Mira and Reymo come back to the shelter. Beth and the Major tell them all that had happened on Dalygaran.
Beth: I can draw you those I’ve seen, especially the woman I… er, incapacitated.
Mira pushes with an index finger somewhere on the edge of the table. A drawer opens and she brings from inside a little and rangy object she presents as an electronic pencil. Reymo activates the screen with three fingers as he had before.Mira: You can draw on the screen now. When you’re finished with the drawing, tap the screen two times to enter a vocal note. When that’s done, tap it one more time, but only one. The whole thing will be recorded in our data system. Then you can start the next drawing if there is one.
Beth: All right.
She starts to draw. In this Dalygaran body, she can move faster than with her Earthling one. She draws at full speed and discusses some details with the Major. They decide together what would be the vocal note, and those of each of the three individuals they met.
Mira and Reymo stand admiring the work.
Reymo: If all witnesses could be like you…
The Major: It’s absolutely accurate to what we saw. You noticed all these details Beth?
Beth: It’s something I’ve known to do since I was in my first Dalygaran body… I know how to dig in my memory to find very sharp pictures, as though I were still there.
Mira: We’re going to proceed with some investigations and we’ll keep you informed, of course.
The Major: And about my request for Beth?
Reymo: The psychic training?
The Major: Yes.
Beth: What are you talking about?
The Major: The Dalygaran bolt, you’ve got to know how to use it. You’ve got to know to prevent your mind from being scanned. It’s important when you’re on a mission. And you’ve got to learn not to be scanned without your knowing. Frigellyans have at their disposal furtive scanners that allow them to collect psychic data without the subject even aware he is being scanned. With good training, you’ll be able to feel it and protect yourself from it. Frigellyans aren’t the only ones in the universe possessing these furtive scanners. Being able to detect one will allow you to be as effective with any other. They’re all built on the same concept.
Beth: Reymo, Mira, is this a certain guilt I just felt from you just now?
The two spouses look at each other but don’t say anything.
Beth: Bloody hell, you scanned me, didn’t you? Without me knowing it.
Mira: When we first met in the Jurassic period. We needed to know if we could trust you.
Beth: I trusted you. Completely. I didn’t feel any bad intention from you… And I based my opinion on that.
Mira: We didn’t have any bad intentions. But the speed with which you agreed to help us surprised us, that’s all.
Beth: Being able to analyze intentions, to feel them, is a certain advantage to knowing whether to put one’s trust in someone or not. I probably overestimated the reliability of the information it gave me. I had such a staggering naivety…
The Major: Well, you were suddenly, literally immersed in a universe you didn’t know the rules of. You counted on your abilities to help you make choices. These people are your friends today. Even if you missed the furtive scan, your analysis was a good one. They didn’t have any bad intention…
Mira: We just wanted to know if you were reliable.
Beth: You entered my mind and collected part of my memory.
The Major: All Dalygarans had access to a part of your memory–during the language acquisition. You know how it works. It’s not really a reading of your intimate thoughts. It’s a data base upon which people can rely on to conduct a search for something.
Mira: And we had searched for your motivations. Only. I can assure you.
Beth: Have you ever conducted a furtive scan?
The Major: Yes. It’s not a technology we use on Dalygaran, but I worked with other worlds where it’s a common technique of intelligence gathering. Beth, do you remember what I told you the day my suggestion ability appeared? Such a gift couldn’t be used thoughtlessly, and I had to learn to master it.
Beth: Yes, but what does that have to do with this?
The Major: It’s the same thing with technologies like furtive scans. This kind of technology needs to be used judiciously. People who used these techniques have generally got high-level accreditation…
Mira: On Frigellya, even when you’ve got accreditation, you have to justify the activation of a furtive scan. Every scanner emits a signature that is collected at each activation by our intelligence service. It’s mandatory to leave the scan record itself with the High Court, with a note explaining its aim and eventually all the things it had helped you accomplish…
Beth: And so my scan, how did you justify it?
Mira: We’re not empathists. We had no means to feel out your state of mind. We embedded the print in you to find the king’s son, but first we absolutely needed to be sure of your loyalty. Actually, we knew we would have had to remove the print as soon as possible if you were not reliable, but thanks to the furtive scan, we quickly knew this wouldn’t be necessary.
Beth turns to the Major.
Beth: This is after the meeting when they came to Earth in my past and I received the genes we both have today. Even my winning at the lottery was them.
The Major: You trampled many time travel rules by intervening in the life of an alpha.
Reymo: When we first met, the die had already been cast. We had no choice. Everything had already happened to her. We chose to make it simple.
Beth: Can you hear yourself? Nothing’s simple in this story. But if you didn’t do all this, I wouldn’t be here, and neither would you, David.
The Major: My Earthling name. I acted against all my world’s rules too to allow Beth to go home.
Beth: In a few seconds this will all be my fault.
The Major starts to laugh.
The Major: Oh Beth, I think we were lucky, yes, very lucky to find you in our way.
Beth: Someone has already told me this, she says starring at Mira.
The atmosphere suddenly relaxes. “Nothing’s black, nothing’s white” Beth ends up thinking to herself.
The Major: Well, can we have a classic scanner for a first time?
Mira: We’ve got one here.
Another press with a finger on an invisible button and another drawer opens to show inside the same type of spherical device that was seen on Dalygaran.
For the furtive scanner, it will be more difficult. We’ll have to ask Nori.
Beth: Oh, Nori?
The Major: Nori?
Mira: She didn’t tell you anything, did she?
The Major: About a “Nori”, no indeed…
Beth realizes she’ll never be ready to talk about these moments of her life with the Major. But she has to. She’ll have to say what happened in Mesopotamia and what she learned with Nori.
Beth: I… I don’t know where to start.
Mira: Reymo and I are going to leave you two alone for a moment. Major, you’ve got the revelator: square button to call us, right?
The Major: Right.
Reymo: This is between you two… See you.
Beth clears her throat before telling the Major the whole story. The man she slapped to the ground in Mesopotamia, the Queen’s proposal to help her master her emotions, the simulations.
The Major: And you did all that to honor my memory?
Beth: Don’t be so surprised, it’s almost hurtful.
The Major: You misunderstand. Four days. You succeeded in completing these five sessions in four days. And your motivation was me…
Beth: I thought I lost you!
The Major: What an idiot I’ve been… I let you go from Dalygaran upset, without telling you anything…
Beth: I didn’t give you any opportunity to do it.
The Major opens his arms: “Come here,” and they embrace, both purring.
The Major whispers: I was dying so much to see you again. But if there weren’t this epidemic, never would I have dared contact you.
Beth, whispering too: I was so angry with you, but I couldn’t prevent myself from thinking about you. I was dying to see you again too.
The Major: It’s really the first time I’ve purred during a mission.
Beth bursts out laughing.
Beth: Purring is new to me. I love it.
The Major: What if we call back Mira and Reymo?
He pushes on the square button. It doesn’t take much time for Mira and Reymo to come back.
The Major: What do we have to do to get the furtive scanner?
Mira: You’re not the kind of guy to lose time.
Beth: It depends on the time …
Beth and the Major smile at each other.
Mira: A demand has to be conveyed to Nori.
Reymo: He’s got a training device that makes a furtive scan without recording anything. The demand has to be delivered by the one who will be trained. So here, Beth, no report needs to be written to describe how we used it.
The Major: To anybody here, Beth is me. No Frigellyan, except you, knows who is really in this body. It has to remain this way. On Dalygaran, the others took me for her.
Reymo: You think you can deceive Nori about you? Start by removing the revelator.
The Major: Right.
Reymo: I don’t think it’s a good idea. But I can understand you wish to stay under this cover. I’m going to inform him you’re coming.
Reymo takes a communication device out of his pocket that he uses to announce Beth’s arrival to Nori.
Reymo: Do you still have the regulator?
Beth brings out an object from one of her pockets.
Beth: Here it is.
Reymo: We’ll use it to send him a message in the combat room. The Major’s never been there. He can’t get there by memory like you…
Beth gives the regulator to the Major, who puts it in one of his pockets.
The Major: Beth, you can begin to train on the Dalygaran bolt. Your mind is like a house. The scanner needs to go through a door to access the rooms occupied by your memory… The first time, let it enter and see how it goes along your mind. You’ve got to understand how it works. It requires a lot of concentration. As soon as you understand how it works, picture yourself building a brick wall. Block up the front door with your brick wall.
Beth nods. “A brick wall as a bolt. They don’t do things in half measures on Dalygaran, I guess,” she thinks.
Mira: We’ll stay with her and wait for you here.
Reymo: I’ll send you to the combat room.
Nori is already there.
Nori: Beth, what a pleasure to see you again. You come directly in your travel body shape this time.
The Major: I didn’t intend to come to Frigellya. I don’t have the revelator on me. I was doing investigations on the origin of the Dalygaran epidemic when I saw a group of Frigellyans polluting our river with strange phials.
Nori: I see. But you didn’t give back your travel body ultimately.
The Major: Yes, after returning with the morning star, I had a new status there. I’m kind of a national hero. I can even use the travel body just to visit friends. I can’t refuse to help them in trying to know how this epidemic started. I’m sad to see it may have been a criminal act. So many people have died. I came here to see Mira and Reymo and try to identify the individuals I saw. They and I are working together.
Nori: You need training to avoid furtive scans?
The Major: Mira and Reymo say that the rebels—they think I saw rebels, or rather renegades as they call them—are not people known to respect rules. So I have to know how to protect my mind against any kind of scan, classic or furtive.
Nori: Dalygarans use the bolt technique, don’t they?
The Major: That’s what Mira and Reymo think. They’ll train me.
Nori: Listen Beth, we’re in a combat room and I have to say I took a real pleasure in fighting with you last time. Your technique is so… original.
The Major: It’s Dalygaran.
Nori: Yes, those people fight in an unusual manner. Do you think we could…
The Major: Grab a stick from the wall.
Nori: You know I won’t have it for long.
The Major: We’ll see.
Nori takes a stick from the wall. The combat begins.
When it is finished Nori speaks,
– That’s amazing. The same technique, the same way of readjusting your strength, that’s excellent. But you’re not Beth. You know how she fights. You know that as she’s not used to a man’s body she has to readjust her strength and she tends to overcompensate. You fought with her. And I even think you’re the one who taught her everything. Because you’re the only person who can know all this: her instructor.
The Major: You know my instructor is dead.
Nori: Oh, I saw the pain in Beth’s eyes as she was talking about you. This pain can’t have gone away that fast. You’re the Major Moon Crystal and you’re alive.
The Major remains silent for a moment.
The Major: What betrayed me?
Nori: You took time to gauge me. You didn’t disarm me straight away like she would have done.
The Major: I should have thought of that. Beth lets herself be guided by her instinct. And she’s fast…
Nori: You almost succeeded.
The Major: I’m a little bit disturbed that one more person knows I’m not Beth.
Nori: Mira and Reymo know?
The Major: Reymo told me it was a bad idea to try to pretend to be Beth in front of you. But I wanted as few Frigellyans as possible to know who occupies this body.
Nori: How did it happen she believed you were dead?
The Major: My mind didn’t come back to my Dalygaran body, the night I went to warn her of the epidemic wreaking havoc on my planet.
Nori: I was told the story. She went to seek out the morning star in the Dalygaran past.
The Major: Yes.
Nori: If you didn’t get back to your Dalygaran body, where have you been then?
The Major: I was offered a body, on Earth.
Nori: Really, but in which era?
The Major: Beth’s. Earthling-looking epsilons did this. They are Beth’s friends.
Nori: They proposed you a body.
The Major: Yes.
Nori: And today you travel in the same body that Beth used before.
The Major: Historically, I was the first to use this body.
Nori: So, she doesn’t travel anymore.
The Major does not answer immediately.
The Major: Listen, you already know too much in my opinion. And even if I trust the instructor, according to what you too taught her, I prefer to tell you as little as possible. Just know that the furtive scanner is for her. Is it possible to have it?
Nori: She’s here then.
Mira: Yes, she’s here. But, I’m sorry. You’re going to have to forget all that for the moment.
The Major: Mira, have you been here for a long time?
Mira: A short minute. Register the loan of the scanner in Beth’s name, Nori, please.
Nori: All right, but do you really need to…
Mira: It’s just a little injection. Don’t worry. You’ll remember him. But much later…
The Major: Is this room safe? I mean, could our conversation have been listened to by anyone?
Nori: No, you’re in a part of the castle where the royal special agents are trained. Security is the top priority here. Nobody can listen to anything here… without my complicity. You’ll need to believe me when I say no listening devices are put up here.
Mira: Trust isn’t part of the emergency protocol Nori. And with the information we’ve got about Dalygaran events, we are under emergency protocol now. Look at what I’ve got in my hand.
Nori: A cleaner! If any listening device, even a very sophisticated one, has been put up here, this gear will detect it.
Mira: It’s already activated. There’s nothing. But I’m sorry Nori, you’ve to forget your conversation with the Major. Put Beth as the user for the training furtive scanner and give us the access card to the room where we can go and take it.
Nori: Here’s the access card. It’s useful for an hour.
He holds out his arm.
Mira: Sit down please. You’re going to fall asleep.
Nori sits on the ground.
Nori: I’m going to ask myself questions when I wake up.
Mira: And you won’t find any answers. It’s going to bother you… And you’ll come to see us, Reymo and me. We’re going to tell you not to search and you’ll understand it’s important not to ask any more questions. You’re used to that kind of protocol, Nori.
Nori: I prefer it when I apply it to others. Go on. Hurry up.
Mira does the injection and Nori falls asleep.
Mira: Let’s go and take the device.
Back at the shelter.
The Major: Here we are.
Mira: I’ve got the furtive scanner.
Beth: I still haven’t succeeded. The bolt I mean.
The Major: It’s normal; it’s not something easy. It’s why you need to train. You must absolutely figure out how the scanner operates when it enters your mind. That’s the key.
Reymo: She already tried to build her brick wall.
The Major takes Beth’s hands while speaking to her.
The Major: Listen. It’s just a matter of time. You’re going to succeed. I’ve no doubt about this. You’re an instinctive person, Beth. Let your instinct guide you. Don’t try to go quickly. Follow the scanner. Track it down. You’re the hunter. It’s the intruder. Here’s what you’re going to do: you’re going to hunt from a hidden position. Empty your mind like Nori taught you. Empty it completely. Be ready to slam the door on the scanner’s nose.
Mira in a low voice to Reymo: They are purring.
Reymo: Shush, rather look how he manages this.
The Major, still holding Beth’s hands and facing her, turns to Reymo, bowing his head gently. Reymo understands what he has to do. He runs the scan.
Beth: It’s coming.
The Major: It must not get in.
Beth: I’ve got no time to build a wall.
The Major: What would you like to do?
Beth: Put up a padlock.
The Major: Put up a padlock then.
Beth: It’s too late. It’s inside.
The Major: It doesn’t matter. Let’s try again.
Reymo stops the scanner.
The Major: Let’s start the hunt from the hidden place again. Empty your mind totally.
Mira in a low voice: They’re purring again.
Reymo: So what? It’s how he calms her down.
After a moment, the Major nods again to Reymo without dropping Beth’s hand.
Beth: It’s coming.
The Major: Your padlock is ready, put it up.
Beth: I put the padlock up.
The Major: Stay concentrated. Build your wall now. The padlock could break.
Beth: I’m building the wall.
The Major: Don’t release anything. Your wall is protecting you now. Make sure of its solidity.
Beth: It’s solid. I’m feeling safe.
The Major: You’re safe. Nothing can go through now.
Beth: Nothing can go through.
Reymo stops the scanner.
Reymo: She succeeded.
Beth: We succeeded, she corrects. I’ve got a precious help.
The Major: Now, you’ve understood how it works, you’ll be able to do it alone. But maybe not today. I propose we stop here. We’ll consolidate this tomorrow, and we’ll work with the furtive scanner. Mira, Reymo, our minds need rest and our bodies need food.
Mira pushes on another invisible button with an index finger and the sofa at the back of the room stretches into a bed.
Mira: We’ve got only one bed in our shelter.
Beth and the Major look at each other smiling.
Beth: We’ll do with it.
Reymo: You’re together, aren’t you?
The Major: Yes.
Reymo: Good. We’re going to bring you food and then you can sleep.
As soon as the food is set on the table, Mira and Reymo slip away.
Beth seems to appreciate Frigellyan food as much as the two Frigellyans do the Earthling.
The Major: Come and sleep now.
They both lie down side-by-side and fall asleep very quickly in each other’s arms.