Disclaimer: No infringement intended. Not affiliated in any way with anyone. Nothing to sue here people, move along.

It was a normal morning at Jam Pony. It was raining in Seattle (which was normal), so everyone was complaining. Normal was screeching. Herbal was passing out I and I wisdom (which was also normal). Max scurried in from another run to Clemson street, which she normally got stuck with because for some reason that (thankfully) no one had figured out, she was the only Jam Pony rider that the Rydin' forties didn't normally bother. Actually, they didn't dare bother her again, but no one needed to know that.

Sketchy is finishing one of his normal complaints about the state of the failing economy. "It is a sad day in Babylon, dude."

"Don't complain to me about how hard it is. I have PhD's from Harvard, and look where I am!" screeches Normal.

"Must be difficult," comments Max.

"You have no idea. Putting up with you slackers! Trying to get work done, run a business. I was supposed to be great! I had my first PhD by the time I was your age. I was on the fast track before the Pulse. Why, I was considered so gifted that the government took some of my DNA for a project on cerebral function. They were investigating how the genes microcephalin and ASPM affect brain size and function." Normal continued talking, oblivious to the fact that most of his employees had wandered off.

Max stood there staring at him with a horrible feeling of dread creeping up her spine. "What was the name of the project?"

Normal snapped back to reality. He noted that most of his employees had wondered off, but was pleasantly surprised that Max was still listening, and apparently very interested. "I don't know," he said. "It was all very secret."

"Really. When was this?" asks Max. It was only her years of conditioning that prevented her from showing how terrified she was.

"Back in 1999. I tried to follow up on it a few years ago, but the only person I had direct contact with was a Colonel Lydecker, and apparently he doesn't work for the government anymore." Normal sighed and walked off.

"NNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" The scream echoed throughout the shell of an apartment that Max and several other squatters called home. Max awoke (herself and several others) to find herself panting and damp with perspiration. Her hearing picked up her neighbors, coming to check on her.

'Damn!' she thought, 'I really have to stop sleeping.' She dressed so she could greet her neighbors and reassure them that this it was only a bad dream.

Across town a lonely Regan Ronald drank a cheap beer, and thought the saddest thoughts of all; what should have been.

Authors Note: I am really sorry about this. The Dark-side made me do it.