Title: The Sleeper
Fandom: Andromeda
Characters: Telemachus Rhade, Dylan Hunt, Rommie, Trance Gemini, Beka Valentine Seamus Harper, Andromeda Ascendant, OCs
Prompt: 076: Who?
Word Count: 5,288
Rating: G
Summary: The dreams of a member of the crew lead the Andromeda in an unexpected direction.
Author's Notes: Takes place after episode 4x10: ‘Exalted Reason, Resplendent Daughter’ and contain spoilers for that episode as well as episode 3x17: ‘Vault of the Heavens’. There is also mention of events from 4x08: ‘Conduit to Destiny’, 4x06: ‘Soon the Nearing Vortex’. I do apologize. I had initially hoped to wrap this one up in one file, but it seems that isn’t actually possible. As it is, this is one of the biggest files I’ve ever written. I’m working on the second half of this one right now, so it should be up soon. I hope.

For the fifth time since the start of his shift, Rhade yawned, rubbing his eyes. Things were going slowly on the Andromeda Ascendant, and had ever since Kulis Barra and Aleiss had become co-rulers of the large group of planets formed when Kulis brought all of the planets loyal to him under the flag of the System’s Commonwealth and into Aleiss’s empire, but his yawning wasn’t from boredom.

Dylan looked over at him. “Rhade, are you alright?” he asked, frowning.

“I’m fine. Why do you ask?”

“Oh, no reason, but you seem to be yawning more than usual.”

Rhade looked a little puzzled. “Really? I haven’t noticed.”

Beka rolled her eyes. “Oh please! It’s all you’ve done since coming on shift.”

“I believe, Beka, that you’re mistaken,” Rhade said stiffly.

“Come on, Rhade, you’ve been on shift for less than half an hour and you’ve yawned at least five times in that time period,” Dylan pointed out. “Now tell me what’s going on? I know things have been quiet lately and we haven’t needed to maintain a state of alertness like we have been, but this isn’t the first time in the last week that you’ve yawned like this Boredom alone can’t explain this. I can’t have any of my crew at anything less than peak health and you’re starting to not look so good.”

Rhade shook his head. “I just haven’t been getting a lot of sleep lately, that’s all.”

“Why is that?” Trance asked him. “You seem healthy to me.”

“I keep having strange dreams,” he explained. “Not nightmares, but it’s the same couple dreams over and over again, night after night. It’s starting to bother me.”

“I didn’t think things like that bothered Nietzscheans,” Harper said.

“Repetitive dreams bother everyone, Harper,” Trance said gently. “Would you like to talk about them?”

“Not really,” Rhade replied. “They’re just dreams. Dreams are a response to neural processes during sleep, or reflections of the unconscious. That’s all.”

“Then why are you having the same dreams over and over again?” Trance persisted. “There must be a part of your subconscious that’s trying to make a point. It’s either that or these aren’t really dreams but a telepathic message being sent to you, trying to tell you something.”

“Do you honestly expect me to believe that last one?” Rhade scoffed.

“It wouldn’t be the first time that we’ve encountered something like that,” Beka said, rolling her eyes.

“Trance could be right about that,” Dylan said. “Something like this happened to me a last year while Tyr was still a member of the crew, before you came along. I was contacted by the queen of a race of people living on the icy moon of a planet called Ymir in a similar manner. It’s a long story, but the dreams and things I was hearing led us there and we saved her people.”

“We almost wound up destroying them, too, Dylan,” Beka reminded him. “But that was Tyr being Tyr.”

“So you think I should take these dreams seriously.”

“It can’t hurt, can it?” Harper asked. “You know, especially if you’re seeing a pretty woman in them. Hey, next time you have the dream, I don’t suppose you could ask if she has a friend or something who could come haunt my dreams?”

“I never said there was a woman in my dreams, Harper.”

“Ah, but you didn’t deny it either.”

“Rhade, when there are telepathic dream-messages being sent to a man, there’s likely a woman involved.” Dylan shrugged. “That’s just life.”

“Look, Dylan, I don’t know if there’s a woman involved. I can’t make the figure out. There’s someone sitting at an instrument that looks like an old Earth grand piano, playing a song over and over again. In some of the dreams, this person speaks to me, but I can’t understand the words. I can clearly see the area I’m standing in, but the person and the piano are in shadows. The light of the three moons overhead doesn’t shine on that spot.”

“Since you’re already talking about this, can you describe the area?” Rommie asked. “There are many worlds with three moons in the Tri-Galaxies. If you can narrow it down a little more, I should be able to tell you where the message is coming from.”

“This is absurd,” Rhade insisted.

“Do you have a better idea?” Beka challenged. “Besides, it’s not like we have much else to do right now, is it?”

The tall Nietzschean sighed. “Fine, but I can’t guarantee that what I remember has any use or basis in reality.”

“Oh I don’t know about that,” said Dylan, smirking. “Rommie was able to find Ymir based on very little information from me.”

Rhade shook his head. “Alright. In the dreams, it is night time. There are three moons in the sky. Two are a silvery white color and crescents. The third is smaller and has a blue-ish tinge to it. I’ve never seen the sun there. I do recall a few of the stars in the sky. The brighter ones formed patterns. I’d have to draw them out.”

Rommie brought over a flexi for him to draw the star shapes out on. When he was done, he handed the flexi back to her. She looked at it, running the shapes through her databanks. “I have a couple possible matches. The first is a planet called Marush, orbiting the star Epsilon Eridani. The other possibility is a nameless rogue planet approximately two day’s journey from our present position.”

“If I recall my astronomy lessons correctly, Epsilon Eridani is relatively close to Earth,” Dylan mused.

“Yeah, and Marush is swarming with Dragans,” Harper said sullenly. “Let’s take our chances with this rogue planet.”

“Dylan? Rhade? What do you two think?” Trance asked.

After some thought, Dylan replied, “I’m inclined to agree with Harper. I’d rather not have to deal with the Drago-Kazov.”

“I don’t think that we should entirely discount going to Marush,” Rhade contradicted him. “However, since the rogue is closer to us, I think it would be wise to check there first before making the long trip to a Nietzschean colony.”

“Rogue planet it is then,” Trance said.

Beka pulled down the slipstream harness. “Alright Andromeda, let’s get going. Focus the slipstream lens.”

The image of Andromeda appeared on the monitor. “Focusing,” she said.

“Let’s bring it,” Dylan said as Beka launched them into slipstream.

When Rhade’s shift ended, he went to his quarters and lay down on his bed. He was exhausted, but he didn’t really want to sleep. On the one hand, he knew that he needed the sleep and he could likely get more information from the dreams that would help find whoever was sending them. On the other hand, he knew that any sleep he got wouldn’t be restful at all and he doubted that he’d be able to control anything in his dreams, so it was unlikely that he’d learn anything of use anyways. He rolled over and closed his eyes. So tired… The next thing he knew was that he was once again in the dream world.

He looked around. It was the same room that he always began dreaming in. It was open to the night sky. The light of the three moons shone faintly, reflecting on the polished floor made of a white material very much like marble with gold veins running through it. The floor was square. At each corner there was a marble pillar, each one spiraling upwards to be capped by sitting statues, each one facing outwards. They appeared to be humanoid in shape from what he could make out, but otherwise meant nothing to him. Their clothing was unfamiliar yet familiar. Beyond the columns he could see the ruins of a large city. Some of the buildings were covered in vegetation. There were great domes with holes punched in them, toppled columns and statues, even a great structure that resembled the Roman Coliseum from ancient Earth. He turned his attention to the musician seated at the piano, playing the song over and over again. The piano player was, as usual, mostly hidden from view. All Rhade could make out was a tall, basic, androgynous form with elegantly long fingers. The song being played had a sad sound to it. He walked slowly towards the piano.

“Who are you?” he managed to ask.

The music stopped as the figure seated at the piano stood. “So. You’ve come to the conclusion that this isn’t a dream. At last.” The voice was neither male, nor female but had elements of both in it. It was soft and musical but it had an air of strength and authority to it.

“Answer my question.”

“I am called the Sleeper. I have no other name that I know of. What are you called?”

“My name, you mean? You don’t know?”

“When I started the dreams, I had no intended target. That you were receptive to my attempts at communication is more luck than anything else.”

“My name is Telemachus Rhade.”

“Your people. I’ve never seen your kind before.”

“We are called Nietzscheans, a genetically engineered race of humans.”

“I see. I know of the human race. I’d thought that someone of that species would have been the one to receive my message.”

“Why haven’t you spoken directly to me before? Why speak only in that language I can’t understand?”

“I couldn’t speak to you until you accepted that these weren’t dreams. I couldn’t use a language you understood because I didn’t know what you were until now let alone know what language you spoke. I had to speak in my own tongue in the hopes that it would help you realize what was really going on. I’m surprised that it took you this long.”

“I only figured it out with the help of the human crew members of the ship I serve on. They’ve had experience with this sort of thing before.”

There was a pause. “Then why did I manage to contact you instead of the one who had done this before?”

“I don’t know.” He studied the figure carefully. “If you don’t mind my asking, what are you?”

“We have no word that we use to call ourselves by. We are simply the People. I don’t know how your race identifies themselves, how you distinguish individuals among your species other than by name.”

“Don’t your people have gender?”

“Gender?” the voice sounded confused. “What is gender?”

“Gender describes the state of being male, female, or neither. For example, my gender is male. From my point of view, your appearance is genderless, or androgynous, which would mean that your physical traits have no gender value.”

“An interesting concept. What purpose does this have?”

“Largely, it’s used to distinguish the different sides of our reproductive cycle. Those of the female gender are the ones who give birth to our offspring. It requires both male and female to create offspring.”

“Ah. I believe I understand. My people have long been puzzled by such things as pertaining to other species.”

“It feels a little odd to be discussing something like this with a stranger.”

“We are not strangers. You know what I am called and I know what you are called. Thus, we know each other and are not strangers.”

“Sleeper, why are you doing this?”

“This? The communication form that you call dreams?” Rhade nodded. “I need help. My people no longer reside where I am. They have abandoned this place and moved to another. Where, I am unaware as I’ve been slumbering here, in this place, for longer than I can recall. Even if I did know, I wouldn’t know how to convert out measuring of time into yours. I’m trying to find someone who can help me. The building where I sleep is in danger of collapsing. If it does, I’ll die.”

“Why don’t you wake up?”

“I cannot. I don’t know how.”

“My ship is trying to find you. I managed to identify some of the constellations I can see from here.”

“Constellations? You mean the patterns that the stars form?”

“Yes, that’s what I’m talking about. We think we picked the right place, as a couple matches came up in our databanks.” The space around him began to fade. “What was that?”

“That’s your corporeal body waking up. This is the longest that I’ve been able to keep you here. I must release the hold I have on your unconscious and let you wake now. I should not have taken so long to deliver my message. With luck, you will find me soon.”

“Perhaps we can continue this conversation when I do.”

The figure moved, shaking its head. “I doubt that you’ll be able to wake me from my sleep. Many have tried.” The room nearly faded completely. “Go now. You will not have this dream again until you have found me.”

Rhade woke with a start to see Dylan and Trance standing at the side of his bed wearing worried expressions on their faces. He rubbed his eyes, feeling more exhausted than he had been before he fell asleep. “Dylan? Trance? Is something wrong?”

“We’ve been trying to wake you up for the last two hours,” Trance told him.

“You’re always on time for your duty shifts, so when you didn’t show up this morning, we let it slide for a little bit, but after an hour, we decided to look for you,” Dylan explained. “You didn’t respond to anything we tried. Trance seemed to think that you’d wake up when you were ready to wake up. It seems she was right about that.”

“I was having that dream again,” Rhade told them, sitting up. “Apparently, since I was entertaining the possibility that these dreams weren’t really drams but an attempt at communication by some alien life form, it’s become possible for the Sleeper to actually talk to me one on one instead of simply playing music and speaking in its language.”

“The Sleeper?” Dylan asked quizzically.

“That’s what this person is called. Its people seem to be genderless to the point where I had to explain the concept of gender to it.”

“Strange,” Trance said slowly. “All of the genderless species I know of at least know what gender is, through contact with other species if nothing else.”

“The Sleeper seems to know what humans are, but didn’t understand what gender was.”

“So are we headed in the right direction?” Dylan asked.

“I hope so. The building where the Sleeper is sleeping is in danger of collapsing. If that happens, the Sleeper will be killed.”

“So we either need to relocate or wake the Sleeper up,” Dylan said, nodding. “Sounds simple to me.”

“Actually, Dylan, it may not be that simple,” Trance interrupted. “We should learn more about the Sleeper before we do anything about this predicament.”

“I was told that I wouldn’t have any more dreams until we’d found this place,” Rhade said. “This, hopefully, means that I can actually get some restful sleep between now and then.”

“Still tired after all of that?” Dylan asked.

“These dreams are very draining.”

“Since we’ll need you when we go down to the planet’s surface, you may as well try and get some sleep now. Beka tells me that we’ll reach the rogue planet in a little less than twelve hours, so eat something and get some rest. You really look like you need it, Rhade.”

“Thank you, Captain.”

Eleven hours and thirty three minutes later, the Andromeda Ascendant was in orbit around the rogue planet and its three small moons. Unlike what Rhade had told them, all three moons were silvery white. The planet was mostly blue, its landmasses concentrated on one side of the globe. Rhade had joined them on the Command Deck shortly before Beka dropped them out of slipstream. Dylan looked at him expectantly. “Nothing?”

Rhade shook his head. “Nothing, but then I’m still awake.”

Andromeda appeared on the screen. “Captain, I’m receiving a communiqué from the surface of the rogue planet.”

“Let’s see it,” Dylan replied eagerly.

A distinctly masculine figure appeared on the screen. He was dressed in white robes. He had tight, curly blond hair and short curled horns protruding from the sides of his head like those of a male sheep. His solid blank eyes gazed at them. “What do you here?” he asked, sounding very awkward. “Forgive. Your speech, I know not.”

“I am Captain Dylan Hunt of the Andromeda Ascendant. We came here on a rescue mission.”

“Rescue? What rescue? We have no danger. Peace only. Mistake, you have made?”

“I’m sure this is the right place, Dylan,” Rommie said, walking towards him. “The stars are lining up the way Rhade drew them.”

“But there are people here,” Rhade said, confused. “The Sleeper distinctly said that her people had left, gone elsewhere.”

The man looked terrified. “The Sleeper you seek? That is rescue? Danger! Must not!”

“Why? If the Sleeper is so dangerous, why was I contacted?”

“Contact? Chosen, are you.” The man crossed his arms in front of his face and knelt. “Blessed be.”

Harper gave Rhade a look. “Oh great. That’s the last thing he needs, people bowing to him.”

“I didn’t ask for this, runt,” Rhade growled at him.

“What did you mean by danger and then calling Rhade Chosen?” Trance asked the horned man.

“Sleeper is danger. Sleep long time, never wake. Never! Chosen to wake. Only Chosen. All others die. Many try. All fail. Sleeper left alone. No people around, no tries to wake, no failing, no death.”

“None of this was mentioned in my dreams,” Rhade managed to get out through his shock.

“No time. Talk not easy for Sleeper. Takes much energy.”

“That makes sense, actually,” Trance said nodding. “Telepathy across great distances is taxing in itself, but across space? I can only imagine.”

“Where is the Sleeper?” Rhade asked the man. “The building is going to collapse. We need to go there now!”

“Collapse? Only is what was said?” The man sighed. “Perhaps not Chosen. Perhaps savior only, not waker.”

“We’ll see when I get there.”

He lifted his hands, palms out. “Your choice, your life lost if not Chosen. Warning I give. Hurry. If collapse, Sleeper die. Death bad.”

“Is the Sleeper that important, then?” Beka asked.

The man looked at Trance. “Sun knows, Sun understand when see Sleeper. Hurry! Sleeper on small moon. Chosen-or-not-Chosen man know building when see it.” He cut off communication then.

“I don’t know whether I should congratulate you or be a little envious, Rhade,” Harper said into the silence.

“Neither do I,” Dylan agreed. “This is the kind of thing that usually happens to me.”

“It feels strange,” Rhade admitted. “I can only imagine that the things going through my mind are the sorts of things that went through on Baltria with the Ch’kadau people and that woman. What was her name again? Siara?”

“Yes, that was her,” Dylan confirmed. “I do hope for your sake that you’re this Chosen. You’re a good officer, Rhade, and I’ve come to think of you as a friend. I’d hate to loose you from trying to wake this Sleeper person.”

Rhade’s lips twisted into a wry smile. “Trust me, Dylan. I’d hate to die as well.”

Seeing as how Rhade had a good idea as to where they were going, Beka let him pilot the Maru down to the surface of the smallest of the three moons. The landscape was as he remembered it from the dreams: cracked and broken buildings, rubble strewn everywhere. The place looked as if it had been destroyed deliberately and then left to gather vegetation. He set the ship down beside the most intact structure, a three story building with pillars on the top. This has to be the place, he said to himself, undoing the harness on the pilot’s chair. The Sleeper is here, somewhere.

Rhade, followed by Dylan, Beka, and Trance, left the ship and headed into the building, forcelance at the ready. While he felt fairly safe here, there was no sense in taking foolish chances. The inside of the building was dark save for where the light from the other moons could penetrate through the cracks in the walls. The planet itself and the stars gave very little additional light. Dylan turned on the portable light he’d brought so that they could see where they were going. The walls were full of cracks and holes. One corner of the bottom floor was flooded where the foundation had sunk. Vines had forced their way through some of the cracks and had climbed their way up the walls, branching out and moving up to the next floor. There were stone stairs against the far wall, leading up to the next floor. They appeared to be structurally sound, so they went up.

The second floor was much like the first save for the coffin-like object in the center of the room. Rhade walked up to it. It was covered in a thick layer of dust, so he rubbed some of it off with the sleeve of his black uniform. The lid was made of some kind of glass. What was beneath it was not what he’d expected. He had expected something that looked like the Sleeper in his dreams, but this was a humanoid and clearly female. Her skin was completely white as was the hair spread out around her head. Her eyes were closed and she appeared to simply be sleeping.

Trance, Beka, and Dylan walked over to have a look for themselves. “Ok, Rhade, now I really am jealous. She’s beautiful.”

Beka socked Dylan in the shoulder. “Come on now, Dylan. You have to share the pretty women with the other men in the universe. It’s no fair trying to keep them all to your self.”

Trance went cold when she saw what was inside the coffin. “Well, he did say, ‘Sun knows, Sun understand when see Sleeper’,” Trance said quietly.

“Do you know who she is?” Rhade asked eagerly.

“Not so much who as what. Rhade, she’s like me, an Avatar. She’s not one of my people, as my people are suns, but this is a moon, possibly the avatar of this moon in particular. I’ve only ever seen a few of her kind before.”

Rhade frowned. “She told me in the dream that her kind had moved elsewhere, that they’d abandoned this place. From the look of things outside, it happened a long time ago.”

“Where did you see them, Trance?” Dylan asked her.

Trance shook her head. “In truth, I only ever encountered individuals and even then only briefly. The one I met were shy and didn’t say much. There is one thing that puzzles me, though. They had skin tone and hair color. She doesn’t. I wonder why. Is she a young member of her race or an elder?”

“Neither,” a soft, musical voice said from behind them. They turned to see an androgynous figure standing there. It was the one Rhade had met in his dreams. As they watched, it took on the appearance of the woman in the coffin. “Apologies for my deception, Telemachus Rhade, but I needed to be sure that you would not seek to harm me or bring those who would if you knew my true nature. She looked at Trance. “Although I hardly expected him to know any members of your race. You are known to me, Trance Gemini, and you are welcome here.”

“My thanks, though I do not know you.”

“No, we have not met before, though we have a friend in common. Do you recall Aurelia?”

“That’s the blind woman we met, the one who gave us the Route of Ages, isn’t it?” Rhade asked.

“Yes, that was her,” Trance said sadly.

The Sleeper tilted her head to one side. “Was?”

“She was killed shortly after she gave us the Rout of Ages by a Nietzschean named Tyr Anasazi,” Trance told her.

“A Nietzschean?” The Sleeper looked at Rhade. “Is not that what you named yourself, Telemachus Rhade?”

Rhade growled. “Tyr Anasazi and I are nothing alike.”

“I see. So even among the different races there are widely varying personalities.” She nodded. “I will mourn for Aurelia once I have been removed from this place.”

“Is there a place that you’d like us to take you?” Dylan asked.

“I have no specific location in mind. All I ask is that it be safe so that something like this does not happen again.”

“Wouldn’t it be far better to wake you?” Rhade asked.

The Sleeper shook her head. “Only the Chosen can wake me,” she said sadly.

“There was a horned man in white robes on the surface of the planet who called me Chosen when I mentioned you’d contacted me. He crossed his arms in front of his face and knelt, saying ‘blessed be’.”

Sleeper looked at him, an odd look on her face. “A horned man? I know of no such being on the planet. Have I been slumbering that long?”

“I think they may have been pilgrims or members of a moon worshipping religion,” Trance told her. “I’ve encountered such things before. Since you’re obviously real, it would give them a solid basis for worship.”

“I have never asked to be worshipped,” Sleeper said, starting to sound a little panicked. “All I ever wanted was to be left in peace to continue my studies.”

“Sleeper, who are you, really?” Rhade asked, stepping towards the figure. “Trance says you’re an Avatar like her, but an Avatar of what? What’s your name? Why are you here?”

“You have many questions, Telemachus Rhade. I fear that they must wait until I have been moved from this place. I do not know how much longer this structure will remain standing.”

“Then let me try to wake you,” Rhade offered. “It has to be easier to move a person than a person lying inside a coffin.”

“Is that what you choose to cal my stasis chamber? Intriguing.”

“We call it that because that’s what it looks like,” Beka explained.

“Ah. Understandable. I must decline your offer, Telemachus Rhade. I do not wish to have your death on my hands. There is already so much blood on me, so many lives lost in this attempt. I feel that you are a good person and I would rather continue to sleep knowing that you are out living your life rather than dead in an attempt to wake me.”

Rhade turned to look at the coffin-shaped stasis chamber. The glass lid was held down by a pair of clamps that were surprisingly easy to unfasten. “I’m sorry, but I have to try.”

“Don’t! I beg of you. Don’t throw your life away like this!”

He eased the lid up. The hinges it sat on squeaked a little. “You’re not really standing there. You’re just a projection of some kind. If you were really there, you’d be trying to stop me.” Rhade knelt down beside the Sleeper’s body. There was a faded plaque attached to the side of the bedding she was lying on. Using his sleeve, he rubbed some of the tarnish off it. There was some kind of lettering there, but it was difficult to make out. He reached up to touch her hand, noting that her skin was warm to the touch and soft. “How do I do this?”

“You’re asking the wrong person. If I knew, I wouldn’t still be sleeping, now would I?”

“There’s no need to get snippy about this,” Beka chided her.

“It’s ok, Beka. I can understand her position on this,” said Rhade as he examined the figure before him, looking for some clue as to how he was supposed to wake her.

“If you understand, then back away,” Sleeper urged.

“I can’t do that.”

“Why not?” Dylan asked. “I really don’t want to loose a perfectly good officer, Rhade.”

“No, I mean I can’t move. I think I’m stuck.”

Trance looked at the Sleeper. “Has this happened before?”

“Not to my knowledge. The ones who try and wake me have never gotten this far, and they all just dropped dead once they made the attempt to open the chamber, slowly disintegrating into nothingness. I do not know what’s going on.” She shrugged helplessly. “I’m sorry, Telemachus Rhade.”

Even though none of the others could tell, Rhade was desperately trying to move. Despite his best efforts, his limbs refused to obey his commands. He could still move his head, though, and each time he struggled to move, the image of the Sleeper flickered. That’s odd, he thought, straining. I wonder… With all the strength he could muster, he tried to move. The Sleeper’s image flickered wildly, vanishing entirely.

“Ok, what just happened there?” Dylan asked as Rhade suddenly stood up.

“I think that this was some kind of test,” Trance replied.

“I’m inclined to agree with you there, Trance,” Rhade said, nodding. He looked down at the Sleeper. “Since it seems that I passed, what do I do next?”

“It sounds silly, but there’s an old Earth children’s story about a prince who woke a sleeping princess by kissing her,” Beka suggested, shrugging.

“It’s worth a shot,” Dylan said encouragingly. “Really, what have you got to loose by trying?”

“Whatever you do, you might want to do it quickly and soon,” Trance said. “We don’t know how long this place is going to stay up.”

Feeling extremely foolish, Rhade bent down, bringing his face within inches of the Sleeper’s. He looked off to the side where the others were and they’d turned away, giving him some privacy. Relieved, he looked back at the Sleeper. Taking a calming breath, he kissed her.

It was like putting his lips against an inferno that simultaneously burned and cooled him, like eating the sweetest fruit while getting drunk off very old and very potent wine. Every part of his body ached and relaxed. He pulled away and took a few steps away, trying to clear his head.

Hearing his retreating footsteps, Dylan turned and looked at him expectantly. “Well?”

Rhade shook his head, still feeling like he was walking through a dense bank of fog even though he could see perfectly well. “That was…indescribably strange.”

“Whatever you did, it seems to have worked,” Trance said, taking a couple steps towards the stasis chamber.

They watched as the Sleeper started to move, slowly at first. Her eyes fluttered open and she sat up, looking around. She looked like she was trying to say something, but since it had been a very long time since she’d used her voice; she wasn’t able to make any sound. She looked helplessly at Rhade as she swung her legs over the edge of the bedding she’d been lying on. Putting her feet on the ground, she took two steps towards him before she crumpled. Rhade managed to catch her before she hit the ground.

“Dylan, I strongly suggest that we get out of here,” Trance continued. “It might also be a good idea to take that stasis chamber with us, just in case. Without her body weighing it down, it should be easy enough for you, Beka, and me to move. The Sleeper is clearly in no condition to walk and Rhade seems to have his hands full with her.”

Dylan and Beka shot amused glances at Rhade as they closed the stasis chamber. For the three of them, it was surprisingly easy to move while Rhade carried the Sleeper back to the Maru.

To be continued….