Harper's attitude was such a downer that Dylan backed off his determination to discipline him. Whatever Harper'd gone through had to have been enough. But, he wouldn't talk about it.

This went on for awhile until one day Rommie'd had enough. She locked him in his quarters until he talked to her. "I mean it. Tell me what's been bothering you or I don't let you out."

"You need me to keep you working."

"I'll risk it. Start talking", he hologram demanded.

"O.K. O.K." So he told her everything that had happened to him while he'd been away.

"Oh, Harper. I'm so sorry. It must have been so hard to leave."

"Yeah, well, I'm tough. I can take it."

"You don't have to pretend with me. Look, at least you know that she'll never experience the bad things you did. That must be some comfort."

Harper thought about Kris menaced by Nietzscheans or eaten or infested by Magog and shuddered. "Maybe you're right."

"I know it's hard but, you have all of us. And if you talk to Dylan, I'm sure he'll understand because of Sarah."

"NO. I don't want anyone to know. Promise me you won't say anything."

"I promise. I do think that you should tell them yourself." Harper looked horrified. "Only if and when you're ready Harper. Only then."

~

Kris finally went back to work. "He's gone', she told everybody. "You don't have to worry about me, anymore."

"I'm sorry", Kelly said. "I know you liked him."

"Hey, that's the way it goes. I'll be fine. Come on. We've got cases to solve."

~

Harper wondered if he'd ever tell anybody else about Kris. They probably wouldn't believe him. He scarcely could believe it himself. At any rate, it was over and done with. He'd never see her again, so, best to just forget her. That would be hard. Probably impossible but, he would try. He could do it. After all, he had a lot of experience at good-byes.

~

The End