"In all of nature, there is one universal truth that applies to every race in the animal kingdom: the female is always the deadlier of the species." --Solomon Paine

"Save only the Botswannian Assassin Wombats, but they're a special case."

-Miashara

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Entry #114

The FBI and AMA cleared Mom of all charges yesterday. She says that they're starting to focus on the senior staff members, which is probably where all the money from the scandal was going. As it is, the hospital will be closed down, Mom thinks it's probably for good and she's starting to look for another job, one that is "good karma this time". She thinks we might have to move.

Dad sent flowers when he heard about her being cleared but Mom threw them away without even looking at the card. I wish she wasn't so stubborn about his-no, it's not worth dwelling on.

I hope we stay in Saint Paul-or at least the Great Lakes area-I love the winters here. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Ice is nice.

****

Amy Lynn Angela Anderson sighed as she stepped out of the elevator onto the seventh floor of the condo building. Here she was, the best student in school, honors program, played clarinet, harp and drums in the band, and volunteered at the boys and girls club mentoring young scientists, and her math teacher was still giving her only mid-level calculus. Now the end of the school year had come and gone, and she felt...unsatisfied with her education, Where was the challenge? Some nonlinear four-dimensional differential equations at least.

Something she could sink her teeth into.

"Or at least give me time in the chemistry lab," she muttered to herself." She had been brushing her teeth yesterday morning when it suddenly occurred to her that a nine-volt battery, xenon gas, and the cheese on the pizzas in the cafeteria could be combined to create artificial muscle tissue that the human immune system wouldn't reject. She had rushed back to her room, sketched out the formula and presented it to Mr. Carson, the senior science teacher. He had looked at it, turned white, told her that it was very nice, and then took a bottle from his desk drawer and began taking long gulps from it, his hands shaking almost as violently as they had when she had made the lab table float in mid-air.

She hadn't meant to make it float, but the chemical spill right before it had been sort of her fault. If only Doctor Knight of Pacific Tech wasn't so damn good at explaining particle physics. She could almost hear his voice.

'Amy Lynn, would you like to help me probe the Universe?' Protons, quarks, Doctor Knight explaining fusion in...intimate detail while demonstrating how to probe the universe on the Accelerator...Amy Lynn's mouth began to water and she felt her knees begin to buckle.

The Accelerator...all those quarks, and atoms, and protons...oh the protons....

"Mmmmm," she sighed. Of course, Doctor Knight was fairly good looking as well...if one went for that sort of thing.

Pulling her key out of her pocket, she unlocked the front door and was startled to see her mom packing things into boxes.

"Mom?"

"Good news, dear, I found a new job, we're moving!"

*****************

Amy Lynn stared out at the scenery as her mother's convertible whisked them down the back road. White fences seemed to be the order of the day, and now and again, a horse raised it's head to watch them speed by. The air was warm, very uncomfortable to Amy Lynn, who thrived in temperatures below seventy degrees. At nearly eighty, according to the radio, it was getting way too hot for her tastes. The breeze from the car's passage did little to counteract it.

"Where are we going again?" she asked.

"Juuban Hollow," her mother replied. "It's where I was born. There's only about a few hundred people there and everyone knows everyone else. The town doctor is getting ready to retire-such a dear man-and when he does, I'll take over his practice."

"But-why-Mom, you're not even allowed to practice in this state."

"Yes I am." Doctor Anderson handed her daughter a leather wallet. Opening it, Amy Lynn found a badge and laminated ID card. "Mom, this is your Air National Guard Reserve ID." Her mother was medical corpsman seconded to the Guard's Military Police, which was why she also had a badge.

"And it means I'm allowed to practice medicine anywhere within the United States," Doctor Anderson said, almost smugly. "I've been assured that it will cover me until the paperwork for my civilian license goes through."

Amy Lynn made a noise in her throat.

*****************

Juuban Hollow proved to be a single street which also served as highway 237 lined sporadically with old wooden buildings on both sides.

Only one thing caught her eye. A blond haired girl sitting on the roof of an old pickup truck parked by the side of the road, a big black Great Dane sitting on the ground next to the front wheel. For just a moment, Amy Lynn's eyes met those of the blonde and she felt the chill of recognition. Then the moment had passed and the girl and her dog were far behind.

At the far end of town, her mother pulled into the driveway of a large wooden structure in better condition then most. A second story rose from the back and in the distance, she could see a hill and what looked like a mansion atop it. A mule was grazing on some grass near the front door and regarded them with curious indifference before returning to grazing.

The front door opened and an elderly white-haired man dressed in a white lab coat and overalls over a plaid work shirt came bustling out, grinning broadly.

"Janice!" He cried out grabbing her mom in a huge bear hug. "It's good to lay these old eyes on you once again."

"Hello, Arthur," her mom replied, returning the hug. "It's good to see you too." She indicated Amy Lynn, who obediently came around the car. "And this is Amy Lynn."

Doctor Jackson hugged her as well. He smelled of apples...and some kind of sterilization chemicals.

Her mother handed her a twenty. "Go down to the general store, dear, buy yourself some pop and a snack." She turned back to Doctor Jackson. "I'm looking forward to this, Arthur."

"Not much to look forward to, I'm afraid," Doctor Jackson replied. "Most injuries the people prefer to treat themselves, even severed limbs."

"Surely you're exaggerating, Arthur."

"I wish. You're not going to see many patients and the few you do see are usually from Black Mountain Plantation where they have a little more sense than to treat an injury by drinking more beer."

They vanished inside, leaving Amy Lynn on her own.

*****************

The general store lay in the middle of town, a ramshackle old building with a neon "open" sign that was half burnt out in the window.

The painted sign on the front read "OSA P General Store" in green and gold letters that had been faded by the sun. A tall, blond-haired man wearing a white apron, jeans and an old T-shirt was sweeping the front walk and he gave her a friendly smile as she went past.

A Great Dane lay on the front the porch, and its ears flicked as she made her way up the steps. Now that she was closer and could get a better look, she realized that a small scar, shaped like a crescent moon, adorned the dog's forehead. Amy Lynn held out her hand for the dog to sniff and when it didn't growl at her, she scratched its head between the ears before heading inside.

Inside were a few unoccupied tables, shelves of groceries, and a long L-shaped counter with faded red leather stools. Sitting at the far end, a blonde-haired girl was perched on one of the stools, chewing on a long blade of grass. Behind the counter, a brown-haired girl leaned against the back counter, arms crossed talking quietly to the blonde-haired girl. Another brown-haired girl, perhaps twelve or thirteen was stacking cans on a floor display.

"Welcome to the O Sap general store," the girl behind the counter said. Her voice was slightly nasal, with a New Yorkish accent. "What can I get you?"

"Something cold," Amy Lynn replied, taking a seat on one of the stools.

"How about a Root-Beer float?"

"Sure."

The girl grabbed a glass from under the counter, opened another cupboard, which was revealed to be a small freezer, and took out a tub of ice cream, which she began to spoon liberally into the mug. "So where you from?" she asked.

"Saint Paul, Minnesota," Amy Lynn replied. "We just arrived."

"Arrived? You're moving here?"

"Yes, my mom is a doctor. She's taking over as town doctor when the old one retires."

"Ah." She turned to the soda fountain and began adding root beer. "We've been wondering when she'd get here." She set the glass on the counter in front of Amy Lynn. "Go tell Mister Peters he owes my mom twenty bucks," she called to the girl stacking cans. "Doctor's arrived." The girl nodded and ran out.

"You bet on when my mom would get here?"

"Nope. Mister Peters did. Bets on everything, that man. Mom's the only one willing to take his bets." She held out her hand. "It's good to see another transplant to this burg. I'm Molly."

"Amy Lynn," Amy Lynn replied, shaking the offered hand.

"And that's Serena Usagi Ann Tsukino," Molly said, indicating the blonde as Amy Lynn realized that it was the same girl she had seen sitting on the roof of the truck. "But every one calls her Bunny."

Bunny was slender and her white shirt and raggedy jean shorts hugged her generous curves tightly. An old, dirt-spotted work shirt was over the white shirt and her feet were covered by work boots. The white shirt had been tied under her breasts to show off a flat midriff tight enough to bounce a quarter off of and her arms were leanly muscled. As Bunny turned at the sound of her name, her work shirt moved and Amy Lynn caught sight of the handle of a machete on her far side. For some reason, Amy Lynn felt an irrational surge of jealousy that Bunny looked far better then her.

Molly, on the other hand, was shorter, but more slender. Her shoulders were narrow and her face freckled. Her shoulder length brown hair parted in a widow's peak over her forehead and she wore a light blue shirt with the sleeves cut off and jeans under a starched white apron.

Amy Lynn took a sip of the float and smiled. The ice cream and root beer was cold, and felt good as it slid down her throat.

*****************

Entry #120

We arrived in Juuban Hollow today. It's a really small place with not much to do. Molly, whose mom runs the general store and her friend Bunny showed me around for a while before Bunny got into a screaming fight with one of the deputies. Molly says they've known each other for years and that Deputy Shields likes to tease Bunny outrageously. Juuban Hollow looks to be very quaint and picturesque. A typical Southern small town.

I lie. This place is horrible. The library's books are out of date-it's not even really a library, it's a room in the house of this old widow who lends books out to read.

Worst of all, there's not even any cellular service so my wireless modem won't work. Which means I have to go through an online service and the only one in town is...is...USA NetConnect. I'll be laughed off the net when the theoretical physics forum finds out.

I HATE THIS PLACE!