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Zane’s Log: 9/17/2039

So the twins will be three soon. In a moment of insanity Katarina and I decided adding another kid to this mix would be a great idea. She grew up as an only child as did I. Sure we technically had siblings, but we never knew them. I suppose that’s why we both like the idea of a larger family.

Well, kidlet three is cooking.

I wanted this. I was ecstatic and as excited as she….until the nightmares and panic attacks began. When Katarina was pregnant with the twins, that whole time was filled with fear and uncertainty, and that was before my little field trip to Karglock’s fun house.

After the first checkup where we heard the heartbeat, I woke in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. For a moment I was locked in a cold, dark cell, awaiting pain. Katarina stirred in her sleep and that brought me back to reality. She sleeps deeply and with practice we’ve learned not to wander into each others dreams without invitation. I spent a night on the couch the one time she wandered in on me dreaming about that one time in Carboli with the blonde and brunette…

Uhm, back to the point…. I dismissed it as a bad dream. They happen. Then the same thing happened every damn night for the next two weeks. Last night was the worst. I was back in that room, chained up and Katarina was just out of reach. The guard raised that electric whip and I woke up screaming, with Katarina shaking me and all but yelling in my head as well as audibly.

I was able to face that actual event with fierce determination. Reliving it in a dream? As soon as I was awake and looked at Katarina I broke down. I’m not talking a few little tears. No, it was like every tear, every ounce of pain I had shoved down came spilling out, shaking my whole body, and all I could do was let it and let Katarina hold me.

PTSD. I know what it is. Oh different species have various psychobabble names for it, but everyone is aware of it. Of course, up until now I stupidly thought I was tough, somehow immune. With Katarina silently holding me, not saying anything, just letting me blubber, I realized she expected it, perhaps had sensed it.

It sucks. I should be happy. I am, and yet because I am, the worst moments of my life insist on replaying over and over.

Only after I managed to pull myself together did we talk. The last thing I expected her to do was refer me to her dad. I figured she’d suggest a therapist.

He shared some really dark shit. I told him about the dreams, my fears. He told me some of his. As we sat on the back porch drinking whiskey and listening to cicadas, she’d known I’d never trust some human whose idea of danger probably meant driving a car in rush hour traffic. Finn and I both have some big ass skeletons in our closet. Finn’s regularly pull him down into depths of depression I can’t even fathom. I’ve made peace with the skeletons. It’s the fears that want to drag me under. That’s where he was the most helpful.

“Fear means you aren’t an idiot. You know how important Kat is to you, how important the kids are, and you don’t want to screw it up. The crap that happened before? You blame yourself.” He held up a hand. “Don’t deny it. It’s all over your face. Those goons got the jump on you in public. Had they not, none of what happened after would have transpired, but think about how those events bound you and Kat closer. She traveled across a galaxy to find you. We can’t rewrite the past, son. Yes, you went through horrific stuff, but you came out of it with a wife and family who loves you. You survived.”

I held up my glass of whiskey. “To family and surviving.”

He clinked his glass against mine. “I’ll drink to that.”

I don’t expect to not have nightmares, to never have a moment of panic when I have to leave my family to go do something, but knowing Finn understands, knowing Kat doesn’t think less of me, it puts it into perspective.

I survived.

I am loved.

 

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Zane’s Log 7/27/2039

So, it turns out that if you’re an alien living on a foreign planet, the governments of said planet get a bit tetchy if you ask to use their communications relay to call a friend.

Who’d have guessed, right?

It isn’t like they were overly concerned with bandwidth usage or something. There aren’t exactly a lot of people that know about the communications relay system, let alone folks who know how to access it–for now. They offered to forward a message, provided it was scanned for secure information first.

Sometimes I think these quizarks forget I was military. I understand security. Hell, I have security clearance here, but I’ll be damned if I let them read or watch personal messages. Granted, it isn’t as if I am sending a sext to Katarina, but still, I don’t like the idea of a government grunt getting a glimpse into my private life.

It’s been awhile since I last heard from Coran. I wanted to see how he was doing. We did a whole lot of missions together and I miss him. Unlike Katarina, I can’t just think a message across the universe and neither can he. So what’s an earth-bound alien to do? No, peanut butter candy was not involved, but a certain computer engineer was. Robert came over with a bottle of whiskey after he heard I was pissed. Halfway through the bottle he started spouting technobabble and a week later he comes over with some device, hooks it to a computer and I can now send encrypted, stealth emails to Coran whenever I like. He said, getting the relay to accept the worm to do the same encryption on Coran’s incoming file was the challenge.

I have no idea what a worm is or how it works, but that man is a genius. I heard back from Coran today. He seemed excited to hear from me and asked a million questions about Katarina, the kids, and Earth. He mentioned a few things that suggest there are galactic humans wielding magic now. Katarina and I are worried, as humans are a minority out there and the last thing they need is something else to label them as outsiders. We have too much to handle here though to really worry about what’s going on out there. We’re banking on lack of knowledge keeping things low-key out there. Magic was always a thing IGC inhabitants associated with primitive, superstitious worlds. Earth had just enough wild magic remaining that spells and whatnot are all over the internet and any half-wit with a bit of talent can screw things up royally with that stuff.

Speaking of which, I just got pinged that some quizark tried to hold up a bank with a  magic tornado, which he lost control of and now he and half the bank staff are stuck in the bank vault, which is the only part of the bank still standing. I swear….

Kieran can go play weatherman. I don’t have to show up unless the idiot kills someone.

 

Zane’s Log 6/13/2039

All my life I have heard that parenting is the most challenging task anyone can ever take on. I thought it was exaggeration. How could raising a kid compare to life and death missions?

Turns out, I was wrong.

I’ve had more fear induced, near heart attacks in the past two years than I ever had as a special ops agent. You don’t know fear until you are shopping in a huge store, turn around for a second and then when you turn back you child is gone. We went shopping last week. Katarina was at a meeting for the non-profit research institute she founded. I wanted to make dinner. She went shopping with the twins all the time. I assumed it was easy.

I really need to quit assuming things.

Adrian passed out in the grocery cart, but Colleen insisted on walking. Everything was fine until I let go of her hand to pull a can off of a shelf, skim the ingredients and then add it to the basket. I reached down to take her hand again, only the little terror had disappeared.

I called her name.

No answer.

Every minute without a response spiked my fear higher.

I went down every isle half a dozen times it seemed and enlisted a store employee to help. Just as we were about to issue a store-wide alert, the little minx waddled around the corner with an armful of stuff. She went shopping, by herself. She had a ball, a package of colorful hair bows, and a package of suckers. I wasn’t sure if I was impressed, furious, or some odd combination of both.

I scolded her for walking off and refused to get any of the things she wanted, because little girls who wandered off didn’t get rewarded for it.

We were in the check out line when Adrian woke up and suddenly had to pee…..RIGHT NOW.

Of course.

I left the checkout, parked the basket outside of the restroom and carted both of them to the bathroom. A two and a half year old’s hold time isn’t very good. I’ve cleaned up enough puddles to know. Adrian decided he had to poop. He gave us a blow-by-blow account of his progress. I tried to tell him we didn’t need the updates, but he’s very serious about his potty-training successes. By the time both finished their business–because of course by the time Adrian finished, Colleen had to go– and hands were washed and dried I felt like we’d been in there for an hour.

We left the restroom and my stomach dropped. Our basket was gone. The idea of going back and getting all the groceries all over again was enough to make me, a grown man, cry. Nope. Not doing it.

This was why take out was invented. Take out and alcohol.

 

 

 

Zane’s Log 3/11/2039

Just when I think I know what to expect from my wife’s family, they surprise me. Fridays have become our extended family dinner nights. Katarina went and brought Coran last year as a surprise for my birthday. He and I started chattering away in Truscan like to little old ladies and it wasn’t until Katarina laughed at a joke and no one else did that I remembered the whole language barrier thing. Maybe I should have felt bad about that, but aside from that one time the table is always full of her family–well mine now as well, but the first year and half I got silent death stares half the time until Katarina got onto her dad and uncle. I like her family a lot…when they aren’t contemplating my murder.

Anyway, the other day I stepped outside onto the back porch with my morning coffee, one of those rare mornings the twins weren’t up at the first inkling of daylight, and found Torin in the backyard.

“Torin, not to seem rude, but why are you in our back yard?” I gestured with my coffee mug. “And what in quasars is that?”

Torin grinned and patted a strange bright blue animal on the rump. “It’s a plow and an ox.”

“What are they for?”

“Katarina  wants a vegetable garden. I’m going to make her one.”

“Don’t they have machines to do that? I think she pointed one out the last time we were at one of those tool store places.”

Torin sneered. “Machines? I refuse to use something so banal and appalling as a machine. The earth should be turned with sweat and muscle.”

I took a sip of coffee–more to hide my smirk than a need for caffeine. “Sweat? You or the strange colored beast? Is it supposed to be blue? Maybe it’s sick.”

Torin looked downright insulted. “This is Babe.”

“Okay.”

“Babe the blue ox.”

“No idea what you’re talking about.”

Torin shook his head and patted Babe on her blue head. “It’s okay girl. He’s just an alien after all.” He got behind the plow and since our yard isn’t really that big it took no more than twenty minutes before our weeds and dirt had been tilled into nice little furrows of loose soil. He grinned at me as the oxen and plow poofed into thin air.

“I still don’t see sweat. Done or is there more to this process?”

Torin all but scowled at me. “You didn’t think I’d make a grand canyon in your yard did you?”

I frowned, having the vague feeling I was missing something.

“Next comes planting, and the sweat is metaphorical.”

I stood up from my seat on the porch because I heard the high pitched giggles of toddlers coming from the house. “Okay then. Well, I’ll leave you to your metaphorical sweat. I’m sure Katarina will love the garden.” I paused in the doorway. “Maybe your poor ox is blue from all that shifting space. Oxen might not take to it well.”

The man had the gall to laugh loud enough to wake the neighborhood. I still have no idea what the joke was.

Zane’s Log 9/29/2038

My wife has a thing for antiques. I’m fine with this, but before we got married she never got around to fixing any of them up. Her living room looked like a flea market. Had you asked me two years ago what a flea market was I would have had a strange mental image of bugs selling stuff. Since then I have been towed to more than I care to count. I don’t mind. It’s intriguing seeing all kinds of gadgets and kick-nacks that at one time were popular.

In an effort to make our house a bit more visually appealing, I have taken on the tasks of learning how to refinish furniture, reupholster, and other bits of what Katarina calls handy-man jobs. My wife didn’t know the first thing about any of that. Robert, however, told me of the marvelous invention: Youtube.

There are videos for just about every possible thing you can imagine, and well, plenty for stuff I didn’t really want to imagine.

My first project maybe ended with a puddle of paint and tiny footprints tracked all over the house. I have switched to working on the back porch. This should keep little hands and feet out of stuff….at least until they learn to open doors.

Zane’s Log 9/25/2038

I must admit, learning my father-in-law was Danua, or Tuatha de’ Danann as they are called on Earth, was a bit disconcerting. He turned out to be someone I trust completely, but it didn’t start that way. Right from the start I could see how much he loved Katarina. That won him a lot of favor, but didn’t mean he was trustworthy by default, especially not when it came to our kids. He didn’t raise Katarina and looking at Kieran didn’t really inspire confidence in regards to his influence on our kids.

Katarina had no worries at all the first time Finn offered to babysit. I, on the other hand, almost decided to never leave the house until they were adults. Instead, I settled on rigging the entire house with cameras– have to thank Robert for that sanity saver. Our first date night together after the kids and all the craziness involved me checking my minicomp every five minutes to make sure Finn hadn’t conjured a baby-eating Minotaur or something.

I almost felt like I owed the man an apology after spying on him all night. He conjured tiny holographic type images that acted out his stories and mesmerized the kids. He sang to them, rocked them, and even changed diapers without resorting to magic. In essence he was far more of a pro than I was. I was still getting the hang of changing Adrian without having to change his entire outfit or having to dodge pee. The kid had excellent aim. As for Colleen, I think she grew extra hands while being changed. By the time we were done, she’d manage to knock every damn thing onto the floor.

Now I’m an old hand, but back then Finn could run circles around me. You’d never guess that looking at him. He’s arrogant and often impatient. Those two qualities don’t seem to lend themselves toward being good with children, but it’s like all of that melts away the moment a kid is around. I’ve seen him at the park and he’s that way with other kids too. Kieran avoids the park like it’s a black hole and other kids as if they are tiny zombies. Needless to say, I trust the kids with Kieran as far as I can dropkick him.

Back to Finn, though…As much as he adores the kids, he doesn’t stop in often. It took me awhile to figure it out. At first I thought he didn’t like me, but then that didn’t make sense. He invites me out on a regular basis. One time we went to an airshow and he told me how he gave Da Vinci his ideas for flying machines. Neither of us are fanatics over Earth sports, but we’ve attended games of various sorts for the experience. He explains the rules and we each back a team. The loser buys the winner a beer. I blame my losing streak on the fact that he’s been following these sports since they were invented.

He spent plenty of time with Katarina as well, but he always seemed to find excuses to avoid spending time with all of us together unless Katarina insisted. I finally realized after out first family holiday that he’s jealous, but not in a mean and spiteful way. He’s in that ‘I am so alone that it hurts to see others happy’ place. If Katarina and I act even slightly annoyed with each other, I think it gives him a panic attack. He wants us to be happy, but he doesn’t think he can be. I wish there was something I could do, but as Katarina says, he has to give himself permission to be happy.

I suppose I’ll happily buy him beers until he realizes that.

Zane’s Log 9/22/2038

Today I figured I’d tell you how the first day went with Kieran as my sidekick. Sidekick, now there’s a term that doesn’t sound at all like what it describes. After learning as many languages as I have, though, one sort of learns to just roll with it, as Katarina might say, but I digress.

Day 1 with Mr. Whine-a-lot

My comm sounds an alert at 7 a.m. Katarina stumbles off to the shower as I get the twins out of bed. The aroma of fresh coffee drifts from the kitchen as the coffee maker starts. As I expect, the twins are already awake and practicing toddler gymnastics in their cribs. They are technically old enough for toddler beds, but we’re both afraid of what might happen if we give them that kind of freedom. As it is, Adrian’s leg is slung over the railing when I walk in the room and I figure it’s a matter of time before he manages an escape one day faster than I can report for morning toddler duty.

Freshly diapered and clothed I set out cereal, add milk, and let them eat, which of course involves wearing as much as they consume. While they’re occupied, I pour a mug of coffee, black, and check the alert. I sigh. I only go in when there’s reason to. No point in hanging around the Judgement Council Headquarters if they’ve no need of me. Unfortunately, they seem to need me every damn day.

Case # 4597: Reported CBM, Victim, male, 42, assaulted, turned into cactus, wallet stolen.

Well, you definitely didn’t see that every day. When Katarina enters the kitchen in a bathroom I set the comm down, kiss her until she wraps her arms around me and leans in. Then I break the kiss, handing her a mug of coffee. “Duty calls.”

She sighs. “It’s too early for duty.”

“Tell that to the guy who got turned into a cactus.”

“A cactus? That’s a first.” She sips her coffee and goes to the fridge to pull out eggs just as Colleen decides she’s done and throws her bowl on the floor.

“We do not throw our bowls on the floor, young miss,” I scold. I bend down to retrieve it and a thunk from the other side lets me know that Adrian has joined his sister’s cereal bowl rebellion. I stand up and glare at them. “No throwing bowls. Just for that, you have to take them to Mommy.”

I lift each out of their highchair. Colleen dutifully picks hers up and patters across the kitchen with it. Adrian makes a break for the living room, but I snag him by his waist. “Oh, now you’ve done it. Now you must be my dish helper.”

He giggles as I haul both him and the bowl up and carry them to the sink. I splash almost as much water on him as I do the bowl, as they were equally sticky. Colleen waves her arms at me. “Up, Dada, up!”

I sit her on the counter as well and clean her up and let them each dry their bowl before setting them back down on the floor, where they each attach themselves to one of Katarina’s legs. She hands me a plate of eggs and toast as she greets the mischief makers. I give her a quick kiss on the cheek. “I’m headed out.”

“Don’t forget Kieran.”

I think maybe my smile turns into a grimace because hers starts to fade. “I’m sure it’ll be fine.” I rush out before I let my apprehension worry her. It’s a quick trip down the hall to pound on Kieran’s door, but he answers before I can even knock.

I frown. “You’re up early.”

He shrugs. “Couldn’t sleep.”

As he doesn’t offer anything else I just nod and lead the way outside where we shift space to the council headquarters to pick up my car. I’m not skilled at shifting space to places I haven’t been and it’s far less exhausting to just drive. Katarina can pop in and out all day long and not feel tired. Doing it a couple times a day is close to my limit before I require a few hours of sleep to recharge. As far as I’ve seen, while Kieran has Katarina’s endurance, like me he isn’t all that skilled at shifting to places he hasn’t been. Actually, from what Kat’s told me, not many Fae are.

My car is a sleek, silver air-capable model. Most people use the AI for flying, but I’ve never even activated it. It’s the only chance I get to keep my skills sharp. It takes us twenty minutes to navigate traffic to the precinct that sent in the CBM report. Kieran complains about the temperature of the car, the lights of the holo ads, the number of people– everything. He’s in his usual sour mood, and I’m dreading having to drag him around all day.

When we reach the precinct, Officer Davis takes me to an interview room. A middle-aged gentlemen with a spiy crew cut sits huddled in a blanket. “Is that the victim?”

“Yep. We called in a Mage to fix him.”

I nod, glad I didn’t have to tackle that, but slightly disappointed I didn’t get to see him as a cactus. Was he like are real cactus or a person that looked like a cactus? Not that it really matters.

Anyway, I’m getting better and better at utilizing magic, but unraveling other people’s work takes a degree of finesse I haven’t quite mastered.

I take out my comm to record the interview as Kieran walks right past me and straight for the victim. The man flinches when Kieran sets a hand on his shoulder. Kieran closes his eyes and no more than two seconds later openes them.

“Got them.”

“Them?”

“Yes!” The man in the blanket says. “I forgot about the second guy that was there. The one that zapped me stuck in my head.”

Kieran heads out the door. “I need to interview him.”

He glances over his shoulder. “Why? His recall is poor and adrenaline is still pumping through him, making that recall even worse. You can take energy readings with your scanner if you want, but it’ll be redundant. I assure you, I have their signatures and I already sense them not far from here.” He turns without waiting for a response and strides down the hall.

“Uhm, Officer Davis, can you?” I point to the victim. I trust the officer to get his statement.

“Sure.” He nods toward the direction Kieran disappeared. “Your new partner’s kinda weird.”

“Tell me about it.” I wave and hurry to catch up with Kieran.

Fifteen minutes later the magik responsible and his non-magik buddy are detained. An hour later I have them booked and carted to appropriate detention facilities. The rest of the day, as cases popped up, Kieran tracks down perpetrators with such speed and skill I wonder why I’m even here.

By the time we head home, my day has been more productive than most weeks and I have a new respect for my brother-in-law. “You’re a damn good tracker.”

Kieran just shrugs, staring out the window at the passing scenery.

I’m used to his sulky moods, so I drive home happy. Once I trust him enough to take cases by himself, Katarina and I might even manage a vacation. My volunteering to work with Kieran now seems like the best idea I’ve had in a really long time.

 

Zane’s Log 9/17/2038

I mentioned telepathy the other day and spoke about the down sides. To be fair, I shouldn’t leave out the fact that if not for telepathy, I would never have met Katarina. I hear there’s a book telling out story, mostly from Kat’s POV. If you want all the gory details, I suppose you’ll have to go read it.

Anyway, Katarina and I are bonded telepathically. It isn’t a conscious conversation like we might have with a random person, but a link that intimately unites us. It’s hard to explain to non-telepaths. When I mention it, most people think it’s weird and we’re always talking to each other. Okay, maybe we do talk a lot, but no more than an any other couple. People also seem to think it means we never fight.

Uhm. No.

We just don’t throw chairs and scream. There’s a difference.

Let me share an example…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Are you kraghakti serious?” Zane asked.

Katarina winced, which sent a tiny sliver of guilt through Zane, but it was his home too.

“You said he was visiting, that this whole staying-out-of-Fairy thing was just temporary.”

She pulled a kitchen chair out and sat down. “I thought it was.”

The scrape metal on tile reminded Zane he meant to stop at the store for casters so the chairs wouldn’t scratch the tile. The new house still had a million little things to be done to make it feel like home, which brought his mind back to the subject at hand–Kieran. “Why can’t he get his own damn place?”

She rubbed at her right temple and a shadow of an ache tightened his own muscles. He stepped behind her, and rubbed at her temples even as he fumed at the idea of Kieran living with them indefinitely.

“He doesn’t get the human world, Zane.”

“You mean he doesn’t want to understand.”

“I–”

“No–” he cut her off, “You can’t keep making excuses for him. I know he’s your brother, but it’s time you admit that he is an asshole.” She tensed beneath his hands and he circled around, pulled out a chair and sat down across from her. He reached across the table to take her hand, but she withdrew it.

“What do you expect? He’s surrounded by people like Grian. He needs time for that example to be minimized and for him to find his humanity.”

Zane leaned back in the chair, sighing. “What he is or isn’t is not your fault.” He spotted the glisten of unshed tears. He wanted to hold her as much as he wanted to beat her over the head for being so blind to her brother’s anti-human bigotry.

“No, but I have the chance to fix it. Da wouldn’t have asked me to let him stay here if he believed I couldn’t get through to Kieran.”

He clenched his hand into a fist, imagining punching the faerie in his goddamn face. Zane knew Finn worshiped the ground Katarina walked on, but he put responsibilities in her lap without truly comprehending what he asked. It wasn’t her job to fix any of their shit. If she’d let him, he’d fly their family to a border world where none of their stupid Fae-Human politics could touch them. “Kieran is your brother, not your son, and he’s a grown man.”

“I know that!” she snapped, and then sighed. “I don’t trust him by himself and I have too much to worry about without having to worry about him too.”

Her honesty cut his anger like nothing else could. It melted away, leaving nothing but the desire to hold her and make everything that bothered her go away. He held out his arm, “Come here, rahmali o mi.

She hesitated, but not for long. She, too, was more angry at the situation than at him. She sat in his lap, leaning her head against his shoulder. “I’m sorry, Zane. I wish I didn’t have to ask you to deal with any of this. I know you have a valid point. Hell, you’re probably right, but I just can’t give up on him. He’s my brother.”

He kissed the top of her head and held her close. “I know, rahmali o mi.” He sighed. “He can sleep in the smallest room and gets a job. Enough freeloading.”

Katarina laughed against his chest. “We don’t need the money.”

“Maybe not, but I’ll be damned if I contribute to his laziness.”

She buried her face against his chest. “I’m having visions of him turning his boss into a toad.”

Zane laughed and shook his head, knowing he was going to regret this. “Not if I turn him into one first. Of course, I’ll have to have Finn give me more lessons in that kind of thing, but I can always punch Kieran first so he doesn’t see it coming.”

Instead of laughed, Katarina looked up at him, incredulous. “You’d work with him? Why?”

He kissed her nose. “Because I love you and I’m not mean enough to sic him on an unsuspecting human.”

“I owe you,” she said with a huge grin.

He returned her grin. “I take payment in sex.”

She laughed, snuggled close and whispered in his ear. “I think that can be arranged.”

Zane’s Log- 9/15/2038

I don’t get Halloween.

To clarify, I intellectually understand it, but beyond that, not so much.

The current permutation involving gluttonous amounts of sugar, and cheap costumes is quite frankly, bizarre. Plenty of worlds have harvest festivals, even Yopmar, despite the fact it hasn’t had an actual fall or harvest for that matter, in hundreds of years. Its weather is generated by complex, computerized systems which long ago supplanted the failing planetary ecosystem.

The belief systems throughout the galaxy are as diverse as the beings within it and their celebrations equally so. In fact, I comprehend the ancient roots of Halloween better than the modern version. Somewhere along the line I think candy companies and the polyester industry subverted it to their purpose.

The other day Katarina mentioned that she wanted to take the kids “Trick-or-Treating” this year and said they’d look adorable and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. I believe my reply was, “Huh?”

I know, my eloquence is legendary.

Anyway, after her long, very involved description of the holiday and the explanation of costumes, she suggested we go to some stores to see if they had suitable costumes. I really, really should have just gone with that, but what did I do? I opened my big, fat, mouth.

“Costumes? I’m great at costumes!”

I was an undercover operative for close to two decades. I could transform my appearance so completely my wife wouldn’t know me. Of course, turns out she didn’t want me using prosthesis, temporary genomic manipulations, or any of my hand-dandy go-to skills.

Still, I said I’d take care of it and the pathetic costumes I saw at the store were an insult to the art of disguise. So what am I doing? Fighting with a goddamn sewing machine.

Part of me wants to ask Finn or Kieran to conjure the costumes, but for kraghak sake, I saved the goddamn planet, I can certainly learn to operate a sewing machine.

My children will be the most badass Tweedle whoevers Halloween has ever seen.

Zane’s Log- 9/12/2038

I’ve lost count how many times someone said, “I wish I was telepathic.” No, you really don’t. Since I’ve always been telepathic, it is a vital part of who I am. I can’t say that I would give it up. It’d be like blinding myself or cutting off a limb. I’d feel maimed. Still, if I had had the choice, I would have never wanted it and I know my wife feels much the same.

Everyone has dark thoughts, private thoughts that are never meant to be shared. Having a thought is very different than acting on it. It took me a very long time to come to terms with that distinction. I grew up hearing the darkest parts of society. It tainted my perception of people, kept me forever a degree apart. Nothing put an ordinary person off faster than learning I was a telepath.

Growing up, the only people I couldn’t “hear” were others like me. Telepathy is not a particularly common skill, especially among humanoid races. The disharmony it can cause outweighs the survival benefits, so it’s an ability that tends to not survive the evolutionary process except in the rarest conditions. My Trrrk ancestor, the least “human” of my genetic predecessors, is the source of mine.

The Trrrks evolved on a brutal planet, which forced them to work together or perish. Telepathy aids the women in acting as effective hunting and defensive units. It enables the men to see to the needs of the women they are bound to. It works for them, from what I hear, but I’ve never spoken to a Trrrk male. The society is matriarchal, the men prized studs– and yes I mean that in the way you think I mean it. Their only roles are to father as many children as possible and to keep all the women of a house content by whatever means are required.

In looks they are antithesis to my brutish Braag ancestors. The Braags were humans once, but bred with some other long forgotten race to the point that while genetically they remain similar, by looks they are more akin to artistic renditions of the legendary Big Foot than a human man. Trrks are painfully beautiful, so much so that they fetch a high price on the black market.

Slavery may be illegal throughout the galaxy, but there are always those that prey on others and individuals willing to betray their fellow being for wealth. Trrk society, telepathic or not, was no different in that regard.

Consisting of less than ten percent of the Trrrk population, the males are treated more like property than people. Their unique abilities lend them to be sold as sex slaves, fetching far higher prices than Trrrk females. Females who caused discord or who were unlucky enough to be born to a house too poor to feed them were frequently sold.

My grandmother was sold to the Braag. She bore my father, who favored his father more than her. I was told that when my father turned sixteen he orchestrated a mutiny which resulted in both my grandparents being shoved out of an airlock. He became the new ship patriarch. I have no idea where he found my human mother. She seemed to love him. I never understood that– still don’t. Once she knew I wasn’t to be sold, my mother acted different toward me. She showed me affection, and as a child I needed that, but knowing that she had been equally ready and willing to sell me was something I never forgot.

In any case, the Trrrk genes in both myself and my half brother made us prime black market products. As much as I hated him, for whatever reason, he kept us both. My brother told me things that made me think that perhaps he loved us in his strange way. As he’s dead, I’ll never know.

What I do know, is that while empaths of various natures are a cred a crew (I believe the human saying is a dime a dozen), the galaxy isn’t ready for wide-spread telepathy. I’m not sure it ever will be.

The hardest thing for me is knowing that one day my children, who’ve inherited this curse, will have to come to terms with being able to see into the darkest corners of the galaxy’s collective psyche and hope that the love my wife and I have surrounded them with will keep them from hating who and what they are.