Friday, December 10, 2004
No part of us
Samantha's awake. She regained consciousness early this morning, around three AM. According to Maureen, the cops weren't planning to tell her what happened right away, figuring that just waking up in your own body wouldn't be quite the shock that waking up a member of the opposite sex would be.
But you notice the differences, apparently. The ironic thing is that Sam must have felt stronger than she did a year ago, when Dmitri stuck her mind into his father's body just because she was afraid of flying, with all the working out that Carter did in that body. Or just looking at her hand and not seeing the black nail polish, seeing her hair blonde and in a neat, short cut in the reflection in the window. She knew some time had passed, but when she found out it was a whole year... Well, she'd at least gotten to see Kill Bill Volume One - you don't come out of a long-term coma feeling stronger than you can ever remember feeling.
I gather the feds spent the entire day with her, trying to piece together what the deal was, since Dmitri hasn't been co-operative, ever. Apparently, the last thing she remembers is going out to the rest home with her boyfriend. He'd gotten her a soda from the machine and opened it, and soon after drinking it she'd gotten sleepy, and the next thing she knew, she was waking up here and now. Are you saying someone else had actually been in her body that whole time? Three someones? Men?!?
Oh, and aside from law enforcement, the only person at the hospital with her overnight had been this redhead who looked at her funny. Maureen opted not to say just why she was gazing at Samantha so intently. So, until further notice, they're just roommates.
Maureen did score some points with Sam based on a chewing-out she gave one of Agent Jones's men who was disappointed that it was Samantha in that body instead of Alexei, because Sam couldn't tell them anything. That Sam'd just been through an incredible trauma and the last thing she needs is hearing people disappointed that she was safe and whole. When she doesn't have her nose in the air, Mo can be pretty great.
Meanwhile, I sat around the FBI office, hoping to get a chance to talk with Carter. Apparently he's telling the FBI everything he knows, but it really isn't much. He didn't know the name of the guy Alexei got the laptop and vials from, the PO Box Nat's men had, um, coaxed out of Alexei was closed out... He is, as Jones puts it, happy to help now that there's not much help he can give.
I'm not sure why it was important for me to see him. Curiosity, in part, about this new person who's half old boyfriend and half old me. I didn't get to see him today; maybe tomorrow.
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?
Sunday, December 05, 2004
Only so many ways one can write "still waiting..."
I've been more or less assuming that Carter wouldn't just disappear, that there'd be some sort of second act coming soon. The idea that this would just mean Carter joining Michelle and Alexei falling in off the map as opposed to some sort of definite knowledge and change... I mean, that's just unfair.
Maureen is in the same pickle, only worse. When I came out, it was a jaw-dropping thing for her, but we weren't exactly close yet; when she came out, at least her folks' reaction was clear-cut if sadly negative. This, though, is torture for her. She's run through dozens of worst-case scenarios, most involving Carter having done something terrible or being dead or not noing what he was doing and both him and Alexei winding up vegetables with there being no way to know who is in which body. I say Nat's more trustworthy than that, that if something had gone horribly wrong, then she would have said something. Mo says we don't really know her that well, though, and more importantly, she doesn't know Carter - she could perhaps live with sacrifying him to punish Alexei.
In a way, though, I think she finds these dark, depressing scenarios kind of comforting compared to the others. Because otherwise, she's sure she's going to have to face Carter-mark-III sometime, and she's not sure how to feel about that. As she points out, we always say it's the person inside that's important, and it's not as if she hasn't dated men before, and it wasn't exactly torture or anything, but...
I don't try to say that who Carter-III would be "inside" would be different from the "Carter-II" she dated or the Carter-I I did (was that really less than a year ago?), although I suppose that might be a little more comforting than the idea that Carter just walking out on her without warning, or a phone call, or anything, on a night that was hugely important to her, says that maybe we didn't know this guy as well as we thought.
So, we've tried to keep distracted. We've gone to movies, ate out a couple of times even though we should be trying to pinch a few pennies, even went down to Games People Play and bought puzzles and board games to kill time with.
We went to the FBI office on Friday; they've got a map on the wall with a disturbingly small number of push-pins stuck into it - a few in Boston, a couple in Seattle, and some concetric circles around the two cities showing how far Carter could reasonably gotten from either city without flying. Even the ones from Seattle now encompass the entire country, so it's needle-in-a-haystack time.
Soon, we've got to start figuring out what we do instead of waiting for a break in this case, rather than while we wait. It sucks, but there it is. The feds are concentrating on the Atlanta area now - Carter's familiar with it and it doesn't have as dense a population of federal agents who know what's going on as Boston. Maybe he'd get back together with that old girlfriend, or at least go to her for help. That's my best idea. There's another nibbling at the back of my head, but... Well, I think I'd like to check something out or talk to the agents before posting it on the web for everyone (including Carter) to see.