Story 21

Posted: November 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

Just something with minimal plot, featuring Beast, Serena, and Nick Taylor.

 

Comparisons

 

Today marked a rare occasion for the Taylor twins. Their younger brother Nick had dropped by for a visit. He’d been around a bit more often since that last incident with Jesse. Nick was part of one branch of the FBI, and had joined for two reasons: to save lives and to impress women. Not that he wanted a lasting relationship, though. He mainly avoided commitment due to work. What was the point of getting married if he knew there was always a risk of dying in the line of duty?

 

And yet Serena never freaked out over what he did for a living. Not like with Beast. Of course, there were differences between their occupations. One worked for the law, basically. But Beast? She had to avoid the law in her line of work, lest she serve a hefty triple digit prison sentence. Best case scenario might have been a life sentence, worst being the death penalty. And that was outside of the city of Hell Bent.

 

Right now, the three were at a local pizza place to catch up. They had ordered the biggest pizza available, half anchovy/half sausage and pineapple. To anyone passing by their table, they looked like a somewhat…unique trio. Two of them had clearly been genetically altered, their fuzzy feline ears poking out of their long dark hair. Serena had elected not to wear a lab coat out for today, but she was still easily recognizable to other members of the scientific community. The name Dr. Serena Taylor was synonymous with both genetics and cybernetics. And Beast was her best-known work.

 

People always wondered what had possessed Serena to create the large hulking slabs of metal, internal wiring, and whatever else was inside of that hefty casing for her sister. She could have at least given her two actual hands rather than one hand, one set of non-retractable claws that she had to keep contained with sheathes. Like right now, for instance. It was also wondered why she was the only one of the pair with glasses. The only vision issue Beast seemed to have was that she needed an eyepatch. How her depth perception wasn’t the worst, they had no idea.

 

And then there was Nick. His skin was darker than his sisters’ supremely pale complexions. And he had no genetic alterations. The only things tying him to those two were his dark hair and light blue eyes. And even then, he did not possess the same patch of crimson at the crown or copper near either side of the face. Seriously, how the hell did this normal-looking guy get mixed up with Dr. Taylor and…nobody knew Beast’s deal, really. And people were afraid to ask for fear of incurring her wrath.

 

“I still have no idea how you two can eat those things,” Nick said as he grabbed a slice of sausage and pineapple.

 

“To be fair,” Serena put in. “We’re not the biggest fan of anchovies. A little too salty. But it’s the closest we’ve been able to get to seafood on it. I tried to sweet talk them into putting, say, tuna or trout…hey, maybe even crab or something…on it. But they always turned my request down. It’s always ‘Order off the menu or get out, Dr. Taylor,’ or ‘We mean it, stop looking at us like that!’…”

 

“Speak for yourself,” Beast told her, carefully pulling an anchovy-laden slice with two of her fingers.

 

Two of her fingers that were much larger than most humans’ fingers. Perhaps even the size of some people’s hands, come to think of it.

 

“So…what have you two been up to?” Nick asked, leaning back in the booth.

 

Serena adjusted her glasses slightly. “Eh, the usual. Work, naps…and from what I understand, there may or may not have been a night where Beast and I went on a catnip bender. Had to hear what happened from Travis and Ivy.”

 

“How is he, anyway?” Nick asked. “I remember he wasn’t doing that well last time I saw him…”

 

“He’s made a full recovery, pretty much. Started going out with Ivy.”

 

“Isn’t she about ten years older than him?”

 

“Yeah. But let’s face it. She doesn’t look like it.”

 

Nick nodded in agreement. His sisters were both in their early 40s. Yet they barely looked a day over 20. He still looked pretty good, himself, but he had found a few gray hairs recently. Hid them well, but he knew they were still there. Was that a perk of lab treatment?

 

“And how about you, Beast?”

 

“Same ol’, same ol’,” Beast told him. “Work’s been slow for the past couple of weeks, but things should pick up soon. Thanks to a bit of unrest in one of those smaller countries, we can probably anticipate a call any day now.”

 

“Dictator?”

 

“Yep. Apparently thinks he’s the biggest genius on the planet. Never seen such a ridiculous blowhard in my life, though… Anyone whose hair makes children cry like that is no genius.”

 

Nick snickered at that last comment, trying not to choke on a chunk of pineapple. He knew of Beast’s assassination work. And were it not for the fact that her group targeted only the most morally bankrupt of targets, targets that likely would have taken a headshot from Nick’s team, anyway, he would have looked down on her work.

 

“Well, best of luck, Beast,” he said.

 

“So…anything new with you, Nick?”

 

Nick grinned, leaning back in the booth again. “Yep. Know that one standoff in Baltimore last week? I was there. Zero casualties, I’m happy to say.”

 

Serena gave him a thumbs up.

 

“Nice job, Nick!”

 

“So…this mean you guys are gonna pay for lunch?” he asked. “A way of congratulating your little brother for a job well done?”

 

Beast crossed her hulking metal arms. “Hey, it was YOUR idea to come here, Nick. You invited us out for lunch…”

 

“Yeah, yeah, I know. Can’t blame a guy for trying, though, right?”

 

“I can and I will. Blame, blame, BLAME!”

 

Serena sank down in her seat. Beast might have been slightly older…but not necessarily the most mature. Of course, Serena knew of her own bouts of immaturity, as well. It helped keep her from going crazy at points, while Beast has been away. And to be honest, she worried about Nick while he was on a case. Standoffs usually involved guns, and that body armor couldn’t protect everything. She was fairly certain that visor on the standard issue helmet wasn’t 100% bulletproof. One well-placed round through that, and they could be planning their little brother’s funeral.

 

But at least she had never had to rebuild any lost limbs for Nick. Not like with Beast. How the arbitrarily oversized arms and legs didn’t dissuade her eluded Serena. She admired her for working with it, but at the same time just had to wonder how she pup up with it.

 

“Must be nice, though,” said Serena.

 

The other two looked at her, eyebrows raised.

 

“Being able to travel for your jobs, I mean. Nick, you’ve probably seen a good portion of the US, right?”

 

“Yeah. Would be great if it wasn’t to track someone down, though. But whenever I get vacation time, it’s not really long enough to have a good vacation and all I really want to do is sleep. Sometimes alone, others…”

 

He smirked.

 

“So, how many kids you have running around out there by now?” Beast asked.

 

“Hey, now…I take precautions…”

 

Beast chuckled. “I figured as much. Just teasing a bit, is all.”

 

She wondered how it was Nick could get through all of these raids, all of these cases, and still come back in one piece. She knew he didn’t only rely on guns and flash grenades and the like. There were times he’d had to get into a physical altercation with an…an unsub, she was pretty sure they called them. Most of the time, she would just call whoever she was after the target. But then, the difference between an unsub and a target was that the latter was not supposed to get out alive. Bringing a target to law enforcement alive was a sign of absolute failure.

 

“Beast, haven’t you gotten to see a lot of the world?” Serena asked.

 

“Yeah. Usually on a job, though. I’d actually love to be able to travel for the sake of helping disadvantaged children. I’m telling you, children love the ears. And foreign dignitaries just sort of view those, the tail, and even the arms and legs as a gimmick. Kinda funny, really. Even though I did hear someone singing Iron Man in Mandarin once when they watched me walk through a hallway.”

 

Nick blinked. “Wait…I thought the point of your job was to not be found out by anyone around…”

 

“This was during a slow period, and we got hired to bodyguard this one guy. Managed to kill his would-be assassin. See, there are a couple of things we won’t take…and one of those is competition from complete asshats.”

 

“Curious term, isn’t it?” Serena asked. “Asshat, I mean.”

 

They thought about that. Yeah, just where DID that term come from?
They eventually finished their pizza, Nick paying for the meal. As they left, Beast and Serena couldn’t help but feel slightly jealous of Nick. He didn’t grow up in the lab. He was actually adopted by someone that didn’t poke him with needles, or touch him in a way that made him uncomfortable. He wasn’t forcibly sterilized and trained as an assassin. And he had never gotten weird looks from people for his ears, or the presence of a tail. Really, the only reason anyone looked down at Nick was because he was 5’3. An inch taller than his older sisters.

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