Casey drummed her fingers on the table as she waited for the test to finish. It seemed like these tests never ended. Just when they thought they had figured out exactly how Mixmaster worked something new would show up and toss everything they thought they knew out the window. Or most of it anyway.
Outside Spotlight was stretched out beside the lab, soaking up the warm rays of the sun. Apparently the dirt dragon had taken it upon herself to guard the lab and the people who lived there. Whenever Casey and Roger would leave to go somewhere, she would follow them like a dog its master. Nobody really knew why, and Tyler hadn't 'heard' anything either. Casey wasn't complaining though. It was kinda cool having a dragon pet anyway.
Roger curiously looked over the red-head's shoulder. "Find anything yet, Case?" he asked.
"No," she sighed. "Not yet."
Roger squeezed her shoulder gently. "Hey, don't worry about it. Frustration comes with the job," he assured, reading her expression.
"Actually, I think it comes with the habitat," Casey said with a small laugh.
"That's a given," he said, offering a smile.
"So," Casey glanced up at him. "Have you finished the dish for today's potluck?"
"The macaroni salad is in the fridge," he nodded. "What about your dish?"
"It's baking at Rosalita's," she glanced at the time. "For about another hour an half. I just hope that freak storm in Wisconsin is over so Jodi and Larry can make it back in time."
"Yeah," he nodded. "That trip was pretty sudden. Did anyone tell you why they went?"
"I think Nancy said something about a death in the family. I'm not sure who though."
"Oh, poor kid," Roger said, shaking his head. He suddenly turned his attention back to the computer. "Looks like the test is finished."
"Aaaaaand, same as last time," Casey sighed. "I don't even know what I'm looking for anymore. I'm starting to think I was just imagining that...whatever it was."
Roger shrugged slightly. "Might not even be important," he offered.
"Yeah, probably," she stood up and stretched. "Well, I'm gonna go check on my casserole."
Roger nodded. "I'll go get the truck started."
"Kay, let me put this stuff away and I'll join meet you out there," Casey said.
Roger jogged out to the truck, hopping in and starting the engine. Casey joined him a moment later and they headed off towards Rosalita's ranch, Spotlight trailing behind.
Nancy scrambled around her kitchen, finishing up the last bits of her dishes. She knew Burt and Tyler wouldn't bring much more than beer, and Jodi and Larry might not even make it back on time let alone be able to make anything, so she was fixing a few extra plates.
She was torn from her concentration by a faint mew. She turned away from what she was doing, confused. She headed towards the noise. It sounded like it was coming from right outside the back door. Nancy opened the door, unsure of what she'd find.
For a moment, it looked like there was nothing there. But then a small, sandy colored kitten appeared at the bottom of the steps. It looked up at Nancy for a second before mewing again.
"Aww," Nancy cooed, "Little kitten, what are you doing out in the middle of the desert?" She kneeled down and put her hand out slowly. The kitten sniffed it curiously.
"It's okay. Good kitty," she smiled, gently petting the tan feline. "You're awfully tiny, aren't you?"
Almost instantly the kitten's attitude changed. It hissed, sounding more like a snake than a cat, and before Nancy could yank her hand to safety it sank its teeth into her skin between the thumb and forefinger.
Nancy cried out, yanking her hand back. It burned more than it probably should. Tears welled in her eyes as she felt as if her hand was on fire. "Shoulda known you were feral," she hissed, quickly shutting the door. She ran to the sink, washing the wound.
It didn't seem to help. The pain didn't lessen and what was both strange and worrying was the lack of blood. Nancy nervously bandaged up the bite. It stilled burned, but she chocked it up to a nicked nerve or something.
After a few minutes, the pain began to ebb slightly so she went back to work. It still burned, but not quite as bad. She began finishing up the food, but as the time passed, she began tripping over her own feet. Her hands refused to grip properly so she dropped a bowl of potato salad. Suddenly, she felt as if her muscles were drained of energy.
The blonde women fumbled for her radio, but it clattered to the floor as her vision began to darken. She let out a pained moan as she went totally blind. Then she collapsed.
Tyler walked into the inside porch in front of Nancy's house, setting his dish of tuna tetrazzini on the table. He had decided to bring something other than beer for a change. Besides, he'd grown up with his mother cooking it; he knew the recipe by heart. He looked around. The table was set up but none of the dishes were out yet. Nancy was probably still cooking.
"Hey, Nancy," he called, stepping inside the house.
There was no answer, simply the smell of something burning in the oven. Tyler wrinkled his nose at the smell and hurried into the kitchen only to nearly trip over a disturbingly familiar unconscious body.
"Nancy!" Tyler fell to his knees beside her, feeling for a pulse. It was faint, but there, and he let out a small sigh of relief.
"Nancy?" he shook her slightly.
She didn't respond, didn't even stir.
Tyler grabbed his radio. "Burt!"
"Tyler, you got me, over," Burt's voice crackled over the radio.
"I'm at Nancy's," Tyler said, his worry coating his words thickly. "I-I don't know what happened, but she's passed out on the floor and I can't get her to wake up."
"What?" Casey cried, overhearing the conversation.
There was a pause from Burt's end. "I'm on my way. Stay with her, Tyler," Burt ordered.
"I'm coming too," Casey added firmly.
Tyler just nodded, even though he knew they couldn't see him, and put away his radio. He looked back down at Nancy and then around the kitchen. There was broken bowl of potato salad on the floor as well as her radio. She had obviously tried to call for help before she passed out. There was also a bandage around one of her hands.
Tyler reached over and pulled the bandage off, curious for some reason, though he wasn't sure why. There were bite marks in between her thumb and forefinger. Strange bite marks too. It looked like she had been bitten by a cat with abnormally long canines that made it look more like a snake bite. The skin around the bite was inflamed, though the bite itself looked clean and fresh as if it had only just happened.
Tyler suddenly had a really bad feeling. A feeling that this wasn't just a human's health going bad. This had something to do with Mixmaster. And by the looks of it, whatever it was…it was poisonous.