A Performance Enhancer

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He kissed her again, and she kissed back, but then pushed him back a little.

"Huh?" he asked.

"Look, Chip, I'm glad she's not bothering you tonight, for once," said Lucy, "but I gotta tell you. Something's happening and it's making me nervous."

"Oh? Tell old Doc Masterson what's the matter."

"I can tell that the passageway is closing. The membrane that bridges both sides of the pond, it's shrinking."

He gulped. "You're right to be nervous. That is not good. She's gonna blame us for that."

"That's exactly what I was thinking."

"What do you wanna do about it?" he asked. Desire gone, they had to deal with this problem first.

"I was thinking – we can shoot another dark matter stream in. Maybe tomorrow after your big game, Coach."

"Heh. That's been taking a lot of my time, and I'm sorry about that. It's taken time away from us."

"Well, I can't complain too much – at least she stays away when she thinks you're really working hard. It's important to her."

"Well, she wants Joss to be the big man. Kira, too."

"Kirin," Lucy corrected him.

"The giraffe – dumb to call yourself after an extinct animal. But, yeah, she wants them to be big there. I think she's coming to the conclusion that they can't all run things after she's gone. Or maybe, well, she probably just wants to control every aspect of our lives. Our sex lives, our diets, our sports, our wars, our money, and our missions. You name the pie; she's got her fingers in it," Chip sighed.

"She's not in our thoughts, or in our dreams."

"If she can figure out how to be, she will."


Malcolm saw, it, too, the closing up of the septum, "Commander Ramirez?" he buzzed from his Ready Room.

"Yes?" Jennifer answered.

"Come in here a moment."

She was prompt, as always. Truly exemplary – pity it was under such vile circumstances, "Have you been monitoring the gap on Lafa II? The one where passage between our universe and the mirror one is possible?"

"Yes, of course. It's closing – and the rate seems to be accelerating."

"How long until it's completely closed up?" he asked, fingering the cuff.

"By tomorrow, I think," she said.

"Thank you."


"So we're in agreement?" he asked.

"Yes. Once the game's over, I'll fire off another shot. We'll tell her our story. She should agree to that. You wanna call her, or should I?"

"I'll do it," Chip said, "But stay here. Fix your hair a little. We'll pretend like we've been working."

She complied, "Ready."

"All right. Masterson to Empress Sato."

It took a few tries, but they got her. The visual was what he'd expected – Aidan on one side, the Empress in the middle, and Travis on the other. A lamp had been knocked over, but at least she was covering herself, "What the hell do you want?" she demanded as her greeting.

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