Administrative Assistant
Headhunting 3.5

"My brain?" we echoed, blinking at her. "What, um, what do you mean?"

"It changed," Amy stated. "When you saw that girl, there was a lot of activity."

"What kind of activity?" we asked with a frown.

She waved it off. "Most of it was normal. For example, activity in your corona pollentia and gemma spiked, but after what she did, I don't blame you for having your powers on a hair trigger. No, the weird part is what happened with your frontal lobe, your motor cortex in particular. It was like parts of it just... stopped talking to each other. That shouldn't be possible. Or rather, you shouldn't have been able to do anything with your brain like that."

"And... now?" we asked.

"It's normal now," she said. "Well, mostly. There's still a lot more activity in there than most people, but that seems to be your normal baseline." Well, that, at least, made sense. She tilted her head. "So, what was it?"

"I honestly couldn't tell you what that means." What she was saying just didn't make any sense. It wasn't like Taylor and I had separate brains, after all; I'd think we'd have noticed that. Well, okay, Taylor technically also had all the bug brains to run her mind on, but I didn't have anything like that. If I did, I'd be walking around in that body instead. "Whatever it is, though, I doubt it's anything to worry about."

She sighed. "I suppose. Powers are pretty weird sometimes. I just- I worry."

"You shouldn't," we said, clasping her hand in ours. "Unlike you, I can heal myself if it comes down to it. I'm not one of your patients, Amy. I'm not your responsibility."

"I don't care about my patients!" she snapped. "I care about you!" We blinked, and she winced. "Wait. That- that came out wrong. I mean, of course I care about my patients, but I don't care about them the same way I care about you. I don't... I don't have a lot of friends."

"That makes two of us." Well, three. "And Amy? Thank you."

"For worrying about you?"

I felt our head shake. "For standing up for me. No one's ever done that before."

You know, I mused thoughtfully after a moment. I don't think that's entirely fair. It's not like you gave your father much of a chance to.

Shut up. We're having a bonding moment here.


We still didn't know what to tell Glory Girl. I was all for "the truth," personally, but Amy... well, she wasn't too keen on that idea, and neither was Taylor. I could sort of see their point too. It would hurt Glory Girl and make things awkward for the Dallon sisters, and it wasn't like there was anything they could really do about it now, after all.

So I was effectively outvoted.

With regard to Amy's suggestion we file a civil suit against any of the trio, we had quickly decided against it. We had too much on our plate as it was, we'd gotten plenty of satisfaction right there at that cafe, and any financial pay out would, frankly, be chump change compared to what we'd already gotten from the school board. The Barneses were upper class, but they weren't that rich, and with Weaver Designs supplementing Danny's pay from the Association, we weren't hurting for money anyway. While we didn't have all the resources we really wanted for our tinkering, that was usually more a matter of access than funding these days.

Besides, such a suit could easily turn into a PR problem for New Wave, since Carol worked at the same firm. To avoid that, Carol would have to take the lead, and I knew Amy had issues with her adoptive mother. We couldn't ask that of her. And tort law wasn't Carol's specialty anyway.

Miller? Taylor's mental voice broke me out of my musings as we walked home.

Yeah?

You've already been through high school and did pretty well, right?

Sixth in my graduating class, why?

Well, she hesitated, I was thinking maybe you could just sleep while I'm in class.

?

Her next few thoughts came in a rush. That way, you could stay up while I sleep at night and work on Project Overwatch.

Had I been in control at the time, I'm pretty sure I would have stumbled. As it was, I did blink. The idea had occurred to me, but I had avoided mentioning it. Or even thinking about it, if I could.

That had been the proverbial elephant in the room ever since that night we first talked about our powers. We'd avoided the subject since then, and I'd made sure to go to sleep before she did and wake her up the moment I woke up each day. I tried not to take control of our body without asking unless time was critical.

Anyone with even a passing familiarity with Worm knew Taylor had trust issues and control issues. Authority issues too, but that wasn't what mattered here.

Are you sure? I asked tentatively. There were... multiple layers to my question, and I'm pretty sure she picked up on all of them. The advantage of sharing headspace, I guess.

We arrived home in silence.

Yeah, she said finally as we headed for our room. Yeah, I am. You were right. I wasn't really being fair when I told Amy no one's stood up for me before. Because you did. So yeah. I trust you.

That... wow. That meant a lot.

And Miller? she added.

Yeah?

Thank you. For everything.

Hey, I live here too, I reminded her.


That night, I tried to stay awake without disturbing Taylor. For me, adjusting my sleep cycle has always been easier by forcing myself to stay awake when I was sleepy rather than trying to sleep when I wasn't.

That made my night a little rough, but it was otherwise uneventful, and I had no trouble dropping off during school the next day. The following night found me in the basement while Taylor slept. I spent the first couple of hours working on the masks we'd promised the rest of the Alliance before inspiration struck, and I started putting together our second drone. I haven't mentioned our first one yet, have I?

The Semi-Autonomous Machine Specialized for Observation and Notification had been designed to keep an unobtrusive eye on Dinah Alcott and alert us in case Coil made a move on her earlier than expected. That necessitated a certain amount of autonomy, along with a lot of bells and whistles, including a stealth field generator that concealed it from just about any detection system we could think of. The stealth field generator didn't scale up very well, which was a pity. And strange. Didn't Squealer build an invisible tank or something like that in canon?

In comparison, the Remote Observation Drone was a lot simpler. No complex decision-making capabilities needed, just a basic decision tree to let it follow verbal commands and maybe some conversation algorithms to give it some personality. Video recording and transmission, with a microphone and speakers for two-way audio. The trickiest part was the anti-grav hover system, but despite all that, it was still just a glorified flying camera.

It was a key component of Project Overwatch, but there was still so much more we needed for it.


A/N: Blarg. Not entirely happy with how this just trails off at the end there, but I'm just going to keep going in circles on this if I don't stop.