6 0 0

Mallory: "Zep deserved it. Shall I bring him back again? One time if you do as we ask. Many times if you don't."

Clair: "You have Turner. What else do you need me for?"

Mallory: "Ant wants to know more about your friend-and what Ant Wallace wants, Ant Wallace gets."

Clair: "Which friend?"

Mallory: "The one you call Q."

Clair: "You must know more about her than me. She's one of your victims, after all."

Mallory: "Don't try to pin this on me. I had nothing to do with her."

Clair: "I don't believe you. How can she be in the hangover if you didn't put her there?"

Mallory: "The what?"

Clair: "The safety net, the memory dump, whatever it's called. The place you pulled Zep from, just then."

Mallory: "You think she's one of mine. I say she can't be. Someone's lying, and it isn't me."

(sound of snapping fingers, booth operating)

As my sister and I fought, it became clear to me that we were perfectly matched. I was Q, the 113th iteration, and she was the 112th-"P", if she had to have a name. She was a copy of the being I had been three days ago, when Clair's use of Improvement had brought me into being. At our births, P and I had been exactly the same.

P was a copy of O, who was a copy of N-all the way down to A, the original of us all. But where had A come from? Could she really be, as Clair suspected, one of the Improved? But how could she, the original me, have been Improved, before A existed to guide herself through the process?

I was wrong about mirrors. Here was one in which I could see myself perfectly-or so it seemed.

Gemma; "This isn't right. You said you wouldn't hurt them."

Wallace: "I don't reward lies. You told us Q was some kind of prodigy."

Gemma: "That's what she sounds like."

Mallory: "But you're not sure?"

Gemma: "I've never met her. Why would she fake something like that?"

Mallory: "Because identity still matters to some people, like Clair."

Gemma: "So you're one of them. Improved. I wondered. Ever since the train station, when-"

Wallace: "Irrelevant. We need to know if Q is faking or not."

Clair: "Who cares? Haven't you got what you wanted?"

Gemma: "It's what they don't want that matters now."

Clair: "Of course. You're afraid of what Q knows. You're worried that she'll expose you."

Wallace: "I'm not afraid. Just curious. Why the name 'Q'? Where does she come from?"

Mallory: "You'll tell us. Eventually."

Gemma: "Maybe you've been asking the wrong questions-or providing the wrong motivation."

Clair: "Don't tell them. They'll never give you what you want. It's not too late to do the right thing."

Gemma: "You've got the wrong boy. Try Jesse."

Wallace: "Ah, thank you."

(sound of snapping fingers, booth operating)

113 (Twinmaker)Read this story for FREE!