Thursday, December 09, 2004
I don't know whether to take pleasure in my idea being right, or feel bad that I was right but not able to do anything about it, or just figure that I suppose things ended up for the best. Agent Jones is viewing it as an entirely mixed bag, but of course I figure it'll be his idea by the time he writes his report.
Simply put, I figured the FBI was looking for Carter in the wrong place by looking in Atlanta. What they were forgetting, or at least not paying enough attention to, was that Nat had snagged four vials of nano-things, color coded in two pairs. Sure, Carter would be happy just using one, but that would just leave Alexei in Sam's body. Natalie has had nine months to fume about "Martin" leaving her, and I honestly don't think she would consider "being a girl" punishment enough for Alexei. I mean, Nat's never viewed it as a bad thing, right, and I seem okay with it, so maybe if Alexei just gave it a couple months he wouldn't mind.
And there was a better way to hurt Alexei, one which would also, as far as she knew when she contacted me, fix everything. Switch me and Alexei, then stick Alexei back in his old body. Bodies and minds matched up, the poor girl who had been trapped in a coma just because Alexei and his son Dmitri figured she could drop off the face of the earth without anyone knowing gets set free... Neat and tidy. And I figured when Carter showed up and gave Nat the rest of the information, she'd figure that someone who wanted to be a man again could be, she'd still be resurrecting someone, and Alexei would be back in the hell of nothingness where he belonged.
The FBI didn't really take this theory seriously. After all, why go back someplace where people are looking for you, and what does Carter care about Samantha, anyway? I tried saying that I knew Carter, the original one, and he was a guy who served his country and was pretty cool all around, but they were skeptical. They'd put an agent on the nursing home, but it was a tough place to stake out.
Mo liked the idea. Jen liked it even more, and her fiancé really liked the idea of Boston cops getting the collar after the FBI had cut him and his colleagues out of the loop back in April. He talked to some of his friends, and off-duty BPD have been sort of hanging around the coma ward where "Alexei Gubanov" has been resting for the past few days. As have Maureen and I.
I figured if it didn't happen within a week, it wouldn't happen at all - Carter would know just how scrawny Samantha's body is, but how long could he hold her? I really don't think he's a sadist like Dmitri was when it was him in that body. So, as soon as he got back to Boston, he'd be trying it.
That was this morning.
I had a hunch; maybe that feminine intuition is finally kicking in. I called in sick from work, took the train out, and waited. Around eleven AM, as I was going to grab something from the vending machine, I saw someone out of the corner of my eye. I ran back to the room, and, bang, it was happening. "Alexei Gubanov" was having something injected into an IV. And the guy in the white suit doing the injecting was... me.
Yeah, I still thought "me". It was the first time I'd seen my original body in almost a year and a half, and I caught myself moving my hand to see if he would, too, like a mirror. He froze, and I just said Carter's name, no inflection or anything, and he nodded.
I told him he shouldn't do this, that it was wrong, and, besides, the Feds probably had a lot of questions they wanted to ask Alexei. He said that "little Lexie" had already answered a lot of questions, and he and Nat would be all too happy to tell the authorities what they had found out. And, come on, was this any more "wrong" than just leaving Samantha trapped in there?
I said I didn't know, but let's talk with the cops, okay? He said sure, followed me out, and then when we were in the hallway, said he should probably talk to a lawyer and pulled out his cell phone. I was still kind of weirded out that I didn't ask where he got the cell phone. He pushed a single button, then closed it back up, and I thought oh shit and screamed for Carlos and the nurses.
The nurses would have been coming in a second or two anyway, as the EEG machines the FBI had hooked up to "Alexei Gubanov" spiked, and his heartbeat accelerated and... Well, you get the idea. Carlos tackled Carter, put the cuffs on him, said he was being arrested for impersonating a doctor (a total freaking bluff on his part), while I asked him where he had put the girl, and the laptop, and he exercised his right to remain silent.
Carlos called for backup; I ran out into the parking lot. The FBI guy hadn't even been on the premises; he had been getting lunch. I expect Agent Jones tore him a new one. He went inside while I started searching cars; I found Samantha unconscious in the back of a rental with Washington plates.
An ambulence was called to bring her into town, and I rode with her. Best medical facilities in the world in downtown Boston, you know, but the doctors didn't want to do anything when the feds explained that there was some sort of "unknown designer drug" in her bloodstream, "primarily her brain". They just hooked her up to every machine that goes ping known to man and said she looked fine. They drew a little blood then waited. When Maureen arrived half an hour later, she hadn't woken up; four hours after that, when the nurse said a Special Agent Khalil Jones wanted to talk to me, now, there was no change.
Jones looked pained. I'd made the bureau look very stupid, he said, but he was inclined to let me slide on that because otherwise they would never have known that there'd been more swapping going on. They'd spent the last few hours quizzing "Martin" about Carter Drummond's life, just to make sure. Carter was claiming that Alexei had had a fit of conscience and went back into his own body willingly. It sounded like bull, but it also sounded like a story that would be tough to disprove, especially if the highly-sympathetic new mother out in Seattle backed him up, "what with nobody who remembered being Alexei available for questioning." Then he cursed that even though the agents had found the laptop with a brand new Bluetooth adapter plugged in next to the antenna apparatus in a supply closet, happily reporting that it had received its signal and sheparded some ungodly number of electrical impulses to complementary neurons.
As I was leaving, I heard some of the agents arguing over what they should do with Carter. Some were saying that what he did to Alexei-Samantha and Samantha-Alexei was murder, or one murder and one assisted-suicide, others were saying it was equivelent to that but no court would ever bring him up on charges without actual dead corpses, and others saying that he should be let go because he did the right thing.
Hell if I know. Intellectually, I think he ripped two people apart in order to put two others back together, but... I mean, he was doing it to put something together that people with lesser motivations had taken apart. Fixing it, in a way.
But, then again, Samantha hasn't woken up yet. What if we've just been extremely lucky that a process which lifts the entire contents of someone's brain and dumps it into another has worked so well up until now?
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