Subject: FRONTIER: Holing up for the night

SD 71203

> "I think some of our answers must be in there," said Riker after 
> the warriors were out of earshot.

"Unfortunately we're not likely to get in today," commented m-Houston 
as the bridge was drawn back over the seething, frothing moat.

"I would recommend making camp here until such an opportunity arises,"
added Joanna.

"Good idea," grunted Riker, "although I'm not exactly short on sleep."

They retraced their steps a short while to find a position in the
forest that afforded them both shelter and warning of the drawbridge's
opening.  For a while the three of them sat in silence, there being 
nothing much to talk about.

"It's a shame that the rest of the shuttle is missing," Riker said 

"Why?" inquired m-Houston.

"Well for one thing, the computer might be able to tell us what 
happened to cause me to be stranded here; where we are; maybe it got a
sensor sweep of that castle.  And of course, I had two decks of cards 
stashed in a drawer. Nice decks, got them from a Ferengi named Quark 
just before I left DS9."

"Commodore, could I inquire any further about that hibernation 
chamber? It seems to be non-Federation technology," Joanna asked 

"Ah, well.  You're right there, and it's also stolen.  Though I doubt 
the Romulans are going to be interested in it now," smirked Riker, 
"it's about twenty-six years out of date."

The silence returned again, this time for a good few hours.  Darkness 
settled as the evening wore on, and stars started to appear in the 
dark blue sky.  After a few moments, Joanna started to look at the 
stars with a degree of enthusiasm.

"What is it?" the others asked, already kind-of guessing as they 
followed her gaze.

"I am attempting to perform a fix on our location by observing changes
in the positions of the stars. It may be only approximate, but I 
believe I can at least determine which sector we are currently in," 
she replied, not taking her eyes away from the skies for an instant.

"Well, good luck," said Riker. "I'll try and get some sleep."  And 
with that he curled up as best he could on the rough grass and shut 
his eyes.

After a few minutes, m-Houston got up and sat next to her mirror.  
"Anything I can do to help?" she asked.

"If we had an optical cable, we could link up and work together on it.
However, it would be most inconvenient in the event of an attack on 
our camp, the probability of which is high given our proximity to a 
large concentration of troops.  It will only require another few 
minutes at most anyway," replied Joanna at length.

m-Joanna sighed and pondered the differences and likenesses between 
them.  They were physically very similar, with the exception perhaps 
of hair colour, which was something that could be changed easily.  But
although their positronic networks were in essence equal in complexity
and power, there were numerous traits and mannerisms which they did 
not share.

Houston eventually said, "We are somewhere in the D'Naris sector, 
approximately three hundred light-years from our original position. 
The D'Naris sector is not far off the route that Commodore Riker's 
shuttle would have taken. It is within Federation borders, but 

m-Houston felt tension in the ensuing quiet, and she wasn't alone.  
Almost simultaneously the two androids turned to embrace, their 
shelved moment rekindled.  It was not a desire for pleasure which 
motivated them, for anything they felt would seem more simulated, 
artificial than anything.  It was more the physical quantity of 
belonging to each other, the aspect of doing something together, which
really counted in the long run.

Riker slept peacfully, blissfully unaware of what was developing just 
metres from where he lay.

                       Respectfully submitted:

                            Sam M. Edwards
               [LtCmdr] Joanna Houston, aXO/tCMO FRONTIER

                 The scream of a writer with a block

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