Several days later, with no one able or willing to
give her information about Atu-ai Buck, Miru simply left her cabin one
morning and marched to the medical bay.
She hesitated only a moment at the door, but then she pressed the
button and entered. No one
was in the immediate vicinity so she walked into the next room.
There she found Buck on a medical bed with Dr. Goodfellow nearby
looking at something she couldn’t see.
Softly she reached over and touched Buck on the arm.
“Oh, my child, you startled me,” the old human
said, dropping the instrument in his hand.
In the next room, Miru saw Dr. Devlin working with laboratory
“I’m sorry, Doctor,” she said. “But I could not find out anything and I was worried.”
“Hawk hasn’t said anything to you?”
She shook her head.
“No, in fact he has not been around for me to ask.
I suppose that he has been on patrol a great deal lately, finishing
the surveys on the planet.”
Dr. Goodfellow nodded.
“Yes, I think he is discouraged that Captain Rogers didn’t
immediately wake up.”
Miru understood that.
She was disappointed and she hadn’t known the human as long as
her guardian, Hawk had. Colonel
Deering had also been inaccessible. Miru
could only imagine the sadness that the human woman was feeling.
“Have you been able to tell if the transmutation was
“I am almost certain of it.
The brain scans are normal for Buck now,” Goodfellow said.
“Then why can he not awaken?” she asked, even
though she guessed at the reason. She
had seen enough of the unsuccessful seeings on her home world to
understand the depths where a person’s inner essence could hide from
something that was horrible or too hard to bear.
Again, she touched Atu-ai’s arm, then took his hand in hers.
At first, she felt nothing and then a deep and unrelenting
darkness. She glanced at Dr.
Goodfellow, but he only gazed curiously at her and then nodded.
Closing her eyes, Miru tried to reach deeper into Buck’s mind.
Suddenly, she felt something coming at her, reaching for her,
something desperate, and she cried out sharply.
Buck felt as though he was trapped in a cold vat
of molasses. He tried to open
his eyes but his eyelids seemed glued together.
He couldn’t hear anything, couldn’t move, couldn’t say
anything. Someone had once
used a kind of paralysis ray on him.
When was that? He
couldn’t think. This seemed even more complete than that fleeting memory of
something that might or might not have been similar. Buck felt himself drifting but it wasn’t the comfortable
floating of lethargic relaxation. It
was more like the aimless, despair-filled drifting of a damned soul.
He had to get out of whatever this place was or he would be stuck
forever. How did he
know that? Just knew!
Buck didn’t know why, only that it was so.
He couldn’t do anything though.
Panic seemed to blend with the despair and Buck wanted to scream
Then he felt a touch; something vibrant, soft and
gentle and he tried to focus on it.
By now, Buck realized this was some kind of mental struggle, but
still he used a form of reality imaging, reaching with a mental “hand”
to grasp the psychic lifeline. He
felt like a drowning sailor grasping a hold of a life preserver.
Reaching, reaching, reach!! The
touch, the contact, seemed to fade and he tried to take a firmer hold of
that tenuous lifeline.
Buck felt touched, grasped.
The contact seemed to be pulling back, jerking away.
NO! Buck felt as
though he was traveling through a tunnel, a vortex with a bright doorway
at the end. Almost
there . . . almost! The
tunnel seemed to be narrowing. NO!
he cried out again in his mind. Then
he was sitting up on a med bed, gasping, watching the room dance crazily
from one side to the other. He
felt the sweat slick his face, trickle down his chest.
Hands grasped his shoulders and held him steady.
He slowly looked up and saw Dr. Goodfellow scrutinizing him.
Miru stood next to him.
“Buck, dear boy, it is really you, isn’t
it?” Dr. Goodfellow said earnestly.
“Is it you?”
Ridiculous question, Buck thought. Then memory rushed in and he remembered the brixtel.
He started to nod, but dizziness prevented that.
“Yes,” he choked out, his voice feeling hoarse, as though rusty
“Lay back down, Captain,” Dr. Goodfellow said
seriously, although his grinning face looked anything but serious.
The room was still spinning crazily.
He looked at Miru. She
was smiling happily. “It
was you,” he said softly. “You
had touched me. You were the
one I was trying to reach.”
She nodded and at that moment, the door slid open
and Hawk rushed in. “Buck!”
he cried out.
“Good timing,” Buck murmured.
“No, I felt something and was approaching the
ship, so I came straight here when I had docked,” Hawk replied. He gazed meaningfully at Miru.
“I always felt you had more of the old powers than your elders
gave you credit for,” he added to the young birdwoman.
“Amazing, simply amazing,” Dr. Goodfellow
added, gazing at all of them. “Miru,
can I prevail upon you to go and fetch Col. Deering.
I believe she might want to be here now that Captain Rogers is
Miru nodded, still obviously basking in this small
she looked as though she wanted to stay, she quickly turned and left.
“Miru,” Buck called out.
She stopped. “Thanks,”
he told her with a smile. Returning
his smile, the girl continued out of the medical bay.
“I am so glad you came out of this,” Dr.
Goodfellow said, fussing over Buck, checking his vital signs that the
monitors were very capable of imparting on their own.
“I was very worried about you.”
“Doc, do you have something for this
dizziness?” Buck interrupted.
“Oh, yes, yes,” Dr. Goodfellow said, turning
to get something from the far side of the room.
“I was worried about you, too, my friend,”
Hawk said, a slight smile on his lips.
“Me, too,” Buck said, in a slightly puzzled
voice. Then it occurred to
him. He was talking. No tapping, no keyboard.
Didn’t need Twiki to translate for him.
He was talking. Then
he remembered the cave. Twiki.
Dr. Goodfellow was bringing over a syringe filled with an amber
colored liquid. “Where’s
Twiki?” he asked.
Twiki was almost completely destroyed by the power of that
crystal,” Dr. Goodfellow said as he administered the drug.
Buck felt the medicine working almost immediately.
“Can’t you fix him?” he asked anxiously.
Losing Twiki was like losing a close friend.
“Fix him?” Goodfellow repeated. “No. We might
be able to replace his positronic parts so that he can function.”
Buck gazed at the ceiling.
“With his former personality?
“We have a great number of things on record,”
the doctor replied. “We
could certainly try, if you would like us to.”
“Please,” Buck said softly, still gazing at
the ceiling. Just then the
door slid open and Wilma burst in. She
flung herself on him.
Buck was suddenly covered with kisses, delivered
too fast for his stiff and sore body to return.
She said nothing, but nothing needed to be said.
He held her close.
“Welcome back,” Hawk said quietly, almost to
himself, from next to the old doctor.
When Wilma drew back for air, Buck grinned. It was certainly good to be back. So very good. He pulled Wilma’s lips back toward his and initiated his own kiss.
|Buck Rogers Contents|