by Charles Mento
They had all gone now. When TIMUS returned with Glip to the Trig, Andrew begged John and Liz to allow him to go. Hsui Tai sat on the couch of the New Lab and was lost in thought. John and Liz decided to accompany Andrew to the Trig, anxious to introduce him to their previous friends: Carol, Kenny, Stephen, Tyso, and Carol's husband and baby son. All three had begged her to go with them but Hsui Tai declined, remaining behind. She wasn't sure why she stayed but it was some mood she was unaccustomed to. Liz, one of the most sensitive Tomorrow People, had noticed her mood. Still, they had all gone. While they were gone, Hsui Tai set TIM onto a very important research project. Hsui Tai thought once she became a TP, she would see the beauty of the world and the Universe. Yet, she was stuck in the Lab most of the time as before in the Temple of Shansu, where she was always indoors, away from nature, away from people, and away from herself.
She didn't notice or hear as Mike jaunted in, back from Sistus Five where he visited with Chris Harding and Meshgin, a friend that Mike met during the Valkeryie-Odin encounter. Mike said, Hello, quickly, then caused his A-E suit to vanish. In its place, he telepathically put on bell bottom slacks, a loose fitting, short sleeved leather vest, and boots. Hi, I said, Hsui Tai. Hsui Tai? Mike was worried about Her. She hadn't been herself after the others left. She was generally a positive, cheerful girl. Mike felt a deep affection for her and she was the only person to make him totally forget his dear, lost Pavlov. Almost. It hurt Mike to see Hsui Tai hurting and depressed--and this state reminded him of Pavlov, how he felt after she died. Whatever the problem, Mike felt that he and Hsui Tai were somehow bound together and whatever their futures---it would be together, for they were linked ever since she broke out. Mike had to come up behind her and shake her shoulders, "Hsui Tai?"
She reacted as if she knew he were there all the time but couldn't respond. She wasn't shocked, "Oh, yes, Mike. Hello. How was Sistus Five?"
"Good. Chris and Skuld want to return to Earth soon, Mike smiled, They've been married. And you should see the peaceful town they've built. Hsui Tai, you haven't been listening to..."
"Oh, I am, Mike. Please believe me."
"So. How is the project?"
"So sorry. What project?"
"Oh come on, Hsui Tai, you can't hide things from me, especially not when TIM knows."
Hsui Tai stood up, angrily looking at TIM, "TIM, you told him!"
"TIM broke out of his search, Uh? Oh, yes. Hmm?"
"No," Mike defended TIM, "No, he didn't, Hsui Tai. I just read TIM's thoughts as he does ours. He didn't have a guard up against me---as you do now. So did he find them? TIM, did you?"
TIM's stall moved away, "Please ask Hsui Tai. She instructed me to tell no one. I must admit, I didn't feel you probing my information."
Hsui Tai turned her back on them both, upset at having Mike know her plans. Mike laughed at TIM, "That's because I'm so good at it, TIM. Hsui, did he find them yet?"
"I don't know what you mean!"
"Why are you trying to hide this? Has TIM found your parents yet or not?"
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