Mutant X Episode #210 Transcript: "Understudy"
[Opening Scene: Outside the Walderson Chemical Plant at night. Three armed bikers dressed in black and wearing black helmets are running out of the building just as Shalimar and Brennan arrive. They start to chase after the bikers, but are forced to duck behind a truck for cover when one of them begins shooting. A blonde woman sitting alone in her a car drives by slowly and stops when she sees the bikers run past her.]
Brennan: Where the hell’s Jess with our backup?
Shalimar: Yeah, no kidding.
Brennan: Stay down!
Shalimar: That’s not my style, you know that. [She leaps up onto the truck while two of the bikers roar off on their motocycles. The third biker fires at Shalimar as she runs along the top of the truck towards him. Brennan aims an electrical arc at him, but misses. Out of the darkness, the blonde woman from the car somersaults towards the gunman. Struggling with him, she grabs the gun, which goes off, shooting Shalimar in the leg. Shalimar falls from the truck.]
Brennan: Shal? [The blonde woman elbows the gunman in the face and rushes over to Shalimar’s side at the same time as Brennan.]
The Blonde: Are you okay?
Shalimar (gasping in pain): I’ve been better.
The Blonde: I am so sorry. I thought I had him under control.
Brennan: Who the hell are you?
Shalimar: Nikki?! [Nikki nods. Shalimar returns her smile, touching her hair.] Hey!
Nikki: I am so sorry.
Opening Credits. “Understudy.”
[Back at Sanctuary, Nikki and Brennan stand outside the lab looking through the window at Shalimar, who is asleep in the biochair, her left leg in a cast. Adam walks up to them.]
Brennan: Hey, how’s she doing?
Adam: Well, the bullet missed the bone, but it tore up the muscle. Anybody else might have lost the leg.
Brennan: I guess that’s a bright side.
Adam: Well, yeah. If it hadn’t been for Nikki, she might’ve lost her life.
Nikki (smiling): Well.
Brennan: So how did you two know each other?
Adam: Nikki was one of the first people I found when I was putting together Mutant X. She and Shalimar bunked together for what, a year?
Nikki: Yeah. Yeah, we were both 15. We became more than friends, though, we were like sisters.
Adam: Well, let’s give her some rest.
Nikki: Yeah. [They start walking away from the lab.]
Adam: You know when I realized that I needed a mix of talents for Mutant X, and unfortunately, that meant choosing between Nikki and Shalimar.
Nikki: I was the runner up.
Adam: Well, no. It wasn’t that easy a choice. But I tried to give her a normal life. I set her up with a foster home, I tried to keep her away from the battles of Genomex.
Nikki: I guess fate just works in funny ways, doesn’t it? One day I’m just driving down the street, minding my own business, and here I am. Right back where I started.
Brennan: Wow, so that must make us the lucky ones.
Nikki: Well, actually I’ve worked really hard over the years to develop my powers. I studied boxing, martial arts, gymnastics, you name it.
Brennan: Hm. Just not quite good enough to keep that last guy from getting his last shot off, though.
Nikki: Do you think that I’ve thought about anything else since that happened?
Adam: Brennan, she saved her life. Give her a break. [Brennan walks off.] Don’t worry about him. No, we’re glad you’re here.
Nikki: Thanks. Being back here with you and Shalimar, it’s like coming home.
[Shalimar awakens and starts to stand. She gasps in pain and leans on the chair for support. Adam comes in, wheeling a wheelchair.]
Adam: Hey! Hey, hey, hey, what are you doing?
Shalimar: A wheelchair?
Shalimar (whining): How’m I supposed to get a rematch against those guys sitting around in that thing?
Adam: You’re not gonna get a rematch. You’re gonna take care of that leg!
Shalimar: Oh, come on!
Adam (guiding her to the chair): Sit down, sit down.
Shalimar: Even with one leg I can still kick ass.
Adam: Listen, any stress on this leg, you could cause permanent damage. Now, you’re gonna be on your feet in a couple of days, till then, I want you to rest. I want you to take care of yourself.
Shalimar: Oh, great. [She wheels away.]
Adam (to himself): Ferals.
Shalimar (outside the door): I heard that!
[Wheeling into her room, Shalimar sees Nikki standing by her bed, waiting for her.]
Shalimar: It is so great to see you again.
Nikki: I can’t tell you how many times I thought about getting in touch with you. There were just so many things I wanted to ask you about what I was going through.
Shalimar: About your powers.
Nikki (massaging her shoulders): Well, about everything. I really did look up to you, you know. Do you remember how we would talk all night long after Adam would make us turn out the lights?
Shalimar (laughing): Do you remember, you couldn’t decide on whether you wanted to be a princess or a professional wrestler?
Nikki: I still can’t.
Shalimar: You don’t have to go back right away, do you?
Nikki: Well, actually, I don’t have much to get back to at all. I did have an office job out west the last week, but I couldn’t take it anymore. I don’t know about you, but if I’m cooped up inside for too long, I start climbing the walls.
Shalimar: Mmmm. Goes with the territory for ferals.
Shalimar: What kind of work you looking for, anyway?
Nikki: I don’t know. Why, do you know of an opening somewhere? [Shalimar smiles up at her.]
[Shalimar wheels around the lab behind Adam.]
Adam: Shalimar, I said no.
Shalimar: Adam, all I’m saying is, if I can’t go out in the field, you need someone to fill in for a few days. Come on, give Nikki a chance. She’s fast, she’s strong.
Adam: That has nothing to do with it.
Shalimar: Well, what, then?
Adam: She’s totally untrained. I can’t just put her out there with Mutant X. It could be a disaster.
Shalimar: Yeah, well so could trying to take out those lunatic bikers without a full team. Tell her to take her cues from Brennan. She’ll be fine.
[Meanwhile, Jesse joins Emma and Brennan in the main room to tell them what the bikers were after.]
Jesse: Okay, guys, here’s the lowdown. Walderson Industries didn’t want to make it public, but what those bikers got away with was something called a particle decelerator. 6 months ago, it would have been science fiction. Apparently, it can completely freeze electron movement.
Brennan: Well, that means it can also shut down anything electrical.
Jesse: That’s right. Computers, communications, or the power grids for an entire city.
Emma: So what would happen if you used it against another person?
Jesse: Oh, that’s where it gets nasty. It would completely shut down their brain and their central nervous system.
Emma: Like turning people off.
Brennan: Well, looks like someone finally invented the death ray.
Jesse: Yep. We’ve got to figure out who these guys are and how they’re planning on using it.
Emma: Well, Nikki’s our best lead.
Brennan: Well, unfortunately she doesn’t remember much.
Emma: Well, maybe I can help her with a psionic memory scan.
Nikki (walking in): I don’t know if I like the sound of that.
Emma (smiling at her): Don’t worry. It’s safe and painless. I mean, there’s got to be something that you saw about the thieves that you don’t even know you saw.
Nikki: I guess it’s okay. Whatever I can do to help you guys.
[Nikki sits on the biochair while Jesse comes up to her, holding the memory enhancer.]
Nikki (nervously): No, I changed my mind. I don’t like the look of that.
Jesse: It’s all right; it’s harmless. [He places the headphones on her head.] What’s gonna happen is we’re gonna put this contraption on your head, and you relive the fight in the street, okay?
Emma (walking over to them): Then I will give you a telempathic boost and the machine converts optic memories into digital images.
Jesse: If we’re lucky, we’ll see what you saw, okay? Maybe a feature of the shooter, something.
Emma: All you have to do is relax and remember.
Nikki: And you’ll see everything what I saw?
Jesse: Well, only what you focus in on, which is why we need you to zero in on the facial features of the shooter.
Nikki (nodding): I’ll try.
Nikki: I’m trusting you, okay? [Jesse grins.]
Emma: Just concentrate on the memories of the fight and you’ll be fine.
Nikki: Shouldn’t be too hard.
Emma: Just try and remember everything leading up to when you saved Shalimar. [She sends a psionic blast at Nikki’s head. Nikki moans as jumbled images from the fight flash across the computer screen, then suddenly sits up, tearing the device from her head.]
Nikki: I’m sorry! I can’t, I can’t go through that again. No, no, no.
Jesse (rubbing her shoulder): It’s okay. It’s okay. Relax. You’re okay. [Frowning, Emma grabs his arm and takes him short distance away.] What did you get, Emma?
Emma: It was pretty intense. But I saw the scene, it’s all there in the device. She saw him. He had a tattoo of a teardrop under one eye.
Jesse: Yeah, guys get that in prison when they’ve killed somebody. Emma? What aren’t you telling me?
Emma: I don’t know, I can’t explain it, Jess. She was controlling her emotions pretty well. I felt something underneath the surface, you know, fear and anger. More than anger.
Jesse: Well, Emma, she’d just seen an old friend being shot. We were forcing her to relive it. I mean, I get angry when I just think about it.
Emma: Yeah, maybe you’re right. But it felt like more. And all I know is, I didn’t like being there. [She walks out of the room; Jesse returns to Nikki.]
Nikki: What’s wrong with her?
Jesse: Emma’s a telempath. So she doesn’t have the same...insulation from emotions that we do.
Nikki: Did I do okay?
Jesse: Yeah. Don’t worry. [He pats her shoulder and walks out.]
[Scene: Inside the darkened garage of an abandoned warehouse, the biker gang is hiding out after the break-in at Walderson Industries. One of the thieves, Lucinda Alvarez, is on her cell phone negotiating with the man who hired them.]
Lucinda: The decelerator is in our possession. [She listens.] That’s not what I want to hear, look, I don’t want to be sitting on this thing for too long! Yeah, I’ll be waiting for your call. [She hangs up. Dylan points the decelerator at her.]
Dylan Carter: We set?
Lucinda: He’ll call when he lands.
Dylan: I don’t like it. So far, this job has gone down twisted from the start.
Lucinda (grabbing the decelerator): It’s a little bit of unexpected resistence, that’s all.
Dylan: A little resistence that could be trying to track us down right now.
Lucinda (yelling at a biker revving his engine): Turn that damn thing off!
Dylan (signaling the biker to cut the engine): What do you want from them? They’ve gotta keep the machinery tuned.
Lucinda: The bikes are fine! 12 hours from now, they can blow their brains out on them. For now, we sit tight. [She stomps off. As he looks after her, a blue tear drop tattoo is visible under his left eye.]
[Back at Sanctuary, Emma’s working at the computer, trying to piece together a usable image of the shooter.]
Adam (coming up to stand beside her): Good, that’s a sharp image. That should work. Now, is Jesse running this through the NCIC database?
Emma: Yeah, shouldn’t be long before we have an ID.
Adam (starting to walk away): Good.
Emma: Adam, if you don’t mind my asking, why did you choose Shal over Nikki?
Adam: Well, it was difficult, you know? It could have gone either way.
Emma: Spoken like a man trying to avoid the question. [They grin at each other.]
Adam (coming back to her): Well, the truth is there’s always something wild and unpredictable about ferals, right? So in the beginning, I thought that Shalimar could learn to control it. I wasn’t so sure about Nikki.
Emma: And now?
Adam: Well, now she seems different. She’s been a help so far. [They watch the images from the fight on the screen until it goes blank.]
Emma: That’s when she ripped off the rig. I’ll say this for her; she certainly has some good moves.
Adam: Yeah. I think maybe we ought to give her a chance to use them. [He heads off in search of Nikki.]
[Nikki and Shalimar are talking in her room again, Nikki sitting on the bed.]
Nikki: So did you ever think about what would have happened if I had stayed here with you?
Shalimar (wheeling over to her): Are you kidding? When you left, I cried for a week solid.
Nikki: Are you serious?
Shalimar: Yeah. I mean, I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to come and find you. But Adam told me it would be safer for you if I didn’t.
Nikki: Yeah, I guess I was safer.
Adam (coming in): Well, I was never sure that I was doing the right thing, sending you to live with foster parents. So I’m relieved to see that you’ve turned out the way you did. And I was hoping to convince you to stay a while longer, maybe help out Mutant X till Shalimar’s back on her feet.
Shalimar: Well, don’t make me twist your arm.
Nikki (standing up): Of course, of course I’ll stay. Anything you guys need. Anything.
Adam (walking over to her): Thanks.
Nikki (shaking his hand): Thank you. Adam, it’s like a dream come true being back here with you. [She smiles at Shalimar.] With both of you. [Taking him by surprise, she hugs him happily.] Oh, wow.
[Outside of Lucinda’s warehouse, Dylan strides down the alleyway as Lucinda trots to catch up.]
Lucinda: Where do you think you’re going?
Dylan: I’m heading to my crib to get some fresh ordinance.
Lucinda: Like hell you are.
Dylan: Every second we sit around here those freaks who came after us at the plant are getting closer. The next time I run into that whacked-out chick who grabbed my gun, I’m gonna be packing some serious hardware. [Putting on his helmet, he drives off, leaving Lucinda in the dust.]
[A few hours later, Shalimar knocks on the door to Nikki’s room.]
Shalimar: Hey, Nikki?
Nikki (dressed in a towel): Come in.
Shalimar (coming in on crutches): Hey.
Nikki: Hey! Look at you, you’re walking!
Shalimar: Yeah, look at me. I’ll be running the hundred yard dash in no time. I’m sorry; I’ll let you get ready for bed.
Nikki: No, no, no, come in.
Shalimar: You sure?
Nikki (sitting on the bed): Don’t be silly. Come in, sit down. You know, for a minute, I thought you were Adam, coming in to tell me it was my bedtime. You don’t still have a curfew, do you?
Shalimar (sitting in a chair by the desk, laughing): No, we’re past that by now.
Shalimar: He was pretty strict with us, though, huh?
Nikki: Oh yeah, he sure was.
Shalimar: Oh, what was it like, what were your parents like?
Nikki: Oh, well the people that Adam placed me with were great. But that only lasted for a few months until the agency found me a permanent family.
Shalimar: Yeah, what were they like?
Nikki (smiling): They were perfect.
Shalimar: You know, I was always kind of jealous. ‘Cause you got to do that whole normal teenage thing that I never got to do.
Nikki (chuckling): Summer vacations, birthday parties, first dates, the whole nine yards. But you know, the thing that I remember most is that they always had this way of just making me feel...special.
Shalimar: That’s nice.
Nikki (staring off): Every day with them was another gift. [As she talks, the camera pans around behind her to show that her bare back is criss-crossed with scars.]
Shalimar: You know, I’m glad things worked out so well for you, Nikki.
Nikki (snapping back to the present, she smiles at Shalimar): Yeah, me too.
[In the main room at Sanctuary, Jesse is cross-referencing the scanned image of the teardrop with the NCIC database when Nikki comes up to him.]
Nikki: You can ID someone just from a tattoo?
Jesse: Well, we’ll narrow it down. But this program will compare the image and a retinal scan to the crime databases. We’ll get a match.
Nikki: Wow. You’re amazing. [He laughs, blushing.] How did you learn all this stuff?
Jesse: It’s not hard. I could teach you.
Nikki (biting her lip, moving closer to him): I’m sure there’s a lot that you could teach me. [Just then, the computer beeps, signaling a match. Brennan walks in.]
Brennan: So, I guess this guy Dylan Carter’s not a very fast learner, huh? He just got out of the state pen 6 weeks ago.
Jesse: Well, he must be real anxious to get back.
Brennan: Yeah, no kiddng. Got a current address on him or what?
Jesse: Yeah, unless he’s lying to his parole officer.
Brennan (hitting his shoulder): Good, let’s pay him a visit. [Jesse starts to follow him towards the door, winking at Nikki, who is admiring Shalimar’s jacket.]
Nikki: You think Shalimar would mind if I borrowed her jacket?
Jesse: I don’t see why. [Smiling, she pulls the jacket on and follows the boys out.]
[Meanwhile, Adam is talking to one of his insider contacts, Holcomb, via video link on his office computer.]
Holcomb: What can I do for you?
Adam (smirking): You know why I’m calling. You probably knew I’d be calling before I did.
Holcomb: Information does trickle in. A theft at Walderson Industries? Report of a gun fight?
Adam (drinking from his glass): Look, there can’t be more than ten people in the world who can afford to pay what they’re asking for the decelerator and you know who they are.
Holcomb: There can’t be more than one.
Adam: All right, so who’s the buyer?
Holcomb (sending him a video clip on his second screen): This is Jergen Bardo. German arms dealer, one stop shopping for any level of military hardware.
Adam: What makes you think he’s the one?
Holcomb: The theft has all his earmarks. He works with local talent, pays them a pittance, and makes a killing selling to the highest bidder.
Adam (sitting down): Governments?
Holcomb: Sometimes the same one he stole it from. My sources tell me he’s on the move.
Adam (punching something into his palm pilot): To pick up his latest piece of hardware.
Holcomb: A lot of people would be grateful if Bardo were taken down. A lot of people who can offer siginificant favors.
Adam: Well, you can keep the favors. Just tell me where to pick up Bardo. I want him before he makes the pickup and disappears.
[Brennan, Jesse, and Nikki drive up to Dylan’s apartment building. Jesse gets out, followed by Brennan.]
Jesse: Dylan’s apartment is on the fourth floor. I’ll check out the back.
Brennan: Yeah. [As Jesse heads around the corner, Nikki gets out of the back seat.] Okay, you stay here. We’ll call you if we need backup. [He starts to follow Jesse; Nikki catches up.]
Nikki: It’d be better if I went with you.
Brennan (holding her back): You don’t follow directions real well, do you?
Nikki: Actually, I’m kinda like you, Brennan. I like to follow my own instincts.
Brennan: No, actually, that’s more like Shalimar. Look, when you’re under our watch, we work as a team. You stay here.
Nikki: You know, I get this feeling that you don’t like me very much, do you?
Brennan: You know, I don’t even know you.
Nikki: But I know Adam. And if he chose you, you must be good. Except you’re not like the others, you know.
Brennan: How you figure?
Nikki: You’re more street. You’re the one who knows what’s going through these guys’ heads right now.
Brennan: What’s going through these guys’ heads is simple. They want to get rid of this thing and get their money ASAP. And they’re scared, which makes them dangerous.
Nikki (smiling): Dangerous doesn’t bother me. I can be pretty dangerous myself.
Brennan: You know, I’ve heard quite a bit from you. So far, all I’ve seen is Shalimar getting shot.
Nikki: If I hadn’t made a move, she’d be dead right now. You know that.
Brennan: You know what, maybe you’re right. Regardless, we work as a team. Everybody plays by the same rules, everybody goes home safe. You good with that?
Nikki: I’m all over it. Hey, I want to be a part of the team, here. I just want to do a good job.
Brennan: Well then, good. Stay here. [He walks off.]
Nikki: Okay. [Waiting until he’s out of sight, Nikki heads in the opposite direction.]
[Rushing around his messy apartment, Dylan’s putting some guns into a knapsack when he hears Nikki’s voice across the room.]
Nikki: Hello again. [Dylan raises his gun, but she ducks and rolls, knocking it out of his hand and shoving him up against the wall.]
Nikki: Where are they? Tell me where they are.
Nikki: Your friends with the decelerator.
Dylan: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Nikki (feral eyes glowing): That’s the answer you give cops. Not to the someone who’s gonna kill you in three seconds.
Dylan (frightened): An abandoned warehouse on the east side.
Nikki: Whose warehouse?
Dylan: Lucinda. Lucinda Alverez.
Nikki (smiling, letting him down): That’s very good. Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?
Dylan: Let me go.
Nikki: That’s where it gets a little complicated. You shouldn’t have done what you did to my friend.
Dylan: I didn’t do anything! You did it. You aimed the gun, you pulled the trigger. [Flashback to the fight outside of Walderson Industries. Nikki grabs Dylan’s gun arm, aims it at Shalimar, and pulls the trigger, hitting Shalimar in the leg. Nikki tells him, “Get outta here,” and elbows him in the face. Cut back to the present.]
Nikki (sadly): And that’s where it goes from complicated to tragic.
Nikki (stroking his chest): See, if you hadn’t seen that, then I might have been able to let you live. [She pats his cheek, then punches him in the stomach and hurls him through the window. She whirls around as Brennan punches his way through the door. He and Jesse rush into the room.]
Nikki (sobbing, running into Jesse’s arms): Jesse, God, it was horrible! I tried to stop him, but he came at me, and I got the gun from him and he still fell back! [Brennan runs to the shattered window and stares down at Dylan’s lifeless body on the ground below. He looks back at Jesse.]
Jesse: Nikki, it’s okay. We’ll get you back to Sanctuary. [He hugs her. Behind his back, Nikki smiles, dry-eyed. She’s not upset in the least.]
[Two members of the motorcycle gang are sitting on the ground eating pizza in Lucinda’s warehouse garage as she paces around, cell-phone in hand.]
Lucinda: Dylan! Dylan, it’s me, pick up if you’re there. This is the wrong time to be playing games, man. Call me! [She hangs up and turns to the two bikers on the ground.] I’m gonna go hunt down that half-wit. If he shows up, tell him to stay put! [She storms out. Behind her, the biker throws his knife into the floor.]
[Back at Stormking Mountain, Brennan and Jesse emerge from the garage into Sanctuary.]
Brennan: She didn’t do half bad.
Jesse: Yeah, coming from you, that’s a ringing endorsement.
Brennan: Look, just the fact that she’s still breathing says something for her.
Jesse: Yeah, like she’s good, she’s strong, and we’re damn lucky to have her bringing up the rear.
Brennan: Yeah, something like that. [The two join Emma and Nikki in the main room.]
Nikki (to Emma): I’ve never seen anyone die before. It was horrible.
Emma: Yeah, it always is the first time. For some of us, it doesn’t really get much better from there.
Brennan: Well, unfortunately, without Dylan, we’ve lost our only lead on the decelerator.
Nikki: Not necessarily. Before he died, I got him to talk. He said that the person in charge of the entire operation is a Lucinda Alvarez, and they’re holed up at an abandoned factory on the east side.
Emma: Not bad.
Brennan (coming over to her): I’ll say. How’d you get him to open up?
Nikki (smiling at Emma): A girl’s got her ways.
Brennan: Oh, yeah? You happen to get anything else from him? A phone number, address?
Nikki: I’m afraid he wasn’t in the mood to stick around and chat.
Emma (patting her shoulder): Well, he talked enough. That should be plenty for us to track them down. [She goes to the computer.]
Brennan (rubbing her shoulder): Good job.
Shalimar (hobbling in on her crutches): Did I miss something?
Brennan: Actually, no, not at all. Nikki was just giving us the name of the woman who stole the decelerator.
Nikki: Well, hey, don’t give me all the credit. [Smiling at Shalimar.] I learned from the best.
Brennan (patting her on the back): Oh, come on. Don’t sell yourself short. This is the second time that your instincts have saved our butts.
Shalimar: That’s great...and my jacket looks pretty good on you too.
Nikki (looking surprised): Oh. I just got a little chilly earlier, and I asked Jesse, he said you wouldn’t mind if I borrowed it.
Shalimar: No, whatever, it’s fine.
Nikki (taking the jacket off): I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have taken it without asking you.
Shalimar: It’s fine, don’t be silly. It’s okay. [Brennan and Emma stare at Shalimar.]
Nikki: I feel bad.
Shalimar: It’s fine!
[Lucinda rushes back to the warehouse to warn the rest of the gang.]
Lucinda: We pack up and move out! Those freaks took Dylan down and for all we know, he could have told them everything. Let’s go! [The bikers drop their pizza and grab their coats. Lucinda’s cellphone rings.] Yeah. I’ve been waiting! The sooner we do this, the better. [Grabbing a black marker and a piece of paper, she holds the paper up against a window to write down an address.] Ready. Crandall Park, South Entrance, 5:15. See you there.
[Back at Sanctuary, Shalimar finds Adam at his lab computer.]
Adam: Hey. How’s the pain?
Shalimar: I’ll live.
Adam: Good. Tell me something. What’s it like having Nikki around again?
Shalimar (sarcastically): Great. Why? Everyone seems to love her.
Adam (walking over to her): See, this is what I was afraid of when you two first got together. That there’d be this natural territorial response between two ferals.
Shalimar (rolling her eyes): We’re not animals, Adam.
Adam: I know, I’m just saying that it’s hard for anybody to get past the responses that are hard-wired into our genetics.
Shalimar: No, it’s more than that, though. It’s more like instinct. You know, the way she’s moving in, and figuring out ways to get close to everybody.
Adam: Okay, but it’s natural for you to feel a little threatened.
Shalimar (laughing): I don’t feel threatened.
Adam (grinning): No?
Shalimar (sitting down): Okay, maybe a little. I just think there’s more to her than she’s telling us.
Adam: Okay, but you have to admit that so far, she’s been nothing but an asset.
Shalimar: So does that mean you’re gonna keep her on the team?
Adam (going back to his seat): Yes. But only until you are back on your feet, okay? And look, I am sure that Nikki is anxious to get back to her own life.
Shalimar (sighing): Not as anxious as I am. [Leaving the lab, Shalimar spots Jesse at the garage computer with magnifying glass and wires.]
Shalimar: Whatcha working on?
Jesse: Making Nikki a comlink.
Shalimar (sitting down behind him): Look, Jess. I know you have a thing for her, but don’t you think you’re maybe going a bit overboard here?
Jesse: Wasn’t my idea.
Shalimar: No, I’m sure it wasn’t. Nikki’s always been very persuasive.
Jesse (turning to face her): It wasn’t Nikki. It was Adam. I think after today he just wanted us to bring her up to speed so she wouldn’t get hurt.
Shalimar (smirking): Now that’s rich. What next, are we all gonna get together and redecorate her bedroom? [She gets up and limps out.] Maybe she’d like my room. That might be easier.
[Down the hallway, Brennan comes to Shalimar’s room.]
Brennan: Hey, Shal. Have you seen– [The woman at the bed turns; it's Nikki.] Nikki?
Brennan: No, just from the back you looked like Shalimar.
Nikki: Really? I’ll take that as a compliment.
Brennan (noticing that she’s wearing one of Shalimar’s shirts): Are you sure you should be borrowing her clothes?
Nikki: Well, actually, these are mine, Brennan. You know, she and I always did have very similar taste. Which is why I think she has such a problem with me. She also thinks that there’s something going on between us.
Brennan: Well, that’s ridiculous.
Nikki: Is it?
Nikki (touching his face): Don’t move, you’ve got an eyelash.
Shalimar (appearing in the doorway): Excuse me?!
Shalimar: What is going on here?
Brennan (looking at Nikki): Nothing.
Shalimar: Stay out of this, Brennan. I think you’ve overstayed your welcome.
Nikki: I’m sorry?
Shalimar: No, I’m sorry. Time for you to get your things and get the hell out of here. [In a rage, she prods Nikki away from Brennan with one of her crutches, backing her out of the room.]
Nikki: Shalimar! What...?
Shalimar: You are wearing my clothes, in my room, trying to take over my life, now get the hell out! [She shoves Nikki backwards onto the stairs. Adam, Jesse, and Emma come running.]
Adam: Shalimar! Get a hold of yourself.
[As Shalimar’s calming down on the second floor, Brennan walks in behind her and leans on a sculpture.]
Shalimar: You gonna say something, Brennan, or are you just gonna stand there looking at me?
Brennan: How did you know it was me?
Shalimar: Well, I might not be the top feral around here anymore, but I can still sense you from a hundred feet away.
Brennan (walking over to her): Ah. So, uh...all those times that I snuck into Sanctuary late?
Shalimar (grinning at him): Busted.
Brennan: Great. So, you okay?
Shalimar (sitting down): I don’t know. I don’t know. I mean, maybe it’s like Adam said, and I’m on some feral territorial rant. Or maybe it’s my leg that’s got me down. But God, I look at her, and she’s faster, and she’s stronger, and she’s sexier.
Brennan: Shal, I don’t know about faster or stronger, but being a damn good job of sexy myself, she definitely has a long way to go before she ever catches up with you. Look, you have no reason to feel threatened by Nikki.
Shalimar: So that’s what everybody thinks, huh?
Brennan (sitting next to her): Would you just stop? Okay, nobody’s thinking anything. We can’t just sit around and wait for you to feel well again.
Shalimar: Well, thank you, Brennan. That makes me feel a whole lot better.
Adam (entering the room): Brennan, I’ve matched up the name Lucinda Alvarez with an abandoned factory on the west side. It’s owned by her ex-husband. It’s been closed down now for a couple of years. You and Jesse better check it out. [He walks off; Brennan turns back to Shalimar.]
Shalimar: Well, what are you waiting for? [Shaking his head, Brennan gets up and leaves.]
[In the main room, Nikki’s working on the computer; Emma quietly comes in and sits at the computer behind her.]
Nikki: You know, I don’t know what happened. You saw Shalimar. She just snapped at me out of the blue. She’s got this thing in her head that she thinks that I’m trying to replace her.
Emma: I don’t know, Nikki. You’re tough to read.
Nikki: What, you’ve been using your telempathic powers on me?
Emma: Not since we were connected during the imaging. I don’t do that to friends unless they want to let me in. You know, but some things I can’t help but feel.
Emma: When Dylan Carter died, I didn’t sense the pain you said you were feeling over it.
Nikki: What are you saying, I lied?
Emma: No, I’m saying I want to know what you were feeling.
Nikki (crossing to her): I guess I felt ashamed. Because I was actually excited that I had stopped the guy who hurt Shalimar.
Emma: Well then, why didn’t you just say that from the start?
Nikki: I don’t know. You do this every day, Emma. I’ve spent my whole life just trying to pretend I don’t have these powers. Trying to fit in with the rest of the world, like I’m not some kind of a freak.
Emma: We all feel like that from time to time.
Nikki: Yeah, but you guys have each other. I never had anyone. And you know what, today was actually the first time in my entire life that I felt like I was a part of something. That I was someplace that I belonged. And for those few minutes, I actually felt good about myself. But somehow I’ve screwed it all up because Shalimar hates my guts. [Shalimar starts to enter, but seeing them together, she hides behind the wall.]
Emma (touching her arm): I’m sure it has more to do with how she’s feeling, Nikki, then it has to do with you.
Nikki (smiling at her): I hope so. [Emma hugs her.] Thanks.
[Brennan and Jesse are snooping around outside of Lucinda’s warehouse.]
Jesse: Any idea why Nikki’s got Shalimar so tweaked?
Brennan: Well, c’mon. Think about it, pal. What if you were laid up and we found another molecular that could mass and phase as good as you?
Jesse: Are you kidding me? I’d take a week off. Go to Mexico, find myself a little senorita.
Brennan (laughing): You sure about that?
Jesse: Ah, maybe I’d feel a little outta joint too. Hey. [Walking up to the window, he rubs some of the grime off to look inside.] Place looks empty.
Brennan: Yeah, we should check it out anyway, why don’t you give it the magic touch.
Jesse: Knew I was here for some reason. [He phases the wall, letting Brennan and himself in. Brennan comlinks Adam at the Sanctuary main room computer.]
Adam: Yeah, I’m here.
Brennan: Well, they were definitely here.
Jesse (sniffing a slice of pizza from the box on the ground): And recently. Pizza’s still fresh. [Brennan frowns as he takes a bite.] I didn’t grab lunch.
Adam: Any clue as to where they might have gone?
Brennan: No, not yet. We’re gonna keep looking.
Adam: All right. Let me know when you come up with something.
Brennan: All right.
Nikki (walking up to Adam): Adam.
Nikki: Look, I want to thank you for letting me stay, but I think I should go.
Adam: I was just gonna ask you to stay a little longer.
Nikki: I don’t know. I’ve caused so much trouble. You know, with Shalimar and everything.
Adam: No, come on, look, I need you to do me a favor. The boys are over at Lucinda Alvarez’s hideout; they’re coming up empty, and they could really use your feral powers to help search the place.
Nikki: All right. Anything for you.
Adam: All right, I appreciate it.
Nikki: Okay, I’m gonna go.
Adam: Thank you. [She leaves. Adam is returning to the computer when Shalimar hobbles in.]
Shalimar: Am I the only one around here who thinks she has you all snowed?
Adam: Look, no matter how you feel about her, you cannot deny the fact that she’s helped us out.
Shalimar: I mean, I think she’s actually starting to believe that there’s a permanent home for her here with Mutant X.
Adam: Then she’s gonna be sorely disappointed. This is your home, okay? And there’s nothing that Nikki or anyone else is ever gonna do to change that. You’re so crazy. [Putting his arm around her shoulder, he kisses her on the forehead and they walk off together. Hurt, Nikki watches them from behind the stairs.]
[Nikki joins Brennan and Jesse at the warehouse.]
Brennan: Well, I’m glad you’re finally here. We haven’t managed to turn up anything.
Nikki (feral eyes glowing): Let me see what I can do. [She focuses on the window.]
Brennan: What is it?
Nikki: Fresh fingerprints...and what looks like an impression from a pen.
Jesse: Can you read it?
Nikki (deliberately misreading the print): Lakeshore Park. 5:15.
Jesse: Okay, that must be where Lucinda’s meeting Bardo. Perfect.
Nikki: I’d say whoever wrote this did it less than an hour ago.
Brennan: All right, well, that park is huge. We need to go start checking it out. Come on. [He and Jesse start towards the door, but Nikki doesn't move.]
Nikki: Hey! You guys should be able to handle it from here, right?
Jesse: What do you mean? Aren’t you coming with us?
Nikki (smiling): I think you’ve got it covered.
Brennan: Yeah, we understand. Thanks for your help, though, Nikki, I mean it.
Nikki: Sure. Anytime. And you guys should say goodbye to Shalimar for me, okay?
Jesse: Yeah, I will.
Nikki: Bye. [She walks out the side door.]
Brennan: Something tells me our lives just got a whole lot simpler. [Jesse follows him out the front.]
[Back at Sanctuary, Emma joins Shalimar at the computer.]
Emma: Hey, what are you up to?
Shalimar: Trying to uncover the real story on Nikki Rogers.
Emma: Shal, you know what? You need to calm down. She’s gonna be gone soon anyway.
Shalimar: Yeah, not if she has anything to do with it.
Adam (calling from the second floor): Emma, the exchange is going down at 5:15, Lakeshore Park. Let’s go meet the guys.
Emma: Okay. [She turns back to Shalimar.] Are you gonna be okay by yourself?
Shalimar: I’m a big girl, Emma. [Emma doesn't budge until Shalimar looks at her.] I’ll be fine. [Emma leaves.]
[Lucinda arrives at the south entrance of Crandall Park with the decelerator. She sits down at a bench and unfolds a magazine to wait. Meanwhile, Jesse and Brennan are parked at Lakeshore Park.]
Jesse: Where are they?
Brennan: I don’t know. [Into his comlink.] Adam. We’ve been here for 45 minutes. There’s no sign of them.
Adam (flying in the Double Helix with Emma): Just hold your positions. Keep your eyes open.
[Nikki saunters up to Lucinda and sits next to her on the bench. When Lucinda reaches down to protect the decelerator, Nikki snatches her hand.]
Nikki: Sorry, but I’m closing this deal. [She smashes her head against the table and leaves with the decelerator, smiling.]
[After a few more minutes waiting up in the Double Helix, Adam contacts Jesse.]
Adam: Something’s not right here.
Jesse: Maybe she got it wrong.
Emma (searching her computer): Or maybe we’ve been had. I’m monitoring the police band. A woman’s body was just found in Crandall Park.
Jesse: Let’s go. [Brennan starts the car.]
[Back at Sanctuary, Shalimar's shocked to discover an article bearing Nikki’s mug shot: "Parents killed by daughter, Young woman, 17, charged."]
Shalimar: Oh my God. Nikki.
Nikki (appearing on the second floor): I’m sorry, Shalimar. But if I can’t be a part of Mutant X, then neither can you. [She aims the decelerator at Shalimar.]
[Holding up the particle decelerator, Nikki slowly starts towards the stairs.]
Nikki: Well, look what I found. Your precious particle decelerator.
Shalimar (getting up): How did you get that?
Nikki: What difference does it make? Just like before. Adam is always gonna choose you over me.
Shalimar: Look, Nikki, if that’s all it is, I mean, we can talk about this.
Nikki: I’m so tired of talking, Shalimar. [Shalimar rolls behind the desk as Nikki shoots a blast at her.]
Shalimar (ripping a panel off the wall): Nikki, why are you doing this?
Nikki: Because you stole my life, Shalimar. You had a family that accepted you and loved you. The family that I should’ve had.
Shalimar (breaking off an energy column, turning out the lights in Sanctuary): I never meant to hurt you!
Nikki: Do you really think that you can hide in the dark from me, Shalimar? We’re both ferals, remember?
Shalimar (crawling to another panel): You don’t want to do this.
Nikki: Oh, I sooo do. You have absolutely no idea what it was like to live with those monsters. What did they know about ferals? No, they thought I was some kind of a freak. The only way they could figure out how to deal with me was to beat me to death one day at a time.
Shalimar (removing a small metal cylinder from a hole in the wall): Nikki, I had no idea.
Nikki (feral eyes flashing): Oh, that’s okay, I took care of them. But don’t worry, sweetie. With you, I’ll make sure it’s a lot more painful. [Shalimar cartwheels behind her to avoid another blast.] This is useless, Shalimar. Just give it up.
Shalimar (hiding behind the wall): You’re right, Nikki.
Nikki: Smart girl.
Shalimar: I like to think so. [She leaps down behind Nikki and turns on the metal cylinder, which emits a bright light, blinding Nikki. Shalimar kicks the decelerator out of Nikki’s hand. They fight. Shalimar puches her in the stomach, then does a back kick with the leg that’s in a cast, knocking Nikki to the floor. The rest of Mutant X runs back into Sanctuary and surround Shalimar and Nikki's body.]
Shalimar (panting): I had to. She tried to kill me.
Brennan (putting his arms around her): It’s okay. We believe you. You okay?
Emma: It’s okay, Shal.
[Later that night, Shalimar’s sitting on her bed, gazing at some candles on her bedside table. Adam knocks on the door.]
Adam: How’re you holding up?
Shalimar (smiling): Well, I’m still kicking. That’s a good sign, right?
Shalimar: You know, I can’t stop thinking about Nikki, though. I can’t get her out of my head.
Adam: I know. I keep thinking about the young girl we used to know.
Adam (sitting on the bed): And that I failed her somehow. I should have checked up on her.
Shalimar: Well, you can’t blame yourself. I mean you had no way of knowing, right?
Adam: Right. But still.
Shalimar: You know, I can’t help but wonder how I would have turned out if it had been me instead of Nikki.
Adam (sighing): Nobody can withstand abuse like that and come out of it unscathed.
Shalimar (smiling at him): Guess I was lucky.
Adam (kissing her hand): Yeah. Good night.
Shalimar: Good night. [He walks out, leaving her to her thoughts.]