Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Chapter Thirty-Seven - Hybrid

A ton of bricks flew through the air. Not a real one, mind you, but a metaphorical one. It gauged a speed of around 500 miles per hour before finally slamming into Annabelle's chest.

Although this never actually happened, it might as well have.

Annabelle's "arch nemesis" Jack was more like her than she thought, as was Nightmare, as both of them came from the same planet and the same way as herself. The news of Jack's heritage was enough to come as a crippling blow to her ego, forcing her to wonder if all hybrids outside her own little circle of friends were evil, or turned that way after discovering their roots.  After regaining her composure, she looked back at the drone. "How are you so certain that Jack is a hybrid?"

"Analysis of Jack's DNA indicates a ninety-nine percent match between your unique genetic makeup and his own. While you two are not directly related to each other, you share the same heritage: In regards to this, you are both made up of human and astrobiological cells. This may explain why Jack Toomes is, lack of a better term, obsessed with your species as a whole. He is a Torran Hybrid."

"So how long has he been on Earth? Do you know anything about that?"

"No. There is no information regarding this." 

"Well then how do you know he's even an alien?!" 

"As I mentioned, your DNA has matches to his indicative of similar heritages. However to confirm this, I can compile multiple instances of DNA information for you using the World Wide Web and cross reference Jack Toomes' DNA against the zoological database of earth and known species. The data will be compiled later this evening, approximately 2000 hours."

"Why 8:00 PM?" Annabelle asked. still wrapping her head around what's happened to her for the past few days. "You're a computer with advanced technology, can't you just confirm it for me now?"

"Negative. I must download the information, sort through it, and identify what is correct and what is incorrect knowledge from the data I receive. As such, it will take me a while. In the meantime, I must continue to scan this house and all of its items for possible tactical use in the event that more Vazir drones return."

"Okay. Just... tell me when you find anything. If we can prove Jack's a Hybrid like myself, that may somehow give us a tactical advantage over him. I'm not sure how it would help, but at this point I'm ready to grasp at any straws that come my way."

"I understand." MIKE replied, then went back to scanning objects. Annabelle nodded to him, and walked out of the room to see Kelly walking up to her, after which she smiled and hugged her alien friend.

"I am sorry I didn't have much time to talk last night, I had this idea regarding John's teleporter and the old Gravity Device I found back in Sunset Valley." Kelly said, excitedly. "I sent a message to Davis Cambridge asking him to place it somewhere and give me the co-ordinates."

"And did he?"

"I was just about to check. If he did then Scarlett, John, and I are going up to the room where he keeps that teleporter so we can bring it here! Wanna come?"

"Nah. I have some things to do around here. I have this... news... that I need to tell everyone later." Annabelle said, wanting to tell everyone about Jack's alien status when MIKE would have the opportunity to back her up. "Wait a second why do you want the Project Gravity device?! That's the tool used to destroy Sunset Valley eleven years ago!"

"We thought it would be useful against the Vazir drones. Coupled with our strange ability to use magic wands, MIKE, and your new spaceship thingy, we have enough to storm their gates and bring down their general... so to speak."

"Yeah." Annabelle replied with a sad tone in her voice, as she didn't want to use the same device that changed so many lives for the worse. "I just wish there was another way."

"Me too." Kelly could tell by Annie's voice and her face that she didn't approve, and by some respects Kelly didn't want to use it either. "But since we're alone in this, we have limited options. I don't want to touch that thing again, but if we have to resort to using it, then we have to resort to using it. There is no other way."

Annabelle nodded and walked away, visibly upset. Annabelle was the one who felt the weight of the world on her shoulders. She felt she had to warn people, but couldn't, and felt like she failed in that regard. She flashed back to that day, that horrifying event on March 5th of 2013. She was scared then, and did not want to relive that horror, even though she relived it once or twice as she grew up.

"There has to be another way."


 Just like them all over again." Tom thought to himself as he stood in his room. Seeing Annabelle return did not change the fact that, for a couple hours, he thought that she could have been dead. She could have been dead and he wouldn't have told her the truth about his feelings for her, no matter how obvious they were. He'd lost people he cared for before: His parents, Annabelle's alternate self from the other dimension, and Andy, and he did not want to lose Annie in the same tragic way. In fact, Annabelle was someone he felt could never lose, if only for fear of losing a part of himself, his own soul. "Just like them all."

Suddenly he heard a knock on his door and walked over to it, unlocking the handle so whoever was knocking could enter. When he walked back into his room, he acknowledged to the person knocking that they could come in. To his surprise it was the youngest member of the household, Keera.

"Something you need to talk about, Keeki?"

"Yeah. I was wondering about a couple things, actually. First off... When everyone leaves to go off on that great battle to stop Toomes, I'm not going. I can't."

"Why not?" Tom asked. "What's wrong?"

"I froze up. When we shot those drones with magic, I had to close my eye, and I couldn't run properly. That delayed me when we ran back around the house, and I almost died because of it. I couldn't open my eye because of the fire. I shot fire at the drones and that made me afraid, like I have PTSD. I don't want to endanger anyone else by freezing up or being unable to fight, so I'm staying here. Besides, a fourteen year-old has no place fighting like this."

"I understand." Tom replied. "Have you told this to Annabelle?"

"No. She's got a lot to think about now ever since returning in that spaceship from being kidnapped." Keera said, thinking inwardly that what she had just said was one of the strangest things that left her mouth in recent days. "Besides, she was busy when I last talked to her."

"I see. What else is bothering you?"

Keera looked over to the paintings Tom had on his wall, then back to him. "How do you forgive someone who had done such a horrible thing in the past? I seem to recall mom telling me that you forgave Deacon after all he did in Bridgeport."

"Some people are just more forgiving than others." Tom replied. Then a thought came to his mind. "Is this about that man you told me about, the one who caused your accident? You want to forgive him?"

"Yeah. I want to forgive him, I really do, but it was such a trivial thing that he left his post for! He had no reason, and his leaving cost me my eye!"

Tom shook his head. "Perhaps what is trivial to one person is important to another. Maybe he had a friend in the game and wanted to support him. Maybe he was just wanting to have some fun in his life. I'm not defending him, I'm just saying you should look at things from all angles, and all stories, and then do what you feel is best to do. You're the strong one here, Keeki, you've always been strong, since the day I met you."

Keera smiled, and hugged Tom. "Thank you. I knew I could count on you to help."

"Don't mention it. I'll be here any time you need me." Tom said with a saddened voice that Keera didn't pick up on. Afterwards, Keera smiled again and left Tom's room.

After a short while, he walked over to his bed and sat down on it, looking around his large room adorned with sculptures and drawings from around the world which he himself collected on his occasional trips, as well as a picture of Annabelle.

Tom always liked to travel alone, occasionally bringing his family and friends alongside him or just a particular one such as Annabelle. When he last traveled, to China, he wanted to take Keera with him but, at the last moment before asking her, he decided he needed to go alone.

As Tom lay down, he kept replaying that thought in his head, that if he did take her with him, she wouldn't have gone to the movie studio on that day, and she wouldn't be injured. For the longest time he felt guilty, and felt even worse for not telling her that he could have prevented her scarring, for just one more day.

However, there were things that Tom was afraid of. One of which was Keera's possible reaction to his self-loathing guilt. The other involved Annabelle, and his fear dwelled on her possible reaction to him revealing how much he loved her and how he wanted to be with her for the rest his life.

Tom was brave, he had to be, but to himself he was a coward in too many ways.


 "Here they are. Sunset Valley co-ordinates for the teleporter." Kelly said as she stood up from the computer, holding a USB drive which she put in her pocket. "Davis said in his message that he'll place the device in the middle of a field so we don't teleport anything else. I hope it works."

"You and me both." Scarlett said. "This plan of ours hinges on getting this device."

John nodded. "I last used the teleporter about twenty three hours ago... it will still take about an hour for the teleporter to finish recharging. I think we should rendezvous upstairs then. In the meantime, I'm going to take a break from all this. I suggest you two do as well."

John left the room, leaving Scarlett and Kelly behind. "Is he alright?" Kelly asked, sensing some sort of emotion from him. "He seems down."

"It's been a rough couple of days." Scarlett said. "Give him time. I'm going to go see if he needs anything." With that, she followed John into the other room and up the stairs. Kelly sat back down in the chair, ready to look something up, when she heard a voice behind her.

"Hey there Lady Jane." Mirabelle said. "Where's everyone at?"

"They're upstairs." Kelly responded. "I'm gonna meet them in John's project room in about an hour."

Mirabelle smiled. "An hour? That will give us plenty of time to talk. Come on up to the bedroom." Mirabelle grabbed Kelly's hand and they left the room as well. MIKE hovered up the stairs for a few moments, looked around, and went back down to continue work on something.


 Kelly and Mirabelle walked into their room and the latter shut the door. Kelly seemed a bit jittery as they walked through the house, prompting her girlfriend to ask a question. "Is something wrong?"

"I don't know." Kelly responded, still upset. "Something's wrong with me. It's been going on with me for a long time now but ever since I touched that crystal ball back at the library it's been even worse."

"What do you mean?"

"Think of something. Anything. A number, a word, a thought... think real hard."

Mirabelle let an old memory of a time before she split with Annie run by her head, then locked it in. She still was confused about Kelly's sudden mind game. "What's going-"

"Annabelle danced with Tom in the living room after a ceremony. It was late November, a few weeks before Annabelle encountered that unicorn. She wore a black dress with purple sparkles, and Tom wore a black tuxedo with a brown undershirt. Annabelle thought to herself that this was one of the happiest days of her life, and never wanted the dance to end."

Mirabelle was shocked beyond belief. "You... you're weren't there that day. You were with Elliot and Mei while Tom and... how do you know that? I never told anyone tha-Annabelle never told anyone."

"I don't know how I knew. I just knew."  Kelly looked over at Mirabelle, who was frightened. "That was the memory you were thinking of, wasn't it?"


Kelly decided to try her hand again. "Think of a number between one and one thousand." Mirabelle thought briefly, and Kelly interrupted her thoughts. "Nine hundred and seven two."

"Exactly. Kelly are you...?"

"I think so." Kelly responded, knowing what Mirabelle was about to ask. "It was almost confirmed last night, when Scarlett said something that she didn't actually say during that fight. That was the clearest I've heard. I think touching that crystal ball amplified whatever... abilities... I had."

"How do you know you've had them your entire life?"  Mirabelle asked. "I mean-"

"I just know. Just do me a favor... don't tell anyone yet. I need to find out why I have these abilities so I can give a proper explanation." Kelly thought back to years before. Something was telling her that the meteor shower wasn't a "natural" event, and something else was behind it. Again, when she was a teenager, she looked over at Annabelle, while the girl was in a medically-induced coma after being caught in the library explosion  and had a rush of thoughts hit her.

These thoughts filled her mind and compelled her to fall in love with the sleeping alien girl. There were a variety of things that had happened in the past to Kelly that made her realize she had abilities such as this, and those things all came back to her as Mirabelle hugged her.

Mira smiled as they hugged. The initial shock of finding out what was going on melted into a loving embrace. Wanting to mess with Kelly for fun, as well as test her abilities, she thought of something and said "What am I thinking now?"

With all her mind focused, she saw an image of Mirabelle in her thoughts, one that Mira herself was thinking. Kelly playfully gasped at Mirabelle, then said "We can try that later." The two then proceeded to the couch and sat on it, talking about Kelly's abilities and Mirabelle's hybrid heritage.


There was a knock on his door. Tom didn't know how long he dozed off for, but when he looked outside it was still daylight, if not cold and gray. "Typical weather." Tom said as he stood up and walked over to the door. The weather in Starlight Shores, and across the entire California coastline, had been strange since the meteors impacted in 2013. Scientists across the world believed that the impacts knocked dust into the lower atmosphere, cooling the area for a while. Tom even saw snow in Starlight Shores a few years before when he visited the town, but that was a different story.

 Tom made it to the door and opened it, revealing the full figure of Annabelle standing in front of him. "Hey Tom, can I talk to you?"

"Yeah, come on in." Annabelle walked inside and closed the door behind her. "What's wrong?" Tom asked.

 "Nothing. I just wanted to chat, especially to you since you were there to witness everything that really happened to me, from being kidnapped to my return." Annabelle inhaled a deep breath and continued. "I was wondering what thoughts came to your mind when I vanished into the blaster fire of those robots."

Tom was confused. Annabelle was asking what went through his mind when she "died", so to speak? "What do you mean? Why are you asking me this?"

Annabelle shrugged. "I don't know, I just wondered what you felt when that happened. I've nearly faced my own mortality multiple times in my life, and I wanted to know what it was like for others to witness it."

Tom looked upset as he spoke. "To be honest... it was the worst thing I've ever seen. Especially since I... I care for you more than any other person in the world, in the universe. I thought you were dead. I don't know how to describe the feeling of rage and sadness that I felt when I saw that."

Annabelle hugged him. "I'm so sorry you had to feel that way."

"It's alright. You're safe now, and that's all that matters."

Annabelle pushed herself against him, tears welling up in her eyes. "No. I'm safe with you. That's how I know I'm alright.... you're here. You are the one I think of when I need help. You're the one I think of when everything goes bad. I need you more than anything or anyone else."

The two remained there in silence, embraced in each other's arms. Finally Annabelle broke away and looked into his eyes, her hands grasping the sides of his head. "You're everything to me." With those words, she reached around him and kissed him closely. Tom was shocked when she did this, to the point that he couldn't breathe, and not just because the kiss was closing off his mouth. The brim of his hat pushed into her eyebrow but she didn't care as she was lost in the moment.

Annabelle pulled away and started to turn around before Tom grabbed her hand. "You're everything to me as well." He then kissed her back, never wanting it to end. They stood as that for what seemed like a lifetime before breaking off and walking towards the bed.


Though they didn't say it, they both knew that two days from then when the Eclipse was timed to bathe the town in darkness, if they failed it could very well be their last day on Earth. If that was the case then they wanted to spend the time they had left, together.

Later that day, Jack Toomes made his way through an abandoned park in Starlight Shores. As he was walking across the grass, he saw a man sitting at a chess board playing a game alone, and knew who he was. Jack lowered his head and walked over to him, the whole time wondering why he sent for him.

"Hello Jack. It's been a bit." The mysterious man said, referring to the other by his real name and not the pseudonym that he had taken up recently. "Too long. Please, sit."

"What do YOU want?"

"Tsk tsk. Is that how you always talk to those who break you out of jail? Who arranges for a potion to get stolen for you, so you can take up another identity and move about unhampered? If that's the case, I can't imagine how you'd act towards someone you actually hate."

"You didn't answer my question. Why did you call me here?"

"I was looking at the game board and noticed that my greatest knights and bishops were being taken down by pawns. The greatest soldiers on my field are weakened, and I'm running out of turns. I mean, last I heard Tobias Corvan wasn't doing very well. Such a shame, he started the game strong and now he's off the board."

"Annabelle Kethrin is no mere 'pawn'." Jack replied, sternly. "She's stronger than most, and she was the one that took down Tobias Corvan with a single punch from her left arm."

"Ah, so her piece was reshaped and reformed by the fires and turned into a queen. Very well, queens may be able to move across the entire board, but they can still be taken down by the lowest of soldiers. And all things considered, you are certainly acting like the lowest of the low. You went on the air and threatened the town, and told them to evacuate. You started a new game by clearing the board, and that's not fair play. The last thing I like is someone not playing fairly."

"I'm getting you your stupid lamp, I don't think it should matter if I'm 'playing fair'!"

"It matters to me. You've already failed me once. I lost the last game, and I don't like to lose." The mysterious man picked up a Black Knight piece off the chess board and crushed it into dust with a single clamp of his fist. "I get upset when I lose." Jack looked uneasy when the man did this, as he always referred to Jack as his "knight".

"I will not fail you this time." Jack said as he turned around and left. "Three days you will get that lamp, and then you can do whatever the hell you want with it." Jack smiled as he said this, because he was not referring to the man, but himself. "Everyone will get what's coming to them." As he said this, a blast of thunder made it's presence across town, and rain began falling.

The man turned his head to Jack. When he did this he said, "Trust me, I know.", and went back to playing his game. After this, Jack left the park and made his way back to the mausoleum. Suddenly he reached up to his face and, through his gloves, could feel hair rapidly growing around his chin.


"She's seemed distant since she got back. Not really there." Kelly said as she, John, and Scarlett were standing around John's teleporter upstairs. "Annabelle didn't seem upset, just... desensitized, not really bewildered that she actually was on an alien world."

"Within three days she was turned to gold, kidnapped, and found herself on an alien planet. I'd be a little desensitized myself." Scarlett replied. "She's okay. Annie just needs to get back into the swing of things. I saw her walking into Tom's room earlier, maybe talking to him is helping her out."

John dialed in the co-ordinates that Davis Cambridge sent and focused the teleporter there. After a bright flash, an object was sitting on the teleportation pad, which Kelly walked over to and picked up. She inspected the device, but something seemed off about it.

John, worried his teleporter messed up again, had a puzzled expression. "What's wrong? Is it not the same object? I can try again."

Kelly looked at the Gravity Device, holding it in her hand. "I dunno. It feels the same. I can't exactly revisit my past to figure out if it's the same shape or not. In any case we'll have to test it out, see if it still works."

"And how are we going to do that?" John asked. "We can't exactly summon a meteor now, Jack will know we're up to something."

"Maybe we won't have to." Kelly replied. "I seem to remember that this device is capable of not only summoning meteors from the sky, but can lift them off the ground. That's how we can test it: Jack summoned a meteor to hit the park when he threatened the town, and if it's still there we can go to the impact site and use this to lift it."

Scarlett nodded. "We'll have to use the cover of nightfall, it makes more sense than to go out in broad daylight where we're easy targets for Jack's meteor machine. "


"May I have a moment with you?" Isobelle walked up to Deacon who stood on top of the house, in the rain, looking off into the city. His eyes found particular interest in the graveyard, where the dome covering the graveyard was partially visible.

He had come up to the roof for a good deal time since he found out that Jacob Thompson was, in fact, his own evil former foster parent. He was sure if he had met the man before Tom he would have known. Deacon knew Jack Toomes well, he could have been able to tell who he was simply in the way the man walked, in his inflections, his eyes, more than you'd get out of a grainy television screen and an echoed voice across the entire town.

"Sure. What do you need to talk about?"

Deacon was about to turn around before Isobelle stopped him. "Don't. I need to talk to you about Jack Toomes. I know he was the one who took you in after your parents died."

"He only did so to get my family's money and raise me into being the person I was in Bridgeport." Deacon said angrily. "A rich boy with a cold heart. He played me like a fiddle. I hate him, I always will, and if I was any less of a person I would snap his neck the first chance I got."

Isobelle looked hurt, but Deacon didn't see it. "When I first landed on this planet I took the life of someone on instinct. He was a murderer, who had committed horrible, unspeakable acts. I knew this because I saw him with a glowing red aura around his body, and I somehow knew that he was what he was. I climbed out of that crater and snapped his neck in half; I was worried he would do the same to me. That was the only time I ever harmed someone. Sure I threatened criminals and my threats led them to meet their doom by other hands, but in the end I knew I had to be better than some vigilante. I wasn't the one qualified to harm people."

"What are you getting at?"

Isobelle stayed where she was for a few moments, silent, as the rain fell on her and Deacon. Finally, she asked "Am I a lesser person for what I did in the past?"

Deacon thought for even longer on his answer. "You did what you had to do. You didn't do it out of greed or anger or intense passion, you did it to survive. It was him or you, and I'm glad it was you. I'm... really glad you're alive today to keep me compan-"

Deacon turned around finally and found himself in the arms of Isobelle as she kissed him passionately. She caught him off guard because the woman looked decidedly different than she did the night before. Her hair was black and teal, much like Annabelle's, and she wore all black clothes.

She later told him that whatever caused her hair and eyes to turn white faded away, and she used some of Maria Kethrin's old clothes when she wanted to match her hairstyle. Deacon was the first one she showed her new look to. When Isobelle pulled away, Deacon could look into her teal eyes and see pure happiness. It was happiness that he wanted to share some more, so he leaned in and kissed her back.


"What's the report on Tobias' condition?"


Dr. Vu growled under his breath. "Can you fix him?", he asked to the machine that was overlooking the damage done to Tobias. "The Vazir drone fixed that woman when she was brought in."


Vu walked into the other room. "Keep me updated on his condition.", he said as he left. When he opened the door, Jack was standing in the main hall, his hair graying even more than normal. What's more, he was wearing some kind of hockey mask concealing his face.

"Okay?" Vu said aloud, "Any reason you're wearing that mask?"

Jack, or Jacob as Vu knew him, grimaced. "The mask is a symbol of my status, a great warrior whose face must not be revealed. Now what's going on with Tobias?"

"He was injured bad when that woman broke out of the cell. She hit him with all the force of her left hand, which was stronger than she made it look. I don't know if he's going to make it without surgery."

"Then perform surgery on him. You're the good doctor."

Suddenly Vu turned angry. He looked over at the man and held up a concealed remote control device. "I'm not that kind of doctor... Jack." Jack turned towards him with a strange look in his masked eyes. Before he could respond, Vu kept going. "You just called me 'the good doctor' when only one person's done that before. Coupled with your gray hair, sour demeanor, and cold eyes I quickly figured you out."

"You smart son of a b-" Jack's words were drowned out by an invisible shock of energy that him in the back. It was only one of Vazirs stunning beams, meant to incapacitate the villain as opposed to killing him. Using the remote, Vu made the robot take Jack to the cell that Annabelle was in, and it did as such.

Vu followed Jack into the cell and noticed him coming to. "Now that I know who you are, I figured what you want to do with that lamp, and I'm not going to have any part in it. You're in that cell until after the solar eclipse. Hell, I might just let you rot in it."


John, Scarlett, and Kelly made their way across the town on foot. The park was only a half a mile up the road, and it took them ten minutes to reach their destination, having stopped a few times to make sure they weren't being followed. As they did this, rain was continuing to fall across the town, drenching them, but they didn't care. Their mission was more important than the rain. Finally they found themselves at the park and, to their surprise, the meteorite that Jack had summoned was still there having been untouched by any looters or authorities. Kelly took the Gravity Device out of her backpack and used it to silently lift the meteorite off the ground a few inches.

"It still works!" John enthusiastically said. "It's working!" Scarlett stood next to him and also cheered. Kelly also smiled as she lifted the meteorite, but suddenly something went wrong. The space debris fell back down to the ground and started to break up, pieces of it falling off with a monumental rate. Suddenly the entire meteorite disappeared into a cloud of dust, and what stood there in it's place frightened the three.

It was some kind of humanoid, that was for certain. It had black skin, sharp claws, red eyes, and sharp teeth. Kelly, Scarlett, and John were frozen in place as the creature inspected its surroundings, eyeing the three with evil intent. It then walked up to them and looked Kelly square in the eyes, growling. The girl in blue quickly took out her magic wand and shot the creature with a burst of light, knocking it back.

"RUN!" Scarlett said as the creature was wounded, trying to regain it's balance. The three turned tail and ran down the street the opposite direction from their house, not wanting to lead this monster back there. When the light wore off, the creature looked at them, snarled, and ran off into the forest in the other direction.

Kelly, Scarlett, and John sprinted what seemed to be an entire circle around town before finding themselves back at the house. Thunder shook the ground as they opened the door and bolted inside, trying to catch their breath. "What... the Hell... was that?" Kelly asked, each word a chore to get out due to her being out of breath. "Was that some kind of alien?!"

"Considering it was inside a meteor, then perhaps so. As for what it was? Maybe Annabelle might be able to tell us." Scarlett replied. "I mean, considering the circumstances..."

Kelly shook her head, her breath coming back to her. "I'm pretty sure if Annie knew about an obsidian-skinned, red-eyed monster she'd let us know. That... thing wasn't anything I've heard her mention, nor Isobelle. Whatever it was, no one's ever seen them before."

"Do you think it followed us?" John asked. "I didn't see it after we started to run."

"I don't think so." Scarlett said to her fiance. "I'm sure if it did we'd be hearing about it now."... John, Scarlett, and Kelly looked at the door, expecting any second for the creature to burst through and attack them. Their heartbeats moved as one as time seemingly stood still, focusing on the door with all their respective energies... waiting... watching... 

"Hey guy's what's-?!"

"GAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!" Kelly, John, and Scarlett screamed at once, at the same time turning around to Mirabelle standing behind them. After the initial embarrassment wore off, Kelly practically jumped over to her and embraced Mirabelle in a hug.

"Sorry, we're a little jumpy." Kelly said. "We... um..."

"We just saw a monster in the park." Scarlett said, bluntly. "It had pitch-black skin, red eyes, and sharp teeth. Anything you're familiar with?" 

"No, it does sound like something out of a horror movie. You all three saw this thing?" Mirabelle asked. "And it looked the same to the three of you?"

Kelly nodded. "Well, yeah. We didn't all imagine the same thing, Mira. Besides, it came out of that meteorite, it was purely alien, and we woke it up. I don't know what that creature was, but I do know one thing..."

"It's evil." Scarlett finished for her. The four turned back to the door, worried about that creature and the prospect that it could bust through at any moment. They continued to do this until Annabelle approached them. Having watched the three scream earlier, she knew something was up with them, so she made her presence known from afar. 

"Come on, guys, there's something we all need to listen to about Jack. It's been confirmed by that robot."


"I don't believe it." Tom said. The entire group was in the living room, having listened to MIKE's reveal of the information regarding Jack's heritage. "He's an alien?"

"Yes." Annabelle said, "MIKE told me earlier. I had him gather all the information about Jack to make sure it was true, and it is. Jack is a Torran Hybrid, like myself. He knew about me from the beginning because of what he is, that's why he befriended our family when we were teenagers, he wanted to manipulate me."

"But he said he couldn't see you as green when we were teens, and needed that visor to do so." Tom said. "How could he have known about you when you were just a normal human being to him? Granted he was probably lying..."

"No." Annie walked over to him. "He reacted with genuine shock at how I looked when I returned to the Plasma 501 that night. He knew about me through different means, and I intend to find out what. Maybe it was that Nightmare woman, maybe not."

"I can help you with that, Annie." Kelly said. "Mirabelle and I both can, right?" Mirabelle nodded and the two smiled. She, as well as everyone else in the house, knew that Kelly had perceptive skills that were unmatched by few others, and had originally gathered information indicating that the Sunset Valley meteor shower of 2013 was not a purely celestial event but a man-made attack on the town utilizing space rocks. 

Of course now that Kelly knew about her own special abilities, she now realized exactly why she was so good at extracting information. With everything going on at the moment, Kelly decided to keep her mental powers a secret from the rest of the family. She wanted to figure out the source of them so she could explain exactly what was going on with her. Mirabelle, having talked to Kelly about this, knew that the abilities were a secret and confided that she wouldn't tell anyone until the girl in blue wanted her to. 

"So what do we do now?" Isobelle asked. "We know Jack's going to get a hold of that lamp, and we can't let him do that. With everything we have, all our tools at our disposal, we can fight back against that a-hole and his army of mindless robots." Suddenly she looked over to MIKE. "No offense."

"None taken. They are quite without minds."

"Yeah but all our tools are useless if we don't have a co-ordinated plan to deal with them." Tom replied. "And now that you're back, Annie, you and Mirabelle can now come up with one." 

 John then chimed in. "Since you're coming up with a plan then you should take into consideration that I'm still working on that EMP device, it should be done by the morning of the eclipse. According to the internet, the event is going to happen at 3:43 PM. We have from now to then to get into the mausoleum and secure that tomb. Hell, all we really have to do is prevent Jack from opening the door and getting that lamp as long as the eclipse is going on."

Annabelle stood tall and looked into the group. "Yeah but I don't want to take that chance. I want to get into that building and stop him before he even HAS the chance."

"Your spaceship!" Deacon yelled out. "That thing you came back to Earth on! You wiped out that building that those robots were coming out of, you can just-"

"We shouldn't harm the graveyard." Kelly said. "If we even can with that dome around it. However, if we can get the Vazir drones out of the dome, then that would give us ample opportunity to strike them down with everything we got. I just don't want to harm the graves." 

Everyone took this into consideration, and looked over to Annabelle and Mirabelle. Annabelle looked at her own doppelganger and back to everyone else. "Okay, I'll come up with a plan... but everyone who is planning to fight, you have to contribute as well. Let's go.   


 Keera, who wasn't planning to fight when the day came, took the opportunity to slide out of the room and walk outside. By then, the rain had slowed down, and through the fog she could see someone sitting on the edge of the cliff not too far away. "Oh bother.", she said, recognizing the figure from across the field, then stormed off towards him. 

"What are you doing here?" Keera asked Collin, who was taking the opportunity to admire the ocean. "You found my house, you gonna keep stalking me until I accept your apology?" 

"I didn't even know it was your house until I saw you in it. It was the only house that looked like it had people still there in town. I didn't want to break into someone's home while they were forced to leave. I needed a place to stay. My apartment's without power, and was sealed off by the military before everyone evacuated. I thought I could get help from your home, but when I saw you through the front door windows I knew you wouldn't let me stay. Why would you?"

Keera sat down next to him, finally giving him the benefit of the doubt. "You really hurt me. Whether it was negligence or otherwise, what you did made me suffer. I'm not sure if I can forgive you."

Collin kept looking out to the ocean. "I'm not asking you to forgive me anymore. I know what I did was unforgivable. I'm asking... something that I don't know what it is. I am worried by the time I figure it out, it will be too late."

Keera sighed. She knew that no matter what happened she couldn't just let this man be out on the street, she was better than that. She also knew that he was responsible for her scar and lost eye, but the goodness in her heart won out. "Come on. You're sleeping on the couch, and if you try anything funny with anyone in the house I'll throw you out myself."

Collin acknowledged this and walked with Keera back to the house, silently. Keera didn't know exactly why she decided to help him after all he's done, but in the end knew that it was one step closer to forgiveness.

By the time they got back, Annabelle was showing everyone a basic idea she came up with regarding a battle plan via a blackboard that they had apparently pulled out of the garage a few moments before. When Keera walked through the door, they didn't make anything of it, as she didn't tell anyone that she was going. However, when Collin walked in after her, everyone went silent. 

Collin looked uncomfortable as Annabelle looked straight at him. Keera described the man, who was responsible for her injury, the day after she met him at to the rest of the family. Mirabelle recognized him from the night as well, and everyone glanced in his direction, their expressions subtle enough to cause a sense of unease in Collin. 

"What's he doing here?" Scarlett asked, before anyone had a chance to ask the same question. "And why isn't he bleeding and bruised yet? I can take care of that."

"NO!" Keera yelled out. "Don't hurt him, please. He just needs a place to stay until this whole thing blows over."

Annabelle was confused. "You're vouching for him? You do know who he is, right? What he's done? Of course you do, you're the one who told us. How do we know we can trust him.?

"Just let him stay until this whole thing blows over, okay? He has nowhere to go and we can't let him die alone out there."

"Maybe not die but still suffer." Scarlett thought to herself. 

Kelly, still relatively unable to control her new-found abilities, heard Scarlett's thoughts brush through her own. Wanting to get some control back into the house, she walked over and stood next to Keera. "If Keeki says he can be trusted then he can be trusted. I believe her completely."

Keera smiled, but Annabelle still looked at Collin with anger in her eyes. "MIKE, scan him. Make sure he's not leading everyone on some elaborate scheme."

MIKE hovered over to Collin and a beam of while light hit the man seconds later. When it was done, the robot turned back to the main group. "Clear. I have scanned every centimeter of him and have located no weapons or concealed communications devices." 

"We still can't be too sure." Scarlett said angrily, "Might want to be real thorough. Where's a knife?" She was partially joking, wanting to scare this man.  

Collin screeched before Tom interrupted everyone. He remembered the conversation he had with Keera earlier that day about wanting to forgive Collin, and now that she was visibly attempting to he wanted to say something as well. "We should just give him the benefit of the doubt. Isn't that what we all would want in this situation?"

Annie looked over at Tom, then to Keera, then to Collin. "You're off the hook now, but if you make one wrong move I'll throw you out myself. Now go sit in the other room while we continue our plan."

"Can I contribute?" Collin asked. Annabelle glared at him, which prompted the man to walk sadly into the next room. "I see. I'll be going in there, then." Keera was about to follow him but Mirabelle stopped her and the two walked into the kitchen away from everyone else. 

"Why the sudden defending of that man? You know what he did to you, as accidental as it was." Mirabelle asked. Mira was the one who was there when Keera encountered Collin the other night, and saw the anger in her face, so this sudden change of heart by the teenager confused her. 

Keera shrugged. "If I let him die out there knowing what he was going through, what kind of person would that make me? Besides, maybe I can forgive him... just not yet." Keera kept walking, and went upstairs leaving Mirabelle alone. After a short moment, Kelly walked up to her girlfriend.

"Are you alright?" Kelly asked, noticing a bit of worry with her. 

Mirabelle sighed. "You read minds now, right? Were you able to when everyone was standing in that room?" 

Kelly nodded, since overhearing Scarlett's thoughts the night before, she found that if she really focused, she could hear their thoughts. "Half of our friends and family wanted to make him suffer because of what he did that led to Keera's scar."

"And the other half?"

"You don't want to know." 


Locked in the cell, Jack Toomes walked over to a mirror placed in the room after Annabelle left. With weakened hands he reached up, grabbed the mask, and ripped it off revealing his old face, how he looked prior to taking the Young Again potion. Within a day, his beard regrew and his hair turned gray again. 

"Hello me, meet the real me."