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Subject: Chapter 301 - Part 2 (end of chapter 301)

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Date Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 07:36:10am
In reply to: KatherineG. 's message, "Dreams in the Dark - continues with chapter 289 >" on Monday, June 18, 06:55:17am

It was in this state of mournful reflection that he was caught by his comrades, each of them getting the scut work of the ship dumped on them, at least partly as a retribution for being the Great Samuelle's unit mates. Each had been taking the snub in his own, unique way. But none of it was making Michael's acceptance of his fate any easier at all.

He tried not to think about this now, knew it would do him no good--especially if he started picturing all the dreadful ends he could come to, all the dangers his beloved would be left to face alone; just the knowledge of their distance was enough. "Sammy," Ackerman growled, breaking him from his reverie--the nickname the closest the man had come to acceptance. It took an effort to focus on him, but he managed with little visible emotion; the younger man seemed to approve. "Quit daydreaming. We've got three more rooms to do before chow." He propped himself up on his mop, glaring at the actor. "It'd be easier, if you did your part."

Michael just looked at the man for a moment, the thoughts turning quickly, pondering the paths which had brought these other men here--his own too twisted and painful to think about. Each of them had their motives. For William Ackerman, it was supposedly a sense of righteous duty--although Michael suspected that it was more an attempt to prove his manhood, as well as a guaranteed job in an economy which had little room for survival. For Eric, he suspected that it was a sense of adventure, of a need to find some sort of world outside of his hometown to see. Henry's, he knew--the man having already told him about his need to protect the world from those who hated those of his religion--as secretive about that fact as he usually was. And, as for Willie Kane . . .

The actor's gaze landed on this one, inexplicable member of the group, the one whose intentions were far less easy to follow--but he had no immediate answer. From the beginning, Willie had been secretive, his tales of his background often at least slightly contradictory; Michael shook himself from the thoughts, letting the question go. To his mind, everyone here had his reasons. Trying to discard whatever past might haunt the man was probably as good as any.

He brought himself back to the moment, nodding an "Of course," to Ackerman, who appreciated the shortest answers possible. Perhaps the two of them had come to some sort of a detente after that fight a couple of months ago, but they would never be friends. He supposed, however, that they didn't need to be. So long as they could do their assigned tasks together, they would be fine. Or that, at least, was what he hoped.

It was this fear which started somewhere deep in his belly, as the group moved toward their current work, Michael wondering again where his future might lead. Of all these men, the only one he honestly trusted was Sikes. But two questionable factors in a plane, and another doing their maintenance on the ground, could make for some very dangerous flights.

He tried to put this worry away, told himself again that it would do no good; he had already done what he could. Elkins was certainly as much on his side as possible now, having been brought a signed picture of Nikita; so long as Michael didn't think about what the man was doing with it, they might make it through. Ackerman, too, was as much a comrade as he was ever likely to be. That only left the inscrutable Kane--but he supposed that just one uncertain factor probably wouldn't spell their doom.

He made an effort to believe this, to dispel the fear which had suddenly taken hold--even if he also began to realize that it had probably always been there, Ackerman's previous, open antagonism having made it difficult to recognize. It had been Kane, after all, who had almost wet himself when their training plane had had to crash land--his panic nearly infecting everyone else. It was Kane who never took a side in an argument, until he was certain who would win. And it was Kane, always Kane, who would never give a straight answer to anything about himself; Michael's eyes focused in, wondering--before he forced himself to let it go, knowing the truth. It would do him no good at all to think about anything but surviving to get back to Nikita now.

He tried to tell himself this, letting all his suspicions slide--or he did, until Sikes came up to his shoulder, his voice quite low. "You've noticed it, too?" Michael looked at him, not wanting to think about it, but Henry made his point, nonetheless. "We need to look out for all of us."

The statement could have had a dozen different meanings--certainly would have had a different one, coming from Ackerman--but, from their pilot, it was more benign, a simple warning to "watch and see." Michael was less than happy to face the idea but nodded, all the same. "You're right." After all, if they weren't cautious, then he would never make it home to his Nikita--and the thought of merely watching his wife and child's lives play out from some sort of spirit realm was not one he was willing to accept.

Sikes gave him a single nod, all of them turning to face down their last task before lunch--but Michael's mind was on anything but food. He sighed, as he passed the room Kane was in, the man's nervous glance shaking back to him, before he focused determinedly on the floor. As little as the actor might like it, he would have to be more aware of his surroundings. Still, perhaps this was a blessing, of sorts; his heart seemed to tangle in sorrow. Otherwise, this lifetime without Nikita could well drive him mad.

[End of Part 301]

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Subject Author Date
Chapter 302 - Part 1KatherineG.Monday, October 01, 06:59:53am

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