© 2008 MultiMapper
All Rights Reserved
Edited by The Radio Rancher

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Chapter 41

"What's a matter Honey Pie? Is my lil 'ole voice not to y'alls liking?" Treep asked with confusion.

Vincent and Lehman were nearly convulsed with laughter by this point.

Suddenly, Vincent hopped down off the bed he had awakened on and ran to Lehman's side.

After a brief moment of concentration, Lehman quickly said, "Vincent needs the bathroom."

Treep looked at Vincent and Lehman with confusion, then said in a dainty feminine voice, "We've got us a nice lil bathin room right beside the loungin hall that y'all was in before."

Vincent shook his head firmly, then took Lehman's hand again.

"Toilet. He means toilet." Lehman said quickly.

"Y'all come on right over here, Sugar. We've got us a privy right here in this lil ole room." Treep said as he indicated a side door.

Vincent raced past Treep with a panicked look in his eyes.

Treep looked at Lehman with question, reluctant to speak again.

"I think we need to find a voice that's more suited to you." Lehman said with a smile.

Treep considered the words, then carefully said, "I declare! Ship said that this lil ole voice o' mine was just like butter drippin off a hot biscuit."

Lehman looked at Treep with confusion for a moment, then said, "I don't even know what that's supposed to mean."

* * * * *

Vincent walked out of the lavatory looking much relieved.

"Better?" Lehman asked with a smile.

Vincent nodded with contentment.

"Good, because I need to go too." Lehman said quietly.

Vincent had a look of uncertainty as he watched Lehman walk past him and into the little room.

A moment later Lehman stepped out and took a deep inhale of breath, then said, "You could have warned me."

Vincent shook his head as he pointed at his mouth.

"You could have held your nose or made gagging sounds or tackled me and told me telepathically... Sweet Mother of the Universe! I hope all humans don't do that when they go to the toilet." Lehman said as he tried to catch his breath.

Vincent shrugged, not knowing what else he could do.

* * * * *

As Lehman walked out of the lavatory, he flashed a glare at Vincent, then said, "Treep, we need to get your voice taken care of."

Vincent shook his head, then motioned for Lehman to come to him.

Lehman began to slowly back away from Vincent with a look of caution.

Vincent rolled his eyes, then walked to Lehman and took his hand.

After a moment, Lehman nodded, then turned to Treep and said, "Before we fix your translator voice, could you tell us what happened between the time we laid down in the lounging hall and when we woke up here?"

"Well, Sugar Plum..." Treep began to say when Lehman stopped him.

"Please turn off the translator and tell us in your own voice." Lehman said quickly.

Treep raised the translator pendant and pressed a sequence of jewels before saying, {"Ship noticed that you had both lost consciousness, he believed that you had fallen asleep, so he lowered the lighting to prevent your skin from being damaged."}

Vincent and Lehman shared a look of concern.

{"When it seemed that you had been asleep beyond what is normal, we tried to wake you, but to no effect. So you were brought here to the medical facility. We were concerned that some of the food you ate might have been poisonous to you and caused you to fall into a coma."}

{"How long were we asleep?"} Lehman asked curiously.

{"Ship, by their method of measuring time, how long were the Trach Manjai asleep?"} Treep asked seriously.

{"Fifteen hours and twenty two minutes."} Ship responded immediately.

Vincent fumbled for Lehman's hand then sent one brief telepathic message.

//I thought you said that time passed differently while you were dreaming.// Vincent said seriously.

"It does for everyone in the universe except you." Lehman said with a chuckle.

* * * * *

After some telepathic conversation with Vincent, Lehman looked upward and asked, "Ship, is it possible to change the voice that Treep is using?"

"The translation device is programmed with 2651 Human voice patterns." Ship responded in a neutral tone.

"Wow. That's a lot to go through." Lehman said slowly.

Vincent quickly put his hand on Lehman's arm to ask a question.

"Vincent wants to know where you got that many Human voice patterns." Lehman said into the air.

"The voice patterns were formulated from audio and video transmissions from Earth." Ship said seriously.

Vincent nodded, confirming that he expected the answer.

Lehman was considering how they should go about selecting a new voice when he noticed that Vincent seemed to be examining Treep with a very speculative look.

"Have you got an idea?" Lehman asked curiously.

Vincent nodded, then reached over to place his hand on Lehman's arm again..

After a moment of telepathic contact, Lehman looked up and said, "Vincent thinks that a good voice for Treep would be someone named Brad Pitt. Do you have that one?"

"Yes Trach Manja Lehman, that voice is available." Ship said seriously.

"Can you change it or does Treep have to do it?" Lehman asked curiously.

"Although Treep can change voices with the controls on the unit, finding the proper selection may be time consuming. I will make the adjustment now." Ship said casually.

After a moment, Lehman asked, "Treep, will you say something?"

"What do you want me to say?" Treep asked cautiously.

Vincent and Lehman looked at each other consideringly.

"I do like the way this voice sounds, but do you think it's right for me?" Treep asked with concern.

"Vincent thought that it would sound right for you because, well, first of all because it's male, but also because it's the right age for you." Lehman said frankly.

"Do you think he's right?" Treep asked cautiously.

"Now that I've heard it, yes, I do. I think this is a very good voice for you. In fact, I can't think of one that would be better." Lehman finished with a smile.

"Wow. I have a Human voice." Treep said happily.

* * * * *

"Captain Rasch? Do you have a minute?" Lehman asked cautiously as they walked onto the bridge.

"Yes. Ship was just telling me that you thought Treep's first voice made him sound like a girly man." Captain Rasch said in a low voice with a heavy accent.

Vincent began to chuckle, drawing Lehman's attention.

Lehman waited for Vincent to calm, then made brief contact to find out what was funny about the voice.

"Does this mean that you do not approve of my voice?" Captain Rasch asked seriously.

Lehman smiled at Vincent, then turned his attention to Captain Rasch and said, "Vincent recognizes your voice and thought it was funny at first. But I think it sounds just right for you."

"What do you think Trach Manja Vincent?" Captain Rasch asked with anticipation.

Vincent tried to restrain his chuckles as he gave a 'thumbs up'.

"That means he really likes it." Lehman said with a grand smile.

"I like this voice. It has character. I will use it." Captain Rasch said triumphantly.

Vincent casually put his hand on Lehman's arm and sent a brief telepathic message.

Rather than answer as Vincent expected, Lehman shook his head then said, "Captain Rasch, if you'll excuse us, I need to talk to Vincent privately."

Vincent looked at Lehman with surprise, not having any idea of what Lehman might want to say to him.

"If I'm wrong, we can come right back here. But If I'm right... just come with me." Lehman finished with exasperation.

* * * * *

Once inside the Lounging Hall, Lehman guided Vincent to the side and said, "Do you really want to help your Clan and your brother?"

Vincent cautiously nodded.

"Then remember what it means to be a Trach Manja." Lehman said seriously.

Vincent looked at Lehman with question, not knowing what he was trying to say.

"Random factors." Lehman said frankly.

Vincent thought about the words and began to understand where Lehman was leading him.

"I think that the more we know and think and plan and try to control events, the fewer random factors we'll have to work with. I know you want to know as much as you can about what's happened to your Clan and your brother." Lehman said as he looked Vincent in the eyes.

"But think about it. They probably have lots of people who can help out in normal ways. If we go in there knowing what to expect, there's a chance that we won't be any more help than anyone else. But if we go in there as Trach Manjai and use the powers the universe has given us we might be able to make a real difference and actually help them in a way that matters."

After a moment of thought, Vincent let out a resigned sigh and nodded his agreement.

* * * * *

"Excuse me, we have encountered a problem." Treep said with concern as he entered the lounging hall.

Vincent raised his eyebrows as a prompt to continue.

"I probably shouldn't be telling you this but... you're Trach Manjai." Treep said with worry evident in his voice.

Vincent and Lehman shared a concerned look.

"Ship has detected a small vessel intersecting our projected course. We have slightly altered course to avoid contact." Treep said quietly.

"So what's the problem?" Lehman asked curiously.

"Left on it's current trajectory, the vessel will impact a planetoid and be destroyed in two point three Starfleet standard months." Ship said before Treep could answer.

"Will they be able to fix their ship before that happens?" Lehman asked as he watched Treep's expression carefully.

"No Trach Manja Lehman. My readings indicate that the sole occupant of the alien vessel is in cryogenic sleep." Ship said, and his computerized voice actually sounded concerned.

"Why don't we just stop and help?" Lehman asked hesitantly, afraid that he might already know the answer.

"I have been instructed to proceed to Earth at maximum sustainable warp." Ship said in a resigned tone.

Lehman and Vincent exchange looks.

"Ship, if I ask you to, can you stop long enough for us to help that other ship?" Lehman asked as he looked at Treep again.

After a moment, ship responded, "Yes Trach Manja Lehman, if you request that I do so, I can alter our course and stop to render aid."

Vincent immediately shook his head.

Lehman looked at him curiously, then touched him briefly.

"Okay Vincent, I guess you're right. It would be wrong for me to countermand Captain Rasch's orders. Let's hurry and ask him to help." Lehman said quietly.

Vincent nodded, then walked with Lehman and Treep out of the room.

* * * * *

"Captain Rasch, we need to turn the ship and help out that other ship we just passed." Lehman said seriously.

"I have been ordered to deliver you to Earth at the best possible speed. If we stop to investigate the damaged vessel there is no way of knowing how long we would be delayed. It is unfortunate, but necessary for us to continue on course." Captain Rasch said in a tone of voice that did not invite argument.

"I don't care." Lehman said firmly, then looked upward as he continued, "Ship, change course so we can help that other ship."

"As you wish, Trach Manja Lehman." Ship responded immediately.

"Ship, stop! I'm your captain! You take orders from me!" Captain Rasch said angrily.

"My apologies Captain Rasch, but the orders given me by Central AI indicate that Trach Manja Lehman outranks you." Ship said reasonably.

"Please help us Captain Rasch. I really don't want to do it this way but there's someone out there that needs us. This is what Trach Manjai do." Lehman said desperately.

After a moment of silence, Captain Rasch gave a sigh of resignation.

"Very well. It would be foolish of me to go against the will of the Trach Manjai. Ship, can you determine the best way to gain entry to the alien vessel?" Captain Rasch asked in a lower voice.

"I am negotiating with the alien computer now. The technology is primitive but the programming is quite unique in my experience." Ship said seriously.

"Once you've established the computer connection, discontinue main engines, fire braking thrusters and stop all forward momentum." Captain Rasch said professionally.

"Yes Captain." Ship said immediately.

"Treep, gather a team to investigate the alien vessel," Captain Rasch said, not showing any indication that he had been upset moments before.

"We need to go with you, Treep." Lehman said quickly.

"Are you sure... no, wait. Of course you are," Captain Rasch finished with a chuckle.

{"Challen and Graid, make preparations to board and assess the condition of an alien vessel."} Treep said into one of the consoles surrounding the main bridge.

"I have instructed the alien ship's computer to establish atmosphere, gravity and an acceptable level of heat in preparation for your arrival." Ship said seriously.

"Thank you Ship." Treep said into the air.

* * * * *

As the teleportal beam cleared, the entire team looked around the small ship curiously.

{"Graid, check out the computer systems. Ship can't connect with any memory files, see if you can find out why. Challen, assess the condition of the cryogenic unit and the occupant."} Treep said seriously.

"Come on." Lehman said to Vincent at his side.

After another moment to look around, Vincent followed.

* * * * *

{"Is he going to be alright?"} Lehman asked Challen with concern.

{"No. I'm afraid that when we established gravity on this ship, it caused irreparable damage to the cryogenic unit. Whoever designed this sleeper ship didn't consider the long term degradation of the materials they used."} Challen said, as he switched from scanning the machine to scanning the patient.

{Ship. Please transport me to the medical facility, then target the patient within the cryogenic unit and transport him as well."} Challen said quickly.

As soon as Challen's transportal beam cleared, Lehman looked at Vincent with concern.

Vincent motioned across the room toward Treep.

"Treep, can you get Ship to transport us over to the sickbay? We need to be there." Lehman asked quickly.

"Yes. Of course Trach Manja Lehman." Treep said, then pressed one of the jewels on the pendent of his necklace.

"Ship. The Trach Manjai wish to be relocated to the medical facility."

Immediately, the showers of sparkles erupted around them.

* * * * *

{"What's going on?"} Lehman asked quickly.

{"Reviving this boy is going to be more difficult than I first anticipated. It appears that his cryogenic unit has been malfunctioning for some time... I'm healing the physical damage before I attempt reanimation."} Challen said as he worked quickly.

{"How long is that going to take?"} Lehman asked quietly.

{"A matter of minutes. The cellular regeneration is a small matter. I am not concerned by the damage itself, but the consequences of the damage."} Challen said as he concentrated on his work.

{"I don't understand."} Lehman said, then turned to see that Vincent's expression matched his own.

{"It would be better for me not to explain since it is all speculation... the physical damage has been repaired."} Challen said seriously.

"Vincent, help me." Lehman said as he took a step closer to the bed.

Without hesitation, Vincent hurried to Lehman's side.

"Look at him." Lehman said quietly.

Vincent looked down at the boy who appeared to be only slightly older than he was.

The boy was naked on the treatment table, but the ice crystals covering him somehow gave the effect of him being almost unreal.

His hair was deep black and when the light hit it just right, it had the slightest blue iridescence.

Without thinking, Vincent reached out to touch the boy's frozen cheek.

{"The reanimation treatment that I am preparing to administer could be dangerous for you. It would be best if you moved away so you'll remain safe."} Challen said in a warning tone.

"No." Vincent said in a voice that sounded like a croak.

Lehman looked at Vincent with concern.

Vincent glanced to his side, then took Lehman's hand into his.

After a moment of telepathic contact, Lehman nodded his agreement.

Simultaneously, Vincent and Lehman placed their hands on the frozen boy.

{"What are you doing?"} Challen asked in confusion.

"Now." Vincent croaked.

Challen looked at him with question.

{"Start your treatment. Whatever is going to happen to him is going to happen to us."} Lehman said firmly.

Challen stared at the boys for a moment, then reluctantly began to work the jeweled controls to initiate the revival technique.

"Live." Vincent said in a horrible, raspy voice.

Lehman closed his eyes and concentrated, trying with all his might to project his will to live into the body of the frozen boy.

{"I do not understand what you hope to accomplish by doing this."} Challen said quietly as he looked up from his controls.

{"You don't need to understand, you just need to care."} Lehman said distantly as he concentrated.

* * * * *

Vincent's hands ached from the cold, but he kept them firmly in place.

He looked at the boy's face and thought about how this person who was so close to his own age deserved the chance to live and have a future.

He felt in his heart that the universe would be diminished if this boy beneath his hands ceased to be.

His thoughts were interrupted when, finally, he was able to feel warmth coming from the boy's body.

"His mind is beginning to awaken." Lehman said suddenly.

"Careful." Vincent rasped.

"I'm just going to watch, not touch." Lehman said with assurance.

Vincent nodded that he heard, not wanting to use his voice unnecessarily.

After some long silent minutes, Lehman whispered, "This is bad."

Vincent turned to look at Lehman with concern.

"I'm not a trained telepath, I've never worked with a damaged mind..." Lehman trailed off helplessly.

Lehman noticed Challen's curious look and continued, {"Whoever this guy was... I mean is... no... I mean was. He's gone. The person he was is gone. I don't have any idea how or why it happened or if the person he used to be will be able to come back. But right now this kid is empty. He knows nothing. Nothing at all."}

Vincent looked down at the boy with concern, then over to Challen.

{"I believe I can explain why."} Challen said in prelude, {"There were traces of a drug in his body that may or may not have had an effect on his memory. I have no way of knowing how the compound would effect his alien physiology. Beyond that, his brain was physically damaged when the cryogenic unit malfunctioned during his voyage. I have repaired the damage, but I have no way of restoring memories. Soleen-Avalla medical technology is very limited in that field."} Challen said with regret.

{"So you're saying that he might have been drugged to forget everything?"} Lehman asked cautiously.

{"It is possible. But it is also possible that the drug was administered for some reason to prepare the boy for cryogenic travel and that the physical damage caused the memory loss. I fear that there are too many unknown variables right now for us to determine the truth."} Challen said with regret.

"Doesn't matter." Vincent croaked with difficulty.

Lehman looked at Vincent with concern.

"Do it." Vincent said as he looked Lehman in the eyes.

Lehman raised his eyebrows, not understanding what Vincent meant.

"You." Vincent said firmly.

"But I can't. I'm not trained to do anything like that at all. I could screw it up and he'd have to live with my mistakes for the rest of his life." Lehman said cautiously.

"He's empty." Vincent said with a very raspy voice, then looked down at the boy with concern.

Lehman followed Vincent's gaze, then reluctantly nodded.

{"I don't understand. What are you going to do?"} Challen asked cautiously.

{"I'm going to give him some memories. Not all of them, but hopefully enough that he'll be able to function."} Lehman said carefully.

{"But what about his own memories?"} Challen asked with concern.

{"If they're in there somewhere, then hopefully he'll be able to find them. But he's not going to find them the way he is. He is completely blank right now."} Lehman said in concentration.

* * * * *

After many long silent minutes of working on the boy, Lehman asked, "What languages should I give him?"

Vincent patted his pocket and was relieved to find that he still had the throat spray that Dr. Perry had given him.

He sprayed some into his mouth, then swallowed before quietly saying, "Why don't you give him all of them?"

Lehman shook his head and said, "I'm afraid that each thing I add to his mind might be wiping out something that he just isn't capable of remembering yet. I've given him a lot of things already, like how to feed himself, how to use the bathroom, how to dress. But I'm afraid that with each new thing I give him that I'm making it that much less likely that he'll ever remember who he was before."

Vincent nodded that he understood, then said, "English. He'll need that on Earth. Clan Short's telepaths can give him more languages later if he needs them."

"Yeah. Sounds good." Lehman said, then turned his full attention to the boy on the table.

After a few more minutes of work, Lehman finally said, "He needs a name."

Vincent looked at Lehman with question.

"There's a really good chance that he'll be on Earth for a while, so you should pick a Human name for him to use until he remembers his own." Lehman said frankly.

Vincent looked down at the boy for a moment as he considered, then smiled and quietly said, "Lindon."

* * * * *

The boy opened his eyes and looked around the room curiously.

Vincent was surprised by Lindon's large, soulful eyes.

"Hey there, can you hear me?" Lehman asked gently.

The boy blinked, then slowly asked, "Do I know you?"

Lehman giggled and said, "In a way. I gave you a few of my memories until your own come back."

Lindon squinted at Lehman with confusion.

"Don't worry about it now. Later, whenever you're ready, we'll explain everything to you." Lehman said quietly.

The boy turned his head slightly and looked at Vincent.

"This is my brother Vincent. He can't talk very well right now." Lehman said seriously.

"Hello Vincent. I'm Lindon."

Vincent smiled and said, "Hi."

Lindon winced at the sound of Vincent's voice, then smiled at the embarrassed look on Vincent's face.

"And this is the doctor who saved you. His name is Challen." Lehman said as he gestured across the Soleen-Avalla version of a biobed.

"Hi." Lindon said timidly as he stared at the feathered doctor.

{"How are you feeling?"} Challen asked cautiously.

"He wants to know how you're feeling. Challen and his people aren't able to speak English." Lehman said seriously.

"I... um... I don't know...I think I feel alright... but I'm hungry." Lindon said slowly.

Lehman smiled and said, "We might need to check and see if you're related to Vincent. That's usually his answer too."

A warning glance from Vincent was his only response.

Lindon chuckled at the reaction.

{"Challen, is it okay for Lindon to go and have something to eat? I mean, is he well enough?"} Lehman asked seriously.

After a moment of looking over his readings, Challen quietly said, {"According to his readings, some food might be a very good idea. But he isn't strong enough to be able to leave the medical unit."}

Lindon looked from Lehman to Challen, not understanding a thing they were saying.

Vincent noticed and quietly said, "Lehman is working on getting you some food."

Lindon looked up at Vincent and gave a glowing smile.

Vincent was once again assaulted by the emotional impact of Lindon's large soulful eyes. They seemed to be windows that reflected his very soul.

"I guess you're too weak to get out of bed yet. Vincent and I can go get you something to eat." Lehman said quietly.

"I have notified Taryn of your needs. Your food will arrive shortly." Ship said in a soft voice that sounded concerned.

"He needs clothes or a blanket." Vincent said quietly, then absently reached a hand up to massage his throat.

Lehman nodded, then walked to Challen to ask him where they might find some clothes for Lindon.

"Will you help me to sit up?" Lindon asked as he tried to sit forward.

As Lindon struggled to sit up, Vincent automatically moved to his side to help him.

"Take my hand." Vincent said quickly.

Lindon reached out and grabbed Vincent's hand as he tried to pull himself to a sitting position.

Vincent noticed that Lindon had a thin membrane of webbing between each of his fingers.

Automatically, Vincent looked down at Lindon's feet and saw that his toes were also webbed. Beyond that, they seemed elongated and looked more like fingers than toes.

At the feeling of movement, Vincent turned his attention back to Lindon, who had nearly achieved a sitting position when he noticed that something seemed to be stuck to his back.

As soon as Lindon was somewhat stable, Vincent moved behind him to see what it was.

"Lehman." Vincent whispered.

Lehman walked to the bed carrying a folded bundle of clothes for Lindon.

As he followed Vincent's gaze, he froze in his tracks.


* * * * *

A clatter drew everyone's attention.

The sound was the scanning device that Challen had dropped.

He was staring at Lindon with a look of wonder.

"What's wrong?" Lindon asked in a whisper.

"You have wings." Vincent said simply.

Lindon looked at Vincent with confusion for a moment, then turned his head to look over his shoulder.

Vincent's eyes went wide when he saw that Lindon could turn his head almost completely around.

"Wow." Lindon said, then turned his head facing forward again.

Challen let out a squawk that neither Vincent nor Lehman could interpret.

{"The missing link."} Challen said in wonder.

{"What was that?"} Lehman asked curiously.

{"Since becoming aware of the other species in the universe, my people have speculated that because we all have so many features in common, there must have been a... transitional species. A missing link from the other humanoid species and the Avalla people."} Challen said distantly.

{"I am sorry to disappoint you Challen, but my reading show that the alien..."} Ship began to say.

"Lindon." Vincent interrupted.

After a moment, Ship continued, {"My readings show that Lindon has no genetic markers in common with the Avalla people. Despite appearances, his genetic makeup is more closely related to Humans than to either the Soleen or the Avalla."}

{"Oh. Thank you Ship."} Challen said with disappointment.

"What's going on?" Lindon asked curiously.

"I guess Challen thought that your people and his might be related because you both have feathers." Lehman said quietly.

"It is more than that." Ship said carefully.

All three boys turned their attention toward the Ship's speaker.

"The Soleen know of their origins with the Gorn, but the Avalla have no such knowledge. They wish to feel... related to some other species, as the Soleen are." Ship said quietly.

"I guess I can understand that. Looking around the universe and seeing all the other species running around with things in common and realizing that you are different from all of them... it would be lonely." Lehman said speculatively.

The growl of Lindon's stomach drew the attention of everyone in the room.

"I think we need to feed that thing before it attacks someone." Lehman said with a chuckle as he handed the bundle of clothes he had been carrying to Lindon.

Vincent nodded, then said, "Good, I hope Taryn brings extra because I'm hungry too."

Lehman rolled his eyes and said, "When *aren't* you hungry."

"Does that mean you don't want to eat with us?" Lindon asked as he looked at Lehman with his impossibly large eyes.

"Yeah. I'll eat with you... In fact, I really am hungry." Lehman finished with surprise.

"We haven't eaten for nearly a day." Vincent said frankly.

"How do I?" Lindon asked as he held up the tunic that Lehman had given him.

"Oh, I didn't think of that. We're going to have to find some way to work around the wings." Lehman said in thought.

"Put on the pants. Leave the shirt." Vincent said simply.

Lindon looked at Lehman with question.

"Yeah. That'll work. You can always depend on Vincent to find a simple way around a problem when his stomach is empty." Lehman said with a smile.

Vincent rolled his eyes, then moved suddenly to Lindon's side when his balance seemed to waver.

"Let us help you." Lehman said quietly as he moved to the other side of the bed.

Lindon watched as Vincent and Lehman both worked to get the pants over his feet and up his legs.

"I'll lift, you pull." Lehman said as he moved further up the bed to help get the pants over Lindon's butt.

{"Please allow me to help."} Challen said quickly as he moved to help Lehman.

"Go." Vincent said, then pulled up the pants as Challen and Lehman lifted Lindon slightly.

"You're not as heavy as you look." Lehman commented.

Challen began to do something at the head of the bed, then it started to raise.

"Oh, that'll help." Lehman said as he watched the bed shift into a comfortable inclined position.

Lindon rested back slightly, then stopped.

"Um, my wings..." Lindon said uncomfortably.

"What's wrong?" Lehman asked with concern.

"I'm laying on them wrong." Lindon said as he tried to sit forward.

As Lehman helped Lindon to lean forward, Vincent moved behind him and slightly adjusted the wings so they were laying flat against Lindon's back.

{"Do you think he'll be able to fly?"} Lehman asked Challen curiously.

{"I don't know."} Challen said slowly.

{"No."} Ship said seriously.

Vincent and Lehman both looked up at the response.

{"Perhaps Lindon comes from a low gravity world. But given his mass and wingspan, there is no way he would be capable of flight on Soleena or Earth."} Ship said seriously.

"Are they talking about me?" Lindon asked Vincent curiously.

"Yeah. But it's all nice. Don't worry." Vincent said assuringly.

* * * * *

The door to the medical facility opened.

All present expected it to be Taryn, delivering the food, but instead they saw Treep walking in with a serious expression.

"Is something wrong?" Lehman asked with concern.

Treep touched a control on his translator before saying, "Yes. There are many things wrong, but nothing that should concern you."

"What is it?" Lehman asked seriously.

"Perhaps I should tell you privately. I wouldn't want to upset our guest." Treep said as he glanced at Lindon who was reclined on the elevated bed.

"I think Lindon would feel a lot better if he knew what was going on. We don't need to hide anything from him." Lehman said as he looked Treep in the eyes.

"This is Treep, he's the first officer of this ship." Vincent said to Lindon quietly.

"Hi Treep." Lindon said shyly as he turned his head to get a good look at Treep.

"It is a pleasure to meet you Lindon. Do you want to know what we have found on your ship?" Treep asked gently.

"Yes. Please?" Lindon asked hopefully.

"Graid, our chief engineer, has investigated your computer systems and found that they have been damaged to a degree such that we have no method of determining your origin." Treep said carefully.

"If you can't tell where he's from, can you tell where he was going?" Lehman asked speculatively.

"Yes. If the navigation systems had not failed, the ship would have traveled to Vulcan, then activated an automated distress beacon." Treep said quietly.

"What did the message say?" Lindon asked quickly.

"There was no message as such. Simply a distress beacon implying that you were in need of assistance." Treep said gravely.

"Did you check the ship..." Vincent began to say, then his voice seemed to catch.

After a quick throat spray, Vincent continued, "...for Lindon's personal stuff?"

Treep nodded, then quietly said, "There was something that might have been clothing. It was too deteriorated to be certain. There was nothing beyond that."

"What does it all mean?" Lehman asked quietly.

The door to the medical facility opened to reveal an Avalla man carrying a large tray of food.

"It means we should eat." Vincent said with a grin.

Lehman chuckled at the answer and said, "That seems to be your answer for just about everything."

Vincent shrugged, then stood aside so the Avalla man could bring the tray of food to Lindon.

* * * * *

Challen hurried to the bed with a tray table and positioned it over Lindon's lap so the Avalla man could set the tray down.

After a moment to adjust his translator, Treep said, {"Thank you Taryn. Did you check with Ship to be sure that the food selections would be safe for our guest?"}

{"Yes. After the incident yesterday, I took extra care to be certain that the food would cause no harm."} Taryn said quietly.

Treep seemed to be satisfied with the answer as he nodded.

{"I brought sufficient food for the Trach Manjai as well. They must be hungry after their extended rest."} Taryn said as he cautiously looked at Vincent and Lehman.

{"Your food didn't cause what happened to us Taryn. It was caused by something else."} Lehman said seriously.

Taryn looked at Lehman uncertainly.

Vincent nodded his agreement with Lehman.

{"Thank you."} Taryn said timidly.

"What?" Lindon asked as he looked at the people gathered around his bed.

"Breakfast time." Vincent said as he removed a cover from one of the dishes on the tray.

Lehman chuckled and said, "I should have guessed that's how you'd summarize everything."

Vincent shrugged, then revealed another dish of food.

* * * * *

"Can you tell me now?" Lindon asked between bites of food.

"Tell you what?" Lehman asked curiously.

"Who am I? Why am I here? Why can't I remember anything?" Lindon asked quietly.

"We don't know." Vincent said simply, then grabbed another of the bite sized pieces of food on the tray.

Lehman smiled at Vincent's answer, then looked down at Lindon and said, "That's about right. We don't have any answers right now, but we're on our way to Earth and from what I know of Vincent's clan, they have so many telepaths that they're tripping over each other. So if you'll try not to worry about it today, maybe they'll be able to find some answers for you when we get there."

Lindon considered the words, then slowly nodded.

After swallowing his bite of food, Vincent said, "Vulcan healers too."

Lindon looked at Vincent with question.

"What he means is that if the telepaths can't fix you, then the Vulcan healers probably can. They can do all kinds of things with finding and fixing memories." Lehman said casually.

"Thank you for helping me." Lindon said quietly.

"We didn't do much. But you're welcome." Vincent said before taking another bite of food.

"Lindon, you'd better go ahead and eat before Vincent finishes it all." Lehman said with a chuckle.

Vincent wanted to protest the statement, but his mouth was too full.

* * * * *

"I have completed my search of the Federation database and found no record of them encountering Lindon's species before." Ship said into the room.

"Wow. You must be from really far away." Lehman said to Lindon with a smile.

"Or the Federation has classified any information about his people." Vincent said seriously.

Lindon and Lehman looked at Vincent with question.

When Vincent noticed their inquiring gazes, he continued, "I just know that the Federation doesn't always tell everyone everything about what they know."

"Trach Manja Vincent is correct. It is possible that the Federation has information that they are not inclined to share." Ship said frankly.

After a moment of consideration, Lehman said, "Well, if they do know something, I doubt that they'll tell us about it."

"Right. Let's not worry about that now. Sean and Cory can deal with that when we get to Earth. Ship, how long before we arrive?" Vincent asked curiously.

"I have increased speed to compensate for our diversion. Our expected time of arrival is Monday morning at 9am as time is measured at Clan Short headquarters." Ship said seriously.

Vincent nodded, then said, "Good, but what time is it now?"

"Currently it is Sunday morning, 7am using the same measure of time." Ship said casually.

"Then we have a whole day before we get there. Do we have anything we need to do?" Lehman asked curiously.

"I need a bath." Vincent said frankly.

"Well, that isn't exactly the kind of thing I was thinking of." Lehman said with a chuckle.

Vincent shrugged and said, "If we're not going to find out what's happening on Earth before we get there, then there's not much for us to do."

"Your voice is sounding better." Lindon said quietly.

Vincent looked at Lindon with surprise, then said, "Yeah. I guess it is. I was just froggy for a little bit until I got started using it again."

"You still sound a little bit raspy, but a lot better than you did before." Lehman said frankly.

"Would you ask Challen if Lindon can come take a bath with us? I don't want to try speaking in any other languages for a while." Vincent asked seriously.

{"Is Lindon well enough to come with us to take a bath?"} Lehman asked Challen quietly.

Challen looked over the controls of his medical unit briefly, then said, {"No. He needs to remain in bed for a while longer. From these readings, I believe that some sleep might be beneficial for him."}

Vincent nodded that he heard, then turned to Lindon and said, "Challen says that you should take a nap now. Lehman and I are going to take a bath, then we'll come back to see how you're doing."

Lindon had a momentary look of fear, then reluctantly nodded.

"Ship can call us if you need us for anything at all." Lehman said seriously.

"That is correct Lindon. If you have need of anything, simply ask." Ship said gently.

Lindon looked up at the ceiling, then smiled before saying, "Thank you Ship."

* * * * *

"What do you think is going to happen to Lindon when we reach Earth?" Lehman asked as they walked toward the lounging hall.

"I'm guessing that a doctor will look at him... I think Doc Austin is the Clan's doctor. After that... who knows?" Vincent said frankly.

"I'd feel a lot better if I knew what was going to happen." Lehman said honestly.

"Yeah. And I'd feel a lot better if I knew what happened to my brother and my Clan... sucks, don't it?" Vincent said as he turned to look Lehman in the eyes.

After a moment, Lehman nodded and said, "Yeah. It sucks a lot. But I guess you're right. We need to not think too far ahead for Lindon for the same reason that we're not finding out about your Clan. If things start to go wrong, influencing the random factors may be the only way we have of helping out."

"I think this is it." Vincent said as he indicated the door beside the Lounging Hall.

* * * * *

There were two Soleen men already in the bathing pool as they entered.

"Are you okay with this? I know you feel funny about nudity and being around other guys." Lehman said quietly.

Vincent considered for a moment, then said, "Yeah. I'm fine. I don't know what the difference is, but I don't feel weird about this at all."

"Okay. I just wouldn't want you to be uncomfortable." Lehman said quietly as he began to undress.

As Vincent opened the top of his jumpsuit, he said, "I should have packed some clothes for this trip. All I have is what I'm wearing."

"Trach Manja Vincent, if you would like, I could have fresh clothing brought for both of you and your clothes could be taken and cleaned." Ship said from overhead.

"Oh. Um, yeah. Thanks ship." Vincent said as he looked up.

"What's wrong?" Lehman asked curiously.

"It just feels funny knowing that Ship is always listening and watching." Vincent said frankly.

"Although I observe all events on the ship, I am honor bound not to reveal anything that I witness unless it is directly related to official business or the welfare of those in my care." Ship said seriously.

"I'm sorry Ship. I didn't mean to act like you were spying on us or something. It's just weird for me when I realize that no matter where I am in the ship, you're always there." Vincent said quietly.

"I can block my audio and video circuits to afford you privacy if that would be more comfortable for you." Ship offered gently.

"No. That's okay Ship. I don't mean for it to sound like I don't want you around. I'm just trying to say that I'm not used to it. That's all." Vincent said quickly.

"I understand. Please let me know if at some time you would like for me to allow you privacy." Ship said seriously.

Vincent smiled and said, "Thank you Ship. If I feel like I need some time alone, I'll let you know."

"That offer is extended to you as well Trach Manja Lehman." Ship said diplomatically.

"That's okay Ship. It doesn't bother me at all." Lehman said as he finished undressing.

Vincent glanced over in time to see Lehman's 'adult' equipment, then quickly turned away.

Lehman noticed and rolled his eyes.

"I thought you had gotten over that." Lehman said with exasperation.

"I'm working on it. But I'm pretty sure that looking at that big honking thing of yours isn't going to speed things up." Vincent said frankly.

Lehman chuckled, then walked to the water's edge to slowly get into the bathing pool.

Vincent smiled to himself as he finished getting undressed, then joined Lehman.

* * * * *

"This is nice." Lehman said as he relaxed in the warm water.

"Yeah. I just wish I knew how Lindon was doing." Vincent said quietly.

"Lindon has fallen into a natural sleep. Challen is now working to alleviate his muscle atrophy and believes that when Lindon awakens, he should be strong enough to walk." Ship said frankly.

"Is he going to be strong enough to be able to go to Earth with us when we arrive?" Lehman asked curiously.

After a moment, Ship answered, "Given his current condition and the treatment that Challen is using, I believe that he will."

"Thank you Ship. Will you let us know if Lindon needs anything? I'll be able to relax a lot better if I know that he isn't feeling alone." Vincent asked into the air.

"I will notify you immediately if he has any need." Ship said assuringly.

Vincent smiled and finally relaxed back into the water.

To Be Continued...

Editor's Notes:

My goodness, I wonder where Lindon came from. I also wonder if anyone on Earth or Vulcan, for that matter, knows of his species and can help him. It seems to me that there is some missing information that is needed if he is going to find out about himself. Let's hope things work out alright for him. He seems like a nice guy.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher

CSU Founder's corner:

I know you don't hear much from me in MM's stories; that is because he is so skilled that I usually wait to read it until after he posts. This chapter is different in a good way! There are elements of this chapter that are a direct result of reader input; brainstorming over the input one night resulted in this chapter. I am absolutely amazed at what MM has done with a few ideas; he has outdone what even I was expecting to see!

MultiMapper; you have proven once again you are one of the best authors out there; I am proud to call you a friend as well as a fellow CSU author!