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Bitter-Sweet Revenge

[Note from Tato: I dont know the real title of this...the author hasn't
given me one yet....but for now, we'll go with this, k?  And I'll put
up the REAL title when she gives me one...]

By: Sara AKA Vblackrose

Radu tossed and turned for yet another hour.  And the truth was, he
didn't really want to go back to sleep.  Not again, and not just now.
He sighed to himself and began to listen.  He listened to everything.
Sometimes that was soothing to him, when the Christa was quiet for the
night, and no sounds could be heard except for the humming of the
engines, and the breathing and heartbeats of his crew mates.  But
tonight it wasn't of any help, it seemed that nothing could calm his
nerves.  With another sigh, he got up out of his bed.  Not wanting to
wake his bunkmates, he decided to take the long way instead of the
jumptubes. 

As he got closer to the galley, he heard another noise on the other
end of the ship.  After listening for a moment, he discovered that it
was someone waking up. Thinking nothing of it, he continued the long
walk to the galley. 

***

Commander Goddard  woke up covered in a cold sweat and was breathing
loudly. He sat still for a minute, letting reality flow back to him.
Looking around at the room he was in, he was slightly surprised to see
where he was.  He was still on the Christa, in his room.  The darkness
was unsettling to him, as it covered the entire room.  

"Lights on," he commanded in an authoritative tone.  The lights
responded on request, filling the room with light.  

Peering around the room, Seth cautiously inspected his surroundings.
He was still trembling.  This is silly, he told himself.  You're a
STARDOG.  You shouldn't be afraid of stupid nightmares, they're not
real.  He scolded himself.  Scolding didn't help.  He hadn't been this
afraid of a dream since he was a young boy, and then it had been okay,
because he could climb into his parents bed and they'd make him feel
better and safe.  A wave of homesickness washed over him.  He thought
of home, and his family, and for a moment, forgot about his dream.
But only for a moment.

***

The stars were so beautiful, Radu thought to himself.  Being
surrounded in space constantly, with nothing to look at but the stars,
he had started to take them for granted.  But now, with no
distractions, and nothing to do but look out into that infinite
blackness of space, he realized how beautiful they really were.
Especially a certain group of stars, which was commonly known as the
Andromedan galaxy.  He had learned very early to identify the galaxy
from which his people supposedly came.  Personally, he doubted that
myth, but all the while, he found a strange sense of false security
from it.  

He was concentrating so hard on the stars, he lost himself.  He didn't
even hear Commander Goddard approach the galley, not even when the
metallic doors whooshed open and the commander stepped in to find the
young Andromedan sitting by himself.  The doors closed with their same
sound.  

"Mister Radu?" Seth asked tentively.  Either he's asleep, or just
really out of it if he didn't hear me come in.  He thought to himself.

Radu turned around slowly to see Commander Goddard standing in front
of the doors.  His hair was a mess and he was wearing striped orange
and white pajamas.  He also had a strange look on his face.  Radu
remained silent.  

"Mister Radu, are you alright?" he asked after a moment of silence.
Radu didn't respond for a second, as if he were thinking about the
question.  

"Yes, Commander, I'm fine.  I...I just couldn't sleep.  That's all."

The commander still was not convinced, but he decided to drop it.
Whatever it was, he obviously didn't want to talk about it.  And if he
changed his mind, he would say something to him.  A smile slowly
spread across his face.  

"You too, huh?" he asked in a friendly voice. The andromedan relaxed
considerably.  Seth walked over to the food wheel and ordered a
beverage, hoping it would be something that could put get him to
sleep.  He got a cut of coffee.  Great, he thought to himself, at
least there's no caffeine.  Radu appeared to be lost in thought again.

"Are you sure there's nothing wrong?" he asked again, knowing it was
probably useless.  And he got the same answer again.  

After a few more minutes Radu broke the silence.  "So, why are you
up?" he asked in a low voice.  Goddard thought about it for a minute
before answering.  

"Oh, I woke up from a dream, and I just couldn't get back to sleep."
Well, it was the truth, he couldn't get back to sleep.  He just wasn't
telling the whole truth, of how he had been so afraid. 

"Why are you up?" He questioned.  

Radu turned to look at him with a troubled expression.  The Commander
had never seen Radu like this before.  He had always seemed quiet and
nervous, but now, there was another expression on his face.  It seemed
different, detached somehow.  He got nervous as there was another
reign of silence. 

"W...Well, I just couldn't sleep.  This has been going on for a while
now.  I just can't get to sleep anymore." After he said that, he
turned away again.  

"How long has this been going on?" 

Radu turned to face him again.   "A..About a week." 

The commander nodded.  They didn't say anything after that, neither
had anything to say, so they just sat and looked out at the stars.
About an hour later, Seth realized he had been dozing.  Radu had left.
He couldn't bring himself to go back to his quarters, so he just
stayed there, and fell asleep in front of the stars. 

***

Radu suddenly awoke.  But he wasn't on the Christa, he was somewhere
else.  He was pretty sure that he had never been there before, though.
It looked kinda' like the holograms of earth from Ms. Davenports
lessons, but it was still different.  The grass was soft, and felt
cool to his skin.  Skin!  He thought to himself.  He looked down at
himself, sure enough, he had on a short sleeved shirt, a pair of thin
brown paints and no gloves.  He was groggy, and found it hard to
focus.  Trying to stand up, he realized that his legs weren't working
either. He looked around at his surroundings in detail. There was a
large grove of dark green trees and the air was cool and crisp.  The
sky was a dark blue, and the air itself seemed to posses a certain
life of it's own.

Radu heard leaves crunching as a tall, dark figure approached.  It
startled him, as he only heard the person when he was about 5 yards
away.  The figure got closer to him, and Radu realized that he no
longer had control over his limbs.  A white hot pain rang through his
head.  He clutched at his temples and collapsed to the ground, the
figure was standing right in front of him.  He was just standing there
calmly, observing him with a kind of bored interest.  That figure then
pulled out a long knife.

The terror subsided for a second, as it suddenly felt like there was
water being poured on him.  Then, when his muscles still refused to
move in the slightest, the figure started talking to him.  But it
wasn't his voice, his lips weren't even moving.  Plus, there wasn't
just one voice, it was two. 

"......don't know about that.............."

"......I'm sure...............maybe, ."

"..........get.........soon.............." 

The voices began to become clearer to him as they continued talking to
each other.  He couldn't tell their tone, though.  He was getting very
worried.  And scared, and every other emotion he had ever felt, while
all the while he still had that white hot pain in his head, unableing
him to move.  

"That's it, I'm getting help, he's not waking up,"  

"Look, I'm sure it's fine.  It's probably just some weird Andromedan
thing." 

Radu clearly recognized those voices.  Harlan! Bova!  He cried out to
them.  It was no good.  He just couldn't move.  And his head hurt like
hell. Suddenly, without even trying to do anything, he sat upright in
his bed.

"Radu! You're alright!" Harlans voice was overjoyed.  Radu looked
around, puzzled.  

"Of coarse I'm alright.  Why wouldn't I be?" 

Harlan and Bova exchanged worried glances.  "You wouldn't wake up.  We
were shaking you, and even poured water on your head, but you wouldn't
wake up." Bova told him.  And sure enough, he was holding an empty
bucket in his hands.  

Radu's thoughts slowly returned to normal, and he remembered
everything that had happened recently.  He also noticed that he was
shivering.  Looking about, he realized that he was very wet.  His
bunkmates were looking at him, genuinely concerned.  

"I'm....al..alright." He was still shivering, "I was just...having a
nightmare.  Th...That's all." 

The intercom crackled as Ms. Davenport's voice came on.

Would all students who are not now in class, please report to the
classroom.  IMMEDIATELY! 

The three boys looked at each other for a minute, then started
laughing.  "Wow, she sounds mad.  We better get to class." Harlan
began.  "Radu, if you're not feeling well, we can cover things with
Ms. Davenport for you." 

Radu smiled, relieved.  "Yes, I, think that would probably be the best
thing.  I'm really not feeling all that well. " Harlan smiled and
assured him that he would smooth things out for him.  But he had to
leave soon, before Ms. Davenport exploded or something.  After they
left, that was the first time Radu came to the realization that Harlan
wasn't exactly the best person for the job of "smoothing things out"
with Ms. Davenport.  But that didn't matter now.  Despite his long
sleep, he still wasn't rested.  Almost as if he  hadn't been sleeping
at all.  Oh, well, he thought to himself.  The worst that could
happen, is that I get some demerits.  With that, he lay back down, in
a feeble attempt to rest.  Then realized that he was still sopping wet
from the water his friends had poured on him.  He started to get up to
change, but decided to just forget it.  He would dry off eventually.
So he just lay there, huddled under the blankets of his bed, not
trying to sleep, he wasn't ready for that, he just desperately wanted
to rest, and to be at peace. 

***

The Jumptubes wooshed as the missing kids slid into the classroom.
Ms. Davenport was standing in the middle of the room, glaring at them.
Suzee and Rosie were sitting obediently on the chairs, working
intently on their compupads.  They didn't show much interest in the
new arrivals, except a casual glance, then nervously returning to
work.  

"And just where have you two been?" She questioned angrily.  "We've
been waiting for you. Wait a minute,  where's Mr. Radu?"  Her voice
changing tones suddenly as she realized that she was still missing one
student.  The two boys looked at each other, then explained about
everything that had happened that morning.  Ms. Davenport looked
slightly nervous.  "Well, is he okay?" 

"Yeah, he'll be fine, it's probably just some Andromedan thing.  Hey,
wait a minute, why is it you're all concerned about him, but you're
yelling at me just because I'm late.  

"Mr. Band..." Ms. Davenport said tryingly.  

"Sorry, sorry."  

Ms. Davenport started on with her lesson, which of course no one was
paying attention to anyway.  She droned on about the history of Uranus
and the terrible 100 years food shortage which crippled the world.
Suzee was particularly bored at this lesson. 
 
God, why am I sitting through this?  This has nothing to do with me,
I'm an engineer, not a historian.  I'm not even a student here.  But
will she let me leave, no.  I'm the one who should be teaching her,
I'm smart enough to anyways.

****

Man, I hate Ms. Davenport's classes.  Radu got out of it for the day
though.  I wish I could get sick for a while, just for a break.  I
should be steering the ship now.  What if  the Christa hits something
that the auto-pilot couldn't detect?  I'm the only one qualified for
that job.  I hate this song that's stuck in my head now, oh well. 
WIPE OUT!!!!!!!!!!  DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA WIPE
OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

****

Oh, I'm tired now, I wish I was back in bed.  HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM....

****

Uranian history is so depressing.  What were they thinking when they
made all of these decisions anyway?  Oh well, I suppose I should make
the most out of this, after all, it is kinda interesting, in a way.
(SIGH) Anyway, I better pay attention if there's going to be a test on
this. 

****

My My My... it appears the students are actually paying attention for
once, this is good.  Maybe we should do Uranian history more often if
it keeps them this entertained.  I wonder what Radu is up to now?
Back to the lesson. 


"AAAAHHHHH" Radu woke up with a start.  He sat up in bed breathing 
heavily.  He was tired but knew he wouldn't be able to get back to
sleep.  "Might as well get up," he said to himself and got up to get
dressed.  Or at least he tried to.  When he tried to stand up, he
realized that his legs hurt incredibly.  He thought back to his most
recent dream, his legs had been broken when he had fallen off a
ravine.  Actually he had been pushed.  "It was just a dream, why are
my legs hurting?" he questioned himself.  

As he thought about it for a while, he realized that his dreams had
been becoming more and more real lately.  And they had becoming more
frequent as well.  He was scared, to say the least.  Even when he was
awake, it was like he was still dreaming.  He could feel everything he
had felt in the dreams, he still saw everything that he had been
seeing.  

Radu sat back down on his bed.  He was still scared, and he was all
alone.  To calm his nerves, he began to concentrate on the other
sounds on the Christa.  He could hear Ms. Davenport talking about the
history of Uranus, Bova snoring, Harlan humming something to himself
softly, a tune that seemed very strange to him.  Radu could also hear
Thelma talking to the Christa about flight plans of some sorts.  

As Radu opened up his ears to hear more things, the more all the
noises bombarded his senses.  He decided to concentrate on one room at
a time.  "Why are you doing this?  Do you really expect to find
something on the Christa,"  He paused in mid-thought.  Was that what
he was doing?  Looking for someone from his dream.  Sighing, he knew
that he didn't really know at all.  But listening did calm him
somewhat, so he continued with his esxercise, paying attention to one
room at a time, hearing all the familiar sounds he was use to.  The
soft humming of the engines, the heartbeats of his fellow crew mates,
and the Gizbot causing some sort of mishap along the corridors. 

STAY AWAY!

Radu jumped up, startled.  What was that!  He concentrated hard on
where he had been before, deck 9.  The voice was faint, and harsh.

I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK.  I TOLD YOU TO STAY AWAY AND I MEAN IT.

There was a pause.
	
NO, YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND! NOW GO HOME AND DON'T WORRY ABOUT A THING.

There was another pause, and Radu strained to hear the voice again.

POOR GIRL, YOU REALLY NEED TO LEARN TO BE MORE TRUSTING.  ESPECIALLY
IN ME.  YOU MUST GET IT THAT I'M DOING THIS FOR YOU.  I KNOW WHAT IS
BEST FOR YOU.

As he listened to that last sentence, he heard the voice, which had
previously been rough and cold, turn to almost gentle.  He lay there
in his bed for almost ten more minutes, trying to make out anything
more.  But it was useless.  If he had been frightened before, it was
nothing compared to what he felt like now.  The only thing he could
think of was that someone was on the Christa, someone unwelcome.
"Stop it Radu", the logical part of his mind told him.  "You're sick
and the fever is causing you to hear things.  If anything or anyone,
especially an anyone, was on the Christa, someone would notice.  The 
scanners would surely pick it up."  But the other part of Radu's mind
just couldn't ignore what he had heard. Whether it was real or not,
he had better tell the others, just in case.  "What if you do? What
good would that do anyone?  They would just boil it down to the fact
that you're ill, and tired.  That your mind is playing tricks on you.
And why should they believe you anyway, that's probably what it is."

Radu lay there in his bed, thinking.  He wasn't exactly sure what to
do, but one thing was certain.  He had to get up.  He was sick of
staying here all day, and the dreams were still hanging in every
thought.  There was only one thing stopping him.  The pain, and the
fear.  He was afraid of those voices he heard, though he would never
admit it to anyone, and the dreams scared him.  "This is stupid", he
though  "Why in the galaxy would you be afraid of some silly
nightmares and a couple of voices that you're hearing. Get over it."

But Radu knew that they were more than just some stupid dreams. He had
nightmares before, but not every night, and not of this intensity.
Never before had any of his dreams seemed more real, or the memory of
them stayed so long.  He could remember every sight, every smell, and
every feel of what happened.  That was unusual, for anybody.  And no
matter how much the logical and reasonable part of his brain made
excuses, he knew what he heard, and a little cold wasn't going to
change that fact that his ears were quite reliable.   Suddenly, the
door to his room opened.  

***

"Now, that will be all for today, class, "  Ms. Davenport said,
looking at the clock. 

Thank goodness, everyone thought in unison.  They began to get up.

"Wait just a moment, though"  Everyone stopped in their tracks and
turned to look at her.  She continued. "Now, I'm sure you all found
the history of the Uranus fascinating, but I also know that you...
well, do not feel that way about all of my lesson plans. So I have
decided to do a limited trial."  

Everyone looked confused.  "A trial of what, exactly?" Suzee
questioned with boredom.  Ms. Davenport looked pleased.  

"A trial of that, you students get to pick the lessons that I teach."
A slight murmur of excitement went through the students.  "Within
reason,"  she said sternly.  Harlan's face dropped.  "Now, class is
dismissed."   

The students all walked out of the classroom, thinking about what Ms.
Davenport had just told them.  Did they really get to have her teach
them about anything they wanted to know?  She was serious, right?
What should they choose?  It was a lot to think about. 

Ms. Davenport watched the class leave, with a smile upon her face.
She saw that they were excited about the prospect of choosing their
own lesson plans.  For a while at least.  Maybe now, they will
actually pay attention to what she tells them.  She beamed with pride
at having thought of such a wonderful idea.  

***

The door opened fully, exposing the hallway of the Christa to Radu.
He could hear his heart beating in his throat.  His mind was spinning
with thoughts.  He waited for someone to come through his door, but no
one did.  He waited for a few minutes, but it seemed like hours.  And
still no one came.  And the door did not close.  It was probably just
a computer malfunction.  But he also felt some, intangible sensation
that someone was in the room.  It made the hairs on the back of his
neck stand on end.  He sat there for several more minutes, just
sitting there.  He was deep in thought, and still the sensation that
someone was there, and watching him.  Watching what he was doing,
watching.  Then the door closed and the feeling left him.  So he was
left there, just sitting, alone.

***
	
Tabius strode up to his dwelling.  He was deep in thought.  He paused
just before he reached the heavy wooden door.  He glanced up at the
dark blue of the sky, then closed his eyes.  He savored the feeling of
the wind blowing lightly into his face, making his long black hair
tumble onto his eyes and around his head.  The night was especially
warm, so he was cloaked only in his light cape and tunic.  He thought
about his most recent encounter with that young man in the stars.  He
looked so strange and different to Tabius.  His hair face was a
strange color, and the expression he wore.  It had made him look so
helpless, so afraid.  It almost made Tabius feel sorry for him.
Almost, and then the thought of his sister, and his feelings changed
back to hostility towards the young man.  He wouldn't let anything
happen so that Tabitha would leave.  He knew what was best for her.
And she needed to stay here, with him.  Even if she didn't understand
what he was doing.  And that he was doing it for her. With that in
mind, he opened the heavy wooden door and stepped inside the dwelling.

The darkness of the room was a welcome change for his eyes.  They were
hurting after being out and about all day.  He just wanted to rest
now.  But first he must go to see Tabitha.  With fluid, graceful
movements, he removed  his cloak, putting it on the tall wooden rack.
Then, with sure steps through the darkness, he moved to Tabitha's
room. She was lying there, her back facing him.  But he wasn't that
easily fooled, he knew that she was awake.

"Tabitha?" he called out cautiously.  Her form did not move, she 
remained still. Tabius came silently over to her.  He saw her eyes
fixed out the window into the scenery of the Emerald Forest.  He
looked out at the scenery as well.  

"What did you do to him Tabius?"  She questioned him, her voice coming
out barely above a whisper.   Tabius did not answer her right away. 
Instead he stood there, silently.

"That is not of your concern.  Just know that it is taken care of."

With that, Tabitha turned around to face him, her dark eyes blazing
with rage.  "I don't want anything taken care of! Leave him alone!"
She got up and began pummeling him with her fists.  Though she was
weak and he was barely shaken by her sudden outburst.  "Just leave him
alone.  Leave them all alone. "  Her voice went down to a whisper
again and she crumpled to the floor at Tabius's feet.  He looked down
at her.

"Why can't you understand that what I'm doing is for your good." He
knelt down beside her.  "I just want what's good for you.  And they
are bad for you.  Especially that one." 

Tabitha did not have the strength to answer him verbally, but he could
hear her thoughts.   

"But they will.  They will do something to you."  He told her.

With that, Tabius put left the room, leaving the girl on the floor
beside the bed. She made no attempts to move.  He walked out to the
other room and sat down at a small table.  Tabius, you must learn to
be more careful.  He thought to himself.  He knew that you were in the
room, he might tell someone.  It's bad enough that you sent one of the
dreams to that other one.  Yes, he remembered the older one.  Tabius
had gone to the wrong room one night, so the dream was placed in the
wrong mind.  But it turned out no big deal, nothing had come of it, he
just had to be more careful.  Much more careful, especially if he were
to finish his plan.

***

"Can you believe Ms. Davenport is actually letting us plan our
lessons.  I am so excited."  Rosie said cheerfully to the others.
Everyone (short of Radu, of course) was gathered in the galley eating
lunch. 

"Yea, it's great, isn't it?" Harlan broke in.  "I wonder what we
should choose first?"   

Suzee sat, deep in thought.  "I know, what about the history of the
different technologies of different cultures."  Everyone turned and
looked at her as if she just suggested having another lesson  on the
100 years food shortage.  "Well, it was just a thought," she said
sheepishly. 

"There's not going to be anything interesting anyway, so what's the
point?" Bova sounded depressed, as usual.  

"Bova! There are lots of different, interesting things that we could
have Ms.Davenport teach us.  Uh... right guys?" Rosie looked at the
rest of the group for support. But  she found none.  It seemed like
the life had just been drained out of this entire plan.  

"I don't know, Rosie, maybe Bova's right" Harlan said after a long
pause.  "Maybe, there isn't anything that we'd all really like to
learn.  Not that would be appropriate in class, anyways." Suzee nodded
her head in agreement.  Rosie looked startled.  

"I don't believe you guys!" She scolded them in a motherly tone.  "You
were so excited about this just a few minutes ago, what happened?" 
There was no reply. 

"You have to admit, Rosie.  What "educational" thing is there for Ms.
Davenport to teach us that we'd all really be interested in? 
Especially something that we all agree to." 

"Well, maybe we all don't have to agree on it," Rosie suggested,
trying desperately to keep the hope in this.  "Why don't we all get a
different day, that way, there's no arguing, and we all get something
out of it. " Rosie was obviously proud of this idea.  The others
exchanged glances.  

"Actually, that's not too bad an idea." Harlan chimed in.  "Why don't
I get tomorrow's lesson, Rosie, you get the day after, Suzee you get
the day after that, and Bova, you get the day after that."

"Wait, why do you get tomorrow?" Suzee questioned him. Harlan just
smiled. 

"Because, I just do."  Suzee rolled her eyes but decided to drop it.
It wasn't worth arguing over.  She needed to decide what topic she
should pick.  

"Uhhh, what about Radu?" Rosie questioned, bringing Radu into the
conversation for the first time.  Everyone looked at her in silence.
They had almost forgotten that he wasn't even there.

"Uh, guys, I've been meaning to ask you, is Radu really okay?" Suzee
asked.  "Because, come to think of it, I haven't seen that much of him
for the past week or so." 

"Yea, he just has a cold or something."  Harlan said as if it were of
no importance.  

The subject was dropped and the casers continued talking normally, but
the thought that Radu might not be fine still lingered in a head or
two. 

***

Radu was pacing the floor in the boys cabin.  And slowly, but surely,
the feeling in his legs returned and he began to feel like normal.
But he was debating about whether or not to tell anyone about the
voices he had been hearing.  He had pretty much made up his mind to
tell someone, but he was worried they would laugh at him.

His hair was still damp and stuck to the back of his neck.  But he had
changed clothes, so the rest of him was dry.  At least that was a
plus.  The longer he stayed awake, the better he felt.  Well, better
than how he had felt before, anyways.  And now he was hungry, so he
decided to go down and get something to eat.  He had heard the rest of
his crew mates leave that room just a few minutes ago and head to
their respective places for their daily chores and stations.  He
sighed, and began the walk to the galley, when he suddenly remembered
the jump tubes.  So he programmed in the right coordination for the
galley, and was off. 

Radu reached his destination in only a few short seconds.  He walked
up to the food wheel and ordered a meal.  A blue plastic tube came out
and he took his food over to one of the seats. With nothing in
particular on his mind, he began to eat his food.

***

"So, what have you decided on?" Harlan asked Bova as they walked along
the corridor to their bunkroom.  

"Nothing, yet," he answered glumly.  "What about you?" 

Harlan smiled broadly.  "I guess you'll just have to wait until
tomorrow to see for yourself."  They continued walking, until a
thought crossed Harlan's mind.  "Have you seen Radu?" 

Bova thought about that for a moment.  "Not since this morning, why?"

"I haven't either, and it just kinda worries me.  That's all.  I 
mean..."  he paused as he pressed the button that opened the door
leading to their bunkroom.  "I'm sure he's.... what the?!" Harlans
voice yelled out in surprise.  

***

A dull yellow light streamed in through the open windows of the cabin.
"Urrrrrgggg," Tabius groaned lazily.  "Bright."  He tried to cover his
head with the blanket, but after a moment, decided to get up .  He
closed the windows, and moved back to his bed to rest.  He had just
gotten to sleep before the sun rudely awakened him.  So as soon as he
was back in bed, he was unconcience. 

Tabitha jerked up as she heard Tabius moving around in the room next
to her, signaling that he was awake.  She slumped back to her previous
position, though, when his movements stopped.  She knew he had gone
back to bed.  Her long, hair fell around her head, covering her face.
Her shoulders were slumped, and her legs were tucked under her.  She
had stayed that way ever since Tabius had left her room before.  And
still she sat on the bed, not moving at all.  Glancing to her window,
she gazed out at the beautiful Emerald Forest and the dull yellow of
the sun.  It all seemed so wonderful, she wanted to be out there.  She
closed her eyes, and left.  Not with her body, but her mind.  She
tried to feel the cool winds and the softness of the grass, and the
rough bark of the trees.  

"Why am I here?" She questioned herself.  She shouldn't be here, as
she had been for so long.  She was trapped here, but not with locks or
chains.  No, she should be able to just get up and leave anytime she
felt the desire to.  But she couldn't.  It was no tangible reason, but
she couldn't.  Tabius did something to her so that she wouldn't.
Tabitha spent all of her days here, in this room, too weak to even
cry, as she dreamt of doing, like so many other things.

Tabitha tried to think good about Tabius.  In his own mind, he was
doing what was right for her.  He was protecting her from all the
wrong.  But he was hurting others in the process. And he wasn't
helping her at all.  He would not even tell her what he was doing, or
what threat these people posed to her.  All she knew was that there
were kids, around her own age, plus two others.  The children's
gardians.  The children were about her own age, but the guardians she
knew nothing about.  They played no role in this.  And they would die.
All of them would die at the hands of the madman.  And no matter how
hard she tried, there was nothing as of now she could do to stop it.

***

"Okay, Harlan, so what do we do now?"  

Harlans mind raced.  He wasn't exactly sure what to do.  What was
going on?  And where was Radu?  He knew Radu couldn't have done this,
but, then who did?  "Ummm, lets get... Commander Goddard."

Bova nodded his head in agreement.  The two boys went off in search of
him.
	
*** 

Commander Goddard paced back and fourth in front of the students.  He
was quite vexed as to what had happened to the boys bunkroom. 
"Harlan, Bova, what happened?" he questioned them for the hundredth
time.  He knew that he wouldn't get an answer from them though.

"Commander we told you already.  We don't know, we came up and found
it like that."  Harlan answered exasperated.

"Well, are you sure Radu didn't do it?"  Seth was running low on
solutions.  

The boys just stared at him.   They knew as well as he did that Radu
wouldn't just trash the bunkroom for no apparent reason.  He wasn't
that sick.  Was he? 

"Fine, fine.  It wasn't Radu.  But...where is he?  Maybe he knows
something."  

He was answered by two shrugs.  They hadn't seen him since this
morning.  "Great.  Just great."  

***

After eating, Radu did feel much better.  At least his nerves were
calmer.  But his heartbeat was going a mile a minute.  He was feeling
better though.  That meant he would probably have to go to class
tomorrow.   He chuckled to himself softly as he realized that he was
starting to sound like Bova.  He approached the bunkroom slowly and
opened the door.  He gasped as he did so.

The entire room was trashed.  It was like there had been a struggle
here.  All the drawers were toppled over onto the floor and clothes
were scattered all around.  The sheets on the beds were torn and there
were wires that had been pulled out of the walls. He just stood still
for a moment.  "AAHHH" he called out in surprise.  But it was just the
door closing behind him.  His heart was beating even faster now.

Radu turned to leave the room.  

And where are you going?

He spun around again, expecting to see someone in the room, but there
was no one.  Radu's mind was racing and his heart was beating faster
and faster.  He searched the room with his eyes, making sure he was
alone.   

Is something wrong, Radu?

The voice came from behind him again.  He spun around even faster, but
still found no one.  He was going out of his mind with fear.  This was
real, even though he couldn't see anyone, he was positive that there
was someone with him.  

"What do you want?" Radu asked.  He had meant for his voice to come
out as intimidating, but instead was soft and shaky.   He waited for a
moment, but no reply came. "I'd better get the others. " he said to
himself and started towards the door.  

Oh, foolish boy.  I doubt that the "others" will be of much help to
you.

After that, Radu did not remember anything.  

***

"So Rosie, decided on a topic for class yet?"  Suzee asked her.  Rosie
thought about that one for a moment.  

"Not yet, this is harder than I expected.  I mean, what if the others
don't like what I picked out for them.  I want it to be a happy
subject, but not too happy.  And.." 

"Rosie" Suzee interrupted, slightly annoyed.  "Don't worry about what
the others think.  They'll have their own days and you have yours.
Everyone isn't going to agree on it, so just worry about what you
think would be good." 

"Really, you sure?" Rosie asked hopefully.  

"Positive." 

"Good, glad you think so."  Rosie felt relieved.  The girls continued
walking along in silence, both looking through data on their
compupads.  

"But.."  Suzee started.  "If you think this sounds interesting, than
you might want to choose this."  She shoved her compupad into Rosie's
hands. 

"Uh, Suzee..." 

"There are some other things on there too.  And they're all very
informative. " 

"Uh, Suzee..." Rosie tried again.  

"Or..." she took the compupad back and began punching something in.
"Or you could," 

"Suzee,"  

"What?" 

"Uh, thanks, I'll look it over. "  The older girl smiled, pleased with
herself.  
	

Suddenly, the commander and both of the boys came walking past, almost
knocking them over. 

"Well, excuse us." 

The boys turned around.  "Sorry, Suzee, but I think you better come
with us." 

The two girls exchanged confused glances, but quickly hurried up to 
catch up with the others.   Rosie noticed that they were headed 
towards the boys bunk room.  But she didn't have time to ask about it
though, because they were there.   The commander walked into the door,
banging his nose on the metal.  The kids laughed slightly, but stopped
as he turned and looked at them sternly.  

"Now what's wrong.  THELMA!" He jumped in surprise as the android came
right next to his face.  

"Yes, Commander?" 
	
"THELMA, don't so that.  Now, would you mind telling me what is wrong
with this door?" 

THELMA nodded and looked at the door, information processing in her
mechanical mind.  

"Nothing. " She concluded, and turned to walk away.  

"THELMA,"  he jumped in shock again as she came up to his face again.

"Yes, Commander?" 

"What do you mean, nothing." 

THELMA processed this and thought a moment.  "Nothing, not at all,
opposite of something, lack thereof..." 

"Thelma, that's not what I mean. The door wont open.  What is the
problem." 

THELMA checked with her data again.  "Nothing Commander."  She turned
and left before anyone realized that she was gone.  Seth rolled his
eyes.  "Well, I'll just open it myself." 

The kids were watching him, and watched as he pulled a panel off of
the wall and began fooling with the wires.

"You know Commander, when you break something, I am going to laugh."
Harlan said with a laugh.  The Commander faced him, obviously annoyed.
Harlan wisely shut his mouth.  
	"You know, I could probably do that for you," Suzee
volunteered.  Suddenly, a wire snapped and everyone started to laugh.
"I told you, you should have let me do it for you."

Seth moved out of the way to let Suzee through.  She pulled at
something, and the door opened immediately.  The Commander seemed just
a bit annoyed.  

They all piled into the room, and found it just how it normally is.
Everything was in its rightful place, and all the beds were neatly
made.  Except there was one difference. Radu was lying unconscious on
the floor.  

***

Tabius continued to watch her.  He loved to watched her.  But it was
also unnerving how she never moved.  She was always very still, like a
statue in a park.  As usual, she was facing away from him, gazing
longingly out the window.  

"What is wrong with you, Tabitha.  You always seem so dead."  This
provoked a response.  She got up slowly and walked over to him.  She
stared him right in the eye and asked him. 

"Where were you, Tabius." 

He did not answer that question right away, just looked at her.  "I
was taking care of some business."  

This made Tabitha's eyes glaze over with water.  ''You were there, in
space weren't you?  You were tormenting those poor people who have
never done anything to you." 

"As I've told you before, they've done plenty."

Tabitha hit Tabius square across the face.  It wasn't that hard, but
Tabius hadn't been expecting it.  His face got slapped to the side.

"Damnit!"  Tabius's voice screamed out in anger.  "Why  do you have to
be so difficult.   Face the facts little girl, not everything is
perfect and good in this world.  Get over it, and accept things!" He
looked down at Tabitha, who was trembling and scared. His expression
changed suddenly.  "Tabitha, I'm so sorry.  It's just this whole thing
has gotten me short tempered.  You understand...don't you?"

Tabitha nodded.  But she still didn't understand, and if everything in
her brothers plan is going accordingly,  the aliens would be arriving
in a two short days.  She was coming up with a plan, but she would
need to get on Tabius's good side beforehand.  She prayed desperately
that it would work.


He was in a dungeon.  It was dark and cold there with only one window
which was high up on the dank walls.  A very dim light filtered
through, but was of no comfort.  Looking down at his bare arms, he saw
dried blood, but there were no cuts.  He was in pain.  But he refused
to accept his predicament.  

Come on Radu, you can't just sit here.  At least try to find a way
out.  

He followed his advice almost unconsciously, standing up despite the
pain he felt.  He looked up at the window, but soon figured out that
it was far too high up to get out of.  He continued to groggily
explore the walls of the cell, looking for an exit.  He was finding it
difficult to move so his movements were clumsy and ungraceful.

After about ten (long) minutes, Radu was starting to get discouraged.
He had searched every crevice in the stone wall and had even tried to
dislodge some of the rocks, but nothing had proved successful.  He sat
down to think.  Everything was unnerving.  He couldn't hear anything,
not even his own heartbeat, and his strength was gone.  He felt as
powerless as the time he had become a human.  Becoming more scared
with every minute, Radu started to cry, his tears soaking his thin
white shirt.  

In the midst of despair, a door that had not previously been there
opened up and Radu saw that same dark man he remembered from his
dreams.   His black hair was gleaming from the bright light radiating
behind him.  He stood tall over Radu and started talking to him in an
alien tongue.  The bright light coming from out of the wall was
blinding him now, so he crouched down into a corner trying to shield
his eyes.  The man in front of him's tone sounded deadly and serious.
It was clear that he did not wish good will.

The bright light continued to get brighter.  

"AHHHHHHHH!"  he finally screamed in frustration.  He sat up, and the
bright light dimmed away from him.  He looked about and saw Rosie
looking at him with a concerned expression on his face.

"Radu? Are you okay?" Her voice sounded like a blessing to him.  

"Yeah, I'll be fine," his voice croaked back.  Rosie's face relaxed
some.

"You sure, you sound pretty bad." 

"It was just a dream, thank goodness," he told her, lying back on the
soft med-lab bed.

"Well, that's good.  And you don't have to worry, you're here on the
Christa with all of your friends, not in a dungeon."

Radu looked up at her with a startled expression.  "How did you..."

Rosie's face smiled again, but it wasn't her usual, chipper smile.  It
looked evil.  "Just a lucky guess.  Now why don't you go back to
sleep, you need the rest." 

"This is a dream." he said slowly. "None of this is real.  You're not
real."  Rosie slowly turned to face him.  She smiled again.

"I think I'm real enough."  She informed him in a straight tone.
"This isn't a dream anymore Radu.  This is real. "  She paused a
moment.  "You better know how to handle it." 

Radu didn't know what to do, or what to think.  Everything was
different.  He knew he was dreaming, he must be, Rosie wasn't like
this.  It just felt... he couldn't put his finger on it.  He was more
coherent now than he was before, in the dungeon, and his senses were
more in tune.  These thoughts swarmed through his head in a matter of
seconds.  But that was too long.  

He had been off guard, and Rosie (or at least, what was suppose to be
Rosie) had somehow acquired a weapon of some kind.  She made a quick
swing for him, and Radu barely was able to move out of the way. 
Rosie, or it, was off balance, and fell to the floor.  Radu moved
quickly to intercept and held her down.  

"Rosie, I don't want to hurt you.  What's going on?" He questioned
her.  

He received no reply, except for a tear on the side of her right eye.
He softened immediately.  

"Rosie?" 

"Radu?  It's me.  I..I... what happened just now?  Why am I on the
floor?" She looked extremely scared.

Radu's heart leaped with joy for a moment.  But just for a moment.
Something wasn't right, something was terribly wrong.  It was a trick.
His eyes flashed and he made a run for the door.  He had to get out,
he must get away from her, or anyone else for that matter.

He hit the door with some force as it refused to open.  Terror waved
through him.  He turned and ran for the jumptubes, jumping in one
without even setting in a coordinate.  He didn't even bother to look 
at the young Mercurian still lying on the floor.  


Harlan and Bova were in the boys bunk, sitting on their respective beds. It was already past lights out, but neither of them could sleep. "This has certainly been an interesting day." Harlan remarked glumly. "And tomorrow is bound to be, too." Bova was his normal, grumpy self. But this time, Harlan didn't even bother to roll his eyes and tell him to be more positive. He just sat there, with his chin resting on his knee. He had to think. Think about all that had happened in just a few hours. He was genuinely worried about Radu. He'd been in med-lab unconscious for a long time now. Of course he would be okay, he had to be. Though he would probably never admit it to the rest of the crew, he was actually growing quite fond of the Andromedan. Andromedan, that term use to be an insult when he said it. He laughed softly to himself at the thought. An 'andromedan' was his best friend. "This is really creepy, isn't it Bova? I mean, I don't think I'll be able to get to sleep. Right?" Harlan looked over at Bova, who was fast asleep in his bed. Harlan laughed again, but his thoughts turned sinister again. "I wonder what could have possible happened to this room? " he was talking to himself by this point. "I mean, we come in and the whole place is trashed, we come back ten minutes later and everything is normal." Harlan looked around the room, for something that might help him figure it out. He got up slowly, and began poking around. He was only a couple minutes into his search before he began to get bored. "Man, this is hopeless." He sat down on the floor with a thud. As he did so, a compupad fell to the floor by his feet. He looked up, startled, and saw an open drawer. It was Radu's. "Funny, this wasn't open before," he mused to himself. But he didn't think anything of it. He simply stood up sleepily and began to put it back into the drawer. Began to, but his curiosity got the better of him. "What is it's not his? I mean, I shouldn't put it there if it doesn't belong to him? Maybe I should just check to see what's on it. It's not spying or anything, it's just a peek, just to see if it really is his." Harlan continued to rationalize it until he just turned it on. Nothing interesting at first, just some assigments for class, and some flight plans plus some other navigational-type stuff. He was about to put it back when something caught his eye. It was something about a couse correction. Harlan's eyes widened. These corrordinates would take them away from their previous destination. He kept on reading when something weird happened to the writing. It wasn't in English anymore. It was some other language, probably Andromedan but he couldn't know for certain because he had no idea what Andromedan writing looked like. Even if he couldn't read it, he knew this was a problem. After standing there for a minute, he decided to see Commander Goddard. *** "Honestly, Commander, are you sure they'll be alright there?" Seth sighed to himself. He had been in the command post listening to Davenport's worrying for the past 30 minutes. It wasn't a long time, but it seemed longer than it actually was. "Yes, T.J., I'm sure they'll be just fine. " Actually, he wasn't sure at all. But someone had to be sure of himself in this situation. Otherwise, everyone will be acting like Ms. Davenport. He shuddered inwardly. That was not a pleasing situation. But it was kind of funny, in a way. "But.." She began. "T.J., it's no big deal. For all we know, the boys were probably just making the whole thing up as a practical joke. When we got there, the bunkroom was in perfect order." "Except for the fact the Mr. Radu was lyeing unconscious on the floor. Besides, when have you known that bunkroom to be 'in perfect order'?" She questioned in such an authoritive tone that Seth wondered who was really the Commander on the ship. "Okay, now you're just being paranoid." he told her simply. "And I'm sure Mr. Radu is just fine, he's just a little sick." "I'm sorry for being concerned about my students, Commander Goddard, but when something happenes that could possible indanger them, I do worry! I apologize if it's not "protocal" but it's just how I feel! And I certainly feel sorry for you if you don't feel exactly the same way!" Davenport's sudden ouburst startled the commander considerably. She was always so polite and reserved. He stood up to face her in the eye. "I do care about the students. I'm just not going to beleive every story they come up with, and get paranoid over every little thing that happens to them. I'm not a babysitter, T.J." "And I am? By the way, COMMANDER Goddard. It's Ms. Davenport." Seth was about to come up with a retort, but he didn't have time because Harlan came rushing through the jumptubes. He was in his regulated pajama's and was holding something in one of his hands. "What do you want, Band?" He asked a little testily. Not noticing anything was different with the adults, he ran up to them, practically knocking them over. "Look at this," he demanded, shoving the compupad in front of his face. "Mr. Band, I am really not in the mood right now," he was talking to Harlan but his eyes were glaring at Ms. Davenport. Again, Harlan didn't notice anything was wrong. "Commander, please, just for a minute. I think you better see this. Seth, after looking at it for a moment, took the compupad and began skimming through it. It wasn't anything of interest. Just some assignments that Ms. Davenport had given all of the students. He was beginning to think this was another of Mr. Band's jokes. But, after a second, he saw what had worked Harlan up. His brow wrinkled thoughtfully. Seth thought to himself for a moment. "THELMA!" The android came right up to his face so quickly he jumped slightly. "Thelma! Don't do that!" He paused for a moment to compose himself. "Thelma, do you think you could tell me what this is?" He asked her politely. Thelma took the compupad from him and looked at the writing. She began to process that in her metal brain. "No, Commander, I can not." She told him simply and handed the compupad back to him. Seth, not to mention T.J. and Harlan, looked very surprised. "Why not?" "Because, Commander Goddard, this language is not on any of my files." She paused. "It is most perplexing." Seth thought for a moment, and then turned to look at Harlan. "Mr. Band, where did you find this?" "Well... uh... I don't know... exactly." "What do you mean you don't know?" THELMA interjected at hearing this. "I don't know. It means, unknown, a mystery, can't figure it out, not sure..." "Thank you Thelma," he said in an exasperated tone. He then turned to Harlan again. "So, you don't... know, where you found this?" Harlan sighed inwardly. "Well, I was sitting down on the floor, and, well, it just kinda fell on me." "Fell on you?" "I think it came from one of Radu's drawers, but I can't be sure for certain." Seth sighed and rubbed his temples at hearing this. "It was really weird, Commander. I mean, no drawers were open, and then, when I sat down, it was." "Do you think this incident was in any way related to what happened earlier?" T.J. spoke for the first time in the conversation. As she spoke, she glared at the Commander. He glared back. "I don't know, but it's starting to creep me out." Seth paced back and forth for a while. He looked at Harlan, then at Ms. Davenport, and so on. He let out a sigh. "Well Commander, what should we do?" "I don't know, alright." he barked angrily. "But... don't worry, I'll figure something out." He turned his back on the people in the room and looked distantly out the viewscreen. Suddenly he felt a hand touch his shoulder from behind. He spun around, surprised, and saw T.J. looking at him. "And just what makes you think you're going to do this all by yourself?" She asked him in a motherly tone. "I guess I'm not.," he smiled. Harlan looked between the two adults a couple of times with a puzzled expression on his face. "Uhhhhhh, I, think I'll go down to med-lab. To check on Radu, you know?" With that he was gone down the jumptubes, leaving the two people in the command post to wonder about what they should do next. *** "Oh, god, I have got to start getting up more often." Tabitha moaned to herself as her legs remained unresponsive to her request of getting up out of bed. Finally, they agreed with her and she stood up, grasping the wooden bed post for support. Her ears perked up. Heavy footsteps could be heard coming toward her room. "Hello, Tabius," She tried her best to put on a cheery voice for him. He entered the room a few moments later. "Good morning Tabitha," he said to her. His expression changed, as he looked somewhat puzzled. "What are you doing up, I thought you weren't feeling well." She let go of the bedpost and took a few steps toward her brother. "I don't know exactly. But I think I should be getting up soon. I have been in this bed for a long time. I'm getting bored, and I'm hungry." She tried desperatly to make her voice sound sure, the last thing she needed right now was her brother coming down on her and being worried. She needed him away from the house for a while. Tabius smiled genuinly and brightly. "Good, this is good. You should be recovering nicely then. I knew that new medicine I got for you would do the trick." Tabitha smiled weakly. "Yes, well, Maison is a wonderful doctor. I'm not surprised he came up with something." "I wish I could stay, but I have... an, well... an errand to run." "An errand?" Tabitha asked suspiciously. "To that ship, I presume," Tabius's expression hardened. "Yes, as a matter of fact I am. But, we can share some breakfast before I go. Come on." he grabbed her by the hand and bagan walking out the door. But Tabitha pulled away. "I'll be there in a moment or so. I've got to change." Tabius seemed to accept this without question and went into the other room. He went to the cupboard and pulled out a loaf of bread and some fruit he had picked the previous day. He continued setting out breakfast for him and his sister in silence, smiling all the time. It had been a long time since he had shared a meal with his sister. Not since, what happened to their parents. Such a tragic experience, that was. That was why he had to be especially protective of her now. People had been bugging him ever since that fateful day. They assumed that he, too, had contracted the sickness. They wouldn't listen when he told them he was fine. The symptoms were false in his case, and that was it. He then realized that he was cutting the bread too hard. Shakeing like a leaf, he put the knive back on the breakfast table with a clatter. He breathed deeply and said to himself again. "The symptoms are false." At that moment, Tabitha came into the room, freshly changed from her nightgown to black leggings and a long, green tunic, which was so dark it looked like her eyes, which were peircing into him as he sat down at the table with his head in his hands. Are you alright? She asked him in his mind. His head snapped up at attention immediately. "I'm fine!" he almost shouted, but his sister did not seem phased by his harsh voice. Good. She said simple and sat herself down at the table. She served herself a slice of bread and a piece of fruit. Tabius just sat there for the better part of ten minutes, before he too, ate something. "I've got to leave," he said abruptly, almost knocking his chair over as he stood up. Tabitha did not move from her position. Alright. Then go. Tabius was surprised that she wasn't even putting up a fuss about him going to see those alien children. She had seemed so spirited about stopping him before. It was the only thing she was spirited about anymore. He mindlessly walked out the door and onto the dirt path, a few stray leaves crackling underneath his boots. Plus the fact that she was up and about for the first time in... well... a long time. Maison may be a friend of his, but he knew that he was only a second rate doctor, and the medicine he provided probably wasn't worth a copper. He continued walking, deep in thought. Something was wrong, he could sense it. He just didn't know what it was. Not for a minute though, did he suspect his sister of anything. It must be those aliens. It was all their doing. In the midst of his walking, he realized that he had already reached his destination. At least, partly reached his destination. He was there in mind, and could see the room. Supposedly, these were the engines. He looked around them for a moment. This was too simple, indeed. "Who's there?" A tentive voice surprised him. He turned around to see that boy. He was huddled in a corner of the room shivering and crying. Tabius watched with interest. The boy knew he was there. He must have phycic powers, even if they were of a small nature. And this makes things all the more exciting, he thought to himself. The boy would pose no threat, even with his strength. And him being in the engine room also added some spice to his plan. He laughed to himself. This was only the beginning. End of Part One... To Be Continued...

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