A determined Brian Conway
walked into Robert Mitchell's sub-basement study and found him
hunched over his computer. It was just after 8:30 a.m. and Robert
had been up since six o'clock.
`I want some answers and I want them NOW!' Brian said angrily
to the older man.
`Excuse me?' Mitchell looked up from his PC just long enough
to acknowledge Brian's presence in the room before returning
his attention to the long list of equations and formulae which
danced across the screen in front of him.
Brian leaned over the large oak desk on which the computer was
seated and punched the power switch on the monitor. The screen
instantly flickered and then went blank, accompanied by the crackling
hiss of static electricity as the C.R.T inside it discharged.
Sighing, Robert removed his glasses and reclined in his swivel
chair, fixing a steady gaze on Brian. His eyes had the bleary
look one gets when way too much time is spent staring at a computer
screen. Nevertheless, his look was unwavering and both men held
each other's gaze for several seconds.
Robert G. Mitchell was a tall man of about 50 years of age. He
was well built for someone of his years, although Brian had no
idea how he maintained his body when ninety percent of his time
seemed spent inside, pursuing his research. He was Caucasian
with a thick head of dark hair which was touched here and there
by tiny wisps of white. His face was a bit angular, but by no
means unattractive, and his eyes were a pale blue.
They were in Robert's sub-basement study, two levels below his
spacious home in south L.A. The house was in a quiet spot in
Lakewood with neighboring houses a comfortable distance away.
Brian knew that the house was really only there so the mailman
would have somewhere to put the letters and magazines he delivered
. . .Robert truly lived in the three levels below his two story
`Don't get coy with me Mitchell. You're supposed to be my friend
and you're supposed to be helping me.'
`I thought that's exactly what I was doing.' Robert's deep voice
held a hint of surprise, but otherwise remained calm. `I haven't
done anything contrary to our agreement. In fact. . .'
`Answers, Mitchell. I want some goddamn answers!' The younger
man's fists were clenched at his sides. `I've been your guinea
pig for three weeks, man. I put my life on hold and I trusted
you. Rick's the only other person that even knows where I am,
for God's sake. Now tell me what you know or I swear I'm walking
out of here!'
`Look, Brian, I know how frustrating this must seem to you, but.
`You have no fucking idea how this feels, so don't even say it.
This is my life that's getting torn apart. I don't want or need
this shit! I just want to know what you found out. . .now!'
Robert pushed his chair back from the desk and rose to his feet.
He stretched leisurely, working out the stiffness of sitting
in front of his computer for three straight hours. Then he turned
to face Brian and said: `First of all let me remind you that
you were the one who came to me. We've known each other for just
about three months now and I hope that you at least know me well
enough to know that I stand by my word.'
Brian had to admit to himself that Robert was right, he had called
Mitchell and told him everything. He didn't see himself as having
any other choice. He definitely wasn't going to the police or
(God forbid) the government. He'd be turned into a common lab
animal for the rest of his life. Mitchell was the only one he
could turn to.
Having a Ph.D. in nuclear physics as well as countless other
qualifications, Robert was easily the most educated man Brian
had ever met. There seemed to be almost no subject on which he
didn't have extensive knowledge.
After college, Robert had worked in several commercial factories
and civilian research companies. He moved from job to job, but
could never seem to find a place that really allowed him the
freedom to exercise his knowledge through research. This went
on for about 17 years until he was offered a high position in
a government sponsored Research and Development corporation.
In his knew position, he had the opportunity to become involved
in a wide variety of R & D projects. Unfortunately however,
the government seemed only interested in the type of projects
that created hi-tech weapons of destruction . . .the more deadly
the better. Anything else was deemed `low-priority' or `of secondary
importance'. He spent six years at the institution trying to
convince the company directors to see things his way, but without
Robert was forced to endure having project after project scrapped
or put on hold so as to free funds for their `top priority' research.
And even though he could have left at any time and gone to work
for a college or a commercial research institution, he knew that
he could never hope to have the kind of capital available to
him that the government was capable of providing. And so Robert
remained with the government sponsored company, hoping against
hope that one day he would be given the clearance to pursue a
personal project of his own. . .one that wouldn't be aimed at
annihilating half the planet, but hopefully saving it instead.
His big break came about just as he was nearing resignation.
Robert Mitchell won the lottery. One ticket bought on a whim
and suddenly he was worth over 17 million dollars.
His resignation was immediate and so was his move to L.A. He
invested a significant portion of the money in several large
companies which soon began to produce benefits of their own.
He used the money he generated to build his house in Lakewood
along with the three large underground levels beneath it where
he housed his research equipment.
`Don't jerk me around Robert. I have to know.' There was a slight
note of desperation in Brian's voice, but there was definitely
anger there as well. `You've been poking and prodding and making
me do tricks for you like some kind of circus animal for three
weeks now. You either tell me something definite or I'm walkin,
Robert watched the younger man for several moments, then he sat
in his swivel chair again and motioned for Brian to take a seat
as well. Ignoring the chair that Robert had indicated, Brian
hopped onto the big oak desk. Then he turned to the older man
and waited for him to start talking.
Space: Approximately 700 km from the Earth's moon
A sleek, black spacecraft cut its hyperspace drives and hurtled
toward the Earth at better than Mach 6. The ship was a Xenikyan
light cruiser. Large enough to support up to fifty Xeniky, the
cruiser employed cloaking technology so advanced that it would
even be able to shield itself from Arion sensors.
`Range to target: 366, 300 kilometers and closing.' The voice
that spoke the words was a gravelly, rasping sound.
The voice came from a strangely reptilian creature with an alligator-like
tail. The Xeniky's body was a light gray and covered by coarse
scales. It's head was vaguely humanoid but looked more like a
lizard's head that had been molded and twisted to resemble a
human's. It's legs were shaped like those of a Tyrannosaurus,
enabling it to walk erect, and its relatively short arms each
ended in four talons. The length of its arms were however, offset
by a pair of three-foot long, snake-like tentacles which sprouted
from its back. All full grown Xeniky stood more than 7 feet tall
and this one was no exception.
A second creature turned from its post at the system monitors
for the ship and gave a low snort of surprise. `What in all the
stars is a kilometer?' it asked in confusion, its words sounding
as if from a man with laryngitis.
`It is a unit of measurement used by the inhabitants of the planet
to which we are now headed.'
`How was I supposed to know that?' The second alien hissed back
sharply, its tentacles writhing.
`We have sent probes to this pathetic planet in the past. The
information is all stored in our databanks. It might be worth
it to you to study it.' The first alien replied with smug superiority.
`Why would I bother when I have fools like you to do it for me,
Vort?' The second Xeniky whose name was Zarg retorted with a
hiss of laughter.
Vort's yellow eyes flashed for a moment before he got control
of himself. Then he continued: `The long range sensors indicate
that the distress beacon is coming from a mountain range on one
of the larger continents.'
`I suspect that it was activated automatically by the ship's
onboard systems in response to an imminent crash. The traitor
would never trigger it himself, he knows the penalty for treason.
I believe that we'll only have a very simple cleanup operation
on our hands.'
`Is that so?' Vort asked sarcastically. `And what if the humans
have taken the Mordicons? What then?'
`I wonder if your spine was surgically removed at birth sometimes,
Vort. We are the Xeniky and they are insects in comparison. We
simply reclaim what is ours and then return home for our well
deserved reward. Besides, there's nothing they could do with
them anyway. They only respond to Xenikyan physiology.' Zarg
returned to his monitoring systems. `There is nothing to stand
in our way Vort. Absolutely nothing.'
Robert Mitchell's sub-basement study in Lakewood
`All right, Brian, what exactly do you want to know?' Robert
reclined and laced his fingers behind his head.
`Everything you know. Don't leave out any details. . .even the
ones you think don't matter.' But do you really wanna know,
Bri? Do you? Cause the truth can be a bitch. But Brian
ignored that notion entirely. He had to know.
`Hmmm. . .' Robert's brow creased momentarily. `Well I think
it would be appropriate right now to offer some form of definition
to your. . . ahhh, shall we say `condition'.' Brian waited for
him to continue.
`As far as I can determine, you have the ability to generate,
project and manipulate an intense form of electrical energy.'
`That's not something I didn't know already Robert.'
`I was just trying to put it into perspective so that you'll
keep it firmly in the back of your mind before I go on. Now,
if I may continue?' Brian nodded. `Very well. As you know, I've
run an extensive series of tests and experiments on you over
the past three weeks. The results of which have mostly produced
more questions than answers.'
`Why don't you fill me in on what you do know?'
`Well, the first thing I found out was that the energy you produce
isn't, technically speaking, electricity at all.'
`Oh it behaves almost exactly the same way of course. You know
that. But when I analyzed the wave output, I found several very
unusual harmonics within it that weren't at all like what you'd
expect to find in a lightning bolt. There's actually a readable
pattern accompanying every release of energy you produce.'
`What kind of pattern are we talking about here?'
`The wave shape seems to change whenever you use your
abilities, but I've since found that identical patterns
do, in fact, recur.'
Brian's brow creased momentarily as he looked for the significance
of what Robert was telling him. He was, of course, familiar with
the electrical aspects of physics, having studied electronic
engineering while he was in college. Still, he was having trouble
grasping the significance of Robert's revelation. `Ok, I admit
that its unusual, so what?'
Robert sighed. `Up until now, we've both thought that your abilities
were as the result of a freak lightning strike, correct?'
`More or less.'
`Have you ever considered that they might not be the result of
an accident at all?'
`That's insane Robert, besides, I told you that I went back to
the junkyard and there wasn't anything in it besides old cars
and tires. Anyway, why would someone do this to me?'
`Maybe it wasn't meant for you.' Robert replied thoughtfully.
`Maybe what wasn't meant for me? I told you there was
nothing in that old yard and I meant it. This has got to be some
kind of freak occurrence. What I really need to know is: Can
you fix it? Can you reverse the process?' Brian's voice was desperate.
Robert sighed and turned his monitor back on. Then he tapped
rapidly away on his keyboard for a few moments before motioning
Brian over to look at what the screen was displaying. `I want
you to see this.' He said.
Brian got up and walked around the desk before staring curiously
at the monitor. There was a rotating double helix in the upper
left corner of the screen and a mass of equations and assorted
notes covering the remaining display.
`Well that's really fucking cute, but why don't you translate
for the rest of us idiots.' Brian gave Robert a withering look.
`Its you!' Robert said. `Its a breakdown of your genetic
structure as it presently stands.' He folded his arms and leaned
back in his chair as if that explained everything(including how
Santa Claus gets down tiny chimneys).
In a deceptively calm voice Brian asked: `Would you please just
explain it?' And stop trying to piss me off Rob, a voice
added from somewhere inside his head.
`I've taken blood and tissue samples from you, correct?'
`Well, I've done a series of tests on your genetic makeup and
its quite remarkable.'
`What's wrong with it?' Brian asked suspiciously.
`Nothing. And that's exactly my point. Its perfect as far as
I can tell. Absolutely no trace of any flawed genes at all.'
`I'm not quite following here.' Except that somewhere in a small
corner of his subconscious he did follow. Be scared
Bri, be very, very scared.
`Ok Brian, everyone has the same basic gene structure. . .more
or less. You know, the things that make us human. But everyone
is unique as well. And our uniqueness stems from a combination
of our parents' genes as well as any recessive ones we inherit
from our grand-parents, great grand-parents etc.
`Now, this mix of genes always contains some `bad' or
undesirable traits, which, even though they may not surface,
are still contained in your DNA'
`So what you're saying is. . .'
`Your DNA doesn't contain any bad genes anymore. Its as if something
literally cleaned up your genetic structure. You're basically
a `perfect' man.'
`What?' Brian turned to stare at the older man. `That's insane
and its impossible.'
`To modern human science, yes , it is impossible. . . as far
as I know, but I don't claim to know everything. All I can tell
you now is that your genetic structure probably resembles that
of man when he was first created(if you don't believe in evolution).
. . its completely devoid of faults.'
Brian was pacing the floor restlessly by this time, his mind
reeling with what he had just been told. Then, turning back toward
Robert he asked: `Is that all?'
`Well. . . there is something else.' Robert said turning his
monitor off again. `There are some strange patterns in your D.N.A
for which I have no explanation. However, I think I may be able
to guess at what they're for.'
`Go on.' Brian was still in a state of shock from what he'd just
been told, but he needed to hear it all.
`All right. We both know about your ability to heal much faster
than any human, or indeed any living creature native to this
`Its kind of hard to ignore.' Brian had discovered this amazing
phenomenon when he got home after his encounter with the three
rapists. He had been shocked to see that the cut he had received
from a switchblade had completely vanished by the time he made
it home. During his time with Robert, he had confirmed that he
really did heal at a fantastically accelerated pace.
`Well I think that might account for part of it. . .along with
how you heal.'
`What do you mean?'
`The last time I took a tissue sample from you, I recorded the
healing process through a camera attached to a microscope. It
seems you don't just heal quickly, your body literally rebuilds
itself. You no longer even produce scar tissue. Lost or damaged
tissue is replaced by exactly the same type that was there before.
I've never seen anything remotely similar to it in all my life(except
perhaps in reptiles). You are, quite possibly, the most amazing
human being in the history of the world.'
`There's no way to change me back, is there?' It was more of
a statement than a question.'
`I'm sorry. The power within you seems to be directly linked
to the physical changes your body underwent. Short of unmaking
you, there's nothing I can think of.' Robert's voice was regretful.
He knew the doubts that plagued Brian about being able to control
himself and his fear of possibly hurting someone innocent. It
was a responsibility he didn't begrudge him, because it was one
that he would have for the rest of his life.
Brian pulled a chair up from across the room and sat down heavily
in it. His mind was a mass of conflicting thoughts and emotions,
and for five minutes he didn't say anything. He now knew with
a shocking finality that the power within him would be there
forever. He buried his face in his hands.
Robert could see what Brian was going through. It was his knowledge
of Brian's feelings that had lead him to keep the truth from
him for so long. Now he knew that his task lay in helping the
young man achieve the level of control and skill necessary to
live with the awesome abilities that he had gained. He decided
to begin by revealing the last piece of information that he had
learned while he studied Brian over the past three weeks.
`Come with me,' Robert said suddenly as he rose and headed for
`Leave me alone.' That's what his voice said, but his mind was
really screaming: This is forever.
`If you want my continued help in learning how to control your
power, you'll stop sniveling and come with me now.' Robert
didn't want to be cruel but he had to get the younger man's attention.
Brian's head snapped up, his eyes flashing with anger and a pale
blue glow began deep within them, growing brighter every second.
He wasn't even conscious of it until he saw the way Robert was
looking at him and the blue light reflected off the walls of
the dimly lit room. He immediately concentrated and willed the
energy away. `Ok, I'll come.' He said in a defeated tone. ` Just
promise me you'll help me control this.'
`That's all I've ever wanted to do. Now let's go. I have a theory
that, if correct, will prove to be absolutely amazing. . .' Robert's
voice trailed off as he headed toward the elevator with a very
confused Brian in tow.
Brian Conway's apartment building in east L.A.
Josephine Senryo descended the stairs to the first floor
of her building and then turned and headed toward Brian's apartment.
She moved with a seemingly strong purpose and determination,
and her face reflected that she was deep in thought. But Jo knew
that her appearance was all a deception. . .she was nervous as
She was nervous because she was intentionally about to invade
someone's privacy. And to make matters worse, the person was
someone she respected and a good friend to boot. She told herself
though, that she was doing something necessary. After all, she
hadn't seen Brian for three weeks now and she was pretty sure
he hadn't been back to the apartment since the night he told
her he got mugged. When she had gone to check on him the next
morning, he didn't answer the door and she hadn't been able to
get in because she had given him the only key (not that she would
have just gone in anyway).
She had gotten a surprise later in the day when Rick had dropped
by her place and returned her spare key. Obviously he had been
in contact with Brian but she couldn't get anything out of him.
Of course she hadn't been very diplomatic with him. Rick grated
on her nerves. She just couldn't understand how Brian had remained
friends with him for so long.
Jo was by nature a doer, the kind of person that had to have
direction. She worked hard to maintain high grades and to run
the building well. It wasn't because she had to(her family
was wealthy enough to support her for the rest of her life she
supposed), but it was because she was the kind of person who
believed that everyone should realize their full potential, no
matter what they did. Rick seemed to think in the completely
opposite direction. He came across as a shallow bum whose sole
purpose in life was to make wiseass cracks and generally annoy
the hell out of everyone around him.
What pissed her off even more about him was that she knew
for a fact that he was actually very intelligent. Brian had
mentioned it to her several times and she had actually seen it
for herself once or twice.
Like the time Brian had offered his help with the accounting
for the building. They had been arguing and going over a discrepancy
in the books for almost two hours. Rick had walked in and heard
them. And between raiding the refrigerator and watching t.v.
had casually walked over and corrected the problem on the computer
in about two minutes, completely balancing the books. Then he
proceeded to flop down on the couch and go to sleep. He had done
it just to piss them off of course. Brian had laughed it off,
but Jo just couldn't seem to let stuff like that go.
So the relationship between Rick and Jo had remained tenuous
at best, with Jo just barely able to tolerate his presence and
Rick's continued indifference to her feelings(and those of the
world in general).
Jo reached Brian's apartment and paused for a bit before drawing
a deep breath and putting her spare key in the lock. She was
surprised to find that it was open. Cautiously she turned the
doorknob and peered inside. The t.v. was on, the windows were
open and someone was wiped out on the couch. Breathing a sigh
of relief that Brian was back she opened the door and stepped
`Where have you been?!' Joe cried as she swept into the apartment.
`I've been out of my mind for the past three weeks.'
`Well hello to you too babe.' Rick's voice replied from his sprawled
form on the couch. `I didn't know how much you cared.'
Robert Mitchell's backyard at his house in Lakewood
Brian and Robert stood in the center of Robert's large backyard.
The yard was really nothing more than a big, overgrown lawn which
was surrounded by a white fence. Brian looked around, then looked
at Robert. `Ok Rob, what are we doing out here?' He was having
a bitch of a day so far and he wasn't really in the mood for
`We're going to test a theory of mine. One that occurred to me
shortly after I began to run the tests on you.
`Now it seems that every time you use your power, it generates
a powerful electric field inside you. You've seen this field
yourself as I recall.' Brian looked blankly at him, obviously
wondering what he was talking about. `In the junkyard. From what
you described, it seems that when you push your power to the
limits, it automatically projects itself externally. Now my tests
show that you actually get lighter when you do this, but whether
its directly proportional to the amount of energy you expend
or. . .'
`What?' Brian's brow was creased in confusion.
`Oh, don't worry. You don't really lose body weight. . .the field
supports your body. Which brings me to the conclusion that if
you could consciously manipulate it, you could move the field
and thus move yourself, thereby resulting in. . .'
`You're saying I can fly aren't you?' Brian looked at him in
amazement. `If I can move the field then I can fly.'
`Well. . .theoretically. But I think its a sound theory nevertheless,'
Robert said as he thoughtfully scratched the nape of his neck(a
habit he displayed whenever he was deep in thought).
`How do I do it? Fly, I mean,' Brian asked. He found that he
was more than a little intrigued by the thought.
`I haven't the slightest idea actually. However, you might try
focusing your energy and then visualizing it inside you. Then
think about the field exerting a force to push you wherever you
want to go. That's as much as I can suggest. The rest is up to
you. Just remember that it might not work at all.'
By this time though, Brian had already moved several feet from
Robert to stand in the center of the yard. Forcing himself to
be calm, he called the power from within him and felt its immediate
response. But Brian had gotten much more comfortable with the
wild tingle he always felt whenever he used his abilities, so
he was ready for it this time. Instead of directing it to his
hands and projecting it, Brian focused on turning the erupting
Picturing the field permeating his entire body, he willed it
to push against the ground. He closed his eyes to concentrate
more. And when he opened them and looked down, Brian was shocked
to see that he was floating at least 30 feet above the yard
`Shit,' he whispered softly. `Holy shit.'
Brian Conway's apartment in east L.A.
`Ok Rick, where is he?' Jo tried to be as pleasant as she
could considering her strong resentment toward Rick. Rick, on
the other hand, was his usual apathetic self as he sat up and
ran his hand through his long, blonde hair.
`Where's who?' he asked in apparent confusion.
`Jimmy Hoffa. . .who do you think I mean?!' Jo had lost her cool
entirely by this time. `Where's Brian? I know you know where
he is and what he's doing. So you can cut the `lost in ignorance'
routine and tell me the truth.'
Rick was watching Jo with a seemingly half-conscious look in
his eyes. But the truth was he had stopped to take in her incredibly
attractive body. She was wearing tight cut-off jeans and a white
T-shirt that hugged and accentuated the fullness of her breasts.
Rick himself was of average height and slim build and usually
dressed as close to a bum as someone can get without being the
`Oh!' he said suddenly. `You were talking about Brian.'
`Yes. Exactly. I was talking about your friend. . .you know,
the one who lives here.'
`What was the question again?' the look he gave her was genuinely
Jo managed to suppress an enraged scream, then turned sharply
and stalked out of the apartment slamming the door behind her.
As soon as she was gone, Rick burst into gales of laughter. He
actually got a stitch in his side before he could stop. `Too
easy,' he said between giggles. `Way too easy.'
Robert Mitchell's backyard at his house in Lakewood
Some careful experimentation with the intense field of energy
which pervaded his body, allowed Brian to learn to move up and
down in the air fairly easily. He found that he could more or
less will himself to the altitude he chose.
Robert stood on the ground below him watching with amazement
as Brian learned to ascend and descend with more and more ease
`Ok Brian. Now try and move in a particular direction. Just remember
that you have to concentrate on staying in the air as well as
Brian heard his voice but the words just seemed to float away
and dissipate like wisps of smoke in a light breeze. There was
something going on inside his head that demanded all his attention.
All at once there was a new awareness about himself that hadn't
been there before.
This sudden enlightenment was like a brilliant burst of sunshine
through a cloud-filled sky, and it filled his thoughts entirely.
With absolute certainty he knew that his ability to fly had somehow
become implanted in his mind, and he reasoned that this was probably
exactly how an infant must feel when it takes its first steps.
He felt incredible. Suddenly he focused his energy, and
leaped into the morning sky leaving a shocked Robert behind shouting
at him to wait.
Brian rapidly gained altitude until he was almost 700 feet off
the ground. Then he stretched out in the air and shot forward.
He angled himself northward and accelerated until he was going
more than 400 miles an hour. The wind stung his eyes mercilessly
and chaffed his exposed skin until he was a bit sore(but of course
his healing ability compensated for this). Instinctively, he
knew he could go much faster but he didn't want to risk flying
completely out of L.A. In less than two minutes, he was over
downtown L.A. and he quickly decelerated and gained a bit more
altitude so as to be less noticeable from the ground.
Hovering easily, Brian looked down with amazement to see L.A.
and the surrounding country stretching before him. The view was
breathtaking, and the feeling was unlike anything he had ever
felt before. Flying in a plane or helicopter could never in a
million years hope to come even close. Brian allowed himself
to relax and enjoy it for several long minutes, blanking everything
else from his mind. This is incredible, he thought to
himself. Although he supposed he could have shouted. No one would
have heard him anyway.
Then, suddenly remembering that he had flown off and left Robert
back in Lakewood, Brian snapped out of his reverie and streaked
south toward Lakewood. The stinging in his eyes caused by his
swift flight began to irritate him more and more. Then without
warning, he was surrounded by a nimbus of incandescent blue light
as his electrical field extended beyond the surface of his skin.
Immediately, the stinging in his eyes and the chaffing of his
skin ceased as the intense field prevented the wind from reaching
his body. And it occurred to him that it might be possible to
use the electrical field for defense from physical attacks as
well. Although why the thought would pop into his head was a
mystery to him. He didn't plan on getting into any fights in
the near future.
His musing almost caused him to overshoot Robert's house, but
he quickly got ahold of himself, spiraling downward in lazy circles
until he landed(stumbling a bit) in Robert's backyard, still
marveling at how easy it was to control his flight. Gotta
work on the landings Bri.
Robert was waiting impatiently for him as he landed. And he quickly
rushed toward Brian, bombarding him with questions about his
flight and how he had learned to control it so easily. Brian
couldn't even reply to one before he asked another. Finally,
in exasperation, Brian turned and headed for the house with Robert
`Where are you going?' he asked, obviously flustered that he
wasn't getting any answers. Robert sometimes forgot that most
people didn't think at warp speed and flit from thought to thought
like a bee with a tree full of flowers to pollinate.
`Home,' Brian answered wearily. Suddenly he felt a bit tired,
and definitely not in the mood to play guinea pig anymore.
`But you can't!' Robert told him emphatically. `We still have
a lot of work to do.'
`Maybe,' Brian said without slowing or looking back. `But I put
my life on hold long enough and I need to get back to it. I have
to rejoin the real world Mitchell. I finally realize that. Whatever
I've become, its not worth throwing my life away over. Nothing
`But. . .'
`But nothing,' Brian said turning around to face the older man.
`You've been a big help over the last few weeks and I'm grateful
for that. But I also realize that I've been running away. My
having this thing inside me didn't change who I was inside.
I'm still Brian, and I still need to be Brian, understand?'
Robert looked as if he did indeed understand. And a look of respect
and acceptance slowly showed on his face. He nodded slowly.
`I guess there's nothing else to say then. I suppose we'll be
`Oh don't sweat it Rob, you'll still get to do your share of
poking and prodding. I can commute in a flash now,' Brian said
grinning. `Besides, like you said, we still have a lot of work
to do finding out as much about this as we can. . .' He turned
and started toward the house again.
As he went, a strange feeling of peace came over him. Although
he supposed that `peace' might not be exactly the right word,
it was closer to contentment but not quite that either. It was
a feeling that had eluded him for the past three weeks(or was
it longer than that?), and Brian smiled to himself. Whatever
else happened, and whatever tomorrow brought, Brian Conway was