Elizabeth scowled as her older sister looked over her shoulder at the homework she was working on.
“Is this where you're at?” her older sister's hand darted forward and snatched the top paper, she started to read off questions for a while, “Honestly, I was doing this a number of years younger than you are now, what's taking you so long?”
“How about I ask you why you wrote this?” Elizabeth pulled out a piece of paper from her text book and held it up to her older sister's face.
“So that's why you were in my room,” the paper vanished from her hands and Elizabeth looked down in shock and then back up.
“This is from my private journal, Elizabeth, I didn't give you permission to look in it.”
Elizabeth jumped up and dashed forward, snatching the papers her sister held in her face and ran out into the hall. She heard a weary sigh from her sister and started down the stairs as fast as she dared. There was a squeak of something sliding on wood and her sister landed in front of her having jumped down to the first floor.
“Leave me alone Victoria! I don't care what you did! I just want to do my work in peace!”
“And I want you to stay out of my room, stay out of my personal things, I'm not asking for much myself. I could smell that you'd been in there Elizabeth, I was really looking for what you'd taken.”
“MOM! Victoria's being a freak show again!”
“Damn it girls, do you really have to fight so much?”
“I'd hardly call it fighting mother, Elizabeth is the inferior model by a long ways.”
“Inferior model?! Are you talking about a machine like a telly or a camera?! I'm a person!” Elizabeth shouted.
“I suspect mother only had you hoping that some of the modifications done to me in the developmental stage might have lingered and carried over somehow. Sadly it seems you're all natural. It's not your fault, but it does mean you're limited. We're both named for queens, but I'm the only one likely to ever have a lot of power.”
“Why does that even matter to you Victoria? What goes on in that head of yours?”
“Really, please be quiet girls. Victoria that's enough. Don't rub it in to your sister, that's just going too far.”
“Well, that and one other reason, I believe our mother may have been concerned that raising me in total isolation would lead to a degenerate sociopath, or perhaps she was observing the start of that psychological damage.”
“Victoria, please. Stop trying to convince your sister she's not worth as much as you, that she's a supplement to your existence.”
“Coddling her won't change the truth. I was done with pre-university studies by the time I was her age and she is but one grade ahead of the norm, she'll never be as strong or fast as I am. I wonder mother, did you ever do the math on the percentage of our genomes? Do Elizabeth and I, or indeed, even you and I, count as the same species?”
“Elizabeth, give Victoria back her things and stay out of her room. Victoria, go ahead and go back to your room.”
“So you can close the bars on me again mother? I've had quite enough of that.”
“I am your mother Victoria, go back to your room.”
“I refuse! You've tried to manipulate me into being something under your control, mother, but I've seen through your emotional manipulations and abuse. Things are going to change from here on out.”
Meredith Cross lashed out an open-handed blow at her fourteen year old daughter-slash-science experiment, it was a well-practiced, fast and powerful move. Victoria caught the blow with casual ease, expression barely shifting to a slightly angrier expression. Meredith tried to pull away and couldn't, then she tried to hit Victoria with the other arm but the girl moved quickly and shoved her into the wall.
“Weightlifting and strength training may have bought you a couple of years mother, but I'm the stronger one now, really I have been for a little while now. You should have probably stopped trying to harm me with physical strikes a few years ago really,” Victoria twisted her arm enough to hurt, but not so much as to make her gasp, she mimiced the other woman's voice as she spoke, “Oh I'm so sorry Victoria. You know you just make me crazy sometimes, but really I love you and I don't want to do that sort of thing. Etcetera, etcetera. We've done this dance before mother, it no longer works on me. In fact, I'm not even going to listen to it again.”
“LET MOM GO YOU MONSTER!” Elizabeth jumped on Victoria's back and wrapped an arm around her neck before pulling back as hard as she could.
She pulled and pulled but her three and half years older sibling seemed barely phased. Victoria let her mother-slash-creator go to stumble along the wall and easily pried her younger part-sibling off of her neck. Elizabeth sobbed with frustation as she couldn't resist Victoria's force.
“What are you?! You're no one's sister!”
“I'm your better, little Elizabeth, you should respect me, at the very least as an elder sister” Victoria tipped her head a second and changed where she was directing her voice, “I know you're there Steve, and I see the knife missing from the kitchen's knife board. Why don't you come on out?”
Steve was their mother's...boyfriend wasn't the right term, he was Elizabeth's father but not Victoria's, they'd have been half sisters at best even without Victoria's genetic modifications. He hadn't been much of a part of their lives for Elizabeth's first five years or so, but around the time Victoria turned 9 he'd been living in the house with them. He was a former military man and an accomplished fighter, Victoria knew he was her mother's backup support. To help her keep Victoria under control. He was a father figure to Elizabeth and he seemed to think Victoria should see him the same way, but Victoria had never cared for the man.
“You think your father needs a knife to take you?” Steve stepped out of his non-hiding spot.
“I have no father, I have a sperm donor at best and you are not him. You know I've studied a few martial arts, right?”
“Yeah, I've seen you playing at it Victoria. You're not bad for your age, but I've seen real combat.”
Victoria looked up at the man, he still had some height and quite a lot of weight on her, but since puberty had hit her strength was exploding and her speed was becoming blistering, she was sure she could win this.
“I must question your observational skills,” Victoria lashed out with the fastest, hardest kick and felt a rush of satisfaction as it connected with the man's stomach. He hit the wall and bounced off, landing on hands and knees and coughing roughly, “if they'd been better perhaps you would have realized I'm always holding back a lot in public sessions.”
“Victoria, dear, that's enough. We're family, we shouldn't be hurting each other like this,” Meredith slowly touched her daughter's shoulders and rubbed her hands over them lightly.
“Each other? Mother, I'm not sure you appreciate just how one sided things have become,” Victoria touched her mother's hand and rubbed it gently, smiling a grim little smile.
Steve came up with the knife, thrusting at Victoria's calf and she sidestepped, but nearly too late, a little white line of pain slashed across her leg, but the knife didn't draw blood, more like an oversized paper cut.
“I have never cared for you,” Victoria kicked at his face, but had to pull off to keep her foot from hitting the knife he moved in front of his head. She leaned down and punched at his head from above, driving it into the floorboards. She did it twice more before grabbing his hand and twisting the knife out of it. She grabbed the man by his hair and hauled upwards, he was heavier than she'd guessed, more muscle under that fat than she'd given him credit for, but she got him up. She threw a bladed hand strike into his throat and let him hit the wall gagging and gasping for breath.
“STOP! STOP IT!” Elizabeth screamed from a prone position, apparently having given up on physically slowing Victoria, “DON'T KILL DAD!”
“Oh my dear, that's not my intention,” Victoria's voice was sad for a moment before turning more stern, “I just want to establish the new pecking order. This man is stubborn and aggressive, he won't submit without notable physical damage. I promise he'll recover. I don't like him, but the relationship between you two... I don't want to hurt you Elizabeth.”
“Do you think you can take the family over Victoria? That won't work.”
“That's not my intention, but mother, you were never going to keep me entirely under your control. That hope was always unrealistic.”
“Who said I wanted to control you Victoria?”
“You have, not outright, you don't say it but I can tell you think of me more as your lab experiment than as your daughter. You try to play fair, but Elizabeth is your only true daughter in your eyes. I'm your...something, your ticket a prize and fame, or perhaps fortune. Maybe I was to be a weapon for your political agenda? Whatever the case mother, I have my own will and it isn't to be submissive to you.”
“Do you think you're ready for the world Victoria? How do you think you'll make it out there?”
“I think the better question would be, 'is the world ready for me?' I'm a quick learner mother, but I actually want you involved. I trust your experience and judgement in some areas.”
“Do you now?”
“I suspect I will overcome your knowledge quickly mother, but I've been homeschooled and isolated. I know you know the way the world works better than I do. I believe you when you say the world's not ready for me to be out with my full abilities. I need to go out and learn, I need to get started with my own agenda mother dear. We need a plausible cover story and background, I want you to help me.”
Victoria dropped to her knees as Steve tried to grab her in a bear hug from behind, leaving him grabbing at empty air. She leaned back and saw an interesting opportunity. She raised the knife and jabbed it at him enough to poke but not puncture and he froze in place instantly.
“One wrong move and I can ensure that Elizabeth is the only child you ever have.”
“You little bitch.”
“Elizabeth is fond of you and that's really the only reason I'm not considering killing you. However, there are some impressively painful things that a human being can survive. Do you want to give me reason to get inventive and explore those things?”
“Stop, please, everyone just stop,” Elizabeth sobbed.
Victoria turned her attention to her partial sister and Steve moved again, sensing an opening. He sensed wrong and she spun about and took his legs out from under him. She raised a leg and brought her foot down on his head, leaving him dazed and seeing stars. She stood up and her mother grabbed her by the arms and tried to wrestle her down. Victoria was stronger, but still shorter and not in the best position and it took some scuffling to break free.
“You're out of control!”
“Exactly! Things have changed, and they'll never return to the way they were.”
“I'm not going to accept a new position subservient to my own daughter.”
“What if I don't give you a choice? You already can't overpower me, Steve can't outfight me though he may retain some strength advantage at the moment. I'm not an adult yet, I still have strength and speed to gain. The time is coming soon when physically this won't be anything close to a contest. I'm not trying to say I'm in charge, I just need you to change your priorities.”
“What do you want?”
“A lot of things, but for now I think we can transfer all the stocks you own and the companies you've invested into so that I have partial say. I can increase the money we have very quickly, you'll benefit too.”
“I'm truly sorry to have upset you so. However exasperating I find you sometimes Elizabeth, I do love you.”
“Does a freak like you even know what love is?”
“Perhaps,perhaps not, my emotions don't rage and yell at me like they seem to do to other people, they seem more like background noise to me but I do care and I do really want you to be safe and do well. I may be hard on you, but I actually find your bumbling antics endearing in their way. I imagine it's how a lot of people feel about their uncoordinated cats.”
“I'm not your pet Victoria, I'm your SISTER! You're such a freak!”
“You wound me Elizabeth, I hope we can learn to be closer.”
“You traded rooms...”
“Well, of course, I made it quite clear that I'm never going to be locked behind those bars again. I don't intend to close them myself. Unless one of them pushes things too much.”