After a few moments hesitation, Tenenbaum and Eleanor were following Alice deeper into the dark recesses of the ship. She was leading them mostly by memory, but if she'd needed to she could have simply followed the scent. Alice remembered the smell of Adam to be far stronger, and much sweeter. But, she supposed, that must have been part of the conditioning, too. Her mind wondered to questions of why she could smell it at all then. Normal people, even allot of Splicers, are unable to smell the mutagen. So if I can still smell it, that means I'm not completely human. But I'm not a Little Sister either. I'm just... stuck, somewhere in between.

Once in the dark of the hallways, Alice allowed her left hand to cradle a sore spot on her right arm. Sore, because not ten minutes ago, she'd had an epiphany. And from that epiphany, certain actions had been taken. Even before this epiphany, though, she'd felt that had she only been stronger, only knew how to fight better, she could have fought off those Big Sisters. She could have burned them with a fury so hot that the glass portholes on their masks would have melted. But she'd hidden, she'd cared only for herself. That meant that getting her Sisters back was her responsibility, and hers alone.

The biggest problem standing in her way was the fact that Tenenbaum and Eleanor were both geniuses. Literally, certifiably, geniuses. How was she supposed to rescue her Sisters before they could? She stood right where she'd been for the last little while, in the bridge, trying to find a solution. She was wracking her brain but she just wasn't smart enough. She could never be as smart as those two.

That's when the thought appeared. A single moment in time she could look back to, and know with absolute certainty that she'd entered that instant in time and was changed on some fundamental level by the next. There was more Adam downstairs than any one person could ever consume, and then some. If she were to take a little for herself, no one would ever know. No one would ever care. Her palms had begun to sweat at the mere idea of what she was thinking. Could she really do that? Why not she thought. I used to do it all the time.

But there was a difference, and she knew it. She'd had no choice before. She'd been a puppet to satisfy other people's needs. But now she had a choice. Could she really do that to herself? Sacrifice her humanity, just like that... A little voice spoke inside her head then, a voice scarily similar to her own that seemed to suck the warmth from the air around her. "I'm not completely human, " the voice said. "I'm stuck somewhere in between."

"I don't have to worry about losing it, " she murmured to herself. "It was already taken from me."

Some searching around for a Brain Booster II and a little prick later - one that hurt a lot more than she thought it would have - Alice was feeling equally nauseous and satisfied. Electricity jumped from her fingertips and raced up her arms, leaving a pleasurable warmth in its path. They were followed just after by the sparks in her mind, starting out slowly but picking up speed. Thoughts began to stream through her mind at a mile a minute. It went faster and faster like some kind of demented carnival ride from hell, and it felt like every thought that she'd ever had was trying to run their way through her head. Then, just as the sparks that were still scattering across her skin began to die, her mind was starting to slow back down from its breakneck speed.

Or so she thought. As soon as she started wondering how she'd get to the Sisters first, her mind flew off again. But this time, it wasn't the mad whirlwind of seemingly random thoughts, but concentrated on a single point. A hundred possibilities played out before her very eyes, as if these were not her thoughts but those of someone else that she was being privileged with viewing. It wasn't long before she had a winner. The plan was so obvious, she almost wanted to smack herself.

Take a vial of Adam and mix it with some sedatives from the medical room. Offer it to Eleanor as some Adam for the trip, and sneak a sedative needle into Tenenbaum when she's watching Eleanor go down for her nap. Then, just drain enough Adam from Eleanor to gain her teleportation plasmid. Easy. Another surge of electricity arced across her spread fingers, built up to a blinding intensity in the palm of her hand, then discharged against the metal walls. For some reason, she felt a smug smile tugging at her lips. Easy.

And so far, it was. The piece of her plan that she'd thought would be the hardest to pull off had fallen right into her lap. She hadn't needed to be cunning, or convincing, or even deceptive. Eleanor had been just about asking for some Adam right as Alice was coming up the stairs.

The little mark on her arm where it had been pierced by the needle was nearly invisible, only a faint pink dot remained. Superhuman healing powers was apparently one thing that she retained after having been 'saved', even if it was of a lesser extent. It was, however, still causing her some minor discomfort.

"Alice?" Eleanor asked. The innocent sounding request was enough to send a wave of panic to pass down her spine, but it was nothing that she couldn't crush. At least, she thought, if I start to turn invisible, we're in the dark.

"Yes?" Alice replied, keeping all of the fear from her tone, and even managing to flash Eleanor a smile.

"Are you ok?"

Again a bit of fear creeped into her mind, but maybe that was only natural. After all, performers get butterflies before the big show, and this was the biggest performance of her young life. The feeling lasted for a moment before it passed, and she tried to mentally prepare herself for wherever this exchange could land them. "Yeah, I'm fine, " she said casually. Then as if it were some kind of afterthought, asked "Why do you ask?"

"You just, kind of..." Eleanor seemed to be struggling with her words, but Alice noticed that Eleanor had started to mimic the way she was holding her arm.

Alice let out a little laugh, a genuine laugh. The first since having her world shattered at Eleanor's hand. She laughed out of relief; she'd been thinking that Eleanor might have noticed that she was nervous. The laugh served another purpose, though. She was buying herself some time to come up with an excuse. "I'm fine. Just a little cold, " she said, then rubbed her arm for added effect. "Not all of us get nice warm suits. Or shoes."

That was the last thing Eleanor said the whole way, her cheeks flushed a slight red. Alice could only guess that she was embarrassed, though why she wasn't sure. Or maybe she was upset for not having thought of that herself? It really doesn't matter, Alice told herself. Whatever the reason, just be grateful.

The End

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