HUMAN/SUPER First Contact 289

“Professor MacNeil?” Eric said.

“Please, call me Carmen,” she said. “I’ll be with you in… Wait, that voice….”

She turned and stared at Eric. She looked to be about forty, with sharp features; narrow eyes, thin lips, a short nose that turned up at the end. She angled her head and leaned across the desk.

“No,” she said. “You’re not him. He’d be an old man by now. And you don’t have his eyes. Are you his son?”

Eric nodded.

“Did he send you here to kill me?” she asked. “I know he can hold a grudge, but fifty years is a bit much. Why don’t you go back and tell him—”

“My father’s dead,” Eric said.

A pained expression flitted across her face and promptly vanished.

“I’m… sorry to hear that,” she said. “And your mother?”

“Also dead,” Eric replied.

The professor gave a little shrug.

“Less sorry.”

Angela couldn’t restrain her curiosity any longer. She looked into Carmen’s eyes and opened her mind. She could feel the woman’s thoughts and memories just within reach, but something was holding her back. Skeletal hands wrapped around her throat and cold breath hissed in her ears.

Aren’t you a nosy one?

Angela gasped and looked away. The fingers receded from her neck.

“You alright?” Eric asked.

“Yeah,” Angela said. “Sorry.”

She glanced at Carmen, who smiled faintly. Eric cleared his throat.

“Anyway, I’m the only one left in my family now,” he said.

Carmen crossed her arms.

“So, my little prince, this leaves just one question: why are you here?”

Eric pulled his shirt back from the mark on his chest.

“I want you to remove this.”