HUMAN/SUPER First Contact 234

“Part of what I do is deciding who needs my help and who doesn’t,” Angela said. “For instance, I’ve had to turn down more than a few paranoid husbands wanting to me to spy on their wives. So if I’m not satisfied with this woman’s reasons for reading her father’s mind, I’ll walk right out the door. Sound good?”

“Yeah,” Frederica said. “That… makes sense.”

“I’m glad you asked, though,” Angela said. “It means you’re a good person and I don’t have to worry about you abusing your powers.”

Frederica smiled faintly.

“I’ll try not to let you down,” she said.

“Likewise,” Angela said with a wink.

She continued up the walkway to the house. The front door opened and a woman stepped out. She was tall, with olive skin and curly, light brown hair, and looked to be in her early forties.

“You must be Angela,” the woman said. “I’m Simone.”

She held out her hand and Angela shook it. Simone’s gaze drifted over Angela’s shoulder.

“Oh, this is my sister, Frederica,” Angela said. “I’m… sort of mentoring her. Is that going to be a problem?”

Simone stared at the girl a moment, then shook her head.

“No, that’s fine,” she said. “Follow me.”

She led Angela and Frederica through a large living room filled with elderly people watching TV and off into an adjacent hallway. Behind the first door on the right, an old man sat in a recliner, staring vacantly forward. He had the same olive skin as Simone but his hair had gone fully grey.

“I’ve brought visitors, Papai,” Simone said. “Angela and Frederica, this is my father, Gaspar.”

Gaspar didn’t respond at all, didn’t even seem aware of their presence.

“Is he always like this?” Angela asked.

Simone nodded.

“He’s been declining for years,” she said, “but it was only in the last few months that it got this bad. After I moved him here, I started going through the house, clearing out junk. And that’s when I found this.”