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Trinity RPG - Those Left Behind

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<H1>Those Left Behind</H1><H3><A HREF="mailto:netlupus@hotmail.com";>Written and Illustrated by Al-X Melchor</A></H3>Dedicated to 2nd. Lt. Nicole Sanders, Missing in Action 12/01/2001, praying for her safe return.

<HR><IMG SRC="http://www.nprime.net/images/thoseleft.jpg" ALT="Those Left Behind, by Al-X Melchor">

I woke up crying.

It was the third consecutive night and I hadn't the faintest idea why; I tried to remember any dream I might've had, but I just couldn't. It was as if the same empty feeling, that void at the pit of my being that welcomed me to the waking world was also sucking into it whatever message my subconscious was trying to relay to me.

With a long sigh, I turned to my alarm clock; the holographical digits marked five o'clock sharp. The same as the other nights. It was in times like these that I really missed Mia; not only did she knew me perfectly; she was also a great listener, wise beyond her years, and a telepath to boot. Mia would get to the bottom of what was worrying me without delving inside my mind; she was that kind of woman.

Ah, hell; she wasn't here. She was off into some mission for the Æon Trinity she couldn't talk about. Her air of mistery was the thing that attracted me to her, but I admit that it did get annoying at times. I decided that it was too late to go back to sleep, but too early to begin getting ready for work, so I just laid there. I wiped the mysterious tears off my face and found that my other hand was stroking the empty space where Mia would've been sleeping.

This will get me nowhere.

"Lights, dim", I ordered, and the ceiling promptly lit with a nostalgic hue of orange. "Window, show outside."

The soft illumination of the inside was instantly contrasted by the rich blue of the outside as the bioglass turned transparent. Mia had insisted on getting that chameleonic window. I wandered over to watch the underwater landscape. The city lights kept the waters from the pitch black they would be without human intrusion. I could see the little lights of work subs going towards the algae farms; it brought the image of pilgrims in alien land. Would Qinshui look like this? All I've gotten from my Qin collaborator is an enigmatic smile when I ask him about it.

I'm slipping into melancholia; I can feel it. I must find some way to cheer up or the dolphins and that blasted Qin will pick it up instantly. Thanks to the aliens, we've gotten incredible breakthroughs in communicating with our cetacean neighbors. That's how I met her.

God; I feel awful.

<HR WIDTH=50%>

"Sandskimmer is concerned", the Qin said. "Your soul sinks deep, Doctor Davenport."

"You wouldn't tell from her smile." I answered, pointing at the bottlenose dolphin staring at us from the other side of the viewport. The alien's mongoloid face looked surprised.

"Smile? Oh; yes. I had forgotten humans read emotions with the eyes. But Sandskimmer does not smile. She hears the pain in you. And she longs to break your surface."

"You mean... she wants to know what's wrong with me?"

"Such is the reflection in her water, I cannot dive more deeply."

"Well, girl." I spoke affectionately as I tapped the code we'd developed on the plexiglass. "You and me both."

"I stand perplexed, Doctor." The alien said without taking his slanted eyes from the dolphin. "If you know not the origin of the storm in your mind, how can you take shelter?"

"I wish I knew what's wrong; it's been the third night I wake up crying, with no reason." I felt weird confiding in the Qin, but besides Mia; the dolphins and our alien visitor were the beings that knew me best.

"Would it be that you're in unrest in the farness of your mate?" And the Qin picked up on things uncomfortably fast. "Have you received sound of Doctor Sifuentes? The dolphins so regret her absence too."

"It's not... OK; it might be that; but it's not so much as if I miss her; it's like there's this..." Looking for a word the Qin would understand and that somehow explained what I felt after each fitful waking was hard. In the viewport, another dolphin had joined Sandskimmer in her observation of her biped coworkers. Now that I looked at them feeling like I did, they did appear concerned. It felt as if they'd suggested the right word. "I feel this silence."

The Qin nodded. "It is a cause of worry." And then he nodded again, this time to the dolphins. "Wavebreaker invites you to swim with them; perhaps their song can ease the well of your mind."<HR WIDTH=50%>

Throw away the much-flaunted kinship of biotechnology; trash any drug from the Norça and forget a near century of space travel; nothing, nothing can be compared with swimming with the dolphins. Each time I dive in with them, all my concerns seem to melt away in their gentle company. They tease me with their playful prods, making fun of my inadequacy of form to this underwater paradise in a way that I can laugh at it too.

Mia says she's been on the brink of communing with them. Much like that time we literally bumped into each other. I was a research assistant then; tending to algae fields and the fish farms that kept our dolphins convinced that staying around was a good idea. I was bored silly when a large female swam through the bubble streams that served as cage walls to the fish and actually thumped me.

The dolphin was unimpressed by my annoyed hand gestures, and she pushed me again, then swam apart. I didn't know then what I know now about dolphins; but I recognized a playful puppy when I saw one. I followed and grabbed her back and she started off at an incredible speed. I was thoroughly enjoying the ride when my guide made a sudden stop and turn, propelling me forward into another human being: Mia.

She was as startled as I was, but after a few hurried apologies over the comm channel, we saw two dolphins swim around us, shaking their heads, laughing.

Mia Sifuentes, the most beautiful woman I'd ever met; a recently assigned telepath from Æon's Triton Division, and my soulmate. And those damn dolphins knew it.<HR WIDTH=50%>Work as part of the Cetacean Communication Project involves a lot of playing around with the friendly mammals, but at the end of the day I had to fill reports on any observation I made, any insight I might have. It's a rewarding job, but it takes as much energy from you as being a kindergarden teacher.

I was quietly eating dinner in one of the little places Mia and I love so much; small and intimate, away from the crowds. My swim with Wavebreaker and Sandskimmer had done a lot to put my mind at ease, but I still could feel that void underlying the calmness. I tried ignoring it, but it didn't go away.

"Excuse me?", someone next to me asked. "Are you Dr. Mario Davenport?"

It was a woman, thirty-ish and nervous looking. I was certain I didn't know her, but there was something familiar about the way she moved; about the way her hair crept around her neck. My heart sank for a second, then I recovered my composure, hoping that my face didn't lose too much color.

"Yes; I am." My answer was as succint as I could manage. "Do I know you?"

"No;" the woman answered, not completely able to hide some wariness beneath a calm and professional tone. I've been around dolphins for too long to be fooled by nuances of sound. "I... my sister might have mentioned me; my name is Maya Sifuentes; Mia's older sister."

My heart had been dangling from a thin cord of self-control; it now snapped, and my heart took a long dive into my inner darkness.

"P-please, sit down..." I stammered. "Mia mentioned you, but she didn't have any holos or anything; I'm sorry; what... what...?" I couldn't decide if my question was 'What can I do for you?' or 'What's wrong?'

"You know she's a telepath." She stated more as a fact than a question; she sat down, avoiding looking into my eyes. "We both resulted latents, but I joined ISRA and remained, instead of her training and later resignation from the Ministry."

A clairsentient, the people who see everything...

"Did something happen to Mia? Wh... where...? She said she was going on a mission she couldn't... oh, god; I've been... these nights..."

Her expression did little to calm my quickly crumbling resolve.

"You... you don't know either?" She looked as scared as I felt.

"How would I?! I'm not a psion! I'm not even part of the Trinity!"

"Please, calm down." She pleaded, looking around the quiet restaurant; a couple was staring at us. "I... could we please talk somewhere else? Some place far from people?"

I quieted down, but I sure as hell wasn't any more calm.

"I... I think. Yes; follow me."<HR WIDTH=50%>

We were sitting above the pool in the lab. There was no one around, not even the dolphins who liked to drop by and help with our research. Maya explained that she'd felt some sort of backlash the same day I started cryng myself awake. She received some visions she didn't understand, but knew that it had something to do with Mia and myself.

Mia had talked little of her family; I knew of her sister, but just that they didn't get along much and that they'd drifted apart since they joined different orders.

"That's why I thought you'd be able to..." she was apologetic. "I don't know; she was a totally different person after she met you. She... glowed; I could see it, even without psi. I wish I could've met you sooner, while you were with her. I would've been able to see how you fit together in the implicate order."

"So you thought I could be more attuned to her noetically." Her rant was typical of what I've been told to expect from a clear, but the implications were too personal to dismiss.

"Yes. I'm sorry if this sounds too far-fetched. I hoped you could help me understand... or that you knew what happened. It scares me; we're related by blood and all I got was a very faint impression."

I didn't answer; I was much more scared because I was a neutral, not even a latent; and some unknown part of myself knew that something was very wrong.

"You could..." my voice was almost a whisper. "You could try to find out from the Trinity." <HR WIDTH=50%>

It had been a couple of nerve-wracking months. My crying had subsided, but I still felt the emptyness every time I got out of bed. Maya had left with the promise that she would tap into whatever resources she had at her disposal, but two months of probing had only turned up a single fact; the mission Mia had been assigned to was not from the Trinity, but was conducted under the auspice of the United Nations. All information was completely locked down.

It was my turn.

"I sense a definite current in your tide, Doctor." The Qin received me with his insightful comment of the day. "It is almost pleasant to see you no longer adrift."

"Thank you; but I have a favor to ask of you; it could mean the depth that I'm to swim for the rest of my life."

"Grave words; and grave intentions I hear. Wavebreaker urges bravery, but I must reveal to have shielded horizons of this favor."

"I know; and I wouldn't ask it of you if I wasn't desperate."

The Qin stood, the facade of his biosuit doing an excellent job of showing some heavy pondering. Outside the viewport, a dozen dolphins had gathered. He finally spoke; more to himself than to me.

"The dolphins swim with you and wish to hold you afloat. I will trust in their judgement; ask of me, Doctor, and I will stretch to my limits to aid you."<HR WIDTH=50%>

Another month later, and here it was. A data disk that looked so innocent by itself, but was like a burning coal in my hands. The Qin had handed it to me while we both were outside working with the dolphins; he let me know that his embassy had gone to a great deal of trouble to obtain this information, and that I was to destroy it after watching the contents.

I promised I would, in front of the dolphins I expressed my eternal gratitude to the Qin.

I lay in my room, fingering the disk. The door was locked, I instructed my minicomp agent to deny any call or connection request; I told my apartment to deny my presence to any visitor. I was holding the Holy Grail in my hands.

With the lights of the whole house dimmed, the minicomp began to project the disk's information.

My mind went numb; I don't remember when I ordered the window open, and have no recollection of how I managed to browse through all the files. One moment I was reading the reports from the jumpship Yi; the next I was beating at the window, clawing at the clear material, trying to tear my way out of the dark maw of my apartment. Our apartment.

I didn't notice their arrival; I was too busy blaming the universe; the psion orders for making her one of them; the Æon Trinity for assigning her to that accursed mission, the U.N. for accepting her in the jumpship crew, this "Coalition" for destroying her in body and soul. And myself, for not recognizing my crying fits as her last scream of terror.

But they were there, just outside; inches of bioglass separated us, but their presence was unmistakeable. I slowly opened my eyes and met Sandskimmer's. She cackled something, and the dozen or more dolphins swayed their bodies slowly, covering my view of the infinite ocean with their mournful dance.

I slept then; emotionally exhausted, and I dreamed. I was with Mia, swimming among the dolphins, and I could hear them singing, I could understand their words. We didn't wear any diving equipment, but that didn't bother me; it was natural, it was meant to be this way.

I let myself drift among the smooth bodies of our friends, and Mia took my head between her hands. I knew this was a dream, and prayed for it to never end. She shook her head, aware of my thoughts as she always was, but letting me know that it wasn't right. All around us, the dolphins continued to spin and dance in perfect harmony. She spoke to me with the dolphin song, a melody not meant for crude human words; she sung the real message she had sent upon her death:

I love you.


I woke up crying.

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