After I got dressed, I realized I was exhausted and famished.
"It'll do that to you," said Teresa, handing me another banana, "These things are real life-savers. I think you've had enough for today. I'll take you home,"
We headed back downstairs. Pat intercepted us in the hallway. I had the strange feeling he'd been waiting for us.
"How'd he do?" he asked excitedly, "He was a natural, wasn't he? Just like his mother,"
"I wouldn't know about his mother," answered Teresa, "She trained me, remember? But he did fine for his first time,"
"I'm sure he did," said Pat. He turned to me, "You're gonna lead us all to victory some day, kid. The day is coming. I can feel it,"
"Pat..." growled Teresa as she led me away.
"Long live the Brimmers!" he yelled, giving a funny sort of salute as we walked off.
"Don't let the loyalists get to your head," said Teresa as we climbed into her car, "The last thing the MLA needs right now is a civil war. You can come to power the way anyone else would - by making a name for yourself and being elected,"
"I'm really not planning on running for office any time soon," I answered, truthfully. Then I decided to change subjects.
"How old are you?" I asked.
"It's not polite to ask a woman her age," she replied with a wan smile, "Besides, I couldn't date you anyway, it'd be a conflict of interest,"
I was somewhat embarrassed she'd taken it that way. "No, " I answered, "Not what I meant at all. I was just thinking if my mother trained you, you must have been a lot younger than me when you started,"
"Not too much younger," she said, "You're, what, fifteen?"
"Sixteen," I corrected her.
"I was twelve," she said, "But then, girls mature faster than boys. I was a bit of a special case, though,"
"What happened," I asked.
"My father was an operative with the NA," Teresa began, "Somehow he let his real name get out and a couple of dragon hunters came into our house one night. That was when I found out. You can imagine how terrified I was, as a twelve year old girl, watching my father turn into a monster and burn two men to death. The third one got him, though. They killed my mother too - she was a civilian, probably with as much idea about dad's day job as me. I hid in the cupboard under the sink - he never found me. The police we had called never showed up - the vamps had the sherriff under their command by then. Quentin's family took me in, and Lisa volunteered to train me. A year into that she was captured on patrol,"
What do you say to something like that? I had no idea that's what her like had been like. There was an akward silence.
"I'm sorry," I said, after a while.
"Why?" she answered, "It all happened before you were born. I'm over it now. It's been a few years,"
The rest of the trip was pretty quiet. I couldn't think of much else to say. Eventually, though, something did come to mind,"
"What was she like?" I asked. "My mother, I mean. I've heard about her from my father, but I'm starting to get the feeling he didn't know the whole story..."
"Oh, Wallace knew far more than he ever let on. He's a smart guy. But don't talk about Lisa like she's dead. I maintain hope we'll rescue her some day. As soon as we figure out where "Camelot" is, we have people in every faction ready to storm the place,"
"Camelot?" I asked
"The secret facility where they hold part humans and other magic users. We've managed to access a number of secret files, but none that help us ascertain it's location. It's one of our major goals,"
"I thought my family wasn't terribly popular right now," I asked, "Why would rescuing my mom be such an important deal?"
"Because Lisa's not the only one being held at Camelot. Our top geneticist and at least twenty-three other operatives are there. The personel boon alone is enough to make it a target. Now that I think about, I probably ought to stop discussing this with you. Your security clearance is about two levels below mine,"
"Ok," I answered. I'd absorbed just about as much as I could that day anyway. As we got out of the car, Teresa handed me a cassette tape and a plastic card.
"Listen to the tape," she said. "You won't understand a word of it now, but it'll help you later. That's your security card. Show it to any one of our people, but only after you've seen theirs. Otherwise, keep it hidden,"
The card had my face in one corner and a purple background with a silver stripe diagnolly across it. It did not appear to have any writing on it.
Teresa drove away and I came inside, prepared to tell my parents about my first day of self-defense classes.