Debra Feinberg’s notes. December 24th, 20XX
(This is my recollection of my conversation with Charlie after we met that psychopath sociopath. I have a pretty accurate memory, but I’m not mentioning where we were, just in case someone finds this. Who am I writing this for? I don’t know, maybe to myself? That sounds perfectly reasonable. Ugh.)
ME: Are you out of your Goddamned mind?
CHARLIE: I don’t think so.
ME: Because trusting her is crazy.
CHARLIE: I never said I trust her-
ME: -But you think she’s telling the truth.
CHARLIE: It makes a kinda sense.
ME: One of the first rules of journalism is to consider the source. She is an extremely unreliable source!
CHARLIE: I know.
ME: Do you?
CHARLIE: Deb, I understand why you’re cautious.
ME: I’m not cautious. Cautious is when you do a week’s worth of research on what new smartphone to buy. I’m justifiably paranoid.
CHARLIE: I’m not saying to take everything she said at face value but isn’t it possible that what she said was true?
ME: Very, very, very, very, VERY unlikely.
CHARLIE: That’s a whole lot of verys.
ME: Please don’t be charming right now!
CHARLIE: You think… Sorry.
ME: Okay, let’s look at the facts. This woman destroyed a large part of downtown Flagstaff as well as a good chunk of the surrounding area.
ME: She then is whisked away by government agents from an unnamed agency.
CHARLIE: Where she is held in spite of her legal rights.
CHARLIE: You don’t agree?
ME: I do! But she’s dangerous so I’m… conflicted.
CHARLIE: That’s understandable.
ME: Thanks. Anyway, this shadow agency, God I can’t believe I just said that, experiments on her and uses her as a weapon. And the reason they can do this is that there is a code that will nullify her enhancements which allows them to control her.
CHARLIE: That’s not right, even given what she’s done.
ME: She listed a half dozen “assignments” she was sent on. All those people she murdered are really dead, though the media clearly doesn’t know what actually happened. If she’s not just lying.
CHARLIE: Why would she lie?
ME: She’s crazy.
CHARLIE: Maybe, but I don’t think she’s making it up.
ME: I don’t either. I just wish she was.
CHARLIE: Me too.
ME: So now she’s on the run hiding from this shadow agency because they cannot turn her off anymore. It sounds like a cheesy old TV show. But that is just burying the lead. You have an off switch.
CHARLIE: That’s not great.
ME: No, it’s not.
CHARLIE: The government hasn’t used it on me, or even threatened to use it.
ME: Of course not, you’re the reason most people aren’t afraid of enhanced types. You stopped a literal super-villain.
CHARLIE: I suppose so.
ME: So they don’t mention to you how they can take your abilities away with a few keystrokes. I’m sure they think of it as insurance if you ever went off the rails. Not that you ever would.
CHARLIE: It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
ME: Me too.
(We sat there for a bit, maybe five minutes? Honestly, I didn’t keep track.)
CHARLIE: She did tell us how to fix that.
ME: I don’t like it.
CHARLIE: I don’t need to get caught in a nuclear blast. A low-yield one.
ME: Adding low-yield doesn’t make it sound any better!
CHARLIE: I know! I not going to do that.
ME: You better not.
CHARLIE: Scout’s honor.
ME: You were an Eagle Scout, weren’t you?
CHARLIE: I was. I mean, I suppose I still am.
ME: So, according to her, it was the EMP that reset her quantum-level enchantments.
CHARLIE: Does that make sense? Scientifically?
ME: No. Yes. Maybe? This stuff is way beyond anything we can do.
CHARLIE: Except, it isn’t.
ME: Except it isn’t. Honestly, I don’t know.
CHARLIE: So it could work?
ME: It could. Or it could kill you. Or do nothing.
CHARLIE: I think it’s worth a chance.
ME: I don’t know. I don’t trust her.
CHARLIE: She trusted us. We could’ve turned her in. Why put herself in more danger by talking to us. It would be smarter to just disappear. She had nothing to gain by telling me and everything to lose.
ME: You’re… right.
CHARLIE: How can you get an EMP without a nuclear blast?
ME: Actually, that might be easier than you think.
ME: I know a lot of scientists and engineers. I can make some calls.
CHARLIE: You are so cool!
ME: You should hear me sing Tom Lehrer’s The Elements.
CHARLIE: I’m kinda excited.
(At this point I kissed him and he kissed me back. Is it important to this story? It is to me.)
ME: Hold on.
CHARLIE: Do you want me to stop?
ME: Yes. I mean no, but something just occurred to me. That Christmas card, it had directions on where and when to meet her, right?
CHARLIE: It was pretty clever. The message was interwoven into the pattern on the card. Only someone like me could’ve read it.
ME: Could you make a message like that?
CHARLIE: Oooph. I think you’d need some special tools to do that.
ME: So, whoever sent the message is working with her.
CHARLIE: Whatta ya know? A Chrismukkah miracle.
ME: It’s something.
(The rest is none of your business.)