PART FOUR

"She'll be fine" Dr. Whiteside informed Mrs. Mack, who was hovering over the bed where Alex lay. Dr. Whiteside was sitting on the edge of the bed beside Alex.

"She's just had a lot of excitement the last two days, haven't you Alexandra?" chuckled the kindly old family doctor, who delivered both Annie and Alex when they were born. From where her head was buried in a huge pillow, Alex looked up with huge, sad eyes and slowly nodded 'yes'. She couldn't speak with the thermometer in her mouth. Alex was also nursing a sore arm, holding it folded at the elbow after Dr. Whiteside took a blood sample.

Dr. Whiteside suggested that some blood work on Alex was in order after her encounter with the chemical GC-161. Mr. Mack agreed, as he wanted to make sure Alex's fainting spell wasn't some sort of post-GC-161 reaction.

"Thank goodness" sighed a relieved Mrs. Mack, who reached down and stroked her hand across Alex's cheek. Dr. Whiteside removed the thermometer from Alex's mouth and examined it.

"Hmm, no temperature" he assessed, reading the thermometer through his bifocals. Dr. Whiteside stood up, picked up his black bag off the end of the bed, and looked down at Alex.

"Well, I think you're going to live Alex" he teased, making Alex grin slightly. He always said that to Annie and Alex after a checkup when they were younger. Dr. Whiteside was still the same. He reached into his bag and retrieved a bottle of pills, opened it, and dumped out a single tablet.

"Here you go Alex. This is a mild sedative that'll help you sleep. Doctor's orders ...." he instructed, handing the pill to Alex and handing her a glass of water that was on the nightstand beside the bed. Alex took the pill.

Dr. Whiteside turned to Ms. Mack. "Barbara, I'll run the blood sample and get back with you and George, but from this preliminary examination, Alex seems to be as healthy as a horse. Actually, the healthiest I've ever seen her" Dr. Whiteside added.

"Thanks for coming over Dr. Whiteside. I really appreciate it" Barbara Mack said, shaking his hand.

"Just make sure she relaxes for the next day or so and gets some rest. She's had enough excitement for today" added Dr. Whiteside. "Take care Alex" he waved, and left as Mrs. Mack went with him. Annie, who had been standing at the door, entered and sat on Alex's bed beside her. "So little sister. Live t.v. interviews and being the talk of the town aren't enough? You have to faint and get even more attention?" Annie joked, prodding Alex's shoulder.

"Very funny Annie" Alex quipped. "How about showing some sympathy? I just got 'skewered' by Dr. Whiteside here" she whined helplessly, showing Annie where Dr. Whiteside took the blood sample. Annie smiled and patted Alex on the head. "Oh Alex, you're just feeling sorry for yourself. You'll be fine. Anyway, a blood test is a good precaution to take". Annie got up and walked over to Alex's dresser, retrieved her little sister's pajamas from the top drawer, and set them on the bed beside Alex.

"A 'good precaution'?! It wasn't you that was harpooned!" Alex exaggerated, referring to the blood test again.

"Fortunately for you, the GC-161 had one very positive effect, and that was you rarely got sick when you were contaminated" Annie observed.

"Where's the rest of the guys?" Alex asked, swinging her feet off the bed and standing up to get dressed into her pajamas.

"Well, Ray is downstairs, but mom sent Hunter and the rest of them home to let you get some rest" Annie answered.

"Oh man! Hunter must be worried sick! I better call ..."

"No, I'll call him in a few minutes and let him know you're o.k." Annie interrupted. "And I'll call the rest and tell them too. But before I do, there's something I want to ask you Alex".

"What?" asked Alex absently as she changed.

"I'd like to know if anything ..... strange, has been going on since you took the antidote".

"Like what?"

"Just if you've noticed any signs of your powers over the last twenty-four hours" Annie pressed.

Alex stopped changing momentarily to look at her sister, completely bemused. "Why are you asking me that?"

"Just scientific curiosity Alex. Humor me. I'm just checking to see if there have been any residual effects of the GC-161".

"Residual effects?" Alex asked, perplexed.

"After-effects Alex" Annie explained. Alex finished getting dressed and sat back down on her bed.

"Oh. Uh, no, I haven't noticed anything Annie. Do you think there is some sort of problem?"

"No" Annie replied, patting Alex on the knee with a smile. "I was just making sure dad's antidote had worked like it was supposed to. Nothing to worry about".

"If you say so" Alex said as she began adjusting her covers. Annie rose from the bed. "Well, I suppose you need to get some rest. I'll go downstairs and tell Ray everything's fine and call the others too". Alex reached out and grabbed Annie's wrist and pulled her back down on the bed. Annie sat there as her little sister just silently looked at her for a moment. Annie tilted her head questioningly.

Alex gave her older sister a hug. "I'm going to miss you Annie" she said as Annie hugged her back.

"Miss me?"

"Yeah. When you go back to college Monday" Alex pointed out, pulling back.

"Oh, that. Well, I don't think you have to worry about that for a while" Annie dismissed. This time, Alex tilted her head in confusion. "Yesterday, I called the Administrations Office at M.I.T. and took a leave for the rest of this semester. I won't be going back until the next semester starts in January. So I guess I'll be around until for a while. Might even have to find a part-time job" Annie said with a grin. Alex smiled in appreciation, knowing her sister was staying home for the next few months to spnd time with her.

"You don't have a problem with having to share the room with me for a few months do you?" Annie asked , teasing.

"None at all" Alex replied laughing. She suddenly yawned uncontrollably. Alex could feel a fatigue overcoming her. Annie messed Alex's bangs.

"Looks like that sedative Doc Whiteside gave you is taking effect Alex. I'll let you get some sleep" Annie indicated, getting up from the bed again. Alex laid back onto her pillows and nestled her shoulders to get comfortable.

"I love you Annie" she said sleepily.

"I love you too Alex" Annie replied as she left the room, turned the light off, and pulled the door to. Alex rolled over on her side and stared at her sister's empty bed through heavy eyelids. Before, Alex couldn't wait for Annie to go to college and have her a room to herself, now she was glad to have her back home again. Alex began to doze as the sedative began taking greater effect, and the last thing Alex saw before sleep overtook her was her alarm clock indicating it was 4:30 p.m.

Unseen behind her, Alex's favorite childhood stuffed bear 'Casper', rose off the top of her dresser and began to float silently through the air towards her bed.


"And this is where you were for the last two weeks Vince, camping in Oregon?" asked Gino Lawless of the Federal Drug Administration, standing in the front den of Vince Carter's Benson Street home. Gino Lawless stood just under six feet tall, burly, with dark curly hair, and a well-trimmed beard and mustache. It was late that Saturday afternoon as Gino and a pair of FBI agents who had accompanied him had staked out Vince's house waiting for him to get home.

Gino and the FBI were heading up the official investigation into Danielle Atron's illegal GC-161 research, and Vince was one of their prime suspects. He previously worked for Paradise Valley Chemical's security force when Vince was the Head of Security, and Gino has despised him ever since.

Gino knew Vince conducted shady dealings for Ms. Atron when he worked there before, and now as an official with the FDA, he was responsible for raiding the plant just thirty-six hours earlier, arresting Vince's former boss, and stopping the illegal distribution of her unstable and dangerous GC-161-based weight loss drug.

"That's what I said Gino. I wasn't anywhere near Paradise Valley when all of that happened at the plant" Vince said defensively with a cocky sneer. " ...and I haven't worked for Danielle in over a year. After she .....terminated my position at PV Chemical .....I started my own business, 'Off the Record Security Systems'". Vince was a wiry, athletic man, about an inch taller than Gino, with a hard face accentuated by icy blue eyes and short-cropped blond hair.

"That may be true Vince", quipped Gino. "But a former 'colleague' of your's, David Watt, informed me that you continued to look for the contaminated child for some time after Danielle fired you". Gino emphasized the word "fired", as he knew it got under Vince's skin. He wanted a reaction from Vince hoping to make him slip up. It was the only card he could play against Vince, as all the files of his and Danielle Atron's history together were lost in the fires that ravaged the chemical plant when Ms. Atron odered it blown up.

Gino pointed a finger near Vince's face. "And Mr. Watt also told me that you and Danielle had once, only recently, plotted to murder Alex Mack". Gino referred to a time several months earlier when Alex found a woman in Paradise Park who had suffered a serious stroke, and used her morphing powers to get her to the hospital.

When news broke of Alex's heroic feat, she couldn't tell anyone exactly how she carried a two hundred pound woman two miles to the hospital. Danielle Atron suspected special abilities may have been involved and had hired Vince to eliminate Alex. But Dave Watt came to the rescue and took credit for helping Alex, helping her to elude Danielle again.

"That's a load of B.S. Gino! I admit Ms. Atron had me looking for the kid that got doused by the chemical, but my only intention was to help her, not hurt her. So I suppose all you have is my word against that idiot Dave's" Vince said confidently.

"Your word isn't worth a hill of beans to me Vince" Gino answered back. Vince knew that Gino was hard-pressed for evidence against him, as he and the FBI agents would have arrested him on the spot if they actually had any.

Vince leaned towards Gino Lawless, staring back at him with his icy blue eyes. "I'll be sitting up nights worrying about that Gino".

Gino returned Vince's harsh gaze. "You better Vince .....you better". Gino had been the last to question Vince, as the FBI agents had the first round with him. Yet, they had nothing short of some very minor charges against Vince that would never stick long enough to put him jail for even a single day. They turned to leave, and after the agents exited the front door, Gino spun around towards Vince and pointed at him.

"Don't leave town Vince. We'll be talking to you again later" he warned the former PV Chemical Head of Security.

"I can't wait ...." Vince responded sarcastically. Gino walked out and left the front door open, and Vince pushed it shut. He turned and walked to the middle of the den, his blood racing in anger. "So 'David', you've tried turning evidence against me eh? Well, we'll see who gets the last laugh, because no one gets the best of Vince Carter" he growled out loud. Vince's mind began to scheme.