Susan was glad to be learning from teachers who were actually willing to share. She had so many questions that she knew she would interrupt the lessons if she asked them all… but even outside of the classrooms she had access to more information than she had imagined existed… immediately available. In half a year she had learned so much but still felt ignorant of many things. Many of these things were the experiences of growing up in a normal family.
It was strange, but she had a family now. Being aware of her own strange status as a clone, Susan would have expected to have no interaction to those that were genetically related to her. After all, they had no responsibility to take care of her. Even Richard’s mother Anna, who shared genetics with Susan, was not responsible. After all, she hadn’t authorized any cloning or experiments… but came and rescued Susan anyway. Perhaps that was for her own personal reasons, but Susan knew that Anna had taken the time to rescue her instead of just destroying the facility at the earliest opportunity. Then Susan was taken to those who were technically genetically related to her… and immediately treated as family. That was weird. Richard was weird- he might be the weirdest part of the bunch, actually. In a way, he was almost like a clone as well… but also somewhat like a naturally born child. Still he was nice. ‘Uncle’ Gilbert was strange in a different way. He was generous, but aloof. However, he treated her just as well as he did his own son of many years, though they obviously weren’t as close yet. Aunt Anna… was somewhat frightening, but had rescued Susan. Even so, they had spent very little time together. Still, even with such a strange family… it was more than Susan had ever hoped for.
She made friends too… if mostly with Richard’s friends. She had some other acquaintances at school, but they weren’t really friends yet. As for Richard’s friends… she thought of them as friends too, and they seemed to think of her that way. That being said, she wasn’t sure exactly how being friends worked. She had looked it up, and concluded that everyone had different criteria for what they wanted… and some claimed that you shouldn’t want anything from your friends. For now, Susan was fine with feeling safe around them, though that wasn’t a very lofty goal. On the other hand, given how dangerous they were, feeling safe around them was somewhat of an accomplishment.
Taking Elena as an example, everything about her was toxic. Richard had almost died when they first met… but that was due to an accident. It wasn’t something to consider as a possibility, and so Susan still felt safe around Elena. Jot, however, had clearly demonstrated his danger. He had just recently killed someone. Susan didn’t like killing at all… though if she was honest it wasn’t because of any moral issues with how that incident had happened, but because it reminded her of her own mortality. Even though Jot was clearly dangerous in an active manner… Susan actually felt more safe around him because of it. She had seen him use his body to shield Richard from a giant metal beam, as if it was nothing. Even the man he killed had tried to kill Richard first. Yet, to Susan, Jot hadn’t even raised his voice, or even had too firm of a grip in a handshake. If he would do anything to protect Susan, she would be safer than without him… and she surely wouldn’t be any worse.
Hiroshi was the oddest of the bunch. He had claimed to be a ninja, though that meant nothing to Susan at first. She had learned that they were a group often known as spies and assassins from a country on Earth… though legends and fiction about them had grown far beyond there. The abilities they were claimed to have were quite varied and often exaggerated beyond the level of merely fictional into being entirely impossible. Still, Hiroshi had displayed very fast reflexes and speed, which was a common trait that ninjas would have. Other than that… he certainly didn’t have much skill with secrecy. As for stealth… well Susan had never seen him hiding anywhere. That meant he was either good at stealth, or not hiding at all. He openly was part of Richard’s group of friends, and Susan knew they stood out for various reasons. That said, if anyone was looking at the group, Hiroshi might seem the most normal. That was a kind of stealth… unless it was just plain normality. Regardless, his friendship with Richard seemed genuine. She was willing to write him off as somewhat eccentric, until Jessica showed up.
It wasn’t strange for cousins to go to the same university, especially not one so large as Maropa University. The strange thing was she started a month into the semester, with no particular reason given. Susan learned that Hiroshi had also started the previous year late. One such thing was at most a bit odd, but twice made it seem like more than coincidence. Susan had no objections to considering Jessica a friend… but there seemed to be more to it than that. Unlike Hiroshi, she never claimed to be a ninja… yet she acted more like one because of that. She was quiet and reserved, though not unfriendly. That by itself meant nothing, especially with Susan herself being the same around people she had just met. It was only after Susan started having suspicions that she noticed Jessica’s actions as being somewhat odd.
It was just a number of small things- Jessica would move forward to hold open a door for Susan. It could have been a nice gesture, but from another perspective she was entering the room first, as if watching for something. She also placed a strong emphasis on wanting to go places that Susan went- shopping, among other things. Not that Susan did a lot of shopping… but she also went to many new places to make up for the life experiences she felt she was lacking. Based on her past, Susan wasn’t particularly fond of being watched all the time… but she had the feeling that in this case Jessica was looking out for her interests. Not that it felt better. On the other hand, Susan only really had suspicions. She had never seen Jessica follow her if she stayed firm to going somewhere alone… but whether that meant she didn’t follow Susan or did so secretly was impossible to tell. Perhaps Susan was being paranoid… but having grown up as a clone in a lab- almost certainly an illegal one as well- Susan had sufficient reason to be suspicious of people.