HUMAN/SUPER Higher Learning 351

“What… how… you…” Angela stammered.

“Wow,” Leigh said. “I think you broke her.”

Angela blinked and poked both Fredericas in the arm.

“It’s real,” Frederica said.

She merged into one body and, appearing as Leigh now, moved a chess piece telekinetically.

“How is this possible?” Angela asked.

“I was hoping you’d know,” Frederica replied, shifting back to normal. “It’s like something just… awakened.”

“Hmm,” Angela said. “Let me try something.”

She looked into Frederica’s eyes. A stabbing pain shot through Frederica’s head, the side effect of two psychics looking into each other’s minds. She felt dizzy and disoriented and vaguely nauseous until, finally, Angela looked away. Then Angela shapeshifted into Leigh and reached out her hand to the chess board.

Nothing happened.

Angela changed back into herself and slumped into her seat.

“Whatever this is, I can’t mimic it,” she said. “What were you doing when it happened?”

Frederica pulled up a chair and recounted the events inside the wall.

“Sounds like reactive adaptation,” Leigh said.

“What’s that?” Frederica said.

“You know, when someone spontaneously develops new abilities in response to danger?” Leigh said. “Your powers weren’t enough to save you as is so they just… evolved.”

“Then how come that’s never happened to me?” Angela asked. “I’ve been in loads of danger.”

“Maybe we should shrink you and drop you down a wall and see what happens,” Leigh replied.

“I’m good, thanks,” Angela said.

“Suit yourself,” Leigh said with a shrug. “Anyway, that’s my theory. I don’t really understand how your powers work, though. Like, mine are pretty simple: nanobots from the future—”

“That’s literally the opposite of ‘simple’,” Angela said.