No Good Deed
Copyright© 2019 by Lumpy
One of the frustrating realities of life is that, just because you’re resolved to do something, doesn’t mean you can jump right into action
“ ... and with all of his followers gone, he won’t have the power base to cause any more problems,” I said as I finished explaining the plan we’d come up with to Jawarski, Carter and Levi.
“Finally,” Carter huffed. “I was wonder how long you were going to let this sit out there. He’s unstable enough that, as long as he has the ability, there’s a chance he could cause trouble.”
“I don’t disagree that it’s a good idea to take care of him,” Levi added, his fingers stroking his chin. “I think you need to consider the dangers going at him will cause.”
“He’s a danger every minute he’s breathing,” Carter said ominously.
“Yes, but right now he has his flock to protect. Sure, he’s volatile, but he has something to lose. You take that away from him, and there’ll be nothing holding him back.”
“I get that,” I said in response to Levi, “but I want him out of the picture. We’ve been dealing with his crap for a year, and I’m through with it. Will he be more dangerous after we break his world? Yes, but if we let things stay as they are, he’ll still have the potential of going off the deep end, with enough backing that he might be able to succeed.”
“You just want to hurt him,” Jawarski said.
“Yes, but that doesn’t make my reasoning wrong. Look, I’ve considered your argument, and I still say it’s time to deal with him. Either he’s a problem now or he’s a problem later, but we all know he’s going to make trouble for us.”
“Is taking him on while we’ve got the Syndicate out there gunning for us a good idea,” Jarwarski said.
“Probably not. But he keeps hurting people I care about. The longer we leave him able to do that, the more damage he’ll do, and I’m done. I know you guys are looking out for my best interest, s and I appreciate it, but my mind’s made up.”
“No problem Cas,” Levi said. “I just wanted to make sure you looked at all the angles.”
“That’s what you guys are for,” I said with a smile, slapping him on the shoulder. “So, I guess we need to get several of your people together to start dosing his followers. It probably needs to be done by any of any people you have that’ve gone through the change, or at least won’t ask questions.”
“All of our people have gone through the change,” Jawarski said. “We’re able to guarantee a loyal security staff and guarantee they’re in constant peak physical condition. We’d be idiots not to rely on that.”
“All of them? I’m not sure I like that idea.”
“Like I give a crap what you like,” Jawarski said with a sneer.
“Cas,” Levi said, casting a side glance at Jawarski, “we all knew you’d have a problem with it, but Beth’s right. Considering what we’re up against, we couldn’t leave room for anyone we don’t trust working security for you guys.”
“Do any of them...”
“Kid, drop it. Let us run our people,” Carter said.
“Fine,” I said, knowing there was no way I was going to talk Jawarski and Beth into anything. I wasn’t going to drop it, but this was something I’d have to work on Levi about, since he was the most reasonable of the three. “So, about going after the preacher. How soon can we get your people out there?”
“That’s the part of your plan that won’t work,” Jawarski said.
“Why not? Dosing them is the whole plan. Considering how casual you are about changing your employees, I’m surprised you have a problem with this.”
“I have no problem with it, or at least not the idea of it. What I have a problem with is the porposed execution. You can’t go change all of his people right away.”
“Because if all of his people come down sick all at the same time, and then bail on him, it’s going to raise a red flag,” Carter said. “It might not make him jump right to someone chemically brainwashing his people, but he’s going to notice the coincidence.”
“It’s not brainwashing,” I said defensively.
“We know that,” Levi said diplomatically, shooting another glance, this time at Carter. “But his point still stands. We need to do this strategically. A mass exodus or his whole flock getting sick, with the exception of your girlfriend’s parents, will make him twig to something. We need to be smarter about it.”
“Ok,” I said. That hadn’t occurred to me when I came up with the plan, but it made total sense. In my defense, I’d come up with the plan on the fly while being pissed at Tami’s parents. It’s one of the reasons I brought it to them in the first place. “So what do we do then?”
“We do it a little at a time, take them in sets,” Jawarski said. “We’ll look at it and work it up. My first thought is we need to do it at least by family groups. If we do one parent, but not the other, at the same time, we’ll end up tearing those families apart like your girlfriends.”
“That I don’t want to do. These people are his victims too, in a way. I want to minimize any damage to them as much as possible.”
“We’ll do our best,” Levi said. “Just be prepared for this to take some time, ok?”
“Yeah, I get it.”
I groused as they went off to plan their move. I knew I shouldn’t be unhappy, really. This is why I brought it to them in the first place. When it came to something like this, experience was the most important thing. My error had been clear to all three of them, probably as soon as I finished explaining it. Once they pointed out the problem with my plan, it was pretty obvious. That didn’t make me any happier about it though. Once your mind is made it, its only natural to want to get moving.
So, I had to wait.
Thankfully, there always seemed to be a distraction around the corner. The latest distraction came two days later when Alex and Mom told me and the girls they wanted to talk with us. That alone was enough to pique my interest, since things that involved both Mom and Alex rarely involved the girls, and stuff that involved the girls and me rarely involved Alex. Unless it was an update on some study she was running on our particular subset of the change, which as far as I was aware of, she wasn’t.
“Cas, how has school been?” Mom asked when we all sat down.
“Fine I guess. Honestly we’ve had so much to deal with, I haven’t been paying as much attention as I probably should.”
“How about the rest of you?” Mom asked.
They all said variations on what I’d said. It hadn’t occurred to me that I was dropping so much on them, but they’d been as involved in other projects as I had been, and had let attention on school slip too.
“When you say you’ve not paid attention, did you notice how that affected your grades?”
“Not really. Actually, since the report cards at the end of last semester, I’m not sure I’ve seen any of my grades. I hadn’t actually thought about it until just now.”
“Because you’ve been so caught up in other things?”
“That’s because we asked your teachers to hold your grades back at the beginning of this semester.”
“Why?” Zoe asked.
“We wanted to look into some things. I’d noticed how little attention you kids were putting on school, and Alex thought this would be a time to test something she’d been working on.”
“Which is?” I prompted.
“From observing all of you, following your grades, which Angela was providing me, and additional tests I’d been running on new samples from you, I was pretty sure you were all continuing to evolve.”
“I thought you said you knew the girls were still evolving, since they weren’t at the point to ... uhh...” I paused, realizing where the sentence was going and turning red.
“Reproduce with you?” Tami offered helpfully, which caused my face to turn more red.
“Yeh. You said you thought they would continue to change until we were biologically compatible again.”
“I said I thought they were, and I still do. But its more than that. They’re not the only ones still evolving. You are too.”
“Really? But, I thought I was the next evolutionary step already.”
“We haven’t been sure, but I think you’re still progressing towards that. We know that you went from seemingly normal biology to what you are now at some point after the onset of puberty. I have your medical records Margaret got from the state when they adopted you, and you’d had several tests over the years that would have identified what we see now from you. So we know when you were a child, your biology at least appeared normal, and didn’t start mutating to the point where it was noticeable until some point after you were adopted, again, probably at puberty.”
“We knew that already.”
“We also knew that the changes you went through didn’t all happen at once. While you were well into the change by the time I was able to start investigating your biology, it seems pretty clear it was a progressive change.”
“Ok, by why do you think I’m continuing to change?”
“It’s just supposition, at the moment. We have nothing to compare your genetics to, and a lot of it isn’t something that shows up in blood tests. It’s hard to gauge things like intelligence in any kind of quantitative way that takes into account your biology.”
“Because we couldn’t do it medically, we decided to start using other things. Keep in mind, this is not definitive and is pretty subjective, but we’ve been using your grades and tracking the time you all spend studying and preparing for school. Would it surprise any of you to learn that you’ve all scored a perfect score on every assignment and test you’ve taken since we started tracking your grades this semester?”
“Not really,” Vicki said. “We pretty much did that last semester too.”
“Yes, but you actually spent time studying last semester. Except to complete homework, we haven’t seen any of you study. Are we wrong?”
I thought back to over the last several months. I’d always seemed to have things that needed to be done, so I hadn’t actually paid much attention before she asked.
“No, I hadn’t thought about it, but you’re right. I haven’t studied once this semester.”
The girls all said the same thing after they thought about it.
“We’ve also been working with your advisers, we’ve had them gradually increase the difficulty of your work. We’re to the point now where they’ve been consulting professors at U of H to build lesson plans. For all intends and purposes, you five are doing sophomore level college courses now, not studying, and acing everything that goes in front of you.”
“Really? But, I hadn’t noticed it getting any more difficult...”
“Like you said, you’ve been really distracted. And we’ve tried to do it gradually, increasing the speed of study as you master previous lessons, cutting out any time spent on incremental lessons or review. We hadn’t planned on moving this fast, but as you shrugged off every increase in difficulty, your teachers took it as a challenge to throw more and more at you. Honestly, I’m a little worried we may have taken it too far. They’ve started asking questions we’d rather not answer.”
“But it does tell us that your capacity for learning has increased. You were doing well last year, but not this well,” Alex said. “We looked at your grades and while you were all scoring well, it wasn’t perfect scores on everything.”
“So what does this mean?” I asked.
“We’ve discussed it,” Mom said after a sidelong glance to Alex, “and we think the best thing we can do is get you placed out of your next two years. It’s not unheard of, but placing out of two years isn’t normal either. The fact that five of you will be doing it at once is going to raise some attention, but since it’s something that does happen, we think it’s better than the alternative.”
“You stay in school, perhaps evolve further over the next two years, and through regular contact with educators they notice how really gifted you are. We don’t know when, or even if, your evolution is going to stop, and we don’t know where it’s going. The longer you’re in contact with people trained to evaluate and notice how students perform, the more risk we have. We think getting all of you graduated early is our best bet. It also solves a different issue we had.”
“What do do with you guys next year, since you’d no longer be in the same school district. We’d discussed home schooling, but, I’m not sure Alex or I, even having gone through the change, will be able to keep up with you five. We’re seeing more divergence between people going through the full change and those of us who’ve gone through the lesser version of the change. I’m not sure if any of us are qualified to teach you to the level you could achieve.”
“So then what do we do next year?” Zoe asked.
“That would be up to you. While our plan has always been sending you to a good college, things have clearly changed. We aren’t sure traditional education is the way to go. One, it introduces the same danger you’re running into from teachers now. Two, like I said, you five have advanced to a degree we aren’t equipped to cope with. I think, maybe, you just keep doing what you’re doing. It’s not like we have to worry about your being able to support yourselves when you ‘grow up’, and you’ve clearly found what you want to do.”
“Huh,” was all I could say as I processed it.
We were all young enough that ‘the future’ still seemed to be more schooling, with our post school lives an amorphous, undefined thing. Being confronted with the idea of jumping ahead, straight to the end game, was hard to really contemplate.
She wasn’t wrong, of course. We’d already started on what we wanted to do, long term. Next Step was the real goal, a way to solve issues and hopefully, find a way to spread our evolution through to the rest of the planet. Even the company was just a way to facilitate that. And since we were figuring this out as we went, it was hard to see what, exactly, we’d be getting from future education and training. On top of that, they were right. It hadn’t occurred to me how noticeable we’d be to people who worked with kids every day. Of course, once it was pointed out it was hard not to see.
“But do we all want to graduate two years early? If the idea was not to draw attention to us, I’d think that wouldn’t be the way to do it. We aren’t in a large school district. The idea of having five students all graduate two years early has to draw some attention. Wouldn’t it be better to just, pretend to be more normal at school.”
“We thought about that,” Mom said, “but there are two big problems with that. One, it would be obvious to anyone who knows you guys, especially if they’ve already been working with you, that you were holding back. That would create even more questions as they asked why. Two, we don’t want to hold you guys back. You’ve already started on some amazing stuff. The last thing we want to do is delay that, just to keep you hidden. Especially since we don’t think it would be all that successful at hiding you.”
“So, how do we do this?”
“We’ve already been talking to your principal. There will be some testing but, like I said, this isn’t an unknown. Other kids, have tested out early. Two years isn’t even the earliest it’s happened. There have been kids starting college as yearly as eleven or twelve, so you guys wouldn’t be shattering any records. The only thing that will draw attention is that there are so many of you at one time. We’ll work with your principal to try and keep that attention as minimal as possible, but...”
She trailed off, letting the thought sit.