Chapter 12: Home & Heartbreak

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They made the trip to the starport, which was at the edge of a larger colony, and found a ship with FTL capabilities. It was a cargo ship, vacant, void of life. The colony was the same. The storm had let up by the time they arrived, and an eerie blue moonlight fell across the area. Almost perfect silence awaited them. No people spoke. No engines revved. No machinery ran. The place was wholly, totally inert and silent.

"Where is everyone?" Allan asked after they'd taken off. "That place was dead."

"Gone," Greg replied. "They're all dead."

"I guess so," Allan murmured.

The cargo ship left the atmosphere and jumped to FTL flight.

* * *

"Why did you join SI?" Wilson asked suddenly.

They'd been flying for an indeterminate amount of time. When he tried to reason how long it had been, he realized he had no idea. It could have been five minutes or two hours. He spent so long trying to reason it out that Wilson repeated his question.

"What?" he asked. "Why did I join?" Allan glanced up. Wilson and Greg were staring at him. "Why?" he replied.

"I was just curious," Wilson replied.

Allan frowned. "You can't be curious because...you're me. Which means that I'm curious," he said slowly.

Wilson shrugged. "So, why did you?"

"My girlfriend had broken up with me, I was at a loose end, it seemed like a way to give myself a new life, a new identity."

Wilson shook his head. "No...that's not right," he replied.

"What...you're telling me I'm wrong about why I joined SI?"

"Yeah. It's not right."

"Okay, what happened then?" Wilson seemed to consider it for a moment. "You don't know, because I don't know..." Allan said suddenly, realizing what was happening.

"That's right," Wilson replied. "But I do know that's that not what happened. Not exactly. Something different happened. I just don't know what."

"You think I repressed a memory," Allan said.

Wilson nodded. Allan looked at Greg. "What?" Greg asked.

"What about you?"

"Well I don't know. You keep me out of your life. Even though I'm your best friend."

"Why do you keep saying that?"

Greg laughed. "Because you think I am your best friend. We've been over this."

Allan sighed. Poet suddenly called out that they had arrived over Frontier. Allan looked out the nearest window and saw the familiar green-blue orb in the distance, growing closer. It sent a ripple of discontent down his spine.

"I'd always assumed I'd be returning here under different circumstances," he murmured.

"It's been over a year now," Wilson replied.

"Yeah. I wanted to go back, see my parents, but..."

"Too painful," Greg said quietly.

"Yeah."

The ship began to rattle as it entered the atmosphere. The vast, sprawling metropolis of Frontier was laid out before them, portions of it glittering in the rising sun. Buildings, courtyards, skyscrapers, all spread out beneath them. There was one portion, however, that was dark, a blot of blackness amid the fields of steel and glass.

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