When we arrived back in Mzansi, it was late, so I wasn’t expecting to find Ethan running towards me as soon as we got out of the plane, with Kimball not far behind him.
“How are you? How was the Empire?” Ethan asked. “Did you know my grandfather is awake? Dad found a way to make him better, grandma said that dad saved his life.”
“I’m glad to hear he is better,” I said, happy to know that Makgatho was getting better, I knew how important he was to both Kimball and Ethan. And I had to admit that, even if I never doubted Kimball’s ability to help him, I felt relieved to know he was out of danger.
“How was your trip?” Kimball asked, finally reaching us and kissing me tenderly. “Is everything ok with Greca? How was your other stop?”
“Greca is in good hands, and I guess by now she is out of danger. And my last stop went well, my visit to the Empire had a small problem, but overall it was ok. I got what I needed out of it, I hadn’t realized how much it bothered me to be away from my family, and having the chance to talk to them, no matter how briefly, was nice. How about you? How are things here? I hope everything is ok, I need to go back to Capital City as soon as possible, Faakhir is getting angry because I haven’t gone back to him.”
“There is no problem if you want to go back, but before we go, there’s a couple of things I want to show you and talk about with you.”
I knew that there were a lot of things we had to discuss, but my first priority was to get some rest. I wanted to visit Kimball’s parents before going back to my job, and also, I knew there was something bothering Kimball, something we needed to talk about, but in another place, somewhere not as public.
It was late by the time we arrived to the house, and still, I spent some more time talking to Ethan and telling him about my time in the Empire. By the time Ethan finally fell asleep, I was exhausted, but I still needed to talk to Kimball. As soon as we were alone, I noticed Kimball’s demeanor changing, and I knew that whatever we needed to discuss was serious.
“What happened to my father was no accident, he was infected on purpose. If it wasn’t for the stroke, we wouldn’t have noticed the virus until it was too late and his body was beyond help. After we found out that my father had been infected, they started an investigation and found out that he wasn’t the first mutant to get admitted to the hospital in suspicious conditions, the only difference was that the other mutants were dead. From the investigation we found out that the virus is only contagious in very specific conditions, but we are worried about the existence of the virus. Most think that it’s part of biological attack with very specific targets, but we don’t know who is behind the attacks.”
“What’s the risk? You say that the virus is not highly contagious, so I guess we are safe from an epidemic, right?”
“After getting some samples, the people from the Health Department found that the virus that infected them was basically the same, but that there were small mutations that looked like they have been improving the virus from patient to patient. The government is afraid that this is just the test stage, and that once the virus is ready, they are going to start an even bigger attack.”
“But why attack you? It doesn’t make sense.”
“Our biology is very particular. Our people come from various genetic backgrounds, but still most of our people share some very specific traits that you don’t find in other people. My theory is that they are using us to perfect the virus because they want to be able to target specific traits and we are the best candidates for that. The other theory is that is someone that is angry at our people and what they perceive as unfair advantages that are given to us by the Dominion. It could be revenge or experimentation, I’m not sure which one is better or worse.”
“I think there could be other possibilities, but the best way to find answers is in the fog of the future, I think I will have to travel there and find out what’s going on.”
“Yes, but not now. First, you need to rest, then talk to Faakhir. We can’t risk to make him angry at you right now. You said it yourself, you are close to finding the last pieces of information you need to set your take over in motion.”
I knew Kimball was right, and I needed to recognize that I needed some rest after everything I had to face the previous days. First, Greca’s rescue, the fight with Kozlak, the talk with my cousins and friends, all of that had left me exhausted, physically and emotionally. Besides, I needed some time with Kimball so I could find my balance again, my center.
As it happened every time I was near Kimball, I had no trouble sleeping, and even overslept in the morning, taking advantage of the calm and security that Kimball gave me, with him my defenses dropped, making me relax and calm down. But my rest was interrupted in the morning by a vision that left me tense and afraid. I had seen Ethan in a hospital room, and he looked sick. As soon as I woke up and went looking for him, but as I ran towards his room, I realized I couldn’t feel him anywhere near me, and that could only mean that he wasn’t there.
“Kaiserin, what’s wrong?” Kimball asked when he found me running through the hallways.
“He left a while ago with my mother, they went to the hospital. My father is much better and he may be released today, my mother wanted to go and help him get ready to get out of there and Ethan wanted to go with her.”
“We have to go, I had a vision about him getting sick, and I have a very bad feeling about this.”
“Do you think this is something that’s going to happen soon?” Kimball asked, but he was already moving.
“I’m not sure, but I want him close to me until I know what it is about, it would make me feel better,” I explained.
“Ethan’s biology is different from mine, his genetic map has so many elements that I don’t think he would be targeted, the previous attacks were on people with strong mzansier genetics.”
“You said that they were after something that all mzansiers shared, and Ethan is so different that she should be safe,” I said, trying to convince myself as the feeling that something bad was about to happen only got stronger, and my need to make sure I had nothing to fear grew.
We arrived at the hospital and I immediately used my powers to locate Ethan. He wasn’t near Makgatho and Victoria, and that only made more afraid. Without waiting for Kimball, I started heading in the direction I was sure Ethan was, it didn’t take long to realize that I was heading to the cafeteria, and that made me feel better, if he had gone to buy something to eat, then he was safe, there wasn’t a reason to fear he was in trouble.
When I arrived at the cafeteria, I saw Ethan walking out of it from the other side, and I went after him, but at a more relaxed pace, since I could see him and make sure he was safe. He was just a few yards ahead of me when a nurse approached him. The woman looked out of place, and not because she was light skinned when most mzansiers had dark skin, there was a small percentage of light skinned mzansiers, but there was something else about her that made me unease. When she tried to grab Ethan, I put a psychic barrier between them. I saw her surprise and anger at being unable to grab him. It was then that Ethan noticed I was there, because of my powers.
“Mother? What are you doing here? Father said that you were probably going to sleep all day. Are you here to visit my granpa?”
“Who are you?” I asked the woman, ignoring Ethan’s questions. “What do you want with my son?”
“Good morning, I was just trying to see if he was lost, I wanted to take him to his parents,” she explained, but I knew there was something wrong with her.
“What’s going on here?” Kimball asked, he had been following me, but had kept his distance until that moment.
“Do you know her? I have a feeling that that woman doesn’t belong here,” as soon as I spoke the woman tried to escape, but I grabbed her using my powers before she had a chance to get away. If I was suspicious before, her escape attempt only made it worse.
“Kaiserin?” I could tell Kimball didn’t understand the situation, and I was aware that some of my actions could seem a little over the top, and I couldn’t deny that her escape attempt could have been just because she was afraid of me and not because she was hiding something.
“I’m telling you, there’s something wrong with her, you need to see if she is really an employee here and who she is,” I told Kimball, starting to get angry at his lack of action. At least Ethan had moved away from her and closer to me. I put my arm around his shoulders and pulled him closer to me, I wasn’t going to let him out of my sight until I was sure what was going on.
“Alright, I will take care of this, you take Ethan back to my parents,” Kimball said, getting closer to the woman, but that felt wrong, I didn’t want him anywhere near her.
My telepathy usually didn’t work on mzansiers, and because of that I had forgotten that there was a small percentage of the population that didn’t share the immunity most of them had, and that woman was part of that minority, that was if she was really a mzansier and not a foreigner. I pushed my mind to hers and I could read her mind, she was waiting for Kimball to get closer to her so she could use her powers on him.
“Stop, don’t get closer to her. I think she has something to do with the virus attack,” I kept looking into her mind and discovered that she was a biokinetic, and that her power allowed her to transport and transmit the virus, after modifying it to target specific victims. I couldn’t let her near anyone. The worst part was that she wasn’t working alone, I could tell she was part of a bigger group that was using the virus to target and eliminate people they considered traitors to their people. “I will take her to a safe place, somewhere we can keep her isolated so she can’t hurt anyone else.”
“I could ask for the hospital to prepare one of the isolation rooms they use for people with infectious diseases, and lock her up there. She will be at a place where she can’t spread the virus and would be unable to get out,” Kimball suggested.
“Do it,” I said immediately. The woman was watching me with a mixture of fear and hate. I didn’t give her a chance to talk, I just went inside her mind again and started to look for more information on what her plans were.”
I wasn’t able to see the whole plan, I knew her actions were part of a bigger plan, but she was just a small piece of the puzzle and didn’t have much information. From what I could see I knew that she felt incredible hate for the people ruling the country, especially people from my family, because she felt we were betraying her and her people and only caring about our interests. As I looked into her mind, I could see Kimball issuing orders and preparing everything so we could transport the woman to the isolation room, where they would be able to study her powers and the virus she was working with. It was then that I noticed that she was confident she had managed to infect Ethan, and maybe even me.
“What’s wrong?” Kimball asked, noticing the change in me at finding about the possible infection.
“She is part of a bigger group, he has been taking orders from someone else, someone who gathered a bunch of biokinetics and taught them how to use and manipulate the virus to infect people. She was given the chance to go after the people she hated, and she took it, she has been attacking people in the government and people close to them, waiting for the chance to go after her main targets. But that’s not the worst part,” I said, staring at Kimball’s eyes, “she doesn’t need to actually touch people to infect them, just to be near them. She is pretty confident she managed to infect Ethan, and maybe even me.”
“No…” Kimball whispered, trying to process my words, but despite the impact of my words, he never lost his control, he took a deep breath and started yelling orders, before turning his attention back to me. “Don’t worry, this time we have the advantage, I know the virus, and if I was able to save my father, I will be able to help you. Nothing will happen to you or Ethan.”