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by Marc Singer
Body and Soul part two

Anne finally had to let Rich fall back to the bed, exhausted, after the third time. She didn't even feel tired, though she was sweating and panting for sweet, cool breath. But Rich couldn't keep up with her any more—perhaps there was a downside to being an invulnerable superwoman, after all.

Not much of one, she had to admit as she fell down onto the mattress next to Rich. "You okay?" she asked him.

"Uh, yeah," he said, rubbing himself where she'd first held him when they tumbled into the bed. His back would be feeling that one for days. "I guess we just have to get used to your strength, that's all." He chuckled in spite of his injuries. "Man, you enjoyed yourself."

Anne smiled. "No fooling a telepath, Rich. You didn't mind it much, either."

Rich sighed. "It's been a while, hasn't it? Seven months, maybe, or eight?"

"Too long," Anne murmured, basking in postcoital warmth. She really wanted to light up a cigarette, but knew she shouldn't. "How could I let it go that long?"

"I mean, I understood we couldn't be together while I was—away. Or recovering from that ordeal." Rich snuggled a little closer, afraid to even bring up the subject—but then again, she was a telepath, and would probably learn how he felt anyway. "But after I was, you know, better, and we were getting back together... well, I wondered why we didn't... try to patch things up. Like they were before."

"I was so pent up," Anne said, realizing it for the first time. "My body was crying for it, but the mind—" Anne laughed. "The past doesn't matter now. From tonight on, I'm going to start listening to my body."

"Souns good t'me," Rich mumbled, drifting towards sleep. Then he shifted painfully onto one of his aching shoulders, yelled, and said, "Next time, I hope your body says 'safety first.' We ain't all 'nvulnerble..."

Rich slipped right into sleep, but Anne just lay awake and smiled, triumphant in her two conquests of the evening.

Anne and Rich, and Harvey in his cot at Omega House, all slept very late the next day. After all, they'd been up until the early hours of the morning (especially Anne and Rich). The rest of the world was up and working on time, however, and that included the staff of Detroit General Hospital. It also included the guards, completely blatant in the black suits, sunglasses and earphones that were supposed to provide anonymity, who were watching over one very special patient.

And, although the guards were unaware of it, this patient was also awake. He waited until the guards were changing shifts and, without benefit of opening an eyelid or giving any other sign of consciousness, he sat up and punched the medical attendant on the back of her head.

It was an extremely light punch, however, and it barely fazed the attendant. She screamed, and pressed the panic button.

The patient leapt out of bed, involuntarily yelping as he ripped out the now-useless I.V. tubes and other medical equipment from his body. He threw a harder punch this time, winding the attendant but still not knocking her out. Two guards charged into the room, and the patient, panicked, pounced on them as well. He realized, all too late, that they hadn't drawn their weapons yet.

But he'd already attacked them, so they replied in kind. The patient's blows didn't faze them in the least, and he had to use stronger and stronger punches on them. Meanwhile, they were trapping him in a body lock—one which elicited a cry of "Hey, that hurts!" from the patient.

"It's meant to hurt, Morgan, you crazy son of a bitch," hissed one of the guards. "Now what the hell is the meaning of this?"

Realization dawned in the patient's eyes. "Morgan? Morgan... of course! Sorry, boys, but I have to be leaving."

"Not in this life," said the second guard. "And once your buddies get up here, we're gonna find out exactly what's ailing you."

"My buddies?" Morgan cried. "Oh, shit. Gotta run." Morgan stopped his obviously ineffectual struggling, and concentrated. The two guards let go of him, stumbled backwards, and clutched their heads.

Not nearly what he'd hoped for, but it would have to do. Morgan started to dash out of the room, but spun around and searched through a nearby pile of clothing and personal effects which he hoped were his. Sure enough, he found a wallet. And then he got out of the room before the guards or attendant could recover.

Getting out of the hospital would be tough. But once he did, he had one hell of a score to settle.

Anne and Harvey met for a late breakfast at a diner near Omega House. Harvey was tempted to ask Anne about the previous night, and her return to Rich, but modesty prevented him from even approaching the subject. Besides, he wasn't sure he wanted all the details; Harvey still believed in no sex before marriage, even if subsequent generations didn't, and he was afraid that if he found out what Anne had been up to, he'd have to deliver a stern lecture that neither of them wanted.

He did ask his granddaughter a few more questions about her battle with Morgan, but Anne really didn't want to talk about it. "I just wish I'd never left my body in the first place," she said, "and I'm sure not going to do it again. Anyway, Morgan was imprisoned by the very energy he leeched, and then I finished him off. It's all over."

"You finished him off?" Harvey said, between sips of coffee. "Just like that." After their brutal but necessary conduct in the fight to defend the Colony from the Dynamax Havoc Squad, Harvey would have thought that he and Anne were both done with killing.

"Hey, Morgan was already dead. And he was trying to kill me." Anne clenched her fist, inadvertantly breaking her coffee mug and sending hot liquid flying everywhere. Anne yanked her hand back, but then realized it didn't burn her, and smiled. "Ah, the real world. C'mon, Harvey, let's leave last night behind. It's time to start talking about Omega House."

"Okay. First, we need to start placing some of the kids in other homes. We're almost full now, and we're getting another shipment of Colony refugees today." Anne's eyes perked up at that, and Harvey said, "That's right, today's the day. So if we don't start building up credentials and connections with other houses, we'll be bursting at the seams. Now there's a woman in San Fransisco named Elizabeth Sheridan who might—"

"Sorry to interrupt, Harvey, but I had another idea that I'd like to work on today. I was thinking of new ways of funding the house. Who do we know that has a lot of money?"

Harvey shrugged. "I have no idea."

"Hannibal." Anne grinned from ear to ear. "The guy could have put a penny in some bank two hundred years ago, and he'd be loaded by now. We should see if he'd like to help us out."

Harvey thought about that while picking at his coffee-soaked pancakes. "You know, that is a really good idea. Unless he invested in Barings Bank. Maybe we should check it out."

"Let's arrange a meeting once we get back to work," Anne said. "Then I'll take care of the Colony."

Thomas Morgan tried to walk as calmly and purposefully as he could, so nobody would stop him. But his gown clearly marked him as a patient, and every nurse or orderly eyed him suspiciously. Then, after only a few minutes out of his room, he noticed lots of large orderlies shoving through the crowded halls, looking for him. Somebody had sounded the alarm.

Morgan ducked inside a supply closet and hoped nobody saw him. He looked for a uniform or a new set of clothing, but all he found was floor cleaner. There had to be a way out, before the dragnet closed in on him.

Morgan reached out telepathically, and felt around for a pliable mind. The connection was weak, far weaker than he was accustomed to, but it would have to do. An intern stepped into the closet, not quite knowing why he did so, and Morgan pounced on him. This time, the struggle was shorter, because Morgan had the element of surprise and he knew not to rely on his strength. After walloping the hapless intern with a bucket, Morgan quickly stripped the man of his uniform and put it on himself.

Feeling a little more secure in his disguise, Morgan stepped out of the closet and started to head for the nearest exit. With a little telepathic reinforcement to keep people from looking directly at him, Morgan actually walked right by one of the search parties, and made it all the way to the ground floor.

The large bank of doors leading outside was in sight. Then a party of people stepped through them, facing Morgan. Most of them were sunglassed, earphoned agents like the men upstairs, but one was a Korean-American woman in a white doctor's coat. She stared right at Morgan, and he knew there was no way of keeping her from recognizing him. For she was Susan Lee, a.k.a. Hyper of the Seekers program. And, as he'd learned from the wallet he grabbed, he was Thomas Morgan, also known as Avatar of the Seekers and a fellow agent of SIRECOM.

Hyper shouted and pointed at him, and the chase was on.

The next group of twenty children from the Colony materialized in Omega House's basement. They were accompanied by a few adults who were also leaving the Colony; they would help care for and watch over the kids before they, too, slipped back into the real world.

One of the older arrivals was there for a different reason, though. Jen DuFresne, who insisted upon being called "Agony," liked the life of a radical Omega freedom fighter and had no intention of going back to that illusion of security that people called "real" life. She had escorted the refugees to Omega House at Harvey's request. She had even escorted them a day early—they weren't really supposed to arrive until tomorrow, and it worried Harvey that Anne had forgotten.

"I got the info you wanted, Overman," she told him once Anne had led everyone else from the basement. "Danny said that two giants did fight over Detroit last night. In fact, I think I remember having some weird dream about that... anyway, they're both gone now. And the drain on Detroit has stopped."

Harvey sighed deeply, and his muscles visibly relaxed. "Thanks, Agony, that's a huge relief. Listen, would you mind sticking around here for a little while? I'd just feel a little safer if we had another heavy hitter around. Only for a day or so, maybe even a few hours."

"No problem, the Colony's been kinda quiet lately. You expecting trouble?"

"No," Harvey said, causing Agony to frown. "But I would appreciate it if you kind of avoided Annie. No need to start trouble," he added.

Agony thought back to the arguments they'd had towards the end of the Tazakles raid. Of Anne's holier-than-thou lectures and her smug self-assurance. "Don't worry, I'll steer clear of Anne," she lied.

"Why is Morgan running away from us?" Hyper shouted, as she tried to chase after him through the crowded lobby.

A fellow SIRECOM agent pressed his earphone into his ear so he could hear better, then answered, "He broke out of his room—he's on the run, for some reason. Nobody knows why."

"Damn it," Hyper muttered, "what happened to him in astral space?" And how does Director Washington expect me to fix it, she mentally added. After all, her powers only affected the physical body, not the spiritual one. But Brenda Washington had rushed her up here to heal Morgan, and now her patient was running away for no apparent reason. Maybe he'd lost his sanity.

Morgan was bolting down a hallway, easily parting the crowd because they mistook him for an intern on an urgent task. "O'Reilly, Porter!" Hyper called, summoning two of the mundane SIRECOM agents. She touched each one on their forehead, and started accelerating their adrenaline and increasing the efficiency of their hearts and lungs. It would give them an edge in speed and combat. "Go get him," she told the two souped-up agents. They dashed through the hall, faster than was normally possible.

Agent Tryon, another mundane who wasn't familiar with the Seekers program, asked Hyper if Morgan would pose any threats to the agents. "After all," Tryon said, "he is an Omega."

"That's irrelevant. Morgan only has the power to enter astral space, and if he uses it his body collapses. He and I are both technically still in the training program, and I can tell you that he didn't even do that well in our martial arts course. Capturing him should be a snap."

Hyper and Tryon regarded each other silently for a moment.

"You don't believe it either, huh?" Hyper said.

Anne was searching through the rolodex in her office when Agony found her. "Can I help you, Jen?" she asked.

"The name is 'Agony.' I've told you that before." Agony strutted into the office, making all the little zippers on her studded leather jacket jingle. The little noises somehow seemed menacing.

"Oh. Sorry... Agony. What can I do for you?"

"Lighten up, for starters. Listen, I wanted to talk to you about Eric."

"Eric...?" Anne's eyes wandered as she tried to place the name. "Oh, you mean Tempest."

Agony laughed. "You call him Tempest? Jeez, that pole goes a lot farther up your ass than I thought!"

Agony barely had time to stop smiling before Anne vaulted over the desk, grabbed her by her jacket, and pinned her against the wall, all in a blur of motion. "Don't think I've forgotten about our little encounter, Agony," Anne hissed. "I remember every minute of it. I just chose to forget it for now, that's all. I would suggest you leave well enough alone."

Agony cracked another smile—more of a smirk, actually. "So the Ice Queen has a fiery side, after all. Wonders never cease."

"'Ice Queen'? That is what you called me, isn't it? Well, Agony, you picked a bad day to test me on that. Last night I decided I wouldn't be so inhibited any more. I'm a lot freer with my love now—don't push me on my hate. I don't need this crap from some punk teenager." Anne probed out with her telepathy; Agony's own mental ability was impressive, but it was purely offensive, so Anne's psychic tendril met no resistance. "Some punk teenager who's worried that I stole her crush away from her. I have news for you, Agony: Tempest visited me that day, too. And told me that he loved me since we first met." Anne let go of the girl, who was too stunned to do or say anything back. "And you know what," Anne concluded, "it wasn't mutual. Now get out of my office."

Anne turned back to her desk when she felt a stab of psychic pain that drove her to her knees. Agony's hands clutched her by her neck. Fighting back tears, Agony managed to choke out, "I'm going to make you eat those words, you smug, haughty bitch."

Anne grabbed Agony's hands and stood up, lifting the slightly smaller girl off the ground. "Agony...," she grunted, "I won't trash this place... but if you'd like... to step outside...?"

Agony let go of Anne and hopped back to the floor. "It would be my pleasure, Ice Queen. Let's go out back."

"Just a minute," Anne said. She flipped through the rolodex at super-speed, pulling out the card marked RUSSELL, JACK. "Business before pleasure," she said, tucking the card into her pants pocket. "Now, I believe we had an appointment?"

"Yeah, your face and my fist." Agony and Anne marched out of the office, neither turning her back on the other.

Morgan had almost made it to a rear exit when two SIRECOM agents came charging after him. They were speeding through the halls and bounding over the gurneys of Detroit General faster than most humans should have been able to, and they quickly eroded Morgan's lead. One of them, a redheaded woman, grabbed Morgan by the collar and flipped him backwards. "What's the deal, Avatar? Where are you running off to?"

Morgan swung a punch, but the woman blocked it with ease; to her, Morgan might as well have been swinging through jell-o. "Believe me," Morgan said, "you wouldn't understand."

"I understand that you'd better freeze, asshole." The male agent had drawn his gun. "Up against the wall."

Morgan didn't comply—he just stared at the gun, and looked perturbed when nothing happened. "Oh, I forgot," he mumbled.

"What are you talking about?" barked the male agent. "Up against the wall, Morgan!"

"But I'm not Morgan," Morgan said. "He is." He pointed at the female agent. "He is." This time he locked eyes with the female agent, and pointed at the man with the gun.

The two agents stared at each other, unsure of what they were seeing. Morgan bolted down the hall, just as Hyper and two more SIRECOM agents came running from the other direction.

"Grab him!" Hyper screamed. And agents O'Reilly and Porter obligingly tackled each other, getting in the way of their comrades. Morgan lunged through the emergency exit and out into Detroit.

Anne and Agony stepped out into Omega House's backyard; fortunately, the crisp March air was keeping all the kids indoors. They could have gotten hurt in the confusion, or worse yet from Anne's perspective, joined in on the side of their old buddy Agony.

"You ready?" Agony asked, taking off her leather jacket. She was wearing a tank top underneath, and aggressively displaying muscles that had been honed from months of workouts and combats.

"You bet I'm ready," Anne countered, massaging her neck.

Agony was the first to attack, with a simulaneous pain-projection and flying kick. Even though she started at the other end of the yard, Agony cleared it in one jump and came soaring down at Anne's head.

But Anne had been prepared this time, using her psychic shields to ward off the projection. A TK field shielded her from the physical attack, and Anne reached up and grabbed Agony's leg. Anne quickly stepped to the side and helped Agony continue her downward trajectory, slamming her body to the ground.

Agony twisted her leg free, rocked back, and kicked up at Anne, using her back and shoulder muscles to launch her legs upwards. The attack took Anne by surprise, and Agony's feet slammed into her stomach.

"That felt really good," Agony said as she waited for Anne to catch her breath. "You want me to soften you up a little more?"

Anne didn't stand up, didn't even look up from where she was huddled on the ground. She just thought, and Agony flew into the side of the house. Another thought slammed her ninety degrees, face down into the ground.

Agony pulled herself out of the lawn, grinning madly underneath all the dirt. "I really didn't think you had it in you. Well I can fight without touching, too." Agony began projecting more thoughts of pain Anne's way, but Anne's shields were too strong. Agony switched to despair, sorrow, anything; Anne wasn't letting it through. "You really do keep yourself wound up tightly," Agony shouted to the impassive Anne. "Any more, and you'll snap. Or just blow up, like a jack-in-the-box."

Anne just stared and deflected Agony's attacks.

"Aww, you're no fun anymore," Agony pouted. "Not so easy to rile up. Maybe this'll defrost you." Agony charged across the lawn, plowing into Anne and knocking her over. Anne, still deflecting the pain- projections, either couldn't or wouldn't shift to a telekinetic defense. The two young women started trading punches.

And it was then that Agony began to realize how sorely outclassed she was. She'd never felt Anne's full strength before, maybe never even seen it, but she was sure feeling it now. It was starting to work through Agony's invulnerability, making her feel her own pain instead of just projecting it at others. And it didn't feel nice at all.

Agony's greater combat skill was the only thing that kept Anne from overwhelming her. She could still block some blows, occasionally even land one of her own for all the good that did. But Anne was too strong, too quick, too tough—and, as usual, too serious.

"Jeez, give it a rest will you?" Agony cried, slithering out of Anne's grip. "I thought we were just working off some steam! You're really starting to pound some flesh!"

"That's the idea, isn't it?" Agony got pounded by three fists, one telekinetic, and she was knocked flat on her back. Agony lifted her hand to her nose, and when it came away it was dripping with bright red blood.

"C'mon, Jen," Anne taunted. "I thought you were going to get me back. Show me how wrong I was for dividing Eric's attention." A telekinetic slap knocked the rising Agony down again. "Show me how wrong I was for being better than you. Kick my ass, show me how you're better after all." Now Agony was telekinetically pinned in place. "Here's a news flash, punk: you're never going to be better than me. You'll never even be in my league."

"Is this all... because I called you an Ice Queen?" Agony wailed.

Anne knelt down beside her. "That's only the tiniest part of it. You were right before, Jen, I was too controlled. Now I'm finally doing what I want to, and what I want right now is to beat the living shit out of you. I'm the Overwoman now... and you would have been better off with the Ice Queen."

Agony began projecting at Anne; for once, she used her power to send sincere thoughts and emotions, not attacks. Anne, I don't really hate you/please don't take this too far/what have I ever done to you?

"Funny you should ask," Anne said, cracking her knuckles and forming a fist. "Let's start a list." She raised the fist over Agony's head. "First, you—"

"ANNIE!!!" Harvey charged out onto the lawn at full Omega speed, grabbing his granddaughter before she could go any further. "Annie, what in God's name is going on here?"

Something in the air seemed to snap, as if things were clicking back into place—most of the way, if not all of the way. The telekinetic field dropped, and Agony crawled away to put on her jacket. Anne stopped struggling in Harvey's arms, and started sobbing.

"I—I'm so sorry, Harvey, I don't know what came over me. We just, we both lost our tempers, and I got out of control—"

"You're damn right you did. We don't use our powers that way, Annie. Especially not on friends. You were really out for blood, and that's inexcusable!"

Anne looked like she was about to fire back with a don't-lecture- me comment, but she thought the better of it. "I guess you're right," she mumbled.

"And what about the example you set for them? Are they all going to go around bludgeoning each other now?" Sure enough, most of the kids were watching from upper-floor windows. Harvey was still livid, his face a bright red. "You need to tell those kids that what you did was wrong, but first you need to tell... Agony? Oh, no." Agony had left the yard and limped back into the house.

Harvey started running after her. "I can find her with my telepathy, Harvey," she said apologetically.

"I think you've done more than enough for one day," he snapped back.

Harvey found Agony right inside the basement, tapping in a message to the Colony on her miniature communicator. A hastily-applied tissue was holding back some of the bleeding in her nose. "You were right on both counts, Overman," she told Harvey once she saw him. "Your granddaughter has got a couple of loose screws. And I shoulda stayed the hell away from her. I'm sorry. Now I'm going home."

"No, wait," he pleaded. "I need you stick around, just to be safe."

"Whose safety?" she deadpanned. "Not mine. Now step back, I don't want to transmat half of you."

Harvey stepped back, but protested, "Please don't go. I need somebody to help keep an eye on her!"

Agony sniffed, to keep a trail of blood from hitting her jacket. "I obviously can't help you there, can I? Sorry, O.M., but I have to split."

"She won't hurt you any more... she's sorry..."

"Is she? I thought she meant every word she said. After all, she pulled 'em right outta my head." Agony finished sending her return signal. "And I thought we projecting telepaths were sadistic bitches." The transmat effect started, but Agony hadn't completely disappeared into the safety of home, far away from Harvey's watching eyes, before she started crying.

Harvey had a long, hard talk with Anne after Agony left. He admitted that Agony had picked the fight with her, but that in no way excused Anne's conduct. Anne willingly called in an apology to the Colony (although they wouldn't take the call), and gave a long talk to the kids explaining why what she'd done was wrong.

Harvey noticed that some of the kids actually respected Anne more now that they'd seen she could fight dirty and win, and he wondered what the world was coming to. How could a generation raised to venerate killers and thugs as 'heroes' ever make it a better place?

After her apologies, Harvey made Anne lie down and take a nap. She argued against it, saying she had business to tend to, but Harvey wouldn't back down. He told her, "You've been out of control since last night—"

"Just because I slept with Rich?" Anne said, loud enough that some of the kids could hear. "Welcome to the nineties, Harvey."

"—and you need to get some rest, calm down," Harvey finished. He wouldn't allow himself to be baited; look where that had led Agony and Anne. Eventually, Anne agreed to take a nap, but by the end of the discussion Harvey himself was exhausted. He retreated to the office, the only empty and sane place in the House today.

Harvey sank into a chair, praying that rest would help Anne. Then he noticed a few comics sitting on top of the cabinet, which he hadn't passed out to the kids yet. He pulled them off the cabinet.

One of them had Overman fighting his evil, twisted duplicate, the Doppelgangster. And one of them was Vic Retch's "Maximum-Man," a sick and degenerated parody of Overman. Harvey feared that all the heroes were twisted and degenerated now. Agony picks a fight, Anne attacks her brutally, a dead private eye tries to trap us... maybe it's all Morgan's fault.

A knock at the door interrupted his train of thought. It was Rich, looking a little haggard himself. Harvey invited him in, and Rich said, "I came here to see Anne, but Mr.White said I ought to talk to you first."

"Yes, I'm afraid Anne needs some rest today," Harvey said, not without accusation. "Say, are you okay?"

Rich carefully settled into a chair. "Yeah, I just hurt my back last ni—uh, a while ago. Yeah, I, uh, hurt my back."

Harvey rubbed his head, trying to ward off the inevitable migraine. "You kids today... I really don't want to know about it." Harvey suddenly froze and opened his eyes wide. "On second thought, I do want to know about it. Rich, was it Anne who did that?"

"Just accidentally," he said, a little defensively.

Harvey leaned forward. "Rich, you don't know how much I regret asking this, but did you ever sleep with her before? I mean before last summer, when she triggered."

"Well, yeah. Of course, she didn't hurt me then, since she hadn't triggered..."

"DAMN!" Harvey stood up and threw the first handy object, the pile of comics, across the room. "I should have known sooner!"

Rich stood up too, very slowly. "Mr. Hauptmann, what's wrong?"

"Anne did have powers before last summer, Rich. Just not mental ones. But she had her strength, and she never hurt you before..." Harvey dashed over to the phone and started dialing. While he waited for the other end to pick up, he told Rich, "I should have known sooner. I mean, I knew something was wrong, but—damn, Colony's not picking up. Can't say that I blame them."

"Is something driving Anne crazy?" Rich asked. "Making her go out of control?"

"I thought so at first, but I'm afraid it's something much worse than that. Follow me." Harvey burst out of the office, leaving Rich to tag along behind him. "I knew something was wrong. She's called me 'Harvey' all day, when I've been 'grandpa' all her life. Now she acts crazy and she's not used to having super-strength—!" Harvey opened the door to the room where Anne was sleeping, only to find it empty. "She's gone!"

Rich walked across the hall and looked out a window. "Her car's gone, too. Mr. Hauptmann, just what do you think has her acting this way?"

"It's not her at all," Harvey said quietly. "If I guess correctly, it's a son of a bitch named Thomas Morgan, possessing her body."

"But then what happened to Anne?" Rich cried.

"I don't think I want to know," Harvey whispered.

Using the money in the wallet, Thomas Morgan bought a cab ride far away from the hospital. Then he bought a jacket to conceal his intern outfit, and he settled in a corner booth of an empty McDonalds. He hoped there were no APBs out on him, because he didn't know if he could escape the authorities again.

Maybe he should have just stayed in the hospital and told SIRECOM the whole story. But really, how likely were they to believe that he had Anne Benson's mind in Thomas Morgan's body? The only way they would believe it would be if they'd set up Morgan to attack Anne, and then they wouldn't be willing to let him... or her... go free.

And she had to be free to return to Washington and warn Harvey and the others. That maniac Morgan was on the loose, and since she had been able to save her life by slinking back into his body, he might well have gone and inhabited hers. Anne had tried to call Omega House and warn them, but something was wrong with the lines and no calls were getting in. Or out, she thought, causing his body to shiver.

The Seekers would arrest Anne, not take her back to D.C. The Colony's transmat would be the quickest way home, but could Anne even approach the Colony? If Jimmy's automated defense systems identified him/her as a SIRECOM agent, she'd be history before she could ever explain the truth. Morgan's credit card would be useless by now; maybe she could steal enough money to get a plane ticket, but a plane would still take too damn long...

perhaps I can be of some assistance, said a tiny voice inside her head. A voice that was not her own. Anne began looking around, trying to see if anyone had sent her a telepathic message.

don't look out, look in, said the voice. Anne turned her telepathic powers, the only powers she'd retained, inwards on this strange body. And she found a small presence there. Building a connection to it, Anne asked, Who are you?

We've already met, in a way, said the voice. I'm Thomas Morgan.

"And now she, or he, is gone," Harvey said. "Must have figured out we were on to her. We've got to find her."

"Why would somebody... some man want to possess Anne's body?" Rich asked. He now felt extremely uncomfortable thinking about the events of last night. Anne had seemed a little funny, but she hadn't seemed like a man... Rich didn't want her to be a man, because then he... well, it didn't count if it was with a woman's body, right? Right? "I mean, why would a man want to...?" Rich couldn't finish the question.

"Morgan needed any body he could get," Harvey explained. "He was dead. Unless he lied about that, too... and why would he choose Anne's body?" Seized by the new line of thought, Harvey grabbed Rich by the shoulders. "Think! What has 'Anne' wanted in the last day? What has she tried to get?"

Rich paled, and said, "You're asking the wrong guy. Whatever this Morgan fellow wanted, I hope it wasn't—"

Harvey let go of Rich's shoulders. "The office. Agony interrupted Anne when she was in the office. Let's go."

Harvey sped down the hall, faster than Rich could follow. He began searching around the office, shoving aside the scattered comics, when he noticed the open rolodex. Harvey started flipping through it at super-speed. And he noticed that Jack Russell's card was missing.

Rich dashed into the room, nearly out of breath. "Did you find anything?" he asked.

"Yeah," Harvey said, dialing the phone again. "She's been interested in those two all day... damn me for not seeing it sooner... isn't anybody answering their phone today?" Harvey slammed the receiver down. "I think she's going after Hannibal and Jack. Lord knows why."

"Hannibal and Jack?" Rich said. "Who are they, a couple of pirates?"

Harvey pulled on his jacket, and said, "It's too long to explain now. I have to warn them, and catch up to Anne. You hold the fort here, and stall her if she comes back." Harvey stormed out of the office, stepping on the pictures of perverse parodies and evil doppelgangers.

"She's in the house now," said the old, blind man kneeling by the side of the scrying pool. "It looks like she'll make it after all. Even though she almost blew her cover."

"That was her own fault," said the woman next to him. She looked much younger than the blind man, even though they were relatively the same age, at least when compared to the masses of brutishly short-lived humanity. "She should have stayed in control of herself."

"How could she know that another one of her killers would show up? Who would have thought that Hauptmann would call for help from the Colony? At least it all came to naught." A sudden disturbance in the waters of the pool caught the old man's attention. Staring at the pool with his blank, sightless eyes, he said, "Look, she's there now. The moment of our victory is at hand."

The old man traced his hand over the waters, and the picture became even clearer: a black man leading 'Anne Benson' through the halls of an old, luxuriantly furnished brownstone...

Jack led her through the halls of the old, luxuriantly furnished brownstone, finally stopping in a den filled with all manner of strange memorabilia: African masks, Roman shields, and more. The immortal known as Hannibal sat in a large armchair, sipping some herbal tea.

"Anne's here to see us," said Jack. "She said she had a proposal for us about her new house for Omegas."

"I've been wondering if you'd come by to talk about that," Hannibal said, setting down his tea and smiling. "I suppose you want some amount of financial assistance from my accounts?"

"I was thinking of a much more personal method of payment," Anne said. "Your hide."

Jack Russell was knocked across the room and into an eighteenth-century cabinet by a backlash of telekinetic force, but the brunt of the attack was directed at Hannibal. His dark black hands clutched at his head and neck while an invisible grip crushed the blood, the air, the very life out of them.

"Tiresias and Antigone send their regards," said Anne. "They wanted me to tell you that even an immortal can die."


The action continues next issue in Legacy #20, the first Omega title to reach the big 2-0!
Anne in Morgan's body, a mystery villain in Anne's body,
plus Harvey, a Seeker or two, loads of immortals, and a big rematch!
Don't miss it!

Thomas "Avatar" Morgan created by Matt Rossi, appears courtesy of Matt Dempster. Agony, Antigone, and Tiresias created by and courtesy of Matt Rossi. Everything else created by, written by, and c. Marc Singer.

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