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Echoes of Thunder

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MERRY Christmas and other assorted winter festivities! Now one final chapter to finish out 2018. This next year will be one of adventure! Action! Multiple chapters! A minor announcement:

I am probably not going to update my tumblr anymore, what with the purge and also I was so sporadic and not at all keeping with them that I don't really have a use for it. But hey, if you want to talk to me - there's always PMs. Enjoy!

 


 

 

| VANCOUVER, CANADA – NOVEMBER 2006 |

Mac opened the door, “Ange? What are you doing here?” A young brunette woman stood at the door, wearing a long coat with her arms bracing each other.

“What? I’m here for Evan, who are you?” She questioned as she tried to push past him.

“Ange? Is that you?” Evan proclaimed from the couch. He began to get up from his seat, but upon hearing his voice Ange fully pushed past Mac and ran to embrace him.

As they collided, she spoke. “Evan I’m so sorry for what happened.” She sympathized. They stood there in the middle of the living room, sobbing whilst hugging each other, for minutes while Mac sat silently off to the side trying not to break the moment. When they both cried themselves out, Ange looked from Evan to Mac and then back to Evan.

“Going to introduce me to your friend here?” She asked as she let go of Evan.

“Uh, right. Angelika meet Mac, Mac, Angelika.” As he gestured to Mac, Ange walked over and extended her hand to Mac.

As he shook it, she began “Nice to meet you, Evan must have told you about me.”

“Uh, yeah, something like that.” Mac muttered as her tried to avoid eye contact.

Breaking off the handshake, Angelika locked eyes with him. “So, how did you guys meet?”

“Well, we, uh–” Mac stuttered, but Evan cut him off.

“We met when Brooke and I were in Victoria a couple days ago, and we also were on the same ferry back.” He stated confidently. Ange seemed convinced, but she still looked at Mac with a touch of suspicion.

“How nice, what brought you all the way to Vancouver from across the pond?”

After but a moment’s contemplation, Mac replied, “Just trying to pay back a friend.” He said with a sly smile while he glanced at Evan.

“Well it’s always good to clear debts.” She turned to Evan, “I came as soon as I heard the news Evan, I wanted to be here for you.”

“Thanks Ange. It’s just… a lot to process right now.” He confided with a slight shake of his head as he eased back onto the couch. She walked over and sat next to him, rubbing her hand over his shoulder.

“It’ll be okay Evan. You’ve got plenty of friends who are here for you, and you can talk to us anytime. I’ve already gotten calls from Tony and Gerrard since you haven’t been looking at your phone.”

“Oh crap, I didn’t even think to check it!” Evan exclaimed as he scrambled to bring it forth from his jacket on the chair next to him. Before he could find it, Angelika put her hand on his arm to quiet him.

“It’s okay Evan, you’re going through a rough time right now. We can’t expect you to be on call 24/7, you have too much on your mind.” She paused, reflecting on some thought that flitted across her mind. “You know what, how about you just rest? I’ll take care of all the arrangements for Brooke, and plan the funeral. She wouldn’t have wanted you to stress out over this.” Ange gave Evan a hug, then got up and moved for the door. “Don’t worry about it, I’ve got it covered. You just call anytime you want to talk okay?” Evan nodded silently, and she closed the door.

After sitting quietly for a moment, Evan moved to retrieve his phone.

“You okay mate?” Mac asked as he walked towards Evan.

“Yeah, just a little… shell-shocked still is all. I think getting my mind off of this for a while would be good. And I know just what to do.” He decided as he dialed up one of the missed callers.

“Hey Tony, it’s Evan. Sorry I missed your call. Can we meet up?”

Sure, and I hate to do this Evan, but could we do it at my office? I managed to take over your case from one of the other guys at the office and I unfortunately have to ask you some questions…” Tony Drake trailed off over the connection.

“That’s perfect, oh and I’m going to be bringing a friend. I was going to request we go to the office actually, because I have some questions too. And some things I need to tell you about.”

 

|THE BENGAL SWAMPS – 100 MILLION YEARS IN THE FUTURE|

As C.G. dialed up her father, she looked out on the swamp as Ethan and Luis rode the Dune Skimmer over the water – taking full advantage of its hovering capabilities.

“Greetings Daughter. How did the floating garden experiment preform?” The upper body of her father was now being projected across time on a holographic screen coming from her console, approximately the size of an average laptop.

“It did well Father, all seeds germinated regardless of the depth of water beneath them. Additionally, disturbances to them from wildlife were extremely minimal. The Lurkfish swim right past them and the Swampus do not find them interesting.” C.G. reported, but as she talked she couldn’t help but glance through the screen and out the window to see Emily approach the Toraton that was near the ship. Maybe she should take a break outside to ‘have some fun’ as Ethan put it. She had been working quite heavily as of late.

“– and the roboticists seem to have converged on a complete workup on the damage to your previous crew. Once their central nervous systems are recalibrated, the robots should be fully operational again.” Her Father stated as her attention came back to him.

I must really be in need of a break if my attention is wandering. She mused to herself.

“Wonderful news father, they will make fine additions to our crew.” C.G. replied, her mind still lingering on her friends.

“Actually Cassiopeia, the robots will be… replacing your human crew.” Her Father corrected uneasily.

Her attention instantly locked on to her current conversation, “Sir?” she ventured questioningly.

“It is time you returned the 21st century humans to their home.”

“But Ethan, Emily, and Luis are vital to the mission’s success.”

“I will grant you that occasionally they’ve made contributions, but I must insist you follow my orders.” He said with a wave of his hand for emphasis.

“But they are not just my crewmates, they are my best friends. The best friends I have ever had!”

“Which is exactly why you must let them return to their time. Before it is too late.”

“Too late for what?”

“To…” Her father paused, grasping at the air as he tried to put words to his, “reacclimatize to their former lifestyles.”

C.G. did not want to acknowledge the truth to her father’s words, so she avoided his gaze and instead gazed out the window to see her friends. The Toraton had continued too lumber past he Time Flyer, and since it was so slow – Ethan and Luis were circling it widely at top speed. As they cheered and flew over the swamp, Emily clambered onto a small island in front of the Toraton.

“Imagine how difficult it will be for these ancient humans to assimilate with their peer groups, after all the wonders they have experienced so far.” C.G. couldn’t help but agree, as her Father spoke, Emily had utilized the Chameleographic helmet to create a copy of the Toraton she stood before – which confused the animal to see another (albeit holographic) Toraton appear before itself instantly.

C.G. stood away from the screen, and bitterly noted “No doubt they will feel the same as I have all my life.” At a volume her father could barely make out.

“Daughter?” The worry and concern crept into his voice, he had not anticipated this.

“In truth, I have never fit in with others my age. I would not want Ethan, Emily, and Luis to feel the alienation that comes with…feeling different.” Her father was stunned silent, all he managed to do was reach outward to touch her, even though he could not. “I soon as I complete the robots’ repair, I will take my human crew back where they belong.”

He had never realized how important this was to her, how she had felt so isolated, he wanted to help his daughter. “I apologize Daughter, I–” But before he could voice his second thoughts, his daughter cut him off.

“Do not worry Father. I will call you once my Crew are returned to their home time.” And with a wave of her hand, she cut the call. Before she lost her resolve.

She slid down the pilot’s chair and knowing there was no one to observe her – she allowed herself to cry.

She only permitted herself a moment to sob, she must stay strong and do what’s best for her crew. She walked to the lavatory and cleaned herself up, and once presentable she walked out to join her friends. She had them for a little bit longer, she wouldn’t squander that.

She jogged down the ramp and waved down Ethan to stop him.

As he skid to a halt, or he would have skid if the vehicle relied on contact with the ground, he jovially prodded C.G. “Well Ceeg, finally decided to join the party. Willing to take my adviiiice?” Ethan had dragged that last syllable out as he had grabbed an extra helmet and began waving it at her enticingly.

“Indeed.” She said with a bounce in her step. “Luis, I believe that I have that seat now. What do you say Ethan… shot-gun?”

“Not quite the right the right way to use that phrase C.G., but you’ll get the hang of it.” Luis reassured her as he vacated his spot on the Dune Skimmer.

C.G. climbed aboard, and without allowing barely a moment to get situated, Ethan shot off like a rocket. C.G. allowed herself to let loose a great cheer as they hovered over the swamp’s waters. But all the cheering and smiling did not stop the creeping dread of what she knew she had to do.

 

| VANCOUVER, CANADA – NOVEMBER 2006 |

Evan pulled into the public parking lot of Predator Control. The building was only one story tall and while squat, the facility was sprawling – it included a veterinary clinic, a temporary holding and rehab area to hold animals for relocation, an ‘armory’ that was almost entirely non-lethals, and the main building which had small visitor center and of course offices, which was where Evan and Mac were heading now.

They walked into the front doors which lead almost directly into the visitor center, where they could see a couple and a young family meandering through the exhibits. Before they walked fully in there though, they were intercepted by Drake who came through one of the employee doors to the lobby. The silver-haired man walked briskly up to them in the heavy leather jacket and gloves customary to Predator Control officers.

“Hey Evan.” He said solemnly as he embraced the young man. As he receded from the hug, he extended a hand toward Mac. “Tony Drake. Predator Control. But I’m sure that Evan already told you that on your way here.” He laughed and spread a warm smile as he shook Mac’s hand strongly.

“Mac Rendell, I uh met Evan when he was on holiday.” Mac said apprehensively. Once the handshake was over, Mac shook his hand out when Drake turned back to Evan. For an older man he sure shook hard.

“Evan I’m so sorry for what happened. As soon as I heard I took over to help, how are you holding up son?” He asked, his voice overflowing with concern.

“Better after Ange stopped by this morning.” Evan said as he stared at the ground momentarily.

“Glad to hear she stopped by. So, shall we?” Drake questioned as he gestured to the door he came through. Evan and Mac responded with nods and soon they were weaving through the halls, stopping for a brief second every time they came to a door so that Drake could use his keycard to unlock it.

“It’s a newer security measure. Helps make sure that the campus stays secure in case one of the animals gets loose.” Drake had told them at the first door.

They passed through an outdoor path that wove through a small yard with a couple of picnic tables as they walked into the next building. Soon, they were in the office space. A number of desks were set up in the warehouse-like room, with no real dividers to speak of. Each desk had a simple computer and thick stacks of paperwork. If not for the copious amounts of animal pictures, sea shells, and the occasional tranquilizer dart; one would mistake this for a police precinct.

“So, let’s go into one of the adjoining rooms and I’ll start the questions.” Drake lamented as he grabbed a small stack of papers off a desk as they made their way to one of the rooms on the edges of the floor space.

They entered a small, barebones room which contained nothing but a wooden table and a few padded chairs. They all sat down, although Drake eased into his while dropping the stack of papers on the table. He scooted in and took a deep breath as he opened the manila folder.

“Is this being recorded?” Evan asked before Drake could start.

Tony raised an eyebrow at that. “No? Should it be?”

“There’s just some things we need to tell you that I’d rather weren’t on the record.” When Drake began to look increasingly shocked, Evan amended “Because we’d sound crazy telling what really happened.” Tony seemed to relax at that, but he wasn’t completely swayed.

“Well I’m glad that you at least recognize that there was no way I was buying that a bear did that in the span of a few minutes.” Drake nervously joked. Mac gave Evan a sideways glance and wondered if this was how it happened in his timeline. Drake was already helping Evan when he was brought on to Special Projects.

“No, a bear didn’t do it. But the truth is far stranger, and Drake… I need you to know that I’m not crazy. That’s part of why I brought Mac, he can help explain.” Once finished, Drake slowly nodded.

“So what really did it?”

“An Albertosaurus.” Mac cut in.

“Saurus? As in, a dinosaur.”

“Yeah, like a T-rex but a little bit smaller and a helluva lot meaner.” Mac answered. The silence hung in the air as Drake digested the information.

“Now Evan, you’ve never given me any reason to doubt you – but I can’t help but say I’m skeptical.” Evan made a noise as if he were about to retort, but Drake held up a hand to quiet him. “I didn’t say I didn’t believe you. I’ve been working with every known North American predator since before you were born, and I know that there is nothing that could do that – hell even any other predator alive.” He took a breath to steady himself as he stared at the images of the crime scene. “I’ll spare you the gory details, but the way it was severed, the speed, the quantity taken, all point to a gigantic predator. My question then for you is, where did it go?”

Mac shared a glance with Evan, and then Evan unleashed the bombshell.

“It left the same way it arrived: an anomaly.” When Drake still looked bewildered, Mac cut in.

“A time portal mate, same way I got here.”

“You’re not from this time?” Tony asked in a stilted manner, clearly grappling with this new information.

“Yeah, well sort of. We can iron out the details after I actually understand them. What I do know is that I am here to help you lot get ready for the future.” Mac paused, he was realizing his new mission as he spoke. “You see in six years, anomalies are going to open up a lot more and creatures – dangerous ones – are going to come through. Assuming that those aren’t affected by the changes, we’ll know when and where each one will open, and we can stop any body from getting hurt.” Before Drake could ask what he meant by changed, Evan began.

“But we don’t know if there are any that will open before then aside from the one you came through. There could be dozens of attacks that happened before I figured out how to track them. Or even ones that have… already happened…” Mac smiled as Evan trailed off, his thinking face was back.

“Tony, do know where we could find any cases like mine? Ones that don’t fit the bill? Strange instances where bodies were never found, predators never caught, unknown venoms, stuff like that?”

“Evan the number of cases where there’s a fatal animal encounter is under a dozen a year.” Drake countered. “Almost all those paper out there are minor encounters. Hell, a third of those are just sightings! How would we even begin to go through all that paper and find not only the out-of-place, strange reports – but find the real ones amongst some drunk who saw a turkey in the dark?” All three of them were now staring out at the expanse of desks each topped with hills of paper.

“The problem is that things can too easily slip through the cracks here. We need to streamline your guys’ system.” Evan pointed out. “It’s the twenty-first century. Here’s an idea–” he said with a snap – “let’s digitize Predator Control’s operation. Then we can sift through it at breakneck pace, I might even be able to write a program…” Evan began to stroke his chin in thought.

“Evan, as nice as that is, how are you going to manage that? It would take any one person a decade to type up all these documents, how are you going to do that when we only have at best a few years to get set up before the anomalies pop up?” Drake inquired, his voice filled with concern for his friend as he rested a hand on the young man’s shoulder.

“Maybe for anybody else, but a genius like him with a determined friend like me? We’ll have this knocked out in a month.” Mac asserted confidently.

Drake still looked apprehensive, saying, “I can’t just let you in anytime Evan, there are rules that I have to follow.” While Tony was pointing out roadblocks, it was clear that he wasn’t happy about them.

“I think I have a solution then, I’m about due for another company now anyway.” He pulled out his phone and speed dialed someone. “Hey Ange, I’ve got this idea…”

 

| A FOREST – UNKNOWN TIME AND PLACE, DAY TWO OF STRANDING |

Dylan’s eyes cracked open to see daylight. Well, rainfall – but it was light out, and the sounds of countless creatures filled the forest. As she started to wake up, she noticed she was leaning against something warm. She strained to see what she was laying on without moving, and confirmed it was indeed Evan. Who was still asleep. She took stock of her surroundings from her comfortable spot on Evan’s side, recollecting the previous day’s events.

Right, she thought with a huff, adrift in time. Just as she remembered she was in a tree, she noticed something colorful hanging from the lip of the roof they had woven for their platform. Ever the curious biologist, Dylan eased off of Evan as gently as she could manage to make her way over to the hanging things. She stood slowly with only a mere grumble from Evan and began to tip toe her way over to what she was sure were animals, as she was sure there was no way fruits could have grown that fast.

The three creatures were bright green with blue stripes, each of them a bulbous yet aerodynamic body with two large paddle-like appendages hanging off them. As she inched closer, more details came into focus. Each of them sported a bright red beak, and two oddly shaped backwards-facing legs that revealed they were in fact hanging upside down.

What kind of bird hangs upside down? She assumed they were birds at least, given the beaks. But then she noticed that the creatures were covered in scaly skin, including their odd paddle-wings. Now Dylan was only ten feet away, she wondered what these dove-sized animals were.

Before she could reach any conclusions, a fierce roar rang through the forest – startling both Evan and the not-birds awake. As Evan flopped over in surprise, the odd animals each let loose a rasping screech and relinquished their grip on the roof. As they began to fall, they spread their ‘wings’ and flew off into the forest.

“What were those? And what roared?” Evan fired off his questions as he scrambled to his feet.

Dylan sighed in disappointment from the lost opportunity to examine the creatures further. “I don’t know what either were. The roar was probably a theropod of some kind, but it sounded like it was some ways away.”

“And the green birds?” Evan ventured as he walked to the edge of the platform beside Dylan.

“Whatever they were, they weren’t birds.” Dylan corrected as she gazed into the trees. “Their ‘wings’ were covered in skin and scales.”

“So, small pterosaurs then?”

“Evan, while I’m not a paleontologist, I have been studying as much as I can since I joined Special Projects. And whatever those were, are not in the fossil record.” Dylan had moved away from the edge and began to rifle through their meager belongings.

“So, a new and undiscovered species? Thrilling, at those ones weren’t trying to eat us. I wonder what era they’re from though…” Evan scanned the forest to see if he could relocate the animals but was cut off by Dylan who grabbed his attention with a grunt and then abruptly tossed something to him.

“Alright Mr. Super-Genius, you said you had some ideas to spruce this place up? Hop to it.” Evan looked down at his hands to see a sheathed knife.

“But it’s raining.” Evan appeared to reevaluate the statement the moment it left his lips as Dylan turned to him.

“Really?” She gave him an incredulous glare. “You, a Vancouver resident, are claiming you can’t handle a little rain?”

Evan shifted from foot to foot and looked embarrassed. “I, well… uh, you see –” She raised a hand to stow him.

“Quit while you’re ahead Einstein. Plus, we’re in a rainforest – one of the wettest I’ve ever seen. So rain just became our new normal.” She said glancing from the canopy to the ground. “Come on, we’ve got a lot to do today to get set up for the long haul.”

“I assume water is our first order of business then?” Evan said with a smile. “I’ll work on setting up a rain-collector, think you can make an easier way to get down than the Everest warm up routine we have going now?” Dylan did not dignify him with a response as she began to move to descend. Evan huffed, but ultimately got over it and began to instead ascend the tree. As he climbed up to the upper branches, Evan wondered on those odd flyers.

Paleontologists do hypothesize that we’ve only seen ten percent of all species that existed. So what are these little guys? As Evan began to assemble his rain collector, he ran through his knowledge of time periods.

Devonian? No, that’s a little early. Miocene? Too recent. Evan finished the accumulation portion of his assembly and he glanced at the next tree over to see Dylan grabbing more wood, assumedly to build a ladder of some kind. He allowed his eyes to wander the surrounding trees as he put together a drainage line.

A flash of movement caught his eye. Something tan and green slithered behind the bulk of the trunk in the upper branches of Dylan’s tree. Evan narrowed his eyes and tried to see what it was, eyes gliding up and down the tree to catch another glimpse of the animal. And… there! It’s molted tan and green skin made it stick out like a sore-thumb on the dark, plank like bark of the tree.

It was a human-sized dinosaur of some kind, creeping down the tree towards Dylan. It looked like some kind of dinosaur, but not one Evan had ever seen – or heard of. The animal had a broad chest that powered long, muscular forelimbs that each terminated in long clawed fingers – clearly the beast was an adept tree climber. It had a predatory head, downright raptor-esque – complete with sharp teeth and forward-facing eyes. Looking at the animal’s feet the raptor guess proved accurate, as each back foot had two toes and one large sickle claw. As Evan’s eyes trailed up the creature, as it was pointing itself toward the ground, he could see a winding prehensile tail grasping a higher branch to stabilize the animal so it could reach down.

“DYLAN!” Evan screamed in alarm. He caught her attention just in time for her to see her would be attacker and raise a branch for the predator to bite on rather than her. Evan tore his gaze away from Dylan and he frantically climbed down to their treehouse for something, anything, to help. As he dropped onto the platform, he heard branches breaking and Dylan and creature scream as they were locked in combat.

He took frenzied stock of their meager belongings before his eyes came to rest on the MP7. He didn’t know how many bullets were left in it, but now was a good a time as any to use them.

He leaned over the side to see Dylan standing between the tree and the arboreal raptor, denying it home turf advantage. She only had a sturdy branch to fend it off with though, so Evan carefully took aim.

He pulled the trigger, and a cluster of bullets sprayed the dirt behind the dinosaur – with one nailing the last third of its long tail. The creature hissed and turned to see what hit it, but in doing so it forgot that its prey fought back.

Dylan slammed her club-like branch into the beast’s skull, and the raptor’s arm buckled in surprise as the predator was brought low.

Now that it was staying still, if for but a moment, Evan put the creature in his sights and fired.

The dinosaur let out a pained screech as it fully collapsed and died.

Dylan brought her gaze up to meet Evan’s, her weapon now hanging at her side; bringing a hand up to cup her mouth, “Nice shot!” she shouted.

Evan smiled and shouted back, “What now?”

Dylan looked pensive, and then she poked the body with her stick. She turned back to Evan and grinned.

“Dinner!”

 

| VANCOUVER, CANADA – FEBRUARY 2007 |

It was a dreary day on the Burrard Inlet, the rain pattering across the assembled crowd’s jackets. It rained often in Vancouver, but today it was most appropriate. A tear-streaked Evan came to stand behind a podium.

“Thank you all for coming.” Evan said soberly. “Brooke would’ve scolded all of you for drinking all the refreshments before we even got this ceremony started, I’m sure.” At this comment, the audience chuckled. Evan steadied himself with a deep breath while they laughed, and then he continued.

“Brooke never was a woman who appreciated long-winded and over dramatic speeches, so I’ll try to honor that and keep this brief.” Evan glanced across the people gathered, seeing many of his friends and associates. “She was a beautiful woman, who loved to stay organized. She did this so that everything got done as efficiently as possible, as fast as possible. Often, I’d wake up in the morning and she would have her coffee in the microwave, an egg on the stove, and be cleaning our leftover dishes all at once in the span of two minutes.” He smiled at the pleasant memories.

“Sometimes I wonder what she would say to me today, aside from yelling at me about how messy the house has gotten.” As another round of laughs rolled through the crowd, Evan locked eyes with Mac for a short moment.

They both knew what the other was thinking. That there was a way Evan could see her again, even if the chances were slim. But him and Mac had already had a long argument about the sanctity of the timestream, but they agreed to let it lie.

But Evan wanted to discuss it once they found the experts in Britain. If they ever found the experts, that is. Evan broke their stare, to everyone else it was mere seconds as they let their chuckles subside – but to Evan and Mac, they had rehashed their entire hour-long argument.

“I miss her, we all do. But what’s most important is that we keep her in our hearts as we move forward. She would not want us to mourn her forever, she would want us to go forth and achieve. When we first met in college, she had to tutor me because I was late to psychology class often. She told me in our first session, Utere temporibus sapienter alioquin nihil. It means ‘Use you time wisely, lest you accomplish nothing’. So, go and make use of what precious time we all have here on this Earth.”

Evan stepped down from the podium, and the people responded with a respectful applause. The crowd dispersed, with many heading straight for the refreshment-less and snacks table. Some formed small groups and conversed, while Ange and Mac walked toward Evan.

“Well said Evan.” Ange said as they embraced. Once they broke, she spoke. “So, will you stop by the office at all later today?” Months ago, after meeting with Drake, Evan hatched an idea for a new company. And as with all his previous companies, he brought in Angelika to help him.

This newest company, Cross Reference, was their most successful yet. The company focused on the problem Evan encountered at the Predator Control office, mountains of paperwork in a sea of disorganization – making them unable to find any anomalous incidents.

So, the company Cross Reference was born. A company that not only developed ever-improving mass-digitization technology, but also a highly versatile and customizable search engine to pair with it. Thus far they were working with Predator Control as their first client, and if they were successful there it would be a door into working with the numerous (and lucrative) government contracts.

“I’ll swing by an hour before closing, it shouldn’t take long to enter that additional search field for non- stings.” Evan replied. They were about 75% of the way through all of Predator Control’s non-archived files, and Evan dreaded the task of starting the archive.

Hopefully the guys in the robotics division can work out the layout issue on the scanner before I get to it. He thought to himself.

“Well don’t worry too much about, okay? It’s not that pressing, and if you feel the need to take the rest of the day…” She trailed off and gave a repressed smile.

“Thanks Ange, but I’d like to get it today. I’ll see you then.” The two hugged once more, and Angelika turned to leave.

As she departed, Evan and Mac began to walk to the edge of the ceremony area, towards a railing overlooking the Inlet.

“So, excited to visit home?” Evan asked as he and Mac fell in step with each other.

Mac chuckled and replied, “Well, technically its currently my home.” The pair came to the railing and they halted.

“Right, and do we have to worry if you two touch the universe will implode?” Evan turned to Mac and slightly leaned away, as if worried he might do so at that very moment.

“Nah… at least, I don’t think so. I was inches away from my own corpse before, so I think we’re in the clear. Best to steer clear of ‘im though, just in case.” They both put a hand on the railing, more out of habit than any necessity.

“That’s reassuring. So, are you ready?” Evan questioned with a touch of concern. For a moment, Mac was silent. Leaning forward on the railing, Mac clasped his hands together – perhaps more tightly than necessary. As he gazed across the Inlet, he let out a sigh.

“If I’m not, I will be when we leave next month.”

 


 

 

And with that, I wish you all a Happy Holidays and especially good fortune for your 2019! Please keep those comments a-coming, and if you enjoyed please leave kudos and favorite! Remember that whatever challenges this new year may bring, you must –

Stand Against the Storm!