Chapter Nine - Disambiguation.



Chapter Nine – Disambiguation.

“When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.”
John Muir


Part I – Dark Clouds.

“ If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm.”
Frank Lane

The footsteps drew steadily nearer. They all turned to face the passageway from which they had emerged.

“It doesn't sound like more than a couple of people,” Evan whispered.

They waited, until finally two figures came into the room.

“Well, well,” Eve smiled, “I never expected to meet you two here.”

The men stopped and took in the group. “Eve, Andre, Evan, Mark, hello,” he smiled back at them. “We got diverted,” Howard finished by way of explanation.

“Got diverted?” Eve questioned, “but you were supposed to be finding Professor Madison somewhere in Morro Bay.”

“We were, yes,” Emret confirmed.


“We received a message about a breach into the mainframe and were told that the hacker had retrieved the information, location and access codes for this evacuation point. We were asked to check it out as they thought it might be the professor's nephew, which of course might lead us to the very person we were tracking.”

“I see,” Eve replied, the others stayed silent.

“How did you end up here, and how did you get in?” Howard asked.

“For some reason,” Eve was now making this up as she went along, “We thought we were coming to the Morro Bay control centre. When we found nothing like that, on the surface, we came to check out the closest building.”

“Yeah,” Evan added. “The coordinates were correct so we wanted to see if there was anything at all here. And voila!” he smiled and spread his arms out.

“So you had the location and the access codes?” Howard looked at Eve.

“The location,” she replied. “When we came down here the doors were open.”

“That's odd,” Emret remarked.

“Yes it is, that's what I thought. We were going to leave, but I was curious about what we'd stumbled across.”

“But why come here when you'd sent us?” Howard asked. “Who gave you the location?”

“Time was pressing, we'd heard nothing from you, and it was Henry who gave me the location and said we should check it out. That it was urgent to stop Project Weatherman and that there was no point staying where we were twiddling our thumbs. Yes, I think those were his exact words.”

Eve was a much better liar than she could ever have imagined, because she certainly seemed to have convinced Howard and Emret.

Seeing that they believed her, Eve pushed her luck by asking, “So what is this place?”

Howard glanced at Emret. “Henry didn't tell you?”

“No, like I said we thought we were coming to the Morro Bay Control Centre.”

Howard thought for a moment, perhaps deciding whether or not what Eve was telling him was plausible. He decided that he didn't have any good reason to doubt her.

“This is an evacuation point,” Howard had now given the place a purpose, but what exactly?

“The pod,” he pointed at the vehicle behind them, “is one of several designated to evacuate survivors to the last interstellar mothership waiting in orbit.”

The way he was so matter of fact left Eve and the others stunned, but she did her best to recover.

“You mean this takes us off the planet if something drastic went wrong?”

“Precisely,” Howard confirmed to her. “And it has.”

“Sorry, it has?” Was this really happening? It was a lot to take in.

Emret pointed at the clock, it read 02:56:34.

“If you want to survive, you'll be in that pod and out of here before zero hour. I think it's fairly sound to assume the worse case scenario, the evacuation countdown has been initiated and all missions are suspended.”

“So we take to the lifeboat and say goodbye to planet Earth?” Andre broke his hitherto silence.

“Nice turn of phrase,” Howard smiled. “Women and children first,” he joked.

“But we don't just get in and go do we? We need to wait in case other people turn up.” Mark had gathered his thoughts enough to try to work out what should happen next.

“We can wait sure, but I think around ten minutes before that clock reaches ZERO we need to be onboard and launch.” Howard told them.

“Plus, there are twelve places and six of us. If more than six people turn up here to join us, well, we will have a problem,” Emret looked a little odd as he was explaining that.

“Well, we wait a bit,” Eve said. “Is there anyway to find out what is actually going on?”

“I could try the sat phone on a general call. When we tried contacting HQ there was nothing, no reply. It's most probably closed down.”

“Give it a go Howard and let's see if we get anybody.”

□ □ □ □ □

“I know it's a stupid question,” Steve looked down at Grif with a silly grin breaking across his face, which made Grif smile. “How do you feel?”

“Like I was run over by a truck!”

“Yeah, I suppose all things considered.”

“All things considered what?” Grif wondered if he was suffering after effects because this conversation was skewed.

“I mean being in a coma.” Steve stared at him.

“What is it? Have I changed into a zombie? You're staring.”

“Sorry, but you... forget it. Nothing.”

Now Steve blushed. He had for reasons totally unknown, been thinking that Grif looked very sexy. God knows why he was having those thoughts, but sometimes things like that just strike you for no apparent reason. Maybe because Grif had come round, and the huge tension thinking he might not, that he would die, never regain consciousness, had suddenly evaporated.

“No, I can't. Tell me,” Grif insisted.

Steve felt his eyes getting wet. He started fighting to hold back the tears. Grif lay there, staring up into his eyes. Then he no longer had control, Steve dropped his head and the tears overwhelmed him.

For a few minutes the only sound in the medical bay was that made by Steve attempting to cry as quietly as possible. Grif reached out and took his hand. He squeezed and pulled the boy towards him. Steve rested his head on Grif's chest, feeling the dampness from his tears soaking the crisp white linen sheet. He was thankful his face was hidden.

Eventually he sat back up and wiped his eyes. “Sorry, I'm not usually such a wimp.” He avoided looking directly at Grif, embarrassed by his uncontrolled display of emotions.

“Forget it. I guess one hell of a lot has happened whilst I've been asleep.”

“Do you reckon you could walk?” Steve asked, wanting to work out how they might get out of there, but also because he was relieved to ground himself in the immediate actions required.

Grif thought about it. Moved his legs under the sheet. Slowly he tried to sit up, but fell back against the pillows.

“I doubt it. I feel pretty wasted. I don't have any muscle power.”

“Okay listen. I'm going to the offices and supplies. I will take a look around for a GPS, we'll need at least that to find this so called escape pod. That and a vehicle. Will you be alright here?”

“Yeah sure, go.”

Steve stood up. He was reluctant to leave Grif alone, seeing as he'd only just now woken up from a long coma. But there was no choice. It seemed like it was urgent to find and launch this escape pod.

As he was leaving he turned back briefly, “I'll be as quick as I can.”

“No problem, take your time.”

He turned to go out and start looking. Take your time he thought about that, he wasn't at all sure that they had much time.

□ □ □ □ □

Joel was in the control room talking to his uncle and Joseph. Everywhere the clocks showed the countdown rather than real time, a constant reminder.

“Kado said he'll be here in around five hours, which is cutting things fine,” Joel told the professor.

“Yes it is, but I have a vehicle ready, charged and programmed to get you to the evacuation point.”

“One car won't be enough for eight of us.”

“Six,” his uncle corrected. “Joseph and I aren't going.”

“But if there is gonna be one almighty flood and no energy afterwards?” Joel didn't see why his uncle would want to stay.

“I want to see what we might be able to salvage. It's just possible we could find a way to repair things. It really all depends exactly what happens. You can understand how responsible I feel?”

“Of course, but the picture you painted was rather like doomsday, the end of the world.”

“Well yes, I suppose you’re right there,” Clement chuckled. “But we might just come back from the brink. Did you get in touch with your other friends?”

“Sent a message, just have to hope they got it.”

“Let's hope so. I'm sorry Joel, but now you have to excuse us, because Joseph and I have a lot to monitor and a lot of preparation to do.”

“Sure, and thanks.”

Joel turned and walked out to go and find Mark and Jack. Until now he'd always had a fairly low regard for his Uncle Clement, but his opinion had changed, he could see things in a different light. The guy was not so bad when you got to know and understand him.

“So what's happening?” Mark asked.

“My uncle and Joseph are staying here. Somehow he thinks he might be able to salvage something from the disaster. There's a car charged and ready to take us to the evacuation point, so we just have to wait for Kado to get here.”

“If the professor thinks he can get things working again after this flood that's coming, then why leave?” Jack asked.

“Yeah, why leave?” Mark echoed.

“I guess we have a few hours to think about that. But I sent a message telling Steve to get out. It’d be weird if they found themselves alone on that ship.”

“Yeah, but did he even get the message?” Mark asked.

“Can these escape pod things communicate? Maybe you could send a message to the pod so he gets it if he makes it there.”

“What a fucking mess,” Joel wasn't sure what to do.

“Listen, I'll go ask Joseph,” Jack volunteered.

He left the other two and set out to find Joseph. Mark immediately put an arm round Joel in a sort of semi-hug.

“It'll work out,” he squeezed his boyfriend.

Joel appreciated the closeness, but made no reply. He sure hoped it would, but there was no way of knowing. It was a bit like flipping a coin, heads you win, tails you lose. Only the difference here was you might win and lose both at the same time. We could all end up together, but still be fucked, he thought. Or all escape together, and then what? The emptiness of space for the rest of your life.

□ □ □ □ □

“I found a GPS,” Steve said, coming to sit down beside the bed.

“Is there anyone left here?”

“Completely deserted as far as I know.”

“And transport?”

“That's the big problem. Nothing. No, there was a couple of cars, but one was completely out of service and the other I set to charge, but it seems to have a battery problem, it didn't indicate it was charging.”

“I guess that's why they got left behind.”

“So what do we do?”

“Key in the coordinates you got. Let's see how far it is.”

“Yeah, but Grif, you can't even sit up. No way can we walk there.”

“You could. Alone.”

“Fuck NO!” Steve raised his voice almost screaming.

“Woah! Calm down. I just thought one of us could survive.”

“No fucking way am I leaving you. We go together or we stay here.”

Grif looked up at Steve. The boy's got a heart of gold, he thought, whilst at the same time wondering how he could convince him to go alone. He knew that he was doomed to rest here. If he ever got any strength back in his limbs it wouldn’t be for now. It might come back, but too late.

□ □ □ □ □

Kado checked the time on his watch, still just over two hours until they got to Morro Bay. He wondered how bad things really were, perhaps Joel had exaggerated, the boy never really seemed very logical. Let emotions take over in a situation like this and you could end up totally out of control. Henry had made the choice to stay, he had made it seem like some altruistic gesture, that as a man who had lived his life, he didn't have any purpose taking an evacuation place.

Logically that's all bullshit, he didn't believe it for a minute. What he could see would be Henry enjoying life onboard an interstellar spacecraft with amiable young men to entertain him. Just like always. If he was staying then there was a future here, nothing was maybe quite as bleak as the picture getting painted.

What happens if all the important people evacuate? It leaves a vacuum to fill here. No opposition, no one to appease any more. A new beginning, with new people. Perhaps it was all a Machiavellian ploy by Henry to take control, and he was getting rid of him as well.

Kado decided he would have to tackle the professor about the exact state of affairs when they arrived. There wouldn’t be too much time if he needed to evacuate, but he usually relied on his instinct and gut feeling. He had been swept up in the panic, but on this trip he'd had time to think. His gut feeling told him to stay. Take the gamble.

Joel's mum was trying to get Charlie to take a nap, but it wasn't working. The kid was too excited about where they were going, about seeing his big brother and his uncle.

“How much longer mom?” Charlie whined for the umpteenth time.

“Not too long darling,” his mother replied calmly.

“But how long?”

He was anything if not persistent. She was however used to that.

“You will just have to be patient. Whining won't get us there any quicker.”

Charlie pulled a face and turned his attention back to the game he’d been playing.

Kado who had been half listening to this new exchange, the same irritating questions repeated over and over, had to control himself. If his mother wasn't here, I'd take the little brat and whop his ass, that would soon shut him up.


 Part II – Confusion.

“If patience is worth anything, it must endure to the end of time. And a living faith will last in the midst of the blackest storm.”
Mahatma Gandhi


The waiting was the worst of it, waiting without knowing exactly what they would do. Joel's uncle had no further information to give, as far as he was concerned there was nothing to do until after the storm, after the flood hit.

The sky was once again becoming dark, a sense of foreboding pervaded the atmosphere. The professor warned them that leaving the launch until the last minute would not be a good idea. The static electricity building up could easily result in lightning as it earthed to the ground. This could perturb the electronics onboard and seriously compromise their evacuation.

"Just as soon as your mother arrives you will have to decide what you're doing," he told his nephew.

Joel nodded. He was right, but it did nothing to counteract the tension which was building with the same rapidity as the storm.

"There is no point taking unnecessary risks. You go or you stay."

Joel wondered what his mom would say. Would she want to take Charlie into space to guarantee his safety? But what did that offer? A chance to live out your life with a few other humans and a crew of robots.

What about those robots, he knew very little. He hadn't even posed the question as to whether or not they resembled humans.

"Professor, these robots that are making the voyage, what are they exactly?"

"That question demands a long and complicated reply, much longer than we have time for now. You could watch one of the videos that I suggested. That would give you some idea."

Joel realised he was beginning to bug his uncle, so he decide to leave him and re-join the others. As for watching a video, he most definitely wouldn't be able to concentrate on that. No, best just leave it, they would find out soon enough if they evacuated. Then there would be loads of time, forever, the rest of their lives.

Making his way through the building he paused to look out one of the tall windows that lined the corridor. Funny, he thought, he had never bothered about windows before, there was only ever rain and gloom beyond the glass. Only ever darkness, but now things had changed. For a reason he could not quite understand, the rolling dark clouds and bleak landscape which dropped away from the house, were compelling. He could imagine the ocean beyond, the waves crashing into the shore. Perhaps before everything went wrong you could see the coast from here, it was high enough. Strangely he had an unaccountable desire to stay here, to catch a glimpse of that ocean

"Well?" Mark looked at him as he entered the room.

"If we are gonna go... evacuate, we can't leave it to zero hour. My uncle says that would be too risky. The sky is building up with static, which could jeopardise the launch. If we are going it has to be when Kado and my mom get here."

"If? You said if," Jack questioned.

Joel turned to face both boys. "Yeah, if. Because you need to think, is that really what you want?"

"I want what you do, but I want to know that my brother will be there with us," Mark told them.

Joel moved next to him and put an arm over his shoulder. "And that is a gamble. We have no way of knowing."

"Kado called when you were talking to your uncle. They should be here in less than thirty minutes," Jack told him.

"Give me the phone. I will see if I can explain things to my mom and see what she thinks, what she wants to do."

A loud crack like a gun going off intruded into the house. A flash of light briefly illuminated the pale interior.

It's started, he thought, Clement wasn't wrong about the storm.

Trying to put the call through was not easy, it was the third attempt when he heard Kado pick up.

"Kado hi, I need to talk to my mom please. Can you put her on."

He passed the sat phone to Joel's mother, and for the next ten minutes Joel tried to explain the choices. His mother mostly listened, just interrupting once or twice. Then when she was about to say something it cut out. He tried calling back but nothing.

Putting down the phone, almost throwing it on the table, he paced around the room stopping to look out the window at the lightning. It had started already, the storm, one more potential problem.

"They'll be here any time now," Mark said, trying to reassure.

Joel gave a little half smile but continued pacing the room.

It was just then that Jack came in. “I talked to Joseph.”

“And?” Mark asked anxious to discover what he had said.

“If we get to the evacuation pod there is an inter-ship message system that should function. It's just the same as sending and receiving messages in a car, except it’s restricted to ship to ship. I don't know why. He said something about security,”

“So we have to get to the evacuation point. I want to know where my brother is and what he's doing.”

“Sure, of course,” Joel butted in. “We will do that, and we will decide together just as soon as Kado and my mom get here.”

Another tremendous bang, which was only slightly muffled by the thick glass windows, cracked across the sky. A light flashed, momentarily casting large shadows behind them. Mark looked at Jack, then at Joel.

“Yeah, I know, it’s getting real bad out there,” Joel voiced what they were each thinking.

□ □ □ □ □

“The weather's getting really bad,” she told him.

“How do you know,” Kado replied. “You can't see anything.”

“No, but it was loud enough. Didn't you feel it rock the car?”

Before he had a chance to reply there was a weird unnatural grinding mechanical sound. The vehicle's forward motion ceased, it wobbled in place, then sank to the ground. The illuminated control panel flashed and shutdown.

“Fuck!” Kado starred at the dark, dead machine.

“What just happened?” She asked, at the same time instinctively pulling Charlie close to her.

“That rocking you felt must have been a lightning strike. A direct hit.”

Staring at nothing, the darkness suddenly dissipated ever so slightly as the dim emergency lighting came on, but apart from that the car was dead.

“We're still thirty minutes away. That's it, nothing we can do, except sit out the storm.”

“You mean,” she spoke in almost a whisper. “We won't make it to Clement’s place?”

He wondered if she was being deliberately stupid, but on reflection she most probably was just thinking aloud.

“I guess not,” Kado’s tone was more amiable. “Sometimes events overtake you. Whatever our choices might have been, we don't have anything else to do now. No way can we walk miles through a raging storm, and anyway, we would never get there in time.”

He opened an under seat compartment and pulled out two plastic pouches. Then reaching in a bit further, he grabbed a third one. The first two he gave her as he opened the other one. The pouches contained thin metallic survival blankets. Kind of ironic, he thought, our protection against the apocalypse!

□ □ □ □ □

“Look Steve, be reasonable. No way am I getting out of here. Who knows, it might be just fine down here, we are inside a fucking mountain.”

The other boy looked at him, but said nothing.

“If you ever want to see your brother again, and the others, you got to go find and launch that escape pod.”

There was a deathly silence. Steve knew, of course he knew, that what Grif was saying was right. He had spent his whole life with Mark, they were always together, the thought of never seeing him again was hard, very hard. He was literally torn in two, his brother or Grif? How the hell could he leave Grif alone and just go.

“I’ll be okay,” Grif was trying to persuade him.

A lot of thoughts were racing through his head, Steve didn't know what to do. Then he thought, maybe I'll go find it and see if there isn't a way to get Grif there. Even when he was telling himself that, he knew it was ridiculous, but sometimes you need to believe in the most remote possibilities to be able to move and do something. You need some sort of justification.

“Fine,” Steve finally announced. “I will go find this pod thing and see if I can get you there.”

Grif looked at him and smiled.

“I will be back for you.”

They both knew that probably wasn't true.



Part III – The Last Minutes.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add colour to my sunset sky.”
Rabindranath Tagore.


“They’re never going to make it here in time,” Joel was upset and it showed.

“Look Joel, that solves one big decision,” Jack held his gaze.

“What? What are you talking about?” Joel just couldn't focus, his mind was doing cartwheels trying to figure out what might happen, what to do.

“We stay. We aren't going anywhere. We'll take our chances with your uncle and Joseph. Then when the storm has passed, we can go look for your mom.”

“But we need to send a message to Steve,” Mark absolutely did not want his brother and Grif disappearing forever into space.

“Joel, you stay here, Mark and me will go to the evacuation station and try to see if we can get a message through to Mount Columbus.”

There was no argument from Joel, but the thought did cross his mind about something happening that would see them onboard that evacuation pod. He dismissed it. There were more important things to concern himself with, like what had stopped his mom and Charlie from getting here? Something must have gone wrong, his worst thought was an accident.

□ □ □ □ □

“Oh shit! You scared me. I thought the whole place was deserted,” Grif was surprised.

“It is. Only us left here,” Henry smiled. “How are you?”

“I guess I’ll be just fine, if that really matters.”

“Of course if matters,” Henry approached to stand beside Grif's trolley.

“No, I mean, if the whole fucking planet is finished...”

Henry chuckled. “I wouldn't go that far.”

Grif was puzzled by Henry's enigmatic reply.

“Where's your friend?”

“Steve has gone to the pod thing, the evacuation station.”

“Oh I see.” Henry pulled up a chair and sat down next to Grif. Now they were practically on the same level.

Grif didn't think Henry saw at all. He thought he was probably under the impression that Steve had deserted him.

“I told him to go. We don't all need to die here.”

“Don't be so dramatic. Who said we’re going to die.”

Grif was still feeling tired and the conversation with Henry was not helping, why couldn't the guy just talk normally, why did he feel he had to always analyse everything being said. Analyse? Maybe decipher was a better description? Whichever it was it was making Grif feel even more exhausted thinking about it.

“He needs to get back here. Your friend. Before the launch.”


“So that I can offer you both an alternative. A way in which you will live on forever, somewhere in the far reaches of space. You might call it a backup.”

Henry smiled at his own sense of humour and then went on to explain to Grif about depolarisation and memory transfer. They had time – Henry gave Grif the whole picture, the interstellar ships manned by robots, the search for another planet, survival of the species, etc.

□ □ □ □ □

The car that showed no charge whilst it should be recharging, did actually work. Steve lit up the control panel, keyed in the coordinates, and it lifted off.

About twenty minutes later it stopped and the doors opened. Should have dressed for the outdoors, Steve thought as he climbed out. The wind was blowing and it was cold, but what was really weird, it had stopped raining. It never stops raining! Perhaps the professor had been successful. He had no time for thinking about that possibility, he had to get to the pod. There was a countdown clock in the car, it read 00:45:01. The only place to go was a solid black building standing fifty meters away on its own, there was nothing else here. The coordinates must be right. He walked towards what looked more like a smooth wall than a building with doors and windows, there weren't any.

Standing in front of this large structure whose blackness reflected the ever menacing sky, he was at a loss as to what to do. Then, quite unexpectedly, part of the wall opened, somehow moving inwards to reveal the interior. With some trepidation Steve advanced and stepped inside. A passageway lit by dots of amber light in the floor led him further inside, finishing at a small room which had the same solid black construction forming a sort of shelf around two walls, a seating area perhaps, but it made for an odd waiting room. Another door was open and lit up, in the centre of the other side of the room. There he noticed someone. “Ah hello!” Steve ventured.

“Welcome to evacuation point Alpha Two,” a pleasant young man in uniform greeted him. “Please enter, we shall be leaving shortly.”

The guy had a strange way of talking, not an accent or anything, there wasn't one, just an odd manner.

“I'm not leaving yet,” Steve started to explain. “I have come to see if there is any way I can get help to get my friend here.”

The young man opposite him seemed to reflect on what Steve had said before making any reply.

“I regret we are not able to assist you with that. Do please board, we shall be leaving shortly.”

“No you don't understand. I can't go without Grif.”

“As you wish. The boarding will be open for another twenty minutes. We leave at 00:20 exactly.”

There was obviously nothing to do here. He would have to go back and see about Grif.

□ □ □ □ □

Jack and Mark made there way into what looked like a large wooden hut, but the door was open and once inside there was a staircase going down perhaps to some kind of basement. A faint green light illuminated a door at the bottom of the stairs.

“There’s a keypad there,” Mark shone the torch he held.

“The door's locked,” Jack pushed against it.

Inside a sort of alarm sounded startling Eve, but Emret just turned to look at the screen underneath the countdown clock. Obviously, he was used to this place or had been on a similar site.

“We have company.”

Now all eyes were watching the image of two teenagers standing outside the outer door.

“Hardly a threat,” Howard had that weird smile playing across his face. “What do you want to do?” He looked at Eve.

“Let them in.”

Emret moved over to a keypad on the wall and tapped in some numbers. They watched the screen.

“Hey look!” Mark exclaimed.

There was a click and the keypad lit up with the word PROCEED. Jack pushed the door and it opened. They were then walking down a slightly descending corridor at the end of which a second door blocked their passage. However, this time when he pushed it, the door opened.

“Wow!” Jack was surprised.

There were a group of people standing inside looking at them as they entered. Three youngish guys and a lady, it wasn't them that surprised Jack, but seeing Howard and Emret the two guys from X-Corp.

“We meet again young man,” Howard smiled that smile of his that wasn’t very welcoming, more sinister.

“Looks like it.” Jack felt like turning around and getting the fuck out of there.

“You know these boys?” Eve asked.

“Yes. We have met.”

Eve looked at him. “And?”

“Oh yes, excuse me. This is Jack, a friend of Professor Madison’s nephew.” He returned his attention to Jack. “I’m guessing you found the Professor or you lost your buddy and,” he paused glancing at Mark, “found somebody new.”

“I never did like you and Tonto much,” Jack replied very sarcastically.

“In which case you won't be staying,” Howard took a step towards the two boys.

“Cool it Howard,” Andre entered the exchange, which made Howard pause.

Howard and Emret being rather out numbered backed off and Eve took time out to explain things briefly. Jack and Mark told her and the group that they needed to try to get a message to a friend of theirs via the escape pod. They outlined their situation and how they had made a decision to stay, they mentioned nothing about the robot manned interstellar ship and Plan B, assuming they already knew about it.

Mark went with Evan to access the pod communications and they successfully sent the message over to Mount Columbus, it was even acknowledged that it had been delivered.

“That's a fucking first,” Jack proclaimed. “Something that actually works.”

Evan smiled. “I hope your brother is there to get it.”

“Yeah, I hope.”

They re-joined the rest in the white room. The clock now read 00:31:57.

“We're leaving then,” Jack told them. “What are you guys gonna do?”

“Leave us your coordinates, okay. I think we need to talk about it.” Eve was looking at her little group and Andre nodded his agreement.

“We are definitely leaving on the escape pod,” Howard announced. “You're nuts if you stay. All the important people are on those ships.”

“We’ll I guess this really is goodbye then!” It was Jack's turn to smirk as he and Mark turned and left, going back the way they had come. There might be just enough time to get back before the storm broke. He wondered what Eve and the other guys would do, but it wasn't really his concern. Mark just hoped Steve received the message.

□ □ □ □ □

Steve was anxious even though it was a short journey back, the car just didn’t seem reliable, more than once it hiccupped, but it got him there. He was surprised to see Henry, Grif was sitting up in bed.

“I didn't expect to see you so soon.”

Steve smiled to himself, he knew exactly what Grif was saying, he never expected him back.

“Now you’re here, we just have time,” Henry was tapping a syringe and had some equipment wired up to Grif. He'd positioned a second trolley next to Grif.

“There's no time to explain, but just go with it, okay,” Grif smirked with that cute twinkle in his eye.

Steve took his place on the empty trolley and Henry gave him the injection and wired him up.

“It's just like dreaming, relax,” Henry told him as he faded away.