Blue Skies

Author: SqueakMaan

For feed back I can be reached at

Fandom: Tremors: The Series

Pairing: Jodie/OC

Rating: PG-13.  Some language and mild-gore.  Maybe some adult situations.

Disclaimer: I own no parts of Tremors: The Series nor do I claim to in any way.  I make no money from this, its just for fun.  So if you SciFi lawyers really have nothing better to do than sue the likes of me then I got my back covered.

I would like to thank my beta reader, Lillie.

*This is my first ever fanfic.  Please read and review.*

Deputy Twitchell walked into Jodie's store with a mix of annoyance and relief. Relieved that for once Gummer actually did what he said and showed up, and annoyed that he had actually showed up.

"Alright Twitchell, what's so important that you had to call all of us over here on such short notice."  This came from Tyler, who was wearing his customary cowboy hat and blue jeans with boots.

"The reason I called you in here is because there is a new doctor coming into to town today."  This elicited groans from everyone, but the loudest by far came from Burt.

"Great just what we need more government scientists dropping in here to bug the crap out of us and we're gonna have to rescue.  And why didn't you tell us this before, why wait until today."

"It was need to know information and you didn't need to know until now."  Was the classically evasive answer from Twitchell.

"In other words nobody told you until today either, right?"  This came from Jodie Chang who had inherited this store from her uncle, Walter Chang.  So far the only person who had been quiet was Nancy and Rosalita.  Nancy, apart from Burt, had been here the longest; even before the world had known about the existence of Graboids.

"So what is this mystery doctor's name anyway."  Came from Nancy who would never judge someone before she got the chance to know them first.

"Dr.  Alex E. Zachariah" said Twitchell.

"So who does this doctor work for anyway Twitch?"  Said Tyler.

"Uh... that information was not supplied in the file I was sent, and how many times do I have to tell you, don't call me Twitch."  Came from Twitchell with more than a hint of annoyance.

"Sure thing Twitch."

"So what did they tell you exactly, Mr. Department of the Interior." Said Rosalita finally speaking sounding more tired than anything else.

"Uh, well... that's pretty much it.  So now we're all gonna sit here and wait for him to show up."  They said it would be about one o'clock.  They all looked over at the clock one the wall which said 12:45.

"Well, if you're gonna stay you're gonna have to buy something.  We don't allow loitering here at Chang's."  This from Jodie.

"What do you mean we? You're the only one who works here.  And how many times have I seen you people sitting here doing nothing more than talking?  All the time, that's how much."  Came from Twitchell who for once actually had a justifiable complaint.

Jodie was spared from having to come with a response to that when a large black hum-vee pulled up to the store.  They couldn't see who the driver was due to the glare coming off the front window.

"That should be him now" said Twitchell.

At that moment the door opened and a very striking young woman stepped out of the car.  She had a light blue tanktop on with blue jeans and a pair of what appeared to be Timberland boots.  However the striking thing about her was her hair.  It was blue, a light robin egg blue actually, a color none of them had ever seen duplicated in hair before.  They also noticed the pair of headphones on her head attached to a Cd player clipped to her jeans.

Tyler tried unsuccessfully to turn his laugh into a cough.  "Yep, I bet that's the good doctor alright."  Everyone seemed to laugh at this.  Even Burt cracked what appeared to be a smile.

Before Twitchell could respond to this the young woman walked into the door.  She took off her headphones and before she could turn them off they could all faintly hear George Thorogood's Bad to the Bone playing.

"Can I help you ma'am."  From Jodie.

"Yes could you tell me where I can find a deputy Twitchell?"  Her voice was almost melodious.

"That would be me.  How can I help you ma'am?"  Came from Twitchell, obviously not knowing why she would want to speak with him.

"I'm Dr. Zachariah, I was told you would be expecting me."  She said.

You could almost hear everyone's jaw drop.  She seemed to be amused by their shock. Apparently it wasn't the first time this had happened to her.

"You're Dr. Alex E. Zachariah?"  Said Twitchell regaining his composure first but disbelief still evident in his voice.

The good doctor didn't seem to be amused anymore.  "They shortened my name again!  I keep telling them to leave my full name on those damn files but noooo.  They always want to leave outs the extra few letters."  The anger in her voice was apparent in her voice.  Apparently it wasn't the first time this had happened either.  After a few seconds she seemed to gain control of her temper and addressed Twitchell again.  "My full name is Dr. Alexandria Eve Zachariah.  You can call me Alex, everyone does, I just wish they would leave my full name on those files so I don't have do this with everyone who reads those things."

"Can I get you anything" Jodie asked deciding that maybe that would cool her off, in more ways than one.

"You know I'd love a Root Beer if you've got one."  Replied Alex, mock desperation in her voice.

"Sure thing" Josie gave her the Root Beer and watched as opened and gulped down about half the bottle in one swig, "that'll three dollars now."  This caused Alex to practically choke, then she saw the smile on Jodie's face and smiled back.

"You're cruel you know that right?" she said.

"Yep" was Jodie's enthusiastic reply as she smiled again "It's on the house this time."

About this time Burt had enough.  "Look we don't need any more of you scientist types coming in here and messing around.  We already know that Mix-Master is bad we don't need you tell us exactly how bad."  Burt looked liked he was getting started on what looked to be one hell of a rant.

"What's Mix-Master?"  Was Alex's reply.

Sadly this seemed to push Burt even further towards his rant.  "Oh don't give me that plausible deniability crap! We already know all about it.  I swear you government scientists are all the same, keep pretending it doesn't exist and maybe it'll go away."  He stopped but only to catch his breath.

Before he could continue with his raving Alex said pretty much the only thing he didn't expect.  " I don't work for the government, I work for a zoo."  For the second time everyone's jaw hit the floor.

This time Burt regained his composure first.  "Please tell me you're not here to try and capture El Blanco" was his reply to this.

"Oh hell no!  I'm not stupid I'm just here to study his eating habits and movements.  There is no way I'm gonna try to get that worm outta the ground."

Everyone except Twitchell looked relieved at that.  He had secretly been hoping that she was going to take that damn worm off his hands once and for all.

Burt just turned back the counter, she lost his interest after that.

Twitchell figured now would be a good time to get the paperwork out of the way while she was still in a good mood.  Lord knows these people pt me in a bad mood fast enough, he thought. "Well, Dr. Zachariah there are a few papers that you have to fill out."

"Oh fine, might as well get it out of the way."  Came her less than enthusiastic reply.  After spending the next few minutes signing the dotted line and reading the fine print she had the dreaded paperwork behind her.

It was during this time that Nancy noticed something a little strange.  It was obvious that Alex's normal hair was blue but so we're her eyebrows.  And when she looked close enough closely she could see that the fine hair on her arm also appeared to be blue.  Alex caught her stare and said "You're wondering about the hair aren't you?"

"Oh, I didn't mean to be rude, but how did you get all you hair that color?"  She asked.

"Well to be honest I didn't get it this way," she explained "I have a genetic pigment condition.  It causes my hair and eyes to be blue.  I would tell you what it is called but its full name is about a hundred and fifty syllables long.  I'm a member of the smallest minority on the planet.   There's only about eighty of us worldwide, and five in the US.  We get together about once a year in Vegas."  She explained all of this with no apparent emotion, almost like she was talking about an article in the newspaper she read.  "To be honest I got lucky, I got a nice color that isn't to extreme.  And it only affects my eyes and my hair.  One of us in China he's completely orange."

This little revelation was a bit shocking to Nancy.  "Oh... I'm sorry I didn't mean"

Alex cut her off before she could finish "It's alright it doesn't really bother me anymore.  When I was in school I probably would have started a fight.  But," she lowered her voice to a whisper "I've grown up since then, but don't tell anyone. My reputation would be ruined."  She smiled at Nancy when she finished.  Nancy just smiled back at her.

"So where are you staying" asked Rosalita.  She had been unusually quiet since Alex had gotten here.  She just couldn't think of anything to say.  This new woman confused her a little, she was obviously smart, I mean she was a doctor after all.  But she seemed to also have a nice sense of humor and a temper.  She just couldn't figure her out.

"Oh I'll be staying at an old lab that was built way back when.  Its supposedly been abandoned for awhile now but I was told that it had been fixed up and refurbished for me."  This immediately caught Burt's attention.  But before he could say anything the little thing on his wrist she had mistaken for a watch beeped and they felt a rumbling in the shop.  And all the merchandise started to shake on the shelves.  Alex just looked around in curiosity and was about to ask what was going on but she saw Jodie put her finger to her lips.  So she just gabbed on to the counter and held on.

After a few seconds the rumbling stopped and the shelves stopped shaking.  Everyone appeared calm and completely relaxed, so she figured it was a common occurrence.  Everyone that is except for poor Twtichell, he was sweating and said "I hate that freaking worm."

"Let me guess, that would be El Blanco."  Alex said.  "That's right, our very own twenty ton carnivorous worm" was Tyler's reply.

"You said you we're gonna be staying in an old abandoned lab."  Burt said, trying to keep his voice neutral.

"Oh, here he goes.  He's been saying that there's an old lab around here and now he finally has his proof."  This came from Twitchell who was hardly in the mood for another one of Burt's 'I told you so speeches'.  Of course he never was in the mood for one of those.

"Yeah, they gave me a map to get out there but I don't know the area so I was wondering if one of you would like to help me."  Alex said, with her fingers crossed under the counter.  The last thing I need is to get lost out here in the desert, here's hoping that she'll help me.

"I would...."  Tyler began but was cut off by Burt saying "I'll help."

Crap Tyler thought, just when I was hoping to score a few brownie points.  Then he realized why Burt said he would help.  He just wants to see that lab for himself.  Ok, I'm still good, still gotta chance."

Oh well, Alex thought, maybe I can ask her to help me unpack some stuff and invite her over for dinner.  Yeah that's it, she smiled to herself and turned to Burt.  "Okay" she said and handed him the map "I'll just follow you there."

While she thought hmm someone new here hope we get along okay.

Part 2

After what seemed like not very long at all they were at the spot Burt said the lab was on the map.  But, Alex didn't see anything, just a lot of shrubs and dirt.  That's when Burt kneeled down on the ground and brushed some dirt away from something.  She came over to see what he found when she saw what looked like a big cement block in the ground with a key hole.

"They give you a key?"  Burt asked.

"Yeah just a sec."  Alex responded, she dug the key out of her pocket and put it into the keyhole and turned it.  She was shocked to see a circular section of the cement block rise out of the ground, she saw stairs leading down into the lab.  "Whoa, nobody said anything about living underground."  She said.

"What? There's nothing wrong with it.  In this area it's a whole lot safer than a normal place would be, probably completely graboid proof."

Alex had to admit that he made a whole lot of sense.  As they walked down the steps she saw what appeared to be a light switch on the wall with a little blinking light on it, so she flicked the switch.  The whole place looked brand new, not even so much as a speck of dust could be seen.  Then she remembered something he said back at the store.

"You never answered my question back in the store, what is Mix-Master?"  She didn't really like the sound of anything that combined the words mix and master.

"They really didn't tell you, did they?"  Burt said, he was surprised, even if she did work for a zoo you'd think that they would be a little bit more forthcoming.  But then he remembered who he was thinking about.  "Alright, basically it's a chemical that can combine the DNA of any living organisms that come into contact with it."

Alex was couldn't tell if he was joking or not.  So she decided to come right out and say what she was thinking.  "That's not possible.  Even if they were able to make something like that how could they keep it a secret for so long?"

"Believe me, I didn't want to believe it either.  And I have no idea how they managed to keep it a secret for so long" he said.  "But wait it gets even better.  They came up with this stuff in this very lab."  He saw her look of shock, and then decided to waylay her fears.  "Don't worry they designed it so it would have no effect on humans.  Even so from the way things look down here and the it looks like this place has been scrubbed down the last molecule."

This seemed to ease Alex's fears "Well Mr. Gummer thanks for your help but I have to get my stuff down here and do a little exploring"  She said.

Burt said "Call me Burt, and are you sure you don't need any help?"

Alex nodded, "Sure, none of the heavy stuff is getting here until tomorrow.  All I have right now is some basic stuff and my exercise equipment, and none of it is too big.  But, thanks for the offer."

Burt just nodded and turned to leave.  "Oh one more thing," he said "where did you get that hummer, those things cost a fortune."

"Oh that, that's a company car."  When she saw the shock evident on his face she explained "One of the good things about going into a possibly dangerous area in the middle of nowhere is you can ask for just about anything as long as you can make it seem like it's necessary.  Not to mention I had a few 'adjustments' made before I left.  It's about as graboid proof as a car can get."

Burt wanted to know about the 'adjustments' but decided to leave that for another time.  "Oh" he said "I almost forgot.  Here's your wrist seizmo, it will let you know when  El Blanco decides to comes over for a visit.  And this is a video with some tips on how to survive a graboid attack."  He said handing her a little watch like gizmo and a  video tape with Burt on the cover.

"Thanks" was Alex's reply.  At that Burt turned and left, leaving Alex to her own devices.

She decided to do a little exploring.  Going around from room to room she discovered that most of the rooms were quite large and quite empty.  One room looked like it had been used as an exercise room, it had a place for a punching bag to hang and a rack with plenty of room for  free weights.  She figured this would be a perfect place for her to do her katas and her yoga, and to make it even better she found a place to plug her stereo in so she could listen to a little music.

She went into the room adjoining the exercise room and found a changing room and a large shower area.  Must have been a lot of people here once, she thought.

She continued her search finding a fully stocked lab.  Computer, microscope, slides, refrigerator, some specimen tanks and even... no it couldn't be.  It is, a giant ant colony in the corner, with glass all around and even a movable camera so she could see into the colony itself.  She let out a small squeal of delight, almost like a small child in a toy store.  There was even a monitor attached to the camera.  "Oh this is so great" she said out loud "I've always wanted one of these for myself but they are so expensive."

I wonder how they knew that I'm an entomologist, she thought to herself.  Oh well, I'll examine this in more detail later, I still have some exploring to do.

She went into the next room and found a kitchen that looked like it had been made completely from stainless steel.  "This ought to do the trick" she said to herself "its not like I cook all that often anyway."  She also noticed the fairly small table off to the side.

With the exception of the walk-in fridge that was the last room she had to explore.  Now its just a matter of figuring out which room I want to sleep in and which I want to have everything else in.

Essentially she only had two rooms to choose from, they were both about the same size and completely empty and they were right across the hall from each other. The decision was made for her when she discovered one of the rooms had a doorway that led to a bathroom with a shower and a Jacuzzi along with the basics every bathroom had.  "Yep, this is the one" she said.

It didn't seem take her long to move everything she had into her new home.  Mainly it was just boxes of clothes and a few pictures.  The hardest thing was the punching bag because it was just so hard to hold onto and barely managed to get it into the exercise room.

However, when she finally brought her sleeping bag and pillows into what she had decided to be her room it had gotten quite dark.  She decided that it was a little too late to ask 'her' for help today.  Oh well, she thought, not much to do yet anyway, until I get the rest of the stuff tomorrow.

At that she decided to call it a night and laid down on her sleeping bag to sleep.  While she was waiting for sleep to claim her she planned how to get 'her' over here tomorrow.  That night she dreamed sweet dreams about a certain resident of Perfection Valley, and when she awoke in the morning all she could remember was a head full of long, dark hair and a voice that should belong to angel asking "can I help you ma'am". 

Part 3

Alex woke slowly at first.  She was enjoying her dreams far too much to want to wake up, but alas she couldn't fight her body and it was telling her to get moving.  She had only lingering memories of her dreams that night but she knew exactly what, and who, they were about.

As she looked over at the digital clock she saw that it said five A.M.  Man, she thought to herself, six hours of sleep.  I must have been a lot more tired than I thought.  For as long as she could remember she had always had a screwed up sleep cycle.  She still smiled when ever she thought about all the havoc she put those poor nuns through in the middle of the night when she was still at the orphanage.  She had no idea what caused her insomnia none of the other people with her condition mentioned sleeplessness and none of her doctors had ever been able to identify the cause.  Her body had long ago adapted the strange cycle so she didn't suffer from the effects of sleep deprivation, at least not anymore. Those nuns had told her about some of the side effects she had gone through when she was very young and she was glad she didn't remember it.

She decided that since she was up she might as well go ahead and do her daily exercises.  She went into the exercise room and spread out the mat she exercised on, she decided to do a more intensive work out than usual.  The days it took to drive out here from Washington D.C. had really taken it out of her and she hadn't had a chance to exercise more than a few minutes a day.

She started out with her yoga routine as she normally did.  Nothing too intensive more just some basic stretches and her breathing techniques.  Her sensei had always told her that being flexible and strengthening all those underused muscles would help her train, she didn't really believe at first but went along with it anyway.  It wasn't long before she realized how right he was, she couldn't do many of the more difficult poses but by doing yoga she was able to tone and strengthen her muscles as well as increase her flexibility.

After about thirty minutes of her routine she decided that would be enough.  She then started on what she considered her 'real' workout.  She got the ankle and wrist weights she normally used out of one of the boxes and began her basic katas.  Normally these wouldn't be enough to even make her sweat but with the five pound weights on each arm and leg it was more of a work out.  After several minutes of this she went into some more complicated routines.

She decided that it was time to stop warming up and really get started.  She incorporated nearly every move she knew into a seamless routine.  To someone looking on it would seem more like she sparring with an invisible opponent rather than just practicing.  After nearly an hour of this and with sweat dripping off of her she decided that was enough of that for today.  But she still had one more exercise to go.  She almost wanted to skip this part but knew that if her sensei knew she hadn't practiced in so long and then skipped this part he would probably beat the crap out of her.  She smiled at the thought of that seemingly harmless old man.  He could probably still beat me to, she thought to herself.

That's enough reminiscing for now she admonished herself, not doing any good sitting here  trying to put it off.  She took off her weights and picked up the large black punching sitting in corner where she had put it the night before.  It took a little work but she finally managed to get into position on the rack that was built into the ceiling.

She put her weights back on and went to work on the punching bag.  She went at it with everything she knew.  It didn't take more than forty-five minutes for her to begin feeling exhausted, but she didn't even slow down for another ten minutes.  After that she felt like she was going to drop where she stood.  Man, she thought, that one week took more out of me than I thought.  She debated with herself about doing a little jogging but decided that could wait until another time.  Think I'll hit that Jacuzzi now, she thought to herself and smiled.

She went back to her room and grabbed a towel before stepping into the bathroom.  She turned on the Jacuzzi and waited for the water to heat up.  She quickly stripped off her sweaty work out clothes and when she laid them on floor she remembered seeing a washer and dryer somewhere but couldn't remember where.  Oh well, she thought, I'll worry about it later.  Before she got into the Jacuzzi she took a quick shower just long enough to wash her body and her hair.

After she stepped out of the shower she gently lowered herself into the tub and silently moaned in pleasure.  That feels so good, she thought, I forgot how much these things rock.  Its been so long since I've been in one, not since... wow, college, has it really been that long.  She tried to remember the last time she was in a Jacuzzi like this.

Oh now I remember, she thought, the last time was with Jeannie just before I graduated.  She smiled at that memory.  That was one hell of a night, she thought, I remember exactly what she was wearing to.  She thought back to that night that felt so long ago, they had both had a little too much to drink and were celebrating their imminent graduation.  They were both sitting in the hot tub giggling about a joke that wasn't very funny in truth but they thought it was hilarious.  When Alex leaned forward and brushed her lips against Jeannie's, they both pulled back at first but then they looked at each other and leaned toward each other...

No time for that Alex thought, I've got too much to do today.  She reluctantly got out of the hot tub.  She dried off and went back into the room she had chosen as her bedroom and rummaged through her boxes until she came upon a suitable outfit.  A red tanktop and a pair of cut off jeans.   After she dressed she went into the bathroom to brush her teeth and fix her hair.  After this she just looked into the mirror at herself.  She thought she was an attractive woman, five eight, long legs and beautiful blue eyes, and she was in incredible shape.

Of course there was the hair, oh how she hated that hair.  When she was in the orphanage the other children had teased her mercilessly, sometimes she thought that was what had driven her to Jonesy.  He had never teased her about the hair and had always seemed to respect her.  "NO" she said aloud, that bastard just wanted me to be in his stupid gang because he saw how well I could fight.   He was the one who gave me that stupid nickname to, at first she liked the nickname it made her feel tough but over time it had just became another symbol of his control over her life.  He was in jail and she was here.  She had a nice car a good job and a seriously hot woman to talk to and, she crossed her fingers, maybe something more.

Enough thinking about the past, she said to herself, I'm here right now and its time I made the best of it instead of worrying about things that had happened a long time ago.  And especially stop worrying about that hair, there's nothing you can do about it.  Its not like I haven't tried every single highlighter, dye, and hair product known to woman trying to get rid of that damn blue but none of it ever worked.

She looked down at the clothes laying on the floor and decided it was time to go look for that washer and dryer.

She found the laundry room in the last place she had expected and naturally the only place in the entire lab she hadn't looked yet.  In a little room in the kitchen area, behind a small stainless steel door that had been left open.  I knew I saw a laundry room somewhere around here, she thought to herself.  She threw the clothes she had used to work out into the washer immediately and went and got some laundry detergent she had put into the smallest box she had with her, it was labeled 'cleaning stuff'.

When she went back into the room she saw the sparring outfit her sensei had gotten her when she earned her black belt.  She decided to hang it up somewhere out in the open.  She found what appeared to be a closet in the near the very back of the room and hung it in there until she found a better place to put it.  That was when she heard the alarm on her clock go off, she knew she would be awake long before the alarm went off so she was using it to remind her to go and meet the movers with the rest of her stuff.  They wouldn't come any farther into Perfection Valley than Jodie's store so she agreed to meet them there and take everything with her the rest of the way.

As she was going up the stairs that led to the rest of the world she thought to herself, I hope she takes me up on my offer to help me unpack and move stuff around in exchange for dinner.  With that thought she hit the button that would close the lab up and climbed into her hummer to go to town. 

Part 4

Jodie watched Burt walk into her store to get his mail, she let him get halfway to his box before she started to talk to him.  "So what do you think of the new doctor?" She asked.

He gave a barely audible sigh before answering the question.  " I don't know I didn't get to talk to her for very long.  But, I don't trust her, all those scientist types are the same.  They care more about their little experiments than anyone or anything."

Jodie decided to cut this budding rant off before it could bloom into a full blown rant.  "Oh well I was just wondering," she said.  They could both hear a low rumbling that they recognized as the sound of Alex's Hummer.  They turned to see Alex coming down the road toward the store.

"Well, speak of the..."  Jodie began to say but was interrupted by the seizmo on her and Burt's wrist beeping.  Then the store began its usual shaking that signaled the graboid's approach.  They both new that this was bad news.  They could see the little dust trail that meant El Blanco was coming to the surface to feed, yet they were both unable to do anything to warn the quickly approaching vehicle of the danger.  They could only hope that Alex was wearing her seizmo and would get at least a little warning of the imminent danger.

Burt saw the Hummer come to a complete stop and hoped that meant Alex was aware of the danger approaching her.  He wished that he was closer, but at the moment he was to far away to do any good and by the time he was able to get close enough it would all be over.  As he looked at the Hummer he could see that it wasn't moving but he could still hear the engine running and he couldn't figure out why she didn't turn it off.

They both saw the Hummer begin to shake as El Blanco began to near it.  Then as they were watching two little 'wings' extended from the side of the vehicle. They couldn't figure out what they were for, though.  Suddenly the glass in the windows and all the glass in the shop began to vibrate very quickly making them give off a very low humming.

They watched on the monitor in the store as El Blanco took off as fast as he could away from the vehicle.  This confused the heck out of Jodie because she didn't know what had happened.  Burt was confused as well because even though he thought he knew what had happened he didn't think it fit into a car, even one as large as a hum-vee.

After a few seconds they could see that El Blanco had pretty much gone as far away from the vehicle as he could in that amount of time.  The glass stopped vibrating and the humming stopped as well.  The wings retracted back into the side of the hummer.  And it began to resume its journey to the store.

Both Burt and Jodie looked at each other speechlessly.  Neither one had seen anything quite like it before.  As far as they could tell no concussion grenades had been used and they hadn't been able to see anything that might have caused El Blanco's hasty retreat.

As the Hummer finally pulled up to the store they just waited for Alex to get out of the car and into the store before bombarding her questions.  "Hold on, hold on, one person at a time.  I can't understand you when you both try to ask questions at the same time."

Jodie and Burt looked at each as if deciding which would speak without wasting the time to actually talk to one another.  They nodded and began speaking at the same time again.

Alex gave a quiet laugh and said pointing at Burt, "Alright, you speak."  Then she pointed at Jodie and smiled before saying "Wait until he's finished then you can ask questions."  Jodie was a bit surprised at the change in tones when Alex had spoken to her it was almost like she was speaking to her boyfriend rather than just someone she had briefly met the day before.   Whoa, wait a minute, she thought, where in the world did that come from.

"All right first of all what in the world did you do to El Blanco," was Burt's first question.

"Well basically I made him sick to his giant stomach."  Was Alex's reply.

"How did you do that."  Burt asked.

"Well, it's a little complicated.  There are large speakers on those little wings you saw and there is a machine on the underside of the car that produces an incredibly high pitched noise that we can't hear, but El Blanco and a few dogs and bats can hear.  This noise has an oscillating frequency and pitch that severely screws up balance sensors and quite a few other things.  Basically he felt like a human being who just downed about fifteen bottles of tequila and then went on a tilt-a-whirl.  Not to mention he probably got a huge headache from it."

"Now the fact that graboids have more sensitive hearing than anything else we know of means that it probably affected El Blanco more than it normally would affect something.  AS I'm sure you noticed the system causes glass to vibrate at just the right frequency to make it hum, so there's more than one reason I call this a Hummer."

This explanation seemed to make sense to Burt.  Then he asked "Where did you come up with that thing?"

"Well, you see, it was originally developed as a method to disable attacking dogs quickly without injuring them and without risking injury to the person.  I just had a friend of mine beef up the power and hook it up to some strong speakers and voila.  Anti-Graboid Defense System."

"Did this friend make the other 'adjustments' you mentioned," Burt asked.

"That's right, I told her I was going out here and asked her to see what he could do to make my stay as safe as possible,"  Alex replied.

"Well, what are these other adjustments?"  Asked Jodie, not waiting to hear if Burt had any other questions.

"Come on outside and I'll show you," she replied.  They walked outside to where the vehicle was parked.  "First off every bit of metal you see is a stainless-steel alloy, while the frame is pure stainless steel.  Makes it way stronger than that fiberglass crap while still keeping it as light as possible.  All the glass is bulletproof and every inch of the car has an armor glazing on it.  Now I wasn't too sure what that was and when she tried to explain she just confused me, but from what I could gather it's some kind of fiberglass resin that is super light but incredibly strong, as well as completely clear 'cause it doesn't seem to mess up the color of the car in any way.  That's why it seems to have that sheen on it, that keeps it shiny.  Makes cleaning it great because nothing seems to stick to it.  Not to mention I don't have to worry about some Sunday driver scratching the car."

"Then I got some of the more mundane enhancements.  You know, supercharged, turbo charged, got the heads done, stuff like that."  She saw the shocked look on both their faces, well shock on Jodie's face.  Burt had more a look of budding respect.

"You know the term overkill," Jodie asked.

"No" was Alex's reply, but she smiled as she said it.

"To be honest part of the deal with my boss to get me out here was that I could take whatever steps I thought necessary to ensure my safety.  So I got most of it done just to piss my boss off, I just love to make that cheap bastard give up money.  And my friend was having some difficulties finding work lately so I had all the most expensive work done.  And man was it expensive, when everything was said and done it cost nearly 50,000 dollars.  I figured that would keep the shop going for a  while longer."

"How could any zoo afford that," Burt asked.

"You see that's the beauty of it, we're the first zoo to get permission to send someone out here so nearly every zoo in the country is giving us something to share our research,"  Alex explained.

"Exactly how many zoos are giving you many to do research,? This from Jodie.

"Well, all of them really.  I mean its not every day you get to research the oldest and rarest species alive."

 "One of the best things about this car is that it is an electric-diesel hybrid.  So it gets nearly forty miles to the gallon,"  Alex continued.  But before she could go into more details on her car she was interrupted by Burt.

"I got a lot of important work to do so I'll be going.  Just wanted to stop in and check my mail,"  Burt said.

"Well Burt, it was nice talking to you," Alex said and received only a momentary glance from him in response.

"I'll see you later Burt," this was from Jodie, she received the same glance in response but she also got a "humph" from Burt as well.

"Well, Alex what can I do for you?" Jodie asked.

"Actually I was wondering what the odds of me getting a hamburger are," was her reply.

"That depends on whether or not you'll be paying for this hypothetical hamburger," Jodie answered.

"Well yeah. I wasn't expecting to get a five finger discount on a hamburger."

"Oh, in that case I'd say that the odds of you getting that hamburger are pretty good."  Jodie said.

"Great I'm starving," was Alex's enthusiastic reply.

"Please tell me you didn't drive all the way over here just because you didn't feel like cooking."  Jodie asked Alex as she quickly prepared her hamburger.

"No, not really, there's two reasons.  The first is that the kitchen lab is sadly lacking in some necessities, like food, so I plan on getting some before I leave.  Second, the movers with the rest of my stuff refused to come any farther into Perfection than your store, so I agreed to meet them here and take it the rest of the way," Alex explained.

"Ah, what do you want on your burger?"  While Alex had been talking Jodie had very quickly cooked the burger and had gotten out the condiments.

"Oh I'll have mayo, lettuce, and one slice of onion."  Jodie quickly put these on the bun and handed Alex her burger.

"Wow, that's what I call good time," said Alex sounding suitably impressed.  She took one bite and quickly said "And its really good to."

"Thanks," said Jodie.

Alex quickly finished the hamburger while still keeping up some small talk with Jodie and managed to not spray her with partially chewed food.  "Actually, there is another reason I came over here.  I was wondering if you would help me move some of my stuff into the lab.  In exchange I'll provide dinner, I can make some mean enchiladas,"  Alex said while barely managing to keep her voice at a neutral tone.

Jodie considered her offer for a few seconds and said "Sure I'd love to help.  But it won't be until around six when I close the shop.  And honestly I'm a sucker for Spanish food."

Alex nodded and said "Sure I can wait until then to move the bigger stuff in, that'll give me time to figure out where I want to put it all."  This time she was barely able to keep her tone at nothing more than slightly thankful.

"Oh, here comes the movers with my stuff now.  I'll just go out and meet them and come back and do my shopping."  At that Alex stepped out side.

Jodie could see her talk to the movers for a few second and then had them help her hitch the van up to the back of the Hummer.  She also saw one of the movers accidentally hit his hand when he was hitching up the van.  She could hear him say a very bad word very loudly when he did it.  After that there were no other mishaps.  She saw Alex pay the movers and they drove off as fast as they could.

Alex walked back into store, she looked at Jodie and rolled her eyes and said "Good help is so hard to find these days."

After that she went around the store grabbing all the things she would need and brought them over to Jodie so she could ring them up.  After Jodie calculated the total and Alex paid her she said "So I'll see you around six."  Alex handed her a folded up map and said "I almost forgot it would kind of help if you knew where to find the place.  The lab is marked on the map.  Thanks and I'll see you at around six."

Jodie watched Alex walk out the door and get in her car.  She was a little relieved to see her go, she wasn't comfortable with some of the feelings she had while Alex was in the same room with her. It felt almost like her breath caught in her throat and she had little butterflies going in her stomach.  She didn't know what she was going to do when she went to help her unpack.  Now that she was thinking about it why did she say she was a sucker for Spanish food, she liked it some but she had never been that big a fan.  Oh well, she thought to herself, what's done is done and thinking about it would just be a waster of time.  Besides she had a customer coming in the front door, time to put that personal life on the afterburner.

Part 5

Later that day Alex was running around the lab trying to get everything ready.  She ran into the kitchen to check on the enchiladas that she had put into the oven earlier which were slowly cooking.  Then she ran into the room and looked around, she saw the bed frame for the queen sized bed, she had managed to put together earlier.  She looked over at the clock she had sitting on the floor and saw that it said 5:58.  She'll be here soon, Alex thought to herself.

She ran into the bathroom to check her hair and make sure her teeth looked good.  She grabbed the rarely used bottle of perfume she had gotten for her birthday one year, it was really good but it was also very expensive so she almost never used it.  To her it smelled like peaches mixed with vanilla, peaches and cream Sister Marie had told her.  As she spritzed a small amount on herself she thought to herself, God I am freaking out over this girl; Jesus, I don't normally act this way.

As she walked out into the bedroom she heard the sound of a car pulling up to the lab.  She was just barely able to keep herself from running straight to the door to see if it was her.  She calmed herself and managed to walk to the door like a completely sane person.

As she walked out into the open air she was just in time to see Jodie get out of her car.  She was silhouetted against the sunset with her hair blowing in the wind.  God she looks beautiful, she thought to herself, makes me just want to rush over and... bad thoughts girl, bad thoughts.  If you keep up this line of thought you'll probably do something to screw this up.

"Hey," Alex said to Jodie as she waved "'Come into my parlor said the spider to the fly.'"

It took Jodie a second or two to process what she had said, before she could do that she had to get over the sight of Alex walking out of the lab looking as beautiful as she did; God where do these thoughts keep coming from?  Jodie smiled at the joke when she was finally able to process it, well at least she hoped it was a joke.  And then Jodie said after a few tries "'Oh no, to ask me is in vain, for anyone who goes into your parlor is ne'er seen again.'"

"Wow, you're the first person who's ever been able to finish one of my quotes.  I'm impressed," Alex said and thought to herself, beauty and brains talk about a killer combo.  Of course she didn't say that, instead she said "Come on inside I'll give you the cook's tour of this place."  Jodie just nodded her head and followed her down into the lab.

As she followed Alex down the stairs into the lab she couldn't help but notice an enchanting smell, she realized it must Alex's perfume.  It smelled like peaches with a slight hint of vanilla.  It made Jodie wonder if her skin tastes as good as she smells, this thought brought the image of her licking up the side of Alex's neck, whoa what in the HELL was that.  Damn girl, you  seriously need to cool down.

"Jodie...  Jodie....  hey Jodie.  Are you okay?"  Jodie snapped out of her thoughts when she realized Alex was talking to her.  "You kind of spaced out there, are you alright?" Alex asked.

"Huh, oh yeah I'm fine I was just trying to remember whether or not I locked up the shop," Jodie answered quickly.  Lord knows what Alex would do if she knew what I was really thinking, Jodie thought.

"Okay, well lets get this tour under way,"  Alex was only barely able to keep the disappointment out of her voice, she had been hoping Jodie was thinking about her.  They began to walk and Alex pointed out all the rooms as they passed.  When they went into the bedroom to show Jodie the bathroom in case she needed to use it Alex said, "Well, that's pretty much it.  I already got the bedframe set up I just need some help carrying the mattress and box spring down here and a few other things.  Oh, and in case you were wondering, I already put the enchiladas in the oven so they should be ready to eat in about an hour."

"Alright, that sounds good to me," Jodie responded, "Why don't we go ahead and get started?"

"Sure, lets go ahead and do the mattresses first."  Was Alex's reply.

They went back outside to where the moving van was waiting.  Jodie waited as Alex opened the door in the back of the van, the first thing she noticed when it was opened was that there didn't seem to a lot of things that she would need help with, the biggest she saw was a large dresser.  Other than that it was mainly just boxes with little labels on them so Alex would know what's inside.

"Alright," Alex said to Jodie, "I'll grab that end of the box spring and push it out and you grab the other end."

"Got it," Jodie said.  She watched as Alex moved some of the boxes out of the way of the box spring and got behind it.  She was able to push it with surprising ease.  As they got it out of the van Jodie could tell that Alex had taken the most of the weight but didn't seem to be struggling at all.

When they got to the stairs into the lab they stopped.

"Lets hope this thing fits in there," Jodie said.

"Yeah, I'd hate to have to get another bed, this one is sooo comfortable,"  Alex replied.

After a few minutes of bending and unbending, turning it this way and that way, they were finally able to squeeze through the door.  After that it was easy to it onto the bed frame.

"Whew, that was an adventure," Jodie said as they put the box spring onto the bed frame.

"Just wait, we haven't even gotten to the heavy stuff yet," was Alex's reply. Jodie looked at Alex and tried to tell if she was joking or not, it had felt heavy to her and she knew Alex had given her the light end.

As she looked at Alex she noticed something she hadn't before.  Alex was in great shape, her arms were toned and defined; and her legs looked in even better shape, if that was possible.  Not to mention her flat stomach and certain other portions of her anatomy in that general area.  Alex noticed Jodie looking at her and couldn't help but pose a little bit.  She put her hands on her back and leaned backwards arching her stomach.  Jodie got quite an eyeful as she looked on, she was almost mesmerized at the scene before her.

Alex hated to stop this, but they had a lot of work ahead of them and she very much wanted that bed finished; just in case.  "Alright now why don't we go get the mattress," Alex said in a low voice. Jodie snapped out of her daze and just nodded, her mouth was far too dry to talk right now.  She let Alex lead the way out of the lab, at the moment she probably couldn't have found her way out of her own shop.

As they went up the stairs Jodie couldn't stop herself from looking at Alex's butt, and she definitely admired the view.  God, she thought, what is the matter with me.  This is sooo not right, I just need to get a grip on myself.  I wish she would get a grip on me.  Gah stop it, she mentally yelled at herself.

She didn't notice that they had reached the van and she kept walking, she would have run right into it if Alex hadn't grabbed her shoulders and pulled her back.  But, Jodie wasn't paying any attention and lost her balance and fell back against Alex.  They both went down on the ground.  They wound up in a tangle of arms and legs with Jodie on top looking directly into Alex's eyes.  Neither one moved an inch as they looked into each others eyes.  Alex didn't want this moment to end but she wanted to make sure Jodie wasn't hurt even more.

"Are you alright; you're not hurt are you" Alex asked. Jodie seemed to come out of a daze when Alex spoke.

"Oh, yeah I'm fine.  Nothing hurt but my dignity. Sorry I don't really know what's wrong with me today.  I just seem to be having trouble thinking right." Was Jodie's reply.

"It's okay, we all have days like that sometimes," Alex said.  But she had seen Jodie's eyes and she thought she knew what was causing Jodie's trouble thinking, and she was quite pleased about it.

Jodie got up and extended her hand to Alex.  Alex quickly took the offered hand and pulled herself up, but when she was standing she didn't let go of her hand.  Things were going much faster than she had anticipated and she didn't want to slow them down.

Jodie was enjoying the feeling of her hand in Alex's but it also scared her.  She gently took her hand out of Alex's and said, "Let's get that mattress then, and thanks for saving me," she said seriously, and then smiled before she said "My hero."

Alex also smiled when Jodie said that.  "Alright, it should be easier to get this one in the door because it will bend.  Same way as last time?" She asked. When Jodie nodded she climbed into the van and got behind the mattress and pushed it to where Jodie was waiting to grab the other end.

Jodie noticed that this one was much lighter than the box spring.  She probably would have been able to carry it herself, if she could have found an easy way to hold it.  Alex was right, they had little trouble carrying the mattress into the bedroom.  Once they put it onto the frame they both stood up and smiled at each other.  They were both thinking some very interesting thoughts that involved the bed, but neither one knew the other was thinking the same thing.  Alex looked over at Jodie and admired her beauty, her toned legs and smooth skin.  Not to mention Alex's biggest turn on, Jodie's dark hair.  This time Jodie noticed Alex staring and did her own little stretching act.  When Jodie started to stretch Alex's breath caught in her throat as she just looked on, she thought to herself, it should be illegal for someone to look that gorgeous; because lord know the things I'm thinking of right now are illegal in thirteen states and Puerto Rico.

Jodie broke the silence first, "So what do we have left?"

Alex had to catch her breath for a second before she could answer.  "Well let's see.  Only three things that would require two people to carry: the t.v., the couch, and my dresser.  And only the dresser is heavy."

"Okay, we might as well go ahead and get them done," Jodie said.

"Alright, lets go," was Alex's reply.

This time when they were going up the stairs Alex let Jodie go in front of her.  Alex didn't even try to stop herself from staring at Jodie butt as she walked.  Jodie could feel Alex's eyes on her and she unconsciously put a little extra sway in her step.  This was not lost on Alex and it was greatly appreciated.

When they got out to the van Jodie climbed into van as Alex enjoyed watching her lithe body move.  Jodie went to the back and moved all the boxes out of the way and with some effort she pushed the couch to the edge of the van.  Alex rather liked this couch, she had gotten it at a flea market for thirty bucks and it was perfect for her.  It was big enough to seat two people comfortably, but the best part of it was it was just big enough for Alex to stretch out on.  Not to mention it was leopard print, she loved leopard print.

Alex grabbed one end while Jodie hopped out of the van and grabbed the other end.  Jodie noticed that it was much heavier than the box spring had been.  It must be real wood inside here, she thought.  She also noticed that Alex had again taken the most of the weight, but this time she could see that some effort showed on Alex's face; still not as much as probably showed on her own.

They carefully went down the stairs and Alex led the way to the area that would be the living room.  It was the same size as the bedroom but it didn't have any doors leading out of it and it was completely empty.  They set the couch down near the wall Alex figured she would put the t.v..

"There that wasn't too bad, now the only difficult one left is the dresser," Alex said, "I got a big one because I was told there weren't any closets in here."  Jodie nodded but she didn't say anything because she was still catching her breath, she had thought it was difficult.  She must be in even more incredible shape than I thought.

When Jodie caught her breath she said "We might as well go ahead and get the hard one out of the way."  Alex nodded and they headed back outside.  This time they both went into the van and pushed the dresser to the edge.

"Okay, this is the heaviest thing I have, so be careful.  Don't want you to get hurt,"  Alex said.  Jodie nodded her head and pulled the end she had chosen towards her and prepared herself to grab it.  When she pulled her end out of the van Alex quickly pulled the other end out.  It took a few seconds but she managed to take almost all the weight, she felt sure Jodie would be able to handle the rest.

Jodie was able to handle the rest, in fact it felt like the mattress had weighed more.  Then she saw Alex's face and knew that she had taken nearly the full weight of the dresser herself.  Look what she did just to make sure I wouldn't get hurt, she thought to herself.  That's so sweet, she thought.  In that moment she knew that the feelings she had been having were not just flukes or hormones gone wild, she actually cared about this woman, even though she had only met her yesterday.  She thought to herself how she would pay Alex back when she got the chance.

To Alex it was a grueling trek from the van into the bedroom but not once did she make a sound or let Jodie take more of the weight.  When she finally got it to where she wanted it she was nearly exhausted.  When she finally set down her end at last, she walked over to the bed and flopped down onto it.  Jodie looked at her with concern and walked over to the bed and flopped down next to her. This close to her the smell of her perfume was darn near intoxicating.  She fought down the urge to just lay there and rose up on her side to look at Alex.

Jodie could see sweat glisten on  her temples and her chest heaving but other than that she didn't seem to be too bad off.  Then Jodie paid very close attention to Alex's heaving chest and made sure Alex could see.  She leaned close to Alex's ear and in a voice just above a whisper she said "You okay?"

The vibrations Jodie's voice sent through her ear made Alex give a small shudder.  She nodded before she spoke,  "Yeah I just need a second or two to catch my breath."

"Alright," Jodie said "I know you took nearly all the weight of that thing.  Thank you, it means a lot to me that you were worried."  Jodie laid back down and closed her eyes, she then took long deep breaths through her nose so she could imprint that smell in her mind forever.

After a few seconds Alex reluctantly started to sit.  Jodie opened her eyes and looked at Alex, "I have to go check on the enchiladas, they should be ready by now and they have to cool." Alex said.

Jodie nodded and said, "Maybe now would be a good time to get that box that's labeled 'dinnerware'." 

Alex smiled and said "You know that would probably be a good idea."

They went to the hall way and went in different directions.  Alex went to the kitchen, and Jodie went outside to the moving van.  It took Jodie a few seconds to locate the box labeled 'dinnerware'.  Aha, there it is, she thought to herself when she found it.  She grabbed the box and went down to the kitchen. She could smell the enchiladas when she went into the kitchen and she had to admit they smelled delicious.  She smiled at Alex as she took off her oven mitts and set them on the counter, then Jodie opened the box and began taking out two plates and some knives and forks.  "I'm not sure what box I put the glasses in so we're gonna have to do without," Alex said sounding a little embarrassed.

"It's alright, that doesn't bother me any," was Jodie's reply.

This made Alex smile, and she said "They're gonna need about twenty minutes to cool off before we can eat. So you wanna get the t.v. and start on some of the smaller boxes?"

"Sure," Jodie said.  They went out to the van and got into the back and went over to the box that was clearly for a t.v..  Jodie overlooked it at first because it just wasn't shaped like a t.v. should be shaped.  But when Alex grabbed one end she followed her lead and grabbed the other.  Jodie was surprised at how light it was it was just too long for one person to carry it without risking dropping it.

It wasn't difficult to get it down to the living room.  When they got it there they set it down gently in front of the couch, Jodie then noticed there was a socket in the wall right where they were setting the t.v. that she hadn't noticed before.  When they were done with that they went up to the van and each grabbed two boxes and for the next fifteen minutes or so they carried boxes from the van down into the lab.

One box Jodie picked up was labeled "DVDs" and she noticed that it was pretty heavy, so she figured Alex had a pretty good movie collection.  However, nothing seemed out of the ordinary until she came across a thin, square, wooden box that was about a foot long on all sides.  It was a beautiful mahogany and had a picture of a dragon on the top.

Her curiosity got the better of her and she opened the box.  Inside the box was lined with what looked liked a deep blue velvet.  Laying inside the box was a pair of knives, they were a design she had never seen before, and she had seen a lot of collector's item knives.  Heck she sold like five different kinds.  But these looked like they were actually functional.  The blades were the same blue color as Alex's hair and the hilts looked like they were made specifically for Alex.

"Oh, you found those.  They're my old competition daggers," came a voice from behind Jodie that she knew was Alex's. 

She turned and said "Competition daggers?" 

"Yeah, when I went to martial arts contests I always used those daggers as my weapons routine," Alex explained.

"Oh you did martial arts?"

"Yeah since I was about 14."  Alex said. 

"How did you do at the competitions," Jodie asked.

"Oh, in Weapons I always came in first, but in sparring I came in second once every time other than that I was first."

"Wow, your parents must have been really proud," Jodie was impressed she had seen some of those competitions on ESPN and they looked pretty hard.  She saw Alex's smile fade and her face darkened when Jodie mentioned her parents. 

"I came out to tell you that dinner is ready," Alex said, her voice sounded so sad it made Jodie want to go down there and hold her.  When she started to get out of the van Alex offered her a hand which she gladly accepted.  This time when Alex started to take her hand away Jodie didn't let her.  She looked at Alex and they both smiled as they walked into the lab to the kitchen, they held hands until they got to the kitchen.

When they had made their plates Alex went to the fridge and pulled out two bottles of Dr. Pepper and handed one to Jodie, "It's all I've got at the moment," she said.

"That's cool, I love Dr. Pepper, did you know he's Mr. Pibb's cousin."  She noticed that even though Alex smiled it didn't quite reach her eyes.  Alex then reached into the fridge again and got a container of sour cream and a spoon and set them on the table.  They made their plates and ate in silence for a few moments.

Jodie could tell whatever she had said about her parents was still bothering Alex so she decided to say something.  "I'm sorry if I said something I shouldn't have when I mentioned your parents."  Alex looked up at her and could see the sincerity in her eyes, she decided that if this was going to go any farther she should tell her.

"No, its okay.  You didn't do anything wrong.  You see, I grew up in a church run orphanage.  The nuns I the church are the ones who named me, that's how I got stuck with name like Alexandria Eve Zachariah" Alex explained, "My parents pulled the old 'leave the baby on the doorsteps of a church' trick.  So I never got to meet my parents."

"Oh I'm sorry I didn't know.  And I think it's a beautiful name," Jodie said. 

"It's alright it happened a long time ago and it wasn't your fault, so you have no reason to apologize.  It just gets me a little down when I think about it.  And thanks, noone's ever said they liked my name before,"  Alex said. "But enough of that.  What's it like living out here in Perfection.  I figure I'm probably gonna be here for awhile."  Alex said.  Jodie began to talk about Perfection and tell some of the stories that she and the others had lived through.  To Alex it was a much more pleasant conversation.  They went like this for some time.  That's when Alex accidentally dropped her fork.  When she bent down to pick it up Jodie noticed what she thought was a tattoo on her back.

She waited until Alex had gotten another one and sat back down before asking, "Is that a tattoo on your back?"

"Huh, oh yeah.  Would you like to see the whole thing," Alex asked.

"Sure," was Jodie's reply.

Alex stood up and turned her back to Jodie.  She slowly raised her shirt up revealing a little bit at a time.  She had to undo her bra so Jodie could see the whole thing.  When she could see the entire tattoo Jodie whistled, it took up nearly her whole back.  It was an image of a blue dragon that was breathing what appeared to be frost on the words BLUE DRAGON.  The words had icicles on them and looked frozen.  Alex began to put her bra and shirt back in place.

"Wow, that must have taken a while to do," Jodie said.

"Yeah, about seven hours," Alex confirmed.

"Jeez when did you get that done," Jodie asked. 

Alex grinned sheepishly before answering, "When I was about thirteen."

"Wait a minute, I thought you had to be eighteen to get a tattoo," Jodie said. 

"Well, you do if you get it done legally, I didn't," Alex explained.  When she saw the confusion on Jodie face she explained further, "Lets just say I had a rough childhood.  When I was twelve I joined a gang, and they gave me the nickname Blue Dragon.  They're also how I got the tattoo."

"Oh," Jodie said, she couldn't think of anything else to say. 

"Shocking huh?  The good doctor is a former gang member," Alex said. 

"Yeah just a little bit," Jodie said. 

"Well don't worry about that, I got out a long time ago, and I've never regretted it.  Although I have gotten the tattoo redone to keep it looking good.  I figure if I can't get rid of the damn thing I might as well make it look good,"  Alex told her.

"So how did you get out of the gang," Jodie asked. 

"Well, that's a long story and I don't think now is the best time to tell it.  Ask me again another day and I'll tell you,"  Alex replied. 

"Alright I'll do that," Jodie told her.

"Well, I think dinner is officially finished.  Could you help me clean up?" Alex asked. 

"I'd love to help you.  And dinner was fantastic, thank you," Jodie replied.

"Believe me, the pleasure was all mine."  Alex said.

Alex used the oven mitts to grab to pan and move it over to the counter near the fridge so she could put some foil on it.  As she was setting it down her pinky finger brushed the still hot pan.  "Crap!"  Alex yelped.  Jodie looked over from where she was putting the silverware into the sink.  She saw Alex holding her hand up and walking over to the sink.  When she got there she ran her finger under the cold water.  "That was real bright," she said.

"Here let me," Jodie said.  She grabbed her hand and put Alex's pinky finger in her mouth and gently sucked on it, she looked into Alex's eyes as she did it. Alex's eyes rolled into the back of her head.  It was too much for Alex, all the flirting and the furtive glances, she couldn't stop herself.  She pulled her hand from Jodie's grasp and leaned forward and kissed her.  There are no words that can describe how she felt when Jodie returned the kiss.

They backed away from each other then and looked into each other's eyes.  They both saw the same thing reflected there, desire.  They leaned into one another and kissed again.  But this one was different, it was like they were trying to become one person starting with the mouth.  Alex tongue snuck out and licked Jodie's teeth trying to gain access, which was immediately granted.  She tried to memorize every inch of Jodie's mouth from the inside.

They started to back out of the kitchen never stopping the kiss for an instant.  They finally found their way into the bedroom and collapsed on the bed together.  They broke the kiss only long enough to remove their shirts and then continued.  After that, they somehow managed remove the rest of their clothing without having to break the kiss.  Guess that yoga really does pay off, Alex thought.

"Are you sure you want to do this?  I mean I'll understand if..." Alex began, but was cut off by Jodie's instant reply. 

"Shut up and kiss me!" 

Alex, never one to argue, obeyed.

Part 6

Alex woke slowly at first.  She was curled around Jodie with her face nestled in the junction where Jodie's neck and shoulder met.  She could smell the delicate scent of her skin when she inhaled.  She took a deep breath trying to roll her scent in her mouth, she could almost taster her.

At first she tried to will herself back to sleep but after a few minutes without success she gave up on that idea.  She decided to see if she could move before she did anything else.  Her body slowly responded to her brain's commands to move, as she began to wake up more she took note of how sore she was in all the right places.  She smiled when she remembered some of the reasons for her sore muscles.

She decided to try and roll over to see what time it was.  She delicately rolled onto her other side to see the digital clock that was still lying on the floor.  As she rolled Jodie let out a small moan, and began to make small movements.  Whether it was because of cold or maybe something else Alex decided she didn't like it and rolled back over to cuddle with her, when Alex replaced her arms around her Jodie stopped her movement and settled back into a deeper sleep.

Alex knew her body wouldn't let her remain this still for long but she wanted to enjoy this feeling for as long as she could.  Alex curled up tight against Jodie and she could feel Jodie's body shake as she gave out a long sigh.  Alex sighed as well, but she knew she would have to get moving soon.  She was having more than a little trouble keeping her hands from wandering.

Alex very gently peeled her self off of Jodie and rolled over.  She tried to get up without disturbing Jodie but as soon as she was out of the bed Jodie let out a small, disappointed moan and Alex could see her frown.  Alex quickly pulled the covers up over Jodie's body to keep her warm but this didn't make the little frown go away.

Alex saw some of Jodie's hair fall into her face and gently brushed it back.  As soon as her skin touched Jodie's the little frown disappeared and she let out a small sigh.  Alex stood up and smiled down at Jodie before turning to the clock.  She saw that it said six o'clock, she did some quick mental calculations.

Hmm, dinner ended about 7:30 P.M. and I know for a fact that neither one of us fell asleep before midnight; so that's about six hours sleep.  I must have been really exhausted to sleep that long, she thought and then remembered some of the things they had done last night, yep I was really exhausted.

She decided to go ahead and do her daily routine.  She went to the dryer where her workout sweats were waiting for her.  She dressed quickly and went into the workout room to get started.  This time however she didn't put on any music because she didn't want to wake Jodie.  She started to get to work on her yoga routine.

Jodie woke slowly, she couldn't quite figure out what had woken her up.  She was a little confused because she couldn't remember where she was, then it 'all' came back to her.  She smiled as she thought of everything she had done last night.  She rolled over and saw that Alex wasn't in the bed next to her anymore.  She remembered being held by Alex just before she drifted into a deep sleep.

She slowly got out of the bed and then she realized what had woken her.  She could hear an odd thumping coming from somewhere inside the lab, and she couldn't figure out what it was.  She walked out of the bedroom without bothering to put on her clothes.  Jodie could tell that the noise was coming from the room Alex had told her was the workout room.  She walked slowly to the door into the workout room.

She saw Alex dressed in a grey sweatshirt and pants.  She's really going to work on that punching bag, Jodie thought.  Jodie could see that she was so focused that Alex didn't know that she was there.  So when Alex took a break and stood up to wipe the sweat off her face Jodie took the initiative.

Jodie snuck up behind her and wrapped her arms around Alex's stomach, she then kissed the back of Alex's neck.  She gently licked the side of Alex' ear sending a small shudder through Alex's body.  She spoke in a low, seductive whisper "I hope I'm not interrupting any thing."

Alex turned inside Jodie's arms and pressed her body against Jodie's.  She gently kissed her lips before saying, "Never.  Besides I'm done anyway.  Would you care to join me in the Jacuzzi?"

Jodie smiled broadly before saying "Lead the way."

Alex grabbed Jodie's hand and pulled her to the Jacuzzi.  She turned it on before quickly stripping off her sweaty work out clothes.  She slowly stepped in and gently pulled Jodie in with her.  They both sighed simultaneously and leaned against one another letting the hot water soothe their sore muscles.

Alex spoke "You look tired, I didn't mean to wake you." 

Jodie shook her head before speaking, "It's alright.  I wish I could have this reason for being tired everyday." 

This caused Alex to smile, she had been thinking how much she wanted to make Jodie this tired everyday.  "Just a second, there's something I want to get," Jodie said.  She got out of the tub and went to the shower and quickly returned with Alex's bottle of Herbal Essences.

"Here let me take care of you," Jodie said in her voice as seductive as she could make it, "sit on my lap while I wash your hair."  Alex eagerly nodded and moved to sit on her lap.  When they were both situated Jodie put some shampoo in her hand and quickly lathered up Alex's hair.  When she had a good lather she used her fingernails to gently scratch Alex's scalp.

This caused Alex to let out a sound that was a cross between a moan and a purr.  Jodie could feel Alex suddenly lose all muscle tension, it felt like all her bones had suddenly disappeared.  Jodie couldn't help but smile as the purr continued and Alex's head rolled back so she could look at Jodie while she was working.  Jodie began to apply a bit more pressure and watched Alex's eyes roll into the back of her head as the purring increased in volume.

"Oh god, don't stop, please!" Alex was able to squeak out between moaning and purring.  However, Jodie did stop, but only to begin massaging Alex's shoulders and neck.  She could feel Alex begin to shudder with pleasure, "Oh, you're sooo good at that.  I think I'm gonna faint." 

"We don't want that now do we, I think I'll have to do something to prevent that." Jodie said, and true to her word she did several somethings to prevent it.  She sucked the top of Alex's ear into her mouth and began to gently nibble on it, enjoying the sharp gasp that Alex took.

"Oh god! Too much , too much.  I feel like I'm gonna explode."  Which in a manner of speaking is exactly what she did.  Jodie could feel Alex's body shake and smiled to herself.  She had never felt so good about herself before, to be able to do this to someone without actually having to do anything.  "I guess those Herbal Essences commercials are true," Alex said smiling.

Alex laid back against Jodie, it felt like a bomb had gone off inside her.  "Oh man, I don't ever want to move again.  I just want to stay her forever."  Alex said. 

"So do I, but you know we both have things we need to do." Jodie said and she couldn't hide the disappointment in her voice. 

"Yeah I know, but not before I can return the favor," Alex said and she rolled over and looked into Jodie's eyes and said, "I know my hands aren't nearly as skilled as your but I do have other talents."  Alex took a deep breath and ducked her head under the water. Jodie's screams could be heard throughout the entire lab.

Alex looked at Jodie who was still panting and had her eyes only half open and said, "Come on, I  would love to treat you to breakfast."  Jodie could only nod her head.  She tried to stand but her legs were still weak and she nearly fell.  Fortunately for her Alex caught her before she could fall and helped her out of the tub. 

When she was out she gave a breathy "Thanks, saved me again.  You really are my hero.  I think that's what I'm gonna call you from now on." 

This made Alex smile and she kissed Jodie deeply before saying, "I think I would love that.  But right now we are gonna have to put some clothes on."

"Ahh, do we have to?" Jodie said in a little girl voice that made the hair all over Alex's body do jumping jacks and made her give a small shudder. 

"Use that voice again and I think I'm gonna kidnap you and keep you here forever.  Besides, as much as I am enjoying the view I don't want to risk cooking without some kind of minimal protection."

To Jodie this brought to mind the image of Alex cooking wearing one of those little aprons that said 'KISS THE COOK' and absolutely nothing else.  Alex could see Jodie eyes darken with desire and could guess exactly what she was thinking.  She filed that away near the top of her mental 'Things To Do List'.  They quickly got dressed and managed to leave the room without feeling each other more than a few times.

When they got to the kitchen Alex quickly set out to make some eggs and toast with sausage.  She asked what kind of eggs Jodie wanted and made herself some over-easy eggs.  When everything was ready they sat down to eat right next to each other.  Under the table their legs were slowly caressing one another.  Above the table they were busy stealing food from each other and feeding each other.

When Alex stole a bite of scrambled eggs from Jodie's plate Jodie fixed her with a mock glare.  "What," Alex said "it tastes better when it comes from your plate." 

Jodie stole her own bite from Alex's plate and said, "You're right it does taste better."

As they were finishing Alex suddenly got serious and said "Jodie, there's something I want to ask you." 

Jodie could tell that Alex' mood had shifted and composed herself before answering, "Go ahead."

"Where do you want to take this.  Because I'm going to be honest, I don't want this to be a one time thing.  But I'll understand if that's what you want." Jodie could see that Alex was serious and could hear the pain in her voice when she finished.  There's a story somewhere that I'm going to get out of here one day, she thought to herself before answering. 

"Alex, I don't want this to be a one time thing.  I want you, and not just for one night.  I want a real relationship."  Jodie saw Alex's face light up at her response and Alex quickly leaned and kissed Jodie deeply.  It felt like Alex was trying to find her soul.

The kiss lasted for more than a minute before they had to come up for air.  When they stopped Jodie said, "There is one thing though, I'm not quite ready to tell all my friends yet.  I hope you understand."

"It's okay I do understand.  And I'm more than willing to wait until you feel you're ready,"  Alex responded.

"Besides, we kinda skipped a few steps.  Like going to romantic dinners and watching movies.  Flowers, heart shaped boxes of chocolate, intimate glances, and holding hands.  I want all of that with you," Alex said.  Jodie felt her self smile and felt like she was as light as air.

"I want all of those things as well, and more." Jodie said. 

Alex gave her a smile that would light a thousand light bulbs at once.  "Good.  Then would you like to go ahead and watch a movie with me tonight." 

"I would love to see a movie with you tonight.  I'll make you a deal, I'll order some food and bring it over if you supply drinks and pop-corn." Jodie said. 

"You got yourself a deal, gorgeous."  Alex said. 

"All right, Hero I'll see you tonight." Jodie said using her new pet name for Alex.  They began to walk outside where Jodie's car waited to take her back to her house.

"Oh you'll see me sooner than that.  I have some business to take care of at the store, and besides where do you think I'm gonna get the popcorn."  Alex said as she followed Jodie up the stairs.  "But all that can wait for later.  There's something very important I have to do right now." Alex said.  She leaned forward and kissed Jodie.  The kiss probably could have powered the city of Chicago with all the passion it generated.  Alex broke off the kiss leaving Jodie wanting more.  "I'll see you later," Alex said with a huge smirk on her face.  Ooh, I'm gonna get her back for that, Jodie thought to herself as she drove away.

Part 7

Jodie stopped at her house and ran inside as fast as she could.   Crap, she thought to herself, I'm running late.  At least I don't have to take a shower, I've already taken a bath.  Then she remembered the bath she had taken, she could feel her heart rate skyrocket when she thought about it.  Ooh, this is her fault, getting me all worked up like that when she knew I had to go; which was, of course, exactly what Alex had wanted.

Jodie quickly changed her clothes and fixed her hair before rushing out the door to go to the shop.  She got there just before Tyler stepped out of his garage. He waved to her before saying "Running a little late this morning Jodie?"

"Yeah," she explained "I knocked over my alarm clock last night in my sleep." She said that as quickly as she could.  She shifted into money making mode before asking "Will you be having the usual?"

"Yeah, I think so,"  Tyler responded.  Jodie rushed into the store and quickly set hit the on button on the coffee maker.  She was glad she always set the shop up before she left every night.  It wasn't long before Tyler had a steaming mug of coffee in front of him.

Tyler was quietly sipping his coffee as he watched Jodie run around trying to get the oven going and every thing ready for another day of work.  Tyler noticed that Jodie wasn't her usual self and asked "Hey Jodie, you alright?"

"Huh, of yeah, I just didn't get much sleep last night," she replied quickly.  This answer seemed to satisfy him.  "So Tyler you got any one taking the tour today," she asked.  Jodie was trying to act as normal as possible, she didn't really want anyone to know she had a night full of fantastic sex.  And since nearly everyone who took the tour bought something from her store she always asked if someone was going.

Just then Nancy walked in and sat down.  She saw Jodie and smiled, she asked for her usual cup of coffee.  Nancy also noticed that Jodie didn't seem to be her usual self today.  "Jodie, are you alright?  You don't seem like yourself today." Nancy asked, her concern for her friend apparent in her voice.

"Yeah, I'm fine.  I just didn't get enough sleep last night," was Jodie's reply.  Nancy knew she wasn't being completely honest, she knew for a fact that Jodie didn't come home at all last night from Alex's; but she felt that she would let Jodie tell her when she was ready.

Nancy quickly finished her cup of coffee and said "Sorry to run like this but I had a great idea for a figure last night and I want get to work on it as soon as possible."  Nancy said and hurriedly walked out the door.

Tyler was still gently sipping his coffee and thought to himself, "Must be some idea, she never finishes her coffee before me."

At about that time Tyler heard the distinctive sound of a V12 diesel/electric engine and turned to see Alex's black hummer pull up to the store.  He quickly brushed his hair back and sat up a little straighter before she walked in the door. 

As Alex walked in he smiled at her and said "Excuse me ma'am I don't think we were properly introduced.  My name is Tyler."  He offered her his hand when he was finished.

Alex took the offered hand and gave him a firm handshake.  She could see Jodie trying to suppress a laugh behind him.   "Please call me Alex.  And its nice to meet you," Alex said.  "I'm glad I saw you, I was going to ask you something."

Tyler nodded and said "Anything at all ma'am it would be my pleasure."

"Well, I was wondering if you would tell me if you ever notice El Blanco behaving strangely.  I can use any information you can give me " Alex said.

"Uh, sure I can do that." Tyler said, though it wasn't quite what he had in mind.  "Do you need any help moving things into your lab, 'cause all you need to do is ask."  Tyler said.

"Well thank you, but no.  I already got that taken care of, but it was kind of you to offer," Alex replied and her eyes flicked to Jodie's when she finished.  Jodie blushed a little bit, the rose just brushing her cheeks.  Tyler on the other hand was so busy paying attention to Alex that he missed the exchange entirely.

Alex said "Excuse me but, I have to do a little shopping now."  She quickly grabbed a two liter bottle of Dr. Pepper and a few bags of popcorn.  When she grabbed one of the bags of popcorn it slipped from her grasp and she bent over to pick it up.  As she bent over both Tyler and Jodie leaned over to get a better look.  Jodie however, had to restrain herself from slapping Tyler on the back of his head.  When Alex stood up Tyler quickly tried to act like he didn't do anything and turned the other way.  Jodie however didn't even try to pretend she hadn't been staring, and when she saw Alex smile at her and Jodie knew it had been intentional.

As she walked up to the counter she looked at Jodie and saw her smile.   Jodie rang up the items and put them in plastic bag for Alex. 

Alex remembered something she thought that morning.  "Jodie I'm gonna have a few packages coming in soon and, well, lets just say they're perishable.  So when they come in do you think you could call me and tell me so I can pick them up.  Oh, and whatever you do, don't open them.  Here's my cell phone number."  Alex handed Jodie a small slip of paper. 

Jodie read it and saw that it did indeed have a cell phone number on it but she saw that it also had a little not beneath it, 'Call me anytime : )'.

Just then Tyler and Jodie heard their Walkie-Talkies crackle and Burt's voice came through.  "All units  respond there's a situation at location Delta-Gamma-Kappa..." 

Before he could finish Jodie interrupted him, "Burt none of us know what you're talking about just say it in English." 

Burt's slightly disgruntled voice came through "There's something strange over here about two miles outside of town.  I want Tyler to help me check it out.  And if you can, see if you can get that doctor over here to," Burt rattled off the directions to get to the location and said, "Burt, Out." 

Jodie just sighed and said "Lets see what it is now."

It didn't take long before they reached Burt's location.  They immediately saw Burt's truck and then saw Burt kneeling on the ground not far beyond it.  "Good you're here.  Get over here and take a look at this," Burt said without any preamble. 

"Hi Burt, it's nice to see you too." Tyler said sarcastically.

As they walked over the first thing Alex noticed was the smell of advanced decay.  Then she saw many parts of what appeared to be burros littering the ground.  But none of that bothered Alex, she had seen worse than this before, in fact, this was darn clean, nothing like a big cat or an alligator would leave.  But there was something odd about it, she just couldn't figure out what it was.  All that was left was the legs and a few heads.  But that was when she noticed the flies swarming around the body parts and then she saw the maggots, lots of them.

She shuddered in disgust briefly.  Jodie put her hand on Alex's back to comfort her and said "Are you okay?" 

Alex swallowed before saying "Yeah, I'm okay.  I just have this thing about maggots, don't know why or where it comes from but they just gross me out."  Jodie nodded and began rubbing Alex's back with a circular motion.

Burt looked at her briefly and noticed the interaction between the two of them.  He shrugged and thought to himself, Must be a woman thing, before saying. "What kind of doctor are you anyway?" 

"You know that's the really funny part, I'm an entomologist."  When she saw the confused look on everybody's face except for Burt's she said "I study bugs."  Everybody nodded except for Burt again.

"You study bugs but you have a thing about maggots."  Tyler said. 

"Yeah, it's one of the reason I stick with predators.  Don't have to worry about flies, well mostly." 

Burt cleared his throat loudly trying to get their attention. 

"So what's the big emergency Burt.  You didn't call us out here just to show us one of El Blanco's kills did you,"  Jodie said.  Tyler was looking around, there was just something wrong but he couldn't figure out what.

"This isn't one of El Blanco's," Burt said.  "Its way too messy, and El Blanco couldn't eat all this by himself. There's 32 legs out here, that I could find."  

Alex had been quiet since the whole maggot thing but she suddenly spoke "There's something familiar about this scene.  But I can't figure it out, I know that I've never seen anything like this before.  I just know that I've seen something that eats like this before."

"You thinking what I'm thing Burt,"

Tyler said.  Burt nodded and said "Mixmaster has been at it again.  But what is it this time?"

After that nobody had much to say so they all went their separate ways.  Burt continued doing whatever it is he does out there.  Tyler went to go get ready for his tour and Jodie and Alex returned to the store where Alex had left the items she bought.

As they walked in Alex looked around and saw nobody was in and suddenly whirled around.  Jodie was a little startled by the sudden movement, but was comforted by the feeling of strong arms around her waist and soft lips kissing her like there was no tomorrow. 

When they finally had to come up for air Alex said "Don't forget gorgeous, we have a movie date tonight."

Jodie nodded after gulping down a healthy dose of air she said "Oh, I wont forget Hero, and I plan to order some Chinese food for dinner."

"Ooh, sounds delicious," said Alex licking her lips slow and seductively.  "Alright I'll see you then.  I have some work to get done before images of you drive all thoughts of work from my mind."  Alex said as she walked out the door, she turned and waved before getting into her hummer and driving off.

Nancy saw the entire exchange from her window where she had been taking a break from her work.  Good, she thought to herself, I'm glad Jodie has found someone to make her happy.


*Some Time Later*

Alex had set up the plasma screen t.v. just how she wanted and hooked up the DVD player by the time Jodie got there. She took out two plates and some spoons and forks for dinner.  Then she poured both her and Jodie a large mug of Dr. Pepper.

When Jodie came into the lab she called out to Alex to see where she was.  She heard Alex's response, "I'm in the kitchen.  Just getting everything set up."

As Jodie walked to the kitchen she heard the sounds of popcorn popping.  At first she didn't see  Alex anywhere but when she had stepped past the doorway she felt a pair of arms encircle her waist and Alex kissed the back of her neck.  Jodie pushed herself against Alex's body and felt warm and safe she said "How's it going Hero".  But the only answer she got was another slow kiss on the back of her neck, that made the hair on her arms stand on end.  She was a little disappointed when she felt the arms sliding away from her but she didn't say anything.

Alex could smell the Chinese food in the bag Jodie was holding.  Her mouth started to water, but whether it was the food or Jodie that caused this the world may never know.  They quickly got the dinner set up and once again sat right next to each other.  They ate fairly quickly while managing to keep their hands to themselves, for the most part anyway.  When they had finished eating Jodie put the leftovers into the huge, walk-in refrigerator while Alex put a bag of popcorn into the microwave and refilled their cups with Dr. Pepper.

When everything was ready they went into the room that had been designated the living room.  Alex put the DVD into the player and turned on the t.v., she grabbed the remote and walked to the couch where Jodie was already sitting.  She handed the remote to Jodie while she grabbed a blanket and covered herself and Jodie, they then grabbed the bowl of popcorn and set it on the blanket.  While they were snuggling together Jodie asked "What movie are we watching?"

"The Princess Bride," Alex said, "The best romantic movie ever made."

"Really, I don't think I have ever heard of it before," Jodie said.

"You'll love it, trust me," was Alex's reply.  Jodie made sure it would play on wide-screen and hit the play button.

During the movie they snuggled together for awhile but then Alex shifted so Jodie was lying one her and began to massage Jodie shoulders.  This made Jodie groan in pleasure, she felt all the tension slowly melt away under Alex's gentle ministrations.  After some time of this Jodie instructed Alex to lay her head in Jodie's lap.  When Alex did so Jodie proceeded to gently scratch Alex's scalp. This made Alex's purr reflex go into overdrive.

The movie ended while they were like this and neither one of them moved for a long time.  Alex's continual purr only stopped when Jodie ceased her head scratching.  Jodie then leaned down and gently kissed Alex on the lips.  This made Alex start purring again and Jodie giggled into her mouth.  When they broke for air Jodie said "You know, I've heard a lot of stories before but you're the first person I've known who really does purr."

"Yeah and you're the first person in a very long time to make me do it."  Alex whispered before kissing Jodie again.

They stayed this way for some time stopping only for air.  When Alex slowly worked her way down Jodie's neck to the base where her throat met her shoulders.  She gently sucked on her neck, Alex was determined to leave her mark on Jodie's neck while Jodie was just as determined to leave her own mark on Alex's neck.

Jodie glanced at her watch and sighed before saying, "I can't stay tonight."  She saw the disappointed look on Alex's face and explained.  "I really do need to get some sleep and lord knows that when I'm around you sleep is the very last thing on my mind."

Alex smiled and said "Alright, we need you to get your rest.  Because I can assure you, that when the time is right your gonna need every bit of it."  Jodie's heart beat skyrocketed and Alex could see the vein in her neck jump with every beat.

Alex walked Jodie to her car before kissing her good night.  Alex then walked into the lab and put the DVD back into its box.  She looked at the half full bowl of popcorn and carried it into the lab.  She put a few handfuls into the ant colony and watched as they hurriedly scurried about trying to tear the kernels apart.  She threw the rest into the garbage can in the kitchen.  After that she decided to call it a night.

She laid down in her bed and thought that it felt lonely without Jodie in it as well.  She pulled the blanket up to her chin and curled up around one of her pillows.  She slowly fell asleep thinking about Jodie.  When she finally fell asleep she dreamed dreams that aren't fit to talk about in polite company.

When she was woken by a strange sound she muttered Jodie's name.  It took her a few seconds to realize that whatever it was, it wasn't Jodie.  She blinked her eyes trying to clear her blurred vision.  She got out of the bed and walked into the hall.  She saw whatever it was that was making the sound but her vision was too blurry to identify it.

As her vision cleared she knew what it was and realized now what had killed those burros and knew it was standing in front of her.  The thing tilted its head and seemed to be deciding whether or not she was food.  "Oh Fu..." she managed to say before the thing made up its mind and decided she was just the right size for dinner.  The creature lunged at her in a green blur.

Part 8

Jodie did manage to get plenty of sleep but the whole night it felt like something was missing.  And she knew exactly what was missing, Alex.  But despite this fact she woke early and well rested.

She quickly got dressed and ran out of the house.  She got the store opened quickly and got everything ready for another day in Perfection.  As Tyler and Nancy came in for their morning cups of coffee she tried her best to keep her mind on the business at hand but her thoughts kept wandering back to Alex's lips and the sound of her purrs.

Nancy immediately noticed that something was wrong with her friend, but she thought she had a good idea what it was.  Tyler on the other hand was completely oblivious, but then when it came to things like that he usually was.  After a while Jodie began to get nervous, she had expected Alex to come by sooner.  But she thought that Alex just had some work to do.

"So Nancy how's this great idea you were talking about coming along," Tyler asked.

"Oh its going real well.  I should have it ready in no time at all,"  Nancy responded.

Jodie listened and nodded but other than that offered no response.

"Jodie, are  you okay?  You haven't said a word all morning."  Nancy asked.

Jodie began to speak but was interrupted by Burt driving up in a cloud of dust.  He quickly ran into the store.  "Don't any of you ever turn on your Walkie's," He asked.

"No," Jodie and Nancy replied immediately.

"Hey I turned mine on this morning," Tyler said.  He grabbed it from his belt and checked it.  "Damn, batteries are dead," he said

Burt shook his head and then turned to the business at hand.  "We have an emergency situation here people.  I found another group of Burros that had been slaughtered.  So I want everybody together so we can figure out what is going on.  I already communicated with Rosalita and she's going to meet us at my bunker.   We need to get in touch with the doctor and get her assistance as well.  Does, anybody know how to get in contact with her?"

"I do," Jodie said.  She went over to her phone and dialed the cell phone number Alex had given her.  Nobody but Nancy noticed that she kept the note in her back pocket, or if they did they didn't think it was relevant.  Jodie heard it dial and let it ring for nearly a minute before she hung up the phone.

"The phone is on, but there's no answer," she said.

Burt sighed and said "Alright, somebody's going to have to go over there and get her."

"I'll go," said Jodie.

"Me too," said Tyler.

"Alright you two go over there and get the doctor, meet us at my bunker by 1100 hours," Burt told them.  They all walked outside and Jodie locked the door while trying to feel annoyed with Tyler.

Burt and Nancy rode off in Burt's car while Jodie started to walk towards her car. 

"Hold on," Tyler said, "Lets take my truck.  We'll get there faster."

Jodie nodded and followed Tyler to his truck.  They hopped in and made their way to the lab in silence.

As they neared the lab they could see that Alex's hummer was still outside.  Jodie could tell that it was in exactly the same place it was when she had left that night.  They could see the door to the lab was open and so they slowly walked down the stairs into the lab.

It was dark and Jodie had no idea where the light switch was so they had to wait for their eyes to adjust to the gloom.  When they could see better they saw something nearly as big as Jodie laying on the ground.  It was too dark to make out exact color but they could tell that it looked fairly light colored.  They could see Alex's body laying just a few feet behind the creature.

"Alex," Jodie yelled out.  She rushed over to her lover's side and was relieved to see that she was still breathing.  She could see what could only be blood on her face and several other places on her body.  She gently shook Alex and called her name several times before Alex began to respond.

The first thing Alex saw when she awoke was Jodie kneeling over her with concern plainly written on her face.  Then she remembered what had happened last night and bolted upright.  Jodie was barely able to get her head out of the way to avoid hitting their heads together.  Alex was relieved to see that the thing she had fought was truly dead.

"You help her out to the truck.  I'm gonna grab this and take it with us." Tyler said as he bent over to pick up the creature's body.

Jodie helped Alex get to her feet, when she promptly lost her balance again.  She would have fallen if not for Jodie's steadying hand on her back.  Alex looked at her and tried to thank Jodie with her eyes.  Jodie understood and pulled Alex tight against her, this way they were slowly able to get up the stairs.

Before they were completely out of the lab Jodie kissed Alex on the cheek and led her outside.  By the time they got to Tyler's truck Alex was able to walk a little bit better and could stand unassisted.  However, she needed a little help to get into the back of the truck.  When Alex was in the back Jodie climbed in after her and sat next to her.

"Alright, I think we're ready to go," Jodie said.

Tyler nodded and started up the truck, he looked back and saw the two sitting next to each other but what he couldn't see was that Jodie had Alex's hand in her own.

"Thanks," Alex said, "I hate not being able to take care of myself."  "Well looks to me that thing back there would say you know how to take care of yourself," Tyler said.

"Speaking of which, how exactly did you kill it?  I didn't see any gunshots or anything at all really."  Tyler asked, he had examined the body a little bit while he was waiting for the two to leave the lab.  If he had paid a bit more attention rather than worrying about Alex he would have seen the subtle clues to what had killed it.

"I beat the hell out of it, that's what I did.  But it got me on the head pretty good before I could finish it off.  I'm pretty sure that's what knocked me out." Alex explained.

Tyler turned around to look at her, he couldn't believe that this little woman could have been able to beat the thing to death with nothing but her fists.  But he saw that she completely serious. 

Alex pointed at the road and said, "Uh, you might want to pay attention to the road."  Tyler turned around and saw one of the things that he found at the lab standing in the middle of the road.  Except this one was even bigger, nearly six feet tall.  He didn't have time to swerve around it so he just floored the gas.

"Hang on tight," Tyler said.

Jodie wrapped her arms around Alex as she felt Alex do the same to her.  When they hit it felt like going over a speed-bump at forty mph.  A spray of parts and a sticky fluid they could only assume was blood showered the truck, fortunately they managed to stay fairly dry.  What appeared to be a head landed in the seat next to Tyler and he quickly threw it out of the truck.

After that they made it to Burt's place without incident.  When they pulled into the fenced compound Burt came out to meet them.  He had his biggest gun with him when he came out.  "Good you got her, now lets get down so we can figure out what is going on.  While you were gone we ruled out the possibility of Shriekers and Ass-Blasters."  Burt said as they were getting out of the truck.  It wasn't until he saw Jodie helping Alex down that he realized that she was injured.

"What happened to you?" Burt asked.

"Had a little run in with one of our mystery critters." She responded, sounding very tired.  "Now if you don't mind can I get a little medical attention before we start a game of twenty questions."

Burt nodded and lead them down into his bunker.  They saw that Nancy and Rosalita were had gotten there before them. Tyler went over to the girls to talk to them but Jodie remained by Alex's side the entire time.  Nancy and Rosalita immediately noticed the glances that passed between Alex and Jodie, and they shared a knowing look.

As Burt cleaned her wounds he said, "You're lucky, none of these will need stitches.  But it looks to me like you're gonna have a concussion from that head wound."

"I wouldn't call that lucky," Jodie said, her hand resting on Alex's back.

"Ha, this is nothing.  You should have seen me after I got in that fight with the alligator, when I had to feed them at the zoo."  Alex saw all of them look at her.  "What, he started it.  Stupid thing grabbed the chicken before I could let go and dragged me into the cage.  And of course I'm the one who got in trouble, just cause I won the fight."  All of them just shook their heads, except for Jodie who just smiled.

"Alright, you're restricted to light duty for and you can't be allowed to sleep for at least 24 hours."  Burt said when he was finished. 

"Yes, Sir."  Alex said.  Everybody but Burt caught the sarcasm.

"Okay, now that we got you stitched up we're gonna need to know what did this."  Burt said.

"I can tell you exactly what it was.  It was a freaking five foot tall Praying Mantis."  Alex said.  "I know it sounds insane but that's what it was."

"Doctor after all we've been through, that sounds downright normal," Nancy said.

"So what do we do about it."  Rosalita asked, "those things can't be good for my cattle."

"Simple," Burt said, "We track them down and kill them."

"Is that your answer to everything, blow it up."  Nancy said, exasperated.

"Yes," was Burt's response. 

Nancy just shook her head.

"I hate to break up this discussion but there's a slight problem with your 'blow them up' plan," Alex said, "If only one egg sac was influenced then we're looking at a few dozen or more of these things.  Actually there will be more because without there natural predators there would be 100 percent survival so quite a few dozen of these things."

"And it gets even better.  From what I could see the one I killed was just a baby.  These things are gonna get huge if we don't find a way to kill them quickly." Alex continued, "Now comes the real fun part.  If Mix-Master, is that it, did this there's no telling what could be in there so we're going to have to move quickly."

"But do you really want to just kill them, I mean you're a scientist, don't you want to study them." Nancy said.

"Of course I do.  But that's not an option.  These things will permanently destabilize the ecosystem of this area.  Perfection Valley will never recover from a long occupation."

"Alright we need a plan," Burt said.

"Don't look at me, I never was much in the strategy department."  Alex said.

"You can't go anywhere anyway, you need rest.  Someone is going to have to stay here with her to make sure she doesn't fall asleep.  But I need you with me Tyler."

"I'll stay," Jodie said.  Nancy and Rosalita glanced at each other and smiled.

"Alright, Jodie you stay here, and keep you're Walkie on at all times.  Everybody else you're with me.  We're gonna go see what we can use from Jodie's store and Tyler's garage.  Let's move out."

"Hey, I'm not a child.  I'm fine.  I'm coming with you." Alex said before jumping off the table she was sitting on, she then promptly fell on her ass. "Or not."

"Hey, make sure you pay for anything you take." Jodie called after them.  They all ignored her.  Jodie helped Alex back on to the table.  "Lay down, you need rest." Jodie told Alex in her maternal voice. 

"You're right, I know.  It's just that I hate feeling so helpless.  I'm the expert on the subject and I can't do anything."  Alex said, frustrated. 

"I know, it's okay just lie down.  And rest, but no sleeping, okay Hero."  Jodie said.

"You'll just have to think of something to keep me awake." Alex said smiling.

"Oh I think I can come up with something," Jodie whispered into Alex's ear.

"Ooh, I think I might enjoy being a patient of Nurse Jodie." Alex whispered back.

"Well, that is the general idea."  Jodie said and slowly licked the side of Alex's ear causing a shudder to run through her.


*Change to Jodie's Store*

"Doesn't anyone think it's just a bit odd that as soon as a new doctor, an entomologist at that, comes into town we come under attack from Giant Killer Praying Matises?" Burt asked.

"No," said Nancy "And it's Mantids."

Burt ignored Nancy's correction and turned to Rosalita.  "What about you, Rosalita, don't you think its strange,"  Burt asked.

"I agree with Nancy.  You're just being paranoid," Rosalita replied.  Burt humphed and turned to Tyler but just shook his head and continued his search for anything that might be of use.

Rosalita didn't believe that Alex was responsible, but she truly hoped she wasn't for Jodie's sake.  It was nice to see Jodie acting happy for a reason other than making money.  And from what she could tell from the way they were looking at each other, the sparks ran both ways.

When they had collected everything they thought would be useful they headed back to Burt's Bunker.  When Burt opened the door they heard "Damn, you're good at this."  Coming from inside.  Nancy could tell that it was Jodie's voice that said it.  She got a little bit nervous, this is no way for the boys to find out.  When they got inside they could see Alex and Jodie fully clothed with a deck of playing cards in front of them.

Rosalita saw the cards but she also noticed the slight flush on both girls faces and the way their hair was mussed and thought, I guess Jodie found a very inventive way to keep her awake.  "How's it going you two?"  Rosalita asked.

"She kicking my butt! She must be cheating, I don't see any other way she could be that good.  The thing I just can't figure out how she's doing it."  Jodie said, a look of determination crossed her face before she said "But, when I do look out."

"You know the funny thing is that I'm really not cheating.  I funded my first bug farm through poker.  I just know all the little secrets and I'm very good at figuring out when someone is bluffing." Alex said smiling.

"It's a good thing we're not playing for anything or I would be broke by now." Jodie said shaking her head.

"Come on you guys, We can plan later.  If I have to be awake all night I'm gonna need something to do so how about losing some money to me." Alex said a little gleam in her eyes.  "It doesn't have to be anything expensive."

"Alright, I'm in," said Tyler.

Nancy and Rosalita followed his lead while Burt started working furiously at his computer.

It wasn't long before Nancy was out completely and Tyler was pretty close.  Jodie and Rosalita were tied with each other while Alex was clearly winning.  About thirty minutes after that it was just Alex and Rosalita left.

Alex handed out the cards and Rosalita wound up with a three of a kind straight out.  She decided what did she have to lose and tossed in the other two cards. She got back a pair.  Full house, yes! She thought, I can finish this right now, she tried as hard as she could to keep the glee off of her face.  But Alex wasn't paying any attention to her face, she had seen Rosalita arrange her cards so she could tell what was coming but she decided to stay in and finish this game.

"Alright, it's your turn to open the bids," Alex said her voice carefully neutral.  After that began a furious round of bids with Alex upping everyone of Rosalita's bets.  Eventually when she had enough on the table to secure a victory, Alex called.

"I called you show."  Alex told Rosalita.

"Full House," Rosalita said gleefully throwing down her cards and began reaching for the money.

"Good hand, good hand.  But I'm afraid it doesn't beat a... ROYAL FLUSH!  Thank you very much for playing but I think, you just got schooled.  I'll take that now."  Alex grabbed her winnings while Rosalita still had her mouth hanging

"I think I'm going to bed now." Rosalita said sounding dejected.

Alex quickly counted her winnings.  Nearly twenty bucks, she thought to herself, not bad.  I can probably get a male orb weaver for that. 

At about that time Burt stood up and shouted, waking Nancy and Tyler who had been drifting off to sleep, "I GOT IT!!" 

Everybody turned to look at him and Tyler said what they were all thinking, "Got what?"

"I figured out how to track those damn things."

Part 9

"You know how to find those things," Rosalita asked.

"That's right." Burt said proudly.

"How"?  Alex asked.

"Well it wasn't that hard, really.  I used the same thermal imaging techniques as I used to track the Shriekers."

"Wait a minute, insects are cold blooded.  They would be the same temperature as the surrounding environment." Alex said.

"Yeah, but whatever they are spliced with is warm blooded, but they aren't as warm as everything else in the valley..."  Burt began but was interrupted by Alex. 

"Giving them a unique heat signature," Alex finished.

"That's correct," Burt said.

"Alright, so what do we do now," Tyler asked.

"Right now we do nothing, but at first light we find them and destroy them,"  Burt replied.  Nancy looked disapproving but didn't say anything.  "Now we need to get some sleep," Burt said,  "Except for you doctor.  You still need to stay awake."

"We'll take turns staying awake to make sure that you don't fall asleep."

"No, there's no need for that. I'll do it," Jodie said.

"Are you sure," Burt asked.

"Yeah I'll be fine.  Just need some coffee."

Burt nodded and went to the coffee pot he kept near the computer.  He quickly got her a cup of coffee and handed it to her.  After that everybody settled down to sleep except for Alex and Jodie.  They returned to their card game and Alex returned to winning the card game.

After a short time they could hear everybody's even breathing and Alex put down her cards.  "Come here gorgeous, I think I've had enough of card games for today."  Jodie smiled and went over to Alex and settled down in her lap.  Alex wrapped her arms around Jodie and snuggled up with her.

Jodie sighed and leaned back against Alex's body.  She felt Alex move her hands and she let out a quiet whimper.  Then she felt Alex start to massage her shoulders and changed her whimper to a sigh of content.  Jodie felt all the tension she had built up worrying about Alex slowly slide away under Alex's gentle ministrations.

After some time of this Alex stopped and wrapped her arms around Jodie again.  They began to talk about all sorts of things.  Alex asked Jodie about Perfection and Jodie asked Alex about her life.  Then she remembered the conversation they had that first night they had dinner.  "Alex, remember when you asked me whether or not I wanted to have a serious relationship." Jodie asked.

"Yeah I remember, why do you ask," Alex answered as her voice suddenly got cautious.

"Well, I know something happened at some point and I wanted to know what it was.  You don't have to tell me if you really don't want to."  Jodie said.

"No, you deserve to know and if we go any farther it'll help if you know."  Alex replied, but her voice sounded very tired and very sad. "In college I met a girl named Jennifer.  She was a biology major just like me.  We quickly became best friends and not long after that we became a lot more than friends.  We were pretty serious, I was in love with her and I thought she was in love with me." 

Alex said all this with so much pain that Jodie knew that whatever it was it still haunted Alex. 

Alex continued her story, "When we got accepted into grad school we moved in together.  Everything was perfect, at least I thought it was.  But the whole time Jennifer had been stealing my work to use as her own.  Nothing happened for a long time, and I never knew until my final year.  She stole my thesis and tried to erase every trace of it from my computer but in a moment of paranoia I backed it up like ten times and put copies of it all over the place."

Jodie felt something warm and wet touch the back of her neck.  She couldn't see Alex's face but Jodie knew she was crying. 

Alex continued but her voice was broken by silent sobs.  "She turned my thesis in as her own.  But she didn't know I had an extra copy so I turned it in to.  They check every thesis up the ying-yang making sure nothing is stolen work, so they found out our theses were the same.  They called us in there and at first I thought there was some mistake, like maybe she had grabbed my thesis by mistake, but no.  She immediately accused me of copying her work.  I was too stunned to even get out a response, so they thought it was true."

Jodie could feel Alex shaking under her body felt a steady stream of tears against her neck.  "They went back and checked everything.  They found that every assignment we had for a class we had together was the same.  It was the biggest cheating scandal in Virginia Tech history.  It turned out that Jennifer had been using me from the very minute we met." 

Alex's voice broke and she had to get it back under control before continuing.  "I was very nearly expelled. But there was an inquiry and after some sleepless days it was determined that I wasn't the one who had done the cheating."  Alex had to stop for a moment because she was crying too hard to talk.  After that she continued with her story.

"I never figured out how but she had managed to get something on the Dean so she never got expelled.  She graduated the same day as I did without ever having to do a bit of work.  We went back to our home and she acted like nothing had happened.  She wanted to keep going just as we had.  I told her to leave and never come back.   I never wanted to see her again."  By this point Alex was having trouble keeping her sobs silent.  "The worst part is I had already bought a ring," Jodie could feel her own tears begin to flow, "I had been planning to propose to her on the day of our graduation."

"When she left I flushed the ring down the toilet and went and cried in 'our' bed for nearly a week."  When Alex finished her story she was unable to keep her sobs silent any more.

Jodie turned around to look at her and saw her eyes were red and her face was blotchy.  Jodie hugged her tight and let Alex quietly cry on her shoulder.  They stayed this way for some time.

Eventually Alex stopped crying and pulled back from Jodie.  She kissed Jodie slowly on the lips.  When they had to break for air Alex said "I'm sorry for falling apart like that.  It's just that it's still a very painful memory for me."

"It's alright, I understand.  I'm just happy that you trust me enough to tell me."  After that Jodie tried to get Alex to think about happier subjects. She asked Alex about her work and was surprised to find out that Alex had actually been to the Amazon. 

"What was it like," Jodie asked.

"It sucked," Alex said.  "Don't get me wrong, it was a beautiful place.  And when it comes to bugs there's no place better.  But it rained like every fifteen minutes, not to mention just about everything there wants to suck your blood.  And then there's the damn humidity, it may only be a hundred degrees but combine that with a hundred percent humidity it's down right miserable."  However, when Alex was talking some the sadness that had been in her voice seemed to disappear.

"So how did an entomologist get the job to study El Blanco.  I bet every scientist in the country wanted that job."  Jodie said.

"Well, there were a few from others countries as well.  But the Department of Interior had an auction to see who would get to do it, and my zoo won.  Now as for how I got the job, that's actually a funny story."  Alex told her.

"You see my boss, Burt, he has a daughter.  We never got along that great, but I rarely saw her when she was in college.  But when she graduated she came to work at the zoo, and in my department no less.  To be honest I think Burt did that just to bug me.  But, I digress, anyway one day we got into it.  I don't remember what it was about but we just threw down like there's no tomorrow." She actually seemed to smile at the memory, which made Jodie happy.

"Well, Burt broke it up, but only after half the zoo had come to watch.  I think we were only a few seconds away from actual physical fighting.  When Burt had broke it up he immediately blamed me.  I mean who are you gonna blame, the one person who drove you nuts more than anybody else or your 'little angel.'  I think he was actually going to fire me, he went to his office to get the paperwork and I went to mine to get my stuff packed up, but it didn't quite happen that way."  Alex realized where this story was heading and tried to make it seem as harmless as possible.

"When Burt get's to my office he sees me and his daughter having sex on my desk."  When she said this she quickly looked at Jodie but Jodie didn't seem to have a problem with it so she continued.  "That's something no father ever wants to walk in on.  He got a little pale and walked out.  After that I don't think he could fire me without having to tell why and he didn't want anybody to know what I did to his 'innocent little angel.'  So he does the next best thing; he sends me halfway across the country where there's a better than even chance I'll get eaten by something.  But who would have known he would be doing me a favor." She finished.

"What do you mean, do you a favor," Jodie asked.  She thought, no she hoped, she knew the answer but she wanted Alex to say it.

"If he didn't send me here I wouldn't have ever gotten to meet you." Alex said like it should have been obvious.  Jodie smiled and hugged Alex to her and laid her head on Alex's chest.  She listened to Alex's steady heartbeat as Alex hugged her against her body.

It was then Jodie saw the clock it was almost six in the morning.  "Burt's gonna be up soon," Jodie said.

"How do you know," Alex asked.

"Well, he gets up at '0600 hours' every morning, whatever that means."  Jodie replied.

Alex nodded and said, "Ah, so we might want to move if you don't want every one to wake up to find us in a compromising situation."

Jodie thought about staying right there but decided this was neither the time or the place to tell her friends.  She reluctantly crawled out of Alex's lap.

Alex could almost feel Jodie reluctance to move and smiled to herself.  But she knew that this was neither the time or the place to let everybody know she had seduced Jodie in the short time she had been here.  Wait a minute, she thought, when did I seduce her; if I recall correctly she did all the seducing.

It was then they heard what sounded like an air raid siren going off.  Everyone except Burt jerked out of their sleeping positions and looked around startled. Burt calmly got up and walked over to the computer to turn his alarm off.

"You wake up to that every morning," Rosalita asked.

"Can you think of a better way to wake up in the morning," Burt replied.

"I can," said Jodie from where she was standing near the coffee machine.  Alex looked at her and blushed just a little.  Nancy looked over at Jodie, neither Alex nor Jodie knew that she had been awake before the alarm had gone off.

"Alright people, here's what we're going to do.  Tyler, you and Rosalita are with me.  I want Nancy, and Jodie to stay here.  And because you on medical leave you to Alex.  You three are going to read off the co-ordinates of each one of those things and we are going to destroy them all."  All of them made noises of agreement, except for Nancy and Alex.  Nancy because she didn't agree with wholesale slaughter, and Alex because she didn't like being behind the lines; I'm a trained fighter dammit, she thought to herself, I can handle myself.

Burt recognized the signs of impending mutiny and cut it off before.  "You can't go anywhere without help and you didn't get any sleep.  I'm not going taking you out there after all my hard work to keep in one piece."  If looks could kill the glare Alex shot Burt could have roasted him alive, but she finally nodded.

"Alright, lets move out."  They each collected a weapon and filed out of the bunker.  Alex hobbled over to the computer with Jodie's help and sat down. 

She grabbed the Walkie and spoke into it, "This is a communications check, please reply."

"This is Burt, we read you loud and clear.  Read us the co-ordinates of the closest enemy unit."   Alex rattled off the co-ordinates of the closest bug and Burt, Tyler, and Rosalita were on there way.

When they got there they saw the bug pretty easily.  This is probably because it was holding a half-eaten burro in its claws, it was about the same size as the one they found in Alex's lab.  Burt was the first to open fire.  He used his trusty .50 caliber Desert Eagle, one shot, dead center on the things torso.  It blew a huge hole in the middle of its torso but the thing didn't really seem to notice.  It dropped it's meal and moved toward them.  Then the rest of them opened fire, but nothing seemed to slow it down.  It wasn't until Rosalita got a lucky shot to the head that the thing stopped moving.

They all sat staring at the thing.  None of them could believe just how much damage the thing could take.

Tyler then asked the question that had been in his mind since yesterday.  "Burt, you saw just how much that thing could take.  How in the hell did Alex manage to kill one about that size with just her bare hands?"

"Honestly Tyler, I have no idea," was Burt's response.

After that it was pretty simple.  Alex read off the co-ordinates of the next bug and they went and killed it.  They came back every now and then for more ammo but they developed a routine very quickly.  During one of the times they were all in the bunker Jodie asked what they should call the things.  Several ideas were suggested but all were rejected.

Until Tyler said, "Alex you're the first to see one.  You should get to name them."

"Well, I would but they already have a name.  They're called Kamacuras"  Was Alex's reply.

Everybody stared at her in confusion.  "None of you are Godzilla fans are you," when she saw them all shake their heads she sighed.  "Kamacuras is the name for the giant praying mantids Godzilla fights in the movie 'Son of Godzilla.'" Alex explained.

After that Burt, Tyler, and Rosalita continued their work until there were no unique heat signatures showing on the thermal imaging display.

"I think we're done," Tyler said when they killed the last one.

"Good I'm exhausted," said Rosalita, and they all agreed, even Burt.

When they returned to the Bunker Burt said, "Alright everybody, excellent work.  We can all go home now.  And you Alex can get some sleep, you're past the danger zone."

"Yay," was Alex's reply, "Now would someone be kind enough to give me a ride home."

"Me too," said Jodie.

"I will," said Tyler.

He gace them a ride to Jodie's shop first because it was closer and Jodie said, "I'll take her from here, you can go on home now."

Tyler nodded he was too exhausted to argue.  Jodie helped Alex get into her car and they drove to the lab.  Jodie helped Alex get into bed and turned to leave but Alex grabbed her arm before she could.  "You just as tired as I am, more probably, stay her with me.  Just sleep for tonight."  Jodie smiled and crawled into bed next to Alex and they both slept smiling.


*Bet you thought that was the end.  Wrong.  Let's skip ahead about a week.*

Things were pretty much as close to normal as things in Perfection Valley get.  Alex was pretty much completely healed and her and Jodie's relationship was going strong. 

Right then Alex was sitting in Jodie's store and they were chatting when Burt pulled up.  He said, "every body hit the dirt," by this point even Alex knew to hit the dirt when Burt said to.

It was just then something huge slammed into the ground outside the store.  Alex looked out the window and saw a praying mantis more than twenty feet tall.  Burt saw Alex pale when she saw the huge bug.

"How did we miss this one," Alex whispered to Burt.

"This one doesn't have warm blood for some reason," Burt explained.

"How do we get rid of it," Jodie asked, fear evident in her voice.

"Don't worry I have a plan," Burt said. He quickly explained his plan to them.

"I don't like it," Jodie said.

"If you've got a better idea I'd love to hear it," was Burt's response.

"On my mark," Burt said.

Alex went to the door and got ready to run.

"Now, " Burt shouted.

Alex ran out in front of the Kamacura and jumped up and down waving her arms, trying to get the thing's attention.  As soon as the thing swung its head her way Burt ran out to his truck and grabbed his hand cannon.  He put his ear plugs in and fired straight into the thing's head.   Alex saw the top of the thing's head explode and it fell down.  She nearly got crushed but she was able to avoid the giant falling bug.

They calmly walked back into the store and Alex and Jodie continued their conversation.  When Twitchell pulled in a little while later he saw the giant bug and just shook his head.  He pulled his cell-phone out and called for a pick up for the thing.

As he walked into the store he said "What did I miss."

Everybody turned to look at him and Jodie said "Not much." 

Alex smiled at Jodie and said "I'll see you later."

Twitchell looked at Jodie as she smiled at Alex and thought to himself, could they be... nah, no way.


*A few hours later*

Jodie walked into the lab and smelled something cooking.  She couldn't figure out what it was but it smelled great.  She walked into the kitchen and was met by the sight of Alex wearing an apron that read 'KISS THE COOK' and absolutely nothing else.

"I've been waiting for you," Alex said and smiled as she walked toward Jodie.



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