"Blackfire & Gunsmoke Introduction"
By Susan-chan

      Hello Everyone! (Trigun fans, Otaku or even if you got lost and found this place while looking for something else...)
Peace and Greetings to you!

     This story is probably a little bit different than what you are used to in fan fiction. It does not leap in feet first into the Trigun world. If this disappoints some of you then I suggest you skip the Intro Chapter and leap into Chapter 1. Of course, the Intro Chap explains EVERYTHING that happens at the beginning of Chapter 1. *Rolling eyes upward while whistling and twiddling thumbs*
     If you are here reading this, you must be curious about the Introduction Chapter, or you read Chapter 1 and came back to find out what the story behind the story was.
     This story was inspired by a story at: Sugoiweb.com in the Trigun section written by deleria called "Double Helix." Go read it and then come back here. It is not an easy story but it is very good. I am not a serious writer, I can't help it, I have quite a few fun moments in my stories and I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing them.
     Vash, ah now. If you are used to the anime Vash or the manga Vash then you may be disappointed. I have the Black or Sinister Vash in this story and it is my own invention as to how he gets this way. I am told that Black/Sinister Vash first appeared as a toy - but then quickly his "attitude" showed up on web sites in Japan and became a character all his own. That's all I know. If you have any questions, email Ricki, just click on the "email me" that she has all over her site. So Black/Sinister Vash is not my invention. Also, all things pertaining to Trigun are not my invention nor do I own them.... wish I did though.
     I would like to thank: Yasuhiro Nightow for coming up with Trigun. Ricki (I have said this before, she is my Jedi Master in all things Trigun) for encouraging me in writing and actually liking what I have written. My thanks from the bottom of my Vash-loving heart.
And to the Holy Hybrid
Love & Peace,

Note from Ricki: I really wanted to share this story with everyone since the moment Susan-chan started working on it! It's been a real pleasure so far so you'd all better keep on reading or I'll borrow Nick's Cross Punisher and chase you down!! *Cackles evilly* Besides, Rinnah is just too cool to ignore, and you do want to know where she comes from right?? Right?? *Oooh Bokushi-san!!!*

The following introduction is rated PG-13 (for language). Rinnah and crew are a creation of Susan so please do not use her without permission!

If It's Not One Thing, It's Another
         Captain Rinnah Blackfire sat down in her chair, yes, her chair, the one that she got back again after having Admiral Wallace on board the Black Heart for a week of unendurable torment and torture, not just for her, but for her crew as well. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief following on the heels of a snappy farewell salute as the Admiral climbed aboard his transport flyer.
          She brought her black brows together in a twisted frown that only made her tension headache worse. Reaching up she gently rubbed her forehead with long, thin fingers. Did they think she was a star dead moron? She knew why he had been dispatched to the Black Heart. The scatter chatter between the ships of the line was that Admiral Wallace had been sent out to inspect her command and give constructive criticisms on what needed improvement. Rinnah knew better.
          She squirmed in her command chair, knowing it was clean, she had Jackson clean it with disinfectant as soon as the hatch had swooshed close on the admiral's sour, suspicious, droopy-mustached face. Yet, she couldn't get it out of her head that there was a residue left oozing through her uniform to slime against her skin. Unable to endure her overactive imagination one moment longer, she popped to her feet, startling everyone at their stations but quickly turning their heads back to their boards with concealed smiles. She frowned at them and crossed her arms, daring them all to say one thing, just one thing; her look boded ill for anyone to actually voice their thoughts or comments.
          Someone coughed politely behind her. She knew who it was without turning to look, "Yes, Jammer?" She could practically hear him rocking back and forth on his toes and heels as he did when he was trying to appear casual. "Would de C'ptin keer for sum freshly ground and brewed coffee en a tooch uv German chocolate?" Understanding him as if she had been born speaking the brogue herself, she hesitated for only a moment. She hadn't eaten any while the Admiral had been on board; she didn't want to have to share with the old goat. She was sure that was part of her problem. She constantly told others that she had a delicate metabolism that needed the infusion of coffee, the ambrosia of all existence, to sustain her through the difficulties of life, such as the plague of visiting admiralty.
          She had missed her heavenly elixir; the thing the Lord God had decreed as that which separated mankind from the beasts. Well, in her theology anyway, she doubted that pope would agree with her on that one. Good thing I don't work for the Vatican, she mused. "Yes, Jammer, I will take a spot of coffee and chocolate. I do believe I have earned it, don't you?" The sound of his shoes creaking as he continued to rock, "Yes'mum, ye sairtainly 'ave. I'll 'ave it brought right away ma'am!"
          She heard him walk over to the com and call the kitchen. Ah, of course, that's where he had gotten the so-called "German" chocolate, another code name for the chocolate made on the planet GanPrimus. Master Cook Talbot had a hand in every back pocket in the galaxy when it came to foodstuffs. She didn't fuss about ethics when it came to her stomach and the crew's stomach. Food was good. Good food was better.
          She forgot and started to sit down again, caught herself and straightened. She said over her shoulder, "Jammer, get Jackson back up here with that industrial strength cleaner, no better yet, just get him to come up here and rip these cushions off and replace them with new ones. I still smell that man's cheap cologne... and it's probably all over my beautiful ship too! Check into how expensive it will be to fumigate the place and see if Master Cook can get us a discount somewhere. It might be worth it." She felt Jammer nod. "Yes C'ptin. I'll check it for ye."
          Rinnah Blackfire. Tall and slim for a human female... which she wasn't, well, only half really. The other half was Antresslan, a plantiod race, from her mother's side of the family. Why she had been cursed to inherit the nose of bloodhound from her mother's side must have been God's little joke. I guess even the Divine needs a laugh now and then. She could track any one of her crew if she had a mind to. What was worse was she could smell the human pheromones and those of her mother's species as well when it was mating time. Her plantoid relatives smelled much worse, at least to her nose. Most of the time it was just damned inconvenient. Did she really need to know when her female crewmembers were going through their cycles... ahg! She squeezed her eyes shut. This was definitely the down side and which is why she still could smell the odor of that officious little weasel of an admiral. Had he gone around and sprayed her ship like a cat?! Of course, it didn't matter to the star dead pencil nibblers at Command. If she could have figured out a way to send the smell in a communique through the deep reaches of space, she would have.
          The admiral had come to talk with her about her attitude towards the Antressla. It was no secret to command, that was for sure, but now circumstances were different and it was this attitude that was concerning the Admiralty of United New Earth and Old Earth Free Colonies at Central Command. Especially now that a peace treaty was signed and promised cooperation, exchange of email addresses, handshakes and smoochies all around nigh on to three months ago. They were still a little worried about her continuing hostility towards her mother's people. They should worry. She flat out told him that her feelings hadn't miraculously shifted since the peace treaty and she had no intention of kissing and making up.
          Oh yes, they wanted and needed her during the war, even promoting her to Battle Captain. Had she won every skirmish they had been in? Of course, and the grateful medals and commendations had poured forth from Central Command like a river without end. Well, that river had dried up pretty quick upon the signing of the New Earth & Free Colonies-Antressla Peace Treaty of Standby. Hhmph! Didn't mean squat. She didn't trust her mother's people. She knew them too well. Humans, just too hopeful and damn trusting, that was the problem.
          The Antresslans were a snobbish species. But the humans were like friendly puppies escaping from the yard. They went galloping up to each and every species they could find and then proceeded to try and make friends with one and all, even the ones who made it plain that they didn't want to be friends.
          So she wouldn't keep trying to sit down in her seat every time she forgot, she went to stand by Kjalski's station. Rinnah leaned her weight on the back of his chair and stared at the various blinking instruments and at the star screen not really seeing them as she thought over the last conversation she had with the Admiral. He had encouraged her to cooperate with the Antresslan science team and let them conduct experiments and tests. Her frozen silence had only incited him to talk faster. Rinnah glared at him but had kept her temper and just had hissed out one emphatic "No!" Even the thickheaded Admiral realized that he was trying to get light out of a black hole. Still, he felt duty bound to say that the Antresslans would be contacting her and it would be in her best interests to cooperate. She had crossed her arms and kept up the glare that could have melted the outer layer of a starship's hull.
          Rinnah became aware that Kjalski was fidgeting in his chair. About to ask him about it, she heard the sound of a message coming in and Hankton attend to it. She only paid it half a mind as Kjalski finally looked up at her and asked nervously, "Captain?" Ah, had she ever been that young? She nodded for him to continue.
          "Er, I don't mean to be discourteous but would the Captain mind not vultching over my shoulder?" Rinnah smiled at him and moved back. She wouldn't like someone hovering over her shoulder either. Just then she caught a glimpse of Hank Grayson's face and strode up to his station.
          "What is it ensign?"
          "Captain, it's the Antressla; they want to have an exchange of words with you. Should I pipe it down to your quarters?"
          Rinnah's lips thinned out in a grimace and she could feel the blood rising up her cheeks. She commanded herself to be calm and unclenched her hands forcing them to relax. "No Hank, I'll take it here. Nothing they have to say to me is important enough that I care to have it confidential. Let 'er rip." Grayson flipped a couple of switches and automatically looked over to the side com screen.
          An Antressla was smiling at her. The last thing she trusted was a smiling plant. She kept her features to a mere frown of displeasure.
          "What do you want pasty-face?" Diplomacy had never been her strong suit. The plantoid being digested that as if unsure of her meaning although she, herself, felt unbridled hostility a rather easy concept to recognize even across the void of space. She tried to ease her frown but she wasn't going to smile, dammit! It was just too hard to pretend to be nice.
          "We desire you..." Started the being before being interrupted.
          "Listen plant pup why don't you try the Yellow Pages or the Pleasure Palace on GanPrimus." She saw the confusion in his face as he tried to process the message in her words. She smiled for real this time. Oh yes, she was definitely channeling her inner bitch and it felt oh so good.
          "K'ptin..." said Jammer softly trying to rein in where he knew the tirade was heading. She gave him an irritated glance and toned down what she was going to say to a simple, "No."
          The Antresslan frowned and decided that he had made an error in his communication style. "We were informed that you would cooperate with our panel of science lords in some harmless and non-invasive research."
          Rinnah hid the frozen panic that his words elicited and snorted. Harmless! My freaking half-breed ass! It was all she could do to not hyperventilate. If he had been standing in front of her, she would have picked him up and tossed him all around the room and there wouldn't have been a plant part of him left that wouldn't have been bruised. She didn't have the mental abilities of her Antressla relatives but she did have the speed, strength and the agility and she wouldn't mind exhibiting that for him to put in his junior science paper.
          Rinnah leaned toward the screen. "Listen pup, you and all your little plant buddies will never get your filthy hands on me. Now stay the hell out of my life, out of my way and never bother me again. And if you still feel the urge to experiment on anything then take that boy part of yours and plant it where the void is darkest!"
          She gave the sign for Grayson to cut the communication. When the screen went blank, she heaved a sigh of relief even as her crew cheered. The hybrid captain smiled at them. She turned to Jammer, "Jam, break out that chocolate; every one gets a piece." He smiled back broadly rocking on his toes again, "As the k'ptin wishes!"

          It was going to be one of those days again. Lately she had been waking up with headaches and this morning woke up with the familiar and dreaded feeling of a steel band constricting her head. She threw back her covers and stumbled for the bathroom, her one objective was to get to the medicine cabinet for her migraine pills. After gulping them down with a whole glass of water, she sighed. Not that she was feeling any relief at the moment, but she knew it was going to come.
          Rinnah pried open one eye to observe herself in the mirror. Puffy, bloodshot eyes, dark circles underneath, obsidian black hair sticking up every which way and sleep lines imprinted in her face. Oh yes, this was the face of the famous death-dealing captain who ate plant-babies for breakfast. She didn't look much the threat her relatives were so afraid of.
          She lowered her head, touched the control for the spigot and splashed water on her face. It didn't make her feel any better but it didn't make her feel any worse either. What she wanted for breakfast was a nice strong cup of coffee, with real cream... and sugar. She sighed. She would allow the next plant being crossing her path to live if it just meant she could have peace and quiet inside of her aching, throbbing skull. She glanced toward the ceiling, "Hey Holy Hybrid One, hear that? I will have mercy because I know you are big on that sort of thing, on just one plant being. Heck, to show you how magnanimous I am feeling this morning; I will throw in a whole herd, if you see fit to take this headache away." She really didn't think that the Holy Hybrid would hear her or even answer her. She had talked to him like this since she was a small child upon finding out that he was the first hybrid, half this and half that. It had struck a chord with her that she had found someone who would understand her as only another half-breed would. She groaned as a stab of pain crossed her temples, and the start of the itch on the shoulder blades. Dammit! Couldn't she start just one morning anymore without a headache!
          Rinnah turned stumbling toward the shower and absentmindedly tried to reach over her neck to scratch at an itch on her shoulder blade.
          After finishing her morning ritual and dressing in her usual boots, tunic and overcoat, she sat down at her terminal requesting the night reports. Hmmm, Berg was starting another still, it didn't say that but she could read between the lines and she knew her crew. The man couldn't go two days without trying to build the perfect still. She looked over the report. Oh, and Jensen reported a leaking compensator value. What a stickler he was! Just a minor thing but he reported every little thing before he fixed it, and she knew him, he took such pride in his work that it would be better than the original. Her smile softened, Jensen, what a character with his never lit, chewed on cigar, grizzled hair, and rolling gait. After scanning all the reports, editing a few of them here and there, she put her initials on them, sending them to File and Dispatch to be sent out to their proper destinations. Just as she tapped in the last code, she heard the soft ping of her doorbell announcing someone seeking entrance.
          "Come in Jammer." The door slid open and her First walked in carrying a tray of breakfast food. She saw him wince at the temperature she kept her personal quarters. You would think he would be used to it by now. This was the one area she kept at her comfort level, hot. Rinnah searched for the one thing she was interested in, one familiar sight. Ah, there it was. Her beloved mug full of her favorite beverage. The steam was rising up and the tantalizing smell greeted her twitching nose. Jammer saw her look and with a slight half-smile nodded. Jammer had brought her coffee since the morning news had arrived of her mother's murder.
          Jammer and Rinnah had been friends since the Academy days when she, as a freshman had tripped and fallen on her face landing right next to Jammer. He had helped her to her feet and that was when the friendship had started. He was a bit of an outcast himself as he was from the colony of South Eire, a combination of Irish, southern accents and something entirely new and strange. It was an odd mixture, a little of each, not enough of one or the other and a bit of a stubborn colonist accent thrown into the mix. Over the years they had served together under one captain and another. When she was promoted to captain she had requested that he serve with her. Having a First you could trust with your life was invaluable. She often joked with him about his being her second greatest treasure find, after the Black Heart of course.
          Rinnah looked up to see his green-brown eyes twinkling with merriment as he set the tray down in front of her. She skipped over the scrambled eggs and toast and reached for the cup of brewed nirvana. She rarely ate a breakfast but that didn't stop him from trying, and if she did eat a breakfast, it was because of him.
          She started to take a sip when the itch flared up with a tingling sensation. She slammed her mug down with a clatter. Arrggghhh! She leaped to her feet and threw her back against the wall and violently began rubbing back and forth. But the relief was short-lived before starting up in earnest again and growing into a burning fury covering both shoulder blades.
          "C'pin? Is t'at rash agin?" He looked at her, the concern apparent in his eyes.
          "Urrrr.." Was all she said as she continued to rub futilely against the wall.
          "GAH! Jammer!" She threw her back at him with a command, "Scratch! And don't spare the nails!" He obediently scratched but the thick material of the coat prevented him from digging in as hard as she wanted. She tore away from him long enough to frantically rip off her coat, drop it to the floor and turned her arched back to him again. He scratched at her back with both hands using the nails as she had requested.
          "You call that scratching! Star holes Jammer! My grandmother's gnarled, arthritic fingers could do better than that!"
          "Your'n grandmother's dead C'ptin."
          "And she STILL could do a better job than that. Put some umph into Jam!"
          "Uh Rin..." Rinnah turned shocked at the use of her old nickname from their Academy days. He so rarely used it now. She turned around to see his face. He held up a hand to show her, his eyes wide with alarm. She looked at his hand; his fingers were covered in blood.
          "Jam, what's the matter with..... ahhhhggggghhhh!" Her shoulder blades exploded with a burning and piercing pain starting at the skin, going straight through the bone and lancing through to the other side to her collar and breast bone. The pain was incredible and indescribable as it sapped the very air from her lungs. Her back arched and her eyes widened, she had never felt such pain in her life! It was crippling her and she began gasping trying to pull air into her lungs. Dimly, through the haze of pain, she heard Jammer slap the com switch and call for the doc on duty to report to the captain's quarters double time. But as he looked back at her he swore, "En down there, be ready!" He rushed over to a now slumping Rinnah and threw her arm over his shoulder and headed for the sick bay.
          As the elevator doors opened Doctor Rachel Selwyn was waiting with another attendant. She took one look at Rinnah's bloody shirt and grabbed the other arm. She and Jammer began hauling their captain at a near run. By this time, Rinnah was panting in small gasps of air.
          Between the two of them they hustled Rinnah to the medical scan beds as Selwyn snapped orders at her tenders. "You, put her there! NOT that way! ON her stomach you idiot! Jones, get me the medikit from my office cabinet labeled 'Captain'". When the attendant hurried back with it Selwyn nodded at him to take the scancorder and keep running it over Rinnah's bleeding back. Rinnah was thrashing about in pain trying to push herself up on her knees and hands when Selwyn grabbed the medikit, snapped it open and filled a hyponeedle with a drug she carried there just for this purpose and held it to her captain's arm. She watched as Rinnah collapsed onto the bed, eyes slowly floated shut and her body relaxed into unconsciousness. Selwyn ran her hand through her brown hair in relief.

          She was thankful that she always had a medikit ready for emergencies because of Blackfire's unusual DNA. But this, she hoped she would be able to help with this, she had never seen anything like this before. Both tenders cut away at the captain's tunic and underclothes to reveal her back.
          "What the hell?..." Selwyn studied two bloody and raw crescent-shaped rashes on the captain's shoulder blades. Astonishment and anger made her voice snap as she asked, "How long has this been going on?"
          "Aye, for 'twhile it has. She been waking up wid headaches and her'n back itching sumwhat fierce but it goes away tru the day."
          Selwyn picked up the scancorder and ran it over the bleeding and oozing rashes and knew it was sending it to the medical library for analysis. She spoke the command that would also link it with her own personal one and then the next command to link it in turn with the captain's medical history.
          Selwyn glanced down again and nearly dropped her scancorder. The rashes were healing on their own! First the blood clotted up and then the red angry crescent welts began receding and the area faded into healthy pink skin. Awed she reached her hand down and ran it over the area that had, just a short heartbeat ago, been bleeding, puffy and red. She had never seen a healing like this before. Of course, she had never been responsible for a life form such as the captain either. She frowned. The captain's DNA was acting up doing something unprecedented and unexpected. The black-haired offspring of a plant-human union were considered to be "mules", none had exhibited any mental abilities that either side coveted. This late in life? Nah. Couldn't be. One thing she did know and that was Rinnah wasn't going to like this, whatever it turned out to be. She was quick to become offended by any little thing to do with her mother's side of her genetic make up.
          Selwyn had all the latest updates on the hundreds of hybrids, the ones that volunteered any unusual thing that popped up over the years although Rinnah herself refused to cooperate with them. She said she didn't like being kept tabs on in someone else's database. Rinnah was unusual in the fact that she was among one of the few black hairs in a hybrid crowd of white blonds to yellow blonds. Several had her glossy black and they too, as far as Selwyn knew, hadn't shown any mental abilities.
          The Antressla said of those that they had been "born in the black", a euphemism among the people that meant "born dead" a nobody, not a sentient living being and were considered barely better than a.... well, a plant. A wry smile lifted Selwyn's lips. The Antressla had asked for any babies born in the black to experiment on. They were nonplussed by the reactions of the human parents of repugnance, horror, outrage and anger. The black hairs born to the Antressla usually only lived a few hours at the most. But it was a moot point since the black-haired half-breeds had not only survived but lived active lives like the other children.
          On some outer colonies there were stories of black-haired children disappearing and while there were some accusations nothing was ever proven. It had gotten to the point though that parents of any black-haired hybrids had fled the colony worlds and resettled on Earth. Later, hearing the news and the whispered rumors, Professor John Blackstock and his wife Deniril had also returned to Earth for the birth of their twins. She had insisted that both would be born with black hair, and so they were, Rellyn and Rinnah.
          Rellyn Blackstock had taken after their father in interests and wanted to be an inventor and AI scientist. Rinnah had only wanted to explore space. Rellyn's potential had never been realized. She had disappeared while walking home from a friend's house while Rinnah had been home sick that day. Rinnah had felt the shock of separation when Rellyn had dropped out of their twin link and had been feverish for days afterward. The twin link was augmented by their unusual heritage although they were undeniably linked with one another, they didn't have the ability to link with any one else, human or plant.
          Rinnah didn't need her own parents whispered suspicions to influence her own opinions of what had happened to her twin. After her sister's disappearance, Rinnah had changed her name, but what had been a haughty indifference and unbridled dislike had grown to outright and active hatred.
          Then after years of open hostility war was declared between the two species. Rinnah hadn't paid much attention to the news and didn't care why or how it had started or even who was at fault. She now had a legitimate avenue to kick plant butt and make it hurt. She joined the Academy. She would have a way to exact her revenge.
          Selwyn looked down at her captain. She really didn't know what to do for her. She snapped the mediscan and scancorder off. She would just let her sleep the drug off while studying the scan results. Maybe she would find a clue, she could only hope. She would also look through the latest data on the hybrid reports. She knew that the only reason she even had the right to request the information was because she was Blackfire's medical doctor and for reasons pertaining to the captain's health she may have need to access certain classified information. She was also required to report any thing unusual about Rinnah to the project. She grinned, oh they would supply information all right, but only sent that which the two of them fabricated.
          An hour later she was in her office staring at the floating screen in the air in front of her. Rachel was still clueless as to the reasons for the rashes but she was getting interesting and disturbing information about something entirely different. She wondered if the two were connected.
          Selwyn heard a soft moan and gave the command for her terminal to save queries and requests for information. Selwyn made it to the bed as Rinnah opened one light blue eye to peer up at her and asked groggily. "How's it going Rachel?"
          Selwyn crossed her arms, lifted an eyebrow and gave her captain a disapproving doctor glare. "What, I don't have enough to do taking care of a crew of clumsy idiots?"

          Rinnah grinned up at her and said, "Keep working on that fierce glower, you haven't quite got it perfected just yet."
          Selwyn dropped the stern doctor act to return her grin, "Glad to see you looking better. That was quite a little trick you pulled." She reached out a hand to assist her friend in sitting up and steadied her as she wobbled slightly. "You'll be feeling a little lightheaded for an another half-hour or so as an aftereffect of the drug." Rinnah nodded and took a deep breath before letting it out.
          "I've got news for you." Rinnah looked up only mildly interested.
          "Listen, I don't know why you are getting these rashes that come and go, and it may be related or may not, I don't know. But, my scans did reveal something else." She paused a moment seeing she now had Rinnah's full attention. "You are going through puberty."
          Rinnah's eyebrows lifted in astonishment before descending into a frown. "That's not funny."
          "Wasn't meant to be. Your body is getting ready to go through puberty... again."
          Eyes glinting through narrowed lids, she hissed at her doctor, "I WENT through puberty already! What the hell are you talking about?"
          With a smug look Rachel replied, "Yes, human puberty, but you have a double heritage and for some unknown reason the Antresslan side is kicking in now." She spread out her hands and said, "Surprise!"
          Rinnah groaned before asking, "What exactly does that mean?"
          Selwyn shrugged, "At this point in time I don't know of all the effects but slowly over time you will be going through mood swings from aggression to weeping." She shrugged at Rinnah's openmouthed shock and dismay before continuing, "I did send in a request to find out if any of the other black hairs are experiencing any problems."
          At Rinnah's glare she held her hand out to forestall an angry outburst. "I didn't word it that clearly, but in a vague doctor-speak just like I have done so many times before so you don't have to get your clusters in a bunch." And chuckled as Rinnah let out a breath of relief.
          "Oh, but that's not all..."
          "Not all? How can that not be all?! It's most definitely enough!" Challenged the hybrid.
          Rolling her eyes and clasping her hands behind her back Selwyn said slowly, "This will only get worse as time goes on until..." Suddenly stopping, a blush spreading over her cheeks.
          "What?" Rinnah asked warily. She didn't think she was going to like this. When did a doctor get embarrassed?
          "Er," Now looking at Rinnah, she shifted from one foot to the other nervously.
          "Come on Rachel, spit it out! It can't be that bad!"
          "This behavior will increase until you have, er, mated."
          "WHAT!" Staring, face draining of color. "This can't be right! You have to rerun those tests! Can't I just take a pill for this? There's gotta be a pill for this." She lowered her head and lifted a hand to rub her forehead muttering to herself. "This can't be happening to me. I don't need this kind of complication in my life."
          Looking up at Rachel with distressed eyes and asked, "How long?"
          "I know I can't be fit for duty if I am going to be going through this and I am going to fight it tooth and nail, you know that. So, how long will I be fit for duty?"
          With a twitch of her shoulders, Rachel answered slowly, "Rin, this is unsure territory. I couldn't give you a date but from what you and Jam have said, this has been going on for a while so." Eyes rolling in thought, "I'm going to guess you may have a matter of weeks at the earliest and months at the latest. . But even that I am just hazarding a guess. I want you to keep that in mind, but I still have to check the studies before I back to you on what I've learned. If there is anything that can alleviate your condition without having to uh,..."
          Rinnah glared. "Just say it."
          "Well, I will let you know if we can keep you from having to, er, mate?" Glancing down she went on, "Er, unlike humans, Antresslans go through mating cycles and it looks like you have inherited that." A rueful grin lifted the corners of her mouth, "Congratulations?"
          Staring at her friend and doctor, she muttered again, "There's got a be a pill for this. They have pills for everything nowadays...."
          "Rinnah Blackfire," The doctor in Rachel speaking now, "It is best never to mess with nature unless one absolutely has to. Best to let this thing takes it course. Are you even listening to me?" As Rinnah stared off into a corner of the room.
          "A new doctor, one that will give me a pill, a new doctor, that's what I need. I'll have to check into that. Yep, that's the ticket." She rambled as Rachel lifted one eyebrow at her.
          "Deal with it sweetie because it is coming and it is going to happen to you. That much I do know. But like I said, I will look over the research and see if it offers any hope."
          Rinnah groaned and closed her eyes before saying, "Well, I can't think about this now, I got a ship to run. Let's talk about this later" and slowly got to her feet. Swaying slightly getting her balance back she happened to look down and made a face; she had a hospital gown on.
          As she started to request a uniform, she felt it again. With curses that would make her warphole mechanics blush and cover their ears, Rinnah experienced the tingling pain increasing and blossoming up and out across her spine, her shoulder blades, and torso. Her eyes widened and her back arched. Selwyn cursed and ran for her bag.
          Rinnah didn't even have time to scream as the intensity of the pain hit her. Then she felt a drawing and pulling across her back, and a lifting. She felt a tugging of power, a shift in her being that she had no words for. What has happening to her?!
          Something exploded out of her back and all she could imagine were rivers of lifeblood pouring out. She felt heavy while at the same time a strange feeling of buoyancy swept over her. A weakness in all of her limbs countered by a lifting on her limbs and lightness with a sense of well being.
          Rinnah looked down, Bloody spitfire! She was several inches off the floor and bobbing up and down without control. Hearing a sound at the door she looked up in time to see Selwyn drop her medikit.
          Rachel lifted her hand and pointed at Rinnah or something behind Rinnah, eyes wide and mouth gasping. Rinnah tried to look over her shoulder and spun in the air. Something was making a pumping noise behind her so she leaned her head back until her face was tilted toward the ceiling. By the Holy Hybrid! There were wings over her head!

"Black Angel Rising" - Page 2

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