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Rachael with her new diary.

March 1
Dear Diary,
You’re brand new, so let me back up and tell you what is going on.

After school at softball practice during a break, I drank this nuclear fructosion energy drink. Some of my friends had it too. We all started feeling funny and suddenly I felt like I was going to explode. I remember trying to get down on the ground, that’s it.

When I woke up, I was in this hospital. Dad was there, he and mom were taking turns being with me. Several doctors were there too, all looking at me and commenting. They sounded excited that I was waking up. Dad looked like he was gonna lose it if he said anything. He excused himself for a couple minutes, then he was back. They were all fussing about me and reading machines and checking stuff and on the phone and putting stuff in computers. They were all crowding Dad out but he wasn’t having it, he’s used to getting what he wants, and he pushed his way past one of the staff to get next to the bed again. That’s Dad for you.

I woke up again and Mom and Julia were there too. They wanted to know how I was and if I wanted anything and a nurse came in to ask what I wanted to eat and told me she wanted to take my vitals and stuff. It was kind of a whirlwind, something about a bunch of tests I was gonna start getting tomorrow and lots of people. I remember eating chicken-vegetable soup and milk and chocolate pudding. They told me I was going to be ok.

I woke up again and I guess it was the middle of the night. Dad was there and I asked him about all the tests they said I was going to have. He didn’t want to talk about it.

The next time I woke up it was daylight and Dad and Mom were there. Dad was having one of his “discussions” with one of the doctors. Dad doesn’t lose these discussions. When he couldn’t get what he wanted from the attending doctor, he asked to speak to the medical Chief of Staff. Half an hour later a suit and tie told Dad that the Chief would see him now, and they left. He was back in fifteen minutes with a couple orderlies and a different doctor. One of the orderlies had my things and the other had a wheelchair. The new doctor told the staff in the room to prep me for discharge and then left, no discussion. The one orderly left the wheelchair and the female orderly with my things stayed with my Mom to help me dress to leave. They got me in the wheelchair and took me out to an ambulance and put me in it with the doctor and a nurse. They took me home and I found out that they were private medical people Dad hired to take care of me at home. I asked about the tests again but they never happened. Dad and Mom stopped in to check on me and say hello every day but mostly left me alone. The doctor wasn’t there most of the time, only a nurse.

After a week they were done. I was up and around and wanted to get back to my life and back to school. That was good enough for the doctor and when Dad agreed, they all left. I was happy to get back to school. Then I found out I was the only starter left on the girls softball team. Out of 25, 18 died from drinking that stuff – we were all friends. Some other people were gone too. I didn’t want to be in school anymore.

Daddy was really busy, he was doing a lot of stuff with committees and stuff talking about meta-humans. There was this rampage by this huge grey monster-guy and some other things in the news that made everyone jumpy. People wanted to know if they were safe and if terrorists were making meta-humans or meta-Xs or whatever they called them. They wanted all of them identified and watched to make everyone safe. I thought that sounded good then I realized that basically metaXs were mostly people who were poisoned and lived. They said they were all mutated, that they had super powers and were dangerous. I lived…

Daddy got appointed to be the Head of a new government agency called PRIMUS that was supposed to enforce government policy on meta-Xs and make sure people were safe. Would he arrest me? What would I do? I was scared. I’m still scared. I remember Dad’s office being remodeled, all new stuff and a lot of security stuff installed. He got this new secret-phone thingy that prevents people spying on him and got a vault in his office and suddenly had people with him everywhere he went. He was always saying stuff about how important it was to stop the menace and stuff.

One day about a month later, Dad drove me to school and we went to the principal’s office and he made them take me off all the sports teams. He said it wasn’t good for me. I didn’t understand, I was the best player on most of the teams now that so many of them were gone. My friends were gone. Dad said I could do cheerleading but that was all. The Principal said ok. That was it, my sports career was over. He did do one thing nice that day, he took me to this really cool martial arts dojo and paid for me to attend. It was really expensive and only had about 30 students in all. I knew enough from my classes at school to know how good most of these guys were. I was outclassed here. But that meant I could learn and get really good here.

At least he didn’t arrest me. I was still scared that he might, but after a couple more months I figured out he was trying to keep it a secret that I was a metaX. But he never talked to me about it, he never talked to any of us about anything anymore. Even at parties, which Mom loved to throw, all he talked about was how important his new job was and how dedicated he was to making everyone safe. From people like me. He never said it that way, but still…

After I got back to school I started getting perfect grades. Even when I didn’t really like the subject, even when I sort of flipped through the books and pretended to read, I could always remember the answers when I read the test questions. That was good, it meant at least I didn’t have to worry about my grades. I was doing really well at sports too but like I said, that ended…

At the dojo, things were hard at first. I had a hard time with everything, but then one of the teachers took me aside and walked me through all of the moves and made me learn them. I got them all by the end of that lesson. The teacher was really impressed. Next time he made me show him all the moves without any prompting and I did it. Then he showed me a bunch more moves and I got them. Then he made me fight this student and I did ok, I was able to score several points so it wasn’t a wipe-out. He kept teaching me more stuff and kept having me fight other students, in two weeks he said I had to test for a new belt and I passed, he said I was perfect. Then I got a new teacher and in a week I had another test. I had another test a week after that. In two months I was a brown-belt and had Sensei as my teacher. There were only 5 of us in that class. I got clobbered a couple times in sparring matches at first, but when I got the moves down I started holding my own and then after about 3 weeks I finally won one! After another week, I was allowed to test for black-belt. All the other students in my class seemed upset, but none of them said anything to me. Sparring matches were really rough that week, like they were all trying to beat me to stop me from testing or maybe to get to test with me. I just kept my mind in the moment, focused on what was happening, kept track of my surroundings, anticipated what they could do from where they were and kept making the first move when I got the chance. At the end of the week I had won nine of my ten matches. Friday I tested for black-belt and I got everything right! Dad even came to talk to Sensei the next Monday and then he paid a lot more money so I could have private lessons with Sensei! That was in January.

The stuff I learned in the private lessons was really cool stuff. First I had to get used to the entirely new students, students I had never seen before, and only three of them. I began learning how to fight more than one person at a time, how to fight in the dark, how to fight blindfolded, how to use thrown weapons and staves and batons, all sorts of cool stuff! Then Sensei began to spar with me! I was really scared and he beat me really easy at first. Then he stopped and started showing me how to block his attacks and how to find openings in his defenses. Of course then he stepped his game up and made me look silly again, and then he showed me what to do against his new moves. He just keeps working with me, well, with us. Like I said there are three others. I caught up pretty fast and now I’m allowed to stay after the other three leave. He makes me fight him in the dark and I can do it! He still beats me, but I can fight him! He also teaches me really cool stuff like walking on sand and not leaving any sign that I did, how to get into and out of rooms, how to make escape proof knots and how to get out of them, stuff like that.

After February, my lessons got really interesting. He gave me lots of homework in stuff like acting, climbing, disguise, shadowing, deception, survival, and tracking. He started to teach me how to hide, and had other students try to find me in the main dojo which they all knew. By the end of February I got so I could move through class while it was in session and not be noticed. Anyone who saw me and pointed me out was supposed to get a free month of membership. Only one person got it so far.

I learned to deflect and even catch missile weapons, then I learned how to bounce them back at whoever threw it! I have to be able to close my eyes on command and instantly be able to tell him where every student in the dojo is. I have to “disappear” on command. I have to be able to find ways through seemingly solid walls. It’s really cool!

Finally, yesterday, I found out I was a Kunoichi, I didn’t even know what that was. It was a very solemn ceremony, just Sensei and I and the woman who worked out front who I found out was his wife. It was a long ceremony, I was told what a Kunoichi was, how she was able to misdirect others to believe she was not a threat or wasn’t even there, how she would use any means to gain an advantage over her opponent. I was told about the Night Dragon, how fearsome it was, and about its mystical powers. Then I realized I could do all the things the Night Dragon could do. Sensei saw my excitement even though I tried to hide it, and made me ask my question, “Was I a Night Dragon?” He said I was, and that it must remain a secret.

The skills I possess make me a member of a very, very small and elite group of people, a secret society that jealously guards its existence. I can never let anyone know that Rachael Lawless is a Kunoichi or just what she can do. Good thing I was told all along to never ever say what I learned. I can say that I know Kung Fu, and that I am a black-belt. I can’t say or show anything more as Rachael, on my life.

I believe him, Sensei never plays.