Eddie Kriechbaum’s keyboard let out a squeal at the end of a verse that set the rest of the band laughing. As the laughter faded, Yoshino Marina asked, “What is that song, anyway? It sounds very cheerful.”
Brenda Mawarra answered the question from behind her drum set. “It’s called ‘We’ll Be Together,'” she said, grinning. “Eddie always plays that when we’re on our way home. Tradition, ya know.”
“It’d be fun to play it for everybody,” Eddie said, shaking his head in a vain effort to settle his shock of flaming red hair. “The Minbari gave us the Naming of Names when we leave, I’d give us some Sting when we come back.”
“Sounds like a plan to me,” Paul Maxwell said with a grin. He set his bass guitar down for a minute, adding, “It’s going to be good to get back. I think we were out on Abbai too long.”
“But they needed us,” Yoshino said. She turned toward Maxwell, setting one albino-pale hand on her hip and gesturing broadly with the other. Her ice-blue eyes seemed to darken as she spoke.
“Look at all we were able to do. The Abbai can finish their rebuilding now, without all the criminal syndicates dragging them down.”
“Oh yeah, no question about that,” Maxwell said quickly. “It’s just that it’s taken a lot out of us. And the Phoenix.”
“That’s true,” Yoshino agreed with a sigh. As the Phoenix’s Operations Manager, she knew it better than anyone.
“Think we’ll get much downtime?” Brenda asked. Her face had the look of a hopeful lion, broad features smiling beneath a mane of tawny hair into which she had tucked her drumsticks for safekeeping.
“I wouldn’t count on it,” Eddie said. “I’ve heard there’s big trouble with the Centauri. They might even secede from the Alliance.”
“I wonder how Doctor Trassano feels about that,” Yoshino said.
“Gotta be weird, being the only Centauri in the Rangers,” Eddie agreed. “Anyway, even if we don’t have to deal with that, there’s bound to be something else. There always is.”
“No kidding,” Brenda said. “‘We stand on the bridge and no one may pass.’ Who knew it was gonna be a freeway?”
They all laughed again, then Yoshino said, “A new mission, whatever happens. So we’ll have a new Naming of Names.”
Maxwell unknotted, then reknotted his long ponytail of greying black hair. “What’s your truth, Yoshino?” he asked.
“I was thinking about that, actually,” she said. “It will be: ‘I have found my voice in song.’ Thanks to all of you.” She looked around at her companions. “How about you, if I may ask?”
“I remember home with mine,” Brenda said. “‘The Dreamtime is always with me.'”
“‘This moment, this day, this life is all I have. I live it accordingly,'” Paul said.
“He always says that,” Eddie said with a grin. “So deep.”
“You’d say ‘Rock on!’ if you could get away with it,” Maxwell shot back.
“Yeah, I would,” Eddie admitted. “As it is I usually settle for something like, ‘I’m living the life I want. What more is there?'” He winked. “I mean, let’s face it. There’s been a lot of people on this boat with pretty glum truths. Remember what the Captain said? ‘It is hard to let go.'”
“Kim’s — Science Officer Matsumoto — hers wasn’t so bad,” Yoshino said. “‘I came reluctantly to hope.'”
“Yeah, but why reluctantly, hmm?” Eddie waited a moment, but when no answer was forthcoming, he asked, “What about our new prospect? Anyone remember Chief Darquin’s truth?”
“I’ve heard he says something different every time,” Maxwell said. “Last time it was, ‘When I had nowhere else to run to, I flew with the music.'”
“That sounds right,” Brenda said. “Eddie, d’ya think he’s really gonna show this time? I’d really hate to think we got that guitar for nothing.”
“He promised he’d be at this session. He’s not the type who’d flake, even if he does think I’m twisting his arm.”
“You have been twisting his arm,” Maxwell said. “You’re a lot of things, but subtle isn’t one. ‘I’m as subtle as a Minbari war cruiser.’ That’s your truth.”
The rest of the band burst into laughter once more, as Eddie glared in mock annoyance at each of them in turn. Then his eyes widened. “Wait a minute,” he said. “I think someone’s coming.”
Copyright (c) 2002 Jamie Lawson. All rights reserved.