She was me. I was her.
"There are two of them!" Jake said.
< They appear to be identical, > Ax said.
"Cool!" Marco said, climbing to his feet. "Now Tobias can have one and I can have the oth- AAAAHHHH!"
I . . . I mean she . . . somersaulted.
She leapt, landed on her hands, flew through the air and landed, feetfirst, against Marco's chest.
Marco landed very hard on his back. Rachel was astride him, squatting on his chest. Her knees pinned his arms. She reached behind his head and grabbed a handful of his dark hair.
The other hand was balled into a fist, quivering, about a foot away from Marco's face.
"What did you say?" Rachel whispered.
"Not one single thing," Marco said. "Me? I said nothing."
Rachel . . . I mean, the other Rachel, of course, rolled off him and laughed. It was a big, hearty, HAH HAH HAH laugh.
Ax withdrew the blade from my throat. I collapsed in a heap.
She stood over me. "Hey. You look like me."
I nodded, lip quivering.
"What's going on here?" she demanded loudly.
< That seems to be the question at hand, > Ax said mildly.
"The Drode? One of his tricks?" Jake demanded.
They kept staring. At me. At her. Back at me. It was like being an animal in a zoo.
And I kept staring, too. At her. For one thing, she was dressed totally differently than me. She was so, like, L.L. Bean meets Timberland by way of a Harley-Davidson rally. Not at all my look.
Although, when I thought about it, my look could use some freshening up. I mean, what was with all the pants and jeans? Why shouldn't I wear dresses? I have great legs. I can wear dresses and look good. The shorter lengths, the longer lengths, like, you know, with a slit or whatever? Why shouldn't I try the waif look, I mean I can be a waif. I can do the slinky dresses with like the big --
Someone was knocking on my head. It was her.
She rapped my skull with her knuckles. "Hey! Hey! You awake in there? I asked you a question. Who are you? And what are you doing with my body?"
Marco fidgeted. "Um, I have a body joke here, but I can't tell it unless Ax promises to protect me."
"Shut up," Mean Rachel snapped. "Don't make me kill you. Now, you, little pansy girl, you have about three seconds to tell us --"
"Don't threaten," Jake said with unmistakable authority.
Mean Rachel forgot me in a flash. She rounded on Jake. "Don't get in my way, Jake."
"Don't push it, Rachel."
"Are you threatening me?" she nearly screamed. "Come on! You think you can tell me what to do? Let's go, right now. You and me. Just keep our pet Andalite here out of the fight. You and me, we'll see who's giving orders around here after I give you the butt-kicking you're begging for."
The possible fight was interrupted at this point by the arrival of Erek King. He's a Chee. Meaning that he's, like, this Android? Only he uses holograms to look like this normal boy.
I don't think he's cute because, you know, it's bad enough being attracted to a guy who's a bird of prey, right? Getting into androids is maybe going a little far.
Although, when you realize Erek is really like thousands of years old, so he's totally mature and all -
Erek walked in. Looking like a boy. Looking like a boy with a very odd expression on his face.
"Um . . ." he said. "Um . . . is it just me, or are there really two Rachels here?"
"We're filming a Doublemint gum commercial later," Marco said, then cringed lest Mean Rachel go all psycho-gymnast on him again.
"Yeah, we have two Rachels," Jake said.
"Okay. Any particular reason?" Erek asked.
"It wasn't exactly deliberate," Cassie explained.
< They appear to be identical, > Ax said. < Except that one is passive and easily-frightened, and the other is -- >
"Excitable?" Marco suggested.
< -- violent and aggressive, > Ax concluded.
Erek nodded. "Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?"
"Well, it's sure not Mary Kate and Ashley," Marco said.
< So it was you who went flying with me, today, > Tobias said.
"Who? Me?" I asked.
< No. The other one, > Tobias said.
"Mean Rachel," Marco suggested. "Mean Rachel and Nice Rachel?"
"Mighty Rachel, Hah HAH!" Mean Rachel said. "Mighty Rachel, and . . .and . . . Wimp Rachel! Yeah, that's it, blondie."
I didn't exactly want to be known as "Wimp Rachel." But I didn't want Mean Rachel to try and pound my face in, either.
"This is nuts," Cassie said.
"I can't stay long," Erek said, unable to stop looking from me to Mean Rachel and back again. "I just came to update you guys on the mission."
"To the Yeerk pool!" Mean Rachel crowed. "Let's get some flamethrowers!"
"I gotta stop hanging around with you people," Erek said. "You people are just plain strange."
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