HUMAN/SUPER First Contact 129

Jackie launched into an excited recap of her band’s European tour. Angela glanced around the room. The band and a handful of guests were milling about on couches or around the snack table.

“Angela,” a voice said. “It is good to see you again.”

She turned and smiled at Greta, Jackie’s cousin. The little blond woman was wearing this pale blue gown that flowed to her feet and made her look a bit like a doll. Their eyes met.

Memories of the tour flowed into Angela’s head, travelling from Spain and Portugal all the way up to Sweden and Norway. A single, overriding scene pushed its way to the fore: standing over a gravestone in a Berlin cemetery, her face wet with tears, her hand gripped tightly in Jackie’s.

“Sounds like you had quite a trip,” Angela said in German.

“Yes,” Greta replied, “but I’m glad to be home. Life on the road is… difficult.”

“You sound like a real rock star now,” Angela said.

Greta smiled softly.

“I guess I am,” she said. “Anyway, how have you been since we last met?”

“Oh, pretty good,” Angela said. “I lost my job. I got laid. I reconnected with my family. Um, those were unrelated events, of course.”

Greta laughed and said, “That’s a relief.”

“What do you think they’re talking about?” Jackie asked Genesis in English.

“How should I know?” Genesis said. “Didn’t your mother teach you German?”

“She tried,” Jackie said, “but you know how stubborn I can be.”

“I sure do,” Genesis replied.

Jackie smacked Genesis on the shoulder.

“Your cousin is weird,” Angela said, still in German.

“Yes,” Greta replied, beaming. “Yes, she is.”

Someone knocked on the door. The British guy from earlier poked his head into the room.

“We’re ready for you, loves,” he said.