Chapter no 112

Quantum Radio

In the space station’s med bay, Maria settled into the chair and waited as the two quantum historians worked at the console nearby. They never touched her, but she drifted off to sleep.

When she woke, it wasn’t how she felt that struck her. It was what she didn’t feel.

The cravings were gone.

Her mind was clear—clear in a way it hadn’t been in a long, long time.


Kato wandered the halls of the station. He visited the mechanical area, the bridge, a science lab, and ended up in the crew quarters.

The door to a stateroom opened as he approached, and he stepped inside. There were bunks on the left and right walls and desks against the far wall, with a small window above them.

Carpet covered the floor—likely to deaden the sound of any bunkmates coming and going.

Kato lowered himself to the floor, crossed his legs, and began to meditate. In the silence and the stillness, he observed his breath flowing over the edge of his nose. The meditation was like treading water, the darkness inside of him like a weight pulling him down toward the abyss.

He had been in these waters before. The meditation strengthened him, but as he focused on his breathing, he wondered how long he could keep his head above water.


In the observation lounge, Ty settled down on the couch next to Nora. Through the floor-to-ceiling window, Earth loomed below.

She smiled and shook her head. “This. Is. Crazy.”

Ty shrugged. “It’s the multiverse. Everything’s crazy.” “It’s also kind of wonderful.”

“Yes. It is.” Ty leaned back and put his arm around Nora. “Play movie.”

On the far wall, the opening credits of the sixty-year-old film began playing.

For the next two and a half hours, Ty and Nora lounged in the room, watching the movie, as if they didn’t have a care in the world—or worlds. For the first time in quite a while, Ty didn’t think about anything, and he didn’t worry about anything. He simply existed in the story, watching the characters travel across a war-torn land with only their instincts, skills, and friendships to see them through.

When the movie ended, Ty turned to Nora. “Well, what did you think?” “I… liked it.”


“It was good, but I think maybe you and Kato would have enjoyed it more.” She smiled. “I enjoyed the company though.”

“Me too.”

Nora’s smile faded slightly. “Ty, I want to say something.”

Her tone immediately gave Ty pause. This sounded like the beginning of bad news. “Okay,” he said cautiously, mentally bracing.

“If we were home right now, I would love to see where things go between us. Actually, I’d like nothing more in the world.”

Ty swallowed, now knowing precisely where this was going, not trusting his voice to speak.

“Back on the A21 world,” Nora said, “when you were fighting with Kato’s counterpart… for a minute there, I shut down. I was terrified. I thought I was going to lose you. And it just…”

“Wrecked you,” Ty said.

“Yes. It did. It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Except.” She inhaled, and once again Ty completed her sentence: “Except when you lost your father.”

“Yes, it was like that, all over again. Paralyzing. Terrifying. I think I have this lingering fear from that—of loving someone completely and losing them. I thought I was over it. I thought it had been enough time. That I was

ready to love with my whole heart again. What I didn’t know—until I thought I was about to see you die—was that…”

“Was that you’re not over it.”

Nora held her eyes closed. “Please don’t hate me.” Ty took her hands in his. “I don’t. I understand.”

“I just think us being together while we’re doing this—traveling through the multiverse—will make it more difficult for us. It might cloud our judgment. Or put the mission at risk—or Kato and Maria. We just…”

“I know,” Ty said. “You’re right, but I don’t like it.”

“I don’t either,” Nora said. “It’s not a no. It’s not never. It’s just not right now.”

“It gives me something to look forward to.” “Me too.”

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