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Do Over, Chapter One

One


November, 1995


The first thing about waking up was the shock at how

much everything hurt: every muscle in my body twinged like

I'd been slammed into a wall. Repeatedly. The second thing

about waking up, when I prized my eyes open to identify

what was making the persistent chirrup noise somewhere

around my ear, was bewilderment.

What was this Hello Kitty alarm clock, and how had

it gotten into my apartment?

Don't get me wrong, I am as fond of retro manga

felines as the next bitter secret ops agent, but really,

what the hell?

That was the moment I realized something was wrong.

Well, when it really hit me, I mean, I got the wrong

feeling from the pain zinging throughout my body, but

what brought the whole situation home was that I was

not in my familiar, cozy nest of blankets and crumpled

documents (which when I awoke would soon be in a cozy

nest of shreds), but in a twin-sized bunk that looked

quite a lot like the bed I'd had as a teenager. As did,

when I had wakened fully, the rest of the room (decorated

like my teenage self would have decorated, as opposed to

the room looking like a bed...there's a reason I don't

like writing field reports and more to that reason than

me just not liking to rehash things, okay?).

In the blink of my highly-trained and artificially-

enhanced eyes, I took in the old _White Fang_ (young

Ethan Hawke!) and _X-Men_ (X-Men!) posters, the frayed

quilt, the thick-framed glasses by the bedside. Very

school days. My high school days. When I was as far from

me as I could ever have been.

This meant one of two things.

Either

A) the emergency experiment (codenamed WellsOne)

to send me back in time in order to prevent a

bloody political disaster that made the Jack Ryan

novels look like the jokes they were had worked,

or

B) the last twenty years had all been an astonishingly

detailed dream, and I was not in fact an embittered

thirty-five year old secret agent with a chip on her

shoulder the size of Ground Zero but a fifteen year old

with an overly-elaborate imagination and some deeply

disturbed hormones.

And off the top of my head, I couldn't really say which

was worse.

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