Characters: Margaret Morgan

Morgan gripped her station and dragged herself back to her feet. She’d felt something snap, but there wasn’t time to worry about it now. She quickly scanned her board – what was still working, at least – then cursed. She opened her mouth to give a report to the Captain.


A plain institutional door opened in front of her, and a sickly bright light poured out, blinding her for a moment. Automatically, she stepped forward. Even when she recognized the place, she couldn’t stop herself. If I stop, maybe it won’t be true, she told herself desperately. But she would never know.

There were footsteps behind her. She didn’t turn to look, but she knew who it was. Old friend, true friend. Helping her even though it might end both their careers.

Every pace seemed a mile, the pale walls of the morgue at Bethesda mocking her. What right had she to expect a normal life?

Finally, there it was. Cold gurney, white sheet. A hand – connected to her, but not belonging, reached out, touched–


There was only her board on the Phoenix, hands clenched tightly on it, knuckles as white as the sheet that had torn her heart out. With a muttered curse, she shook it off. A hallucination, nothing more.

She refused to admit to herself why she had to wipe the controls off with her sleeve.

Copyright (c) 1998 Leslie McBride. All rights reserved.

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