Chapter 1b - Left Alive

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Jake had barely slept, but there was an important meeting about the future of Pandora the next morning, so he had to pull himself together and deal with it.

Since Na'vi could tolerate human air for periods of time, although it did give them quite a high if they were in it too long, all the sit down meetings where humans were to be present were held inside Hell's Gate. It meant everyone could meet face to face without the need for breathing apparatus and, after banging his head a few times, Jake had remembered to keep ducking.

He felt off balance after his experiences of the previous night and he had done very little talking during the gathering. Luckily Norm had done enough talking for three, because the project was reaching a really exciting part, so only Neytiri seemed to notice. Of course, Norm wanted to drag him to see all the new developments once all the jabbering was over and all he wanted to do was return to the forest to think, but instead followed his friend.

It was on the way to the new hydroponics lab that Jake suddenly stopped walking. He wasn't sure why for a moment, but his instincts had fired and when he looked around he realised something.

"I don't remember that before," he said, looking at an old entry way that he was sure was not familiar.

It definitely hadn't been opened in a while and it wasn't exactly in what had been a well used part of the base before the new lab had been put in, but Jake had been past the point many times both before and since he became, for all intents and purposes, Na'vi.

"What?" Norm asked with a completely innocent expression.

"The door," Jake said and rolled his eyes; he wasn't in the mood for games.

"What door?" Norm asked and Jake had just about had enough.

The interior of the base made him claustrophobic, he had far too many things to think about to do with Tommy and the air was getting to him; the last thing he needed was Norm playing at tease the ex-marine.

"I do not see a door, Jake," Neytiri said and stopped him before he could tell Norm where to get off.

Jake looked at his mate in confusion; the door was right there. Either Neytiri was sharing a joke with Norm, something Jake had trouble imagining, or he was hallucinating.

"There," he said, pointing at it and Neytiri followed the line of his hand.

She frowned and then her eyes opened in shock.

"I see it," she said sounding very surprised, "but, Jake," she continued turning to him, "I did not see it before."

"What are you two talking about?" Norm asked and the scientist was looking at them as if they were both insane.

Without bothering to reply, Jake walked up to the door and touched the release mechanism. It felt as if electricity ran up his arm as he did, but the door popped open and the smell of stale air came out. Norm stood there with his mouth open.

"How the hell?" Norm said and looked honestly flabbergasted. "That was not there."

"Well it is now," Jake said, feeling more and more intrigued; at least he had something other than Tommy to think about now.

Never one to let anyone else walk into a situation he wasn't willing to risk, he ducked through the doorway and found some stairs going down. They wound into what seemed to be an underground lab that hadn't been aired out for some time. It was also like no lab Jake had seen upstairs.

Admittedly, he wasn't overly familiar with labs in general, but this one looked kind of strange. There was equipment like upstairs, but some of it didn't appear quite right and didn't look as if it was connected to any power supply he could see. The lights came up automatically as he stepped into the room, but they weren't normal either; they appeared to be five glowing orbs that looked as if they were just floating.

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