Working for Black Air was no picnic. It wasn't even a lousy school lunch. It was no job for the weak-hearted, nor the feeble-minded.

Wisdom, however, had the mindset for it: she was solemn, serious, and more than a little angry. When on duty, she was almost frighteningly focused, uneasily direct. When off duty, she drank like a fish, swore like a sailor, and smoked like a chimney.

There was little outside her life in the barracks. She was a woman of eighteen years, who had known no other home than Black Air. There were no skinned knees, no mummy to hold her through nightmares in her youth. There were no makeup tips, no coming-out parties, no proms, no suitors.

She had wondered, of course. She knew Black Air had a couple of the Pocket Agents -- like her. The ones who had no family, but interesting and useful skills or talents. Or, like her, interesting and useful mutant abilities to augment the skills. The burning touch, as she called the ability she had to generate slivers of intense heat from her fingertips.

One particularly bad night -- just before the holidays, she'd decided to break the files and find out what it was Black Air really had in mind for her. That was how she found out she wasn't really a person.

She was a clone.

A replicant.

...of the real Wisdom, a woman named Paula, who worked for Black Air as well. To her horror, she had discovered she had two purposes: she was to kill the original Wisdom if ever she posed a threat to Black Air ... or she was to be programmed to be Black Air's obedient little assassin.

It was then she took the name Pris, rather than going by the 'Eve' moniker they'd given her. She had then gone and gotten good and bloody drunk until the world swirled away under a black haze that reeked of cigarette smoke and whiskey.

...Amazing how liberating it is to know you're not a real person, she thought before uneasy sleep claimed her.