PROLOGUE

Walking along the hillside overlooking their neighborhood, Alex and her older sister Annie enjoyed the cool breeze of the late October afternoon.

It all seems like a dream Alex said to Annie, her elder by two years. A really fun dream.

Annie chuckled and playfully bumped Alex's arm with her own. For you maybe. But when the accident happened, I didn't know how to have fun.

Well, you were always the careful one Annie Alex replied, an unsure expression crossing her face.

Annie noticed and stopped, gently grasping her younger sister's hand. Alex came to a halt and turned to face her older sister, who's eyes were misting over with tears. Their neighborhood was sprawled beneath them from atop the hillside, with all of Paradise Valley stretching out beyond it. The sun was near setting, an orange orb sitting on the horizon.

But you showed me how to have fun Alex Annie admitted. You showed me how to live life like I never knew I could, and amidst all the chaos and close calls over the last four years, I had ..... fun.

A tear ran down Annie's cheek as she reached up to brush a stray lock of Alex's hair behind her ear.

I'm sorry I wasn't there for you when you needed me Annie said, referring to her being at college when Alex had been kidnapped by Danielle Atron.

Alex beamed a huge, reassuring smile, and wiped away the tear that had reached Annie's chin. It's o.k. Annie. I made it without you.

Annie leaned up and kissed her taller, younger sister on the cheek, and then held her at arm's length.

Are you going to do it Alex? Are you going to give them up Annie asked bluntly, referring to their father's antidote that would not only cleansed Alex's body of the GC-161 contamination, but deprive her of her fantastic powers.

Alex cocked her head and looked at Annie with a sly grin.

Annie wanted her to take the GC-161 antidote, just like her father did.

She wanted her little sister to have a normal life for the first time in four years. She was also concerned that one day, harmful side-effects could occur from the GC-161 within her little sister. Alex remained silent, now staring sadly into her sister's eyes.

Annie stroked Alex's cheek. I know the having the powers are fun Alex, and I know they're fun, but it's time to live your life like you were supposed to live it she urged.

I ... I know Alex stuttered.

And you know, I don't think mom will ever get used to having a 'puddle' as a daughter Annie joke sincerely. Alex chuckled at the thought of the look on her mom's face when Alex first demonstrated her morphing power to her.

Well, I'm going to head back to the house to face the wrath of mom and dad. You coming? Annie asked.

No, not yet Alex said softly. I'll be along in a few minutes. I just want to be alone for a while.

Annie understood, and before leaving, grasped Alex's hand again and gave it a loving , understanding squeeze. Alex watched her sister walk away.

Alone on the hilltop, Alex looked out over the neighborhoods which stretched out before her. For four years, she had lived a life that any other kid her age could have only dreamed about; having super powers.

The question raised by her father filled her mind.

What if the GC-161 within her eventually made her sick?

Alex sighed.

Raising her right arm and pointing her finger out over Paradise Valley, Alex released a powerful golden bolt of electrical energy which erupted with a quarter-mile distant with a brilliant flash. A ring of energy from the discharge rapidly expanded outwards in every direction, and Alex casually ducked as it passed over-head, finally fizzling out against the hills behind her.

She reached into her pocket, and pulled out the vial containing the antidote. She held it up between her thumb and forefinger, turning it over and over as she closely examined the golden liquid inside.

She looked up, and smiled.