Chapter 08: Polaris

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When Greg woke the next morning, he felt better than he had in awhile. He'd taken first watch to allow Cage some sleep. The man slept only four hours and then took watch the rest of the night. Greg worried about him falling asleep on the job, as he'd had so little sleep in the days since they met him. He got the feeling, however, that it would be an insult to bring it up. So he'd just gone to sleep and kept the pistol close at hand.

The sunlight that came through the window was as bright as it had been since his memories began. Greg stood, popped his various joints, and took a shower. By the time he finished dressing, he realized that his life had begun to resemble a routine. It gave him comfort. When Kyra was done showering, they made for the mess hall.

"How much do you know about Polaris?" Kyra asked once breakfast was served.

"Not much beyond the fact that it's a weather station. Small population, I imagine. It's about five miles away." Cage took a bite of his eggs.

"Good. We can make it there pretty quick in one of the jeeps." Kyra drank some of her coffee and spooned up another heap of eggs.

"We should take two jeeps, in case we find survivors or supplies," Greg suggested.

Kyra glanced at him and grinned. "Good call."

Greg allowed himself a small smile and kept eating.

* * *

While the rain had disappeared, the omnipresent cloud cover still hung in a dull, iron gray overhead, blotting out most of the sun. Greg stared up at it as they crossed the rocky ground toward the jeeps.

"Why didn't we park these inside?" Cage asked as he walked beside him.

Greg gave a shrug and a little laugh. "No idea. Guess we'll do that when get back."

Cage opted to drive alone, so Greg climbed into the driver's seat and started up the jeep. Kyra slipped in next to him and they headed off into the gray wastelands. For several minutes they drove in silence, forced to keep the speed low because of the uneven terrain. Greg was sure that the all-terrain vehicle could probably handle more speed, but after everything that had happened so far, he felt like playing it safe.

He thought about things as they drove, about his past, his memories, about Kyra, and Cage. What kind of name was Cage anyway? It sounded like the kind of name that someone gave themselves. He found Cage remote, yet comforting in a way. Almost like having a security system that followed you around.

Kyra was another story.

More often than not, Greg's thoughts drifted toward her. He wondered if he'd been an idiot in his past life. He didn't feel stupid, well, not most of the time, but did stupid people actually know that they were stupid?

It seemed silly to think about sex in the middle of a life-threatening crisis. Although, things had settled down...

Greg sighed, irritated at the hurricane of thoughts.

"You okay over there?" Kyra was playing with the built-in navigational database mounted on the dashboard.

"Yeah. Fine."

Greg might be confused about his feelings for Kyra, but he wasn't confused about telling her that. She'd been nice lately, and yet...Greg couldn't shake the feeling that she kept expecting him to betray her. It was fair, he supposed. One thing he did remember was that trust was earned, hard to come by, and very fragile.

"So, what if we don't find the part we're looking for here?" Greg decided he'd rather talk than sit in silence.

"Well, there are three other outposts within reasonable driving distance. Two of them are the bases that Cage and I came from...though I'd be reluctant to return to my own. And there's a mining installation. If we don't find what we're looking for here, we can check those out." Kyra didn't look at him, instead opting to continue messing with the database.

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