Later that night, when Jill and Ethan settled into the Captain’s Cabin and Ethan turned down the lights to let the image of stars and the moon glow softly above their heads, both had some thoughts. Ethan asked and Jill answered, but Jill seemed very distracted the whole time.
“So, where do we go from here?” Ethan began.
“There are a lot of worlds,” Jill answered. “I am very behind schedule, and Lela did not finish, either.”
“Lots of choices, I guess.”
“Mmm. We will have to take Doctor Grimly with us so he can go through some experiential teaching. There are some lessons that can’t be taught in a classroom.”
“I wouldn’t say that too loud to an academic.” Ethan teased and Jill let out a little laugh, but it was a small one. “No, I was thinking Grimly set us up.” Ethan shared the thought that had crossed his mind more than once. “Did you talk to him about us, I mean, about your feelings?”
Jill shifted a little to a more comfortable spot. “He couldn’t have,” she said. “I mean, he is brilliant, but the technology was just too far beyond him.”
“Guardians don’t have chits that explain transitional technology.” Ethan understood, and he remembered wiring the dimensional watch all of those worlds ago. He hardly had to think about it. He knew what he was doing like it was second nature.
“Guardians only have the chits necessary to do the job.”
“And a few dormant ones just in case, like the psychic ones,” Ethan said.
“Mmm.” Jill fell silent, but she was not too sleepy. Her mind got preoccupied with something.
Ethan spoke again after a moment. “I am not sure what kind of a teacher I’ll make. I am new at this, you know.”
“You can help,” Jill whispered.
“I am not sticking a knife in your arm,” Ethan said sternly. “You’ll have to get Manomar to do that.”
“Mmm.” Jill did not really respond that time, so Ethan finally asked.
“I think your mom liked me,” she said, seriously. Ethan kissed the top of her head.
Three hours later, in the wee hours of the morning, Jill got up carefully and went into the control room. They had planned to visit the Company offices the next day, to see if Ethan still had a job and to get Grimly to take a leave of absence so he could travel with them to the next several places, but first Jill had one more thing in mind. She made the dimensional shift and sat for a long time just looking out the view screen. She easily pierced the darkness of the night with her screen-enhanced vision. Even so, there was nothing to see, but she imagined someone would notice her eventually. An hour would tell. When nothing happened after watching for so long, she felt it was safe to finish her night’s sleep. She went back, curled up again in bed, and told herself that they would see what came in the morning, but she did not sleep again right away. She felt anxious about the morning.