The Facade
Part II
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 Phecta.  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
and 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-jee, 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 chuckled 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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