As the crew entered the Grand Conference, Taren turned to his mentor and seventh-level Cog, the highest ranking attainable. “Shen, what do you sense?” asked Taren as they surveyed the crew of Bravo-Four-Zero.

“No doubt she is here,” whispered Shen from behind his hood, purple eyes glowing with anticipation and excitement. “I could not be more pleased with her abilities. I have heard rumor of such facility but never did I dream this opportunity would present itself. Fate does work in mysterious ways does it not?”

“You’ve always taught fate speaks to those who open to possibility, to those who embrace the flow rather than resist it, to those who believe like children. I’m not sure I would have intuited the gift this vessel imparts to us and our cause without your mentorship Shen.”

“Don’t be modest Taren. I did not give you your gifts nor did I sharpen them. I pointed the way. You did the rest.”

“Does she know the gift she has?” asked Taren.

“Impossible to know without private inquiry. May I suggest we arrange a personal interview.”

“Absolutely. Kyra?”

“Yes, Taren?”

“The girl on the end, with the red hair, what is her name?”


“She is the one. May we have a private audience with her?”

“Mairi? Are you sure?”

“No doubt in our minds.”

“Can you tell me what special gift you believe she has?” asked Kyra, completely puzzled at what they saw in Mairi. Deep inside she watched as her own sense of vanity rose and whispered softly in her mind’s ear. Papa always said humility was the doorway to truth. She wondered if Taren was inside her head, watching with amusement and seeing her innermost feelings. Pride was a funny thing. She must spend more time looking at this pride when time allowed for weeding the garden of her mind.

“I’d rather not say in the open. Besides, the less you know the better.”

Kyra looked at Taren, trying to judge intent and purpose. So hard to read an alien species.

“You can use my quarters if you like.”

Categories: Story, Kyra, Taren, Mairi, Shen