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cropped-shakazhan-front-a-copy.jpgIt’s been almost a year since Matilda, Wil and their friends arrived at Shakazhan, the former home world of the Timokuan people. Devastated, by the Kahlea centuries before, Shakazhan is virtually dead on the surface, but teeming with life inside.

Far away, on the other side of the galaxy, life goes on, oblivious to the dangers heading toward them. The people of the Shakazhan force need a way to get in touch with the Galactic Committee, because only they can authorize reinforcements.

Christmas Morning—Bridge of Anvil—Above Shakazhan

“Did it occur to either of you that I might just have a solution to the communication problem?”

Matilda had walked in on a brainstorming session between Ben and Wil. They looked blankly at her, then turned to each other, shaking their heads and shrugging. They looked so alike, she had to giggle. They waited, arms crossed over their chests, leaning on Ben’s desk.

“Look, we know that this planet is riddled with the largest pockets of Trimagnite we’ve ever seen, right?”

“Right, but what—” Wil started to protest.

Matilda held up her hand like a stop sign. “We know the Kindred use the Trimagnite to help them communicate all over planet right? In fact, they can send messages back to their home planet by tapping into the power.”

They waited impatiently for her to make a point.

“Think about it, you two!” She resisted the impulse to slam their heads together.

The men shrugged, turned away from her and conferred over their latest scheme. Ignoring Matilda completely, they continued to argue and discuss the problem.

“Never mind then.” Tossing her hair, she strutted from the room.

The door snicked shut behind her with a note of angry finality. Anvil expressed her annoyance with the men too. In fact, for the next five minutes or so, she made their conference increasingly inconvenient by moving around items they were using to illustrate their current brainstorm. Failing to get their attention with that, she opened and shut the doors to the bridge and corridor, blinked the lights and increased the temperature of the room until they were both sweating.

“Forget it,” Wil said, slightly put out, since his laser pointer kept changing colors and floating out of his reach while he tried to show Ben something he considered important. “I’m going to go have a shower.”

Ben agreed and asked for a tube. One appeared across the room from them. When they walked to it, Anvil moved it to the other side. After playing hop scotch with her for a few minutes, they stopped.

“It couldn’t hurt to hear her out,” Wil stated quietly.

“No, maybe she has a good idea. I guess it’s worth a shot,” Ben conceded.

“Can’t be any worse than ours.” Shrugging, Wil hit is comlink. “Captain VanLipsig, report to the ready room please.”

Anvil changed his voice so it sounded like Alvin and the Chipmunks, who were still amazingly popular on Old Earth.

Ben tried next, his voice sounded like a woman’s, high and lilting. Fuming, they struck out on foot, only to find themselves back at the ready room door. It opened with a sigh of contentment from Anvil. The room was cold and brightly lit. Matilda waited for them, seated in Ben’s chair, feet up on his desk, a cup of steaming hot chocolate in her hand.

“Gentlemen.” Her crooked smile was one of self satisfaction. “Prepared to give me your full attention?”

They nodded, saying nothing. Neither of them sat, standing petulantly, arms folded, waiting for her to speak.

“Good! As I started to say, before you stopped listening to me.” She smiled and the temperature of the room returned to normal. “The Trimagnite seems to magnify telepathic powers. Who needs conduits and circuitry when we have Kindred? Find some good Trimagnite, plug ’em in and send a message back to the Committee Home Base. Instant communication, easy, no?”

“I’ll be damned, Ben, I think she has an idea.”

“Of course I do. just because you think it’s silly, doesn’t make it silly.”

“No, Baby, it’s anything but silly, it’s brilliant!”

Running to her, Wil lifted her up from the desk, spinning her in a tight circle, kissing her soundly. “Fantastic idea! We put it into motion as soon as we can.” He set her down with a little thump.

Turning to Ben, he slapped him hard on the shoulder. “Why didn’t you think of that?”

Ben chuckled, hitting him back. “Because, as we’ve had pointed out to us more than once, you and I don’t think with the right part of our anatomy.”

© 2014 Dellani Oakes

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