PART TWELVE

Alex sat on the couch in the den watching an early afternoon episode of 'Third Rock From the Sun", eating out of a big, plastic bowl full of popcorn. It was Friday afternoon, and she was relieved that this school-week was finally over. Her eyes were wide and sad as she stared blankly at the screen, barely even noticing the program. Her thoughts were elsewhere, just as they had been all week; of Hunter's betrayal four days ago.

All week, Alex came straight home after school due to the humiliation she felt because of Hunter's deed. Her older sister Annie's constant harping to run tests on her since her powers returned didn't make her feel any better either. Alex just wanted to be left alone.

She didn't feel like being around anyone, and luckily, Annie just stuck to the business of testing her and not interrogating her. Annie knew Alex would open up to her eventually, and that made Alex feel at ease because Annie wasn't trying to pry.

Fortunately, her new-found fame and popularity at school as the "GC-161 Kid" began to wane by week's end, and Alex found it easy to get away from the crowded halls of Atron High to come home and sulk.

Throughout the week, Annie tried to give Alex as much space as she could, and her parents long since stopped trying to talk to her about Hunter. Alex even avoided her friends after school. She was just too humiliated; too depressed.

Ray knew Alex well enough to just let her be. Nicole, Robyn, and Louis did too, but Alex knew her friends would be there to talk to when she was up to it. She felt guilty for avoiding them all week, and she also knew that her miserable attitude probably made everyone feel uncomfortable, but she couldn't help it.

Her first real boyfriend, Hunter Reeves, the boy she loved and trusted, betrayed her with one of her most bitter enemies; Libby Flanders.

Oh, Alex knew she could make Libby's life a living Hell, especially if she used her powers to do so, but all the GC-161-spawned powers in the world couldn't do anything for the hurt she felt after seeing Hunter kissing Libby. Anyway, causing a lot of "weird" things to happen to Libby would probably only bring unneeded suspicion upon herself.

Hunter tried several times during the week to call her, as well as approaching her at school, but Alex would have none of it. Two days ago, when he tried to confront her at lunch, Alex almost used her ability to project force fields to push him away, but she caught herself before doing it. She couldn't get it out of her mind how he was enjoying himself when kissing Libby, and it was something she didn't intend to forget.

Through the open, screened-in windows which bordered the front porch, Alex was roused from her funk by the sound of the postal truck delivering the mail. She heard the distinctive "chink!" as the mailman closed the mailbox and drove to the next house on the block, which was Ray's.

With a sigh, Alex decided to get some fresh air and retrieve the mail, but after this long week, she felt physically and emotionally exhausted. She really didn't feel like moving she felt so tired. The overpowering urge to use her powers suddenly overcame her. Her parents weren't home, and Annie wasn't due to arrive for at least another fifteen minutes.

"Why not?" she said aloud to herself. All week, at the slightest thought of using her powers, Alex could literally feel the very cells within her body tingle in anticipation to instantaneously produce the unique hybrid form of GC-161, which gave her her unbelievable abilities. Annie kept reminding Alex how careful she had to be, because the hybrid GC-161 her body produced was much more unpredictable, and she could accidentally trigger her abilities with even the most errant of thoughts. They were much morepowerful and harder to control than before.

But that suited Alex just fine. She liked them being much more powerful. She never wanted to give them up in the first place, and since she had been going through this depression all week, it made her yearn to use her powers that much more. They gave her an "escape" from reality.

Alex decided to use her newest ability since her powers returned. Concentrating on herself, she telekinetically commanded her entire body to levitate off the couch. She gasped slightly at how quickly her powers responded. A bizarre sensation of weightlessness instantly overcame her.

Still in a sitting position, she floated herself to the elevated vestibule by the front door. She smiled contentedly at her ability to levitate herself. In a sense, she could fly! It was a powerful feeling. She reached her legs down and placed her feet on the floor before de-activating her telekinesis.

She thought of how convenient it was to be able to move when you felt too tired to. Instead of having to make her body to physically move like a normal person, Alex could do so with but a thought, by morphing or telekinesis. There was no physical effort involved, but she had to be careful not to get too lazy.

With another thought, she opened the front door, walked out onto the porch, then made her way down the front walk. The October air had a slight nip to it, but the late afternoon sun kept her warm. Alex stepped in front of her mailbox and opened it, and reached inside. A hissing sound to her right suddenly alerted her, and she looked up in surprise to see a boy approaching on a hurtling ten-speed bike!

"Whooooaaaa!" the boy cried out as he swerved off the sidewalk to avoid hitting her, and careened over the curb and into the street. To Alex's horror, the boy had veered into the path of an on-coming car!

Alex frantically reached out with her thoughts, grabbing hold of the bike's handle bars and steering the boy back towards the curb. Furiously honking it's horn, the car passed by and proceeded down the street without slowing.

The boy crashed into the curb and flipped over the handle bars, but Alex cushioned his fall with a "padded" force field underneath him which prevented him from getting hurt. Hopefully, the confusion of the near-miss would prevent him from being suspicious of any outside influences saving his life.

With a grunt, the boy quickly sat up and looked up at Alex with a terrified look still on his face. It was Brad Patterson, who lived at the end of her street and went to Atron High with her. Alex immediately recalled Brad's reaction to her at school Monday, and Robyn's observation that she thought he acted like he was afraid of her. Twice again throughout the week, Alex noticed how Brad seemed to avoid her. It really wasn't possible that he was afraid of her because she had been splashed by GC-161 was it?

"God, Brad! Are you alright?!" Alex exclaimed, reaching down and taking hold of his arm to help him up.

Brad still seemed disoriented as he stood. "Geez" he said shakily. "Where'd you come from?"

Alex remembered Brad was a cycling enthusiast, and always made his rounds this time of day. He was almost as tall as Ray, and was very athletic. Alex thought he looked so cute trying to regain his composure.

"Alex?" he noticed, a slight blush crossing his face as he focused his eyes on her and realized who she was.

"Yeah Brad. Alex Mack. Hey, are you o.k.? That was a pretty nasty spill you had there". Brad's eyes made contact with her's.

He suddenly pulled his arm away. "Yeah, I'm ... I'm fine".

Alex was astonished at his reaction. She cocked her head and looked at him with a puzzled expression.

She knew Brad had a few friends at school, but was mainly a very shy boy who kept to himself a lot.

He grew up on her own street of Rivernut Avenue with his aunt Katie after his parents died when he was a little boy.

But regardless of his sad past, Brad was still one of the nicest guys Alex ever knew, and she also knew that many of the girls in school, including herself, thought he was one of the most handsome boys at Atron High. Alex had a crush on him even before meeting Hunter, and she knew he liked her too. She decided to be patient and try some levity.

"Hey, easy there!" Alex interjected with a laugh, attempting to ease his nervousness. "I don't bite or anything".

"Huh? Oh, yeah ...." he replied nervously. "Sorry about that Alex. You just sort of appeared out of nowhere" he explained, turning to retrieve his bike. Alex scoffed politely.

"Is your bike alright? It isn't torn up is it?" Alex asked sincerely. Brad lifted the bike up and examined it.

He was fidgeting nervously. "Uh no, I think it's o.k. Um, I'll see you later ....." he said, swinging his leg over the bike and seating himself on it to leave.

Alex opened her mouth to speak, but was stopped from saying anything else as a sudden cold flush washed through her head. It was a sensation of intense anxiety, unlike any she'd ever felt before.

Completely confused, Alex only stood there helpless. She had no idea why such a feeling would overwhelm her so unpredictably.

Images flooded Alex's mind. There was an image of Henderson's RV Park, then a flash of light followed by the scene of Dave's old, weathered, rusty trailer. Another flash, and Alex could see a pair of hands donned in black leather gloves placing a strange, square device on the propane tanks of the trailer. After yet another flash, the next vision she saw was Dave's trailer being disintegrating in a fiery flash, as it exploded and was blown to bits.

Alex was stupefied. She knew she was seeing a re-run of Dave's trailer being destroyed in her mind, but couldn't understand why.

Another flash blurred her vision as she saw a cloud of black smoke created from the destruction of Dave's trailer rising above the treetops in the distance, and realized she was somehow seeing the results of the bomb blast from the perpetrator's position.

An image of dust being stirred up in a small stand of trees by what Alex could only deduce to be a quickly departing vehicle, and then a small piece of paper sailing into the air and floating lightly down to earth were the last visions.

As quickly as it had started, the menagerie of images were over. In a stupor, Alex found herself silently watching Brad pedaling away on his bike.

"Whoa ...." she said, surprised. As Alex gathered her wits, she saw Brad turn his head and looked back at her as he left, and gave her a sincere, but guilty half-smile. Alex focused her eyes on him, she felt a twinge of something else run through her mind before he turned the corner in front of Ray's house and disappeared.

She somehow sensed ..... affection.

The experience stopped as suddenly as it had started.

"Alex?" said a girl's voice behind her, causing Alex to nearly jump out of her shoes. She spun around to see Annie standing there, looking at her curiously.

"Annie!" she blurted out, surprised.

"Very observant Alex" Annie quipped. "What's going on? Why are you so pale? You look like you've seen a ghost ....."


Gino Lawless and Agent Garth stood by Dave Watt as his new trailer was backed into it's new lot at Henderson's RV Park.

Dave watched on in simple pride at his new home. He still had a small, square bandage on his forehead from the explosion last Sunday.

He never had any insurance on his old trailer, so Gino and Agent Garth pulled some strings to get Uncle Sam to furnish him with a new one. They felt somewhat responsible for what happened to Dave, so decided to help him out.

Gino placed his hand on Dave's shoulder. "She looks great Dave" he said honestly, as the silver paintjob of the new 32 foot trailer glinted in the late afternoon sun.

"I can't tell you how much this means to me Gino, Agent Garth" Dave admitted. "Nobody's ever done anything like this for me before".

"It's our pleasure Mr. Watt" interjected Agent Garth. "You've already done a lot to help us in our investigation of Paradise Valley Chemical. It's the least we could do".

Once the trailer was positioned perfectly on the new lot, the driver of the truck stopped and got out. He began unhitching the trailer from the towing rig of his truck, setting up it's front jack-stand and chocking the tires. Mr. Henderson, who owned the RV Park, was already standing by to help hook up the power and water.

A dark four door car pulled up and stopped about 50 feet away. Agent Garth noticed and nodded towards Gino. Gino quickly got the hint.

"Go ahead Dave. You check it out. Agent Garth and I have some business to attend to" Gino instructed, gently patting Dave on the back. Dave nodded and approached his new home, staring at it like a child would a new gift at Christmas time.

Gino and Agent Garth walked up to the car as two people, a man in his early thirties and a woman in her mid-twenties, exited the vehicle. The man was of average height and build and the girl was a petite, dark-haired oriental girl. Both were dressed in expensive suits akin to Agent Garth's and were wearing ark shades. Gino couldn't help but laugh to himself how FBI agents all seemed to dress alike and compared them to the two characters in the movie "Men In Black".

Agent Garth quickly acknowledged them with a curt nod, and then introduced Gino. "Agents, this is Inspector Gino Lawless of the Federal Drug Administration. He's heading up the investigation into Paradise Valley Chemical and Danielle Atron".

"Mr. Lawless, Agent Tim Black, FBI. Sacramento Office" replied the male agent, removing his glasses and shaking Gino's hand. Agent Garth continued, motioning to the female agent. " ....And this is one of our new agents, also from our Sacramento office. This is her first field assignment with the Bureau ...."

She removed her sunglasses to reveal beautiful, oriental features. She smiled and offered her hand to Gino. "Agent Grace Lasky. A pleasure to meet you Inspector Lawless". Gino returned the handshake in kind, but noticed the girl seemed somewhat nervous about her being here. "Anything wrong Agent Lasky?" he asked her innocently.

Surprised at his question, she placed her sunglasses back on. She glanced around her. "Uh, no sir. Just a little excited about my first field assignment is all". Gino graciously accepted her explanation.

"So, Frank" pressed Agent Black, addressing Agent Garth familiarly by his first name. "What have you got out here?"

"As you've probably reviewed in the case file I faxed you, we are assisting Inspector Lawless and a number of his FDA operatives in their investigations of Paradise Valley Chemical, but we've run into some ..... difficulties" answered Garth. "We believe a prime suspect in this case may have been responsible for an attempt on the life of David Watt, one of our key witnesses" explained Agent Garth.

"And who would this suspect be?" asked Agent Black.

"A Mr. Vince Carter" interjected Gino solemnly. At the mention of the name, Gino noticed how the young Agent Lasky suddenly cocked her head, but any hint of surprise in her eyes was deftly hidden behind her dark glasses. Gino silently noted her reaction and continued in his conference with the FBI agents.

Grace Lasky knew Gino saw her reaction, and didn't mean to draw attention to herself, but the mention of Vince Carter's name caused her blood to instantly run cold. She remembered a year ago before joining the FBI training academy how she met Vince Carter through a friend, and agreed to assist him by posing as a high school junior at Danielle Atron High School in Paradise Valley.

At first, Grace thought Vince's story of a kid drenched in a chemical called GC-161 and who possessed super-human abilities were the ravings of an unhinged mind, but the five thousand dollars he was offering was too tempting, so she agreed to help him.

It didn't take long before Grace began to realize that Vince's claims about this "GC-161 Kid" were authentic, and she quickly identified Alex Mack as the kid he was searching for when she observed Alex using her powers. Grace became a friend to Alex and managed to acquire evidence of her using her powers.

But Vince insisted that he had to have proof of Grace's findings, and concocted a plan to get Alex to expose her powers publically.

Two days later, Grace invited Alex to go horseback riding, and according to Vince's plan, Grace planned to take a fall off her horse in order to dupe Alex into using her powers to save her from being hurt.

Yet, unknown to Grace and Vince, Alex already knew of their plan. Grace took the fall off the horse and Alex didn't expose herself. Vince was made a fool out of in front of Danielle Atron again, and in turn severed his partnership with Grace.

To this day, Grace never understood why Alex didn't use her powers to save her. She realized Alex somehow discovered their plot, and when she recently read the many newspaper articles of the super-powered teenage girl from Paradise Valley stopping the powerful Danielle Atron and Paradise Valley Chemical, she deduced that Alex had used her powers to overhear their plotting.

Alex Mack isn't what worried her though. What worried Grace the most is that she knew Vince was not someone the FBI liked even back then, and didn't want to be associated with him now. It could cost her her job. But Grace didn't have a choice. She had to go where the FBI sent her, and she could only hope that her previous business relationship with Vince wasn't exposed.

"Our problem is that we have no proof it was Mr. Carter, but regardless, we need to make sure all of our key witnesses are observed and protected until Danielle Atron's trial begins" added Agent Garth. "And that's where you and Agent Lasky come in" he continued. "You will keep tabs on Mr. Carter's activities for the time being, and make sure he stays out of trouble. If an attempt was made on Mr. Watt's life, and attempt could be made on our other key witness; Alexandra Mack".

Behind her glasses, Grace rolled her eyes in desperation.


"I swear to God Annie. That's what happened" insisted Alex as she sat on a stool by Annie's work-station in the garage. "What do you think it was?"

Annie had been running tests on Alex for the past hour after her encounter with her strange visions.

Alex's older sister took a step back, and examined Alex closely, her hands on her hips. Annie was very deep in concentration. Alex suddenly giggled.

"What?!" asked Annie incredulously.

"I can almost see the little wisps of smoke coming out of your ears you're thinking so hard" Alex laughed. Annie temporarily scowled at Alex for not being as serious as she was, but then cracked a grin herself.

"At least it's good to see you smile again. It's a definite improvement from all the moping you've been doing this week" Annie pointed out.

Alex's gaze shifted to the floor. "Yeah, well, I haven't had a lot to be happy about lately". Annie took the opportunity to get Alex to open up some.

"So, how are you doing?" Annie asked softly. "You haven't said anything about .... you know, Hunter, since that happened Monday".

"I'm o.k. now Annie" Alex said honestly. "It just took me a few days to get over what happened and to accept it. I guess I probably haven't been a load of laughs all weeks either, have I?"

"Oh no" scoffed Annie sarcastically, a wry smile on her face. "You've been a literal barrel of monkeys!"

Alex smiled again and chuckled. "Point well taken. I'll try to cheer up, but first, you've got to tell me what the heck happened to me today out on the sidewalk today when I saw Brad".

Annie realized Alex still didn't want to delve right into a heart-to-heart about Hunter yet, so she shifted into science-mode, but just getting Alex to talk a little was promising.

"O.k. then" began Annie. "From what I can tell, this is very similar to the pre-cognitive dreams you had before, when you had the dreams about everyone finding about your powers, being captured by Danielle, and the plant being blown up ...."

"O.k., I'm with you so far" commented Alex.

"Well, since your powers returned, and in much more powerful fashion, I can only deduce that the latent pre-cognitive abilities you had before are that much more powerful now. Somehow, from the experience you described to me, you've seen something that may be some sort of clue to the bombing of Dave's trailer".

"Are you saying I'm like one of those ladies on those psychic hotlines?!" Alex exclaimed.

"No Alex, those women are frauds. But you little sister, seem to be the real thing. It's sort of like when you kept blowing up into little droplets last Sunday, yet your consciousness was present even though your body was incorporeal. You could still communicate with me with your thoughts. It's along those lines, but it's hard to explain in detail. Unfortunately, from the tests I've run on you, this pre-cognitive power doesn't seem to be anything you can control at will".

"What about that feeling I felt coming from Brad? Was that this, this pre-cog .... pre-whatever, ability making me sense that he liked me?"

"I wouldn't be surprised if it was another facet of that ability Alex. I have to admit though, I'm absolutely fascinated by these new events. Since your body's cells have mutated to produce they're own hybrid form of GC-161, your potential seems to be limitless ....."

"Hey! Whoa!" interrupted Alex, waving her hands frantically in front of her. "Don't get carried away Annie. I agreed to let you run tests on me again, but I'm not going to be another full-time guinea pig".

"I'm sorry Alex" Annie conceded. "I didn't mean it that way".

"Yeah, I know you didn't Annie" Alex smiled understandingly. "So, what do you think I should do?"

"Learn to deal with it Alex, just like you have for the last four years. Since your powers are now permanent, you're going to have to learn to be that much more careful, because I wouldn't be surprised if you had a few more little 'surprises' down the road".

"Surprises?! You mean like even more weird powers?!" asked Alex excitedly.

Well Alex, your powers have easily increased to a level of strength that I'm not yet sure of, and I won't know until after further testing. You might as well expect some surprises".

Alex quietly sighed, then got off the stool she was sitting on and walked over to the side door of the garage. She opened it and walked outside onto the short access walk beside the driveway. Annie followed her little sister outside and stood beside her. The sun was almost completely hidden behind the horizon, only a small red arc of the star could be seen. Annie shivered at the cold air outside. She followed Alex's gaze to the horizon where her younger sister was looking.

"What are you thinking about Alex?" cooed Annie, noticing Alex's revery.

"About what you said I saw in my visions Annie. A clue to Dave's trailer being bombed. He's our friend Annie, and he protected me when he had the choice to turn me over to Danielle. He was ..... an anonymous friend to me, y'know? Maybe it's time I returned the favor".

"What are you going to do Alex?" Annie asked hesitantly.

"What do you think Annie? I'm going to try to find out who blew his trailer up" Alex replied seriously.