What Beth and the Major could sense about Reymo’s state of mind was sorrow, with a hint of anger.
—Something’s broken between us, he whispers. We’re not that wonderful team we once were, in private life or at work. I don’t understand her anymore. She left me a note. She doesn’t want me to look for her. I cannot obey this demand, but the reality of it is she’s vanished without a trace. I can’t find her.
—I can, answers Beth softly.
—You’re pregnant; you can’t mind-travel like you usually do … retorts Reymo.
—I don’t need a pill to mind-travel. You know why I’m here: I mind-wander during my sleep. If I can do it while sleeping, I can do it at any time. I just have to find out how. My emotions drive me when my level of consciousness lowers, so let’s do it another way: I’ve got to free my mind of my emotions and then I could take control of when I travel. Nori trained me to meditate. Maybe I have to try this.
Beth can sense the interest in her husband’s mind. He seems to be pleasantly surprised by her proposition, even relieved.
—Oh, Beth, I really hope you’ll succeed in this. You miss mind-traveling so much…
She surprises him yet again by answering:
—We both need to unwind.
The Major raises his eyebrows, thinking it must be anxiety that’s keeping his night mind wandering along with his wife’s. He fears the times to come, because he can see she’s unhappy and feels trapped in her body. Beth needs action. That was what Major Moon Crystal saw in her. She’s eager to try new things, discover new sensations. She loves it.
It can be said Beth is having new sensations every day due to her pregnancy, but she can’t help wanting something else, to escape her human cage for a while, even if just for a short time, to experience some great Dalygaran sensations, for example, in her usual travel-body.
Beth’s motivation to succeed in mind-traveling at will is without limit. She is not even considering the possibility of failure. She’ll try until she succeeds.
—Let’s go to our bedroom, she suggests to her husband. I will sit on the bed. When my mind goes, help me to lie down; otherwise, I’ll probably fall over. Reymo, I’m going to find Mira, I promise.
She and the Major head out of the room toward the one reserved for them in the castle. When they are in place, Beth immediately sits crossed legs in the middle of the bed. The Major knows he has nothing to do but wait. After a dozen minutes, Beth opens her eyes.
—I can’t relax. Your expectation is disturbing me…
—Oh, I’m really sorry. Maybe I can contribute somehow to your relaxation.
He sits with legs crossed in front of her and takes her hands.
—All that you’re going to receive from me from now is love and trust. You can relax. I’ll keep an eye on you two, he says with a nod to her belly. You’ll find Mira. Let’s have another try.
The Major does as he said. Beth feeds on all the positive waves he sends her, until she feels perfectly well. At the moment she is about to fall over, the Major understands that she’s finally succeeded. Her mind is no longer in her body and soon he can’t sense her presence anymore. She’s away. He lays her body delicately on the bed and lies down beside her, offering their future daughter a moment of Dalygaran love. He wishes he could purr, but he knows that the life growing inside her will sense the love he’s sending her. Beth is soon back, and whispers “thank you.”
—You’ve found her, haven’t you?
—Yes. It was easy. She hasn’t changed eras. David, I would like to talk with her … alone.
—Our transporter is still in the hall entrance. Take it. Should I say something to Reymo?
—Just tell him I found her.
—David, I really need to talk with her first.
Beth is grateful her husband doesn’t ask more questions.
When Mira understands who is materializing in front of her, she is upset.
—Why don’t you just butt out of my life? she almost shouts.
—Because you created mine, answers Beth softly.
—Maybe I shouldn’t have.
—Mira, you chose this place, the last room we talked in together, alone, when you pretended to abduct me…, the day you told me the truth about my origins…
—I should never have interfered in a human life…
—You gave my parents happiness. You spared them sorrow.
—And I ruined my own life, giving all I had to my work. I ruined Reymo’s life by not giving him the children he wished to have. My life is senseless. I feel empty.
—Mira, when I came here for the first time, to Frigellya, I was sad and angry, like you are today. You helped me, do you remember?
Mira does not give an answer. Beth goes on.
—Thanks to you I succeeded in getting it all out, and thanks to Nori, I rebuilt myself. I don’t only owe you my life, but a part of who I am today.
—You owe me nothing…
—Whether you like it or not, that’s the truth. All that I have today wouldn’t have existed if you hadn’t taken a decision one day. I’m very grateful.
—You didn’t seem to be last time.
—I was in shock. That was such unexpected news. But you know, it doesn’t matter how each of us is born. Look at Paul and Sylvester, they are pure creation. They blame nobody for being born. They just wished to have been complete since the beginning. And look at me. I got all that a human being can dream of. You did an excellent job. I’m fully functional.
—You are, but I’m not.
—I know you are too, believe me.
—Mira, you’re not listening, you’re so stubborn.
—Am I? Who do you think you are?
—I’m the one who is going to open your eyes.
—You’re so conceited.
—I’m just as stubborn as you are. Mira, I’ve seen the future. Many people’s futures.
—I don’t want you to tell me my future.
—I just want you to trust in yours. You have a good one. You don’t need to live in fear of…
—… becoming one of those tightrope monsters? I can feel it coming, Beth. I’ve fought for so many years. My strength is weakening. I don’t want Reymo to see me when it happens.
—It will never happen.
—I know how I feel. I know what is happening. Even if the cure works, I don’t want Reymo see me in that state. And you neither. Go away from here before I become really dangerous to you.
—It will never happen.
—How could you be so sure?
—Because of this.
Beth takes a syringe out of her pocket and pokes the needle in Mira’s arm.
—What have you done?
—I’ve given you the life you deserve, a life where you’ll never become one of those monsters. Reymo won’t see you in that state. Never.
—Where did you get this syringe?
—From the future, Frigellya’s future.
—How dare you use a future technology to cure someone from the past?
—Says the woman who transformed a human being with a far future alien technology.
—Is that why you did this?
—I did this because I know things I shouldn’t. You don’t need any handcuffs and alarms anymore.
—How do you know that?
—My nightly mind wanderings. New ones. I’ve been using the inhibitor for a month now, but they’ve come back, this past week. I don’t wake up shouting anymore, except for this morning. It was because I wasn’t alone. Unexpectedly, David did it too and we went to the same place, saw the same things. His emotions were like those I felt the first time. It woke us suddenly, at the same moment. I hadn’t told him I’d already been overcoming the inhibitor for days.
—Because I knew he would do what he did today: look for a definitive solution. I wasn’t sure I wanted one anymore. But I had to tell him about it last night. He needed to know what really happened to him. I sensed he was somehow involved even before we talked…
—And you saw me?
—In the span of a week, believe me, I saw so much. I know you took handcuffs to tie yourself probably to one of those bars over there when you’ll be sure you’re about to be definitively sick. The alarm is to warn the authorities you’re here. You’re perfectly aware of the threat you pose. You couldn’t take the risk of becoming a rebel.
—You knew I was here?
—I didn’t see it during my sleep, but I overheard someone speak of it. I just verified before coming.
—Mind-traveling while sleeping is unsatisfactory. I can’t choose where I go. It’s driven by my emotions of the day and my curiosity.
—What an explosive cocktail!
Beth loudly sighs and goes on:
—I had to find out how to travel without a pill, and at will. I succeeded with David’s help. And I looked for you.
—David helped you?
—He knows mind-travel is very important to me.
—How did you get this syringe?
—I’m not sure you want to know.
—I … stole it.
—Well, you know how future discoveries and technologies are well guarded against past curiosity. But I’m not an ordinary mind: not totally Earthling, not really Frigellyan, and a bit Dalygaran. I passed through all your security systems. I had time to observe how to enter your research center without leaving a trace. You have no idea how clearly I remember my nightly escapades. I just had to come back with a transporter and do what I had to. I left Earth for about 5 minutes, but it actually took me a whole day. I was very tired when I came back. David thought I was sick, when I was only exhausted from having to play hide-and-seek all day with the staff at the Center.
—What would have happened if you’d been caught?
—You were lucky.
—I was well informed and very cautious. Knowledge is the best ally ever.
—You took unnecessary risks.
—I disagree. I took calculated risks. Like you did to make me live. Mira, you needed to be delivered of this fear. I had the possibility to do this for you. And I did it without hesitation.
—Yes, I know, Beth almost shouts. I already was when you “abducted” me.
—This was an unnecessary reminder.
—Really? Let’s talk about pregnancy, then. You feel guilty about that time, when we arrested the last bunch of rebels.
—Oh, Mira, I told you. I know things I shouldn’t. Pregnancy is something you highly value. You think David was right to be upset that you led me on this kind of mission in my state. It shook you more than you’ll ever admit in front of me … or him. And it awoke an old wound. It’s not only Reymo who desires a child. You desire one too, desperately…
—Don’t be stupid.
—I’m not. You’re just terrified of living through a painful loss again. You’ll do anything to avoid this. But listen to me now: you’ll never have another stillborn. Live the life you wish, Mira. Go and talk to Reymo. He’ll understand.
—Are sure about that? I’ve rejected him since that last time.
—He is determined to win you back. And I didn’t need to see this in the future. It is what I felt when I told him I would find you. You can trust me.
—I do. You would never lie about this… I… Thank you.
—May I ask you a question?
—Will you tell David now about your other mind-travels?
—No. I needed to have some experiences on my own. And he’ll be annoyed enough by what he is going to learn. These last few night wanderings are somehow anecdotal compared to it.
—Yeah, answers Beth with a hint of mystery in the voice. I’d prefer to let him know first…
Beth hushes for a while. She wants to tell Mira something important and looks carefully for the right words. She finally says:
—Knowledge of the future is something sensitive. I’m really aware of this. But I realize now that I’m so used to seeing it.
—What do you mean?
—For my parents, I was a kid with an unlimited imagination. My father sent me a folder recently. All my drawings between 3 and 6. I told them then that they were my dreams. And suddenly they stopped. Afterwards, I only had stupid dreams that I refused to draw. Among the files he sent me, I recognized Midnight’s underworld. It’s a kid’s interpretation, but there are some indisputable details. But most of all, I drew what looks like a Dalygaran, with no hair, and some remarkable spots around the eyes. Who do you think it was? I saw my future when I was a kid during my sleep. I’m sure of it. And one day, it just stopped. My last remarkable drawing wasn’t a dream. It was an encounter. Mom told me that one day, when she took me to the park, I invented a lady. I told my mom only that I could somehow remember her. And you know what? This lady had the same skin spot you’ve got on your neck and a particular pair of earrings: neither side was similar; one was the moon and the other the sun.
—I don’t have such earrings. It’s Earthling.
—You’re not pregnant either.
—The lady I saw was obviously pregnant in the drawing. These memories are far away. But it explains something I never succeeded in expressing, as if all the strange things that happened to me over these last years were absolutely normal. A sort of déjà vu. It was so confused in my head. I understand why now.
Beth smiles guessing the question Mira is about to ask.
—Yes, David saw all these files and he agrees with my conclusions. We wonder how I could have seen him without being detected. Our hypothesis is that it was during one of my stays on Dalygaran and as I am the same person, my adult mind masked my child one.
—Anyway, it’s not about me today, but about you.
—You never give up.
—I confess, yes. Your confidence in my own future gives me hope.
—I’m happy you’ve changed your mind. Maybe now we could talk about, er … side effects.
—The treatment. You’re going to be sick, for approximately one week … or two.
—Should I take it as a preparation for my future pregnancy?
Beth laughs and says,
Mira just answers with a light smile.
—I didn’t know Frigellyan women shared these kinds of drawbacks with Earthling ones.
—There are some constants in the entire universe, and this seems to be one.
—Ok, I learn something new every day. Back to the castle?
—Back to the castle.
Beth lands in the entrance hall as usual.
—Mira, whispers Reymo as he opens his arms wide.
—He’s been here since he found out you were away. He was sure you’ll bring her back, whispers the Major in Beth’s ear.
Mira hesitates. She takes a look at Beth and the Major, then she stares at her husband.
Suddenly, she literally runs into his arms.
—Forgive me, she murmured.
—Never do this again, he implores, stepping back, holding Mira by both shoulders.
And they hug again.
—Um, it’s time to say good-bye, don’t you think, David?
—It’s exactly what I was about to say.
They don’t wait for any answer from their friends and disappear with their transporter.
—Please don’t … leave now … says Mira to the void
—Those are two of a kind, aren’t they?
— They sure are.
Mira and Reymo start laughing, and go hand in hand for some intimacy.
Beth and the Major alone at home
—No questions? asks Beth.
—If you want to tell me what happened between you and Mira, you’ll let me know, he retorts.
—Sure, she answers with a smile. Nevertheless, I would prefer to talk about something else right now.
—I’m all ears…
—David, the files my father sent us have triggered something in me. It’s like a Pandora’s Box has been opened.
—Earthling idiom. Sorry. We’ll talk about Pandora another day. Let’s say my childhood memories are rebuilding. Dreams of many years are popping up. I’ve got flashes from the future, and some from the past…
—What we lived through last night is finally something we can stop. But my memories … they can’t be erased. I know I told you seeing the future is a burden. But I’ve come to understand something over these last few days…
—These last few days?
—Yes, since I saw the files with you. It began a few hours later.
The Major stays silent. Beth can feel he is annoyed.
—Seeing the future is no more troubling than your ability to control human minds. It’s just another tool … based on knowledge. I have seen and will see disturbing things. I have to live with this now. But sometimes, what I know gives me a better understanding of certain situations. And it can help. I’ll make you a promise: I’ll be as wise as can be with what I learn. And if it happens I don’t know what to do with something, you’ll be the one I’ll call for help. What I can’t overcome alone, we’ll solve together.
The Major still says nothing.
—David, you can’t protect me this time. I’m on my own.
—I didn’t even see this coming. When we first met, you were an open book. You were so … human. You let it all out. Now you master your mind like a Dalygaran. I know you’re fast, but this is…
He gives no answer.
—David, since I began space and time travels, I had to learn fast, with and without you. My mind is like a sponge… and my body—when I’m in the travel body— it has great physical abilities. More importantly, I have skills, no matter what inconvenience they can bring me. Like coins have two faces, these skills have two sides too. And it’s the same for you. Our lives might not be a piece of cake sometimes, but we have what it takes to do the right thing for our world and for those around us.
—And sometimes the wrong things as well.
—We have to be confident in ourselves.
—Doubt is our best friend.
—I know everything is a matter of balance.
—Beth, I’ve practiced this for years. It is so hard to handle sometimes…
—But it’s doable. I don’t have your experience, David, but you didn’t have it yourself at the beginning.
—I’ve made some big mistakes.
—As a Dalygaran serviceman?
—But you didn’t give up. You didn’t run away. Instead you became Chief Commander.
The Major hushes. Experiences, good and bad ones, built the man he is today. He can’t deny it. He wishes he could have spared Beth from some disappointments, and certainly he would. But he senses she needs some independence. She is not one of his soldiers. She is his wife and certainly not the kind of person who always does as she’s told. She is instinct driven, but cares about consequences. Yes, she’ll make mistakes, like everybody else, but all he can do is be by her side when it happens.
—Sorry, I was lost in my thoughts.
—I can see that…
—Whatever you saw or will see in your flashes, in case of a problem, remember you’re not alone, ok?
—I won’t hesitate to ask if I need help, I promise…
Once more, the Major hushes. Never has Beth seen her husband so distraught.
She comes closer to him and puts her hand on his cheek and kisses him.
—Let’s go where nobody will disturb us …, she murmurs.
—Yes, let’s, he retorts. He lifts her off the floor and heads to their bedroom. She lets out a shout of surprise when her feet leave the ground and then laughs loudly.
It seems there was a lot to unwind, considering the time they took to make love this afternoon.
When they have finished, Beth starts to dress while speaking.
—David, this was … unforgettable. But tomorrow, I’ll need to blow off steam again.
—It’s not a problem. We can do this as many times as necessary, he answers with a hint of a tease in his voice.
Beth lowers her eyes, smiling.
—I was not talking about sex, David. I… would like to use the travel-body. I can do it without the help of any pill now, but I want to do it with yours. I need to move in a way I can’t with this body…
—Oh… Ok. You should call Star Shining in the Vastness of the Universe to make sure the body is available. I’ll help you free your mind, and I’ll stay for our child, so she won’t be alone.
Beth’s eyes sparkle. It has been a long time since the Major hasn’t felt such impatience in his wife’s mind.
—One hour, I promise. I’ll take only one hour.
When Star Shining in the Vastness of the Universe appears on the communicator screen, Beth explains immediately what she plans to do.
—You’re lucky. Very First Gold Ring Ray and Spring Wind over Laurina Mountains are in the past today. But they never travel two days in a row. I can book the bodies for you two tomorrow.
—It’ll be only me. David is staying here.
—Please, book me the first body I tried.
—You mean the male one?
After the conversation with Star Shining in the Vastness of the Universe is over, she answers her husband’s questioning face:
—For physical exercises, that body is the best one…