71 year old John Dodge, retired military, now sits in a nursing home, his body riddled with cancer, waiting on the grim reaper to come for him when he is given another option.
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Deb pushed her way through the people that had so quickly surrounded Kat and the paramedics, “I’m a doctor let me though!” Witnessing the deep scarlet color and amount of blood as the paramedics fought to staunch the heavy loss of blood, “Where’re you taking him?”
“Mary Elizabeth,” One of the paramedics replied without looking up.
“We need to get him into emergency surgery now,” Deb took command of the situation, “We’re taking him to the base hospital.” Looking over at the blood on Kat’s hands before looking up at her face, “Get that washed off, then follow us to the base hospital in my car honey.”
“Come on, Kat,” Becky grabbed Kat by the upper arm and began leading her toward the girl’s locker room, “Let’s go get changed.”
Deb looked over at General Tollman, who along with Williams had pushed their way through the crowd, “General, can you call the base and have them ready for us?”
Tollman nodded, reaching into his pocket for his cell phone he looked over at the paramedics, “They’ll wave you through the gate, the surgeons will be ready.”
All of the other girls that had worn the fashions made by the sewing club straggled in and began changing back into their normal clothes as Kat was washing the blood off her hands. Becky helped Kat out of her outfit then filled a sink with cold water as Kat walked into the shower area, her hair twisted up and under a shower cap she kept in her locker, a towel in one hand and a clear plastic bag in the other. The bottle of body wash and netted bath sponge easily seen inside the clear plastic.
Exiting the shower with the towel wrapped around her, Kat could see Clair, now back in the jeans and sleeveless blouse she had worn to the event, now at the sink working on rinsing the blood out of Kat’s outfit while Becky was changing. The rest of the girls had finished changing and were huddled around Marshall Brown, who Kat assumed had entered while she was in the shower. “Marshall Brown?” Seeing the look that the Marshall gave her Kat blushed, “Um, sorry Beth, I didn’t know you were coming.”
“You think I would miss watching that incredible style of martial arts you have?” Beth grinned, “I probably don’t need to ask, but are you alright?”
“I’m fine,” Kat took a deep breath while her right hand rubbed her left arm, “just wish I would have gotten to him faster. Someone got hurt because I was afraid...” Kat tensed catching herself before she said too much.
Beth walked over holding both Kat’s hands in hers, “Sweetie, he came at you with a knife, that would terrify anyone.”
‘Thank god’ Kat relaxed, ‘She believes it was the knife that frightened me, best to let everyone believe that.’ Failing to look up at Beth, Kat stared at the floor, ‘I shouldn’t have hesitated, Danny could die because I was afraid of anyone finding out what I am. What good am I if I don’t use what I have to stop something like that from happening!’ Hunching her shoulders, tears began to stream down Kat’s cheeks at these thoughts.
Becky leaned up against Kat wrapping her arms around Kat in a hug, “It wasn’t your fault. Come on, let's get you dressed.” Leading Kat over to her gym locker.
Beth noticed a small amount of blood on her hand as the two girls walked away, “Hold on a second Kat, I think you may be bleeding.” Walking over to where the two girls had stopped and turned around, Beth reached down to Kat’s left hand. Bringing her hand up, Beth turned it over to see she had a deep scratch across her palm.
Seeing that she could no longer hide the cut. “It’s only a scratch,” Kat shrugged, “It’s almost stopped bleeding already.”
“It looks like more than a scratch to me.” Turning to look where the other girls were standing around, “Do any of you girls know where your teacher keeps the first aid kit?”
“I’ll get it!” Hanna rushed off.
Once Hanna returned with the first aid kit, Beth began cleaning and bandaging the cut on Kat’s hand. “Looks like I get to return the favor,” Beth grinned.
After finishing the task of bandaging Kat hand Beth look up, “Once you get to the hospital, make sure to have a doctor look at that hand, it may need stitches.”
It took two tries before Kat managed to get the combination right and unlock her gym locker. Pulling her gym bag from the locker, Kat dropped it on the bench before sitting down beside it.
Sitting down beside Kat, Becky hugged her once again, “It’s okay Kat, he wasn’t even after me and it scared me silly!”
“It’s not that,” Kat sniffed back the tears, “If I hadn’t got in that fight with Doug, Danny wouldn’t have gotten stabbed.”
“Are you crazy!” Britney blurted out, “He was going to rape May!”
May timidly walked over squatting down in front of Kat. Looking into Kat’s eyes as she took both her hands in hers, “I’m sorry Danny got hurt, but Doug, if you hadn’t come… As far as I’m concerned you are the best thing that ever happened to this school.”
“Damn right!” Hanna grinned while the other girls standing around were nodding in agreement to May’s statement.
“Girls, why don’t you give Kat a few minutes to compose herself and get dressed?” Beth looked over at the girls that were now surrounding Kat. “We’ll meet you outside.”
Unzipping the bag, she pulled out a pair of light beige bikini panties that she slid on under the towel she had wrapped around her. Pulling a matching bra from the bag, she dropped the towel across the bench and put that on, leaning forward to situate herself comfortably into the cups as she reached around behind her back and fastened it. Next she put on a yellow tank top that was in her bag and then squirmed into the tight fitting skinny jeans she had worn earlier.
Beth watched as the group of girls filed out of the locker room. Looking over at Becky who had stayed, “Becky would you mind?” Glancing toward the door, “I’d like to speak with Kat in private.”
Becky looked over where Kat was now sitting on the bench putting on the tennis shoes she had worn originally from home. Kat looked up nodding her head, it’s okay, I’ll meet you in the gym.”
As Becky left the locker room, Beth walked over and sat down beside Kat, “So, you okay?”
“I’m fine,” Kat answered as she finished tying her shoe.
“Watching that fight made me almost believe those rumors I heard in the bleachers where I was sitting.” Gently placing her hand on Kat’s shoulder, “I know if there was any truth to it you would have been told not to say anything, but I want you to know that I am your friend and if you need to talk to someone…”
“I wasn’t raised by badgers and I didn’t grow up in a Shaolin monastery.” Kat grimaced as she recalled the latest rumors that were being spread about her, “And I’m definitely not some alien that crash landed on Earth or some kind of monster or demon.”
Beth chuckled at how ludicrous some of those rumors sounded, to think that anyone could believe that this beautiful teenage girl could be some kind of monster, demon or even an alien was completely absurd. Beth thought she would give more credence to the raised by wild animals story, but badgers? How could anyone seriously believe that? But to have so much skill with martial arts at her age while not impossible, is strange. And the way she acted after she took down that shooter, there was no fear or remorse in her eyes. It was a look that Beth has seen countless times over the years she had been a U.S. Marshal although it was the first time she had seen it in the eyes of a teenage girl, it was the look of a trained killer. She could tell that Kat was hiding something but what? Is it possible that she really did escape from some ninja assassin training camp and our military is hiding her in their own version of a witness protection program?
A cold shiver went down Beth’s spine when she thought of the alternative. Would our own government do this to children? Take them and train them from birth to be nothing more killing machines, teenage assassins? Beth knew she needed to learn more, but she had to be careful because if any of this were true then Deb was probably not Kat’s real mother, she would be Kat’s handler and would report anything suspicious going on around the girl. “I just want you to remember that I am here if you need help.”
“Thanks but I’m fine, really.”
Beth knew she couldn’t push the girl any further, she would need to earn her trust before Kat would entrust her with whatever secret she held. “Okay then, let’s get out of this locker room,” Beth held her hand out to help Kat up as she stood.
It was close to two hours later when Kat and Becky walked into the emergency room of the base hospital. As they approached the desk, the nurse behind it looked up, “Can I help you girls?”
“We’re looking for Doctor Marlete,” Kat forced a smile at the older woman.
“One sec,” The nurse began typing at her computer monitor before looking back up at Kat, “I show Doctor Marlete’s office as E-212, that would be in the east wing of the hospital.” The nurse glanced around for a moment, “Um, the easiest way to explain how to get there would be to go back out and enter through the east entrance.”
“She came in with an emergency a little while ago, a boy that was stabbed,” Kat explained.
“I can’t give out information on patients dear.”
“No, I’m not looking for information about him.” Kat fished her military dependent’s ID from her purse showing it to the nurse, “I’m Kat Marlete, she’s my mom.”
Taking the ID from Kat, the nurse looked it over before handing it back, “I have to say your mother looks too young to have a daughter your age, but then I would never have guessed you to be the age shown on your ID either. She left a note for you to meet her in her office.”
“Thanks,” Kat smiled at the nurse before turning toward the hallway on their left and leading Becky through the maze of corridors toward the east side of the complex.
The two walked into Deb’s office to find her sitting behind her desk wearing a set of olive drab colored hospital scrubs. Looking up for the paperwork she had been working on Deb smiled at the two girls, “Good, you finally made it!”
“Sorry mom,” Kat weakly smiled, “It took a while before the cops would let us go. I think we would still be there if Beth hadn’t said anything.”
“Beth?” Deb questioned, not recognizing the name.
“Marshall Brown,” Kat continued, “she asked me to call her Beth.”
Deb nodded her understanding before looking back down at the papers on her desk, “Okay girls, give me a few minutes to finish this and we can head home.”
“Um mom?” Kat bit her lower lip, “How’s Danny, is he going to make it?”
Looking up to see her daughter smile at her, “He was still in surgery when I came up here. Barring complication I believe he will be fine. Doctor Jenkins is one of the best trauma surgeons around.”
“No chance of seeing him later?” Becky asked.
Deb shook her head, “I doubt anyone but immediate family are allowed to see him until Monday or Tuesday. So why don’t you both have a seat while I finish this.” Deb looked back up from her work at the girls, “Have either of you eaten lunch yet?” She watched as both girls shook their heads, “Kat, why don’t you take Becky down to the cafeteria. You two grab some lunch and I’ll join you soon as I am done.”
“Cafeteria food?” Becky cringed.
“It’s nothing like the food they serve us at school.” Kat snickered, “Here the food actually tastes like what it looks like.”
“No chicken cordon Blah?” Becky stuck out her tongue while making a disgusting face.
“Chicken what?” Deb laughed.
“It’s what everyone calls the chicken casserole they serve at school.” Becky grinned, “It looks like shredded cardboard covered in glue and tastes even worse.”
“I’ve ate it,” Kat flashed a frown at Becky, “it’s not that bad if you put enough hot sauce on it.”
Becky giggled, “This coming from the girl who can’t cook and eats anything that can’t run away from her.”
“Hey!” Kat grinned at Becky, “I don’t eat everything. I’ll have you know I’m also a pretty good cook!”
“Good cook! You don’t even know where your mom keeps her pots and pans.”
“I know where they are at!”
“Oh yea, then why have you never used one?” Becky snorted back the giggle.
“You know mom won’t let me touch her fancy All-Clad stuff!” Kat giggled, “You’ve never complained about the sandwiches I make or the hamburgers I cook on the grill.”
“Piling huge amounts of pre-sliced meats and cheeses on some bread is not cooking!” Becky laughed, “And your hamburgers are still pink in the middle!”
“That’s called medium rare and the only way to cook a hamburger,” Kat giggled.
Deb couldn’t help but laugh at their antics, “Go on you two clowns, get out of here and get something to eat so I can finish this. I’ll meet you two in the cafeteria.”
Kat had devoured three of the five sandwiches and was pouring the cracker crumbs out of the clear cellophane two cracker package that she had smashed up before opening. Sitting the empty wrapper on top a pile of similar empty cellophane wrappers on the corner of her tray, Kat began stirring the small mountain of crushed crackers into the bowl of chili when she heard a voice she recognized, “Hello Kathleen.” Looking over Becky’s shoulder, Kat saw Doctor Oliver walking toward their table carrying her own lunch tray.
“I thought you had something going on at school today Kat?” Doctor Oliver walked over to the two smiling. Looking at the empty chairs at the round table Kat and Becky were sitting, “Mind if I sit here?”
“Hey Doc,” Kat smiled up at Doctor Oliver, “Sure have a seat.”
Placing her tray on the table, Doctor Oliver sat down across from the two girls, “I’m Doctor Oliver, you must be Becky. Kat’s mother has told me all about you and Kat.”
“She told you about us?” The pitch of Becky’s voice much higher than normal.
“Just that you two are such great friends that you’re almost inseparable. What do you kids call it nowadays, BFF’s?” Doctor Oliver noticed the flush of Becky’s cheeks as she quickly looked away. ‘It appears that it could be more than just friendship,’ Doctor Oliver thought to herself. Not wanting to make either girl uncomfortable she changed the subject, “So, I heard that there was a problem at your martial arts demonstration?”
Kat nodded, “Yeah, I had to take a knife away from a nut case. He stabbed another boy before I could get to him.”
Becky shivered at the memory of the attack, “Doug lost it, he came out screaming that Kat was some kind of alien monster.”
Doctor Oliver cocked her head to the side while smiling at Kat, “Now, what could ever give anyone the idea that you are anything more than the pretty young woman I see sitting here?” Kat shrugged and went back to eating.
“It’s crazy, huh?” Becky added, “How could anyone think Kat was some kind of monster?”
Nodding at the bandage on Kat’s hand, “You were injured?” Doctor Oliver asked.
Glancing over at Becky then back to Doctor Oliver, “Just a scratch really,” Knowing she needed to downplay how bad the cut to the palm of her hand truly was due to how fast it would heal. “I’m sure by morning it will be hard to tell I even got cut.”
Doctor Oliver held back a chuckle knowing that Kat would heal so quickly, it could cause concerns if anyone outside their lab found out about her ability to regenerate. Thank god she was smart enough to make the injury out to be much less than it was since it would help to explain when someone saw her hand healed. ‘If the truth of what we do here came out…’ Doctor Oliver’s thoughts were broken by someone sitting down in the chair between her and Kat.
“I see you found my terrible twosome,” Deb chuckled as she sat down.
“Doctor Marlete,” Doctor Oliver smiled at her colleague, “I’m glad you’re here. I was about to suggest that since Kat was here, we go ahead and take care of her exam today.”
Deb could see Kat pleading with her eyes, “Sorry, but we really must get back to the school while someone is still there to let us back in. In the rush to leave Kat left her duffel bag there.”
“That isn’t a problem,” Doctor Oliver smiled at Deb, “we’ll keep the rescheduled appointment for next Saturday like we had planned.”
“Mom, that won’t work,” Kat gulped. “Remember, I’m going to be down in Richmond at Karen’s next weekend.”
“We really can’t put Kat’s checkup off for the following weekend,” Doctor Oliver stated.
“Well then how about one afternoon this coming week?” Deb tried to compromise in a way that would not spoil Kat and Karen’s plans. “Wednesday afternoons Kat gets out of school early, how’s your schedule look then?”
After pulling her smart phone from her purse and checking her schedule Doctor Oliver agreed, “That works, my afternoon is free after three.”
“I can drive Kat up after we get out of school,” Becky volunteered.
“Then it’s settled,” Deb smiled. “So, if you girls are finished eating, we can head home.”
Sitting her purse down on the counter, Deb reached over and hit the flashing play button on the answering machine, “Hey Kat, this is Randy over at Lew’s salvage. I know you’ve been looking for an engine for that Thunderbird you’re building and we just got in something that I think you may fall in love with. I don’t think it will sit around long either, so if you’re interested in it you need to act fast.”
“I bet he found a navigator engine.” Kat grinned, “I need to get up there before someone else buys it.”
“Navigator engine?” Deb questioned.
“Um yeah, the Lincoln Navigator came with the engine I want to use in my thunderbird, it’s a higher performance 32 valve version of the Triton engine they put in the trucks.”
“Is that safe?” The concern evident in Deb’s voice, “I don’t want you building something that you may get hurt in.”
Kat grinned at her mother, “Mom I plan on putting in a full roll cage and better seat belts, it will be safer than anything coming out of the factory.”
“Roll cage?” Becky gasped, “I am not climbing in and out through the windows!”
“God girl, you have been watching too much TV!” Kat giggled, “I’m not building a race car. Now I need to change so I can go see what they found.”
“Oh, just how I wanted to spend my Saturday afternoon,” Becky groaned, “Chasing you around another junkyard.”
“You can stay here if you don’t want to come,” Kat stuck her tongue out at Becky playfully.
“Oh no!” Becky feigned panic, “Someone has to go with you to make sure you find your way home!”
“She’s right honey, you lose track of time in those places,” Deb chuckled.
“I’m not that bad!” Kat yelled back over her shoulder while walking toward the stairs, “I’m going to go change into some old jeans and a tee shirt so I don’t get any grease on my good clothes.”
Walking into the living room after having changed her clothes Kat saw her mother sitting in what had become her favorite chair with a magazine, “Where’d Becky go?”
Looking up from the magazine Deb answered, “She went home to change . Said something about not climbing into your truck or parading around the men at the junkyard in a short skirt.”
Shrugging her shoulders as she turned toward the kitchen, “Okay, I’ll go get the truck and pull it around while we wait.” Once out the back door Kat jogged across the backyard to the path that lead toward her shop.
Becky held her hands together in front of her as she followed Kat into the office of Lew’s Salvage. While the office was clean by salvage yard standards, the sheer amount of parts and pieces taken off wrecked cars that were stacked up along the walls or lying on the counter was staggering to someone that their entire knowledge of how cars operated was you put the gas in one place and turned the key to start it. Of course Kat had changed that, not only showing Becky how to check things like her oil and tire pressure but explaining why it was important.
“Hi Kat, Hi Becky!” The girl sitting behind the counter looked up from the computer she was working on.
“Hi Gina,” Kat smiled.
“Hi,” Becky forced a smile toward the girl.
“Randy told me he tried to call.” Gina grinned, “You are not going to believe what we towed in. Insurance just released it for salvage this morning.”
“You found a 32 valve Triton?” Kat tried to hold back the grin that began spreading across her face.
Gina’s short brown ponytail flipped from one shoulder around her back to the other shoulder as she shook her head, “Better!” Her grin widened. Walking to the end of the counter Gina waved for them to follow, “Come on, I’ll show you.”
Following Gina through a side door that led into the large building, Kat and Becky followed her through rows and rows of large metal shelving piled with parts taken out of the wrecks brought into the salvage yard.
Becky, having never been into their warehouse before couldn’t believe the amount of things there, “How do you keep track of all this stuff?”
“It’s easy when the guys fill out the paperwork correctly.” Gina did not break stride as she lead them through the maze of shelves, “They list the make and model of the car, then a list and location of the recycled parts. I enter all that into our computer so when we need a windshield for a 98 Jeep Cherokee, all we have to do is look it up on the computer. If we have one, it will show up in the inventory. The great part is that our computer can access other salvage yard’s inventories all over the country so if we don’t have what you need we can find out who does and get it for you.”
“So why didn’t you do that for this engine Kat wanted?”
Gina stopped then turned around to explain the problem better for Becky, “If Kat only needed an engine that would have been easy, we could have had one shipped here from another yard but Kat needs the whole vehicle. At least more of it than just it’s engine. Engines are computer controlled now days, so Kat needs the onboard computer to run the engine, then there is the wiring harness to connect the engine to the computer.”
“I’m sure I could sit down with the schematics and wire up everything but I’d like to actually drive it before I’m old and gray,” Kat giggled.
Becky looked over at Kat, “I thought you said changing the engine was no big deal?”
“It isn’t,” Kat shrugged, “as long as you have everything you need to do it.”
“I think this is going to be worth your time, Kat,” Gina grinned as she motioned for them to follow her once again. Finally emerging from the long rows of parts ladened shelves the three entered an even larger open area inside the large warehouse-like building. There were at least eight or more wrecked cars scattered around inside the building several of which men were working on dissembling. Gina pointed toward a red car on the other side of the large shop area. The back half of the car, what was left of it, was a mass of twisted metal sitting on the ground with no rear tires, although the front of the car seemed to have survived relatively undamaged other than dents and deep scratches.
“A mustang?” Kat continued to follow Gina across the shop area toward the car, “I didn’t think Ford put the five point four in any of those?” About fifteen feet away from the car Kat suddenly stopped, “Holy shit! That, that’s a…”
“GT 500,” Gina flashed a wide grin. “Five point four, all aluminum, supercharged, Condor engine. Engine and trans seems to be in perfect condition and only has fourteen thousand on the odometer.”
Rushing over, Kat pulled open the already unlatched hood to look at the engine, “How soon can you load it on a flatbed and deliver it?”
“Don’t you think you should see how much they want for it?” Becky tried to curb Kat’s enthusiasm.
Kat looked at Becky like she had grown a second head, before she could say anything a teen boy that looked like a male version of Gina came running over, “Hey Kat, Hey Becky!” he greeted the girls while trying to catch his breath. Turning toward Gina, “You said you would call me when they got here.”
“Hi Randy,” Kat smiled, “We just got here. Thanks for calling and letting me know about this. It’s perfect for my project!”
“Dad said he needed to get fifteen for the engine and trans,” Randy weakly stated, hoping that the price his father had set would not upset the vision of perfection that stood before him.
Kat didn’t flinch at the price, “I’ll give you eighteen for the whole thing and you can have what I don’t use back. I won’t even ask for scrap price, you can have it free when I’m done.” Kat raised her hand when Gina began to speak, “You can go ahead and strip the doors, any glass, suspension, wheels and tires, sheet metal before you load it up to bring out as I’m not going to be using any of that.”
“I’m sure Daddy will be happy with that. You just bought yourself a wrecked GT500.” Gina grinned at Kat, “So, how’d the fight go? I really wanted to come watch but Daddy needed us here. How bad did you make those jocks look?”
“Oh my god, you don’t know yet?” Becky’s hands covering her mouth as she gasped. “Danny Wilkes got stabbed by Doug Semper!”
“What!” Randy and Gina chorused.
“Yeah,” Becky began speaking really fast in the way that only an excited teen girl can, “Doug came at Kat with a knife and Danny tried to stop him and got stabbed and Kat broke Doug’s arm taking the knife away. Kat’s mom, you know she’s a doctor too right? Well she ran over to help and rode with Danny to the hospital after giving Kat the keys to her car and telling me and Kat to follow her in her car.”
“Shit and I missed it!” Randy cried out.
“Is Danny going to be okay?” Gina asked apprehensively.
“Mom had him taken to the base hospital since it was closer,” Kat informed them.
“He’s in critical care,” Becky told them what she knew about the boy, “They wouldn’t tell us anything else while we were there.
“Damn!” Randy’s eyes grew wide, “Between that and the shit Doug’s been saying about Kat, he’s sure to get fitted for an I love me jacket!”
“I love me jacket?” Becky asked.
“What’s he been saying?” Kat asked at the same time.
“Yeah, you know a crazy coat? How they tie your arms around yourself in one?” Randy hugged himself mimicking how someone would look in a strait jacket.
“What’s he been saying about me?” Kat asked again.
“Oh, after you kicked his ass in the bathroom, he’s been going around telling anyone who’ll listen that you're some kind of alien monster. He’s gone completely nuts, who in their right mind would believe a girl as pretty as you is a monster right?” Realizing what he had said about Kat being pretty, Randy Turned his head away from the girls trying to hide his blushing. “I, I probably should get back to work,” he began to turn away.
“Hey Randy?” Kat stepped over wrapping her arms around him in a hug as he turned back to face her, “You’re awesome, thank for finding this for me.”
Once released from the hug, Randy began walking back out of the shop, the wide grin painted across his face could be seen by all three girls since he couldn’t seem to take more than four or five steps without glancing back at them, tripping over an air hose laying across the floor not halfway to the large open garage door.
Watching her brother run into the corner of the door frame caused Gina to begin giggling, “I think you broke my brother.”
“What!” Kat’s eyes snapped wide open at Gina’s accusation.
“He’s got it bad for you girl.” Gina laughed at Kat’s expression, “What boy wouldn’t? I mean, come on, you’re cheerleader hot, you fight like some kind of ninja super hero and you’re great with a wrench. It’s no wonder he trips over his tongue every time you’re around.”
Back in the front office Gina was working on all the paperwork involved for the sale and transfer of the salvage title when a very large man walked out of a door behind the counter. The man must have been at least six foot two and even though he was somewhat overweight it was apparent that he had more than enough muscle lying underneath to carry the extra weight with ease. “Good afternoon, ladies” The large man greeted Kat and Becky, “Is Gina taking good care of you?”
“Hi Daddy,” Gina twisted around to look at her father, “This is Kat and Becky. Kat is the one we told you would be interested in the GT.”
Cocking his head inquisitively as he looked at Gina, “The one you kids were telling me wanted to swap the engine into a thunderbird?” Gina nodded.
His brown furled as he looked over at Kat, “Swapping in an engine that a car was never designed to have is a big project. Is your father going to help you?”
Shaking her head Kat looked down at the floor, “My father is dead.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” The large man sounded sincere. “So who is going to help you with this? Don’t get me wrong It’s a big sale for us but I don’t want you to spend this kind of money on a project that may turn out to be more than you can do.”
Kat knew his concern was well meant but that didn’t stop the anger from rising at how he had already stereotyped her into the ‘too small and weak to do real man’s work’ group in his mind. She had a degree or did have a degree in engineering and more experience with cars than she could ever admit to. The anger subsided and a grin spread across her face as Kat thought about challenging him to arm wrestling. Making sure to get the stakes high enough so that he would really try his hardest by getting him to agree to take a couple of thousand off the price if she won. Looking at the size of Gina’s father’s arms, Kat knew she couldn’t do that. She knew she could probably win such a match, but in doing so it would unveil her real strength to people that she couldn’t let know the truth.
“I’m sure Kat can do this, I’ve seen the blueprints she has drawn up and you haven’t seen her shop,” Becky grinned. “Also, her sister would send someone up from their Daddy’s company if Kat ran into any big problems.”
“Her Father’s company?” The large man questioned.
Becky grinned smugly, knowing that while Kat would not appreciate the name dropping but it would impress Gina’s father. The company their father had started while not anything as large or as well-known as national brands such as Sears, it was big name here where they lived, “Kat and her sister own Dodge enterprises.”
“John Dodge was your father?” He watched Kat nod, “I met him once years ago, he was a good man. We actually use one of his security systems here. If you inherited some of your father’s abilities I am sure you’ll do just fine.” Gina’s father chuckled. He watched over Gina’s shoulder as she finished the paperwork and had Kat sign, after which he picked it up and read glanced over the documents.
After reading what they could remove before delivery he looked up at Kat, “You sure you don’t want the suspension left on?”
Kat shook her head, “No, it’s not like it can roll with the damage to the rear end. I have a chain hoist that we can lift it off the flatbed and put it on a rolling cart when it’s delivered, so it would actually help not to have the suspension.”
“Your hoist can handle a three thousand pound car?”
“The I-beam it runs on is rated for twenty thousand and the hoist fifteen thousand.”
“You planning on picking up armored cars with that thing?” Gina’s father chuckled.
“I just figured it was better to have one put in that was stronger than I would ever need,” Kat confessed.
“That’s actually pretty smart thinking.” Gina’s father sat the papers down on the counter, “I think we could have it ready for delivery Tuesday. I assume you do wish us to deliver it?”
“Yes, I don’t have anything to haul it with.” Kat added, “Oh, it’ll =have to be after four since I’ll be in school and mom will be at work.”
“We’ll see you around five Tuesday.”
Leaving the salvage yard, Kat turned her old pickup truck back toward town. They drove in relative silence until Kat drove right past the turn they needed to take to get home. “Kat, you missed the turn!” Becky called her attention to the mistake.
“I need to do a little shopping before we go home.”
“Cool,” Becky grinned, “where we going?”
“The hardware store,” Kat responded.
“What? Why there?”
“To buy the stuff to make a rolling cart we can put the GT chassis on.”
“Going to a hardware store is not what I call shopping!” Becky huffed, folding her arms under her breasts.
Once the time lapse video ended, Jake walked over and turned the lights back on in the conference room. Before he could walk back over and sit down the General grinned over to his right at both doctors Hakim and Oliver, “Congratulations doctors, a success!”
“Thank you General,” Hakim smiled. “Although we have managed to reduce the amount of age regression it is still a concern. Until we are able to duplicate the results from subject four in a second test subject we do not know if the age regression had truly been diminished.”
“There is also the issue of gender conversion,” Doctor Oliver included. “To determine the specific conditions that caused this, so that we can avoid those conditions in the future, we need to experiment with combinations of the conditions that caused the conversion.”
“Are you telling me that you want to TRY to turn men into women?” The anger of such an idea clearly showing in the general’s face, “Not just no, but HELL NO!”
Doctor Oliver attempted to make the General understand her concerns, “But without knowing what caused it, it can and probably will happen again.”
“You heard me doctor!” Slamming his fist on the table, “Under no circumstances will you conduct any gender experiments on anyone in this facility. These are men you’re talking about, good men! You will confine any experimentation into that area strictly to lab animals. We’re not a god damned sex change clinic!”
“General, I believe that you are misunderstanding Doctor Oliver’s concern,” Doctor Hakim began to explain. “While I agree that intentionally attempting to turn men into women with our process is quite appalling, until we are certain of the conditions that cause such an abnormality the threat of it reoccurring will always be present.”
“Excuse me doctors,” Jake interrupted, “Mr. White, the latest volunteer to go through the process, was informed that it was possible that he could end up female. We even had Kat speak with him before he made his decision.”
“He pretty much took the news of what happened to Kat the same way Kat did,” Matt explained. “He said that that given a choice between a pine box and a skirt, he would rather be fitted for the skirt.”
“Considering the pool we are recruiting from, I believe we can expect to see about the same attitude from future volunteers,” Deb joined the conversation.
“Why would you think that?” Dr. Hakim glared across the table at Deb.
“I would think it obvious Doctor,” Deb met his gaze. “The group that we are currently limited to recruit from are all elderly retired military. Most have a painful poor quality of life, many not even able to perform simple everyday actions we take for granted, like using the toilet without assistance.”
“Alright then, Wagoner, Sawdey, you two will continue to vet recruits as you have been, adding in that there is a possibility the process can cause their sex to change once they have signed the NDA.’ The General stated before looking over at Dr. Hakim, “When will Colonel White be ready to exit the chamber?”
“Everything indicates subject four should be ready to be removed from the chamber sometime early Thursday morning,” Dr Hakim replied.
“So he should wake sometime Thursday afternoon?” Deb asked.
“Yes, so far all have waken between five and eight hours after they have been removed from the tank,” Dr. Oliver stated.
“I’ll let Kat know that I may not be home until late that day.”
“Speaking of Kathleen, General I would also like to state that in our tests Kathleen appears to have higher level of strength and endurance than Benjamin,” Doctor Oliver stated. “How much higher we do not know as both Doctor Hakim and I feel she has been holding back during her tests.”
“Then come up with a way to retest her where she can’t hold back,” The general ordered.
“I’m not sure if that can be done General,” Dr. Oliver stated, “Mr. Dodge was not your average soldier, he was a highly intelligent man holding three different master’s degrees and several lesser degrees. Our tests indicate that Kathleen’s intelligence is substantially higher.”
“How much higher?” The general asked.
“Um we not sure about that either,” Dr. Hakim answered, “We do know she cheated by intentionally missing some of the questions and taking longer to complete the tests than she needed.”
“What leads you to believe this?” The General asked.
“She left us a message to find in the test booklet,” Dr Oliver continued the explanation for Dr. Hakim, “Small pencil marks almost undetectable under certain letters throughout the booklet.”
“And the specific order in the questions she missed,” Hakim stated. “She missed question three, then six and twelve, then twenty four, forty eight and so on, progressively increasing the number between incorrect answers until the end of the test.”
“I see,” The general thought about how Kat had managed to miss those exact questions. “What was in the message she left?”
“Well sir we are not sure what it means. Let me pull it up,” Dr. Hakim picked up his tablet and began touching the screen, “ahh, here it is. The message she left is. ‘Then its hi hi hey the army’s on its way count off the cadence loud and strong’…”
“That’s enough Doctor,” The General stopped Dr. Hakim from reciting any more of it. Dr, Hakim looked up from his tablet to see the General grinning, “I think we know the rest of the message. it’s the chorus of the, The Army goes rolling along.” Losing the grin the General’s face grew stern once again, “I think we can safely say that she has been testing the the good doctors and our staff. I want her in my office at zero nine hundred tomorrow morning.”
“Sir,” Deb Interrupted, “she has to be in school tomorrow.”
“Oh right,” Realizing his mistake, “What time does she get out of school?”
“Fifteen hundred hours sir,” Matt replied.
Good thinking, we don’t want to blow the cover we spent so much time and money on. Make that my office sixteen hundred tomorrow.”
“If I have to, I’ll pick her up myself sir,” Matt nodded.
“That won’t be necessary,” Deb rebuked. “My daughter is quite capable of finding the base without assistance.”
Later that night, after the kitchen was cleaned from dinner and Becky had gone home, Deb pulled Kat down beside her on the sofa in the living room. Holding both of Kat’s hands her her own as she looked into Kat’s eyes, “Honey, Tollman wants to see you tomorrow after school.”
“Okaaay?” Furling her brow at the way her mother seemed to be treating this as more than a simple visit, “Why does the General wanting to see me have you so concerned?”
Deb explained everything, what they had found in her written test results and that they had determined Kat was holding back.
“I take it they finally saw something in those test papers they had me take?” Kat giggled, “Took them long enough. I was beginning to think they were too arrogant to see anything past the nose on their faces.”
“You wanted them to find the things you left?”
“Well it wouldn’t be much of a joke if no one got it,” Kat grinned.
“It caused a bit of a ruckus in the labs, now they are questioning all your test scores, including the physical ones.” Explaining her concern to the teen, “Doctor Hakim wants to force you to retake all your tests.”
“He can shit in one hand and wish in the other and see which one fills up faster!” Kat’s dislike of the doctor apparent in her voice.
“I’m positive that is what the General wants to speak to you about,” Deb stated. “And I think you should tell him everything.”
“WHAT!” Kat’s voice raised in surprise.
“You told me before that you trusted him?”
“Hear me out,” Deb continued, “Tell him everything, and I mean everything, including why we have kept certain things secret. Think about it, if you explain yourself well enough I am sure he will keep our secret. Also if he knows and keep the information to himself, then you can not be accused of keeping secrets from the project later.”
Kat sighed, “Yeah you’re right. If he found out by accident the ass chewing he would give me would make a nuke look like a firecracker.”
“Not to mention lose any trust he had in you,” Deb added.
Smiling, Kat loosed her hands from Deb’s and wrapped her arms around her in a hug, “How did I end up with such a great mom?”
Wrapping her own arms around Kat, “It’s because I have such a wonderful daughter.”
Kat was unsure of how to take her newfound popularity in school Monday. While she knew her exhibition over the weekend would bring more girls into wanting to learn martial arts to defend themselves she was surprised to have the entire wrestling team come by the table she and her friends were sitting at during lunch to congratulate her and tell her grandfather thanks for the new wrestling equipment.
After the boy on the wrestling team left, Tanya who had decided to come with with the group today, looked across the table at Kat, “General Tollman’s your grandpa?”
Kat snorted, the milk she was drinking almost coming out her nose. Coughing for a moment before she regained her composure, “Um, that was a prank. He really isn’t my grandfather, I joking around.”
Jenny gasped, “You joke around with the General?”
Kat shrugged her shoulders, “He puts his pants on the same way everyone else does.”
Hanna leaned forward so only those sitting around could hear her, “So I though maybe after school we could all go over to Kat’s and work on the clubhouse?” All the girls perked up and began talking at once about ideas they had on decorating the upstairs portion of the old barn Kat had restored and turned into her workshop.
“Guys, GUYS!” Kat tried to everyone’s attention. Finally managing to do that she continued, “I’m sorry but Mom’s picking me up after school for an appointment. I don’t know when I’ll get home.” Seeing all the crestfallen faces of her friends Kat quickly came up with a solution, “Of course Becky has a key, maybe if you asked nicely she could open the barn for everyone?”
Walking into the General’s office Kat found the General sitting behind his desk with his usual stone face.
“Have a seat Kathleen,” The General motioned at the two chair opposite his desk.After Kat sat down the General turned back toward his computer and a song began playing. Kat immediately recognized it as the theme song the Army has used for years. Looking over at Kat the General grinned, “Do you know why I’m playing this song?”
Kat smiled innocently at the General, “Because you’re highly dedicated to preserving freedom, democracy, our country and love the Army?”
“You always been that bad at brown nosing? The general chuckled, “Care to try again? And this time keep in mind that while you might very well be the smartest person in this room, you are not the highest ranking.”
Kat sighed and lost the innocent smile, “I’m guessing someone finally figured out I left something in one of those test booklets and told you about it?”
“It isn’t your little message that bothers me Kat,” Leaning forward in his chair toward Kat, “It’s the fact that you’ve been sandbagging every test they have given you. Care to tell me why?”
“This doesn’t leave your office?” The seriousness of her request evident in her eyes.
“You have my word.”
“General I trust you and most of the enlisted, it’s the civilians that I worry about.”
“Look I know you have issues with Doctor Hakim, hell who doesn’t? He’s got the personality of a pissed off porcupine and the only thing bigger than his ego around here is his budget. Although his dedication to this project is unquestionable.”
“At least he talks to you and not down to you!” Kat spat out, “He treats me like I should jump when he says, and ask how high on the way up. I told him if I heard him call me subject three once more I was going to put his head through a wall.”
“Yes he told me you had threatened him.”
“It wasn’t a threat,” Kat stated calmly.
“I told him I thought as much,” The general chuckled. “Now as for the tests, I want you to redo them and this time no sandbagging, got it?”
“No sir,” Kat sat straight in the chair.
“I don’t think I heard you correctly?”
“Sorry sir, but let me ask you a question,” Kat explained, “Have you ever kept something out of general knowledge or kept a non-issue hold out weapon as a backup for those ‘OH SHIT’ times when everything goes south?”
“What has that got to do with your tests?”
“Maybe I should say this differently? I don’t have a problem with you knowing everything but the civilians know everything I want them to know about me. I didn’t sign up to become a girl, little on supergirl. Don’t get me wrong I am enjoying this second chance that I was given and being a girl isn’t as bad as I first thought it would be, hell anything has gotta be better than dead right?” Kat watched the General carefully, “I can do some shit that scares the fuck out of me! I can only guess what your lab rats would do if they found out.”
“So what? You trying to tell me you can fly like super girl too?”
Kat sighed heavily, “I think we both could use a drink before I show you this.” Standing up and walking over to cabinet where the General kept his Cognac. Opening the cabinet Kat reached in pulling out a Brandy snifter in one hand and the bottle of Hennessey in the other while a handful of her hair came up on it’s own quite magically and wrapped around a seconds glass before pulling it from the cabinet and holding it out in front of Kat as she walked back over to the General’s desk.
Sitting abruptly up in his chair, the General’s eyes went wide at the sight. As Kat approached another lock of her hair moved up to the top of the bottle in her hand, removing the cap then laid the cap gently on the desk. Pouring roughly three fingers worth of the amber liquid into each glass Kat sat the bottle on the desk as she sat down. Moving across the desk, her hair held the glass in front of the General, then began waving it back and forth in his view attempting to break the General out of the trance like shock he seemed to be in staring at the glass held by her hair, “I think you may need this.”
As the General continued to stare at the Glass being held in front of him by nothing more than her hair, Kat began to wonder if sharing her secret with him was such a great idea. But she needed to confide in someone, someone that she could both trust and possibly find some answers to some questions that had been growing in her mind. The doctors and scientist had come up with what to Kat seemed very plausible explanations for everything they knew about so far, but those explanations were theories, educated guesses.
Kat’s train of thought was interrupted by the sight of the General’s hand shaking ever so slightly as he reached up to take the glass from her. Kat’s hair came slowly back across the desk and fell normally as the General raised the glass to his lips, then threw his head back, gulping down its contents. Sitting the glass noisily down on the desk the General motioned with his other hand for the bottle. Half filling the short glass the General gulped that one down in one shot before looking over to Kat. “Prehensile hair?”
“Tails are just the elongation of the spine. This,” Kat reached up to grab a handful of her hair, “is something completely different.”
“But couldn’t it be explained by…”
Kat cut the General off, “I’ve racked my brain trying to think of any animal that has hair even remotely like mine, there isn’t any! Hakim lied to us and I’m not about to trust him or any of those other brainiacs right now.”
“Okay,this stays off the record for now.” The General took a deep breath, “So answer me one question, what made you decided to tell me this secret you’ve been keeping? And who else knows?”
“Just you and Mom.” Kat’s voice dropped to just above a whisper, “and the boy that attacked me.”
“I saw nothing unusual in the gym?”
“It was when I caught him trying to rape May, I may have lost my temper just a little.”
Raising one eyebrow as he looked over at Kat, “Just a little? I saw the pictures of that bathroom. But you still haven’t explained why you’re coming out with this now.”
“I needed to tell someone, you and Mom are the only ones in the project that I trust. Well I trust Williams and most of his crew too, but it’s not something they need to know. Also you’re the only one that might be able to find out what they really mixed into that cocktail they gave me.”
Although Becky would have waited, Kat had insisted that she go and open up the barn for their friends while Kat would ride home with her mother. With her meeting with the General over Kay found herself with some time on her hands. Heading toward the elevators she thought she would go check on how the retired Colonel was doing, although the thought of running into Hakim and remembering that the Colonel would still be in what she had begun calling the ‘snot tank’ Kat walked past the elevator and turned down the hallway toward the cafeteria. Being neither hungry nor thirsty, Kat found herself walking past the cafeteria and into the main part of the hospital. Before she realized where she was going Kat found herself in front of the nurse’s station in the intensive care unit.
Looking up from the monitors at the desk to Kat, the Nurse asked, “Can I help you miss?”
“Yeah, um, is Danny Wilkes up here?”
“Are you family?”
“Um no, just a friend. We go to the same school.”
“Sorry miss but I can’t give out information on a patient unless your family or hospital staff.”
“I understand thanks anyway,” Kat turned to leave before remembering her ID hanging on the lanyard around her neck that Mark had told her to start wearing. Turning back around to the nurses station Kat held her ID badge up over the counter so the nurse could see it, “Does this count?”
The nurse pulled the ID a bit further over the counter so she could see it better before looking up at Kat, “You’re in the research department?”
Kat nodded but saw doubt in the nurse’s eyes, “Look I don’t want to get you in trouble or anything. He got stabbed trying to stop the guy from coming at me with the knife, I just wanted to find out how he’s doing.”
A thin smile came over the nurse’s face, “That sounds like a brave thing he did but I still can’t give out any information about any patient in the ICU.” Kat sighed, knowing that the nurse was right. The nurse continued, “But a victim of a knife wound would have been taken to Med-Surge after he got out of surgery.”
Realizing what the nurse had done Kat smiled wide, “Thank you so much!” As Kat left she heard the nurse behind her, “That’s up on the seconds floor, south wing dear.”
Kat was walking down the hallway looking for the nurse’s station in the area the ICU nurse had told her to go when she heard a woman’s voice behind her, “Kat?” Kat stopped and turned around.
“You’re Kat right?” The woman asked.
“Umm, yes ma’am.”
“I’m Mrs. Wilkes, Danny’s mother,” the woman explained. “Danny saw you through the doorway. Were you looking for him?”
“Yeah, I was hoping someone at the nurse’s station would tell me which room he was in,” Kat smiled then followed Mrs. Wilkes into the room.
Kat could see from the smile on Danny’s face when she entered the room, that Danny was looking much better. “Hey Danny, how you feeling?” Kat smiled at the boy lying in the hospital bed.
“I’d do a lot better if they would give me something other than Jello to eat,” Danny grinned, picking up an empty container of Jello that was on the hospital tray that partially crosses his bed. “I’d give anything for a Roy’s triple king burger right now.”
Danny’s mother shook her head gently, “The nurse said they would start you out on some solid foods in the morning.” Looking over at Kat, Danny’s mother elaborated, “They had to remove Danny’s spleen.”
“Yeah,” Danny nodded, seemingly unfazed by the seriousness of his injuries, “Doc said they had to sew up my intestines and my stomach too. Got a wicked scar…” Danny saw his mother gave him the evil eye when he started to pull the hospital gown around so he could show Kat his wound. “Um yeah, can’t really show it to you because of the bandage anyway.”
“And that is why you can’t have any greasy food like those burgers from that place all you kids hangout,” Danny’s mother stated. “Your stomach has to heal before you can eat anything like that.”
Kat had been to Roy’s Kingburger a couple of times. Kat thought back to her or what was then his teenage years to their hang out, ‘Jack’s Drive In’. Like Jack’s from his youth, Roy’s still had the soda jerk fountains. Both sported the checkerboard floor tiles and bright stainless steel decor that reminded one of a diner from the 1950’s. Roy’s even had car hops like the one from her past, although at Roy’s they didn’t wear roller skates, or at least Kat had never seen the car hops wearing them the few times she had been there. Smiling at the injured teen laying in the bed, “I’ll make you a deal? Once they tell you that you can eat regular food, you let me know and I’ll bring you two of their triple king burgers.”
Noticing Kat’s ID badge did not have the word ‘VISITOR’ like the one she was told to keep on her at all times she decided to ask, “Kat, the ID you’re wearing, do you work part time here at the hospital?”
“Yeah, but only a couple days a week,” Kat looked over at Danny’s mother as she answered.
“So you’re a candy-striper?” Danny’s mother asked, “Do they even have those anymore?”
“They don’t have candy-stripers here. I’m not sure about civilian hospitals,” Kat giggled. “I mostly file papers and stuff over in the research wing. My Mother got me the job, she works there.”
Kat retrieved her phone from her purse after hearing it buzz. After reading the text message that came in, “That was my Mom, I got to go.” Kat turned stepping toward the doorway.
“Hey, wait!” Danny caught Kat’s attention, “I don’t have your number or anything. Umm, You know for the king burgers?”
Kat turned back around, spotting the notebook and pencil laying on the bedside table she used the pencil to write her phone number down. Looking up from the paper to Danny, “Although if you call over the weekend I’ll have to wait until Monday to bring them for you, I’ll be in Richmond at my sister Karen’s all weekend.” Kat giggled, “From what they’re planning I think I’d rather stay home.”
“Whatever could they plan that would make you not want to visit your sister?”
“They’re taking me shopping,” Kat sighed. “Karen said she was going to shop the tomboy out of me even If it took all weekend.”
Danny’s mother remembering the gossip that had been going around the office about the Owner taking her tomboy of a younger sister Kathleen shopping the coming up weekend, looked curiously at Kat, “Is Kat short for Kathleen?”
“Yes ma’am,” Kat nodded.
“Your sister is Karen Sawdey?” Danny’s mother watched Kat nod again, “The buzz around the office is that you are like a female version of your father. I sort of expected you to be taller and more butch from the stories Karen told about you.”
“What kind of stories is my dear sister telling about me?” Kat giggled.
“Oh nothing truly bad,” Danny’s mother explained, “That you spend half your time tinkering on cars and building things like your father did. She called it grease monkey mad scientist and what’s even funnier, she was telling us that you fight against a group of Army Rangers for fun.”
“From the way she fights, I can believe the part about the Rangers!” Danny grinned over at Kat, “I know you were playing with me when I got on the mat with you.”
“Don’t put yourself down, you are pretty good.” Kat replied before turning to Danny’s mother, “I guess I am sort of a grease monkey. I love tinkering and building stuff, right now I’m restoring a 1989 Thunderbird Super Coup.”
Danny’s mother smiled at Kat, “Good for you dear. It should never matter whether something is seen as a girl’s or a boy’s activity, if you enjoy it, you do it. Now you best get moving since your mother is waiting.”
“Yes ma’am,” Kat smiled, turning to look at Danny, “I’ll see you later okay?” Seeing Danny nod, Kat hurried out to meet up with her mother.
After making her way through the hospital, Kat found her mother standing beside her car waiting for her. “Sorry I took so long to get here, I was on the other side of the hospital.”
“I expected as much,” one corner of Deb’s mouth turned upward. “So how is Danny doing?”
“Complaining that they only give him Jello to eat.” Kat snickered, “He asked me to bring him a double Kingburger.”
Looking across the roof of the car as they both got in opposite sides, Deb rebuked, “I hope you told him no.”
“I told him I would, but only after the doctor said he could have that kind of stuff.”
“Good, the last thing he needs right now is food from that place,” Deb stated as they pulled out of the parking lot. Glancing over at Kat, “What other feelings do you have about Danny?”
“You mean like feeling guilty over him getting hurt?”
“You know that wasn’t your fault,” Deb answered. “You can’t control what others do. What I meant was how far do your interests go with Danny? He is a very nice looking young man and it was obvious to me that you were taking it easy on him when you sparred against him at school.”
Kat’s jaw dropped hearing her mother say that. “Uh, I took it easy on him because I thought it would make the demonstration look better with the skill that he was showing.”
“You sure that was the only reason?” Deb glanced over to Kat smiling.
“None that would make you start thinking about grandchildren, if that’s what you’re getting at!” Kat quipped.
“Kat you know that wasn’t what I meant,” Deb slowly shook her head while keeping her eyes on the road. “I just want you to know that your toward boys could begin changing and If they do I don’t want you to worry over it.”
Leaving the base, Deb broke the silence that had formed in the car, “I think you did the right thing by telling General Tollman.”
“He talked to you already?”
“Called me into his office not long after you left,” Deb acknowledged. “He agrees with you on keeping the more unusual things you can do between us. I am glad you told him everything, he’s the one person we need on your side if what you can do ever gets out.”
Once home Kat walked over and spent some time with the Becky and the girls, who were already out at the barn. The girls had plenty of ideas on how they could use the large empty space above Kat’s shop and even more on how it should be decorated. Having only ran enough electrical into the upper part of the barn so that she could hang the four 150 watt bulbs that gave the space what illumination it had, Kat tried to get the girls to focus on what they planned on putting in the area as the electrical would have to be installed before any of the exterior walls were covered up with paneling or drywall. Having school the next day they called it a night, everyone agreeing to think about exactly what they really wanted to do with the space.
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