Parasite Eve: The Other, Chapter Two

Chapter Two
Aya Brea was not usually a distracted person. One didn’t make it as a detective, let alone an FBI agent, by being inattentive; that was the obvious truth, and Aya lived up to it every day. Yet, as Kyle Madigan rambled on, she suddenly realized that she hadn’t really heard the last five or so sentences he had said-and then, with a second guilty start, she realized that this wasn’t the first time in this conversation, either. But no sense trying to fake it; he was too good at reading her-so, to cover a sheepish grin, she stuffed a bite of egg into her mouth just before murmuring, “Sorry, Kyle-what was that again?”
He stared at her a moment, a quizzical look on his face. “You always talk with your mouth full?”
“Don’t correct me-you’re not my father,” she answered, after chewing pointedly for a moment longer. “And you didn’t answer me.”
“Well,” he began, “I was saying-if you were listening-that I might be able to finally start practicing as a PI again, here in town. But maybe, what I should have been saying was, ‘are you okay?’ You’re a little out of it this morning, Aya. That’s not like you.”
She though for a long moment before answering. To his credit, he didn’t press-only waited. Which in turn gave her time to consider-what was really bothering her? Pierce’s call in the early morning hours? She had already made up her mind about that, even before seeing Kyle this morning-now it was just a matter of bringing it up.
No time like the present, then. “Alright. Ah…Pierce called me this morning. It’s been on my mind, you know?”
Kyle frowned. “Pierce? As in, Pierce Carradine? The Pierce I never got to meet in Nevada, because he was stuck in the freezer?”
Aya grinned despite herself; that memory, of finding Pierce huddled in a corner of the Golem freezer at the shelter, always made her laugh a little despite its eerie setting. He was always one to rush in to save her, even though he was horrible in any fight… “The same Pierce.”
“So, what did he want? A date? I know he had a thing for you…”
She glared at him across the table. “You can be so cruel sometimes!” Then, seeing his hurt look, she added, “Just kidding. And yes, I know he did. But he’s also a good friend, and that’s what this call is about-something I asked him to do for me. As a friend.”
“And what would that be?” That frown again.
Aya thought carefully for a moment, trying to choose her words. Then she smiled. “He’s looking for people, Kyle. Special people, if you know what I mean. People like me.”
Then, to make her point, she reached over to touch the wick of the unlit candle between them-and it sputtered into flame.
Kyle’s eyes widened, and he glanced around the restaurant in alarm. It was a family place, with a Southern feel-rare in New York, which was why they liked it-but it was geared mainly to the dinner crowd, so it was mostly empty at nine a.m. Relieved that no one had seen, he turned back to her. “Aya, are you crazy? Be careful!”
Now her glare had a serious edge. “Why? Afraid to be with me, Kyle? Afraid I’ll set something on fire, or melt some people? Or maybe I’ll turn into a monster! How about maybe another-“
“Okay, alright, I’m sorry! Man, Aya, I was only trying to keep people from staring! You know people don’t like what they don’t understand.” He shrugged. “Sorry…I…y’know…”
Despite herself, she found her momentary anger relenting. “Forget it, just forget it. Anyway, I don’t want to talk about…that.” She sighed, as though bone-weary; though she knew she had slept well. “Pierce has been searching the records and the news for people whose profiles indicate that they might be Neo-Humans, like me. Remember I explained all that to you? Well…last night, he found one. Maybe.”
“What?” Kyle exclaimed. “Where? Who?”
“Well, we’ve answered “when,” but you forgot “why” and “how”,” Aya answered with a grin. “And those might just be the most important questions. For the Bureau, for me, even for Eve.”
“The Bureau,” he repeated. “I thought you were retired.”
“At my age?” she quipped. “No-just on inactive. You could say leave-of-absence. So is Pierce. And to answer your questions-Texas. An oil town called Taylor’s Canyon. And
his name is John Carter.”
“So Pierce called you in the middle of the night just to give you the name of a hick from Texas?”
“Not just a “hick from Texas,” Kyle. A man with indications of Neo-Mitochondria in the symbiont form. He…well, he works miracles.”
Kyle abruptly choked on his coffee, degrading into a coughing fit. “He what?” he finally managed.
“He works miracles. The locals say he…heals things. Animals with broken limbs. People with fevers. Even I can’t do that! I can only heal myself. They say he stopped a brushfire without doing anything. I could do that, if I wanted to. Other things that sound like my PE skills. If this were the National Enquirer, I’d say forget it-but this is the local
newspaper.” She paused, then added, “Pierce thinks it’s for real.”
Somehow, Kyle still wasn’t getting it. “So…what are you going to do about it?”
“Go talk to him!” she practically exploded. ” I want to see if it’s true. And…I don’t want to find out that he’s going to be like…like the other Eve. The first one.” She shuddered
involuntarily at the thought.
“Okay-I’ll pack right away. Let’s see…I suppose we’ll fly out-“
“No!” she cut him off. “I mean…I wasn’t asking you to go.”
Kyle drew back, surprised. “What do you mean? Aya, this could be dangerous, if he does have that power.”
“I know, but…I need to go alone. Please, Kyle-don’t try to protect me. I can handle myself.” Now it was her turn to frown. “Besides, if he should be like Eve, I’m the only one who’s ever been immune to Eve’s powers.”
Despite her calm tone, Kyle could see that she was adamant. Finally, he sank down a little. “If you say so. Besides, you know where to find me if you need me. So then, why did you tell me? Besides so I wouldn’t worry. There has to be another reason.”
“You always figure me out, don’t you?” She smiled again. “I was hoping Eve could stay at your place for a few days. I don’t really want to take her with me on this, either, and she needs to be in school. I can’t take her to my dad in time, to still make Texas, and the only other choice would be Daniel Dollis.” She grimaced at the thought. “And I don’t think I want her living on pizza and Coke for a straight week, either, so that’s out.”
“Then how about boarding school?” Kyle joked weakly. “A week. So you’ll be away awhile then. Well…I don’t think that would be a problem. Although missing you might.”
“What? Eve, miss me? She’ll be fine.” Aya grabbed her purse to search for cash for a tip.
“I was talking about me.”
Five minutes later, the two were walking down a crowded sidewalk, heading for Kyle’s parked car. “So, I guess right now, we’ll swing by my apartment,” Aya was saying, “then we’ll go by Eve’s school and let them know you’ll be picking her up today-“
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