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SECOND GAME - OPENING MOVE

By: Danae Conrad

The room began to spin violently around her. Sinking back on her pillow, Adena clenched her fists in anger. She was unaccustomed to staying in bed and was restless. However, her injuries prevented her from leaving it. She closed her eyes, trying to regain some sense of stability. She mused over the events of the past few days - unbelievable.

The door to the medical offices opened as did Adena's eyes. "Hello, Adena. I thought you might like some company."

"What I'd like more, Dion, is to get out of bed."

"Well, you know what the Doctor, and Iffley, said."

"Adena nodded in remorse. "What's going on up there?"

"Lots. But you saw the major excitement, after that everything just blew up." They laughed at the play on words. Dion produced a klitik board from a drawer. "In the mood to play?"

Adena smiled, but inwardly, her memory was piecing together events associated to the last game she'd played. "Sure." Adena concentrated her uneasiness into the game.

"Adena, that's fifteen in a row!" Dion exclaimed. "You've been practicing."

"No. I haven't played since..." Her voice trailed off and she turned her head away from the board.

"Adena, do you need to say something?"

"No, what ever gave you that idea?" she responded with a quick smile and upraised eyebrow.

"Great. You just got awfully quiet." She put the game away and gave her friend a hug. "I'll let you get some rest."

"Thanks," Adena sacastically replied. As soon as Dion had left, the lights automatically dimmed. Adena threw off the covers and pulled herself unsteadily to her feet. Finding the wardrobe, she picked an aquamarine jumpsuit, much like the science staff's uniforms - it wouldn't draw too much attention. She changed quietly and used the wall to support her as she left her room.

The adjoining office was empty and the patient records were open on the desk. Adena hurried to the desk, slowly regaining her balance as she sunk into the chair behind the desk. J...K..La...Ledic, Adena A. Finding her file, she opened to the daily charts. She filled out the chart to release herself from the sickbay. Smiling she closed it and walked to the front exit.

She strode into the empty hall, enjoying her freedom. She felt better already. Sauntering down the hall, she oriented herself to the ship's design. She heard footsteps and looked up to see Meric hurrying down the hall. He saw here before she could leave.

"Enchantress," he saluted. "I am pleased to see that you have been released from medical care. I judge that you are fully recovered?" She answered with a nod. "i see that the Captain has already seen to the appropriate color for you. He has told me that you are well versed in the sciences. This would be priceless to my department. I would appreciate any aid you'd care to render."

"Thank you. And there is no need to be so formal; Adena is sufficient."

Meric smiled and excused himself. Adena decided to get out of the mainstream of traffic. Riding an elevatorlift to the observation deck, she wrapped her senses in the beauty of the beyond. Sparkling stars, spinning galaxies, corona flaming around nearby suns, Saturn hung moitionless in the distance whirling with loops and turns on its surface - she was enraptured by it all. She wanted the sights to remain forever.

*********************************************************

Iffley sat, slightly bored, on the bridge; he was waiting for the meeting to decide appropriate actions. He wished Adena wasn't stuck in Sickbay. He knew she was going crazy with boredom. She was always the one on the move; she loved the outdoors and life in general. He smiled with recognition at the memories.

Meric cleared his voice a second time. "Captain, no reports are in yet. Everything is calm..."

"Thank you." Meric returned to his seat at the console. Dion nodded to him from her communications center.

A tap on Iffley's shoulder caused him to turn. It was the Doctor, looking very worried - or angry - or both.

"Iffley," he composed himself. "Iffley, Adena has checked herself out of Sickbay."

Iffley looked shocked. "I really shouldn't be too surprised. She has never been one to follow - what she calls unnecessary - rules."

"That's not the problem. We can't seem to find her in her new quarters, the rec room or anywhere. Her condition isn't completely stable - she can't have gone too far. "

Don't put it past her, thought Iffley. He was worried, though. She is safe on the ship, he reminded himself.

"Excuse me, sir. Adena looked fine, when I saw her on Deck C."

Meric had overheard their discussion and rendered his information. Iffley had noticed the use of her first name - that irritated him.

The doctor was noticing other things. "Deck C! That's three floors up from Sickbay! Who does she think she is?!"

"She is The Enchantress, Doctor. I will go get her." Iffley stood to leave. he knew where she'd be; the place where her insatiable curiosity would lead her.

*********************************************************

He stepped into the black void of the observatory.

He allowed his eyes to adjust to the light's absence. Her silhouette stood out from the star-spangled sky. She hadn't heard him come in yet.

"Adena, what do you think you are doing?" Startled, she turned quickly, too quickly. Her sense were momentarily disturbed. "Who is it?"

"Don't ask, look."

Adena raised an eyebrow at the wizard's presence. The silence was intolerable for her so she turned back to the infinity.

"Why did you leave? I told you to stay until you got a clean bill of health."

"I know."

"Is that all you have to say?" He was angry but relieved that she was safe.

"Yes."

He turned her abruptly. "Why? was the question. Adena?" He noticed that she was biting her lower lip; she had done that when he had argued with her as children.

"I had to get away. I wanted to be alone. Somehow, I'm out of place." Suddenly, she became angry. "Why couldn't you have left me. Left me on Furanose..."

"Because you would have died."

"Exactly." Her voice was heavy with isolation, pain and venom.

Iffley began to understand - "Would you have really wanted me-ah- us to leave you there?"

"Ye-I don't know." She ran to the glass of the port and stared intently thought it. He tried to touch her mentally, but he firmly hit a cold wall. She was shutting herself off from the world; he had to stop her.

"Adena, are you doing this to me - to us?"

Those were the words that triggered the memories: the fear of departing but the comforting presence of Blue, the horror of the spiritual separation as Taft pulled her back to her body and forcing her into suspension, the pain at Archie's hands, the escape ending in what seemed a hopeless stalemate, the relief of being safe with friends. The tears started to roll down her face; then she began to sob. Iffley let her cry as he led her to a bench. The barriers began to collapse and he shared her pain and turmoil.

Finally, she subdued the tears and went to stand by Iffley in front of the port. "Thanks; I'm sorry if you were worried about me." He smiled in response. She motioned with her right hand and a minature jewelled carousel appeared. She set into motion with a second wave of her hand; it played the waltz he had taught her at her sixteenth birthday. "Surprise. It's for your twenty-seventh birthday, since I missed the party."

He began to laugh and she smiled softly. He took her hand. Behind her back, he touched the carousel and the lights faded but the music remained.


 © 1984, 

K. Blaire, L. Charles, D. Conrad, Enad the Great, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft

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