`The future is my friend
It hurts but it treats me well,
I'll take hold and be its master;'


by Andrew L.


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 home.

`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 much success.

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, man.'

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 planet correct?'

`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 the elevator.

`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 hell.

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 inside.

`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 much more.

`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 energy inward.

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 real thing.

`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 blank.

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 and confidence.

`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 moving forward.'

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 in tow.

`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 is.'

`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 in touch.'

`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 ready.

Livewire continues...