When we finally got to the sick bay (the elevator was definitely broken), the doctor was sitting in his chair with his feet on his desk, reading a book. He saw us and immediately fell over backwards. He jumped to his feet, pulling his uniform straight.
“Captain!” he said, saluting. “I’m sorry I, uh…”
“It’s all right, doctor,” I said, bowing my head. “I was just meeting all the key crew members, and–”
“Yes, a good thing to do,” he said hurriedly. “I’m Doctor Mike Bayou, but you already knew that, of course.”
“I did,” I said, getting irritated. “This is the first mate, Rimana, and our comm officer.”
“Twitchy,” she said, smiling slightly.
“Twitchy, nice name,” he said, smiling at her.
“Are you all alone here?” Rimana asked him.
“At the moment, yes. But soon there will be one more doctor and four nurses coming aboard.”
“Good, good,” I said, not sure what else to say.
“Yes,” he said soberly, “it is.”
“Is this the first ship you’ve worked on?” I asked.
Twitchy twitched slightly. This is the first ship he’s ever been on, she told me silently.
“Are you nervous at all?” I asked Bayou.
“Yes. But I will do my best, Captain,” he told me.
That’s not reassuring. “I’m sure you will. Might I ask how old you are?”
“And you went through four years at the academy?” Rimana asked.
“Well, three. I took a summer course, and they let me skip the second year,” he said.
“Did you go to high school?” Rimana asked.
“I home schooled.”
“What planet are you from?” I decided to ask before I seriously freaked out.
“Well, it was nice to meet you,” Twitchy said, holding out her hand. Bayou shook it formally.
“Good-bye,” Rimana said, grinning. He nodded at her, nodded at me, and stood there until the doors closed behind us.
“So our doctor is a teenager with three years of training, our engineer is an old guy with slightly over half a brain, the elevator doesn’t work, and there’s a space sheep in the crew,” I summarized. “Goody.”
“How’s that bad feeling?” Rimana asked, rubbing her scar again.
I cleared my throat. “It has permeated every ounce of my being,” I said carefully.
“Funny, me too,” she said happily, walking in front of me.
Yup, she’s crazy, Twitchy said silently.
“You know, in the academy I didn’t know any telepaths,” I told her. “I missed it.”
“Most people are afraid of us,” Twitchy said softly.
“Not me.” I hesitated. “My parents died when I was ten. The woman that pretty much saved my life was a telepath.”
“What was her name?”
“Menken,” Rimana shouted back.
“How do you know that?” I demanded.
“I told you,” she said, turning towards me. Her eyes glowed. “I have to know who my enemies are.”