Out of Hiding

Characters: Ryath Oaks, Tomás Darquin

The picture in her mind flickered then faded. Another probe failed, or had been accidentally destroyed. She was sure none of the beings she had planted them on were aware of the high-tech passengers she had placed on their clothing.

“Damn!” She sighed and switched to another probe close-by, bringing up a slightly altered image of the staff in the Medlab on the Phoenix going about their daily business.

She was still pleased with herself, with the way she managed to get the microscopic probes on the Phoenix. Darquin had been a surprisingly easy target to plant probes on, but the bruise on her head proved how determined he was to get out of the warehouse and away from the goons. Next time she promised herself to make the illusion less effective when it came to Darquin.

“Good disguise though,” she said, absently rubbing the slightly throbbing lump.

Ryath sat safely in her Flyer, matching the altitude and speed of the Phoenix, accessing many of the probes still working on the planet below. She had been watching the comings and goings of the locals and knew something was about to go down. Getting up and pacing the deck of her Flyer, she wondered what her teacher Olyn would do if he was here.

“If I get involved now it might make things worse.” She stopped pacing and turned to the console showing the details of the Phoenix communications. “Ship. Contact the Phoenix,” she hissed as a decision was made. The Flyer trilled its response, quickly followed by another from the Phoenix.

Phoenix here. How may we help?” A young-looking crew member responded.

“I need to contact either your commanding officer. Or Tomas Darquin.” Somehow she knew by the posture of the young man that this was not a usual request, and one that would need more explaining. Something there was no time for.

“Why do you require their attention?” the crew member asked, confirming Ryath’s thoughts.

“There is no time for me to explain it twice. Get your commander!” She controlled her voice, making it obvious she was not going to get into a conversation with him.

“Can’t do that, Ma’am. Not without reason.”

This was wasting time, and very tedious. Without further word Ryath terminated the link and replayed the images in her mind again. She had to be certain about the information before she contacted Captain Hale or Darquin in the manner that was left to her. She was certain it would cause a stir, but there was now no other way to get their attention.

The image in her mind’s eye of Darquin sitting with Cheys’ mistress, Lady Evina, flickered into motion. Even in her limited time monitoring the well established Lord Cheys, Ryath knew his fingers were in many pies, and most of them led to dangerous conclusions.

The four other probes left about the tavern had shown most of the clientele ignoring the quiet discussion in the corner, but one figure had been taking far too much interest. Unfortunately the hooded figure had been barely within the probe’s limits and this made it impossible, even for her, to see who it was.


 

Would they believe her, even if she was able to tell for certain who it was? She couldn’t know, and that was the troubling thing for her. Once again she missed Olyn and his invaluable advice.

“To hell with it!” she sighed and began searching the probes for signs of Captain Hale. Seconds later she came up empty. “Damn that woman!” Once again all the probes that Ryath had planted near Hale’s usual locations were inactive, or she just simply wasn’t there.

“Only one option left,” she whispered. Closing her eyes, she began the spell to form an electron incantation that she would use to contact Darquin. She still had one probe active that was attached to him, and through this probe she would project a holographic image of herself.


 

Her almost solid image appeared behind Darquin, on the shuttle. “Darquin!” came a near human voice from the image.

He turned quickly, opening his Minbari pike as he crouched into a defensive posture, trying to block out of his mind the disbelief that someone had actually gotten past the other Rangers. “Anybody here? I sure am.”

The image of Ryath held out her hands in a show of non-aggression, halting his attack. “Darquin, your current mission….more care is needed.” A trace of electro-static, barely audible, ran under the compelling resonance of her voice.

“Who are you?” He turned slowly in place, looking around, but showed no fear, as is the Ranger way. But his next quip and the smirk on his face certainly weren’t. “You’re too cute to be the Ghost of Christmas Future, I figured out that much. So what are you? Where are you?”

“Questions that can be answered another time, Tomas. Know only that I am a friend.” Raising her hand to forestall further questions, the image continued. “Watch…take heed…and be aware.”

The image of Ryath altered to the images of Darquin and Lady Evina in the booth at Arenn’s. Darquin rose and left the tavern, but on the edge of the image stood a hooded figure watching Darquin leave, then return its attention to the Lady Evina.

Once more the image changed, this time back to Ryath. “More care is needed, Tomas!” The image faded, leaving Darquin standing with his Minbari pike in his hand.


 

Back on her Flyer, Ryath collapsed into the chair. The effort expended to hold the link and project the images was great, but the tech inside her echoed its want for more. It vibrated with energy, making her whole body shiver.

“C…on…trol.” she stammered, trying to speak it into existence. “Must…..get…..control!” Once more she found herself longing for the carefree days of apprenticeship, when Olyn could sever her connection with the tech. The mind control exercises were easier to do then. Now she struggled, bringing into question, in her own mind, her ability to be a Techno-mage.


Copyright (c) 2001 Niki Hipwood and Joe Medina. All rights reserved.