My initial reaction was just sort of a numb shock. I didn't say anything. I just kind of stared at the picture, wishing it wasn't there. At first it was just the shock of discovering that my Mother was a criminal. Then I realized it also meant she was probably alive. It hadn't yet sunk in that if my mother had dragon blood, I, by extension, also had it. I was taking it one step at a time.
"You ok?" asked Mora.
"Fine," I said, "I'm fine," I didn't want it to get out that my mother was in prison, or that she was a Draconic - they weren't exactly loved by the public right now, what with DOMA and all. Still, I wanted a closer look.
"Can I have a copy of this?" I asked.
"Sure," she answered, "I can get another. I saved it all on to a disc. Why do you want one?"
I am terrible at impromptu lying. I tried to think of a convincing reason, but my imagination failed me. So I told a modified version of the truth.
"She looks familiar," I said, "We might be related, I'd like to find out,"
"If you're related, that'd make you part dragon, wouldn't it?" Mora said, "That'd be sweet!"
That's when it hit me. I was part dragon. If this got out, it could ruin me. Being a white male, I didn't have much experience being discriminated against, and I wasn't eager for that to change. People don't like Draconics. It could keep me out of colleges, work places, any government job... it was just a terrifying prospect to me at the time.
"What do you mean sweet?" I asked. "People hating you, not letting you do things because of something you have no control over, why would that be cool?!"
"Because," answered Mora, "You'd be able to shape change and burn people's houses down if they mistreated you. Despite what some baptist's say, gay people can't do that,"
"Only if I actually go Draconic!" I answered.
"And why wouldn't you?" she asked, "I mean, if you were gonna get the bad part anyway, why not get the benefit's too?"
"Because they put you in Jail!" I answered, "Yes, being a half-dragon sucks, but all they can do is discriminate against you in small places. If you go Draconic, you don't even need to commit a crime. You have no rights,"
"You don't think being able to fly and breathe fire is worth the persecution?" She asked.
"Not really," I answered truthfully.
"Well, all I know is liking women gets me what half-dragons get - all the discrimination with none of the super-powers - and it's not worth it. If I had a choice, I'd take being a Draconic any day,"
"It doesn't matter," I lied. "We're probably not related anyway,"
"Too bad," she answered.
I went back to looking at he paper. There wasn't a huge amount of information on my mother. Her classification was listed as silver. Height: 5' 8 (human); 6'6 (draconic), Weight: 140.
Member of the influential Brimmer family. Married, two children. Suspected leader of the Northern regional cell of the MFA. Has been involved in at least two robberies and one assasination. Currently being held at the Camelot facility.
I desperately wanted to be able to click on that link. My mother, a cell leader for the MFA? Why had this been kept from me? I wanted to find out. I thought about asking my father, but I didn't know how he'd react. There was really only one person I could trust with this, and I decided to try and get in touch with her when I got home.
Just then Zhong approached us, having somehow escaped her side of the cafeteria. That was good. I needed a distraction.
"Zhong!" I called. She looked startled, then saw me and wandered over.
"We need to use your house for plotting," I said, "Is that cool?"
"Tonight?" she asked, "No. My parents are entertaining guests. Some of my dad's investors, very important. Tomorrow good?"
"It'll do," I answered.
"Is that your mother?" asked Zhong, pointing to the papers.
Zhong had been to my house enough times to have seen the pictures, and she had a notoriously photographic memory. So much for keeping this secret. I had to try though.
"No, the resemblance is striking, though, isn't it?" I lied.
"Yes," answered Zhong sarcastically, taking the paper, "And with the same name, too. How unlikely is that?"
"Wait a minute," said Mora, "Your mother? So we weren't talking hypotheticals a minute ago! You're actually a -"
"Shut up!" I said. I lowered my voice, "Guys, seriously, we have to keep this low profile. If it get's out, it could ruin my chances of getting into a good college or getting a good job. I could end up in prison. This isn't a joke,"
"Your secret's safe with me," said Mora, "But I would so start trying to develop your powers,"
"No," I said.
"What a waste," she answered.
"Is this what we're plotting about?" asked Zhong.
"No. It's just something silly. But I'd prefer you not tell anyone about this - even Jason and Fay. Is that alright?" I asked hopefully.
"Don't worry," said Zhong, "I'm good at keeping secrets. I've been holding on to some for years now,"
"Good," I answered, "I need time to figure this out. It might not even be real,"
"Ok," answered Zhong. "I'll see you tomorrow then, no?"
"Yeah," I answered, "See you then."
The bell rang, and we got up to leave. All the way home I went over all this in my head - what I'd do when they came for me, why they hadn't already - I mean they had have my name in a book somewhere, didn't they? I wonderted if I could really trust Mora. And I wondered if my mother really was still alive in some cell somewhere. I didn't know where the answers to these questions were, but I knew where I was going to start looking. I decided to put it out of my head for a while and think about stealing a motorcycle.