The VTOL sat down. Dr Martins raised a hand against the whirlwind of leaves and debris kicked up. Beside her Ellce stared up at the descending craft. Worry plainly written on her face. Martins reached over and patted her on the shoulder. "No one's really injured badly…nothing my stunning medical talents can't handle anyway." She winked and started up the ramp to the platform.

Circe was the first to disembark, helping the still pale Blink. Cy and Rock came out side by side, mirror images of boredom and mild disdain. Photon helped Warp out, lending a shoulder for him to lean on even though her wound was really flaring now. Martins sighed, motioning for Ellce to bring up the autogurneys.

"Circe, Blink, Warp… lay down, lay still and don't argue." Her tone brooked no disagreement. As they lay down, the gurneys folded about them, wrapping them in a soft cocoon. Under Ellce's direction they were rolled back to the center and the medlab, Martins close behind. She shouted over her shoulder to the other," You guys are on R and R…"

Rock decided that he wanted to look around the island. In case anything happened while he was here, he wanted to know the general location. And he still wanted some answers to some of their questions, so they asked Photon to help set up a meeting with Dr. Morsham or whomever was available and able to access certain information on them.

Von Schmiessen walks over the Photon. "We need to discuss some things about the team in private, when you get the chance. I will be in my quarters reviewing the mission."

"Right after I get this tended to," Photon replied, wincing slightly. Her hand was pressed over the acid burn on her stomach.

Down in the Medlab, Martins leaned over Blink's bed and smiled. "So…a tummy ache, hmm? too much cotton candy perhaps?" Looking at the readouts over her head, she clucked her tongue softly. "You vitals are stable, temp getting back to normal. Has this ever happened after a teleport before?"

"Not that I can recall. It's really a first. I wonder if it's not some sort of reaction to those earlier wounds." Blink smiled. "So, wanna have… dinner when I get out of here?"

Martins chuckled and leaned over and kissed Blink softly on the lips. "We'll do more than that… but lets get 100% online for now."

Ellce tended to Photon and Warp quietly, continuously glancing at Warp as she bandaged Photon. "That must have hurt awful bad, Jennifer…if I can call you that…"

"Why you looking at me like that? I didn't shoot her." Warp said.

Ellce flinched as if stung and turned back to treating Photon.

Martins shook her head. "I think she was worried about you. Did the blow knock out what little courtesy you had, Blessed mother. Nice work Ellce, could you help me with these readings?" The replicant followed her into the lab.

"Sorry Ellce. I owe you an apology and yes this head wound keeps throbbing. Just wish I knew how it happened." Warp replied with closed eyes. "I guess I've just lived too long on the street with everyone being cold and distant. Long since I've had anyone really care for me regardless."

"I know how that feels. Circe and the others are my only friends." Ellce said quietly and stepped out of the room.

Martins frowned at the monitors as Ellce came over to assist her. It just didn't make sense. Nothing in Blink's medical history matched up to this and with her tailored gene set nothing should. And that material that had been on her skin. "Holly, put up the results from the last chem analysis."

"Its not much, no none matches among the biological standards of Pacfica and Europe." Martins nodded slightly not really surprised by that bit of information. The substance was mingled with the blood on Blink's skin. Most of it wasn't her blood at all, wasn't even human blood but something similar what a reptile might have running through its vessels. The cuts were more like welts. But this other substance or substances, she could only isolate due to its sheer alien nature. She called up another series of tests, setting Ellce to monitoring some of them.

"Holly, can you bring up and image of Blink as she appeared on the VTOL after the teleport?" Martins asked. A free floating image of Blink, still naked and covered with those marks appeared. She was standing nearly straight. Martins shuddered. Those markings was so…. blast it all they just gave her the crawling creeps and she was glad they'd mostly faded now. "Holly, adjusted image for full display, extrapolate the markings as accurately as possible." She was scientist first and this mystery was fascinating. And being the least famous on this little team, she couldn't afford to slack off any if she wanted to keep her place here.

There was a pause. "What markings, Dr. Martins?" Holly asked.

"What? the ones on Blink…" She glanced over at Ellce, who gave a slight shrug then looked at the image. She shuddered, eyes widening. A small strangled noise escaped her clenched teeth then she ran from the room. What the… Martins opened a comm channel," Lee, Morsham. I think you should get down here…"

After Ellce finished dressing the acid burn, Photon wandered around the compound for a while before ending up at the door to Von Schmiessen's quarters. She knocked.

Von Schmiessen looks up from his notes and diagrams from the mission. "Enter."

Photon stepped through the door, closing it behind her. "So… what shall we talk about?"

"It appears to me that we need to establish a clear chain of command when we are out on missions and to also clearly define everyone's role on the team. Hopefully we can avoid confusing situations like the one that happened out there on the yacht."

"Among other things, yes," she remarked. "I can also see a number of personality conflicts that seem to be developing… we should take steps now to reduce the fallout from them."

"However, given Cy and Rock's background it will be difficult to convince them to 'get with the program' as it were. As an organization we need some way to keep them from ignoring our orders and doing whatever they please. As it stands, Rock is very vocal in his contempt for me while I am sure the Cy, while not quite as vocal, shares his view. For me to be the mission leader, I need to be able to trust everyone in the group."

Photon nodded. "I trust I won't have to go into depth on the subject of two-way loyalty with a soldier, either. I wasn't speaking only about that situation, though… there are a few other potential conflicts that aren't quite so obvious."

"My brother and myself, for one. He's been given very little reason to trust others in the last twelve years, and then I show up and turn him in. He seems to be trying to deal with it, but there's always the possibility that it could flare up." Then she chuckled, "And, of course, there's my brother and Mary."

"Dealings with family members can be difficult. I have not spoken to my father in many years, mostly out of choice. But that is a separate issue. What is the issue is what is everyone's role on this team?"

"My own roles are already fairly well-defined–I'm the liaison with regular law enforcement, as well as the Knights. They just won't trust you or the others. No offense intended, of course."

Von Schmiessen nodded. "Of course."

She thought for a moment, then, "I think we'll want to keep Warp and Circe in the background. Circe doesn't seem to be the front-line fighter type, and Warp's ability to open those portals would make him ideal to use as an escape route. Plus, I think he can shoot through those portals, so he doesn't need to be toe-to-toe with the enemy. I don't think we'll want to separate Rock and Cy unless absolutely necessary… they'd probably react poorly to the suggestion, especially coming from you. I'm not quite sure what to make of Blink, yet."

"Rock and Cy are definitely front-liners, almost stormtrooper types. We send them in first and then backed up by you and myself. Blink would be good for surprise maneuvers and the like, 'blinking' in and doing some damage."

"Not to mention what she could do with automated defense systems, provided we can get her near an access point."

"Agreed. It is my opinion that next time we go out on the mission, you assign us to the required duties and I will make sure that the duties are carried out. Does that sound reasonable?"

"Yes… is there anything else we need to discuss?"

"That should be all for now. I look forward to bringing this up during the next mission briefing."

Photon nodded, standing and excusing herself. Her injury wasn't hurting anymore but it seemed like her second wind had given up the ghost. She needed to lay down for awhile, to rest.

Warp got up to take a walk around the island to see what places there were to be alone. He still was dealing with the headache from hell. The island, away from the buildings, was secluded, over grown with lush plant life. Steamy hot and fragrant it had an almost timeless, prehistoric feel. Out of sight of civilization it was easy to believe one had been transported back a million years.

Warp continued wandering around the island looking and marveling at all the greenery. Never seen so many plants in one place. He stayed on the paths or beaches thinking that it was a preserve and you weren't supposed to damage any of it.

Down near the beach, he stopped to rest a moment. As he stared out over the waters, he felt someone, something watching him.

Warp turned slowly to see who was with him on the quiet beach. Not saying anything to not disturb the peace at first. Knowing with the headache he had right now he would probably lose another friend. He saw nothing moving, no sign of observation but still the sensation of being watched lingered.

"Someone in there watching? You can come and join me if you want." Warp said then sat where he could watch the beach and the jungle. The bushes rustled slightly, against the wind.

"I hear you moving in there. Come on out." Warp said while watching the ocean. There was no answer.

Rock's explorations of the island yielded much the same results as Warps. Nothing like any of his previous experience had prepare for this The real jungle bore little resemblance to the concrete one. Then he felt eyes on him. Turning he saw, glowing the darkness, Ivy bizarre green orbs. "You seem out of place here. Alien. But that's to be expected I suppose."

"I suppose. But once you've seen one jungle… I was just exploring… admiring the beauty. I would enjoy a tour from the host, if you had some free time."

"I do not. But I have this for you." With that a swirling mist surrounded Rock. It smelled acrid, bitter almost medicinal with a slight floral undercurrent. "Inhale deeply. There are locks on your abilities. Coded into your very genetic structure. Placed by your creators purposefully in case you got out of hand. Limits on your healing factor for one. This has been corrected now." Then she was gone.

Rock only trusted one person completely, that of course being Cy, but he felt the truth somehow in what Ivy told him, so he took in a deep breath and held it for several seconds before expelling it.

Feeling somehow revived by this mist, he continued his exploration with the island… wishing to become as comfortable and aware of his surroundings as possible. Hearing the crashing waves of the ocean, he made his way to the beach.

Arriving on the beach, he saw Warp standing looking out over the ocean. "I hear you moving in there. Come on out." Warp said. Warp continued to sit on the beach enjoying the sound of the breeze in the trees and the crashing of the surf.

"Give me a minute, Warp. I wasn't going to just go crashing through the bushes." Rock looked around and out at the ocean as he walked towards him, taking in a deep breath. "What do you make of all of this?"

"Never seen the ocean, beach or so many plants in one area before," Warp answered.

Nodding, "I wonder how long we will be required to stay here. How long are you in for?"

"I'm in for several years. I just wonder how useful I am to the group. I'm in one mission and one of the enemies controls me like a puppet." Warp says sadly while glancing at the waves not making eye contact with Rock.

"At least you know how long you're here and when you will be released. I don't know if Cy and I will ever be freed. Not much has been explained to the two of us."

"Ask Holly next chance you get she has the details on everyone's sentence. I just wonder what use I'll be to the team. First mission and easily controlled and have a headache that makes a concussion seem welcome."

"I don't think Holly and I care to have any contact with each other. I wouldn't worry about what happened back there. It was just one mission… the first mission for us… we were untrained as a group, unprepared, and underequipped. It's not a fair assessment to base your conclusions on regarding your performance. Shake it off, man."

"OK Just can't believe how much bad karma is hitting me since I re-met my sister and Circe." Warp answered. "Don't know what it will be like working with people. You know what it's like relying only on yourself for the last 10 years. Only working once in a blue moon with others who are employers. And then be thrust into a group where someone else is making all of the plans but not doing all the preparation possible but doing it the marine way. Hi diddle diddle straight up the middle. If I had done that in my robberies I would have been caught long before I was."

Dr Martins and Morsham stepped into Blink's room. Martins smiled slightly but Morsham seemed distracted as she sat down. "Blink, I thought we should talk to you about what happened. Perhaps all of working together we can understand just what happened here." Martins said, running her fingers through Blink's hair.

"Blink, you teleportation effect is like nothing so far cataloged. You seem to actually… leave our Time/Space continuum unlike Warp who effectively folds space time or other who displace themselves with in it. The effects are myriad but yours is unique. if you could…can you tell us how your powers first manifested?"

"Well, that's kind of a long story. I was about 14, and my father had decided that I needed some 'proper instruction', and we were arguing about it. No one but me ever argues with my father, and I don't know why he lets me get away with it. Anyway, during the fight, I said something like, 'I wish I wasn't even here with you!', and suddenly I wasn't. I remember being cold, and suddenly, I was back in my room. Within minutes, my father was in there, asking me what had happened, and then doctors were everywhere. There was no more talk of special schools, but instead of training and such. I spent the next couple of years learning infiltration skills, and then started 'testing them out'. I own't go into that. One time, I went to 'blink' to another location, and found myself attacked by…something. I fought, and fired a weapon, but I reappeared in my room, I don't know how, bleeding all over the place and minus my arm and my eye. Daddy took care of that, too. He si the leader in this kind of thing, after all. Just ask Mr. Hart." She smiled up at Dr. Martins. With my new 'enhancements', I was even better at the work, but I wanted to be independent, so I was. Guess daddy was watching me all the time. I shouldn't be surprised. To answer your question, I 'blink' somewhere, move, and blink back out wherever it was I visualized. I don't know much more about it than that, except that whatever was in 'there' that attacked me, is still there. Maybe waiting." She shivered for a moment. "Does that help?"

As Blink had told her tale Martins slipped closer, putting a supportive arm around her shoulder. Dr Morsham was quiet for sometime then, "Yes, it does confirm a few things. When you…blink… more time seems to pass for you than for others correct? According to Holly, you typical delay is about 1.23 seconds."

"Rounded" Holly put in.

"Yes, this last the dely was a full 3 seconds. It may not sound like much but we have no way of knowing just how much relative time passed for you. Blink, I know this may be difficult but what do you see, perceive when you teleport?"

"Usually a grey mist, cold and penetrating. Sometimes it's as if my senses have gone crazy, like tasting colors and seeing sounds. Sometimes I think I can see buildings or something, and there almost always seems to be something I can feel watching me… waiting. This time, I don't know. I was just terrified, and wanted to get the hell out of there."Blink looked up at Dr. Martins. "So, when can I get out of here?" She looked for her sunglasses and lenses.

They were laying beside the bed. "Well, I'd like to keep you here for further observation." Martins replied, brushing a lock of hair out of her face. She smiled at Blink. "But medically you're stable and almost up to par."

"Great." Blink stood up slowly, and put in the lenses and the glasses on. She felt a little shaky still but nothing she couldn't handle. Martins looked at her worriedly for a moment then turned her gaze back to Morsham. Blink felt a rush of cool air hit her backside. In 300 years of organized medicine they still hadn't fixed these damn hospital gowns.

Morsham was intrigued. "Buildings and technology…an entirely alternate world… amazing." She sat back, crossing her arms. "Call me paranoid but this is just… hell this is just giving something we used to call the creeps… back in ancient times", she added with one of her slight and rare smiles. "Martins, what have you found out about the material Blink brought back with her?"

"Tell me about it." Blink replied wryly. "I get the 'creeps' right before I teleport, every time." A small shiver ran through her, one that had nothing to do with her southern exposure.

"Hm, starting with the most obvious…its not local, only barely comparable to any catalogued biological substances. It or they, as there seems to be more than one material are organic in nature as far as my test can reveal. The basis for the primary substance is similar to reptilian blood, vaguely similar. The lesser material is far more alien and more interesting. Its bizarre, a sort of organic energy conduit, it absorbs most any form radiation I throw at it, processes it in some manner I don't fully under…shit, that I have no idea about." Martins blew air through her teeth in a frustrated sigh. "I know its not what you want to hear."

"Don't kick yourself, Martins, we're all on uncharted ground." Morsham said. "Lee still has no idea what caused those adverse reaction in Ellce and Holly from those markings."

"Yeah, doc. No need to kick yourself. Of course, you don't need to keep me here to observe me." She smiled. "Holly can watch my signs from anywhere, and right now, all I want is Some hot soup, and silk sheets, not necessarily in that order." She leaned forward and whispered. "Of course, if you'd like to feed me dinner in bed…" She turned again. "Dr. Morsham, I'll help you any way I can with this situation, but I'd like to know what you find out… after all, it's my life we're talking about."

"Well the soup we can manage, the sheets…well we'll have to see." Martins chuckled slightly. "Unless you smuggled something in." She stood as well and stepped behind Blink fastening her gown a bit more securely, taking the opportunity to covertly caress Blink's rear. "She seems fine to me."

"I'll bet." Blink mumbled. It was hard to keep the smile from her face. It had been too long since someone wanted to be with her just because… "Does this mean I can leave? There's got to be something in my quarters more comfortable than this damned gown…." She smiled. "Unless there's something else you need, Dr. Morsham?"

"No, not for right now. You go and get some rest." Morsham stood and headed for the door, paused to look over her shoulder, lip quirked up slightly on one side then stepped out. Martins giggled softly behind Blink turned her around and kissed her firmly on the lips.

Blink returned the kiss with passion, holding Dr. Martins very tightly, using enough strength to leave no doubt as to her intentions. When it was over, she smiled. "Gee, you'd think Dr. Morsham was suspicious or something… or maybe she just knows you pretty well." She picked up the pretty redhead in her arms. "Won't we look silly if I carry you all the way back to my room?" Feeling a draft in the back, she said, "By the way, can I get a new pair of leggings or something? This gown's gotta go." Putting Dr. Martins back down, she took off the gown, standing there naked.

Giving Blink a playful leer, Martins nodded. "Silly indeed." Her lab coat slid to the floor. "You walking around completely naked…" She pulled her top off and tossed it on the bed revealing small pert breasts, nipples standing stiff and dark. "all alone." Undoing her pants she stepped out of them, fully naked. Her sex was smooth, totally hairless. "There now…we're a matched set." Stepping close she kissed Blink again this time with matching passion her hands roaming over cheeks, shoulders down to her breasts.

Blink felt the moisture between her legs. Caressing the doctor, she thanked whatever scientist had come up with the advanced touch receptors. The beautiful redhead's skin felt like it was charged with electricity. Blink picked her up and put her on the bed. "Stay." She growled playfully. She took out the lenses again and set them in their solution. Climbing back on the bed, she kissed Dr. Martins again, then ran her lips down the side of her neck down to her breasts. After taking a nipple in her mouth and teasing it gently, she raised her head and looked the doctor in the eye. "You know we have an audience….does that bother you?" She waited for an answer, softly tickling each nipple with her tongue.

Martins shivered in delight looking down at Blink with half lidded eyes, playing her fingers through her hair. "You mean Hol? no…she's set to monitor things in the background, actively only if called on." She sighed back arching when Blink's tongue brushed her stiff nipple. Her hands glided down Blink's back, whisper soft touches almost teasing. Draping a leg over Blink she cuddled closer, basking in the other's woman's attentions.

"I don't know." Blink replied, continuing her light assault on the doctor's breasts. "She seemed awfully curious. It's not really that important… this is." Blink ran her tongue down the doctor's body, paying attention to sensitive spots, until she reached her crotch. Softly running her (metal) finger over the labia, she teased, "Tell me what you want, doc."

It was an odd sensation the touch of metal on her most sensitive flesh but not all together unpleasant. Shifting slightly spreading her legs a touch wider she purred," you…." She caressed Blink's hair looking down at her with slight grin. "You're making me feel lazy.".

"Lazy, huh?" Blink replaced her finger with her tongue, moving in slow lazy circles. She brought her head up suddenly. "Let's see how lazy you are now!" Climbing up quickly, she began to mercilessly tickle the doctor's ribs and tummy, sometimes sliding a hand teasingly into the moisture below, trying to keep the laughter and the arousal about equal. "Just tell me when you give up, Doc." she whispered throatily.

Giggling Martins sat up," Ahh but I'm not ticklish. Know your target." With that she reached down and pulled the cyborg up, kissing her again tongue brushing over Blink's lips. Cupping one of Blink's breasts she fondled it firmly skillfully feeling her nipple harden under her palm. "Now," Martins whispered. "I don't feel lazy." Taking Blink's cyber hand in hers, Martin brought it to her lips, kissed it, licked her fingers, staring into Blink's eyes.

"Oh, take all the fun out of it. I don't feel lazy either." Blink took Martins' other hand, turned it over, and kissed the palm, then the wrist, moving slowly upward. She then used her normal hand to fondle a breast. Every touch was like fire, every kiss sending icy shivers down Blink's spine. She placed her lips on Martins', kissing lightly at first, then long and deep. She moved a hand down to the waiting lips below, inserting a finger and beginning to move it in slow circles.

The doctor's hips moved against Blink's finger, trembling ever so slightly. Her hand trailed up Blink's arm, over her shoulder and down cupping her rear to pull her closer. Their bodies molded together, skin sliding, hard nipples brushing together. Martins ran her fingers along Blink's rear, stroking down the crease to find her sex from behind. She stroked the lips lightly, smiling as Blink gasped and sighed.

Blink knew she wouldn't last long. It had been too long since anyone cared enough to… She increased the motions of her hand, teasing a nipple with her other hand, and bringing her lips to Martins' in a deep kiss. Her moans of pleasure merged with the doctor's until there seemed to be no other sounds to hear. "Please…." she whispered, not knowing exactly what she was asking for.

"Yes…" Martins whispered, cradling Blink in her arms and legs. Her body trembled slowly growing faster more needy. Tracing a line of kisses over Blink's cheek she buried her face in the crock of her neck, kissing and gently nipping at her there. Martins fingers teases and coaxed pleasure for Blink's body, playing like a fine instrument building to a crescendo of pleasure that left her gasping on her back eyes squeezed shut.

Blink caught her breath. "You're incredible, Doc! Not to mention beautiful, and sexy as hell. She kissed Martins' thigh, moving upward until her lips and tongue replaced where her fingers had been. She moved to her center, licking the soft bud and making the doctor cry out. She used her tongue and fingers to create the same magic the doctor had done for her, not stopping until the shudders subsided. She then crawled up to snuggle side by side, laying her head on the doctor's shoulder.

"Before I confess my undying love for you doc," she said softly, "shouldn't you tell me your first name?"

"Well…I guess I know you well enough." Martins laughed softly. "It's April." Kissing Blink softly on top on the head she continued,"I… I've never done anything like this, I mean so quickly… but you're not like anyone I've met before." She chuckled again," and to think I owe it to Hol."

"April… I like that. Funny, neither have I. I've had sex with women and men as part of my…job, but I never made love before. That is, until now. I think I like it. I like you, too." Blink nuzzled her shoulder. "Now, why do you owe it to Holly?"

"She mentioned my preferences to you." April replied, sighing and lazily running a hand down Blink's back.

"That she did. Although I wasn't quite sure how that came up in our conversation." Blink smiled and enjoyed the caresses. "So, how long can we stay here like this? I'd be perfectly happy to stay here all night."

Martins sighed. "I wish we could as well…but…eventually I'm going to have to get back to work and you need to rest." she looked at Blink with mock sternness.

"I thought I was resting." Blink said, tracing a breast lightly with her finger. "But I guess the doctor knows best. I'm going to have that soup, then get some sleep, I guess." She stood up, looking at the hospital gown disdainfully. "I need some clothes." She turned back to April. "April? You're welcome in my room anytime. Unless it conflicts with your duties, of course. I mean, consorting with a criminal and all that…." She smiled.

Smiling, April stretched and lay back. "I've never been one for following the rules…" she winked.

"I'm glad to hear it. Of course, neither am I, or I guess I wouldn't be here. So, is there something I can wear, or should I walk back naked? Wouldn't Photon be surprised?"

"I think surprised would be putting lightly." Martins sat up. "There's a jumpsuit in the dresser…as much as it pains me to make you cover up." She winked.

"And as much as it pains me to cover up…" Blink walked to the dresser and put on the jumpsuit. She walked back and embraced the pretty redhead. "I don't know what it is, April. With you I feel….secure? That's not exactly the word, but it's as close as I can get right now. Thank you." She kissed April, and began to head out. "So, any recommendations for dinner? Who's doing the cooking, anyway?"

"Ellce's in charge of domestic operations. I think she really enjoys having a title." Martins said getting up herself to dress. "She's good at her job, pretty much anything you want she can make."

Blink stood at the door, admiring the view. With a final smile and a blown kiss, she walked back toward her quarters. As she was thinking, she came up with an idea. "Holly?" she asked. "How do I get my hands on a 'deck?"

"There are some portable cyberdecks open for use in supply. Blink, are you mad at me?" Holly asked. "In regards to what I said on the mission?"

"Mad at you? For being subject to your programming? I don't think so. I still think it would be an asset, but I suppose I could compromise you. Not that I would want to, of course. I like you the way you are." In the back of Blink's mind, she was wondering if she could 'bust' an AI. "Hol, will you relay a request to Ellce for me? I'd like some chicken soup and a club sandwich sent to my room. Is that possible?"

"Sure thing," Holly replied. "Ellce's with Circe right now but she'll have it up in a moment." Blink stepped into her room a suddenly feeling of fatigue washing over her. Falling into bed, she sighed heavily and rolled over to stare at the ceiling and ponder just what happened. "Blink. why are you a lesbian? The tendency is genetic, so there is a high probability that it was encoded into your structure from the start. According to the records I have none of you source material possessed the genetic tendency."

"Holly, I'm not a lesbian. I find more comfort in the presence of a woman than a man, but I have sex with both. Although usually the men were for information. Of course, some of the women were too. It's…better with a woman. I don't know how to explain it. I did what I had to for whatever job I was on. That's what made me one of the best. That might just change now, though." After April, I don't know that I want to be with anyone else. How odd.

"But that's the definition for lesbian. You prefer sex with females. According to the Kinsey scale, circa 1998, everyone falls somewhere on a range of sexual preference due to genetic disposition more so than upbringing and personal choice."

"Ok, holly. If it will make you feel better, I'm a lesbian. Men tend to be… less compatible as partners for me than women. They want me, but I have little or no interest in them, except in what they can do for me or I can get out of them. I was less harsh in my usage of women."

Holly wondered why human had to be so stubborn all the time but chose to keep the though to herself. Hmm, prudence, a new conversational tactic. "So, you're going to have a relationship with Dr Martins?"

"If she wants me……You bet your…diodes I am."

"Are you in love?"

"I don't know, Holly. I haven't felt this way about anyone since….well, it's been a very long time. Why do you want to know?"

"Curious, I've observed several Internet relationships and read a great deal of data tapes on love and relater emotional phenomena, both fact and fiction. I think Dr Lee and Dr Morsham are in love. They have sex a lot but that's not the only factor, just an observation."

"Could be, Holly. There are a lot more factors to love than sex, I should think."

"So, Holly. Do you have the proper software for the use of the decks? Offense, defense, etc? I suppose I could have Daddy send me mine, but that might not be allowed." Blink chuckled. "Say, who told you that you couldn't net with me, anyway?"

"There's no illegal software available in the base library. Perhaps a requisition can be made for operating programs for you. and It's a protocol established by Dr Lee."

"Is that just with me, or in general? Is the doctor afraid I'm going to corrupt his smart girl?" Blink said jokingly. "I think I'll ask him after dinner…about the software, that is."

"Any of the project members in actuality. It's a safety precaution." There was a knock at the door.

Blink sat back on the bed, beginning to take off the jumpsuit. "Holly, will you open the door?"

The door opened and Ellce poked her head through,"Hi Blink, you look a lot better…do you feel ok?" the replicant asked quietly as she pushed in a wheeled tray. The smell of food hit Blink hard, making her mouth water. "I thought chicken soup would be nice…its traditional." Ellce smiled slightly, looking around Blink's room.

"Thanks, Ellce. That's what I had in mind. You have the sandwich too? And pickles? I'm in the mood for all of that stuff." She smiled. "Sorry about the decor. I haven't had much chance to personalize. So, is Ellce short for something, or is that your whole name?"

"I think it looks nice." she said laying out the tray. there was bowl of soup and a club sandwich, thick and delicious looking. "yes, with pickles." Ellce smiled. "My designation is LCM-1539re…but everyone calls me L C or Ellce."

"How did you get to be a part of this project, Ellce? Now that you're here, what are you going to do with yourself?"

"I worked in the cafeteria at the detention center and they transferred me here." She paused at the second question for a long time. "I… I don't know… Ms. Ivy said I could be free here and not just a replicant…but…" she trailed off.

"Well, hell, Ellce. You can do anything you want, here. As a free person, you have more 'status' than any of us recruits. Enjoy it. Paint…or be painted. Find something you enjoy, and start doing it. That's what I'd do, if I were you. No one working for my father would ever have such a chance…let me tell you." Including me, it seems…

"Hm, I like doing my job…but I don't know…Circe tells me so many nice things…and there so much I don't know…Maybe."

Blink finished her soup and sandwich. "Thanks, Ellce. That was great. Just the thing to have before a nap. Are you staying or going?" The food was wonderful, flawlessly prepared and it actually tasted fresh not simulated.

"What do you want me do to?" Ellce asked?

"Where I come from, Ellce, that would be considered a loaded question. I was just curious as to whether or not you were staying to sleep, talk, or whether you had other duties to return to. I don't want you to do anything in particular, but I am going to sleep. The rest is up to you. If you want to talk, we can do that for a little while. I was going to ask you why you ran from the med lab earlier anyway."

Inwardly, Ellce wondered, Loaded with what? but would ask Circe later. "It was… hard to look." she said slowly, looking unsure of what she was trying to say.

Seeing Ellce's confusion, she smiled. "Never mind. What did you see? All I know was that they made strange patterns, and hurt like hell in the cold." Blink finished undressing, and crawled into the bed under the covers. She patted the side and said, "Sit down if you want. I don't bite, at least not very often. My father owns a lot of Dolls, Ellce. I mean a lot. You're different. You have…personality. What makes you different?"

Ellce shrugged. "Nothing… just…well sometimes people just don't pay attention to Dolls is all." She sighed. "I better let you get some rest…but…I wanted to ask, will you be my friend?"

"You keep cooking for me like this, and I'll be your friend for life! Seriously, though. I'd be happy to be your friend, Ellce. You're a good person, and it's rare to find them these days. You ever want to talk or anything, just come on by. As long as I'm available, my time is yours."

"Thanks!" Ellce smiled widely," and I'll cook for you anytime you like!" Impulsively she came up and gave Blink a little hug before heading out, "Good night…" she waved as the door closed. Blink shook her head, yawned hugely and curled up. It had certainly been an interesting day…