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Title: Lifesaver - Andrew and Christopher

Extra Scene: Lifesaver. This is set on chapter 7, the day after Matt follows Chris’s dream of being hit on board of his yacht, waking up all the Brookses with an intense headache.

It was the first time that four Brookes met Andrew at the door.

“You were not kidding,” Andrew said as Chris sleepily shut the door behind him. Chris had texted him if he could make them his shake and breathe some life back into them; and here he was, with a backpack full of his green-goodness-in-a-thermos.

“We had a rough night,” Alex explained, sprawling out over the sofa with his legs dangling over the arm. Matt eyed him hopefully from the opposite sofa. In the dining room, Scott’s usually serious and daring eyes were half closed while he slowly chewed down a stack of pancakes.

“You skipped school?” Andrew asked as he put his backpack on the table to get the thermos out. All four of them perked up at the sight.

“Julian’s orders. And my gosh, you did bring it,” Matt breathed, his grey eyes grimmer with dark circles under them. He practically snatched the first thermos and walked down the corridor to his room. “Thanks!” he yelled as an afterthought, and then closed the door.

“What happened?” Andrew asked bewildered, as Alex and Scott both eagerly disappeared with their own shakes a few minutes later. Chris sat down on the closest chair, taking his time to open his bottle.

“I had a nightmare, or a memory, or something…when I was being attacked back in September. Apparently, we all felt the hit on my head, and now we’re all having the same headache. Telepathy can be so much fun, sometimes...”

“Wait, you mean the attack that got you into ORCAS?”

Chris nodded, and then started drinking. He closed his eyes and practically chugged half the contents in seconds.

“Easy there. I can make more if you need it.”

“Sorry. I just woke everyone up at 2:00 a.m. and then I couldn’t let myself fall asleep. I don’t think anybody else got much rest either. Not even Scott, and he’s lucky enough to not be connected to us at all.”

“He’s your brother, he worries,” Andrew said, smiling. “It’s what normal non-telephaths do. Is your dad around?”

“As luck will have it, he’s actually at school. He had a meeting with the principal about…stuff…” Chris trailed off, frowning. “Why? You wanted to talk to him?”

“To you, actually, but he might be happy to hear that the results of both your tests are shining some light on where to go with your therapy.”

“You’re kidding?”

“Never about my patients’ care. Gwen and I have come up with some ideas. I was wondering, though, if your father might let me get a better sense of his tail muscles.”

“What do you mean?”

“Do you think he might enjoy a massage?”

Title: Underwater - Andrew and Christopher

Extra Scene: Underwater. This is set in the middle of chapter 19, after Nathan calls Julian to set up a meeting about Drake’s disappearance, but before they meet.

Andrew got into the Brooks’ pool wearing a full dry diver suit. It was the only way he was going to stand being inside that chilly water for any meaningful amount of time. Beside him, Chris could hardly contain his laughter at seeing his antics.

“It’s not that cold,” Chris finally said, his shoulders already shining with the blue scales of his merman’s body. If Andrew peered intently, he could just make the shape of his tail under the water.

“Says the man who literally can’t feel the cold,” Andrew said, glaring.

“People swim in cold water all the time: in lakes, at the sea. We’re not talking arctic temperatures here.”

“Laugh all you want, Brooks. I’m still doing this for you.”


Chris smiled at that, giving Andrew a hand to get settled on the underwater steps that led into the pool. “What do you want me to?” he asked, frowning.

“How about you float in a horizontal way, so I can inspect the muscles of your tail?”

“That’s going to be interesting,” Chris said, his frown deepening. “It takes me a while to just float the way you want me to.”

“Well, do your best to stay still while I take a look at your tail, okay? Suit or no suit, I can still feel the cold.”

“Yes, sir,” Christopher said, moving back. He let his head fell backwards while he arched his back and slowly let himself sink, allowing his tail to reach into Andrew’s eager hands. Andrew took a moment to marvel at the intricate design and followed the tiny scales of the tip of the tail into the main muscles, all the way to the lateral fins.

The first time he’d worked on Chris’s tail back at ORCAS, he’d expected the scales to be rough like a dolphin’s skin, but as he placed his hands under the tail, it was a smooth texture that met him.

“You’ll need to turn around,” he said loud enough for Chris to hear him. His patient sank deeper till he reached the floor, and rotated slowly, aiding his body to move with his elbows. Through the water, it was hard to make out the gills on Chris’s back.

Andrew had worked with this tail for a month now. They had started with Chris’s legs in the beginning, but as progress had halted in that venue, Andrew had started thinking in more creative ways. He’d examined that tail out of the water, and he’d come with a few clever ideas for Chris to do submerged. This was the first time he was working with Chris inside the pool, though, because the water had always been so cold.

Merfolk muscles were like nothing he’d felt before. The tendons separated and reformed between legs and tail, and although the way they would attach and reattach to the tail cartilage or the femurs was a mystery, Andrew could feel the subtle differences between both shapes.

I’ve been doing this wrong, he thought as he pressed under the white scar on Chris’s tail. Treating his legs was never going to work. As a tail, the muscles were completely stretched, while as legs, they were in a more resting state. Scales were also harder than skin, especially at the back of the tail. Like a thin armor that had been broken, Andrew had to figure out a way to mend it properly. It wasn’t just the muscle that was the problem.

“Can you do an arch?” he asked, letting go of Chris’s tail, which splashed him a moment later. Goddamn it, it’s cold! he cursed in his mind as his face dripped water into the pool. After a couple of moments, Chris came out of the water.

“It’s too shallow in this part of the pool. Can you come into…the…” Chris trailed off, his eyes taking on a faraway quality.

“What? What are you listening?”

“Julian… He wants us to be ready to leave,” Chris said, frowning. A moment later, he went under water to get better reception, while Andrew watched helpless from the sidelines. “He says Nathan just called him with an urgent meeting regarding Drake.”

“Isn’t he supposed to come back tomorrow?”

“Yes, and we have absolutely no contact with him right now. Julian wants us to be ready in case Nathan has the wrong kind of news. This is bad, Andrew. This is really bad.”

Title: Tech Genius - Alex and Gill

Extra Scene: Tech Genius. This is set at the end of chapter 22, Alex has just learned this morning that Drake is missing at sea. So he has some ideas on how to help.

“Is there any chance your friends can locate a Navy exercise taking place in the Atlantic?”

The question came out in a rush, but Gill understood Alex perfectly. She raised her reddish eyebrows and stared at some point in the wall behind him. They were ten minutes early to AP Computer Sciences, and Gill had barely turned her laptop on.

“I have no idea,” she said after a moment. Alex sighed in dejection. “But I can certainly find out. What exactly are you looking for?”

“A diving test. Somewhere in the Atlantic, the Navy is conducting a secret deep diving test. That’s all I know.”

“Does this involve you know what?

“God, we really need to find you a code word,” Alex muttered. “Yes. We kind of have our hands tied when it comes to investigating right this moment, but I thought about your speech and how you went on and on about the SWIMMERs network, so I thought we could give it a shot.”

Gill started typing, and didn’t stop even when the class began. She had an uncanny method of silently typing that amazed him to no end. An hour later when the bell rang, she was still deeply rooted in her search.

“Gill?” he asked, now feeling stupid for thinking SWIMMERs were good for anything other than wearing Save the mermaid! t-shirts.

“I have a guy who says he can dig into it, but he needs to hack some satellites to do that. Is there any chance we could use Brooks Inc. satellites?”

“If he can hack them, no one will denounce him,” Alex said, cringing at having to tell his father how far he was getting himself into. “I still can’t believe a sixteen-year-old has so much power.”

She stopped typing, and slowly turned to look at Alex. “I might have hacked into my dad’s account. They think my father’s asking them to look into this.”

“What are you going to say when he finds out?” Alex asked, going pale.

“Please. My dad’s a lawyer, not a Silicon Valley tech genius. I’ll get the location, Alex. That’s all that matters.”

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Get to know the Brooks family through moments in time

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