Characters: Dr. Mira Trassano

Mira wandered down the corridor, dodging excited humans. Shortly after viewing the ISN report, she had seen the change in her fellow Rangers. They laughed and played like children going home from school. She couldn’t help but to smile at them, they were all so joyous. But, there were wounded still slowly trickling into MedLab and this was, after all, not her home.

Of course, she thought, it’s good to know that a planet has been freed from a dictator. And it is nice to see my companions happy. She stepped out of the way of a singing Ranger. I almost wish I could share their joy.

Mira sighed and opened the door to her borrowed quarters. Her roommate wasn’t there. She puttered and shuffled through her bag until she found her Jala-makings. As she pulled out the small pouch, a data crystal fell to the floor. A frown creased her brow.

“Now, what can that be?” Mira wondered aloud. She put it on the table while she made her Jala, staring at it wonderingly from time to time. Finally, steaming mug in hand, she settled in front of the terminal and plugged the crystal into the port. The screen lit up and there was Carter smiling at her.

“Hello there, Doc!” He gave a little wave. “I was sitting here thinking about all the work you’re leaving me to do while you go off on this little jaunt and I almost regretted not volunteering for the trip.” Mr. Carter chuckled. “Then, I remembered the last time I went to Earth and the subsequent three months I spent laid up because of that virus I caught bodysurfing. So, even though I’m feeling the hankering for some real true cornbread and big fat steak… I’m happy to be left behind. However, I couldn’t send you off to Earth and a possible hiatus among Humans without some essential knowledge of THE most commonly bought, sold, and listened to musical style.” The head nurse paused to indulge in an evil grin. “We might also consider this a small amount of revenge… hehehehe. Don’t try to turn the music off. You’d have to have the walls opened up and the speakers disconnected in order to accomplish that. Oh, and if you leave… the music will only be paused until the door opens up again. And, it’s only a two hour program, so, sit back… relax… and remember all the many hours of Centauri Opera you have insisted on blasting in the office.” Carter winked from the screen. “Be safe! I’d hate to have to break in a new CMO. And if you get one, have a great holiday on Earth!”

The very instant that the image disappeared from the screen the soft strains of a gently plucked guitar filled the air. The beginning of the song was deceptive, though. The next moment the steel guitar kicked in and the country singer began belting out her despair. Mira physically jumped and winced. With an aggrieved sigh, she made a few attempts to turn the program off. She even removed the data crystal, but it had already downloaded the program to the terminal.

Cradling her mug of Jala, Mira muttered, “Mr. Carter, I hope you are enjoying yourself…I may be forced to kill you for this.”

(C) Copyright 1998 Mona Hinds. All rights reserved.

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