Change the Channel

Characters: Dr. Kim Matsumoto

If all men knew what others say of them, there would not be four friends in the world.
– Blaise Pascal, philosopher and mathematician (1623-1662)

It doesn’t matter how many breathing exercises you puffed your way through, how many barriers and wide open spaces you visualize between you and the rest of the universe, thoughts get through.

They were always there, a buzz of static that occasionally tossed a fragment of song, a snatch of news, a moment of some drama. It wasn’t a whole lot to work with, but listen to the same channel – live around the same people long enough – and those pieces came together to make something recognizable, repeatable.

And Kim really didn’t want to know.

These thoughts were meant to be private. Fears that kept her friends awake and distracted. Petty grievances that would never have been spoken aloud to anger and hurt. Personal joys meant to be savored alone, and ridiculous fantasies most people knew to keep to themselves. Those little thoughts were still there, whispered to Kim as they came to life and expired.

By the time they’d settled into position near Rolui 4, she was desperate for ignorance. She’d gladly crowd herself in a room of a thousand hysterical strangers than know that a friend was wondering if their uniform was getting a bit tight around the butt.

There was a brief regret when she declined invitations to join the rest of the science department in a little exploration. It was exciting to find that there were the intact remains of an earlier civilization near one of the poles on Rolui 4. Still, it wasn’t separation, and she needed that more than the feeding of her archeologist’s curiosity.

She didn’t hide what she was going to do. She was still a Ranger, and on call if necessary. Besides, subterfuge would bring Tomas’ attention at the least, and he had enough people to worry over. A small backpack loaded with supplies, pike at her belt and a good coat on her back and she was down in the docking back for the first shuttle to the surface.

Copyright (c) 2003 Alida Saxon. All rights reserved.


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