Richard Hemelshot was enjoying a nice, quiet evening at home. The lights were down, a lively jazz chip was rotating on the expensive home entertainment system, he had a hot cup of chai tea, and he was just going over some notes for the following week. Michelle stood in the doorway behind her husband, smiling at his back, then nodded to herself.

Richard twitched when his wife's hands began kneading at his shoulders, then relaxed with a pleased half-sigh, half-purr as her talented fingers began working out the stress and tension. His rebuilt, mostly-artificial left shoulder was particularly tough, due to the less-than-perfect interface between machine and man. No matter how far our technology goes, he mused, they still can't make an artificial arm that feels completely natural.

He gave Michelle a grateful smile as he glanced one last time over the briefings provided to every squad leader for the precinct. Item the first: a coffee shop in Gamma sector had been targeted by a bomb, suspected terrorist involvement, so a heightened awareness level was proscribed. Item the second: smuggling was increasing in the Underworld, more illicit cargos than usual had been reported on the docks. Item the third: Armed robbery had increased in Beta Sector, so standard units...

Richard shook his head and pushed the paperwork (funny it was still called that, when it was almost entirely electronic these days, he mused) away. There was nothing inside that really concerned him and his people, and there were almost certainly more important things for him and his squad to concentrate on. There always were.

Hemelshot's musings were abruptly cut off as a high-pitched, youthful voice called out from the hallway. "Daddy!" Marianne was coming out, already in her jammies and prepared for bedtime—but that was never a guarantee with 8-year-olds.

"Daddy, daddy—look what I can do!"

Richard's grin died as he saw the teddy bear, floating in mid-air about a foot off the ground directly in front of his daughter. Her eyes, he could tell, were focused with unusual intensity upon the levitating plushy, and his breath caught in his throat as he realized what was happening. The entertainment system hiccupped and the house lights flickered as Marianne fully entered the room, her teddy bear spinning and floating lazily about.

"Honey, you'd better..." Hemelshot began, but it was too late. Marianne blinked, and a sharp thundercrack flickered through the air as her concentration broke at last. The teddy bear simply shredded apart, tiny stuffed limbs cartwheeling through the air in a blizzard of fluffy down. As his daughter began to cry, Hemelshot had never before felt so helpless.

* * * * *

TO: 9th Squad
SUBJECT: Dealing with an 8-year-old esper

The subject pretty much says it all. My daughter's an esper and I would very much appreciate your help in learning to deal with her. My wife & I will need training in discovering, developing and defending ourselves against unintentional use of her powers. I will be going through outside channels but would appreciate comments and sugestions from all of you.

I would also like to broach the subject of babysitting, as our current one is unlikely to be able to deal with a psychokinetic temper tantrum.

Thanks, Hemelshot.

SUBJECT: Re: Dealing with an 8-year-old esper

Well, the first thing I would suggest, and this is from personal experience, is an attitude adjustment: Don't "Deal" with her powers. This is going to make her feel isolated from you. The world is going to tell her that she is different, and the last place she needs feel prejudism is at home.

Instead, treat it as an area of her life that she is *good* at. Not everyone plays sports, not everyone does calculus, not everyone can play music, not everyone has ESPer powers. Be excited about her powers like a "normal" father would be about his son playing football. Participate as much as you can in her training, as she develops control over her powers, she'll develop self-control as well.

I would, personally, suggest some discrete mental psionic dampeners. If she is telepathic at all, even the slightest hint of a bad emotion from you can be picked up. It's important in society to have a "face" and as you work through your own emotions about your daughter's development, you don't want her picking up on the bad ones.

I think those are major things. I'm not sure how my life would have turned out differently if my family accepted me, but it's something I've wanted for a long time. I'm willing to try out babysitting, but ESPer powers don't mix well- I've never been able to grasp fine control. I'm right next door, so if you do need some space, I'm willing to play with her or teach her some stuff.


TO: 9th Squad
SUBJECT: Re: Dealing with an 8-year-old-esper

are you insane?!?

seriously...i dont give a flying rats ass if your kids an esper, what im wondering is that you would actually trust me with your kid?

i dont even trust me with my kids! ...and i dont even have kids!

TO: 9th Squad
FROM: Jamadagni Renuka (
SUBJECT: Re: Dealing with an 8-year-old-esper

>are you insane?!?

>seriously...i dont give a flying rats ass if your kids an esper,
>what im wondering is that you would actually trust me with your kid?

Tyger, that was uncalled for. If you can't offer any useful suggestions, there's no need to be insulting.

Sarge? Is there some place she can go to get training and support? The report on your timeslip experience mentions an "Esper Institute" created specifically for this sort of thing. Is there something like that in Angelus? Or does the APD or XSWAT have some sort of program for espers to help them control their powers? Have you thought about talking to Captain Richards?