Characters: Dr. Kim Matsumoto, Margaret Morgan, Tylo Narsh

Morgan glares at the damaged weapons comsole. “Shrock! And I had just gotten everything working right.” But she can’t repress the exultant grin.

Shakily, Kim returns it. “Can’t say I’m disappointed.”

The older woman looks sideways, lowering her voice. “Sure you’re all right, cyfeilles?”

“Think so.” She rubs her temples. “It was… strange.”

Morgan shakes her head, then ducks a little as her board sparks again.

“Damn! Can the ship regenerate from this?” Kim asked.

“Likely so, given time. And maybe a sharp kick.”

Kim smiles. “Remind me to never let you touch my science equipment.”

“Now, now.” She rubs her hands together but winces as she touches a burned place.

The archaeologist paces away to a storage locker and returns with a medkit.

“I’m fine,” the tactical officer grumbles. “Shoo.”

“Here, put a patch on that. It’s just a disinfectant.”

“Heard that before.” She grins, teasing, but does it.

Kim pulls out a hypo of painkillers for herself, then tosses it back in, frowning.

“Kim. Stop a moment. Os gwel— please.”

“What?” She closes the kit distractedly.

“Breathe, calm….” Morgan growls softly at herself. “Take a deep breath. Calm yourself. The mind, it….” She trails off into a shrug, the words escaping her.

“Easy to say when you can’t hear the shouting!”

Cyfeilles.” Even though she wants nothing more than shout sense into her fellow Ranger, Morgan keeps her voice calm. “I’m no telepath, but I know what a damaged mind does. If you don’t stop….” She shrugs again. “Os gwelwch yn dda.”

Kim glares questioningly at her.

Morgan flushes at her lapse. “‘Please’.” She drags her hands back through her hair, frustrated. “Center yourself, cyfeilles, before anything else. Rest the mind first.”

The new telepath sighs and closes her eyes. “I know. I know.” She abruptly stiffens, and opens her eyes again, all too aware someone else is approaching.

“Could I see you in my office, please, Doctor?” Tylo asks in a low voice. “Now. You too, Margaret.”

Kim glances at Morgan, then silently follows. Behind her Morgan sighs softly to herself, then falls in behind.

“Mind telling me where you picked up that… little trick?”

Kim winces. “Mars. It started on Mars.”

Tylo folds his arms and leaned back in his chair.

Kim takes a deep breath, pushing back the noise as well as she is able. “Captain, I believe I was a latent telepath, until Mars.” An awkward pause, then, “It is not unusual, in my family.” Her voice drops almost to a whisper. “My brother is a P11.”

Morgan shudders.

Silence, and then Kim flatly voices Tylo’s unspoken thought. “Psicop.”

Clamping down on his true thoughts, Tylo presses on, “What do you think… unleashed it?”


“That was me, sir.” Morgan breaks in. “While I was watching for you and Mister Validenn, I was passed by two NightWatch members. The ‘Watch means the ‘Corps. I… picked up a trick last year for keeping them away. That was the last thing we needed — for the ‘Corps to get involved.”

“So you think this trick caused….”

“… Already stressed barriers to break,” Kim finishes.

Tylo sighs, resolving to check on all his crew more closely. “You’ve known this for an entire week, and you said nothing?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Something this important, and you said nothing.”

Morgan suppressed a fidget only through long training, glances at Kim. “Aye, sir.”

Hands clutched behind back her back so hard they ache, Kim waits.

Captain Narsh puts his hands on the desktop and rose. “For future reference,” Tylo begins, somewhat exasperated. “Please don’t keep this kind of thing to yourselves. This time it worked out, but it could just as easily have not. We’ve lost enough people in this war.”

“Yes, sir.”

“All right. Anyway, good work. I’ll see what can be done once we have finished our clean up and investigation of Galicia VI.” Tylo paused, his expression enigmatic and Kim careful kept her mind to herself.

“I understand you are going down with the search party, Doctor. Are you up to that?”

“I believe so sir.”

“Very well. Dismissed.”

“Hate to leave you with this mess,” Kim said awkwardly. She didn’t want to know what Margaret thought of the whole incident.

“I’ll kick it into shape soon.”

“Well…. I guess I better go get my things.”

“That’s better, cyfeilles. Anything I can help with?”

Kim retrieves the medkit she’d left by her station. Hits comm channel, to no effect. Frowning, she turns to Morgan. “Margaret, this is offline. Were we hit that bad?”

“I didn’t think so, but….” Morgan curses quietly to herself.

Kim steps aside to let her at the board.

Morgan tinkers, then slams her fist on it. “Automatic repair system has cut in. Took it offline,” she growls.

“Then how do we even know everything is alright down there? We have damaged ships coming in!”

“We don’t.” Morgan replied. “So I guess it’s the heel-and-toe express for me.”

Kim, Medkit firmly tucked under arm, dashes for the fighter bays, Morgan following as fast as her newly-mended side will permit.

Kim and Meg come to the bays. Workers are moving about hurriedly to deal with the damaged ships piling in. They pause to get their bearings and then jog for the nearest pilot. Morgan descends on him.

“The hell you think you’re doing, pilot, just standing around?”

Pilot whirls around and they recognize the new Squadron leader. Kim pushes by, looking for anyone who needs help.

“Dr. Matsumoto, I presume? No one to find. We had them taken off to MedBay ourselves when we couldn’t get through.”

“Don’t you ignore me, scug!”

Kim turns from her hasty inspection of the fighter bays to the explosion brewing. Morgan stalks forward. “Since when do fighter pilots report to Science? And you never answered my question.”

090 pulls himself up stiffly. “Just keeping an eye on the ships, sir. With the comms down, I couldn’t just leave them …”

“That doesn’t include ignoring me!”

Kim opens her mouth to interrupt, then shuts it as quickly. She knew Morgan well enough not to interrupt. It would only make it worse for the squadron leader.

“As far as you’re concerned, I’m second only to God!”

“Yes, sir.”

“Now, what should you have done when you found the comm system down?”

“Personal report, sir.”

“The scug can learn. From now on, you speak to me first, barring the Captain or the XO. Not Science. Not the other squad commander. Me. Do you hear me?”

090 clenches his jaws tight “Yes, sir.”

“Don’t grind those teeth at me. I’m not going to disappear.” Morgan folds her arms across her chest. “Are you ever going to forget any of this again?”

“No, sir.”

“I can’t hear you.”

“No, sir.”

Morgan grunts, “I’m feeling generous, so that will do for now. I will forget this incident if you start over. And do it right!”

Kim withdraws out of hearing to one of the shuttles. The dressing down the squad leader was getting bad enough without adding witnesses. She hopes Meg won’t burn any thing. It isn’t EA here.

Kim finds gear all ready to load into the shuttle and busies herself with stowing the stuff while she waits for the fireworks to end.

Morgan finally lets him go and approaches, starts flinging nonbreakables in the shuttle. Kim draws herself aside of the line of fire.

“It makes me recall a certain person’s advice not too long ago,” she says when she can be heard.

Morgan stops and growls, pushes her hands back through her hair. “I went ‘Force again, didn’t I?”

Kim leans against shutte and twirls a small case in her hands. “A little.”

“I suppose I should apologize.”

“Never hurts.”

Shrock. Why didn’t they let me finish?” Morgan bangs her head against the shuttle hull.

Kim, watching, winces. “Ranger training is hardly going to get into personality alterations. Or we’d all be stuck there for years,” she points out.

Ie, but two months?”

“They must have had their reasons.”

“Maybe they just want to see me screw up like I have before.” Morgan bangs her head again on the shuttle.

Kim frowns, holding back and exasperated sigh. “Look, no point in beating it, or yourself to death.”

“I suppose. Though it probably won’t hurt my head.”

“And who said you screwed up?”

“I say it.”

Life, Meg. That’s all. You can’t carry the universe.” Kim shakes her head at Morgan’s stubborn self-accusation.

“No, it’s not life. Just…. Oh, never mind. What do you need where?”

Kim sighs inwardly. Later. “All right. Those cases over there, and in at a slower velocity please.”

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