Author's Note: Ha Ha ha Ha Ha Ha, I'm back!Okay here's the deal, my computer crashed at the end of last month because of a virus and its taken this long to get it reformatted. Unfortunatly none of my fanfiction files that I had saved on my computer were rescued, I was able to rescue a ridiculous picture I saved to a paint document though. I had written the eighth chapter to this story but since it wasn't saved I had to rewrite it. I hope that I improved on the original chapter, although I don't remember everything I wrote in it. Also, I haven't been able to reinstall Microsoft Word so I'm using a second rate wordprocessor without a spellcheck. I'll try and check my own spelling but I'm sure I'll miss some. Oh yeah and becuase I'm using this wordprocessor I can't put anything in italics or bold so I can't really distinguish between thoughts and other things. And forget any kind of formatting, it just kind of does what it wants....

Disclaimer: I totally don't own the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew. If I was getting money to actually write these things then I would update a hell of a lot faster, beleive me.

Interesting fact: Las Vegas is spanish for The Meadows.

Chapter 18: Life Is Short

Fenton Hardy awoke to the site of his wife running a comb through her soft hair.

"Good Morning honey," she purred.

He smiled from his bed, only his wife could make him feel so alive, so happy.

"I'm glad you feel that way," she told him.

Fenton frowned, he didn't remember speaking his thoughts.

"Oh you didn't say it out loud honey but I can read minds."

Since when.

She laughed in a mocking tone, "Since you met me you poor fool."

The words echoed in Fenton's mind, Poor Fool.

"And now," his wife's voice filled with venom, "I'm going to kill you!"

He awoke with a start and relaxed when he realized it was just a dream.

"Ah Mr. Hardy, so glad you're awake, your partner is still out."

Fenton was surprised to see that he was strapped to an operating table, he could feel the cool metal through his clothing. He tried to find the source of the voice but realized his head was strapped down as well.

"Oh don't you know me Hardy? I know you."

The detective swallowed in an attempt to find his voice. "Where's my partner?"

"Oh she's on the table next to you, not that it matters, you're both strapped down."

"Who are you?"

"Don't you recognize my voice?"

As hard as he tried, Fenton could not put the voice to a face. He felt the presence of his captor coming closer and shuddered. "What do you have to do with the children?"

"Tut tut Hardy, I'm in control, remember that."

Fenton saw a shadow cross over his own body.

"I guess its all the fluid Rodriguez injected into your body that's scrambling your brain. Here let me show you who your brilliant captor really is."

At the sight of his captor Fenton gasped.

* * *

"So Jaswall was your captor?" Chet asked confused. "I thought he was just a scientist down there. And I thought he was with the FBI."

"It actually makes sense," Fenton told him, "Jaswall was in charge of me while I was working with the FBI and everytime I went to him for permission to follow a risque lead he wouldn't let me."

* * *

"So all that time," Fenton croaked, "you were covering your own trail."

Agent Jaswall laughed, "You don't even know what this is all about, how can you accuse me of covering any kind of trail?"

Fenton heard the sounds of Yaline coming to. "Fenton," she murmurred.

"Right here Yaline."

"Where are we?"

Jaswall interrupted, "My dear you are in my magnificent laboratory."

"Who..."

"Jaswall," Fenton told her.

"What?" She asked a little dazed.

"Agent Jaswall," Fenton said the name with contempt, "seems to have taken us hostage."

"Oh no," Jaswall corrected, "that would mean I am expected to give you back to society. No, you two are going to help conduct a few experiments."

Yaline shuddered, understanding the implication completely.

"Stay put kids I'll be back."

After hearing footsteps move further away, Fenton assumed Jaswall had left the room. "Yaline we have to get out of here."

"No kidding. How?"

Fenton was silent.

"You know he means to kill us."

Fenton nodded before he realized she couldn't see him, "Yes."

Yaline was silent for a moment, "I wonder why that girl betrayed us like that."

"Maybe she isn't being held captive, maybe she works down here."

"No, she is a prisoner like the rest of them. She is too skinny to claim to be fed properly and that look in her eyes was slightly maniacal."

"Now, now," they heard a voice say, "its not nice to talk about people behind their backs." Sweet walked closer to the detectives.

"What do you want?" Fenton asked sourly.

Sweet reached for a tray that was out of their sight and picked up a razor.

"What's that for?" Yaline asked nervously.

The girl didn't answer and for the first time the detectives noticed she was wearing a complete surgeons uniform.

"Don't worry," Sweet told them, "I'm not here to hurt you."

Something in her tone told the detectives not to rejoice. As the syrum they had been injected with began to fade, Fenton realized just why he could feel the cold metal so definatly, he wasn't wearing any clothes. "What do you plan to do to us?"

"Why detective I would have thought you would have figured that one out already."

"The experiments, you need to test them on adults," Yaline said, mostly to herself.

"What?" Fenton exclaimed, "Why?"

"Ask your partner," Sweet said in a dull voice.

"Fenton they found out how to create babies that will grow to be full functioning adults with extra abilities but how are they to know what could happen to them as adults?"

Fenton thought. "But isn't Sweet one of their full functioning adults?"

"Unfortunatly," Sweet muttered bitterly as she began to lather Fenton's hair with shaving cream, "that is not correct. I am not one of Jaswall's clones." Yaline noted that the girl had said Jaswall's clones. "I

am a part of the same experiment you are going to be a part of."

"Please explain." Fenton spoke up.

"Might as well," Sweet said, "Considering you are going to die soon." She began to runt he cool razor over Fenton's scalp. "You see the government began these tests in the 1950s but haven't really been able to get anywhere until about ten years ago. I know you read the files, about the failed experiments and the passed ones. What you have to know is that it doesn't stop there, like you said they needed to know what happens as adults and well you know the government, they are so impatient. They began to test on fully grown citizens, only to realize it wasn't possible."

"But how could they manipulate already formed DNA?"

Sweet grinned, "Now here's the great part. The syrum that was given to the fetus gave the adults polio. Baffled, the scientists that developed the syrum kept attempting the procedure only to wind up with more aborted projects. Finally they gave up hope with the syrum and began to develope a new procedure. This time," Fenton felt the razor run along his head, "they created a digestible syrum, one that was to be drinken. Before you ask Yaline, the syrum targeted what was 'wrong' with the DNA, made it stronger. What the scientists didn't know was that while it made the human stronger in terms of hearing, sight, etc. It also strenghtened their already existing...conditions."

"What kind of conditions?" Yaline ventured to ask.

"Anything genetic. Genetic AIDS became full blown and anyone suffering from a genetic mental illness was driven completely mad. Of course you know what the scientists did with these failed experiments, they disposed of them."

"But where did they find subjects?"

"They took volunteers from inside military ranks," Sweet told her, "Of course had the volunteers known what they were in for they might have thought twice."

"Sweet, why are you here?"

"I was given that new syrum. You see, I was once a normal human being, born to Mr. and Mrs. Rodriguez in Santa Barbara, California. The only problem was, I have diabetes, a serious genetic case. My father, the ever optimistic Air Force pilot, was told that the government had a solution, that my diabetes would disappear in a few years thanks to a miracle cure." Sweet paused for a second, taking her anger out of Fenton's hair. "They really didn't have much of a choice. I was going to die from my condition anyway, insulin wasn't helping me at all."

"The government brought me down here seven years ago and administered the syrum. Being ten years of age I was a little scared, after all these were strangers giving me a strange orange colored liquid that tasted horrible. Anyway, they held me there for observations and what do you know, the liquid was working. I could see better, hear better, in fact I couldn't feel any of the effects of my diabetes."

"But I thought the syrum made genetic conditions worse."

"Apparantly the syrum they gave me was a slight improvement over their former one. It only managed to suppress the diabetic effects for a few weeks then it all came back, not as bad as before, but not what the scientists needed to hear. My parents were overjoyed that insulin would now be a possible form of life support, those naive people. The scientists had never let me leave the confines of their lab and even from a child's persepective I knew they never would." Sweet could feel the tears threatening to come flooding out. "My parents had been allowed to call me and write letters while I was in for the initial testing but after a while the letters, the phone calls, everything just stopped. I was never told why, just that I would never see my parents again."

"Sweet," Fenton said gently, "The insulin, did it help after the testing?"

"In a way." She admitted, "I know you are wondering why I helped Jawall capture you after the hell I've been through down here but you have to understand, my diabetes is getting worse. The only thing that suppresses it now is a special combination of insulin and other drugs that the scientists down here create for me."

"What kind of drugs?" Fenton asked.

Sweet finished with his hair and began to cut Yaline's, "They wont tell me. If they did then I would know what I needed and break out of this place. I do know that they use a little of an updated version of that syrum, the kind they injected into the fetus I mean." She paused, "I'm not sure how that works exactly but then again I'm not a scientist."

Yaline winced vainly as she felt more and more of her hair being cut off. "Have the scientists found a completly successful way to enhance the adults?"

"Not really," Sweet told them, "which is why they need you. After several years of testing, the scientists have finally run out of volunteers. It finally got around the military that volunteering for the notorious secret project was simply a bad idea. Jaswall decided to test on the two of you with a new method he had been dying to try out."

Fenton shuddered, "What kind of new method?"

As Yaline felt the final strands of hair being removed from her head she heard Sweet's response. "He needs to be able to administer the syrum for the fetus directly to the adults brain while simultaneously feeding their bodies a combination of the digestible syrums that have been developed over the years."

"Sorry I asked."

"I'm sorry you have to go through with this," Sweet told him, "history has already taught me one thing, the first experiments are like the first pancakes, their the ones you're supposed to throw out first."

Fenton felt no shame as tears popped into his eyes, he would never see his wife again, or witness the brith of their first child.

Finished with her job Sweet turned to the intercom on the wall. Pressing the button she spoke directly into it, "Subjects 7A3 and 7A4 prepped for testing."

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Guess what, I am having so much fun with this sci-fi angle it isn't even funny.
Alright, to the awesome reviewers who keep this fun and exciting, YOU ALL ROCK!

Snippets: Um, whoops. Guess I did keep you all waiting way too long. ::smiles sheepishly:: I promise my next update will not take that long.

katie janeway: did you like the all new cliffhanger? Didya didya didya? I'll update soon so that the cliffhanger won't drive you completely insane though my next chapter might end with yet another cliffhanger. ::smiles::

OutOfSight, OutOfMind: What can I say? I need to update more often. Although it was a mixture of computer problems and a lack of drive from a lack of reviews that held me back this time. I'm glad you reviewed though, it shows that some people are still interested in the story.

Alright, next time: More flashback goodness and maybe we'll finally see what the hell Michael thought of Nancy's slip up! AHHH it's gonna drive me nuts!