Chapter 08: Escape Plan

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"I don't understand," Laura murmured. "What's the problem?"

Mike sighed and sat back in disgust. "I don't know, honestly. This gear is working fine. The tower is working. But something is blocking outgoing communication. All we can do is listen, which really sucks, considering there's nothing but misery on the airwaves."

They had at least answered the question of whether or not they were alone in the world. It seemed that there were still a great deal of people still alive on the planet. There was confusion all over the place. Millions were dead and the infection was everywhere, but people were still trying to organize around the capital city of Jackson.

"So what now?" Laura asked finally.

"Now, we find the parts, fix the ship, and leave," Turner said.

"No," Mike replied. "We were right. There's people alive and they need our help."

"Fine. Go help them. I'll drop you off wherever you want," Tuner said suddenly.

"Turner..." Laura began.

Mike held up his hand. "Wait. That's not a half-bad idea. Well, I mean, I guess it's not. It's a compromise, at least. For now, how about we look for those spare parts and get this show on the road?" he asked.

Laura let out a huff of frustration. "Whatever," she muttered. She turned and walked out of the command area. Mike watched her go, worried about her. Viktor had been her friend more than he'd been anyone's. He began to stand up, preparing to go after her, but something caught his eye. A map of the base, stuck to the wall. He walked over to it, briefly glancing out the window. It was full dark now, the last of the twilight gone. He studied the map for a long moment, then realized that they had missed something in their initial search.

There was an underground section.

It was mostly marked storage. Which was good, considering there were only a pair of pretty small storage rooms in the topside section. He pointed this out to Turner, then handed him another infopad, one which he had found in the base and written up another copy of the list of parts they needed, with helpful diagrams attached to each part, since neither Laura nor Turner were techs. Turner took the infopad without a word and left the room. Mike sighed and decided to go look for Laura. He left the command center and began making his way through the base, wondering where she could have gone. He finally found her in the mess.

"Hey," he said, joining her where she stood by one of the windows, a can of Vex soda in her hand, staring out into the night. "You okay?"

"No," she replied. "I'm just...pissed off. Viktor didn't deserve what he got. Turner honestly should have been the one to go, if any of us had to. I want...ugh, I don't even know what I want. I want a fucking hug," she said suddenly.

Mike held his arms open. Laura laughed, set down her soda and suddenly hugged him fiercely. "Thanks," she said.

"Always happy to hug," Mike replied.

"No, for more than this. Thanks for being...uncomplicated. You could have made things difficult, especially given that I was...vulnerable with you, and you didn't, and I really appreciate that." She smiled and kissed him.

"Glad to be of service," he replied. Suddenly he yawned. "Oh, man. Sorry. I'm dead tired. We really need to wrap this 'fixing the ship' part up so I can take a fucking nap."

"If we lay down to sleep, I think it won't be just for a nap. We'll be out for the whole night. And I'm not entirely sure I trust Turner alone."

"Don't worry, I've got an idea for that. For now, let's get the ship fixed."

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