"You seem to know a bit about him. I thought the packs were independent."
"Times change," Lucas said, no amusement in his tone now. "Intelligence is a useful tool - even for the most isolated packs."
Dev met the other man's eyes. "There are Forgotten across the country."
"Maybe we should talk."
EARTHTWO COMMAND LOG: SUNSHINE STATION
10 July 2080: Official incident report: Four staff members appear to have experienced a hallucinatory episode of significant strength. During the period of irregular brain activity, they caused extensive damage to the main sleeping quarters. Repairs are now in progress.
All the affected individuals were checked by the medics and pronounced stable after twelve hours of observation. The medical team currently has no conclusive data, but is theorizing that the four may have been poisoned by a contaminant in the food chain. Our supplies are in the process of being scanned for toxins.
Katya spent most of the rest of the afternoon watching archived news footage on the small comm unit in her room. More and more of her memory was coming back, and several times she found herself prompting the anchor. When that happened one time too many, she turned off the panel and decided to stretch her legs.
No one bothered her when she went into the kitchen. After grabbing an apple from the bowl on the counter, she opened the back door and stepped out.
"Going to be a nice night," Tiara said from where she was going through a graceful exercise routine on the back lawn, her hair swept up in a sleek ponytail, her body covered by a flowing white top and black leggings.
Taking a bite of the apple, Katya looked up at the early evening sky. "How can you tell?"
"I've got weather-sense, as my oma would say."
"My grandmother." Tiara stretched out her long limbs in an almost feline way. "She was born in Indonesia, but her ancestors were all sea-folk over from the Netherlands. No one can read weather like a sailor."
The apple left a sweet, slightly tart taste on Katya's tongue. Relishing it, she took another bite. "Did your family intermarry with the Indonesian population?"
"Can't you tell? I'm a mutt." A wink from an eye that was uptilted just enough to whisper of ancestors far from Europe.
Katya couldn't help but smile. "You're doing some kind of yoga."
"It's one of the more athletic versions." Spinning in a slow curve, her leg held out like a dancer's, she smiled. "Want to join me?"
Being stronger, Katya thought, would only help in her escape. "Can I do it in these clothes?"
Tiara ran a critical eye over her jeans and sweatshirt. "No, you need lighter gear. You can borrow something of mine."
"You're about a foot taller than I am," Katya pointed out.
"And more than a few pounds heavier." Tiara grinned, one hand on a curvy hip.
She was, Katya thought, the embodiment of the female ideal so many of the human artists liked to draw. All ripe curves and height and an almost electric kind of beauty.
"Right," Tiara said with a nod. "I know what we'll do. Strip off the sweatshirt, and get rid of the jeans. Sun's still out, so the T-shirt will do with some leggings I bought last week."
Katya walked back inside to do as ordered. Tiara threw in a pair of leggings a minute later. Though they were loose enough on her thin frame that she had to use a pin to hold them up, they were otherwise fine, reaching to midcalf - which meant they were likely knee-high on Tiara. Sweeping her own hair into a ponytail, she walked back out to the lawn in her bare feet.
As Tiara began to show her the basic stretches, Katya felt her body flow into the rhythm almost without thought. A few minutes later, the other woman gave her a considering look and said, "Let's try something else."
Katya watched as Tiara demonstrated, then copied the deceptively slow move.
Tiara nodded. "You've done this before."
"Yes." Katya flowed into another move. "My body remembers, even if my mind doesn't." Her brain supplied the information that yoga was considered a valuable form of exercise in the Net, as it meant training the mind as well as the body.
"Awesome. That means we can skip the baby stuff."
"I don't think so." Rubbing at her quivering calf muscles, Katya shook her head. "My body might be willing, but it's not as able as it should be."
Tiara smiled that megawatt grin. "If you're tough enough to mouth off to Dev, you're tough enough for Tiara's Yoga Class."
"How do you know I mouth off to Dev?" Getting into position, she ran her body through a slow, basic routine.
Beside her, Tiara did a much more complex set of moves. "Call it feminine intuition."
"You know," Katya said, feeling sweat roll down her back, "there's a theory that the first Psy were simply humans with a highly developed sense of intuition."
"Well, they do say we originated from the same primordial ooze."
Katya searched the foggy banks of her memory, came up with more data. "If the Council succeeds in maintaining Silence," she said, aligning her body until every muscle was in perfect tune, "and the majority of Psy mate only with other Psy, there's a possibility they'll evolve in a completely different direction."
"That kind of evolution would take a helluva long time. Personally, I don't think it'll happen." An easy shrug as she watched Katya complete her set. "I think the humanity in Psy will rise to the surface."
As Katya's feet came down on the grass, rooting her to the earth, she shook her head. "That assumes there's some humanity still present in them." And after her endless hours with Ming, she knew there wasn't.