Disclaimer: Helen Narbon, Zeta Vincent and rest the Narbonics crew belong to Shaenon Garrity. Sarah (whatever her maiden name is, Dan's never mentioned it) and Ellen Dunkel belong to Dan Shive, Jordan Kennedy belongs to Michael Poe, and Jason Grey belongs Anne Onymous and Robin Ericcson; "Dr. Sarah" and "Jason Grey, Agent of SERVICE" are extrapolations based on the originals, but they still belong to the original creators and I make no claim on them. Used without permission (except in the general sense that none of the authors seem to object to fanfic).
Just how the girl had managed to smuggle tobacco and rolling paper past the guards was a question Dr. Sarah Dunkel didn't really want to ask. She appraised her subject from behind a one-way mirror for several minutes. Her appearance was, for the most part, the same as was given in the police files: she was in her late teens (though she seemed younger), about five foot nine, and appeared to weigh perhaps 115 lbs (though the records stated 140lbs, the significance of which was immediately obvious to Sarah). She had a vaguely olive complexion that implied Hispanic or Medditeranean descent, but her hair was mousy brown with streaks of blonde and black (where the blue dye job had grown out, at least). Her face was a mask of sullen hostility. But the feature that most drew the eyes was the long, thin tail, tufted at the end, which whipped back and forth in obvious frustration.
Stepping into the observation room, Dr Dunkel introduced herself to young convict, who immediately stubbed out the hsnd-rolled cigarette and stuck the butt behind her left ear.
"Yeah, they tol' me about you. Name sounds familiar, heh. The shapeshifters clinic, right?" That was a bit odd, actually, as Sarah, despite being a fairly public figure, always seemed imminently forgettable for most people - something which amused and frustrated the psychologist in turns. "They tol' me that if I do a court appointed internship they cut my time. I talk to Dr Kennedy too. I think I like her stuff better than what they tol' me 'bout you."
"Jordan Kennedy saw you? I hadn't heard about that." Sarah did her best to hide her consternation at this; what was the point of of this project if they were going to hand her right over to an evil mad scientist - supposedly reformed, but still, didn't she threaten to teleport Los Angeles to the Moon a few years after she claimed to have gone good? "I suppose I can understand why you might find her work appealing. However, most of her research is in cybernetics. I understand that you are mostly interested in genetics, is that correct?"
Delta shrugged. "Yeah, sorta. They still haven't figured out a vaccine for my telepathy virus, know? Heh, heh, heh..." This contagion, which imparted random, uncontrolled bursts of mental communion over a period of four to ten days before subsiding, was the main reason she was in juvenile dentention; she insisted that all she was trying to do was find a way to read the exam answers from her teachers' minds. "The transf'mation stuff, well, that's... uhm. I guess that's intr'stin', too, but y'know, not like I'm, you know, stuck on the subject or somtin'..."
"I see." Sarah answered. She knew from the dossier that Miss Parsons didn't like referring to the fact that she was a chimera; she generally kept her tail hidden (being a lesser seyunolou, she had no antennae to hide), but aside from this and one half-hearted attempt to escape from lockup in gerbil form, she disdained shapeshifting.
She tried a somewhat different tack. The reports indicated that Del had some interest in her family, so Sarah decided to work with that. "You know, your mother - Zeta Vincent, I mean - is something of a friend of mine." This wasn't quite the case, but there was some truth to it: Vincent was pretty much the only journalist, Gonzo or otherwise, who generally got the facts straight about Sarah's work. "She asked me to speak with me personally. I know it may not seem like it, but she does care about you."
Del's face turned into a mask of anger. "If she was so f#&$ing worry 'bout me, why the f&^* did she dump me off with the goddamn nuns?"
Sarah realized at once that she'd made a mistake. "I asked her about that, actually. She was only a few years older than you are now, she said, and she didn't think she could take care of you alone." She hoped that this would be enough to placate Del, but clearly she needed to avoid the subject in the future.
"Like the f%&*ing penguins were bett', right. S&^@!"
Despite this outburst, she could see that Del's resolve was weakening. She knew from the previous documentation that the mumbled 'tough talk' was an affectation - her class scores in English were excellent, and she was going to be her class salutatorian before the 'incident' occurred - but she could tell that her anger here was genuine. This made things a bit delicate - even on a heavy dose of Venportin, she was still a Mad Genius, and could probably outthink Sarah easily enough if she focused on it - but the fact that her real resentment was showing through her false front was encouraging.
"Now, is your anger really at the St Egregius orphanage, or at Zeta? I understand that you rarely had any troubles while there, or at the Parsons' since you've been fostered with them. What is it that changed?"
Sarah had a pretty good idea of what her answer would be, and wasn't surprised. "She's what changed! Why the f#!@ did she haveta suddenly decide to jus' drop into my life after seventeen years? I mean, I didn't even know she was alive! And she's famous even! Hey, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot that's about? Motherf%$@ing famous journalist, can't even take care of her own..." she trailed off, a look of confusion on her face as she thought through the implications of what she was about to say. Sarah could almost feel a rush of air as Delta's mind went racing. "Oh. Yeah, I get it. I just got dumped on her or something, didn't I? I mean... I mean, know what I am, OK? It's not like she got herself knocked up or something. You've got to choose to... uh... anyway, she wasn't the one who, uhm, created me, huh?"
Sarah nodded; she noted the change in her speech patterns. "No, she wasn't. The person responsible for that was one of you other mothers,", sarah took a breath before continuing, "a mad scientist named Helen Beta Narbon. She was the one who created you... and Zeta, as well."
Delta's eyes grew large at this revelation. "No s@? So thast means... she's my mother and my grandmother? That's just f$@#ed up."
Sarah knew that the next part would be difficult, but she had to get through it; the girl had a right to know, and finding out later would probably be still more damaging. "She was, yes. She had disappeared about a year before you were born. I don't know all of the details, but she arranged for the fertilized egg to be sent to Zeta as part of some sort of contingency plan. You were to be... her legacy, I suppose."
The younger woman's jaw dropped, and she fell into a stunned silence. "Legacy. Contingency plan? Oh, f&@*, oh f&@*, oh f&@*..." she continued for severasl seconds this way, as began crying. "What kind of bulls%&@ is that? I mean, that's just, just.... crazy... oh." The tears suddenly stopped as if turned off by a switch, as an equally heartfelt epiphany crossed her face.
"That's why it is called mad science. It's is also why the authorities wanted you to see me."
Del gave a nervous giggle which seemed wholly out of place with the rest of her appearance and demeanor. "Heh, I see it. I mean really, I just see it, just as it must have happened. Abso-f*@#ing -loutely bugf*@$ nuts, but I can see it. It all seems so clear now..."
Ordinarily, this phrase from a incipient mad scientist would be cause for alarm, but in this case it seemed like a hopeful sign. "Then you can see why this internship is so important. You have a great deal of potential, Del, but that potential could be destructive just as easily as creative. The Narbons were two of the most dangerous evil geniuses in recent memory, but in the end they destroyed themselves as well. No one - including you, I hope - wants for you to end up like that."
Delta's countenance had changed yet again, this time to one of weary numbness. "Yeah... that's... Yeah. OK, I get the picture. I - listen, I gotta think about this, OK? I mean, it's a lot..."
"I know, I understand. Give it a few days to consider it. I assume that you know the full conditions of this internship?"
"Uh huh. Check in with you every morning, gotta stay on my meds, gotta wear the RFID bracelet when I'm out, gotta see my parole officer every other week. Right?"
"That, and you'll be in counselling sessions twice a week, one private session with me and another group session with some others like yourself. Do you think that the terms are acceptable?"
"Hell, if it gets me outta here, yeah, I guess. I think... I think this could work. Lemme think 'bout it, 'k?"
"Of course. I'll let you get back to your cell for now." She gestured to the unseen observers behind the mirror, and was buzzed out of the room.
"That seemed to go well," said Agent Grey, Mr. Verres latest protegee. "Do you think that she'll agree?"
"I'm not certain but yes, I think so. I sure hope so. Why wasn't I told about her meeting Dr. Kennedy?"
The dispassionate MiB stared back at her from behind his dark glasses, then shrugged. "Need to know basis, I'd say. I wasn't informed myself. Was there anything else?"
"No, that's all for now. I'm going to head back to the hotel and go over the recordings of the meeting."
"Fine," he answered, then, after looking around to see if anyone else was listening, he leaned over and whispered, "Listen, can you tell Ellen I'll be late tonight? I'll meet her at the theatre later," he added, and reaching into his fedora, he pulled out a ticket for the Spike and Mike Animation Festival and handed it to Sarah, before returning to his previous official demeanor.
"Of course," Sarah answered, as she noticed him tucking a small bit of a silk skirt back under the hat. She then left the bright artificial lighting of the Juvenile Center and stepped into an overcast Seattle afternoon.