Month 6, Day 10
Drake struggled to open his eyes. Abdulla stood over him. “Good, one sleeping beauty has awakened. How do you feel?”
“Physically, fine. Mentally, confused. What happened? Did I have a relapse?”
“No.” He managed, somehow, to sit up. “Your console exploded.”
He considered her carefully. “Don’t you remember?”
She frowned in concentration. “I remember being on the bridge, listening to music or... something. Then I saw Mac. Or thought I did, but I knew I had relieved her. And she didn’t look normal; she looked... extra white. Even her hair looked... But I only saw her for a split second, then there was this flash - but not a bright flash, it was more like... darkness.” She gave a frustrated sigh. “I know, I’m not making sense.”
About as much as Takor did. Or are they both making perfect sense, and it’s my brain that’s scrambled? “Mac’s over there.” He pointed as he climbed off the bed.
“She finally caught the flu?”
“No, she was trying to make repairs with the help of 2 technicians.”
Abdulla’s eyes grew round. “Mr Smythe put Mac in charge of repairs?”
“He didn’t have much choice; other than one of those techs, she was the only communications personnel left.”
“If she doesn’t have the flu, what’s wrong with her?”
“Still trying to puzzle that out,” he admitted. “Takor said she was acting oddly, and when she got too close to him, he claims she was the source of a discharge that knocked her out. Knocked them both out, actually. I should believe him, but it’s pretty hard to swallow.”
“Poor girl.” Abdulla approached the other examination bed. “Nothing’s gone right for her since she came aboard.” She reached out to pat the redhead’s shoulder, but dark sparks crackled and Drake pulled her away.
“Space!” he exclaimed. “Did you see that, or did I hallucinate?”
“I saw it,” Abdulla stated breathlessly. “I don’t understand it, but I saw it.”
The coolness of her body against his made him realize he had a protective arm around her. I must have a fever, for her body heat to feel cool. He loosened his arm and let go of her. “Seems Takor was right; she is electrically charged.”
Abdulla gave him a quizzical look as he tried not to shiver. “Are you all right?”
No time for self pity. “It doesn’t make sense. She was picked up and carried here. I examined her. There was no sign of that then. Why now?” He gingerly reached out and touched the redhead’s hand. Nothing happened.
They both stared at the unconscious woman for a moment. “How long since she was brought here?” Abdulla asked.
He glanced on the chronometer. “Half an hour. Roughly.”
“How long since somebody touched her? Before I did, just now.”
“That would have been me, when she got here. But she doesn’t have any obvious wounds, so I would have been using the machines. Can’t say I actually touched her at all. Why?”
She gave him a quick grimace. “I wondered how much time a body needs to recharge itself, if it got... discharged.”
“You talk like she’s some kind of battery,” he stated.
“Well, we are electrical creatures,” she stated. “If I remember my biology lessons correctly.”
“You do,” he confirmed. “But human bodies don’t normally hold an electrical charge. Not like that.” He tried to sort out possibilities in his uncooperative mind. “If she tapped into the residual charge left in the console after it exploded-“
“Speaking of the console, am I released? Somebody needs to work on communications.”
The possibilities he’d been considering dissipated into fog. “Well, how do you feel? Headache or... anything?”
“A hint of a headache,” she admitted. “But if I were working, I wouldn’t notice it.”
“Well, try not to come back; give us some time to get somebody else functional,” he instructed. “But go, you’re released.”
“Thank you.” She headed for the door, then paused. “Just as a test, why not wait 20 or 30 minutes, then touch Mac and see what happens?” She left without waiting for him to answer.
Not sure I can stay awake that long. He pressed the button to lower his chosen bed a few inches and then rolled onto it. His eyes closed immediately.