” Scorpion repeats, compressing his hand again. The sickening crunch of breaking bones fills the air.

ARGH! Yes! YES! PLEASE JUST LET ME...!” He doesn't get the chance to finish. With no one steering, the car has rolled off the paved road, and on to the loose dirt and rock. The man, seeing that they're heading for a large outcrop of rocks, quickly grabs hold of the wheel with his free hand. He furiously yanks the wheel left and right, but instead of helping him regain control his desperate efforts only manage to unbalance the SUV, and the passenger side wheels lift into the air. The car rolls end over end at high speed, before coming to a sudden stop as it slams into the rocks.

From outside, the wrecked car seems still, save for the uselessly spinning rear wheels. Suddenly, a head pops out of the passenger side window. A head covered in long, blonde hair. Scorpion, completely unharmed by the high speed crash, clambers out of the mangled wreck and slides down the roof to the ground. Taking a look around, she quickly spots the rooftops a short distance away.

Humph. A long time to get to town, huh?” she grumbles. Suddenly, she hears a tapping noise behind her. Looking back at the car, she sees the man knocking on the broken front windshield, trying to get her attention.

Scorpion looks down at the man with utter contempt as he lies in the car, badly injured and pinned under the broken steering wheel. “Oi! Help! Get me outta here!” he yells. She doesn't move. “Please! I can' move! Help me!” he yells again.

Very well,” Scorpion says reluctantly, and walks back over to the vehicle's roof. She flattens her palms against each other, and thrusts her hands forward into the car's roof like the point of a spear. Her super-strong fingers rip into the roof of the car as easily as if it were made of tissue paper. The man's eyes widen as Scorpion easily pries the metal roof apart. She pushes her arms out to her sides, ripping open a gash more than large enough for someone to crawl through.

Stunned, the man watches silently as Scorpion steps through the new hole into the car, and grabs hold of the wheel. She pulls the wheel out, ripping it clean out of the dashboard. The man just stares, open mouthed, as she steps back out of the wreck, grabs her folder off the floor, and begins to walk away.

Finally regaining his senses, the man starts to crawl out of the hole. “Hey! Where are you going? You can' just leave me like this!” the man yells after her, dragging his broken legs behind him. Scorpion stops and slowly turns around to face him.

I already got you out of the car. It is more than you deserve. Do not push your luck,” she tells him, her voice shaking with barely restrained rage.

And she leaves without another word.


By mid-morning, Scorpion is still trudging along the highway, the sun beating down on her. The rooftops of the town are drawing closer, but her progress is agonisingly slow. She lets out a frustrated sigh. At this rate, it may be night time before she reaches her destination.

Why did that guy have to be such a creep!”, she grumbles to herself.

If he could have just kept his hands to himself...!” She looks up, trying to see the town. However, while she was grumbling, the town vanished behind a hill a few hundred yards away.

Ugh!” she grunts, exasperated. Gritting her teeth, she breaks into a jog up the steep incline, her bare feet sailing over the rough ground as she heads for the crest.

Reaching the top, Scorpion sees the town once more. Relieved that she's still going the right way, Scorpion speeds up, and dashes exuberantly down the other side. She reaches the bottom of the hill in no time. She isn't even panting. Encouraged, Scorpion runs faster still, the wind whistling in her ears as her legs pump faster, and faster. She keeps accelerating, gripping the folder tightly. Her feet have become a blur, kicking up dust and rocks with every lightning fast step.

She goes faster still. The wind becomes deafeningly loud, like having a jet engine right next to her head. She sprints straight past a green sedan. The occupants stare open mouthed as the cloud of dust shoots past them. Within a matter of minutes, Scorpion finds herself on the outskirts of town.

Scorpion slows her pace to a steady jog, not wishing to attract unnecessary attention. It doesn't help. Most of the townspeople, on their way to work or to school, blatantly stare at her as she jogs past. Scorpion, slightly confused, comes to a stop outside a bakery. As the people inside point and stare, Scorpion catches her reflection in the shop window. She soon sees the problem.

She's still naked.

Scorpion looks around, and spies a clothes shop across the street. Scorpion gently pushes open the shop's front door, and walks in. The customers, in their crisp attire, look up at the new arrival, flabbergasted. Looking around the store, Scorpion sees a bony, middle aged woman with a dour expression sitting behind the counter, flipping through a trashy gossip magazine. Scorpion walks over to her, noting a name tag identifying the woman as 'Betty'.

I require clothes,” Scorpion says to her. Betty pulls her eyes away from the magazine, and looks Scorpion up and down.

What happened to you? Been playing 'Secretary' with the boss?” she says sarcastically, looking at the folder. Scorpion just stands there, nonplussed. Betty shrugs, “Alright, alright, let's see what we've got.”.

She gets up from behind the counter, and guides Scorpion over to the clothing racks. Scorpion browses through the selection for a while, picking out some t-shirts, a couple of pairs of hipster jeans, a skirt, and some running shoes.

After a time, all the people in the store stopped staring. That is, all except one - a young woman in a business suit, with her long red hair tied up in a ponytail.

Alright...” Betty says, some time later, “... and with the runners, that comes to...” she presses a button on the register, and a number flashes up, “...eight hundred and twelve dollars and two cents. I'll knock off the two cents, just cause I like ya.”

Scorpion, leaning on the counter top, panics slightly as she says, “I, I do not have any money!”

Well, then we have a problem,” Betty tells her curtly. “You see my dear, I can't let you walk out of here without paying for those clothes.”

But, how am I supposed to pay for the clothes when I do not have any money!” Scorpion says, clearly agitated.

I know.” Betty says, not bothering to conceal a sadistic smirk. “Now, either take the clothes off and put them back, or pony up the cash.”

Scorpion's hand clenches on the tabletop. Unconsciously, she presses down. The wood groans under her fist.

Suddenly, the red haired woman pops up next to Scorpion. Scorpion looks at her, and feels a sudden rush of fondness for the woman, although where its coming from she has no idea.

Is there a problem?” the new arrival asks.

Little Miss Secretary here can't pay,” Betty tells her, not looking away from Scorpion.

Look, its no problem,” the woman says, “I'll pay. How much did you say it was?”

A couple of minutes later, Scorpion walks out of the shop, wearing the jeans, runners and a green tank top, with bags full of clothes dangling from each arm. The red-haired woman follows her out. Scorpion turns to her and says, “Thank you. That was very kind.”

Ah, don't mention it,” the woman says, still staring open-mouthed at Scorpion. “Frankly Alex, I'm... I'm really... surprised... to see you."

Scorpion looks at the woman in silence, as her words sink in. "Do... do we know each other?" Scorpion asks blankly.

"Do we... you're joking right!" the woman says disbelievingly.

No. I am not joking. Who are you?” Scorpion asks again.

Okay Alex. Very funny, now cut the act,” the woman says, rolling her eyes.

I'm not acting!” Scorpion protests, “I have no idea who you are!”

The woman is getting worried, “You really don't remember me?”

Scorpion shakes her head.

Can you remember... anything?” the woman presses.

I...” Scorpion pauses, straining to remember something, anything at all. “Nothing,” she finally says.

Nothing?”

Nothing,” Scorpion reiterates.

The woman lets out a forlorn sigh. “Okay Alex, I'll bite. I'm Kate, Kate Visitor. We met back in first grade, and we've been best friends ever since. Ring any bells?” she says.

Scorpion looks at 'Kate' blankly for a moment, “No.”

Jeez Alex, what the hell happened to you?”, Kate asks her in a worried voice.

Well....” Scorpion starts, about to tell her about what she found out in the bunker. However, at that moment, she notices a dark silhouette on a nearby rooftop. She stares at it, trying to make out what its doing. She could almost swear its watching her.

Alex? Hello, Earth to Alex?” Kate says, waving her hand in front of Scorpion's face. Scorpion, distracted, looks away from the silhouette.

What was that about?”

See those guys on the roof over there?”, Scorpion says, pointing. Kate squints, trying to make something out.

Nope.”

What? They were right...” Scorpion looks around, but the silhouette has disappeared, “...there?” she finishes uncertainly.

Um... must have been a trick of the light,” Scorpion says quickly, “So, um... Kate, do you know anywhere we can eat? I'm starving.”

Kate looks at her suspiciously for a beat, then says, “Look, maybe we'd better head back to my place and figure all this out.”

Is there food there?”

Yes, yes, there's food,” Kate adds, rolling her eyes.


Some time later, Kate and Scorpion sit on the couch in Kate's apartment. Scorpion has already gobbled up five bits of toast, two sandwiches and two fried eggs, while Kate nervously fingers her still near full teacup, listening to Scorpion explain what happened to her through mouthfuls of food. Waking up in the base, looking through the security tapes, finding out about Project Scorpion, escaping, and finally arriving in town.

When Scorpion finally finishes, all Kate can do is mutter, “Wow... wow....”

Scorpion looks up from her blueberry muffin and asks, “Is something wrong?”

No... I mean, yes... I mean.... well, look, Alex, this...” Kate pauses to corral her thoughts, “... this is just, unbelievable. I mean, I thought you were dead! I....” she pauses again, visibly rattled.

Just then, the front door swings open, and a young man walks in. “Oh, hi Keith!” Kate calls to him.

Kate? I thought you had a shift this morning?” the new arrival says from the entrance hall.

I got someone to cover for me. You're not going to believe who I found at the shops!” Kate tells him. Keith pops his head around the corner, and his jaw drops. “Its Alex! Can you believe this!”

I am not Alexis Manning. Not really,” Scorpion corrects her, “Alexis is dead. Murdered. And I'm going to find the ones responsible.”

Keith just stares, looking completely befuddled. Kate, on the other hand, suppresses a giggle. Puzzled, Scorpion asks, “What is so funny about a woman being killed?”

Nothing. Nothing... its just... its nice to see you're still butting into everyone else's problems.”

Huh?”

An old habit of yours.. hers! You... she... just couldn't stop yourself,” Kate says, tossing a sly look over to Keith she adds, “Still, sometimes it worked out for the best." Kate and Keith give each other a meaningful smile, while Scorpion just looks puzzled.

Changing the topic, Keith says, “Um... anyway, you girls need anything? I was just going to get a sandwich.”

No, I think we're right for now. Besides, if Alex eats any more we'll need to take out a loan to pay for it,” Kate says, watching Keith go into the kitchen.

As he walks off, Scorpion hears a faint crunching noise from outside. “Hey, Kate, did you hear something?”

No, why.”

I, I thought I heard someone moving around out there,” Scorpion says, looking over to the balcony. She walks outside to investigate, but sees no-one there.

Probably just a pigeon or something,” Kate reassures her.

Hmm,” Scorpion mumbles, unconvinced. Still, she puts it out of her mind for the time being.

So, where do you plan to start looking for these guys?” Kate asks.

I thought I would start by looking into this 'TPA' to see what I can find,” Scorpion tells Kate.

Almost instantly, Kate gets up and leaves. She returns a moment later, with a laptop slung under one arm. “Might as well start with the obvious,” Kate says, opening up a web browser. “Okay, search for TPA... hmm, we've got The Publicity Agency,...”

No, I do not think that is it.”

... The Police Association...”

Hell no.”

Tissue Plasminogen Activator, Totally Pointless Acronyms, Trade Practices Act,... oh boy, this is going to take longer than I'd hoped,” Kate grumbles.


Ugh! This is hopeless!” Kate groans, throwing a folder full of papers on the coffee table, “We've been looking through this stuff for days now Alex, and we still haven't found a damn thing. Whatever this TPA is, they've covered their tracks.”

There must be something here...” Scorpion mumbles, an undercurrent of desperation in her voice as she thumbs through a stack of old newspapers.

Kate, increasingly dubious, starts to say, “Alex, we....”

And stop calling me Alex!” Scorpion erupts, “I am not Alexis Manning! I do not know Alexis Manning! I barely know anything about Alexis Manning! My name is Scorpion!”

Yeah, so you keep telling me...” Kate lets out a sigh, “...but I've always known you as Alexis, and that's not going to change any time soon.”

So, you're telling me that I'm still Alexis, standing here, right in front of you?” Scorpion asks.

As far as I'm concerned,” Kate says, relieved that Scorpion is catching on.

However, that relief is quickly quenched as Scorpion retorts, “Well if that is true, then why are we trying to find the people that killed her?”

Kate opens her mouth to argue, but nothing comes out. “Exactly. Whoever these people are, they took the woman you knew as Alexis Manning, arranged her death, and turned her into what you see now. Me. Scorpion,” she finishes forcefully, then quietly goes back to browsing through the paper, leaving Kate silenced.

So, you're saying there's nothing left of my friend in there? Nothing at all?” Kate finally asks, her eyes tearing up.

I am not sure,” Scorpion tells her, “Maybe.”

Maybe? You're not sure?”

From time to time, I get these, I don't know, feelings, I guess. Like, when I was back at the bunker, and I found out what happened to Alexis and her family. I did not know any of those people. I couldn't remember anything about them. Still don't. So far as I knew, we'd never met. But... just looking at those pictures, I felt... content. Safe. Then, when I saw you at the shop, the same thing... like when you showed up, it just seemed like everything was going to be okay... do you know what I mean?” Scorpion says earnestly. Kate just gives a little, non-committal grunt.

Scorpion smiles and asks, “Anyway, are you going to keep helping me with this, or do I have to do it myself.”

I'd love to, but its nearly midnight, and I really need to go to bed. Some of us still need to sleep, you know!” Kate says. She seems jovial, but Scorpion detects a faint hint of resentment.

Okay, goodnight,” Scorpion says, as she waves Kate off to bed, and sinks back into her research.

The minutes pass in silence, save for the occasional swish of paper. Then, Scorpion hears a noise from outside, not unlike a footstep. She pauses, and looks around. Seeing no-one, she grumbles to herself, “Not again,” and gets back to work.

Then, she hears the noise again, coming from somewhere outside the apartment. “Alright, what the hell is that!” she says, sick of the distractions. Putting the papers on the floor, she flings open the glass doors separating the apartment from the balcony, and walks out into the cool night air.

Looking around, she sees ropes hanging down the side of the building, two on the left, and three on the right side of the balcony, “What the... ?” Scorpion grabs one of the ropes on her right, and gives it a hard tug.

ARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!” suddenly, a man dressed entirely in black, and heavily armed, tumbles down from above her, followed shortly after by the rope supporting him. He stops abruptly a few floors below Scorpion, and starts bumping into the building as he dangles from her hand.

Alarmed, Scorpion looks up. She spots four more men, each dressed like the one she's holding.

She's seen us! MOVE MOVE MOVE!” one of them yells. The rest of the men quickly rappel down the side of the building, and land one by one on the balcony.

The first man to arrive fumbles about for his machine gun, while the second attempts to detach himself from his rope. Moving faster than either man can make out, Scorpion dashes up to the first man, reaching him just as he gets his gun out. He points it at her and yells “FREEZE!” but before he can even finish giving the order, Scorpion has grabbed the gun, and effortlessly ripped it out of his hands. She tosses the gun away, then kicks the man's legs out from under him. He falls down, smacks his head on the wall, and doesn't get back up.

Whirling around, Scorpion gives the second man a backhanded slap across the face, knocking him out instantly.

Meanwhile, Kate, awakened by the racket, comes out to see what all the fuss is about. “Alex, what... ?” she yawns, wiping the sleep out of her eyes. One of the men, taking advantage of the distraction, pulls his gun out and points it at Kate.

NO!” Scorpion shrieks, grabbing the man's wrist. The gun is wrenched into the air as the man's bones splinter in Scorpion's iron grip. As he falls to the ground, moaning in agony, the gun fires one wild shot, striking the balcony above, and raining plaster down on them all.

AGH!” Kate cries out, jumping back. The last of the assailants desperately leaps on Scorpion's back, and wraps his arms tightly around her, trying to snap her neck. Scorpion grunts as she fumbles about behind her with her free arm.

She grabs hold of the man's body armour, and forcefully wrenches him off her. She flings him up and over her head like he's a sack of soiled clothes, then slams him into the floor so hard the tiles crack. The man lands with a sickening thud, and is out cold.

Scorpion stands over the defeated men, triumphant. Kate has propped herself up on the back of the couch, one hand held over her pounding heart.

Are you okay?” Scorpion asks.

Kate nods, “Yeah... yeah, I think so. Jesus, Alex... who the hell are those guys?” she asks, gasping for air.

Scorpion looks thoughtful, “I don't know...” she looks at the length of rope in her hand, “...but I'm going to find out.”

Scorpion reels in the man still hanging at the end of the rope. Once he gets high enough, she leans over the edge to talk to him.

Hello,” she says to the man, as pleasantly as if they'd just been introduced to each other at a cocktail party.

The clearly terrified man yells back, “Please! Let me down from here!” as his eyes dart from the ground, to Scorpion, and back again so fast they start to blur.

Oh, don't worry. I will. First though, there's a few questions I need you to answer,” Scorpion says pleasantly, as Kate appears next to her, “Let's start with who sent you here, shall we?”

No-one! We came of our own accord,” the man says, in a transparent lie.

Yeah right!” Kate pitches in. “Come on now, who sent you?”

No-one!” the man repeats, even less convincingly than before.

Ugh! This is ridiculous! You should have just let this idiot drop!” Kate grumbles.

Maybe I will,” Scorpion says coolly.

Hey, wait a minute, I didn't really...” Kate interjects, but Scorpion has already released the rope.

AAARRRGGGGGHHHH!” the man screams, as he plummets three stories.

Alex!” Kate screams, horrified. Scorpion grips the rope again, and the man comes to a sudden stop. Scorpion slowly pulls the terrified man back up.

What the hell are you doing!” Kate yells at Scorpion.

Scorpion doesn't reply to her. Instead, she starts talking to the man again, “Now, you were saying?”

I... I wasn't saying anyth... ARRRRGGGGHHHHH!” he screams as Scorpion lets the rope slip once more.

Alex! That's enough! This is insane! You're going to kill him!” Kate screams hysterically. Again, Scorpion ignores her as she reels in the man, now drenched in sweat and blubbering like a large, well armed baby.

You know, I think my arm is getting tired. If I let go again, I might not be able to catch you....” Scorpion tells him ominously. The man's eyes widen as she starts to loosen her grip on the rope once again.

At last, he cracks. “OKAY! Okay, you win... just, for the love of god don't drop me!” he pleads.

I am listening.”

We, we're all mercenaries. Some guy came to see Powell...” he nods towards the leader of the group, “...a couple of days back, said he had a job for us.”

What kind of job?” Scorpion asks.

We... we were to come here, and try to capture you, and if that didn't work... we were supposed to kill you,” he admits, then adds sarcastically, “That went real well.” Scorpion pauses, letting the silence hang.

So, this man who hired you, what did he look like?” she asks at last.

Er... fairly tall, dark hair, these... cold blue eyes, really... really thin mouth, face had more craters than the moon...” Kate's eyes widen.

Scorpion presses on, “Did you get his name?”

Yeah... yeah, it was...” he scrunches up his face, trying to remember, “...it was...”

Yes?”

Burke! Ronald Burke!” he says at last.

Remember anything else?” Scorpion asks. “Well, I didn't talk to him myself, but... I overhead him saying to the boss that he worked at Wright-Corp, over in Seed Falls.”

Scorpion looks the man over appraisingly for a moment, before saying, “Thank you. You have been very helpful.”

Oh? Err.... no problem. So... can I go now?” the man asks hesitantly.

Hmm,” Scorpion says, scratching her chin as she thinks it over.

Alex?”, Kate says, obviously worried.

Sure, I think we can let you go,” Scorpion says, grinning.

Hey... hey wait not like tha... ARRRGGGGHHHH!” he screams, as Scorpion sends him plummeting towards the ground again.

ALEX! STOP IT!” Kate screeches.

ARRRGGGGHHHH!”

ALEX!”

ARRRGGGGHHH..... Omph!” the man gets all the air knocked out of him as he comes to a sudden stop, less than a yard above the pavement. Deciding not to stick around long enough for Scorpion to change her mind, he unbuckles himself, and dashes off into the night.

Well, there we go. Seems we need to find Mr. Burke,” Scorpion muses, tossing the last of the rope off the balcony, “So, Kate, any ideas how to... Kate?”

Kate is standing dead still, looking like she just saw a ghost, “Kate? What's the matter?”

I... I thought....” Kate stammers.

Thought what?”

I thought you were really going to kill him,” Kate says weakly, her voice trembling.

Oh,” Scorpion says. “Well, um... to tell the truth, I nearly did.”

Kate's jaw drops. “I mean, just before I let him go, I thought... he could just run off and get more guys, right?” Scorpion reasons.

So what stopped you?”, Kate asks, looking at Scorpion like she'd never seen her before.

I... I can't really explain it. I couldn't really think of any reason to let him go, but, it just felt....” Scorpion trails off, unable to find the right words.

Wrong?” Kate suggests.

Yeah. I guess,” Scorpion says, prompting Kate to let out a sigh of relief.

Well, nice to know your morals are still in there somewhere.”

Scorpion, seeing that Kate was calming down, asked again, “So, the guy said Burke works in Seed Falls, any idea how to get there?”

Yeah, its not too far from here. You could probably drive up there in the morning.”.

Sounds like a plan,” Scorpion says, smiling.

Just before the two women step back into the apartment, Kate turns to Scorpion, and asks, very seriously, “While we're on the subject of plans...”

Yes?”

...what do you plan to do with those guys?” Kate says, pointing back at the pile of unconscious men on the balcony. Scorpion looks at her friend, and her cheeks start to blush.

Um. I don't know,” she says, completely caught off guard. Kate, seeing the blank look on her friends face, bursts out laughing. Scorpion looks at the pile, back at her friend, and joins in the mirth.

 


 

 

 

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