"Man Talk"

Author: Lieutenant JG Ming Wang
Date: June 8, 2384
Location: Outside Karissa's Quarters

Ming and Ryan left the room. "About that personnel matter," Ryan said.

"Personnel matter? I'm unaware of any personnel matter. Everything involving Private Benson I settled with you and Major Pennington before Benson's shuttle even left," Ming replied, puzzled.

"I know . . ." Ryan replied.

Ming looked at Ryan, and it dawned on him just what was happening in there.

"Lucky contestant #3 is being informed that he's a winner," Ryan said.

Ming nodded.

"I want to tell you how much I appreciate everything you've done for Karissa," Ryan added. "You've been a much bigger man than most others would have been under the circumstances."

"It's still tough sometimes," Ming said. "I see her, and a part of me still...but I can't think about that. It's not right."

"I know...but don't torture yourself. Enjoy what you have now. You've got the whole galaxy before you--literally--and it appears as though you've found someone with whom you can share the experience. Not many men ever have both at once; usually they end up sacrificing one for the other. If you do things right, Ming, you'll be successful, both as an officer and as a family man, and very few people can say that!"

"Thank you, sir."

"Right now, Ming, I'm just Ryan. It's an informal occasion and you are a member of my senior staff."

"Thank you, Ryan."

"That's better! Now, there's something I'd like to ask of you. As you know, ours is not a safe profession. I'd like you to be close to my family, so that if something should happen to me, my child will be taken
care of. I'm going to talk to Will regarding a similar arrangement with Karissa's child by him--after all, he is the biological father and would be the most appropriate choice," Ryan said.

Ming was shocked. "I'm--I'm honored! And I'm sure Will would be honored, too!"

Ryan grinned broadly. "I'm glad to hear that. Now, shall we walk to the lab anyway? Give Karissa and Will a chance to finish speaking?"