The Facade
The 2nd story in the Alan/Tirzah Universe
Smiling broadly, Tirzah sat next to Alan.  This wasn’t just any flight in an eagle.  For the first time
since her arrival on Alpha, Tirzah had been chosen to be part of a reconnaissance mission.
   
“How much longer will it take Alan?”  She looked at him expectantly.

“About another 20 or 30 minutes.”  He sighed softly.  She had asked the same question every 5
minutes.  He suddenly looked at her and smiled.  “Tirzah, why don’t you go in the back and make
sure that the equipment is secure and that everyone’s doing alright?”

“All right!”  Tirzah hit the release on her straps and jumped up.  She stepped out of the cockpit and
popped her head back in.  “Do you want anything?”

“No.  No, I’m fine.”  Alan smiled at her enthusiasm.

Maya, eyebrows raised, met her at the door to the passenger section.  “Is everything all right
Tirzah?”

The young woman smiled and nodded as she passed.  “I need to check the botany equipment
before we land.”  Tirzah addressed everyone.  She waved security guard Daniel Morris away from
the crate he leaned against that held her equipment.  Helena put away her own gear and moved to
stand next to Tirzah.  “This is a longer flight than you’re used to.  How are you feeling?”  The
doctor smiled at her.

Tirzah turned with a flounce.  Her eyes sparkled and her smile never faded.  “Excited and
nervous…and excited!”  She took a deep breath.  “I want to do a good job.  Connie’s counting on
me and I don’t want to disappoint Commander either.”  She turned back to the inspection of her
box.

Helena smiled and placed a hand on the young woman’s shoulder as she went back to her seat.

The department head, Connie Schular, had recommended Tirzah for this reconnaissance and
both women agreed that Tirzah needed to get off Alpha and experience an Earth type planet again.

Tirzah replaced her equipment and was heading back to the cockpit when she saw Maya grab her
own head with both hands.  With a look of pain and anguish on her face, Maya turned to face
Helena.  A small, quiet cry escaped the Psychon before she collapsed on the floor.

Everyone called her name and rushed to her side.  Helena began to check Maya’s vitals and
spoke firmly to Tirzah.  “Get my med-kit in that locker there.”  She pointed.

Tirzah did as she was told and set the kit next to Helena.  As she stood to go back to the cockpit to
tell Alan what had happened, Tirzah blinked hard.  She took a couple of steps away from the other
women and blinked hard again.  There was a buzzing in her ears that seemed to be affecting her
vision.

Tirzah gripped the archway as she stepped out of the passenger section.  Vision blurred and now
becoming dizzy, she put one foot into the cockpit.  “Alan, we…”  It was all she got out before she
suddenly grabbed her head, inhaled sharply and collapsed on the floor.


~~~~~~~~~~


Tirzah blinked hard again attempting to open her eyes.  She succeeded in a grey, blurred vision of
her surroundings.  Each try got her a clearer picture.

Turning her head to look around herself, Tirzah saw Alan Carter sitting across from her in a
straight-back chair; asleep.

She appeared to be in a small grey colored room.  The bed she lay on, the chair where Alan slept
and two small end tables were all the furnishings there were.  She looked down at the heavy
quilted blanket that covered her and the soft plush gown she wore.

Tirzah tried to sit up to look out the small window at the foot of the bed.  The dizziness was still
there and she felt a bit nauseated but she continued out of curiosity.

She caught her breath at the sight before her.  Lush green grass and tall trees surrounded several
dome-like structures for miles.  Bright colored birds hopped amongst the branches of a nearby tree
as a soft breeze made shadows dance across the grass.

A creak from the chair and yawning and stretching from Alan turned her attention from the beautiful
scene.  “Hey, you’re awake!”  Carter jumped up and moved quickly to sit on the bed beside her.  
“How’re you feeling?”

“I’m still a little dizzy and my stomach feels like I ate a couple of rotten berries, but other than that, I’
m fine.”  Tirzah tried to smile.  “Where are we?”

“We’ll soon have you to rights.”  He smiled and leaned forward, giving her a quick kiss.  Alan stood
up and moved to stand close to one wall.

Tirzah watched as he put his fingers against the wall and spoke quietly.  She shifted to look
around him to find out what he could be doing.  As he stepped away and back toward her, Tirzah
saw only the grey wall.  “What were you doing?”  She inquired as Alan sat down next to her.  
“Alan, where are we?”

“Oh.  I was letting Helena know that you’re awake.”

Tirzah looked over at the wall, confusion showing clearly on her face.

“She told me to call as soon as you came ‘round.”  He explained cheerfully.  “You and Maya had a
bad go of it.”

“Where is Maya?”  Tirzah felt her head slowly clearing.

“In Medical Center.”  Carter spoke non-chalantly.

“What?”  Tirzah looked at him sharply.

“In Medical Center.”

“Then where are we?”  Tirzah looked around herself, her eyes stopping at the view out the
window.

“We’re in our room.”  Alan spoke slowly.  “On Alpha.”

“What!?”  Tirzah’s head shot around to look at him so quickly Alan jumped.  “Our room?”

“Yes, our room.”  He placed a hand on her shoulder.

“On Alpha!?”  Her pitch rose just a little.

“Yes.  After you and Maya collapsed, I turned the Eagle around and headed us back to Alpha.”  
Alan explained in a calm and soothing voice.

Blood pounded in Tirzah’s ears.  She thought that it was getting a little more difficult to breath.  
“How then, do you explain that?”  She pointed to the little rectangular window.

“What; the pictures?”  Alan looked curiously where she was pointing.  “We had those taken on the
day of our ceremony.”

“Ceremony?”  Tirzah felt her head spinning again.  She was becoming more agitated.

“Yes, ceremony.  Don’t you remember?”  He moved in a little closer and placed the back of his
hand on her forehead.  “Are you sure you’re all right?”  Alan suddenly stood up.  “That must be
Helena.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I called her, remember?  Who else would be at the door ringing the buzzer?”  Alan
stepped to the far wall.

“Call?”  Whispering, Tirzah looked over at the grey wall where Alan had stood earlier.  Then she
looked at Alan as a piece of the wall slid back.  “What buzzer?”

Helena Russell stepped into the room smiling.  “How are you feeling?”  She set her small med-kit
on the bed and opened it.

With a solemn and careful expression Tirzah watched the doctor’s every move.  “I’m a little
confused.”

“In what way?”  Helena moved the small scanner slowly around Tirzah’s head and shoulders.

“I’m not sure.”  The young woman spoke cautiously.

“Well, can you describe how you’re feeling?”  Helena replaced the scanner and brought out a
strange square devise that Tirzah had never seen before.  It glowed from the top and Helena
turned it slowly before placing it in front of the Psychon’s face.

Tirzah took a staggered breath, choosing her words carefully.  “I didn’t know that Alan and I
shared quarters and I don’t know about a ceremony that he spoke of.”

“I see.”  Helena set the devise back into her med-kit.  “Do you know where you are?”  Helena bent
forward and checked the other woman’s eyes.

“Alan says that I’m on Alpha.”  Tirzah answered slowly.

“And where do you think you are?”

Tirzah took a deep breath and looked at each of them in turn.  “I’m not sure.”

Helena seemed satisfied as she packed up her kit and smiled at Tirzah.  “It’s probably side effects
from the trauma on the eagle.  Do you remember what happened on the eagle?”

Tirzah nodded.  “Maya fainted.  When I went to tell Alan I suddenly heard a loud buzzing in my
ears and my vision began to blur.  Then it felt as if someone was squeezing my brain.  And then I
woke up here.”  She looked at the Doctor.  “Where are we?”

Helena responded with a tight lipped smile.  “You need to rest now and I’ll be back later to check
on you.”  She tucked Tirzah back into the bed and then gave a worried glance at Alan.

He followed her to the other side of the room where the ‘door’ had appeared earlier.  Their voices
were low, but Tirzah overheard a few things.  “…like Maya…won’t sedate…disoriented…calm and
quiet…”  She gave Alan a sympathetic pat on the arm and part of the wall slid away for her to exit
through.

Tirzah bolted from the bed and ran for the closing door.  Her fingers grasped at the disappearing
opening until Alan pulled her back.

“Whoa!” Alan grabbed her and hugged her tightly to himself.  “You’re in no condition to go
wandering around the base.”  He steered her back toward the bed.

“But we’re not…”

“No argument; back into the bed.”  Alan gently sat her down, picked her feet up onto the bed and
proceeded to tuck her back in.  “Just lie back and relax.”  He took a hold of her shoulders and
pushed gently.

“Alan, please…”  Tirzah’s look of desperation caused him to stop.

“What’s the matter?”  He sat down on the bed facing her.

“Please, tell me where we are.”  Tirzah tried to keep her voice calm but her eyes shone brightly
with confusion and impending tears.

“You’re safe on Alpha now.”  Alan pushed a stray strand of Tirzah’s hair from her face.  “You’ve
had a rough time and you need to rest.”

Tirzah sat up quickly before he could stop her.  “Alan.  We don’t share quarters on Alpha.”  Her
eyes were wide and challenging.

Alan’s smile faded.  “Now why would you say something like that?”  He reached out and stroked
her arm slowly.  “You’ve had a hard time.  You just need to rest and…we can talk about this later.  
Okay?”

Tirzah didn’t want to distress him any more than he already seemed.  She needed to think; figure
out what had happened and where they were.  She nodded and tried to smile.  “All right, Alan.”  
Tirzah lay down and allowed him to pull the blanket up around her chin.  “I’d like to see Maya as
soon as I can.”

“As soon as Helena thinks you both are able, I’m sure you will.”

Tirzah nearly sat up again.  “Maya’s ill too?”

“Relax.  Remember, she fainted in the eagle just before you did.”  Alan placed his hand on her
shoulder reassuringly.

He didn’t appear too alarmed, so Tirzah relaxed a bit.  “How is she feeling?”

Alan gave her a quirky smile.  “Helena can’t find anything wrong with her but, every time she
wakes up, she gets very upset and then passes out again.”  Alan took her hand in both of his.  
“Helena’s…concerned that you might have the same problem.  She just wants to keep an eye on
you for a while.  You know, make sure that you’re all right.”

Tirzah nodded, even though she didn’t understand.  “What does Maya think is wrong that she gets
so upset about?”  She spoke carefully.

Alan’s brow furrowed and he stroked the top of her hand and wrist.  “Nothing for you to worry
about.  You just get some sleep and we’ll talk some more in the morning.”  He kissed her gently on
the lips and went to sit in the chair.

Tirzah smiled at him and turned her head to look out the window.  She watched the darkening
shadows play across the trees until she fell asleep.


~~~~~~~~~~


Tirzah woke with a start.  “Who’s there?”  She whispered.  She waited for her eyes to adjust to the
darkened room.  She could see Alan still sleeping in the chair, his feet propped on the edge of the
bed.

Tirzah blinked.  There was something just behind him.  Was that a compost?  She looked up at the
wall next to her.  Framed pictures were hanging in the window.  She blinked again and they were
gone, replaced by a night sky full of stars.

Floating in that sea of twinkling lights was a round blue satellite.  Just to the left, and only half the
size, hung another; this one white and grey.

‘How beautiful.’  Tirzah sat up.  ‘This world has two moons.’  She stopped herself; looking over at
Alan.  Why did Alan and Helena think that they were on Alpha?  Was her fainting the cause for
seeing the beautiful world that the others didn’t?  Is that the reason Maya gets so upset, because
it doesn’t look like Alpha?

Her musing was interrupted by Alan waking and stretching.  Seeing her awake also, he smiled.  
“Hey.  Are you all right?”

“Yes.”

“Can I get you anything?”  Alan made a face as he worked out a stiff neck muscle.

Tirzah suddenly realized that she was hungry.  “I would like some juice and perhaps some fruit
and bread.”

“You’ve got it.”  He leaned over and kissed her again, this time longer and with a bit more
pressure.  “I’ll be right back.”  Alan whispered into her ear.

Tirzah stiffened as he stepped up to the door and it slid back for him.  “Alan.”  She threw back the
covers and swung her feet over the edge of the bed.  “Why don’t I go with you?”

Alan turned immediately and stopped her from rising.  “No, you wait here.  Helena would kill me if
she found out you were out of bed before she authorized it.”  He picked up her feet and helped her
back under the covers.  “I won’t be long.  I promise.”

Tirzah nodded, figuring that she’d better not press the issue until she knew more.

Carter stepped into the hallway, giving her a quick wave before the door shut.

Tirzah jumped out of the bed and ran to the wall where it opened.  “How did he open it?  There
must be some sort of mechanism.”  She ran her hands over the wall in all directions.

Several minutes passed but she couldn’t find anything.  She searched the small room for some
clue to this place; some hope of escape.  She gave up eventually and sat down on the bed cross-
legged, staring out the window.  The sun was rising and Tirzah watched as the animal life woke
from its slumber and foraged for breakfast.

Alan returned with a tray full of fruit and juice and something that resembled a small loaf of bread.  
The tray and all of the containers on it appeared to be made out of wood which he set down on
one of the end tables and then he sat down next to Tirzah.

“Do you remember that day yet?”  Alan pointed at the window.

She knew that he saw pictures hanging there but she didn’t have the heart to lie or pretend.  “No.  
I’m sorry, I don’t.”

“That’s alright.”  His voice held a hint of disappointment.  “You’ll remember soon enough.”  He
pulled the table closer to them and handed her one of the bowls of fruit.  “Connie sent these
special and asked me to tell you she’s glad you’re feeling better.”

Tirzah nodded politely.  “What are they?”

Alan gave her a confused look.  “They’re cassisua berries.”  He put one in his mouth.  “They are
ripe aren’t they?”

“I…these aren’t cassisua berries.”  Her voice was soft and apologetic.

“Sure they are!”  Alan insisted.  “They’re delicious too.  Come on, try one.”  He lifted the bowl,
holding it in front of her.

Tirzah gently pushed the bowl away.  “No, thank you.  These are not my berries.  I did not bring
these from the Norlou planet.”  She stood and her voice rose slightly as she paced the small
room.  “I do not know anything about a ceremony you keep talking about.  I do not hear door
buzzers or see composts.  I can not find a mechanism or anything that will open that door.”  With
despair in her voice she gestured wildly.

Alan watched her quiet rant, a look of concern growing on his face.  “Helena says that it’s a result
of your fainting on the eagle.”  He stood and moved toward her.  “You haven’t been well since the
incident.”  He took a hold of her shoulders and pulled her back toward the bed.  “Come and sit
down, have a bite to eat, and then lie down and rest again.”

Tirzah shook off his hands and backed away from him.  “I don’t want to lie down.  How do I know
the food isn’t poisoned?  How do I know that you’re not some strange…”  Tirzah stopped and
suddenly grasped her head in her hands.  She stumbled a little and looked up at Alan.  Behind him
in the window hung a framed picture of the two of them dressed in Psychon ceremonial attire.  She
blinked hard and shook her head.  She heard the buzzing and felt as if her brain was being
squeezed in a vise.

Tirzah took a step forward and tumbled into Alan’s arms.  “It hurts.”  She whispered and passed
out.

   
~~~~~~~~~~


She slowly opened her eyes, afraid of what she might see next.

Helena greeted her with a warm smile.  “Hello there.  You gave Alan quite a scare.”

Tirzah looked around herself slowly.  Same grey walls.  Same size room and furnishings.  Same
small window.  “Where’s Alan?”  Her voice was dry and scratchy.

Helena took a wooden glass from the side table and held Tirzah’s head to help her drink.  “He was
wearing a hole in the floor so I sent him on an errand for me.”

The liquid Tirzah drank was a pale blue mixture with a fruity taste.  It coated the sides of her
throat; soothing all the way to her stomach.  She lay back onto the pillow and looked up out the
window.

“You two were beautiful.”  Helena’s soft voice held a hint of reminiscence.  “John told me later,
after the ceremony, that Alan nearly cried when you stepped out from behind the curtains.

Tirzah closed her eyes tightly and sighed.  Helena thought that she was looking at a picture
instead of scenery out a window.  “Helena.”  Tirzah looked up at her.  “I don’t know what’s
happening but I…one of us isn’t seeing what’s really here.”

“What exactly do you mean?”  Helena turned slightly to face the other woman better.

“You and Alan look up at this wall,” she pointed toward the window, “and you see a picture of Alan
and me.”  Tirzah took a deep breath as Helena nodded.  “I don’t.  There’s a window there.  And
out that window is trees and grass, animals and birds and many, many round shaped structures.”  
Tirzah propped herself up on one elbow.  “You see Alpha and all of its people.  I see grey walls
and a rug on the floor and no possible way to get that door open.”

“I see.”  Helena said quietly.

Tirzah suddenly sat up.  “Who is right and who is wrong, Doctor?  Help me.”  Her eyes pleaded for
an answer.

“This is probably a side effect from whatever is causing these terrible headaches you’re having.”  
Helena took the young woman’s hand in her own.

“I want to see Maya.”  Tirzah suddenly stated.  She pushed back the covers and started to get up.

“Whoa.  Easy now.”  Helena attempted to cover her again, holding her back from leaving the bed.  
“Neither you nor Maya is ready for visitors.”

“Please, I need to talk with her.”  Tirzah tried to find ways around Helena rather than try to wrestle
with her.  “I need to understand.”  Tirzah scooted to the end of the bed and had just managed to
skirt past the doctor when the door opened.

Tirzah stopped dead in front of Alan.  “What’s going on?”  He asked, looking from one woman to
the other.  “Is there a problem?”

“Yes.”  “No.”  The women answered in unison.

Helena spoke up first.  “I’ve told Tirzah that she can’t see Maya yet but she’s insisted on trying.”

Alan stepped forward and gently took a hold of Tirzah’s arms.  “I’ve just come from Medical
Center.  She’s sleeping right now.”  He glanced at Helena.

“But I have to see her.  Maya will know what’s happening!”  Tirzah pleaded.  “She’ll understand
what I don’t!”  Tears began to well up in her eyes.  “She always explains things when I don’t
understand.”

Alan hugged her tightly, speaking to her softly as he eased her toward the bed.  “I’m afraid,
darling, that Maya’s not really herself.  She wouldn’t be able to explain or help you with anything.”

Helena picked up her med-kit and slipped quietly out the door as Alan sat Tirzah slowly on the
bed.  “And you’re in no shape to be wandering the halls either.”  He sat down next to her, putting
his arm around her and drawing her in.  “It’ll be okay.  You and Maya will get well and go back to
work and everything will go on as normal.”  He tilted her chin and gave her a soft, long kiss.

Tirzah responded to the kiss for a moment but pulled back gently.  She placed a hand on Alan’s
chest and watched her fingers draw imaginary circles on his shirt.  “I’m getting hungry.  Is there
any more of that fruit left?”

Alan chuckled and hugged her tightly.  “No…but I can get you something if you’d like.”

Tirzah nodded and sat very still as he let go and stood to move toward the door.  She put a small
smile on her face and forced her body to relax visibly as he opened the door.

“I’ll be right back…okay?”

She nodded; puppet-like.  “I’ll be right here.”

Alan hesitated for a moment in the doorway, smiling at her before he stepped into the hall.

As Alan turned his back Tirzah jumped out of the bed, grabbed a little table, and just before the
door closed completely, shoved it into the opening.  The door hesitated for only a moment before it
crushed the table and slid into the slot.  The young woman’s excitement turned to despair and as
she picked up a leg from the floor, she heard a soft mechanical locking noise.  Frustrated, she
threw the leg against the far wall.

She stood slowly and looked around the room again and her eyes fell on the little window that was
now partially open.  It looked to be just big enough for a person her size to crawl through and they
weren't that far off the ground.  Hope rising in her again, Tirzah jumped up onto the bed and
pressed her hands to the glass.  She looked at the construction of the four glass panes and
pressed and pushed on each piece.  As she pushed on the two lower panes the window shifted
upward just another inch but stuck there without budging.

Attempting to pull herself up from her knees, Tirzah grabbed the top of the two lower panes
causing the small opening to close tight.  She grabbed the frame with both hands and pushed
upward with all of her strength.  The window opened to the width it had been at before and she
thrust her arm and shoulder out the window.  She got her other hand up underneath the sill and
pushed upward but no matter how hard she tried, Tirzah couldn’t get it to go any further.  Tiring
slightly, she sat back on her feet and crouching low, put her hands under the window frame again.

“What are you doing!?”

Tirzah hadn’t heard the door open.  She turned quickly as Alan almost threw the tray of food onto
the chair and rushed to her side.  He grabbed the sides of the window as he gently shouldered her
out of the way.  “Careful.  We don’t have the resources to fix this frame.”

Tirzah backed away slowly.  “I need to get out of here, Alan.”  Her voice trembled as she moved
up against the wall.  “I need to see Maya.”

Alan crawled up on the bed and sat in front of her.  “I know that you’re confused, but Maya is in no
condition to see anyone.”  He sighed heavily and took one of her hands in his.  “You need to calm
down and rest or else…or else Helena will put you back in Medical for observation.”

Tirzah looked at him with large frightened eyes.  The last place she wanted to be was in a place of
needles and knives.  “I just need to know who’s right.  I don’t see Alpha and I don’t know why!”  
She squeezed his hand and forced him to look into her eyes.  “This is almost as bad as my home
planet when I was put in the Box, Alan.”  She looked deep into his eyes and suddenly smelled the
ventilated air and saw the white shiny walls of Moonbase Alpha.  Inside his mind’s eye, Tirzah
looked around an unfamiliar room.  The picture of her and Alan hung on the wall just as everyone
had told her, with the picture of her mother’s parents, enlarged and hanging beside it.  Another
picture of Tony and Maya hung on the other side.  

She inhaled, slow and deep as she tried to turn the vision, as Maya had taught her, so that Alan
would see her grey prison.  After a few moments the image of Alpha turned grey and then was
suddenly gone.  Tirzah’s head hurt and her breathing came hard and fast as she reeled forward
into Alan’s arms.  “Help me.  Make it right.”

He held her close as she continued to whisper into his chest.  Tirzah stopped speaking and lay
quietly for a moment so Alan pushed her away gently to see if she had fainted again.  A squeaky
whine reached his ears as Tirzah threw her arms around him and clung tightly.  Ever so soft, one
word made its’ way upward repeatedly.  “Safe.”



~~~~~~~~~~


“I don’t think that she’s getting better.”

“But you can’t take her down there, it’ll just make it worse.”

Darkness.  Friendly voices.

“Why won’t she respond?  What can we do to make her see it?”

“I do not know but, whenever we try, her mind responds almost the same as the Psychon’s.”

Everything black.

“What’ll we do?”

“I’m not sure yet.”

Alan…Helena…is that you?

“What’ll we do?”

“I’m not sure yet.”

Strange voices…who are you?

Tirzah sat straight up in the bed, gasping for air.  Alan and Helena rushed to her side.  “We’re right
here, sweetheart.  Everything’s alright.”  Alan sat slightly behind Tirzah and leaned her back
against his chest.

Helena knelt in front of her and took the young woman’s hands, rubbing them gently.  “It’s okay,
Tirzah.  You’re safe.”

Tirzah’s eyes darted around the room frantically.  “No…still here.”  She whispered, a hint of
hysterics in her voice.  She looked out the window at the sunrise.  Tears began to roll slowly down
her cheeks.  “So beautiful…like home.”  Tirzah looked from Helena to Alan.  Forcing herself to
calm down, she took one of her hands from Helena’s and wiped the tears away.  “How’s Maya?”

Helena pursed her lips and closed her eyes for a moment.  “She doesn’t wake up for long and
when she does, she...she’s not herself.”  She pat the younger woman’s hand and smiled.  “But I
don’t want you to worry about that.  I want you to concentrate on getting yourself better.  Can you
answer a few questions?”

Tirzah nodded and sat up straighter but never left the protection of Alan’s arms.  “Then will you
answer some of my questions?”

Helena smiled broadly and moved to sit on the edge of the bed.  “That sounds fair.  Now…when
you pass out, you said that there was a buzzing in your ears and a pressure on your brain.  What
other symptoms do you experience?”

Tirzah thought a moment.  “My eyes get foggy and I’m dizzy.  Are these the same things wrong
with Maya?”

Helena nodded.  “From what I can gather, yes.  While you’re unconscious do you dream or do you
have any idea that time has passed?”

Tirzah twisted her fingers nervously.  “I don’t think that I dream, but I’m…I’m scared sometimes
when I wake up.”  She wasn’t sure how much to tell her.  She wanted to trust the doctor, but
something told her to hold back certain parts.  “What’s wrong with me?  Why do I see everything
different than you two do?  Why can’t I…” Her voice trailed off for fear of telling them too much.

Helena placed a reassuring hand on Tirzah’s shoulder.  “We don’t know why, yet.  That’s why I
needed to ask you certain questions.  We’re trying to piece everything together so that we can
correct the problem and help you and Maya.  The biggest thing that bothers me are these sudden
migraines.  Psychon’s aren’t prone to headaches, so we have to find out what's causing them.”  
Helena stood and collected her med-kit.  “I’ll be back later to check on you.  Let me know if you
think of anything else that might help us.”

Tirzah watched curiously as the door slid open, even though Helena hadn’t touched anything to
make it happen.

As the door slid shut, Alan wrapped his arms a little tighter around her.  “Are you still hungry?  The
food I brought earlier is still here.”  He kissed the side of her head.

Tirzah nodded slowly, never really taking her eyes off the door and an idea began forming in her
head.

The food had been moved to the remaining table which Alan now carried and placed in front of
her.  He brought the chair along side the bed to be as close to her as possible.  Then Alan took a
random piece of fruit, popped it into his mouth and grabbed a glass of juice to wash it down with.  
“I promise, it’s not drugged or poisoned or anything.”  He offered the cup that he had just drunk
from.

Tirzah smiled and took the other cup.  “I know its not.”  She took a drink and grabbed a piece of
fruit.  “I’m sorry for earlier.  I promise not to be difficult anymore.”  They continued to eat while Alan
sat with a furrowed brow.

“What’s wrong?”  Tirzah set her cup down and reached for him.

He happily accepted her hand and pressed it quickly to his lips.  “I’m just worried about you.  I can’
t help myself.  You’re my little sheila you know.”

Tirzah looked down at her lap and her smile faded.

“What’s the matter?”  Alan leaned forward.

Alan had told her what “sheila” meant in Australian and he knew that she didn’t like that
expression.  His use of it confused her even more.  “Nothing.  It just went down the wrong way.”  
She tried to smile and went back to eating.  She had to find a way to get to Maya; to get
everything sorted out.

When they were finished eating, Alan moved the table and chair away and returned to the bed.  
He climbed in and stretched out on his back close to the wall.  Then he put out his arms and
motioned for Tirzah to join him.  Willingly she accepted, cuddling close to him and burying her face
in his chest.

He stroked the top of her head and hummed an unfamiliar tune.  Tirzah loved resting with him like
this and it helped her to think more clearly.  “Alan.”  She lifted her head to look at him.  “Tomorrow,
could we take a short walk?  I really hate being cooped up in here.”  She smiled sweetly and
sincerely.  “If I rest up and Helena says it’s alright?  Maybe we could visit with Annette or take a
walk in the Bio-Sphere?”

“We can talk to her tomorrow and see what she says.”  Alan trailed his hand down her back and
let it rest on her buttocks.

Tirzah took a deep breath and nodded. She hated playing games with peoples minds, but she had
to get out of this room and talk to Maya.  She brought her hand down, unclipped his belt and,
pulling it out from under him, allowed it to fall on the floor.  She ran her hand up under his tunic,
tickling and teasing every inch of skin.

Alan gently tilted her chin up and leaned down to kiss her softly and slowly.  He eventually pulled
back and looked into her eyes.  “Are you sure you’re up to this?”

Tirzah nodded and reached up to pull his mouth back to her own.  She grabbed a handful of hair
and deepened their kiss, their tongues twisting and exploring each others’.

Alan twined his fingers into her hair; rubbing her back and buttocks as he slowly leaned her back
onto the bed.  He leaned into her, touching any part of her that was exposed to him.

Tirzah had no trouble forcing herself to relax.  Whenever they had been together, she allowed
herself the moment.  Her hands roamed freely over his body, contacting skin as often as possible.

Alan trailed kisses across her cheek and nibbled a moment on her ear before moving to her neck.  
He nibbled and sucked being careful not to stay too long in one place.

Tirzah inhaled in pleasure and grabbed the back of his neck.  Her breathing became deeper and
heavy; as did his.

Alan caressed her belly and his hands moved across her hips and buttock.  He then pulled the
back of her thigh up so her knee was in the air.  He slowly slid his hand up under her gown,
caressing her knee and calf for a moment as his mouth captured hers again.  She moaned and
moved her hands up to unzip his tunic.  She ran her fingers back up his arm and down his chest,
massaging the hair as she went.

Tirzah suddenly inhaled sharply and pushed Alan away as his hand came up tight between her
legs.  “Alan!”

“What’s wrong?”  Concern overshadowed the passion in his eyes.  “Did I hurt you?”

Tirzah swallowed hard and she slowly pushed his hand back down her thigh.  “I…we’ve never…I’
m not sure if I’m ready to go that far yet.”

“I’m sorry!”  He slowly pulled her gown down over her hips.  “I’m moving too fast.  You’ve been ill, I
forgot myself.”

“It’s okay.”  Tirzah smiled up at him.  “We’ve never gone this far before and you startled me.”

“What do you mean?”  Alan’s brow furrowed and he moved a little further away.

Forgetting her circumstances, Tirzah spoke truthfully.  “I’m not sure if I’m quite ready to completely
couple with you yet.  I’m still having talks with the Doctors and I wanted to be sure that I was
ready.  We’ve talked about this.”  Seeing the confusion still on his face, she continued to explain.  
“I’m sorry if you’re angry but I’m…”

“Tirzah.” Alan cut her off.  “I’m not angry. It’s just that…we have coupled before.  We’ve been
bonded for nearly a year.”

Tirzah’s eyes grew wide and she opened her mouth to speak.

Alan shook his head.  “I’m sorry, this was too soon.  You’ve been ill and I should never have
asked.  I’m sorry.”  He rolled onto his back leaving Tirzah baffled and staring at the ceiling.

Slightly bewildered, she glanced around the room.  When her eyes fell upon the open window,
Tirzah sighed heavily and closed her eyes.  She had forgotten the reason for initiating the passion;
the reason for the deception of wellbeing.  She rolled to face Alan and propped herself up on one
elbow.  “No, Alan, I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have expected to be able to handle this situation.  I’m the
one that said that I was ready.  I apologize; I had no right.”

Alan reached up and stroked her face with his fingers.  “Poor little sheila.  I don’t want to do
anything you’re not comfortable with.”  He sat up and placed a kiss on her forehead.  “I have to get
a few things done.  You rest and I’ll be back in a couple of hours.”  He swung his feet over the end
of the bed and started to rise.

“NO!”  Tirzah grabbed his arm, forcing him to sit back down.  “Please, don’t leave me here
alone!”  She jumped up on her knees and clung to his arm.  “Please!”

Alan eased her hands off of him and tucked her into his arms securely.  “Hey, it’s okay.  I won’t be
long.”

“No!”  She held on even tighter.  She was breathing hard and shaking violently.  “Please…the
door locks…it’s like being in the Box!”

“Tirzah, I have to get some work done.  The Commander will expect me do my job.”  He rocked
her slightly and pet the top of her head soothingly.

“No he won’t!  Commander will understand!”  Tirzah suddenly looked up at him.  “Take me with
you!  Don’t leave me here alone!”  Anxiety and desperation shone from her eyes like beacons.

He watched small pools of water leak from her eyes and run down her cheeks.  Alan sighed
heavily and smiled at her.  “All right.  I’ll see if Pete and Bill can take care of it.”  He let go with one
hand and wagged his finger in front of her face.  “But if John says that they can’t, then I have to
go…and you have to wait here.  Understand?”

Tirzah bit her lips and then nodded slowly.  With fear still in her eyes and still shaking slightly, she
allowed Alan to stand.  She watched as he walked to the far wall and, placing his hands on it,
spoke softly and quietly.  She waited tensely as he “called” each of the men.

When he finally turned and headed back to the bed, Tirzah held out her hands to him.  Alan took
them and sat down next to her.  “Okay, it’s all set.  The Commander said that I can take another
day and the fellas don’t mind filling in a little longer.  So…what should we do?”  He looked up near
the ceiling.  “Are you hungry?  The kitchen should be open soon and you haven’t had much to eat
the last couple of days.”

“A little.”  Tirzah folded herself into his side.  “May I come along?”  She knew the answer, but she
couldn’t help herself from asking.

Alan sighed.  “You’d better not.  Helena would kill me if she knew that you were out wandering the
halls.”  He rubbed his hand softly over her cheek.  “I’ll go as fast as possible and be back before
you can say kangaroo.  Deal?”

Tirzah nodded again and slowly untangled herself from his side.  “Please hurry back.”  She
pleaded.

“I will.”  He leaned forward and kissed her softly.  “I promise.”

He stood and as soon as the door closed behind him, Tirzah threw herself down onto the bed and
sobbed openly.  She felt as if she might have a nervous breakdown at any moment.



~~~~~~~~~~


   Alan returned to a darkening room.  Tirzah was sprawled across the bed, her hair fanning out
everywhere.  He placed the tray of food on the little table and sat on the bed, careful not to sit on
her hair.  Pulling some stray hairs away from her face, he stopped suddenly when he noticed that
her eyes were open.  “Tirzah?  Did I wake you?”

“No.”  She continued to stare straight ahead.

“Do you want something to eat?”

“Yes.”  She didn’t move.

“Are you alright?”  He leaned in to see her face better.  It was obvious that she’d been crying.

“I don’t know.”  She turned her head and stared up at him strangely.  “Am I crazy, Alan?”

“No, sweetheart.”  Alan swept her limp body up into his arms.  “You’re sick and confused; that’s
all.”  He shook her teasingly.  “Come on…have a bite to eat.”

Tirzah sat up on her own and used a small tie she’d found to pull her hair back.

They didn’t eat much and as soon as they were finished, the couple curled up spoon style on the
bed.  They spoke to each other quietly for awhile before they fell asleep.


~~~~~~~~~~


Tirzah woke slowly, her body tingling with pleasure.

She rolled over and slowly opened her eyes.  Alan’s smiling face greeted her and she cuddled
deeper into his arms.  

He stroked every part of her body that he could reach, making her sigh heavily.  He leaned back
slightly and untied the laces on the front of her gown, then reached inside the gown and stroked
her neck and chest, moving the top down off one shoulder.

Tirzah closed her eyes as Alan leaned in and showered soft kisses across her exposed skin.  She
fought her own desire to resist him as he loosened more of the ties, exposing a breast.  He kissed
her skin across the top and sides of her breast before carefully seizing a nipple in his mouth.  Her
breath caught in her throat as her mind battled between unsure territory and a willingness to make
him believe that she was not ill.

Tirzah breathed his name as his tongue rolled softly over the tip of her nipple and he slipped one
hand slowly up her leg and under her gown.

He stroked every inch of skin while his tongue swirled and licked and he deepened the suction.  
He placed his hand on her hip and rolled her slowly on her back as his mouth let go of its’ prize
and trailed kisses between the soft mounds, seizing the other nipple.

With his hand stroking her bare skin at the same time, Tirzah moaned softly and reached up to
twine her fingers in his hair.  Her other hand reached down across his bare shoulder and back,
then back down his arm.

Alan eased himself up off of her and began to maneuver the gown up and over her head.  When it
went above her hips, Tirzah reached down and stopped him.  He looked up and simply kissed her
lips and smiled before continuing to remove the gown.

Tirzah was becoming even more unsure.  Ever since coming to live on Alpha, she had been
attracted to this man but they had never allowed their passion to go any further than kissing and
petting.  To have her body fully exposed in front of him made her slightly nervous.

“Alan.”  She watched the gown hit the floor.

“It’s okay.”  He moved in close again, capturing her mouth with his own.

Tirzah inhaled quickly when their naked bodies touched and Alan wrapped one leg over hers,
tucking her in close.  She felt her control slipping as his hands lightly explored her body.  She
brought her arms up around him and rubbed his back slowly, her hands occasionally cupping a
buttock before moving on.

They moaned in each others’ mouths as their kissing and stroking increased.  Alan’s mouth left
hers and seized areas of her neck and throat, as his hands continued to touch and play.

She inhaled sharply when he took a firm hold around her hips, pulling her even closer and she
could feel his hardening muscle against her leg.  “Alan.”  Tirzah barely managed to whisper as his
mouth traveled to her breasts again.  “I don’t…”  She never finished because he grabbed a nipple
softly with his teeth, flicking it with his tongue, while at the same time reaching behind her leg to
stroke her nether regions.

Her mind reeling with several emotions and her body responding to senses never truly felt, Tirzah
moaned loudly and arched into him closer still.  She racked her fingers slowly up his back and
gripping his shoulders for some sense of mental stability, she tried to focus her mind again.  “We
shouldn’t, Alan.”

He responded with a deep throated moan and turned their bodies so that he now lay on top, then
proceeded to kiss his way down her belly.  He inched his way downward, gently forcing his knees
between hers.  He reached up once or twice to rub her breasts, running his hands back down her
sides and hips.

Her body was weak with passion, so when he kissed the top of her feminine area and continued
downward still, Tirzah had difficulty sitting up.  “What are you doing?”  Her voice was no more
than a hoarse whisper.  She raised herself up onto her elbows and looked down at him with wide
eyes as he parted her legs and put his head between them.

He kissed each of her thighs.  “It’s okay.”  Alan looked at her with a deep desire she had never
seen before.  He took a hold of her hips and tilted them upward, causing her to lie back flat on the
bed.

Tirzah gasped, then held her breath and closed her eyes as Alan parted her vaginal lips and thrust
his tongue inside of her.  Her mind and body exploded with each lick or suck he gave.  She
grabbed a hold of the quilted blanket as he seized her tiny muscle in his mouth and sucked slowly
while one finger entered her.  She gasped again when two fingers entered her hot pleasure center
and began moving slowly and rhythmically.

Her hips began to move with his hand, so Alan released her with his mouth.  He pulled his fingers
out slowly one last time and trailed upward between her lips and down her thighs causing her to
moan loudly again.  He inched his way upward again, seized a breast in his mouth and entered his
manhood into her before she recouped from the last experience.  When she felt him enter her, she
gasped again and, unthinking, wrapped her legs up around his waist and her arms around his
torso.

He supported his weight on his hands, moving his hips slowly so that he didn’t quite leave her and
then went inside again.  Tirzah shifted at the last moment so that all of him was as deep inside as
possible and then her muscles tightened causing them both to shutter as he started to pull out
again.

She was breathing heavily, her mouth open, and she opened her eyes and looked into Alan’s.  So
much love poured out at her that tears rolled down her face and into her ears.  She suddenly
wondered why she’d made him wait for her; why she hadn’t wanted this sooner herself.  Tirzah
pulled Alan down closer and kissed him with every fiber of emotion she could muster.  He
responded willingly, still moving in and out of her slowly.

Tirzah suddenly pulled away and gasped for air.  She moaned and grabbed a hold of his
shoulders as he began to increase the speed of his thrusts.  He sat up more and took a hold of her
hips so as not to lose contact.  Tirzah grabbed at the quilt with both hands, kneading it, moaning
and calling out his name as she helped him increase the rhythm.  Alan breathed out her name also
as he thrust into her faster and faster.

Tirzah grabbed the quilt one last time and cries of ecstasy escaped her lips as she began her
climax.  Alan worked even harder as he watched her orgasm continue and until he finally reached
his own.  They pushed their hips together as tight as possible as they both shuttered at the end.  
She looked up to see his eyes closed in pleasure and a hint of a smile on his face as he finished
inside of her.  

He eased himself down on top of her; wrapping her carefully in his arms without putting too much
weight on her.  She happily put her arms around him as well and relaxed in his embrace.  They
were both sweating and breathing heavily and Alan placed a few butterfly kisses on her neck and
shoulder.

No one had ever made her body tingle and yearn this way.  This man seemed only to want to give
her pleasure and physical desire.  She had always been an unwilling party when the Norlou leader
had coupled with her.  Tirzah looked up at the grey ceiling and she felt fresh tears begin to fall.  
“Alan.”

“Mm-m-m?”  He smiled against her neck.

“Thank you.”

Alan lifted himself on slightly shaky arms.  “For what?”

“For the most wonderful experience of my life.  No one has ever made me feel like this before.”  
She wiped a tear away before it escaped her eye.

“I know that you like that and I enjoy myself every time.”

Tirzah shuttered slightly as the realization hit her that he believed them to have done this many
times before.

He rolled to the side still holding her in his arms; their legs intertwined.  She snuggled in and
pushed away the unsure thoughts of what had just happened.  She reminded herself that she had
enjoyed it and, in fact, helped at certain points to accomplish their coupling.

“I love you.”  Alan mumbled, obviously starting to get drowsy.

Tirzah looked up into his half closed eyes and he smiled at her.  She smiled back and put her
head back on his shoulder.  
“aku wae opa cito.”

“What was that?”  Alan kissed the top of her head.

Tirzah’s brow furrowed in confusion.  “Nothing.”  She had taught Alan those words.  If they were
bonded, she felt sure that he would at least be able to piece the words together if not understand
the phrase completely.  She hid this bit of information from him too.  Now she knew that there was
something wrong.  She had to get out and talk to Maya.

Eventually the stress of the past days and the physical strain of their love making caught up with
her and Tirzah drifted off to a deep sleep.


~~~~~~~~~~


Tirzah inhaled sharply but lay perfectly still.  She was still curled in Alan’s arms and she knew that
they had fallen asleep without the quilt over themselves.  Her eyes searched the darkened room.  
She started to untangle herself from Alan when she heard it again.

“Who’s there?”  She whispered loudly, grabbing the bit of quilt that was free and trying to cover
herself.

A faint whisper reached her ear.

“Who are you?  Where am I?”  She waited.  Only silence reached her ears.  “I know we’re not on
Alpha, so where am I?”  She snatched the gown from the floor and quickly threw it on and laced it
up.  “What do you want with us?  Please let us go!”  She suddenly pleaded.  “Please let us go
home!”

Alan rolled and moaned in his sleep distracting Tirzah long enough for something to open the door
and scurry out quickly.  She lunged toward the opening trying to stop it, but she wasn’t fast
enough.  Hitting the door with her open palm, she let out a cry of anguish.

“Tirzah?”  Alan got out of bed and moved quickly to her side.  “What’s the matter?  Did you have a
dream?”

The young woman looked up at him with teary eyes.  “Yes.  I had a dream.”  She spoke the lie
slowly.

He walked her slowly back to the bed and sat down next to her.  “Do you want to tell me about it?”

She looked up at him, confused.  “Tell you?  I…I don’t remember it.”  Tirzah hated to lie and living
on Alpha for so long she had fallen out of practice since her former life as a slave.  “I’m sorry that I
woke you.”

“No, it’s okay.”  He hugged her and spoke softly.  “I don’t mind.  I want to be here for you;
especially now.”  Alan jumped up and pulled the little table toward the bed.  “Here.  Best thing for
nightmares; a midnight snack!”  He handed her a cup and poured some juice into it, then did the
same for himself.

Tirzah accepted the cup and drank it slowly.  When she had finished, she looked at Alan across its
rim.  “You said that today we could talk to Helena about going for a walk.”

Alan looked up at her and nodded slowly.  “That I did.”  He popped a small piece of fruit in his
mouth and chewed and swallowed it before continuing.  “IF Helena says that it’s alright and IF you’
re well enough, we could take a walk in the Bio-Sphere.”

Tirzah smiled sweetly.  “That would be nice.  I need to get out of this room and see…people
again.”  She had almost slipped but Alan hadn’t seemed to notice.

“Feeling better?”  Alan took her cup and put it back on the table.  “Ready to go back to sleep?”

Tirzah nodded and fixed the quilt while he put the table back.  She crawled under and held an end
open for Alan.

He cuddled up to her and then looked down with a teasing scowl.  “You gonna be able to sleep all
wrapped up like that?”  He motioned to her nightgown.

“I’m just a tiny bit cold.”  She tried to keep her voice light.

Alan pulled her closer.  “I’ll keep you plenty warm, my little sheila.”  He began to unlace her gown,
kissing her neck and shoulder as he exposed her skin.

Nervous, Tirzah tried to think of a reason to make him stop without alarming him.  She sat up
suddenly and yanked the gown over her head, tossing it lightly so that it fell on the end of the bed.  
“I’m a little tired, Alan.”  She smiled and snuggled into his arms.  She closed her eyes and forced
her mind and body to relax, willing them to sleep.

“Oh, sure…of course you are.”  Truly concerned, Alan wrapped her in his arms gently and stroked
her head.  “You just relax and sleep.”  He began to hum a tune softly.

When his arm fell limply across her shoulder and he started to snore softly, Tirzah truly relaxed
and fell off to sleep.


~~~~~~~~~~


“Why did they do it?”

“Pleasure.”

“From where?”

“From each other!”

“Amazing.  What else?”

“We’re still not able to reach her.”

“You said that you’ve been successful…”

“In part, sir.  Only in part.”

Tirzah lay still and listened to the strange whispered voices that floated to her from across the
room.  She knew that if she moved or made any kind of noise the voices would rush out the door.

“Each time we attempt to make actual contact, we meet with obstruction and the results, we fear,
could be fatal…just like the…”

“Go back.  What kind of pleasure?”

“Apparently, it feels good to their exterior senses and that sends a chemical reaction to the brain
and various parts of the body.”

“Interesting.”

“Yes, sir.  Of course, we can only monitor the male in this test.”

“Yes, that is unfortunate.  What of the other one?”

“The other female gave us some interesting results when we created her companion.  Her
chemical reaction was different from the males’.”

“Can we put them together so that we can get a clear test?”

Tirzah opened her mouth indignantly without uttering a sound.  She heard the one voice inhale
heavily.

“Well…I’m not sure that it’s a good idea, sir.”

“Why not?”

“These creatures seem to be very territorial.”

“Why should that matter?”

Unable to stop herself, Tirzah sat up and stared at two smallish figures standing in the shadows of
the room.  Her mouth open and her eyes wide, she spat out the answer.  “Because you can’t treat
people like they’re animals!”

One of them inhaled sharply and the door suddenly flew open.  Light bathed them and Tirzah’s
eyes grew even wider.  They were humanoid in appearance, thin and only 5 feet tall.  Their pale
skin contrasted with the beautifully ornate outfits that now sparkled in the light.  One of them had a
little more white hair than the other and he took a step forward as the other stepped out into the
hall.

“Why can’t we reach you?”

“Who are you?  Why are we here?”

“Come out of there!” The one with less hair pulled his companion from the room and the door slid
shut immediately.

After they were gone, she sat quietly for a long time watching the sun rise through the trees.  Alan
stirred and stretched, wrapping his arms around her waist.  “You’re up early.”  When she didn’t
answer he propped himself up on one elbow.  “Tirzah?  Are you all right?”

“Yes.  I was just thinking.  That’s all.”

“Oh!  Well then, in that case, come down here and think about us!”  He pulled her down to him
and kissed her neck.

She placed her hands against his chest and stroked his hair.  “I was thinking about us.”  She
kissed his lips slowly and carefully.

Alan pulled back slightly.  “Those are very nice thoughts.”  He wrapped her up closer and kissed
her passionately, running his hands up and down her spine.

Tirzah tried to pull back from the kiss but Alan put one hand behind her head and held her in
place.  Slightly alarmed, she allowed the kiss to continue for another moment before she tried to
pull away again.  The kiss became more needy and animalistic so she used her hands against his
chest to try and push herself away, but when he didn’t release her, she began to panic.  She
managed to turn her head away from the kiss and he continued down her neck and shoulder.  
“Alan!  Stop!”  She didn’t shout, but her voice held an unmistakable fear.

She pushed harder as he nibbled on her shoulder and chest still holding her firmly.  He moaned
softly as he sucked hard on the skin at the base of her throat.  “Alan!  No!”  Tirzah put her hand
against his arm and tried to release the grip he had on her.

He responded by moving his hand to her thigh and yanking it up over his leg, stroking the inside of
her leg and buttock.  His hands were rough as they seized and kneaded her skin.  When he
reached her vaginal area, Tirzah’s panic flared.  “Please…stop!”

He stopped only long enough to roll her onto her back and pin her to the bed.  She struggled to
regain her freedom as his mouth captured hers again and he forced his tongue into her mouth.  He
proceeded to maneuver himself to a position that forced his legs between hers and he let go of her
with one hand, painfully seizing and kneading a breast.

Tirzah tried beating at him with her free arm but nothing she did stopped his attack.  She felt his
muscles tighten and Alan held her down as he moved his free hand between their thighs.  He
finally released her mouth in order to reposition himself and began to enter her as she cried out.  
“NO!”

She hit him hard in the shoulder and then slapped his face.  “Alan!”  She yelled out.  “I said no!”

His looked up at her strangely.  “What’d you do that for?”  His innocent voice caused Tirzah to
tremble a little more than she was already.

She pushed him off of herself and her voice trembled.  “You wouldn’t stop.”  Tirzah untangled
herself from his grasp and pushed herself back against the wall as she covered up with the quilt.

She flinched back when he tried to touch her.  “I don’t understand.  We were just kissing and…”

“No.”  Tirzah shook her head and swallowed hard.  “No.  You were holding me too tight and you
wouldn’t let me go.”

“But I thought…”

“And then you started to…to hurt me.” She choked out.

“Oh, God, Tirzah I’m sorry!”  He reached out for her again but she whined and flinched back
against the wall.  “You know that I’d never hurt you for anything.”  He moved slowly, and carefully
stroked one trembling shoulder.  He sat up and inched forward, pulling her up to a sitting position.

She sat rigidly as he pulled her into himself and stroked her head and hair.  “It’s alright now.  I’m
so sorry.  I never meant to hurt you.”

Tirzah intentionally pulled away slowly to see what would happen.  When he voluntarily released
her, she relaxed a bit.  “You frightened me.  You’ve never acted that way before.”

“I swear it’ll never happen again.”  He pulled her back into his embrace and they rocked slightly.  
“Helena will be here in a little while if you’d like to freshen up and put your gown back on.”

She smiled up at him wearily.  “I would like that.”

“You want some company?”  A sly smile crossed his lips.

Tirzah looked at him quickly, with wide eyes.  “No. Not this time.”  This seemed to be the right
answer because Alan chuckled and lay back on the bed with his hands behind his head.

“Maybe next time.”

“Yes, maybe.”  She wondered how many times Alan thought they had bathed together.  She
grabbed the gown and headed for the bathroom.

“Hey.  Let me know if you need someone to scrub your back.”  He winked at her.

Tirzah tried to chuckle nonchalantly.  “I will!”

Safe in the little room, she sat on a little bench and buried her face in her hands.  She sobbed
quietly for a moment before lifting a tear stained face and looking around the small room.  It was
obviously geared toward the size of their captors.  Everything was smaller and set lower than she
might expect.  However, everything that she could want had been provided.

When she finished and stepped out into the other room, Alan stood promptly and held out a lovely
beaded dress.

“Where did you get that?”  Tirzah rushed forward and took it gently, holding it up to herself.

“From your closet.”

Alan’s look of concern captured her eye, but she ignored it and dashed back into the bathroom to
use the mirror.  “Oh, Alan!  It’s beautiful!”  She quickly changed into the dress and returned to him
in the other room.  She twirled around for his approval.  “What do you think?  Does it look alright
on me?”

Alan sat on the edge of the bed smiling.  “You look exquisite, my little sheila.”

Tirzah stopped and looked at him for a moment.  She then moved forward and, standing in front of
him, placed her hands on his shoulders.  “Alan, please stop calling me that.”  She spoke
solemnly.  “I really don’t like it; it’s a degrading expression that I don’t care for.”

Alan placed his hands on her hips and spoke just as gravely.  “I didn’t know that it bothered you
that much; but I’ll stop if that’s what you want.”

“That’s what I want.  And thank you for the compliment about the outfit.”  Tirzah leaned down and
kissed him slowly and passionately.

After a long moment they pulled away from each other reluctantly.  “Helena will be here soon, but
we can always pick up where we left off later!”

Tirzah’s smile was genuine.  “I’d like that.”

“Up!  There she is!”  Alan jumped to his feet and headed toward the door.

She watched him curiously and noted; from this angle she could see; that he never actually
touched the wall…and the door slid back.  She wiped the confused look off of her face as Helena
Russell stepped into the room.

“Look at you!”  Helena set her med-kit on the bed and stepped up to give Tirzah a hug.  Slightly
startled, Tirzah returned the affection.

“Isn’t she the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen?”  Alan gushed.

“She looks quite lovely.”  Helena winked at her.  “What’s the occasion?”  She moved back to the
med-kit and opened it.

Tirzah and Alan glanced at each other and he motioned for her to speak up.  Tirzah stepped
forward slowly and a little child-like.  “I was hoping that you would give your consent to letting me
take a walk today.”

Helena took a deep breath and looked down at the instrument in her hands.  “Well, I…”

“She needs to get out and walk around, Doc.  She’s gettin’ claustrophobic in here.”  Alan moved
alongside Tirzah and wrapped an arm around her waist.

Helena looked at their two hopeful faces and smiled.  “Let me check you out first and then I’ll
decide.”

Tirzah bobbed her head happily.

“Right!”  Alan steered Tirzah to the bed and sat her down.  “Check away.”  He stepped back and
ushered Helena toward her patient.

Tirzah couldn’t help giggling at his enthusiasm.  She had shuttered in his arms many times in the
past when she’d spoke of her experiences on her home planet.  She could see in his eyes the
understanding that she needed to leave this room.

Helena drew the younger woman’s attention away from Alan as she checked her eyes and asked
her questions.  She used a few instruments that Tirzah had never seen before and she jumped
every time one in particular flashed at her.  The others never seemed to notice and Helena never
commented on her nervousness.

As the doctor put all of her equipment away, Alan stepped forward and took Tirzah’s hands.  They
both looked questioningly at Helena.

She turned and chuckled at their eager faces.  “You two look like expectant parents.”

Tirzah scowled at her, but Alan laughed softly.  “Well, Doc, what’s the verdict?”

“Well, you’re not having any more headaches and you check out physically…I guess there’s no
reason for me to say no.”  Helena closed her med-kit.

With a slight squeal, Tirzah jumped up and wrapped her arms around Helena.  “Thank you!  
Thank you, Helena!”  She let go and hugged Alan as well.  “May I go and see Maya?”  It slipped
out of her mouth before she thought.  The looks she got from the others made her wish that she
could take it back.

Helena took a deep breath.  “Maya’s still not able to see anyone.  She’s not stable enough.”  The
pained look on her face told Tirzah that Helena was concerned for her friends’ welfare.

Tirzah immediately changed her tone of voice.  “I understand, Helena.  I want Maya to get better
also.”  Then she turned to Alan.  “We can still go to the Bio-sphere…and see Connie?”

“Sure we can.”  Alan wrapped his arm around her shoulders.  “You want to go with us Helena?”

The doctor smiled and, grabbing her med-kit, headed toward the door with the happy couple.  
“That’s sounds nice, but John’s expecting me for lunch and I still have a stack of paperwork to get
through beforehand.”

“Okay, maybe the next time.”

The door opened and Tirzah had to restrain every muscle in her body from running down the hall.  
The halls, which ran ahead of them and to the left and right, were an egg white color and modestly
and tastefully decorated.  The small alien inhabitants walked past them as if nothing what so ever
was out of order.  They wore decorative clothing like the one she’d seen on the two that had been
in her room and that she herself now wore.

Alan walked her casually down the hall, occasionally greeting the natives, until they arrived at a
lift.  Tirzah was quiet inside the little room but couldn’t fail to notice the occasional glances from
the natives.  She wasn’t sure if it was base curiosity or if there was something wrong with the two
of them.

They stepped out of the lift and down a set of stairs, to a view that caused Tirzah to catch her
breath.  The hall was expansive with glittering chandeliers hanging from an extended ceiling and
silver and gold ornamental drawings on black mirrored walls.  The light coming from the high, large
windows and chandeliers caused a dance of lights on the black mirrored floor.

She held Alan’s arm and stepped hesitantly along the hall, surprised that the glassy surface
against her bare feet was so warm.  She looked around at everything, her mouth open slightly.

“You look like you’ve never seen Alpha before.”  Alan’s voice broke in to her wonderment.

She closed her mouth and looked up at him sheepishly.  “I’m just so excited to be out of the…our
room.”  The lies were getting easier the longer she was here.  “It’s so beautiful.”  She whispered.

“Okay.”  Alan chuckled.  “We’ll go to the Bio-Sphere first and then we’ll go to the cafeteria and
actually eat there.  How’s that sound?”  He patted her hand affectionately.

“That sounds wonderful.”  She said distractedly, still admiring the statues and ornate paintings.  
Tirzah glanced curiously at the ornate alien language written under or near each one.

They finally came to a large set of glass doors and Alan paused for a moment and untangled his
arm from hers.  “Here we are.”  He grabbed his comlock and pointed it at the doors.  

They opened outward slowly and Tirzah inhaled sharply, placing a hand on her chest.  “Oh,
Alan.”  She couldn’t help herself from commenting.  The tinted glass had hidden the grandeur of
the enormous, magnificent garden that lay before her.

She barely noticed Alan’s confused face as she stepped forward with hesitant awe.  The trees and
plants and flowers that lay before her were the most spectacular that Tirzah had ever seen.  She
actually found it hard to breathe as she stepped slowly down a small set of stairs and along the
wide path.

The multitude of colors that met her eyes was inspiring.  She’d never seen some of the shades of
certain colors or the vibrancy of others.  Tirzah stopped briefly at a small cluster of multicolored
flowering bushes to smell them.  She smiled up at Alan.  “I’ve never seen such beauty in all my
life.”

They walked along for some time, greeting the inhabitants of this world as they passed, when
Tirzah noticed Alan looking around in confusion.  

Hopeful that he was beginning to see something other than Alpha, she took his hand and stopped
him.  “Is everything alright?”

“Well.”  Alan looked around, obviously frustrated.  “I don’t see… I thought that…”  His voice trailed
off and he took half a step away from her.

“Yes?  You don’t see what? “Tirzah stepped in front of him and looked up into his face with
renewed hope.

“Connie.”  He glanced down at her for a moment before continuing his search.  “She said that she’
d be here to greet you.”

Tirzah took a step back and didn’t even try to hide her disappointment.  “Oh.”

“I spoke to her while you were in the shower.”

“Did you?”  Tirzah began walking again.  The flowers didn’t seem quite so pretty anymore.

“Yes.  And she said that she’d be here.  She seemed very excited that you were getting better.”

“I’m sure that something came up and that she was detained.”

They rounded a corner and Tirzah stopped short.  Her mouth opened and she suddenly had
trouble breathing.  She stepped up slowly to a small bush.  Reaching out with trembling fingers,
Tirzah bent to touch the tiny, one inch leaves that littered the delicate branches.  She plucked one
and put it on her tongue.  After a moment, she removed it from her mouth, allowing it to fall to the
ground.  “Cassisua bushes.”  Tirzah whispered.

“What else would it be?  Looks like it’ll bloom soon, if I remember my lessons.”  He put his arms
around her shoulders and squeezed.

“Yes, but how did it get here?”  She turned to face him, a bit of panic in her voice and face.  “How
did it come to be here?  These are native only to Psychon.”

“Tirzah, are you alright?”

She tucked herself in closer and looked around, wide-eyed.  “No, I’m not alright.  Psychon’s have
been here.”  She suddenly pulled away but Alan caught her by the elbows.  “Maybe they’re still
here.”  She looked around frantically now.

“Tirzah.”  Alan took a hold of her face and forced her to look at him.  “You brought them…from the
Norlou planet.  Remember?”

“What?”  Tirzah looked at him confused.  “No, that’s not what…”  Her eyes darted around the
garden again before focusing on Alan.  His look of concern stopped her.  “I…I…brought them with
me.  Everything’s just right.”  Her words came out slow and deliberate.  She forced herself to relax
and look into his eyes.  “I…forgot…for a moment.”

“Perhaps we should go back to our room now.”  Alan held her shoulders, massaging them slowly.

“No! Please!”  Tirzah grabbed his elbows.  “I’m fine, I just…I didn’t expect them to look so good.”  
She didn’t think that the lie would fool him, but he seemed to accept her explanation.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”  She giggled nervously.  “It was silly of me to get so excited over a plant, wasn’t it?”

“No, I don’t think so.  You’ve cared for those bushes ever since you came to live here.  I think it’s
natural for you to be happy with their progress.”  He put his arm around her shoulders and led her
further down the path.  Tirzah kept an eye open for any other evidence of other Psychons.

The couple talked and laughed as they wandered through flower beds and tiny forests of trees
and shrubs in the enormous garden.

Tirzah was thinking that they were lost when she heard something to their left.  She stopped and
waited to see what would happen.  A small group of native children burst through a row of hedges,
laughing and playing, until they caught site to the two Alphans.  They stopped short.

Tirzah knelt and smiled broadly.  “Hello, what’re your names?”

They stared back at her, occasionally glancing up at Alan.

Tirzah suddenly closed her eyes, grabbed her head and sat back on her feet.  “Slow down.  I can’t
understand if you’re all talking at once.”  She opened her eyes to the small pale faces staring at
her.  Their lips didn’t move, but she still heard them talking to her enthusiastically.

One little one stepped forward.  Tirzah guessed that she was female from her clothing and that her
shining silver hair was longer than a couple of the others.  They looked at each other for a moment
before the girl turned and looked at the other children.

The noise in Tirzah’s head stopped.  The girl turned back to her and reached out her hand to
touch the woman’s forehead.  They both closed their eyes as a clear soft tone rang in their minds.  
The words came fast and excited.  “My name is Sha-Re.  I live in the family complex.  We come
here to play when our studies are complete.  What are you?”

Tirzah concentrated.  “My name is Tirzah.  I’m a Psychon from the planet Norlou.”  She realized
that, since landing here, she’d called her home planet by that name.  “I’m staying in the dome
connected with this garden……against my will.”  She hadn’t meant to think that.

“Is that a Psychon too?”  The child looked up at Alan.

“No.  He’s from a planet called…”

“Sha-Re, what are you doing?!” The strange voice seemed to come from somewhere far away.  
Tirzah opened her eyes as the connection with the child was suddenly gone.

A female adult was rushing toward the group and Sha-Re stepped back toward the other children.  
The woman began to wave her hands and the noise of her thoughts shouted in Tirzah’s head like
a harsh drum.  The children ran away as the noise increased and she once again grabbed her
head.  The woman stood in front of her, hands on her hips and a scowl on her face.  Tirzah felt as
if her head was about to explode.  “Stop!  It hurts!  I can’t…”  Tirzah screamed and felt strong
hands grab hold of her body.



~~~~~~~~~~


Cold.

Where am I?

I’m cold.

So cold.

Then she heard a voice from outside.  “Why’s she shivering?”

I’m cold.

Another voice came from the outside.  “I should never have let you take her out so soon.  It’s
probably the stress of her ordeal catching up to her.”

No, I’m cold.

“Should we put another blanket over her?”

“She has three already.  She’ll be fine.  I imagine she’ll wake up soon.”

Something touched me.

“Her skin is warm.”  

“It’s just a reaction, nothing more.”

What happened?

I’m so cold.

A different voice from the outside.  “Will she be alright?”

Maya!

Maya, help!

“She’ll be fine.  You shouldn’t be out of bed.”

Maya, don’t leave me!  I need you!

“Look!”

Maya, please!

“Her hand moved.”

“Tirzah.  Can you hear me?”

Maya?

“Can you squeeze my hand, dear?”

Concentrate.

Did I do it?

“Did she do it?”

“No, I…Yes!  It’s faint but she’s trying.  Tirzah, I’m here.”

Maya, I’m so cold.

“Stay with us, dear.”

“Get her a chair.  You shouldn’t be on your feet.”

“Tirzah.  Open your eyes and talk to me.”

I’m trying.  You’re so far away.  I’m cold.

Where am I?

I remember the little girl.

“She’s smiling.”

We were thinking together.

Then a woman came.

Tirzah inhaled sharp and hard and her eyes flew open.

“Tirzah?”  Three voices called to her at once.  

Breathing heavily, she grabbed her head and tried to pull back from the noise.  “No!  Go away!  
You hurt!”

They called to her again, all saying something different at the same time.

“Stop!  It’s too much!  Stop!”  Tirzah beat away the hands that tried to grab at her.

Another voice spoke above the others.  “Quiet.  She’s frightened.  Let her think.”

Silence.

Never taking her hands from her head, Tirzah slowly opened her eyes.  Three expectant faces
stared back at her.  She hesitantly removed her hands from her head.

“Maya!”  Tirzah threw her arms around the woman’s neck and they held each other tightly.  She
began to cry with joy and relief at finally getting to be with her friend and relative.

“Are you better now?”

Tirzah opened her eyes and looked at the person at the end of the bed who had spoken.  
Confused, she let go of Maya and stared at the man who had been in her room the night before.  
“Yes.”  She stared at him intently, trying to see the “soul” of this strange alien man.   Nothing.

“You can’t get in without hurting yourself, so it’ll be best not to try.”

“What happened?  How did I get here?  Why did that woman scream at me?  What happened?”

“I’ll explain later…when we’re both alone.”  

She looked around the room at the other native people working, and at her own Alphan friends.  
Tirzah nodded and the man walked away.

“Do you know him?”  Maya brushing a stray hair behind Tirzah’s ear.

“In a way…I’ll explain later.”  She stiffened a little as Alan bent to kiss her cheek.

“You gave us quite a scare, little sh…little girl.”  He rubbed her back softly.

Tirzah smiled up at him.  “Scared me too.”

“Do you remember what happened?”  Helena moved to sit on the end of the bed.

“Not exactly.”  Tirzah spoke slowly, looking up at Alan.  “Do you know what happened?”

“You started talking to some of the other botanists, smiling and enjoying yourself, and when
Connie came up to you and started talking you grabbed your head and started screaming; then
you passed out and I brought you to the Medical Center.”  Alan supplied.

“Is that what you remember?”  Maya prompted.

Tirzah looked into shadowed and suspicious eyes.  “We were talking.”  She started slowly.  “I
remember when the…when Connie…came over and…I…my head started pounding again and
everything was so loud.”  She looked around the small group.  Maya’s face was the only one that
looked at her in disbelief.  “I’d like to lie down a little longer; if that’s alright.”

Everyone mumbled something encouraging and started to move away.  

Alan kissed the top of her forehead and squeezed her hand.  “I have to go talk to John and get
some work done, but I’ll be back later to see you.”

Tirzah smiled and nodded.

Helena took Maya’s arm.  “You need to be back in bed.”

“Wait!” Tirzah grabbed a hold of Maya’s gown.  “Please, let Maya stay.  I need her to sit with me
for just a little while.”  She begged.

Helena sighed heavily.  “Alright.  But just for a little while, Maya needs her rest too.”  She
motioned the other woman to sit in the soft padded chair.

Maya took Tirzah’s hand and smiled at her gently as the others left.  “Is this better?”

Tirzah nodded.  As the door to the “Medical Center” closed behind Alan and Helena was out of
earshot, Tirzah sat up and leaned in closely to Maya.  
“Ziamakua, we are not on Alpha.”  She
whispered and her eyes darted around the room.

Maya inhaled sharply but quietly.  
“You see it too?  Where are we?”

Tirzah shook her head.  “I don’t know, but this planet is lush with beautiful gardens and two
moons.  The alien that spoke to me earlier has been in my room twice now…observing me and
Alan.  They seem kind but incredibly curious about all of us.  They make Alan and Doctor Russell
see whatever they want them too.”

“What really happened in the…wherever you two were?”
 Maya asked quietly.

“We went outside!  To the most magnificent garden!  It’s enormous and we were just walking and
talking when some of the native children came out from behind some bushes.  They were so
beautiful Maya and their minds were so pure.  One of them touched my forehead and her thoughts
were like chimes in the wind.”
 Tirzah smiled at the memory.  Then her smiled faded.  “We were
just talking when this woman suddenly rushes up to us and scared the children away and her
voice…no, not her voice…her thoughts, were so loud.”
 She looked down at her lap.  “It was like
nothing I’d ever heard before.  I thought that my head might explode!  Then I passed out again and
woke up here.”
 Tirzah tightened her grip on Maya’s hands.  “Please help me understand what’s
going on.”

Maya took a deep breath and stared back into the young woman’s confused face.  “I think it’s an
overload of information.  Psychon’s have a natural block to most telepathic interference.  Children’
s thoughts are usually clear and uninhibited, so what they think is pure and uncluttered.  An adult
can have many ideas and problems and worries running in the background.  Apparently these
beings aren’t used to narrowing their output of information so, when they try and speak to us or
put images or thoughts in our minds like they’re doing to Helena and Alan, our mental defenses go
up and we end up unconscious.”
 Maya glanced around the room.  “Tirzah, what are they studying
when they’re in your room?”

“I’m not positive.  They just seem curious; about everything.”
 Tirzah blushed and peeked up at
Helena.  
“They can make images appear in their minds that create…situations that they monitor.  I’
ve heard them talk about sensory responses, so I assume that they’re “reading” their minds for
that information.”

“Probably.”
 Maya took a hold of Tirzah’s hands.  “Have they ever gotten through to you?”

Tirzah closed her eyes and nodded slowly.  “Once; they tried to make the room we’re in look like
what Alan sees.  Why is this happening?  What do they want from us?”

Maya sighed heavily.  “I don’t know yet.  I can’t speak to Helena about it because she believes she’
s on Alpha and when I try to speak to these people their responds causes the pain.”
 Maya’s brow
furrowed and she glanced at the alien people.  
“Their brains must block unwanted information or
process the responses completely differently.  I’m starting to learn to “sift out” the unwanted
information so that I might be able to find out something about these people.  The man that spoke
to you is the first one I’ve heard speak out loud.”

Helena stepped up behind Maya without either Psychon noticing her and they both jumped when
she spoke.  “Is everything all right?”  She placed her hand on Maya’s shoulder.

Tirzah looked up slightly frightened but Maya turned slightly and put her hand over the doctors’.  
“Yes, everything's just fine, Helena.  I was just telling Tirzah good night.”  She stood and
pretended to kiss Tirzah’s cheek.  
“Don’t fret, I’ll figure this out.”   Maya whispered.  She stood up
and pat the other woman’s shoulder.  “You get some rest; I’ll be right over there.”  She pointed to
another bed on the other side of the room.

Maya walked away and Helena now turned to her newest patient.  “You try and get some sleep.”  
She tucked the blanket up around the young woman’s neck.

When the doctor started to walk away, Tirzah leaned up on her elbows.  “Doctor Russell?”

“Yes.”  Helena turned back to face her.

“How many days has it been since the incident on the eagle?”

Helena opened her mouth to respond and then closed it again.  She looked at Tirzah with a scowl
on her face.  Then she glanced at a couple of people before she looked down at the floor.  Helena
twisted the ring on her pinky finger and then, suddenly confident, looked back up at Tirzah.  
“Almost four days.  Why do you ask?”

“I was just curious…I’ve slept a lot recently.”  Tirzah caught Maya’s astonished look as she lay
back on the bed.

“Try and rest.”

Tirzah’s smile broadened when Helena turned away, with the look of confusion still on her face.  
‘How long had it really been?  Was anyone on Alpha looking for them?  What if no one came and
they couldn’t get away?’    Tirzah wondered as she watched Helena cluck over Maya like a mother
hen.

When she was finished, Helena pulled a chair up close to the bed and talked to Maya.  Tirzah
eventually closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep.


~~~~~~~~~~


Something touched her hand.  “Please wake.  It’s safe to talk now.”

Tirzah’s eyes opened and then widened in surprise.  She sat up in the bed and looked around at
the “medical center”.  It was empty except for Maya sleeping across the room.

“It’s safe to talk now.”  He brought her attention back.

She noticed that his lips moved.  “Why wasn’t it safe to talk before?”

“Because the others were around.”

“Where are we and what do you want from us?”

He smiled.  “Tirzah.  I like you.  You are a young woman with so many questions.”  His smile
broadened.  “I am Aun-jee”

“Thank you.  But please Aun-jee, where are we?”

“You are on the planet Phecta.  We brought you here to observe your species and learn what and
who you are.”

“For what purpose?  Why didn’t you just ask us what and who we are?”

“We’ve found other species to be dangerous to our society if we allow them to see our true form.  
So we make you see what you think is safe or normal.”  A scowl appeared on his face and he
leaned in toward her.  “We are curious though, why we can’t read you.”

“Maya says that it’s because Psychon’s have a natural mental block that if you try to penetrate,
will sort of shut our brains off temporarily.”

“We know about Psychons; but you are not a Psychon.  How is it that we can’t get into your
head?”

“I don’t look like her because another species took me from my family and took away my physical
identity…but I am a Psychon.  Why did you make Alan think that we were bonded; so that he
would be near me?”

“You two are not bonded?  But Alan said that you were.”

“Of course he did; you put it in his mind.”

“We scanned all of your minds on the eagle…well, except yours and Maya’s…and Alan’s mind told
us that you were bonded.   Just as Dr. Russell and Commander Koenig are bonded.”

“WHAT!?”

He shushed her and looked around frantically.

“They are not bonded any more than Alan and I are!  Have you made her believe that she and
Commander are living together?”

“They are.”

Tirzah and Aun-jee turned to see Maya walking across the room.  “They are living together.  They
aren’t bonded, but it has been on her mind lately.”  She sat on Tirzah’s bed, at the foot.  “You
looked too deeply, Aun-jee.  You read their deepest desires not their actual lives.  Did you make
Helena believe that she has children as well?”

“No.  We felt that children would complicate the matter, even though both couples have them.”

Tirzah blushed and squirmed a little at this information.  “Alan’s been thinking about being
bonded?  But he’s never said anything to me.  And children…I don’t know if I’m ready for that.”

Maya looked at Aun-jee as she placed her hand on the young woman’s knee.  “No one has
children on Alpha yet, so don’t be concerned about any of that.  We need to get back.  If you’ve
read Alan and Helena’s minds you know that we’re searching for a habitable planet to populate.  
We obviously can’t stay here and Alpha must be getting further away.”

“There have been a couple of attempts by the Commander and Head Security Officer, but we
made them believe that their ship malfunctioned and they were forced to head back.”  Aun-jee
tipped his head toward Tirzah.  “I am curious; Alan said that you had been bonded for nearly a
year of your time, why didn’t you want this?  You’re physical response, when Maya talked about it
was positively warm.  Your body gave off more heat; showing in your face; and you had difficulty
sitting still.  You also smiled slightly for a moment.  So, why weren’t you happy with your situation?”

Tirzah blushed at this straight-forward analysis.  She looked down at her hands twisting the
blanket and when she looked back up, two sets of curious eyes stared at her.  “I…I just…”  She
swallowed and looked sheepishly at Maya.  “I don’t know if I’m ready to give up control yet.”

“But your outward responses to his…”

“That was something different…a…a manipulative environment!” Tirzah looked at the man
intensely.

Maya’s eyes shone with sympathy.  “Oh, I see.  We can discuss this later.”  She turned back to
Aun-jee.  “We have to get home before we’re stranded here.  The moon won’t wait for us.  
Keeping us prisoner is wrong…and you know it.”

“Yes.  My colleges’, however, may be harder to convince.  They’ve never been exposed to
such…what’s your word?  Such…intense emotion…such…”

“Passion?”  Maya volunteered.

“Yes!  We’ve never encountered any species like these Earthlings.  Maybe it’s wrong but…it was
so thrilling and exquisite, as well as…moving and yet animalistic…”

“Stop it!”  Tirzah hissed.  Fire burned behind her eyes.  “You’re not scientists…you’re keepers of a
zoo!  Manipulating people for your own selfish…”

“Tirzah.”  Maya’s harsh tone stopped her.  “They don’t comprehend what they’ve done because
they didn’t probe Helena’s and Alan’s minds properly.  Other than their fantasies, what else did
you find out about them?”

Aun-jee paced around the bed.  “We’ve found the history of these people to be extremely violent.  
We didn’t feel that we could trust them to…behave…” He stopped and looked at Maya
sheepishly.  “…even if they were in the company of a Psychon.”

“Why should that matter?”

Tirzah sat forward.  “Because Psychons have been here before.”

“What?”

“How did you know?”  Aun-jee looked at Tirzah suspiciously.

“I found Cassishua bushes in the garden.  Those are only grown on Psychon and places where
they’ve been.”

“Are you sure?”  Maya looked from one to the other.  “Have Psychons been here?”

“I’m sure.”

Aun-jee stopped and sighed heavily.  “Yes, Psychons have been on this planet.  We traded with
them and gave them shelter and assistance…then they left us.”  He traced a finger along the end
of the bed.  “That was a long time ago.  We knew that we would never reach you.”  He looked up
at Maya.  “So, we incapacitated you right at the beginning.”

“The buzzing in my head…feeling like it was exploding…because you didn’t know that I was
Psychon.  You thought that I was like the others so you tried to manipulate my mind as well!”  
Tirzah crawled across the bed as she spoke.  Maya turned and held her as she tried to advance
on the alien man.  “You’re no better than my masters!  You’re keepers and deceivers, despite your
pretty plants, stunning structures and your two moons.”  She spat out the words.

“Two moons?”  Aun-jee looked at Maya curiously.

Tirzah continued as if he hadn’t spoken.  “Why did you really bring us here?  What’s your real
purpose?  How long do you plan on keeping us in our ‘pretty cages’?”

“Tirzah stop.” Maya tried to push her back but the young woman fought her.

“They’re liars and cheats!  They use people and then toss them aside!  What will you make them
think when you’re through manipulating them?  That their hearts won’t last or their brains are
exploding?”

“Tirzah?!”  Maya spoke harshly, shaking her.  “That’s enough!”

“You feel threatened…why?”  Aun-jee cocked his head and watched her in earnest.  “We have
done no one any harm.”

“No harm?!”  Tirzah nearly flew to the end of the bed.  The man took a step back as Maya was
hard pressed to hold on to the young woman.  “How do you think they’ll respond when they realize
that this whole situation has been a manipulation?!”

“I…I…we’ll think of a way to send them on their way, no wiser that anything unusual has
happened.”  Aun-jee smoothed his tunic top.  “We…perhaps we could simply make
them…um…they could…”

“…think it’s a dream!”  Maya suddenly jumped in.

Tirzah scowled at her but relaxed slightly.  “A dream?  How?”

“It’s quite simple, really.  I’m sure that these people could think of an interesting way to set up the
situation.  Right, Aun-jee?”  Maya nodded at the man.

“Yes.  I’m sure we can think of something.”  Aun-jee took a tentative step forward.  “Tirzah, your
anger is uncharacteristic of Psychons.  Where does such anger come from?”

Tirzah sat back on her feet and her eyes still flashed as she spoke.  “I didn’t grow-up with
Psychons.  My parents were
murdered by curious, experimentally minded men.”

“Tirzah, that’s not fair.”  Maya interjected.

Aun-jee stepped back up to the foot of the bed.  “We’ve never physically harmed any of our
charges nor have we allowed them to harm themselves.  We simply observe their…”

The door suddenly flew open revealing Helena flanked by two alien scientists.  Helena rushed
forward and the others followed.  “What’s going on?  Are you alright?  Maya, what are you doing
out of bed?”

The two aliens flanked Aun-jee, took his arms and escorted him out of the room.  “Wait!  Stop!  He
didn’t…”  Tirzah shouted and tried to get out of the bed.

Helena glanced at the door as she held the woman back.  “She’s having another episode.  Maya,
help me to keep her in bed.”  She grabbed a sedative from her pocket and started toward Tirzah.

“I don’t think she needs that.”  Maya tried to protest.

Tirzah saw the instrument and backed away, jumping off the other side of the bed.  “I’m not seeing
things!  We’re not on Alpha!”  

Helena caught her half way to the door.  “Tirzah, get back into bed!  Maya, call security!”  Arms
locked, the two women wrestled for supremacy.   “Maya!”

“I want to go home!  We don’t belong here!”  Tirzah wrenched away from the doctor and headed
for another door.  

Breathless, Helena reached for her comlock as the door flew open.

Tirzah skidded to a stop and then backed slowly away from Alan Carter as he stepped into the
room.  “What’s going on in here?”  

With the look of a cornered animal on her face, Tirzah searched for any opening.

Maya suddenly ran up to the young woman and pushed her behind herself and in a different
direction.  “We aren’t crazy.  Just listen to us for a moment.”

Tirzah noticed Doctor Russell coming toward them from the other side.  “Doctor, didn’t you see the
man in here with us when you came in?”  She pleaded.

“You and Maya were the only ones in the room.  It’s okay.  You’re not well.  Just come back to bed
and relax so that you can get well.”

“We’re not sick.”  Maya’s voice rose slightly.  “Please, Helena, listen to me.  Have I ever been this
coherent and thought that I was somewhere else?  Have I ever lied to you before?!”

Tirzah’s back hit the wall stopping the women short.  The other two hesitated for a moment.  “No,
you’ve never lied to me.  But you are very ill and delusions happen in cases like this.”

“Cases like what?  We’re not sick.”  Maya pleaded with her friend.

Tirzah turned her attention to Alan.  “Alan, Where are we?”

“We’re on Alpha.  It’s going to be…”

“What time is it?”  Tirzah shook off his soothing voice.

“It’s late.”

“Yes, but what time is it?”

“It’s…it’s…I…”  Alan stopped and looked around the room confused.  Then he looked up
confidently.  “It’s late.”

Tirzah sighed and then took a deep breath.  “Okay, but what time is it?”

Again he floundered.

“Alan, how long has it been since the incident on the eagle?  How many days?”

“It’s been…it’s…I don’t…”  He looked over at Helena for support but she also had a confused look
on her face.

“What are you doing?”  Maya whispered back to her.

“Watch.”  Tirzah almost held her breath.  “How many days, Alan?”

A deeper scowl formed on his face and his mouth opened slightly as he looked around the room.  
He turned to look at the door behind him and then up at the ceiling.  “Where…when did…”

Maya watched intently as Helena had a similar experience.

Tirzah tugged on Maya’s sleeve.  “Something’s happening.  It’s never lasted this long before.”  
She whispered, then spoke out loud.  “What time is?  How long has it been?”

Suddenly understanding what was happening; Maya took a tentative step forward.  “Helena, how
long has it been since I first became ill?”

The doctor looked at her friend with an almost painful confusion.  “I…it’s been…”  Helena’s hand
moved toward her throat.  “It’s been…”

Maya and Tirzah inhaled sharply as Helena and Alan suddenly fainted to the floor.  They were
about to step forward when they heard another voice.

“It’s been five of your days; but only four of ours.”  An alien female, dressed very similarly to the
way Aun-jee was, stepped slowly across the room to the women.

Tirzah, recognizing her from the garden, backed up instinctively, trying to pull Maya with her.  
“What did you do to them?”

“They are asleep.”  She stepped up alongside Helena and looked down at her for a moment.  
“Good.  Even now, they’re giving her a dream.”  She looked up at Maya and smiled slightly.  “That
was a very good idea Maya.  We’ve never quite known what to do for our charges once they’re
finished here.  We’ve always just made them sleep, then put them back onto their spacecraft.”

Maya stepped up and knelt next to Helena.  “Who are you?”

“My name is Tre-en.  I am a Supervisory Assistant.”

“A Supervisory Assistant?”  Tirzah queried; still standing against the wall.

“Yes, there are four of us.”

Maya pushed the hair out of Helena’s face.  “Will they remember anything of these last few days?”

“Sort of, but if we do this right…” Tre-en knelt down next to Alan and placed her hand on his
forehead.

Tirzah inhaled heavily through her nose and, holding her breath, watched the alien woman closely.

Tre-en looked up at Tirzah slowly.  “I won’t harm him.  I’m simply being sure that he’s alright.”  She
stood and reached out her hands to the young woman.  “I’m sorry that I frightened you in the
garden today.  I was upset with the children and I’m afraid that I ‘broadcast’ instead of speaking
with each one of them.”

“Broadcast?”  Maya stood and carefully stepped around Helena.

Still holding out her hands and smiling at Tirzah, Tre-en explained.  “We can send out a sort of
‘broadcast’ with our minds.  Everyone hears it; even you I’m afraid.”

Tirzah stepped away from the wall but didn’t take the alien woman’s hands.  Instead, she knelt
down next to Alan and rolled him slightly so that his head landed in her lap.  “Why didn’t Alan hear
it?”

Tre-en sighed.  “He did.  I changed his memory later to fit his life on Alpha and your imagined
illness.”

“You are horrible people.”  Tirzah spoke softly as she smoothed Alan’s hair.  “You imprison
others…make them believe what you want them to…manipulate their ideas and memories…make
them think they live a life that they don’t…”  She cast tearful eyes up to Tre-en.  “Why didn’t you
just talk to us?  Why didn’t you let us know that you were here; ask us to visit perhaps?”

“We probed you’re…their minds on the way here.  Like Aun-jee explained, after finding their past
to be so violent, we could not take that chance.  It was best this way.”

“Did Aun-jee get into trouble for speaking with us?”  Maya inquired.

“A minor infraction.  We did need to remove him before he revealed too much information.”

Tirzah rolled Alan back to his original position carefully and stood up.  “What exactly would be ‘too
much information’?  Telling us why we’re here in the first place?  Perhaps letting us know that we’
re not crazy?  What were you planning on doing with Maya and me?  Overload our minds until we
were unconscious and just let us wake up in the eagle?”

Tre-en looked back and forth at each of the women before answering.  “I admit that was our
original plan…until Aun-jee spoke to you.”

Maya stopped Tirzah from interrupting.

“We would have the Earthlings think that they were flying you out into space as part of an
experiment to ‘re-initiate’ you to your surroundings.”

“That wouldn’t have worked.”  Maya stated.  “The other Alphans know that we’ve been gone for
five days.  Alan and Helena would have different memories and they’d want to know why.”

“Which is why your idea is so wonderful.  This way, they believe that Alan turned the craft around
to head back toward Alpha and encountered turbulence.  They’ll think that all of this has been a
dream; a fantasy that each one has had in the back of their minds.”  Tre-en walked away from the
small group.  “They’ll just wake up, very concerned about the two of you and believe that they’re
on their way home.”

“Tre-en, you’ve forgotten the missing time.”  Maya stepped toward the alien woman.  “The
Alphans have been searching for us for days.  What will you do about that?”

Tre-en spun around to look at them with a smile on her face.  “Give us some credit, my dear.  
Even now, my people are altering the computer on your ship to show it’s trajectory around the
planet because of an atmospheric disturbance; also the cause of their long term
unconsciousness.”  She suddenly stepped up to Maya, a look of concern on her face.  “However,
you two have to play your parts.  You two passed-out on that eagle.  As far as they will be aware,
you both have been unconscious the entire time as well.”

“Why are you doing this?”  Tirzah stepped up behind Maya.  “What possible reason could you
have to snatch innocent people away from their home and family?  What have any of us done to
deserve this?”

Tre-en smiled up at the other women.  “You entered our atmosphere.  You attempted to land on
this planet.  Your companion’s minds were full of violent images.  But, honestly, we were simply
curious.  We’ve never met Earthlings before and we wanted to know about an emotion we had
never experienced.”

“And are you satisfied?”  Maya raised one eyebrow.

Tre-en stared at the floor for a moment.  “Most say that they are, but others want you to stay a bit
longer to see something called ‘rape’.”

The Psychon women’s mouths fell open and they began to argue with the alien female at the
same time.

Tre-en placed her hands over her tiny ears and backed away from them.

Maya stopped and quieted Tirzah.  “Tre-en.”  She spoke quietly.  “If your people didn’t know about
making love and passion, how did you find out about rape?”

Tre-en lowered her hands and looked up at Tirzah.  The innocence on the alien woman’s face
seemed genuine.  “When we were observing Tirzah and Alan, a thought came into his mind at a
point when Tirzah refused to let him touch her…”

Tirzah shook her head and took an involuntary step back.  “No.  He would never…”

“If the group had decided to investigate this concept further…yes, he would have done…”

“How could you?!”  Tirzah’s eyes filled with tears and they flashed with anger and shame.

“All decisions have to be unanimous with the control group or else they can’t…”  Tre-en stepped
toward Tirzah to explain.

“No!  You’re all monsters!  You already tried to…if I hadn’t hurt him…you… you’re horrible!”  The
young woman screamed at her capture.

“Ka-lon went ahead without group permission that morning.”  Tre-en followed Tirzah wherever she
moved.  “He acted alone and he was reprimanded harshly.”

“Reprimanded!” Tirzah stopped and approached the woman quickly.  Maya stepped forward to
stop her.  “Do you have any idea what you’ve done?  Do you understand the harm you do to
others?!”

“Tirzah, that’s enough.”  Maya intervened.

“It will never be enough!” Tirzah pushed away from her.  “You don’t know what we went through.  I
thought that I was insane and that morning when…” Her voice trailed off and she turned away
from the other women to hide the tears.

Maya turned to comfort the young woman when Tre-en suddenly grabbed Maya and tugged at her
arm.  “We must hurry!”  Tre-en moved quickly across the room.  “Another rescue attempt is on its
way.”  She grabbed two smooth boards from the wall.  “We need to get you all back into the
eagle.”  She handed one to Maya and motioned Tirzah to join her at Alan’s side.

Tre-en lay the board tight to his back and, with Tirzah’s help, rolled him onto it. “Straighten out his
arms and legs so he’s as comfortable as possible and then strap him down.”  She instructed
Tirzah before she moved to Maya’s side to help her with Helena.

Tirzah looked over at the other two women as Helena’s board suddenly levitated and then
hovered approximately 3 feet off the ground.  Tre-en then approached Tirzah and pushed on the
end of Alan’s board.  His also levitated off the floor like Helena’s.

“Hurry!”  Tre-en grabbed the end of the board near Alan’s head and turned it slowly toward the
door.  She looked over at Maya and nodded.  “Just push on it, but be careful not to turn it too fast.”

The door suddenly flew open and Aun-jee and several other aliens rushed into the room.  They
took the boards from the women and skillfully maneuvered them out the door and down the hall.

Aun-jee took Tirzah’s hand and smiled as he pulled her along the hallway.  “This is the most
excitement we’ve had in a long time.  You’ll find your uniforms already on the ship.  You’ll have
time to change before they wake.”

They turned down long dimly lit hallways and hurried down stairs and around corners.  Tirzah
looked back several times to make sure that Tre-en still guided Maya along.  She felt as if they’d
been chasing after nothing for quite some time when they finally stopped outside a pair of double
doors.

The doors opened monotonously slow and even the aliens appeared to be agitated at their lack of
speed.  Tirzah took the time to look down at Alan’s sleeping form.  She couldn’t help wondering
what he would do and if he’d treat her differently after they arrived back on Alpha.

The doors were finally open wide enough to allow them to pass through and Tirzah marveled at
the huge hanger they all hurried into.  Overhead doors were just opening to reveal the darkening
sky and half of the blue moon that orbited the planet.

Maya suddenly grabbed Tirzah and pointed to the small white satellite that hung in the sky.  “Alpha’
s nearly out of range!”  She turned back to Tre-en and Tirzah lost anything else she said in the
whine of the engines.

They followed the hovering boards with Alan and Helena on them into the eagle, remaining in the
passenger section until the others had been placed in their appropriate places.  Tirzah looked over
to see Daniel Morris sitting sprawled across the back seats.  She suddenly felt guilty that she’d
forgotten to even inquire about the security guard.

As soon as the aliens carried the empty boards out of the eagle, Aun-jee tugged Tirzah toward the
cockpit.  She looked back to see Tre-en show Maya where she had fallen.

“This is where you must lay; this is where we found you.”  Aun-jee pulled her attention back to
himself.  “I’m sorry that this has all turned out badly for you, Tirzah.  But I must say, I’m so very
glad I got to meet you.  You are the most unique charg…person, I’ve ever met.”

A little dumbfounded; Tirzah didn’t quite know what to say.  “Thank you, Aun-jee.  I’m glad that I
met you too.”  She embraced him, awkwardly, for a moment.  “What about my uniform?”

“Oh!”  Aun-jee took her hand excitedly and pulled her back into the passenger section.

“…computers are much more primitive than we’ve seen in a long time, but we managed to make
them say what you need them to.”  Tre-en and Maya seemed to be in deep conversation when the
others approached.  “That’s right!”  Tre-en suddenly turned and grabbed two shrink-wrapped
bags from the seat behind her.  Little symbols decorated the center of the bags.  “Here are your
uniforms.”  She handed each of the Psychons a bag.  “It’s very simple, just press this symbol
here…”  Tre-en pointed to the one in the center.  “…and the bag opens.  This one here reseals…”

“…reseals the bag and expels the excess air!”  Maya finished excitedly.  “These instructions are
written in Psychon!”

Tre-en and Aun-jee looked toward the door.  “We have to go.”  She took Maya’s hand between
both of hers.  “We apologize again for your stress and inconvenience.  Thank you for all of your
help.”

Aun-jee did the same to Tirzah.  “Be well, Tirzah.  Be contented, too.”  He looked at her intently for
a moment then turned and left the eagle abruptly.

“Be well, Maya…Tirzah.”

As soon as Tre-en left and the door closed, Maya and Tirzah strapped into the seats for take off.  
They held each other’s hands as the eagle climbed through the atmosphere.

When the g-forces subsided, the two women jumped out of their seats, grabbed their uniforms and
moved to the back of the cabin to change.  When they were finished dressing, Maya showed the
younger woman how to reseal the bag.

“We can put these in my equipment bag.  No one will search it and I’ll bring yours to you later if
you want it.”  Maya took Tirzah’s bag and opened the equipment locker.  “We have a few minutes
before they wake if you have any questions.”

Tirzah slipped into her boots.  “I still want to know why…why did they do this to us?  What did they
think was going to happen?”

“It was an experiment, Tirzah.  I don’t condone it, but their curiosity is so powerful that they don’t
think of the outcome of their actions in their subjects lives.  They will probably continue to interfere
since their resources to protect themselves seems to be, in all other ways, so limited.”  Maya
hugged her tightly.  “The others will wake when they hear the Commander’s voice.  We’d better
get into our places.”

Tirzah nodded and started toward the cockpit as Maya continued.  “Remember, act like you’re
asleep until someone shakes or touches you.  Alright?”

Tirzah nodded and went to her spot near the cockpit door.  The longer she lay on the floor, the
more nervous she became.  She worried that the dream idea wouldn’t work and the others would
know that the experience had been real.

She didn’t know how long she’d been laying there, horrible thoughts swimming through her head,
when the Commander’s voice suddenly boomed across all the intercoms.  Tirzah jumped slightly
then closed her eyes and willed her heart to slow its wild beating.

“Come in Eagle in 7.  Alan, can you hear me?”

Tirzah heard the Alphans stir and tried to remain as still as death.

“John?  Yeah, I hear you.”  Alan shifted in his seat.  “What happened?”

“Alan, thank God, are you all right?  Is everyone else alright?”

“Yeah, I’m good.”  Alan’s confused voice drifted down to the passenger section as he started to
get out of his seat.  “Um…hang on I’ll check.”

“Tirzah!”  Alan knelt next to her and placed his finger on the side of her throat.  “Can you hear
me?”

“Maya?”  Helena’s voice drifted down the narrow isle.

Tirzah opened her eyes slowly as Alan placed his arm under her neck and raised her head up
onto his lap.  “What happened?”  She nearly held her breath waiting for an answer.

“I’m not sure yet.  Are you all right?”  He helped her sit up a little more.

“Yes, I think so.”

“Can you stand?  Helena should probably check you out.”  Alan wrapped his arm around her and
helped her to her feet.  “You okay?”

“Yes, I think I’m fine.  What happened?”  Tirzah stepped into the passenger section to see Helena
fussing over Maya.

Alan sat her next to Maya.  “Is everyone alright?”

They all mumbled and nodded affirmatively.  Alan moved to the science console and hailed the
Commander’s eagle.  “John.  Everything seems all right here.”

Helena came up behind him.  “Maya and Tirzah passed out when we hit some turbulence….we
strapped in and then nothing…we woke up a moment ago.  John, how long have we been
unconscious?”

“I don’t know that, but you’ve been away from Alpha, and all radio contact, for five days!”  The
Commander looked at someone beside him.  “We’ve been trying to reach you but the eagles kept
malfunctioning and we were forced back to Alpha.  Are you sure you’re okay?”

Helena smiled softly at his image.  “Yes, I think we’re fine.  I’ll do a complete exam as soon as we
return home.”

The Commander smiled back.  “Alan, you must be out of fuel by now.  We’ll pull up alongside, link
up and tow you back to Alpha.”

“Sounds good.”  Alan smiled over at the other two women.  “We’ll be home soon.”  He stepped
around Helena and headed for the cockpit.

“It’s working, Maya.”  Tirzah whispered as she wrapped an arm around her.

“What’s that?”  Helena turned a smiling face at the other women.

“She…was just saying that she’s all right.”  Maya covered.

“Good.  You should both sit down.”  Helena ushered them to the seats.  She grabbed her med-kit
and Tirzah leaned forward as the doctor opened it.  She saw nothing unusual inside and relaxed
back in her seat.


~~~~~~~~~~
Back to Story Menu
by  Patricia Marie
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