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 Pure-phect.  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 don’t look like her.  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 and 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.


~~~~~~~~~~


The flurry of activity made John Koenig pause as the door to the Medical Center opened.  
He took a tentative step inside the room and used his comlock to close the door behind him.  
"How is everyone?"  He called to Helena.

The Doctor handed a tray of vials and tiny equipment to a nurse and smiled up at him.  
"We're all running at 100 percent!"  They made their way around other doctors and nurses
and John put a hand on her shoulder.  "We've all had a thorough examination and there
wasn't any sign of trauma or injury to anyone."

"Isn't that a little unusual after what you've all been through?" The Commander queried.

"I don't think so.  We had a bit of a shock but as far as I can tell what ever caused Maya and
Tirzah to pass out also, eventually, did the same thing to us.  What ever it was must have
also caused the odd phenomenon of the simultaneous dreams that we all had."  Helena
walked over to a standing tray near Maya and picked up a computer disk.  "I had Ed rush
some of the tests through and so far the only problem or worry that we found was our lost
time while unconscious.  We all had a similar dream that seemed very real, so the
adjustment time may take a bit to...you know, reorient ourselves."

Commander Koenig closed the gap between himself and the Psychon women.  "And how are
you two?  You were the first to encounter the phenomenon."

The two women glanced at each other and Maya spoke for them.  "We both experienced
incredible pain just before we were knocked unconscious, but then we also had parts of the
dream."

"Only parts?"  Koenig placed an arm on her shoulder.  "Which parts?"

Maya stammered for a moment before Tirzah spoke up.  "Just parts.  The parts we were in."

"John?  What did the eagle's computer say happened to us?"  Alan joined him at Tirzah's
side.

"Apparently, the turbulence you hit was some strange atmospheric disturbance that
surrounds the planet.  When you started your decent into the atmosphere, you got dragged
into what the computer can only describe as a negatively charged cloud bank.  This appears
to have caused the communications to go down and the conditions that you described about
yourselves.  I’d even be willing to say that it was a miracle the eagle didn’t simply drop
straight into the planet."

“Well, all’s well that ends well!”  Alan’s cliché was lost on Tirzah but the others nodded.

Helena dismissed them with a promise that she’d be checking on them again in the next few
days.

Once they were out in the hallway, Alan eased his way between the two Psychons and
placed an arm around each of them.  “After 5 days you guys must be hungry.  I know I am.  
Join me for a bite?  My treat!”

“Thank you, Alan…”  Tirzah started.

“We’d love to.  I know that I’m hungry and I’ll bet Tirzah is too.”  Maya interrupted.

“Fantastic!  I have a date with the two prettiest ladies on the base.”

Maya and Tirzah giggled as Alan steered them toward the cafeteria.


~~~~~~~~~~


One month after their strange ordeal, Tirzah found herself standing outside Alan Carter’s
door.  

She’d been avoiding a lot of contact with him until the events of their captivity had been
forgotten.  But Tirzah couldn’t forget and it continued to haunt her.  Even Helena, who didn’t
know the real story, felt that the best thing to do was to confront her fears and talk to him.  
Maya had agreed; so here she stood.

The young Psychon woman smoothed down her hair and suit before reaching out a nervous
hand to the buzzer.

After a moment, the door slid back and Alan’s surprised face greeted her.  “Tirzah, what
brings you here?”

“I, ah…”  She cleared her throat.  He was wearing his robe and had a towel over his wet
head.  “I was hoping that I could talk to you.”

“Sure. Come on in.”  He stood aside and then shut the door after she entered.  “Can I get
you a drink or something?”

Tirzah turned to face him and immediately looked at the floor.  “Some juice would be nice.”  
She watched him out of the corner of her eye as his strong bare legs took him to the mini-
cooler and she moved to sit on the arm of the couch.

Alan handed her a cup of juice before excusing himself to the bathroom.  Tirzah waited
impatiently until he finally immerged wearing an old pair of jeans and button down shirt.  “Did
you have plans?”

“No; not really.  I just got off shift.  I was going to have a bite to eat if you’d like to join me.”  
He finished buttoning the shirt and sat down next to her.

“No…maybe…I needed to talk to you.”  Tirzah twisted her fingers around the cup handle.

“Okay.”  Alan edged forward.  “Is everything alright?  You seem nervous.”

“I am.”  It had slipped out and Tirzah immediately began to stammer.  “It’s just…I wanted
to…”  She took a deep breath and looked up into his eyes.  Concern and patience resonated
back at her.

She smiled at him and set her cup on the table.  “I’ve been having trouble sleeping.”  Tirzah
spoke slowly.  “I thought perhaps that you might have a suggestion or an idea for me.”  She
placed her hands on his.

“I’ll do whatever I can, of course.”

“I…I know…I’ve been talking to Helena about the…dream we all had on the eagle.”

“Yeah, that was weird, all of us having coinciding dreams.  What’re the odds?”  He
interrupted.

Tirzah smiled nervously.  “Yes.  Well, since we’ve been back I’ve been having trouble
sleeping.”

“Bad dreams again?”  He interrupted again.

“Not really.”

“What then; insomnia?”

“I don’t think so.  Alan, please let me finish.”

“Sorry.  Go ahead.”

“These…dreams have made me realize that I…I care very deeply for you.”  She moved a
little closer.  “I’ve spent some time away from you trying to sort it all out.  The conclusion I
came to was that I don’t want to be away from you; quite the opposite really.”  She hesitated
for a moment.  "I can't do this!"  And then stood and stepped around the couch, heading for
the door.

"Whoa, girl!"  Alan jumped up and caught her before she could open the door.  "Slow down.  
Tell me what's going on."

"I can't!  I just..."  She tried to turn back toward the door.

"Come here."  He took her hand and lead her back to the sofa.  "You said once that you
found it easier to talk to me and Maya than anyone else."  He sat her down facing him.  
"Maya's not here, but I am.  And I'm listening."

Tirzah slipped her arms around his neck and whispered into his ear.  "I don't want to lie
anymore."

"Then don't."  He held her as tight as she held him and his heart skipped a beat at how good
she felt.  "You should never have to lie, especially to me."  He pulled back slightly to look into
her eyes.  "Tell me...I can take it."  He joked softly and stroked her head.

She looked into his eyes, and at that moment she believed him.  She believed that he really
could handle knowing the truth.

"It wasn’t a dream."  She began slowly.  "Those five days that we were gone really
happened.  It all happened and I wasn’t sure before, but now I know that it was good for
me…for us.”  Tirzah leaned forward and kissed him slowly and passionately.

Alan responded for a moment before pushing her away gently.  “Tirzah, are you saying that
you think the dream was real?”

“It was real!”

“Sweetheart, it was only a dream.  Some good; some bad, but still just a dream.”  Alan
rubbed her shoulders.  “Is that what the nightmares are about; the bad part of the dream?  
Look, I’ve talked to Dr. Mathias and he said to just give us both some time to deal with…”

“It wasn’t a dream!” On impulse, Tirzah suddenly sat forward and began speaking quickly.  
“You mustn’t tell the others!  Except Maya, she knows of course.  But everything that you
thought you dreamed really happened!  Only we weren’t on Alpha, we were on some alien
planet and we were held captive by small alien people.  They were very beautiful and so
was the planet but we were like prisoners in a paradise.  Maya and I could see it all for real,
but you and Helena thought that you were here, but we weren’t!  They were just curious and
wanted to study us in our own environment; except Maya and I knew we weren’t; because
they didn’t understand love!”  She barely drew breath.  “And ever since then we’ve lied to
you and I can’t sleep knowing what I know!  I hate having to lie, especially to you, and it’s
been driving me crazy because I don’t want you to think, especially now, that I’m angry or
upset, because I’m not.  Maya thought it was a good idea then, but now that I’m having
trouble, she thinks I should talk to you because…because…”

She threw her arms around his neck.  “Because I know what real love is now and I don’t
want any lies between us.”  She whispered in his ear.  She felt a tear slip down her cheek.  
“Please forgive me.”

Alan gently took her arms and pulled her from around his neck.  “Forgive you for what?  For
something that happened in a dream?  If so, then I should be the one asking for
forgiveness!”  He kissed her sweetly and then pulled her to her feet.  “Come on.”

“Where are we going?”

“I’m going to take you out so that you can forget all of this dream nonsense!”  He giggled.

“But, Alan……”  Tirzah protested.

“Nope. Not another word!”  He kissed her nose as they paused on the threshold.  “Tonight
is for fun and frolic!  No responsibilities, no cares……no worries!”  He shrugged and
chuckled at his own joke before pulling her down the hallway.

                       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was a few more days before Tirzah found time to be alone with Alan again.  She stepped
into the workout room that Alan had reserved for them and walked slowly to the middle of the
floor where he was stretching out.

Tirzah sat down and did her own stretching but never took her eyes off of Alan.  Finally
noticing that she was watching him, Alan stopped and sat up straight.  “What’s the matter?”

“I’ve been wanting to talk to you……”

“About the dream again?”  He cut her off causing her to look shyly at the floor.  “Have you
talked to Helena or Bob Mathias about your dreams?”

“It’s not just about my dream!”  Tirzah slapped her knees in frustration and curled her legs in
indian style.

“Look, Tirzah…”  He leaned forward and placed a hand on hers.  “It’s not real, darling, and if
you’re having nightmares again over it then, if you want, I’ll go with you and talk to the
doctors.”

“Why won’t you listen?  It’s gone beyond the dreams…”  She yanked her hand out from
under his.

“You have to let it go, love!  We all had a crazy……”  Alan never got any further.  Tirzah
suddenly jumped up onto her knees and shoved his shoulders as hard as she could, causing
him to fall back hard on the mats.

“Hey!”  Alan exclaimed as he pulled himself up onto his elbows and watched her run out the
door.

                       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alan rubbed his eyes as he opened the door to his quarters.  Red faced and panic stricken,
Tirzah stood on his threshold as if she’d just seen a ghost.  He grabbed her elbow slowly
and pulled her inside before closing the door.

She shuddered slightly at his touch but allowed him to guide her in and sit her on the bed.  
“What happened?”  Alan smoothed out her disheveled hair and then knelt down in front of
her when she didn’t answer.  

“Hey, darlin’.”  He spoke quietly and gently tilted her face up to meet his.  “Tirzah, are you
even awake?”

Her eyes darted around the room.  “Are we alone?”  She focused on Alan for only a moment
before she searched the room with her eyes again.  “They’re watching us all the time.”  She
whispered.

It sent chills down Alan spine and he stood to call for a doctor but she grabbed his hand and
stared into his eyes for a moment.  “Please don’t leave me!  It’s like being in the box!”

“What is, Tirzah?  Where are you?”

“I’m the only one who can see it.”  She whispered as her eye’s continued to search the
room.  “Are we alone?”  She asked again.

“We’re all alone.”  Alan spoke quietly and took her face in his hands.  “Tirzah, wake up.”

When she didn’t respond, he shook her slightly.  “Wake up, Tirzah.”  His voice became
louder and he shook her lightly by the shoulders.  When she still didn’t respond, he shook
her again and spoke her name louder.

Tirzah focused suddenly on the man in front of her.  Her bottom lip quivered and a tear
began to fall slowly.  “I’m so sorry.”  She whispered and then fainted in his arms.

Tirzah woke the following morning to find that she and Alan were curled into each others’
arms.  Tirzah looked up and around the room frantically until her eyes rested on the framed
Eagle schematics hanging on Alan’s wall.  That and a photo of him and a friend from flight
school on his nightstand assured her that she was most definitely on Alpha.

She tried to disentangle herself from Alan without waking him, but he breathed in deeply and
tightened his grip on her.  “Where do you think you’re going?”  He smiled without opening
his eyes.

“I have to use the washroom.”  Tirzah chuckled and wiggled out of his arms.

“Don’t be gone long!”  He called after her.

Tirzah shut the door and looked around the small room.  She freshened up while she tried to
figure out how and why she was in Alan’s quarters.  “At least I’m still in my pajamas, so
probably nothing happened.”  She whispered to her reflection in the mirror.  “But how’d I get
here?”

Tirzah stepped out of the bathroom and headed to the bed again.  Alan smiled up at her and
patted the mattress where he’d turned down the sheet.  She crawled in next to him and
allowed him to pull the sheet up over her as she cuddled up closer.

“I’ll bet you’re wondering how you got here.”  Alan surprised her with his question.

“As a matter of fact I was.”

“You were sleepwalking.  You were having a bad dream or something, but you came in here
and scared the life out of me.”  He traced a finger along her hairline and down across her
jaw.  “Do you remember the dream?”

Tirzah sighed heavily.  “I dreamed of when we were prisoners on the alien world.  That’s
what my dreams are always about lately.”

“Why are you so upset over a dream that we all had?”  He rubbed her back and spoke as he
would to a child.

Exasperated, Tirzah threw the sheet back and rolled away until she was sitting on the edge
of the bed.  “Because it wasn’t a dream!  The dreams that I have aren’t about the dream that
we dreamed!”

“Pardon?”  Confused, Alan raised himself up on one elbow.

“The dream that we dreamed wasn’t really a dream!  It happened……it all happened!”

Alan moved to sit next to her and put an arm around her shoulders.  “Alright, I’ll tell you
what……you give me a moment to change and we’ll go to Medical together and figure this
whole thing out.”

Tirzah closed her eyes for a moment and then nodded her agreement.  As soon as Alan was
in the shower, she headed for the door with every intention to leave.

She was about to hit the button when she was struck with an idea of how she could prove to
Alan that their experience was real.  She paced around the room for a moment trying to work
out her strategy and when Alan emerged, he found her sitting on the couch.

“Did you want to stop at your place and change before we head to Medical?”

Tirzah shook her head negatively.  “I’d like to talk to you for just a moment before we go, if
you don’t mind.”

Alan smiled and moved to sit next to her.  “Sure.  What did you want to talk about?”

“I think that I know of a way to prove that I’m not crazy.”

“No one thinks that your crazy, Tirzah.”

“I’m sorry; I don’t know any other way.”  Tirzah grabbed onto his shoulders and looked
intently into his eyes.  “I can’t project images that I haven’t actually experienced.”  She had
only done this intentionally, one other time before with him to show him her home world of
her childhood and her parents.

She locked eyes with Alan and the room around them faded into an image of their small grey
room.  The wooden furniture around the room was still the way that Tirzah and Alan had left
it.  

The window was open slightly and a breeze blew in as Alan's voice echoed around the
room.  “Where are we?”

“This is the room we shared.”  Tirzah made him focus on the trees and structures out the
window.  “This is what I saw while you thought you were on Alpha.”

“But I thought you had the same dream that we did?”  The image faded and in its place
appeared the most beautiful garden Alan had ever seen.  “Now where are we?”

“I told you, Maya and I were the only ones who saw the real planet.  This is where we were
held for those five days.  You and the Doctor only thought you were dreaming to protect the
natives of this planet.”  Just as before, the image of the alien children burst through the
bushes.

“What…who are they?”  Alan exclaimed in delight.

“Some of the children that stopped to talk to us in the garden that day.  Their minds were as
pure as a night breeze.”

“What part of your dream was this?”

Tirzah sighed softly.  “It wasn’t a dream, Alan."  The image faded until they were once again
in Alan's quarters on Alpha.  "I can’t show you images of places or people that I haven’t
actually visited.  These images are where we really were those five days."

"We were held prisoner...by some alien race?"  Alan's confusion suddenly turned to genuine
pain.  "That means...if that's true then we..."  He edged back away from Tirzah.  "...that
means that we...that we...oh God, Tirzah!"  

Alan stood and slowly paced around his small room, rubbing the back of his neck with his
hand.  "This is...I can't even begin to..."  He stopped and stared at her innocent, hopeful
eyes watching him.  "That means that I nearly...I nearly…"  

Tirzah leaned over the back of the couch, reaching out to him.  "Let me explain."

Alan backed up a couple of steps, shaking his head.  "No, it's not true."  He picked up his
comlock and violently shoved the clip onto his belt.  "No!  It was just a dream!"  Alan took
one last look at her now teary-eyed face and almost yelled at her as he punched the door
release on the wall.  "No!"

Tirzah sank into the couch as soon as the door closed and sobbed uncontrollably.



Red faced and agitated, Alan Carter stormed down the hallways of Moonbase Alpha.  No
one tried to stop him or talk to him in the hallways, the travel tubes or the elevators.  He
didn't know where he was really headed.  Every time he thought that he would go to a
particular place, he'd change his mind at the last second and headed off in a new direction.

He didn't know what section he was in or level he was on anymore, he just kept walking.  
Alan passed by a darkened room with a set of large windows on the other side that allowed
perfect viewing of the celestial forest that the moon traveled through.

He nearly skidded to a stop as he finally decided that this would be the perfect place to
think.  He turned up the lights and called out to make sure that the room wasn't already
occupied, then turned them off again and shut the door as he headed toward the window.

Alan paced back and forth in front of it like a caged animal for several minutes before he
threw himself on the leather sofa and stared out into space.  The more his eyes adjusted to
the lack of light, the more of the room he eventually took in.

Alan suddenly raised himself up on his elbows, truly looking around for the first time.  His
mouth dropped open in amazement.  This room was the same lounge that Tirzah had found
that night that she was so upset.

She had only been on Alpha for 3 or 4 weeks and her English wasn't as good as she might
have liked, but she'd found herself here after having an argument with Maya over the
nightmares Tirzah'd been having.  Her dreams were always the same she'd said, about
being chased by the Norlou leader that had taken her as a child from her parents.  The
dream was about the last encounter that she'd had with him as he carried her away from her
new Alphan friends and her home one last time and where, after quite some time, Alan had
found them in the forest and saved her from a brutal raping.

Alan looked around again.  It was on this very sofa that they had nearly made love for the
first time, except that Alan had stopped it because she felt that she owed him a reward for
saving her life.

He sat up quickly and glanced at the closed door.  Perhaps she'd come in again as she had
before and fall, crying into his arms and kiss him with such passion and abandon as Alan
had never felt before.  He touched his lips and smiled at the memory how good her body had
felt and how they fit so well together.

And just as abruptly, the vision of those nights when he thought that they were on Alpha and
they'd been bonded....married for nearly a year.  Alan threw his head into his hands and
started to sob quietly.  His advances....their passion....how she'd tried to stop him until
finally...it had been sweet and sensual and she had thanked him afterward.

Alan grabbed handfuls of his hair and screamed at the top of his lungs as the memory
flooded in on him of that morning when he'd pinned her down, forcing his hands between her
legs and his mouth nearly bit into her breast with his passion.  He cried openly and stood,
grabbing a plastic chair and flinging it across the room as he now recalled her cries and
pleas for him to stop as he relentlessly took what he wanted.

He sat back down hard on the sofa and again buried his face in his hands.  What would
have happened if she hadn't slapped me so hard?  He wondered.  What if I hadn't stop?  
And for one brief second he wondered what had made him act that way.  Alan growled as he
pushed the thoughts away by physically rising and storming out of the room.

~~~~~~~~~~

Tirzah waited her turn in the cafeteria to get a snack before returning to work.  She'd only
wanted a piece of fruit.  She had no appetite lately and she tried not to think of how tired she
was from her sleepless nights.

"Tirzah?"  Not too far away, Maya called to her.

Tirzah grabbed a pear and headed in her direction.  She was nearly to the table when
someone grabbed her from behind and gently but persistently pulled her toward the door.  "I
need to talk to you."  The male voice hissed in her ear.

She saw Maya and Helena's look of astonishment as she was spirited away.

Tirzah dropped her pear when she was pulled around the corner and pinned gently to the
wall.  Alan Carter stood in front of her with blood-shot eyes, unkept hair and what had to be
about 5 days beard growth on his chin.  She'd never seen him like this and it frightened her a
little.

His voice was quiet but on the venomous side and it sent cold chills down Tirzah's spine.  
"Tell me the truth."

Confusion played across her face and she opened her mouth but nothing came out.

"Tell me the truth!"  His thick Australian accent nearly spat out.  "Don't lie to me.  Tell me that
it was a dream."

Pain and pity filled Tirzah's eyes as she realized the shame and torment that she'd inflicted
upon this loyal and caring human being.  Her own eyes began to tear, but she couldn't
satisfy him with a lie.  She found her throat was closed with emotion and all that she could
manage was to shake her head negatively.

Alan growled low in his throat like an animal and pushed away from her.  He paced the
hallway and occasionally grabbed at his thick blond hair.  He suddenly turned bright red
angry eyes at her and she froze in fear against the wall.  "You're lying!"  He yelled.

Tirzah looked around herself suddenly.  Not so much for help as for answers.  She
desperately wished that she had never told him the truth, that she had just kept the secret
buried within herself.  She shook her head again, unable to stop herself, and managed a
weak "no" to escape.

Alan leapt forward like a tiger and grabbed her upper arm tightly and dragged her down the
hall behind him.  He once again entered the cafeteria with Tirzah in tow and, without letting
her go, shoved her forward toward Maya and Helena.  Many astonished gasps could be
heard, but Alan ignored them all.  "Tell Helena that it was a lie."

Terrified now, Tirzah looked at each one of them in turn, not knowing what she should do or
say.  Both of the other women were now on their feet and Maya stepped forward slowly,
never taking her eyes off of Alan.  "What's this all about, Alan?"  She reached forward
carefully and put her hands on Tirzah's arm just below his.

"I want Tirzah to tell Helena the truth!"  He hissed at her as he kept his eyes riveted on the
Doctor's.

Tirzah started to speak but Maya neatly cut in as she gently put her hands around Alan's.  
"Let her go, Alan, you're hurting her arm."  She said softly and gently, still watching him.

He blinked at her as he made eye contact for the first time and then looked down at the
young woman's arm.  He allowed Maya to gently pull his hand away and watched sorrowfully
as she pulled Tirzah back with her a couple of steps away.

"Tell her the truth, Tirzah.  She deserves to know."  He nearly sobbed.  Alan had thrown any
diplomacy to the wind and he didn't care who saw or knew.

Tirzah shook her head and wiped away her tears.  "I can't."  She almost whispered.

"You can't?  You can't?"  Alan's voice rose.  "You can tell me and leave me standing in the pit
of hell, but you can't tell her!"

Tirzah shook her head and buried her face in Maya's shoulder.

Alan lunged at her snarling, but Helena and Maya were faster.  They moved in front of the
young Psychon to protect her from his attack.  Three voices called out to him, but he never
heard the third until Tony Verdeschi and another security guard grabbed Alan from behind.  
"What the hell are you doing, Alan?"

No one had really seen Alan for the last week.  He didn't have a turn in Command Center, so
other than the eagle technicians and the odd passer-by, no one knew just how bad he was.  
Tony was taken back by his disheveled and unkempt appearance.  He gathered himself
quickly and tried to steer Alan away from the women.  "Come on, mate.  I'll take you home."

Alan looked at him with contempt.  "I can find my own way home...mate."  The sarcasm of his
last word hung in the air.  He shrugged out of the security guards' hands and turned to walk
out.  He'd only gone a few feet when he turned and pointed at Tirzah.  "She has a right to
know!"  Alan turned and stormed out of the cafeteria.

Tony motioned for the guard to make sure that Alan made it back to his quarters safely and
turned to the women.  "Somebody wanna tell me what just happened here?"

Tirzah suddenly burst into tears and immediately fled the room.

Helena began whispering into her comlock as Maya stepped up to Tony and quickly placed
a hand on his arm.  "Make sure that Alan's alright.  I'll take care of Tirzah and explain all of
this later."

Tony nodded his agreement and they left the cafeteria to go their separate ways.

~~~~~~~~~~

Carter had not gone home as everyone has hoped and intended.  His head was full of
agonizing images of those five days he had thought were a dream.

Why?  Why?  His brain played devil's advocate with him.  Because it's what you've wanted
for so long, admit it.

No!  He nearly screamed it out loud.

Her eyes that danced and sparkled with passion as your hand ran up her thigh and across
her back.  That long strawberry blond hair that fell across her breasts like a blanket.

Enough!  She didn't deserve for it to happen that way!  Carter grabbed at his head, trying to
make the torment stop.

She was so beautiful and she's got kisses that you could drown in!  And when you pulled off
the nightgown and her perfect body lay before you, so inviting and yet...

"Stop it!"  He yelled out loud, frightening an already leery mechanical engineer.  She shied
away from him as he continued on unnoticing, fighting with his inner demons.

Alan stepped into one of the control rooms and snatched up the eagle repair roster.  Eagle 5
had just had some experimental rocket thrusters installed and was due for testing tomorrow.

That'll do.  Alan threw the clipboard back on the console, flipped a couple of switches and
then brushed past one of the younger members of the ground crew who was on his way into
the room.

"Nice beard going on there Mr. Carter."  The young man said good-naturedly.

"Piss off."  Carter didn't care if he'd heard him or not.

Alan headed straight for Eagle 5 and boarded her.  He shut the door and made sure that it
was locked before he proceeded to the cockpit.

Lights began to flash and a klaxon on one wall sounded a warning.  All of the technicians ran
toward the nearest exits as the unmistakable sound of the overhead doors unlocking and the
oxygen being sucked back into the ventilators announced that the bay was about to
decompress.



It had been a slow time on Alpha these last few weeks, so when the alarm on Sandra Benes'
desk went off, everyone turned to look.  She hit the button quickly to shut it off and looked up
nervously into John Koenig's eyes.  "There is an unauthorized lift off happening on launch
pad 2, Commander."

"Who is it?"  Koenig was genuinely concerned.  They didn't have the resources for someone
to be taking a joy ride.  "Tell them to abort."

"Command Center to Launch Area 2.  You are not authorized for lift off.  Abort.  Repeat;
abort."  Sandra held her breath as they all waited for an answer.

A younger man's face suddenly appeared on Sandra's monitor.  "Command Center, this is
Launch Area 2.  Captain Carter's in that ship, sir.  We've tried to get him to power down but...
Commander, Eagle 5's got experimental equipment on her and we haven't tested her yet!"

Koenig took the three steps to Tony Verdeschi's empty desk and put his face in closely as
he spoke.  "Eagle 5 abort lift off!  Abort Eagle 5!"  He looked up at the main view screen at
the front of the room where Sandra had put up the image of the launch pad.  

They all watched the blast of dust appear to explode out from under the Eagle as it slowly
lifted off the pad.  Koenig hit the communications button again on Tony's desk.  "Carter!  
Abort, damn it!"



Alan never heard any of them.  As soon as Sandra's face appeared on his monitors he had
switched off all forms of communication.  He had thrown himself into the pilot’s seat and not
even bothered to buckle the safety harness.

He did his pre-flight checklist as quickly as the eagle herself would allow and then grabbed
the yoke and the throttle so hard that his knuckles immediately turned white.

It took every ounce of patience he had left in his body for Alan to move the throttle slowly
back and allow a smooth lift off.  He flew off over Alpha slowly at first but stayed fairly close
to the ground as he forced the ship to go faster and faster.  He skimmed the tops of the
moon's hills and peaks, just barely missing them by inches as he edged the eagle even
faster.

~~~~~~~~~~

Tirzah hit the button on the wall to the travel tube several times, willing the doors to open.  
She sobbed openly, not caring who might see as she leaned her head on her arms against
the wall.

A hand on her shoulder caused her to look up sharply and she relaxed when she saw that it
was only Maya.  Tirzah threw her arms around the older woman's neck and began to cry
afresh.  
"Oh, Ziamakua!  What have I done."  The young woman immediately lapsed into
Psychon.  
"I've hurt him so badly.  He blames himself for what happened on the planet!  I
looked into his eyes and the torment there was more than I could bare!"
 She sobbed.

The doors to the travel tube opened and after the few passengers had disembarked, Maya
led her young charge into the tube.  They sat down as it sped away to their destination.

"This is all my fault!"  Tirzah buried her face in her hands.  "I should never have told him!  I
should have taken it to the afterlife!"


"You had no way of knowing that he'd react like this.  No one did!"  Maya moved to the seat
across from her so that she could see Tirzah's face.  
"Helena didn't really understand the
circumstances, but I never, in my wildest imagining, ever thought that Alan would have such
a violent reaction to this news."


Tirzah looked up at her Grandfather's sister.  
"How do I make this right, Maya?  How do I
help him to understand that it wasn't his fault?"


Maya stood and paced the small compartment a moment.  "I don't know, Tirzah."  She sighed
heavily.  "Didn't you explain it to him?"

The doors opened at their stop and a couple entered the tube before Maya and Tirzah could
depart.  Once out in the hall Maya linked arms with the other woman and went back to
speaking in Psychon as they made their way down the hall.  
"Did you explain it to him,
Tirzah?  About the manipulation and deceit that they put you both through?"


"I never really got the chance.  He was so distraught over the idea that it had all been real
that he simply ran out of the room!"
 Tirzah opened the door to her room and closed it behind
them.  She immedietely threw herself face down on the bed.  
"I never should have told him."  
Her muffled voice came through the sheets and pillow.

The door buzzer sounding made both women look up, yet neither moved.  "It's him."  Tirzah
wispered.

"It's highly unlikely, but I'll answer it, just in case."  Maya stood and pushed the button near
the door.  To the surprise of both, Helena stood on the other side.

"Maya?  Is Tirzah alright?"  Helena smiled at her friend.

"Yes, she'll be fine.  Come on in."  Maya stepped back to allow the doctor to enter the room.

Tirzah had crawled up to the head of the bed with her back to the wall and her knees drawn
up to her chin.  She started to relax as the door shut behind Helena.

"Are you feeling any better?"  Helena sat on the edge of the bed.

"No."  Tirzah spoke sorrowfully as she scooted to the edge of the bed.

"I called Connie and told her that you weren't feeling well and that you wouldn't be returning
to work today."

"Thank you, Helena."  Tirzah said gratefully.

Helena stood and turned to face both of the other women.  "I also called Dr. Mathias and
asked him to go and look in on Alan.  Hopefully he can help him through whatever it is that
has him in such a state."

The Psychon women glanced at each other and then looked back at Helena as she
continued.  "Tirzah, did you know what he meant about telling me the truth?"

Tirzah swallowed hard and looked up at Maya.  She opened her mouth to speak and form a
plausible lie when Helena's comlock suddenly beeped for attention.

The Doctor excused herself as she pulled the comlock off her belt and activated it.  Dr.
Robert Mathias' worried face appeared on the little screen.  "Dr. Russell I'm in Alan Carter's
quarters and he's not here.  Do you know where else he might go?"

Helena looked up at the other two women.  "I don't, Bob.  He was supposed to go back to his
quarters, but with the state of mind he seemed to be in....he could be almost anywhere."  
She looked back up at Maya.  "Has Tony happened to tell you were Alan might be?"

"No.  But I'm going to find out."  Maya grabbed her own comlock and moved to the other side
of the room.

"Bob, I'll let you know as soon as we find him."  Helena gave him a worry filled smiled and
broke the connection.

She returned the comlock to her belt and Maya turned back toward the others.  "Tony's just
been contacted by Commander Koenig that Alan's taken an eagle and flown off without
authorization."


~~~~~~~~~~


He flew faster and faster as if trying to outrun the horrible events that relentlessly played in
his head.  At one hill he wasn't fast enough to go over the top so he pitched the eagle to her
side and had her skirt neatly and cleanly around the side of it.

Alan leaned over to hit one of the buttons that would ignite the new rockets and as he did
another memory, an older one, drew his attention.  Tirzah sitting on her feet, straight and tall
between the two pilot's seats in her ripped old dress.  They'd rescued her from her enslavers
and were flying her back to her own village to be reunited with the Psychon colony that had
landed on the planet many years before.  He remembered her long hair, like a waterfall,
down her back and her firm tanned thigh just inches from his hand.

This image was replaced by the picture that, in the dream, had hung on their bedroom wall.  
She looked so beautiful in her pastel green Psychon bonding gown with the wreath of vines
and flowers that her friends in hydroponics had made for their special day.  Alan had been
proud to wear a traditional Psychon fitted tunic with a matching wreath and his best pair of
slacks that he'd brought from Earth.  Both were barefoot in the bio-sphere and he actually
smiled for a moment at the image of, what he considered, a very handsome couple.

He was suddenly jolted from his musings as one of the landing gear hit the top of a hill.  It
caused the eagle to pitch from side to side and Carter was hard pressed to keep the bird
under control.  He gritted his teeth and tried to power down slowly but this didn't gain him
any headway in righting the eagle.



"He's just turned on his emergency beacon.  He's in trouble, Alpha!"  Tony called back to
Command Center with an update.  Tony and Bill Fraser had been sent up in another eagle
to bring Carter to his senses and then bring both him and the eagle back to the base.  "We're
getting sensor readings now.  That eagle's out of control, John.  We're going in to get him."

"Be careful, Tony."  Koenig stood at his own desk and watched through the rescue eagle's
cameras.  "Bring everyone home safe."

No sooner was this said when they got their first glimpse of Eagle 5.  It had slowed down but
another landing leg hit the side of a rocky peek and it began to spiral completely out of
control and then skid across the moon's surface like a rock being skipped across a pond.  
"He's down, Alpha!  We're gonna need another eagle!  It'll take more than us to get him back
home."

"Damn it!"  John cursed under his breath and pounded his fist against the desk.  Then out
loud he spoke to the others.  "Sahn, send out the salvage team to bring Eagle 5 back in.  Ed,
I think we may need a medical unit out there."  His crew nodded their acknowledgment and
set about their tasks.  "Maya go and help the crews prep for Eagle 5's return and let me
know if any of the experimental equipment has been damaged."  She nodded also and
quickly left the room.


~~~~~~~~~~


Level H Medical Center seemed to be in a terrible flurry when Tirzah opened the door and
took a tentative step in.

Dr. Russell, Dr. Spencer and four nurses hovered over a thrashing Alan Carter.  
Occasionally one of the medical staff would leave the group to get a needed supply or to
take something away from the commotion on the hospital bed.

"He won't settle down, Dr. Russell.  We need to give him a stronger sedative."  Ed Spencer
caught a slow moving arm that threatened to punch him in the stomach.

"I don't want to give him anything stronger until we know the extent of the head injuries.  If he
lapses into a coma, he may never recover."  Helena turned back to one of her trays of
instruments.  "I want to know what possessed him to fly like that without wearing any safety
restraints!  With all the bouncing around he did in that cabin, it's a wonder he's not dead."

As one of the nurses moved away to discard a good sized piece of bloody material, Tirzah
got a good look at the beaten and bruised pilot.  They had finally managed to put him in
restraints and his eyes were glassy and far away due to the medication, but he still thrashed
his head from side to side slowly and grimaced in pain as a nurse cut away a pant leg to
reveal a large lump on his lower leg.

Ed turned away from his patient to grab a suture needle for the gash on Carter's temple that
had just been cleaned, when he spied Tirzah standing by the door.  "You shouldn't be in
here right now."

Alan instantly looked toward the door and became even more determined to get out of bed.  
"No!"  He called out several times.

"Nurse."  Helena indicated for one of her staff to make sure Tirzah left the Center.  "You
need to leave now, Tirzah."  She commanded.

When the medical center door closed, Tirzah stood against the nearest wall with a hand over
her mouth and tear-stained face looking upward.  

Oh, Heavens, what have I done.  The young woman thought.  This is all my fault!  All my
fault!

"Tirzah?"  John Koenig quietly interrupted her thoughts.  "How's he doing?"

Tirzah shook her head and looked away so as not to meet his steady gaze.  "It's very bad."  
She chocked out.  "The Doctors had to put him in straps.  And they needed needles!"  She
started breathing heavily as childhood memories of the village where she'd grown up as a
slave, flooded in on her.  Her captors had taken the Psychon children to a large hut and
strapped them to tables, where they removed their unique physical features and performed
experiments on them.  "They were using knives..."  She nearly squeaked.

"Calm down, Tirzah."  John said softly and placed a reassuring arm around her shoulder.  
"They're only doing what they have to in order to help him heal properly.  They're not really
hurting him."

Through the heavy door they suddenly heard Alan scream in extreme pain.  Tirzah tucked in
closer to the Commander for a moment before uttering a meek 'no' and bolting down the
corridor.


~~~~~~~~~~


Eight days had passed since Alan had crashed in Eagle 5.  Tirzah had gone through many a
sleepless night, pacing her room or walking in the Bio-Shere, to keep from dreaming.  She
was getting reports on Alan's condition through Maya or Helena or even occasionally Tony,
but each one had told her to stay away from Medical.

Until today.

Dr. Mathias had called her away from her duties and asked that she meet him.  Tirzah stood
in front of the Center's door, arms wrapped around her chest tightly...frozen.  No matter how
hard she tried, she couldn't force herself to open the door.  Tirzah shivered slightly,
remembering the last time she'd stood outside this door.

"Can I help you?"

Tirzah whirled around quickly to see a young woman, slightly older than herself, with a tray
of medical supplies.  "I'm...uh..."

The woman grabbed her comlock and moved around the Psychon as the door opened.  
Tirzah's eyes got wider and her arms wrapped tighter around herself.  "It's alright."  The
medical technician stood in the doorway waiting for her.  "Come right in."

Bob Mathias moved quickly to the doorway and ushered both women inside.  "Tirzah.  I'm
glad you're here."  He had to physically step into the hallway and pull her inside the room.

As soon as she was inside, Tirzah backed up against the wall.  She never heard another
word Dr. Mathias said as the blood pounded in her ears at the sight of Alan Carter.

His leg had been wrapped and was elevated slightly and he had an arm in similar but
heavier wrappings laying outside the blanket across his stomach.  His head was bandaged,
his right eye black and blue and he sported a large bandage across his, now clean shaven,
jaw.  Tirzah could only imagine what other damage may lay under the clean blue pajamas.

"Trizah?"  Bob stood in front of her to block her view.  She blinked and finally stared at him.  
"Did you hear me?  He's been asking for you."

Fear turned to disbelief as the doctor took her elbow and led her to a chair along side the
bed.  "I've been working with him for a few days and he insisted on seeing you today.  We've
given him a pain killer so he'll be a little groggy when he wakes up.  Okay?"  He sat her in
the chair.  "Do you understand, Tirzah?"

She looked up at him with distant eyes and nodded.  As Bob moved away, Tirzah looked
Alan over carefully now that she was closer.  He didn't appear to have anything bleeding and
seeping as she and so many of her people had, after coming out of the surgical hut on her
home planet.  He looked very peaceful, sleeping slightly propped up.

Alan moaned softly and his eyelids began to flutter as he tried to open them.  Tirzah looked
over at Dr. Mathias, who was now watching them, and wondered for a moment if she should
just leave.  Before she had a chance to decide, Alan shifted and his eyes opened.  "Tirzah."  
He sounded hollow, even to himself.

Tirzah tried to smile non-chalantly, but didn't succeed.  "How are you feeling?"  She
squirmed in her chair.  She hated these rooms.

"Tirzah."  He repeated and his eyes rolled up for a moment before focusing on her again.  
"Tirzah."

"I'm here, Alan."  She took his scratched and bruised hand nervously as he reached out from
under the covers.

His eyes rolled again and he turned his head slightly.  "Tell me."

Fear started in Tirzah's belly like a tiny ball of fire.  "Tell you what?"  Her mouth suddenly felt
very dry.

Alan fought to focus on her.  "Tell me, Tirzah."

The ball of fire got bigger as he stared at her.  She tried to sound innocent, but her eyes
began to tear.  "Tell you what, Alan?"

He gripped her hand a little tighter.  "Tell me..."  His eyes rolled again and he moaned as a
small wave of pain danced inside his head.  Eyes closed and through clenched teeth, Alan
started again.  "Tell me about the dream."

Tirzah blinked back tears and her lower lip began to quiver slightly as he opened his eyes.  
She opened her mouth as if she might speak but clenched it shut

He tightened his grip on her.  "Tell me...please."  His eyes begged her to take back the
events that she had divulged to him over two weeks ago.

Tears fell down the young woman's face as she tried to smile for him.  "It was a dream."  She
choked on the words as they fell out of her mouth.  "All of it.  It was all a dream."

Alan relaxed his grip and Tirzah eagerly wiggled her finger out of his hand.  She stood to
leave when Alan suddenly grabbed her sleeve and used all of his remaining strength to pull
her to him.  "Is that the truth?"

Completely and utterly torn now as to how to handle the situation, Tirzah looked at Dr.
Mathias for help.  She began to cry as she pried his fingers off her tunic and she was glad to
see the doctor heading toward them with a sedative.

She had finally managed to free herself when Alan asked her again.  "Is that the truth?"  He
repeated it as Tirzah backed away toward the door.  "Is that the truth?"

She ran then.  Out the door.....around the corner.....down the hallway.......around the next
corner......and ran hard into Maya and Tony.  All three ended up on the floor in different
directions.

"Oh, Tirzah!"  Maya's cat-like reflexes allowed her to recover quickly and she rushed to the
young woman still sprawled out on the floor.  "Are you all right?"  She took her shoulder to
check on her, but Tirzah didn't move.

"Tony!"  Maya rolled the young Psychon woman over and brushed her hair out of her face.  
"Tirzah?  Can you hear me?"  She looked up at her counter-part.  "I think she's unconscious.  
Tony, help me get her to Medical."



"She's sleep deprived and a bit malnourished."  Helena stood over Tirzah and checked her
instruments.

"This is all my fault, Helena."  Maya held Tirzah's hand.  "I never should have advised her to
talk to Alan.

No, it's my fault.  Tirzah thought as wakefulness tried to set in.  She heard the voices of her
friends but couldn't yet respond.

Helena sighed heavily.  "Then I have to take some of that blame, also.  She came to me for
advise as well."

No, it's all my fault.  Tirzah knew that she had shaken her head slightly.

Maya inhaled and squeezed the young woman's hand.  "She's coming around.  Tirzah, dear,
can you hear me?"

Yes.  She managed to nod but her eyes still refused to open.  She inhaled heavily and
squeezed Maya's hand.  "What happened?"  Tirzah's mouth felt like dry leaves.

"Well, you nearly gave Tony a concussion, for starters."  Helena said teasingly.

Tirzah's eyes fluttered open.  "What?  How?"

Maya shifted so that the younger woman could see her better.  "Do you remember running
into Tony and I in the corridor?"

Tirzah blinked hard as she focused on the Psychon.  "I remember running...and running..."  
Her voice dropped into a whisper as she closed her eyes.

Maya's voice giggled.  "You ran your head right into Tony's head!  He had a headache for
hours after."

She looked up at the women questioningly and then looked around the Medical Center.  
"How long have I been here?"

"Almost two days.  When was the last time you slept through the night?"  Helena obliged.  

Tirzah closed her eyes again.  "Oh, Maya, I've done a terrible thing."

Maya and Helena looked curiously at each other before Maya spoke.  "What terrible thing?"

Tirzah opened her eyes and looked back and forth at each of them.  "I've hurt him so badly."

Confused, Maya prompted her when she didn't continue.  "Tony?"

"No."  Tirzah looked up as them.  "Alan.  I told him what I thought he wanted to hear.....and
now I've only made it worse."  She put her hands up and covered her face.  "He'll never want
to speak to me again."

Helana spoke softly as she pulled Tirzah's hand back down.  "What happened, Tirzah?  Dr.
Mathias said that you weren't there very long and Alan became hostile again.  What did you
say to each other?"

Tirzah shook her head slowly and her eyes wanted to cry, but there just wasn't any left.  "He
asked me to lie to him.....so I did.  And as I stood up to leave, he insisted upon me telling the
truth."  Tirzah raised her voice suddenly.  "What was I supposed to do?  What should I have
said?"  She looked over at Maya with glistening, pleading eyes and spoke quietly again.  
"What should I have said?"

Maya took the young woman's hand in her own again.  "The truth.  I'm sorry, Tirzah.  We
should have told the truth long before this."

A distressed smile played across Tirzah's lips.  "I believe he's going mad.  And it's all my
fault."

Maya sighed.  "No, it's mine.  As soon as we were safely back on Alpha, we should have told
them the truth....all of it."

"I'm a little confused."  Helena spoke up, feeling truly outside the loop.  "Told who, the truth
about what?"

Maya looked up at her friend and smiled sweetly.  "Forgive me, Helena.  Tirzah and I have a
secret....and it's past the time that it should be revealed."  She pat Tirzah's hand as she
looked at her friend.  "As soon as everyone is well enough, I think that we should sit down
and explain everything to everyone."

When Maya looked down, the joyful yet pained acceptance on Tirzah's face nearly broke her
heart.  She knew that the young woman was thinking of how Alan and Helena would handle
the whole truth.


~~~~~~~~~~


Four of his senior officers and one new addition to the Alphan population sat across from
Commander John Koenig.  His office off of the Command Center wasn't spacious, but it was
the one and only place on the Moonbase that he was sure that he'd get the answers to
recent events.

Alan had been the first in, limping slightly on his bad leg, his arm still in a cast and sling and
sporting large scars on his head and jaw.  Tony followed, then Helena, Maya, and Tirzah.  
They all sat in the chairs in front of his desk except Alan, who purposefully moved his chair
back toward the corner.  His back was to the wall and he could now see everyone in the
room.

"Alright."  Koenig sat down behind his desk.  "Who wants to tell me how all of this got started
in the first place?"  He sat back in his chair and looked at each one of them in turn.

Tirzah glanced over at Maya, who nodded at her.  They had discussed it earlier that day.  
Since Tirzah had been conscious for most of their imprisonment, she would tell everyone
what really happened and Maya would help to fill in any blanks.

Tirzah look a deep breath and looked over at the Commander.  "We all passed out on that
Eagle the day we went to investigate the new planet."

Koenig's brow furrowed.  He hadn't expected her to start the explanation that far back.  
Helena looked over at her, even more confused.

"When we woke up, we were no longer on Alpha."  She shifted slightly and caught a glimpse
of Alan watching the floor intently.  "We were on the planet of Pure-phect.  The room we
were in was small and comfortable, with a small window that allowed the most beautiful view
of the city that we were held in."

"This was part of the dream that you all shared?"  Koenig's confusion grew.

Tirzah glanced at Maya again and swallowed hard as she looked back at the Commander.  
"There was no dream."  She stated flatly.

John and Helena's 'what?' were almost simultaneous.

Maya spoke up at this point.  "There was no dream, Helena.  We're sorry that we deceived
you but it was for the best and, we believed, the only way to get us all off the planet and still
maintain your sanity."

"Why didn't you just tell us the truth as soon as we were back on Alpha?"  Helena asked.

"Neither Tirzah nor I knew what you had been through.  And we felt it best for both of you to
believe the dream so as not to distress you any further."

Alan let out a small discussed snort and Tony scowled at his friend to quiet him.

Tirzah continued to tell them of their captivity and of the inhabitance of the planet.  "They
were so terribly curious about us.  They accidentally let me see them one night after..."  
Tirzah stopped short looked down suddenly before she continued.  "I woke up and two of
them were standing in the room with us, discussing this experiment.  When I sat up to talk to
them, one turned and headed out the door, but the other, Aun-jlee, stayed a moment longer
to ask why he couldn't manipulate my mind as well."

She looked over at Helena at this point.  "Maya was in their Medical Center because she
was a Psychon and they knew how to shut her mind down because they'd dealt with
Psychons before."

"Wait!"  Koenig stopped the young woman.  "They knew about Psychons?  Were there
survivors?"  He looked intently at Maya.

Maya smiled at him sadly.  "They'd stopped and traded with these people before going on to
find a place of their own.  But we know they'd been there because cassisua bushes were
growing in the gardens."  She looked down at her hand that Helena had just wrapped
warmly in her own.  "They said that it was safer for everyone if I just remain unconscious."

"But Tirzah..."  Helena questioned.

"They didn't know that I was Psychon because they couldn't reach my mind and I didn't look
like Maya.  Helena and Alan would come and go out of my room because they thought that
they were still on Alpha and they had Helena run medical scans on me using their
instruments."  She continued with the story and explained how, no matter how hard she tried,
she couldn't make them see what was really there.  "The problem was that they had gone
too deep into Alan and Helena's minds.  They were reaching into your deepest subconscious
desires, instead of the reality of your lives, and created what they found there."

An unmistakable whimper was heard from the corner and everyone except Tirzah turned to
look at Alan with his head in his hands.  Her guilt wouldn't let her look at him and still
continue with the story.  "I guess that they finally decided that I wasn't a threat and let me go
out of the room and walk outside for a bit.  Alan thought that we were going to the Bio-
Sphere, but we went out into the most beautiful and lush gardens.  That's where I saw the
cassisua bushes."  Tirzah smiled then as she told them of the native children.

She explained how she'd been confronted by one of their scientists who had overloaded the
young woman's mind and how, after waking up in their hospital, Maya had come up with the
plan that would get them home.

"They were afraid to let us go, in case you should come back and attack them for
imprisoning us."  Maya explained.  "The mind manipulation is their only defense,
Commander.  They're peaceful, scientific people, who've developed their minds to the point
of not needing outside...tools to defend themselves."  She smiled wryly at the Commander.  
"They knew of our existence long before we knew of theirs'.  They knew of Earth's violent
past and how we came to be out here."

"How?"  Helena asked softly.

Maya smiled.  "By reading our minds when they first discovered us."

Tirzah nodded at her.  "So they made you believe that it had all been a dream and that you'd
been on the Eagle for five days, unconscious."

"You left out the parts where I raped you."  Alan choked out from his corner of the room.  
"You said you were going to tell the whole truth."

"Alan!"  Helena's shocked voice spoke for them all.

Tirzah lowered and shook her head which just seemed to fuel his misery even more.  "I
RAPED YOU!!"  Alan screamed at the top of his lungs as he jumped up out of his chair.

"Carter!"  Koenig stood up.

"No!"  Tirzah was on her feet as well, approaching him slowly in the small room.  "No, you
never did!  We kissed...we cuddled...and you held me when I cried."  She looked deep into
his eyes and froze for just a moment at the pain and self-condemnation that she felt there.  
"Yes, we did couple for the first time.  And, yes, you did initiate it.  But I wanted it too."  
Tirzah forced herself to block out the misgivings of speaking this way in front of the others.  "I
helped that union, but you never raped me, Alan...never."  She moved closer still, slowly,
until she had to tilt her head up to look into his eyes.  "You were being manipulated.  It
stopped just short of rape.  It never happened.  You stopped it."

"You had to slap me to bring me to my senses."  He swallowed hard as she reached out and
took his hand.

Tirzah nodded.  "And you stopped.  You were being manipulated, Alan.  You had no control
over yourself that morning...or at any other time for that matter.  The alien scientist took over
your mind and used you for his own personal curiosity."  She reached up with her other hand
and brushed the side of his face lightly.

Captain Alan Carter broke just then.  In front of all of his friends, in front of this woman that
he cared so deeply about, he broke down and wept in Tirzah's arms.  They sank slowly to
the floor and she cradled his head on her chest.

Tirzah looked up into five pairs of very wide and surprised eyes.  Helena came out of the
shock first, followed by John and Tony.  "Let's get you back to your quarters, Alan."  Helena
reached down and carefully took his good arm.

The other two men stepped up to help their comrade off the floor and out into the hallway.  
Helena glanced back at the other two women briefly before following them out.

Maya knelt down in front of her niece and brushed a stray tear from the young woman's
face.  "Why didn't you tell me?"  She said soothingly.

Tirzah bowed her head.  "I was ashamed, I suppose."

"That night in their hospital, when you were yelling at the alien Aun-jee, I had no idea that
you'd had such a terrible experience."  Maya suddenly moved forward and wrapped Tirzah
up in her arms.  "Oh, my poor darling."  Both women sat on the floor a moment and cried.

When they left the Commander's office, Tirzah felt that every Alphan they passed now knew
of those five days and that one horrible morning that passed between her and Alan.  She
kept her eyes to the floor and allowed Maya to lead her to the travel tube.

~~~~~~~~~~


Tirzah looked around the large crowded room and sighed heavily.  Maya had insisted she
come out to the social event that most of Alpha seemed to now be attending.  She had said
that Tirzah needed to get out and mingle again, whatever that was supposed to mean, and
get back to her life.

She smiled wryly at the thought.  If she could get back to her life, she would have to sponge
out the events of the last three months.

As she watched all the happy people, she found herself looking for Alan amongst them.  
Stop that!  She chided herself and looked down at her hands playing in the beadwork of her
pant suit.  Even if he was here he'd probably leave the room the minute he saw you, just like
he always does.

Alan and Tirzah had gone to great length to make sure that their path didn't cross any more
than was absolutely necessary in this tiny community.  Everyone had helped them.  From
changing their shifts, to taking meals with friends instead of the cafeteria, even checking
when either one had scheduled time in the workout rooms or pool.  It had been an interesting
few weeks.

Tirzah sighed heavily again and thought about inching her way to the door when she saw
Charles Campbell purposefully approaching her from the refreshment table with two cups in
his hands.  She smiled cordially as he stopped in front of her and handed her one.

"Tony's latest brew!"  He said proudly.  Charles had been the newest agriculturalist to be
enlisted in Tony's beer making endeavors.

Tirzah smiled genuinely in spite of herself.  "What's the number at now?"

Charles took a sip and looked intently into the cup.  "Um....about a 5 or a 6, I'd say."  He
looked up expectantly at Tirzah.  "What do you think?"

Tirzah rolled her eyes and then took a sip.  She scowled a moment before looking at
Charles.  "What kind of plant did you use?"

Charles smiled broadly.  "It's that new hybrid I've been working on.  See, what I did..."

"I may not be the best person to be asking about this, Charles."  She cut him off sweetly
before he could explain the entire growth process as he had a tendency to do.  "I've never
actually had the real thing."

"That shouldn't matter!"  He scoffed at her.  "You have the best palette on this base, Tirzah!  
You know when we've got the mixture right for anything we've concocted!"  He laughed
then.  "Half the stuff we've fed to you, you've never had before!"

Another colleague from the hydroponics unit passed them and smiled and waved.  "Oh,
Betsy!  Taste this!"  Charles ran off after new prey.

Tirzah smiled and shook her head good-naturedly as she watched the exchange between
her co-workers.

"May I have this dance?"  The unmistakable Australian accent gave him away even before
Tirzah turned around.  He held out his hand that still had a brace up to his elbow to support
the mending broken bone and smiled at her sweetly.

She smiled shyly.  "Alan."

"Well?"  He waited patiently.

Tirzah bit her bottom lip as she looked up into his blue eyes.  She saw only kindness there
and slowly reached out her hand to take his.  "I didn't think that..."

"Sh-h-h."  He led her to the part of the room designated for dancing and took her into his
arms.

They started out in a traditional dance frame, but as the music went on they moved closer
and closer to one another.  Tirzah lay her head on his chest as they now only swayed to the
beat of the second song.  "Oh, Alan.  I've missed you."

"I've missed you too...MY Sheila."  His eyes twinkled merrily as she looked up at him.

Tirzah smiled and put her head back on his shoulder, but she slapped his back firmly to
show her disapproval of the use of that term.  Alan laughed as he feigned injury and they
held each other even tighter.  

"How's your arm feeling?"  Tirzah inquired.

"It only hurts when I laugh."  Alan joked.  "Nah, it's good.  It gives me trouble every now and
again, but not being able to fly has been the worse of it!"

Tirzah was about to speak when a fast song started to play and there were suddenly a lot
more people on the dance floor.  Alan giggled at her and took her hand to lead her away.  
They were headed to what had appeared to be an empty corner when another couple
moved aside to reveal John and Helena sitting with Bill and Annette Fraser.

Alan suddenly swerved.  "Woops!  Not there!"  He veered off in a slightly different direction.  
They weren't going fast but when Alan suddenly stopped and turned to look around, Tirzah
ran right into his chest.  They both started to laugh at their slightly bizarre actions and then
Alan was pulling her gently along with him again.

She thought that she'd heard a growl come from him when he shifted his steps again.  He
looked over at her with a smile.  "The whole damned place is full of Alphans!"

Tirzah smiled and giggled as he led her out the door into the corridor.  "Alan, where are we
going?"

"Just here."  He turned a corner and pulled her in close to pin her gently to the wall.

Butterflies danced in her stomach as she tried to push away the memory of the last time
she'd been in this position.  Feeling her tense slightly, Alan pulled back a little and let go of
her shoulders.  "I wanted to talk to you."

Tirzah nodded and bit her bottom lip.  "I wanted to talk to you, too, but everyone thought it
would be better to wait ‘til we were both ready."

"Are you ready?"  Alan looked at her hopefully.  "Can we talk about this now?"

"Oh, yes!"  She nodded quickly.

"Ok....first thing is, I need to apologize to you for the way that I treated you."

"Alan, I should be the one to apologize!"  She took his good hand in her own.  "I should never
have told you in such a way as to make..."

"Stop."  Alan stepped up closer to her.  "You were doing what you thought was right and
good for both of us.  No lies and no secrets."  He put his hands on her shoulders so that her
hands rested on his chest.  "I told you that you could talk to me and that I could handle
whatever it was you wanted to say.  And then what happens?  I flip out on you and go
running off in an eagle trying to kill myself!"  

He was about to say more when the door to The Hall opened and several people made their
way past them.  They noticed a couple of them give them knowing smiles and Alan took a
step back.  He watched them get into a travel tube and he took Tirzah's hand again.  "Come
on."

Alan led her to the nearest lift and hit a button once they were inside.  "Look, I've done a lot
of talking to Dr. Mathias and I think we've pretty much got this whole thing sorted out.  If it's
alright with you, I'd like to think of the whole experience as a dream."

Tirzah's mouth open at the same time the door did.  "But it wasn't..."

"I know."  Alan led her out into the corridor and around a corner.  "But if it's all the same to
you, and since technically I didn't have any control over what I said or did, I'd like to think of it
as a very horrible dream that I'm finally awake from."  He stopped suddenly and turned to
face her.  "It was like a real dream anyway.  You can't control how your dreams go or what
turns they take.  They just lead you along on the journey...good or bad."  He waited a
moment.  "Well, what do you say?"

"I..."  Tirzah looked around, astonished at his words, and then looked up at him.  "I think that
it was a very bad dream that none of us had any control over.  I've been talking to Helena as
well and she admitted that she's had a bit of difficulty with the reality of it.  But if we just think
of it as a dream, aren't we denying that it happened?"

"I've had plenty of dreams that I've never forgot."  Alan pointed his comlock at the door next
to them and took her wrist, leading her inside before he shut the door.  "Some of them have
been doozies but I never forgot them!  That's all I want to do with this.....treat it like a dream.  
It wasn't me.  It wasn't really us.  Not suppressing it, but waking up from a very bad dream."  
Alan took the young Psychon woman into his arms slowly.  "What do you say?"

Tirzah sighed softly and a small smiled began to form in the corners of her mouth.  "I'd be
very glad to wake up from this horrible dream."

Alan hugged her tightly and breathed in the scent of her and savored the feeling of this
woman in his arms.  "Tirzah?"  He pulled back a little so that he could see her face.  "May I
kiss you?"

"You never need to ask."  She sighed to his request and tilted her head upward to receive
this long awaited moment of tenderness.

Alan bent slightly and gently placed his lips to hers.  It started out slowly and carefully, each
one waiting for the other to move forward.  Tirzah slid her hand around his back and
increased the pressure of the kiss.  Alan immediately responded by gently pushing his
tongue between her lips to find her tongue waiting for him.

They clung to each other tighter still as the kiss became more and more passionate.  Alan
repositioned his bad arm to encircle her waist and the other to hold her head even more
firmly to him.  They moaned in each others' mouths as their love flowed back and forth
between them.

Tirzah pulled back slowly and as their lips parted she breathed out one word.  "No."

"What?"  Alan pulled away slightly.  "What's wrong?"

"No."  Tirzah looked at him intently.  "What if I say no?"

"Oh."  Alan pulled back even further.  "Of course.  This is all very sudden.  I haven't spoken
to you in weeks and then all of a sudden I'm asking if I can kiss you.  I'm sorry, Tirzah."  Alan
had completely let go of her now and he raised his bad hand out to her.  "Can I walk you
home?"

"No."  A hint of a smile played across her mouth and she stepped up in between his arms.  
"But you can go back to kissing me."

"What?"  Alan was becoming more confused.

"I needed to know that if I were to say no, you would honor that."  Tirzah looked up into his
face.

Alan looked down at her with a sad smile.  "Fair enough.  So, did I pass?"

Tirzah smiled broadly and wrapped her arms around him.  "Yes.  With color's flying, as you
would say."

Alan laughed and tilted her head upward.  "Look into my eyes, Tirzah.  Look deeply."  She
did as she was told.  "I promise that I will never do anything that you don't like or don't feel
comfortable with ever again."

Tirzah saw so much love and compassion pouring from his eyes that it made her cry with
joy.  "Oh, yes!  Yes!  You passed."  She took a hold of the back of his neck and pulled him to
her lips to kiss him with even more abandon than she had a moment ago.

They kissed for quite some time, when Alan pulled away slowly and smiled down at her
glazed, questioning eyes.  He took a step back and began to remove the velcro straps of his
arm brace.

"What are you doing?"  Tirzah put a hand up to stop him.  "Your arm is broken!"

"It's all right."  He took it off and set it on a table near the door.  Then he removed his
comlock from his belt and placed that on the table as well.  Alan reached over and took
Tirzah's comlock carefully from her beaded belt, placed it next to his, then took her back into
his arms and buried his face in her hair.  "I don't want anything to come between us ever
again."  He whispered.

"Alan."  Tirzah's voice was full of passion.  "We are owed to have each other."

Alan smiled and pulled back slightly, brushing his cheek against hers.  "Do you know where
you are, Tirzah?"

"In the arms of my love."  She breathed.

Alan smiled.  "Good answer.  Now look around the room."

She looked over at the leather sofa near the wall and beyond that the panel of windows that
showed the surface of the moon and the stars beyond.  She inhaled and then giggled as she
buried her face in his chest.  "This is the room where we kissed for the first time."

He nodded.  "I found myself here the first time that you told me the truth of those five missing
days.  I would like to erase that memory with a better one if you wouldn't mind."  He kissed
the top of her head.

Tirzah looked up at him and smiled.  She led him to the sofa and sat him down before she
sat on his lap, facing him.  "I think that I can help with that."  She leaned forward and kissed
him as she unbuttoned his shirt and ran her hands along his chest.

He moaned appreciatively and reached around behind her to unlace her top.  Tirzah pulled
back from the kiss and her eyes smoldered with desire.

"Take my mind."  She kissed his forehead.

"Take my soul."  She kissed each of his eyes.

"Take my body."  She kissed each of his cheeks.

"Take my heart."  She bent to kiss his lips but stopped just short and looked intensely into
his eyes.  "I give them to you freely."  She kissed him softly and slowly and allowed it to grow
deeper.

Tirzah pulled away slightly and as their lips parted she whispered.  
"Aku wae opa cito."

Alan pushed Tirzah back gently and took her face in his hands.  "I love you too, Tirzah."  He
pulled her in slowly.

She flung herself into his arms and kissed him everywhere as she wept with joy.


~~~~~~~~~~


Tirzah smiled up at Alan as they once again stood in front of the row of windows in, what
was now, their favorite place.  This time, however, they were not alone.

Maya, Tony, Helena, Sandra, Bill and Annette Fraser, Connie Schular and several friends
from their sections sat in chairs behind them.  John Koenig stood with his back to the
windows, facing them.

They wore matching wreaths upon their heads and Alan's tunic matched Tirzah's traditional
Psychon Bonding gown.  They stood barefooted before their friends, smiling broadly.

John smiled at the couple.  "And now, Alan and Tirzah will complete the ceremony."  He took
a step back from them.

Alan glanced at Koenig as Tirzah stepped forward and put her hands on each side of his
head.  "Take my mind."  She kissed his forehead.

"Take my soul."  She kissed each of his eyes.

"Take my body."  She kissed each of his cheeks.

"Take my heart.  I give them to you freely."  She placed a soft, gentle kiss on his lips.  Then
Tirzah took a tiny step back and nodded slightly for him to go ahead.

Alan cleared his throat and smiled.  "Take my mind."  He kissed her forehead.

"Take my soul."  He kissed each of her eyes.

"Take my body."  He kissed each of her cheeks.

"Take my heart.  I give them freely to you."  Alan bent slightly and kissed Tirzah's lips soft but
intensely.

As they pulled back from their kiss, John stepped forward and took their wrists as they
intertwined their fingers.  He placed a beaded ribbon over their hands and around their
wrists.  Then he spoke in a strong clear voice.  "I declare to you that Alan Carter and Tirzah,
daughter of Frelic and Partyka, are now bonded in this life...and forever after."

Everyone jumped to their feet clapping as Alan and Tirzah kissed again as husband and wife.

END

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