Chapter 11: The Parent Trap – part 4
The ringing of the damned videophone on the far wall of the bedroom helped Shane pry his eyes open. He felt like complete and utter crap. He hadn’t felt this bad since the party when he and Harris had gotten drunk and banged each other senseless. Shane grinned from the memory despite his throbbing head and leaden limbs. The woman was the best lay ever.
Although Shane thought he’d telekinetically switched the phone off, it continued ringing. Livid, he barked, “What?!” Unfortunately that made his head hurt more.
“Dr. Myers?” DiPhillipo managed to sound impatient and timid simultaneously.
“Yeaaah,” he shot back. Sarcasm probably wasn’t the best tact, but Shane was beyond caring.
His staff’s murmurs carried over the speakers. “Shall I run the staff meeting, sir?” DiPhillipo offered.
Staff meeting? But it’s only… Shane’s breath caught; he had no idea what day it was. “Yes,” he replied with as much professionalism as he could muster. “I’ll be in later. Off.”
After resting his eyes for a few moments, Shane forced them open again. Strangely, the artificial lights had brightened to their midday setting. Everything seemed messed up today.
Once his eyes had focused he turned his concentration inward to find out why he felt so sick. What he discovered chilled him to the bone.
Nothing. He’d learned nothing. Shane knew every inch of his body inside and out. It was a delicate, elaborate, beautiful machine. Now he was fumbling, handcuffed and blindfolded. His senses were reduced to a Homo sapiens’ five.
After beating back panic, Shane hauled his weak, aching body to the videophone. Normally he’d be mortified to have to press the medical emergency button, but now the round plastic control was the holy fucking grail.
Leaning against the cool wood panels for support, Shane slapped numb fingers on the red button. The video panel glowed to life with Dr. Frasier’s efficient countenance. She was saying something, but Shane’s rapidly fogging mind couldn’t find meaning in the sounds.
A glint of light drew Shane’s attention. His wrist was shining. Or something on his wrist, maybe. That didn’t make any sense since he didn’t wear anything, let alone jewelry, to bed. But neither did how the room tilted, the lights dimmed, and everything went dark and silent.
Dr. Gibson strode into the infirmary like he owned the place and marched up to Claire. “Frasier, why is one of my top scientists in a near coma?”
Claire glowered. Gibson may have been in charge of the facility, but in her infirmary she was the boss. “Please keep your voice down, Dr. Gibson. I do have sick people here. They need rest and quiet, and you throwing your weight around won’t get you answers any more quickly.”
Gibson seemed torn between arguing and letting it go. He pursed his lips, then gave her a curt nod. “What have you learned about Myers’ illness?”
Claire led him to the far side of the infirmary, where a privacy curtain separated two beds from the rest of the room. “Myers’ and Harris’ illness.”
Gibson stopped short. “Harris?”
His reaction prompted a moment of smug pride. Sometimes it was good to be the Chief of Medical Operations. On occasion Claire knew things before the man in charge did. She held the privacy curtain open and motioned for Gibson to follow. “Yes, Dr. Harris.”
Gibson frowned at the bed holding Dr. Myers’ unconscious form, then that of Dr. Harris. His mouth worked silently for a few moments before he turned to Claire. “What happened? What’s A– Harris doing here?”
Claire didn’t miss his verbal slip. Not for the first time, Claire wondered if Gibson and Harris were lovers. Setting her curiosity aside, she replied, “Soon after I told you about Myers, I received a medical call for Dr. Harris. She was found unconscious on level seventeen. Reports state that she appeared there, so I assume she knew something was wrong and tried to teleport.”
“And failed,” Gibson noted.
“Failed to reach the infirmary.”
Gibson scrubbed his hand over his face. “Something affected her concentration.” He glanced worriedly at the unconscious scientists. “What are we looking at? Infection? Extraterrestrial contaminant?”
Claire shook her head as she moved to Harris’ bed. “If it was a contaminant, you’d be affected as well. You have more contact with Harris than Myers does. But it’s a moot point. This–” She lifted Harris’ arm. Light glinted from the copper band around the woman’s wrist. “–is what caused them to collapse.”
Gibson drifted closer, frowning at the metal band. “That’s one of the psychic transference bands from the Donari System. Is Myers–”
“Wearing the other one? Yes.”
“How would–” Gibson paused, shaking his head. “Why would they want to experiment with those?”
“I’m not sure they were.” Gibson arched an eyebrow, and Claire continued. “When I saw that both Myers and Harris wore identical bracelets, I had Acquisitions identify them. Neither has a bar code that we can get at, but they’re a visual match for the psychic transference bands that Dr. Crossling is working with. I called him right away. He was surprised to hear from me because the bands are in his possession.”
“He’s lying,” Gibson stated.
“He isn’t. Acquisitions confirmed that Crossling has the originals.”
Gibson scowled at the bracelet on Harris’ wrist. “Then what–”
Harris groaned, drawing Claire’s and Gibson’s attention. “Dr. Frasier… Daniel… what’s–”
“You’re in the infirmary,” Claire said quietly. “You passed out in the corridor. Do you remember how you got there?”
Claire motioned for one of her nurses, who brought a cup of water. She pressed it into Harris’ hand. “Here. Drink this.”
Harris lifted her head to drink with Claire’s help. Then she flopped back against the pillow. “May I have something for my head?”
“Sure. Just a minute.” Claire headed for the medicine cabinet.
Daniel took her place by Harris’ bedside. “Addison, you tried to teleport,” he said. “What’s the last thing you remember?”
Claire listened for Harris’ reply. “Going to bed. No… this morning. Waking up.” She was rubbing her eyes when Claire returned with the analgesic. Harris lowered her arms, then froze upon noticing the copper band on her wrist. “What’s this, then?” She tried to remove the bracelet, but it wouldn’t budge. “What the bleeding hell are you trying to do to me, Daniel?” Wild-eyed, Harris clawed at the metal band. “Get it off of me!”
Panic wrenched Shane out of a deep sleep. Get it off of me! Something slashed at his right arm. Trying to make sense out of the brightness around him, Shane swatted at whatever was attacking his arm. Hands–too many hands–pushed him back into the pillow and sheets that smelled faintly of bleach.
“–just lie back. There’s–”
–bleedin’ Yank trying to–
“–need 50 cc’s–”
Shane dove into his alien side, grateful for its solitude. There he could think straight and take in his surroundings. He was in the infirmary with Gibson, Dr. Frasier, a few nurses, and Harris, who was also in his head.
Shane gasped and bolted upright. A nurse tried to pull him back down, but he swatted the young man aside with a thought. His attention was on Harris, who lay in a hospital bed beside him and somehow, impossibly, was in his head while he was in the void. Glaring, he told her aurally and telepathically, “Get out of my head. NOW.”
Addison flinched from the force of Myers’ demand. She’d thought that her mental shields were shut tight. Apparently not, since she felt and heard the prat. To her horror, she couldn’t focus on much else. Daniel was trying to tell her something, and Frasier approached with a syringe. Addison crushed it telekinetically before the needle reached the IV.
She shook her head to clear the confusion. He’d gotten into her mind somehow, and not just his thoughts. Addison felt an echo of his physical sensations, from the hospital bed to the IV in his arm. It made no sense. She was walled up tight. He shouldn’t be able to touch her. No one should.
“You’re in my head!” Addison snarled as she struggled against the hands holding her down. “You’ve all done something to me! Let me go!”