Julia hovered next to the pair as Alonzo showed Devon the images he insisted on sharing. The doctor monitored both of her patients closely, noting the steady ebb and flow she had come to expect with any benign venture into the dreamplane. A short while after they began, Alonzo's hand limply slipped from Devon's brow as the pilot's endurance proved unequal to the continued contact. Julia rose to scan him more thoroughly, keeping one eye on Devon as she continued to sit with her eyes closed.

With a deep sigh, Devon blinked several times, her eyes slowly clearing as she returned to reality. She looked around blankly for a moment, pausing to stare at the dia-glove as it hummed over the pilot's still form before shifting her sight to Alonzo. "Is he all right?"

"He's fine. Just asleep. How are you? Did you get your answers?"

Devon nodded thoughtfully without looking up. "Yes. I think so."

Danziger poked his head into the tent. "Julia, we're all set outside. All we have left to do is break down the med-tent and pack up the mess kit. Looks like the rain has stopped so I thought we should get going. You ready?"

Julia rose from Devon's side and crossed over to the door. "As ready as I'm ever going to be, I suppose. Are you ready for Alonzo? I want to give him a pain-block immediately prior to our moving him."

"Yeah, I'm just waiting for Walman to finish clearing the storm debris off the TransRover. He'll be here in a minute." Danziger curiously cocked his head in Devon's direction, grimacing when Julia shrugged uncertainly.

Once Walman arrived, he helped the mechanic and doctor with Alonzo, the two men carefully carrying him to the prepared DuneRail and ferrying the various monitors and equipment out of the med-tent while Julia stayed with the injured pilot.

Gently drawing Devon back to her own cot, Yale quietly sat and watched the entire procedure with her as the tent was efficiently emptied of its contents. After the men were done for the time being, the tutor took Devon's hand and paternally brushed her stray bangs out of the way. "Are you ready, Devon? They must be waiting for us by now."

"I'm not sure I can face them, Yale."

"Of course, you can face them. They all care very much about you. I believe they proved that when they all agreed to assist in the rescue. Give them some credit as well." Patting her hand as he released it, the cyborg nodded encouragingly while he slowly rose and turned to extend a hand in invitation.

Devon looked at him uncertainly, steeled herself then nodded determinedly. Gripping Yale's arm tightly, she tentatively exited the med-tent. She allowed her mentor to guide her past the packed vehicles and through the sun dappled glade to where the remainder of the group clustered around a simple gravesite.

Devon nervously glanced over to Alonzo where he was propped up in his special hammock in the DuneRail, the pilot warmly meeting her gaze from where he reclined with Julia lightly resting her hands on his shoulders. She looked around at the downcast eyes of her friends as they congregated together in their grief, remembering how separate they had been at the last funeral on this new world.

At Broderick O'Neill's funeral everyone had been individual within themselves, she realized, now they were a family just as Yale had explained. Standing together. Sharing. Devon shyly glanced around again, feeling a proud recognition she had never noticed before as she successively met each of their gazes only to be pleasantly surprised to find her sentiments returned.

Devon's eyes wandered to the gravemarker Mazatl had spent the night fashioning from a piece of the fallen tree. Deeply engraved with a single flower, it simply read, 'Eben Synge'. No date lest the Council find it. She leaned close to Yale to whisper into his ear, "Is that the way it's spelled? I thought 'Synge' had an 'H' in it."

"No. That is the correct spelling." the tutor replied in a low voice. "The pronunciation would lead you to believe there was, however."

Devon nodded contritely, again allowing the guilty feelings for knowing so little about the woman wash over her. John Danziger brushed over, both children in tow. He gently took Devon's arm, relieving the tutor so that he could perform the simple ceremony. She looked up at the mechanic, a question forming in the back of her mind, then looked down as a small hand insinuated itself into her's to see her son smiling up at her contentedly. She felt the bond's warm glow once again as she looked into his bright eyes so full of life and love and turned to survey her friends with a different perspective as Yale's musical voice filled the grove with the eulogy and they joined together to put a friend to rest...


"Yale says the mind is a powerful tool. That it is the true strength of humans and Terrians alike. I'm not really sure what he means by that. Sometimes I think it's just to get me to study more. But he said that's what kept my mom alive and helped heal Alonzo so I guess he's right."

"Two days after we started traveling, Julia let my mom start sleeping in our tent again. True said it was so she and Alonzo could have the med-tent to themselves but I don't believe her. Mom still gets sad sometimes when Eben's name is mentioned, but Julia said that it will just take time for my mom to adjust. Mom still cries sometimes at night. She thinks I don't know, but I do. I just wish I knew how to help. I hope Julia is right and time will help my mom."

"We found a better place to camp for a little while until Alonzo was strong enough to travel for sure but even then Alonzo took a long time to get well. It was late Spring by the time he went on his next solo scout. Even when he was starting to feel better, Julia and Mr. Danziger yelled at him all the time so he would sneak around and help me and True with our chores. I felt a little guilty about that but True told me he might as well help carry wood back as long as we picked it up. Besides, when True confessed to Julia about it, she told her she already knew and we were just supposed to play along and make him feel like he was helping. I liked doing that since, when I was sick before the Terrians healed me, people used to do that to me all the time."

"Alonzo never really talked about that time with the Terrians, I know they helped him again, but I'm not sure how. He did talk about the bond alot though. I'm not sure what it all meant but he seemed to think it was important so I listened. Maybe when I'm older I'll understand..."

-The End-