The Sequels to Syrrah's Game SGSequels




CHAPTER 40

 

OCTOBER 8TH, 5:07 PM (4:07 PM MOUNTAIN TIME)

 

It’s too bad they couldn’t visit Alan’s place too.

Evan sighed and thought about their earlier conversation. Robert had said Melbourne was fourteen hours ahead of Park River, so it was 6 AM there, the next day. And with all of Alan’s roommates, and the good chance most could be there now, sleeping, unfortunately it was for the best. They certainly didn’t need another staring-scream-fest.

But at least they would get to see Robert and Akina’s place, mainly since both lived alone. It was odd that Kyleigh didn’t want to see her home. Maybe reminds her of her dead son? And Nahas was probably right about not going to his house, since it would be too dark there now, in Accra. But, then again, the hull would light them all up in orange, so they could see some things.

Yet, whatever. Robert felt content about just visiting three places to prove his point.

“So, we spent a good fifteen to twenty minutes our time scoping out your property,” Robert said, trailing Dad to the steps of their deck. “And nothing. Let’s head inside.”

Evan followed after them but took a quick look around the exterior of their house and then around their large yard. Still those mixed feelings of gladness and oddness blended within him. What else could you expect? The normally ever-present small birds now flew by like eagles, their chirps ear-drumming, never ending bellows, and their flapping wings barely moving. And the usually pleasant high pitch of the wind now came as thundering rushes. And the worst part was how everything was so large. His body still trembled from when they first arrived here, in the backyard; it was like a punch to the face, seeing the familiar trees and shed much larger than he had ever remembered seeing them.

Yet at the same time, it was definitely good to see their place again. Gave some normal to all the insanity going on.

He walked up the steps behind Robert and stared down. Wow. Both his and Robert’s feet were so much smaller compared to the wooden planks.

“How should we get inside?” Dad asked Robert.

“Easy,” Evan answered before Robert did. “We just go through the front doors, like we went through the walls at the base. And since we’re like a thousand real world feet away from the Olson’s and Rundstrom’s, no one should see.”

Robert looked down at Evan and smiled. “Doesn’t matter if they do anyway. But you sure they haven’t seen us yet?”

Evan checked around again. He couldn’t see any police or military troops hiding behind old hay bales, small hills, or bunches of trees. And none of the Olsons or Rundstroms were anywhere to be found. All he could see was his and Dad’s ten-acre property, surrounded by the usual farms, fields, lakes, and that three-mile distant view to Park River. Everything just looked larger now, and sounded terrible. “No, I don’t see anyone.”

Alan suddenly ran over from around the south side of their house. “Are we going to be able to see the bus from inside?”

“You mean because we’re so short now?” Evan asked. “We should be able to.”

Surprisingly, Dad poked his head right through the door and then yanked it back outside. “I see it! They placed some sort of white poster board, with metal legs, near our recliners in the living room. And there’s a message on it!”

 “Well let’s get in there and read it already,” Robert said, motioning for Dad to go through the door.

First Dad looked down at Kyleigh standing behind Evan. “Uhh…it’s a little messy in there, but not too bad.”

“Oh, for real, man,” Robert snapped. “We have more important things to worry about now than your messes.”

Dad only nodded and then passed through both doors. Darn it. If Dad could only stand up to Robert better than he usually does.

Evan made sure to help get Kyleigh, Nahas, Alan and Akina inside okay, although they didn’t need much help; walking through both doors at one time was much easier than going through all those walls.

Once inside, they all eventually headed for that white board. Everything else looked the same, but just way bigger. Their dark brown sofa and two tan recliners were still there, not moved, and Dad’s laptop was still on the coffee table. A few of Dad’s dirty shirts and socks were on the floor, but otherwise the tan carpet looked okay too, no stains, dirt, or pieces of paper or anything else. These guys were good.

“You’re telling me they picked the locks, to get in here?” Dad obviously noticed the sneakiness of it too, same as Evan. “Not that happy about this.”

 “That’s your U.S. government, Lang,” Robert said. “When they want something done, they can do just about anything.”

“All right. They stated all our names.” Nahas was reading the white board’s words. “Now, the rest. It says, ‘Please come back to the base. We want to continue working on getting you released from the hull. We are worried about your safety. General Tauring has promised to let you roam freely from your rooms and visit with each other at will, and even let you come to the surface entrance frequently. We are worried about all of you, and want you to be safe, and near us, so we can monitor your condition. And we are also concerned about the general public. Two people who witnessed all of you, in Riverton, are now hospitalized, one for a heart attack, and one for complications due to an asthma attack. Again, please come back, and soon. Signed, Colonel Stevens.’”

“Can we honestly believe that?” Dad asked. “I mean, I do believe Colonel Stevens meant most of those words. But people actually got sick over us?”

“Laying a guilt trip on, that’s all,” Kyleigh said, drawing closer to Dad. “I think those kids were scared, but I doubt any had an asthma attack.”

Nahas slowly nodded. “They believe we are caring people, and so they’re reinforcing that we stay away from the general public.”

Robert let out gruff exhale. “Well, their words mean crap to me. We already found out they want us dead, so they can kiss my ass. We’re not going back there.”

Alan hurried over to their dining room window, directly across from their front door. He looked out the window. Wow, so strange; he stood even shorter, from the floor to the lower part of the window, than when Aunt Poloma’s two year old son had stood by that window, even though Alan was the tallest of all of them. “The bus is still there. Don’t see anyone nearby though.”

“That’s good,” Evan said.

“So, Lang,” Robert said, walking around and looking at things in the house. “Why is it that you two don’t brandish your heritage?”

Dad took on his confused face. “Huh? What do you mean?”

“You’re part Chippewa. I don’t see any artifacts, any paintings. You never speak of it. Where’s the pride for you people, the distaste for white men taking away your freedom, your land?”

Dad shrugged. “Both Deidra and I didn’t grow up like that. We are not just Chippewa, we’re parts German, Italian, Irish, and Swedish too. We’re just Americans, who are Christians. That’s our identity. Besides, what sort of message are we telling Evan, or…or even myself, if the white parts of us are bad? Are we telling Evan that parts of him are bad then too? Are we at war within ourselves?”

Those were some great points. “That’s true, Dad.”

“What sort of confusing message is that?” Dad asked.

A flash of blue light brightened everywhere.

“Whoa!” Alan yelled. “That wasn’t a decrease event, everyone. Looks like some sort of portal just happened. And we have paramilitary now!”

“What?” Robert ran over to the dining room window.

Evan and the others rushed over to the window too, yet Evan couldn’t see out over the window. Darn! How annoying. “What do they look like?”

“A bunch of guys in SWAT or Army gear,” Dad said. “They might be slower, but they take bigger steps. And they’re heading for the bus.”

“Darn!’ Evan said. “I knew I should have put it somewhere else.’

“Maybe they have that alien dimensional portal device working,” Nahas said. “That’s not good news for us, or the bus.”

“Move the bus now, kid,” Robert said. “One of those guys is heading for the bus, the other for the side door of your house.”

Evan closed his eyes. Back to the Moon you go, bus. He pictured Oceanus Procellarum in his mind. He opened his eyes. “Is it gone?”

“Yes, and those men are slowly showing massive surprise,” Dad said. “Where did you put it?”

“On the Moon again.”

Robert’s eyes widened. “Wow, Evan, really? How do you know it’s even there? Then again, could be anywhere, knowing the hull’s tricks. But doesn’t matter, we need to get to my place now, before those blokes rush the door.”

“Where is your place?”

“One hundred eighty-two City Drive, Melbourne. It’s a tall apartment building in downtown Melbourne.”

Evan closed his eyes again. “One hundred eighty-two City Drive, Melbourne.” He imagined standing in Robert’s home. Yet nothing was appearing on his closed eyelids, like usual. He opened his eyes. They were still by the dining room window. He looked up at Robert. “It didn’t work.”

The laundry room door blew open, making an explosive trembling noise.

“Hey, news flash,” Alan said. “We’re still here. Come on, Evan.”

“What’s wrong?” Dad asked.

Panic tightened inside Evan’s chest. “I don’t know.” He looked to his right, across the length of their kitchen, with its wood-plank floor, to the laundry room entrance. A military man in a SWAT-like uniform, wearing a helmet and bullet-proof vest stuffed with rifles and other gear charged toward their position.

Okay. Melbourne. Australia. Can’t be that hard. It’s just down under. All right. Australia. Off the coast.

“Hurry, kid. Get us out of here.”

He squeezed his eyes shut from the frightening view of that charging SWAT guy. The bottom of the ocean, near Melbourne. Yeah. That would work. No one would ever see them there.

Gradually, weird, liquidy sounds encircled all around.

“You’re joking me, right?” Robert called out. “We’re underwater?” But his voice sounded like they were still at the house. “Where’s Kavanagh Towers?”

Softly, a name formed in Evan’s mind, like a whisper from within. Port Phillip Bay. He opened his eyes and felt as in a deep-sea scuba suit engulfed within the ocean’s depth. “Oh my gosh. It worked! We ARE underwater!” He glanced all around. Robert, Dad, Kyleigh, Nahas, Akina, and Alan were all nearby, standing in the same arrangement as when they stood by the dining room window. Their hulls glowed slightly orange, same as around Evan’s hull. “It’s too dark down here, though. And when I talk, it’s like we’re still on land.”

“It’s all right,” Dad told Kyleigh and Akina, noticing their worried, nervous eyes. “The water can’t harm us. They tested me in that pool and it was like the water wasn’t even there.” 

Nahas told Akina and Kyleigh similar words.

Kyleigh smiled at Dad. “I’m okay, Lang. At least the hull can’t explode by any people down here. We were staying at your home for too long.”

“Yes, that is true,” Dad said.

Evan began drawing in the amazing sight eagerly, while the others spread out and did the same. They were deep underwater, probably six to ten real feet down from the water’s surface to Alan’s tall head top. Sunlight beams faintly spiked into the water but at a nearly horizontal angle, barely lighting the dark water, obviously explaining everyone’s slight orangey glow. After all, Robert had said it was early morning here. Though the lack of better lighting made it rougher to see clearly, it appeared they were all standing on a sandy bottom with small rocks and stringy, wavy seaweed shoots scattered here and there. “Wow, awesome.” He looked straight ahead. A large rock formation, about three times Alan’s height, was covered with colored shapes and forms. “Sponges? Coral?” Tiny gray fishes swam around nearby, their motion slow but most likely faster to the fishes themselves.

“How interesting.” A perplexed expression covered Nahas’ face. “For a long time now, we have not been able to smell anything, probably since the hull realizes larger molecules in the real dimension would interfere with our sense of smell.”

Evan sniffed in a few times. “You’re right. Should be reeking of ocean water, seaweeds and fishes. But I smell nothing!”

“Are you two for real? The hull could damn well have us smell this water, if it wanted to. Didn’t stop impossibly large radio waves from being detected by Evan’s PSP.” Robert stared directly at Evan. “So, where are we, kid? I didn’t plan on an underwater nature walk.”

“I’m sorry, Robert. The hull…I think it talked to me, for the first time. I never heard this before.” Evan trembled a little; just thinking about that, along with the low, deep, gurgling sounds of the underwater noises, so unlike regular underwater sounds, was freaking him out a bit.

Dad stepped closer, his face all concerned. “What do you mean?”

“Something said, in my mind…Port Phillip Bay.”

Robert smiled and shook his head. “Well, what’d you know. Yeah. That’s the bay bordering Melbourne.”

“What did the voice sound like?” Alan asked, sliding over across the sandy bottom on his feet, slowly stirring up a cloud of sand dust.

“I…I think it was like my voice, speaking in my mind. I’m not sure.”

“Yeah, well next time,” Alan continued, “you should ask the stupid hull what the hell it wants from us.”

“I’m not sure I like that idea,” Dad said, worried. “Evan. I would definitely not recommend that.”

“Lang, it’s all right, no worries,” Robert said. “Keep things in perspective. For some reason, Evan couldn’t get us out of there, so the hull helped him out. If it hadn’t, those special MIB forces would probably be serving us up a nuke right now, from Jennings’ alien portal system.”

Nahas gave out a forceful exhale. “Yes. That’s exactly what I was thinking too.”

Dad stared down at the ocean’s sandy floor but then looked at Robert. “But if they can access our dimension, couldn’t they do it from anywhere, like with the vehicles at the base? Does it really matter where we are?”

“Lang does have an excellent argument there,” Nahas said.

Robert threw his hands up. “Either way, I think we’re much better far away from them than close.”

“I would have to agree.” Kyleigh was trying to touch a wobbly, wavy stalk of seaweed with her hull-encased hands. “It was terribly frightening watching those giant men charge us.”

 “Yeah, that was for sure,” Dad said.

Evan took a glance around again. It was still rather dark, but he could see Akina and Alan pointing at and trying to grasp sponges, other seaweeds, and even a big, scary stingray. How fun.

“Evan. We still need to get to my apartment.” Robert eyed him closely. “I have an idea. Hold out your hand by me.”

“What?” Evan asked. “But why? It’s really nice here. Besides, more of those MIBs might have that portal thing waiting for us.”

“Exactly, Evan.” Dad had more worry on his face. “Robert, we saw that they placed a notice in my home, and so we know they weren’t lying.”

“Yes,” Nahas said quickly, “and this is probably the case for all of us, since they will assume we will attempt to visit our homes. It’s only logical.”

Getting a frustrated, grumpy face, Robert shifted eye contact between Dad and Nahas. “But you two just agreed that it doesn’t matter where we are, if they want to access our dimension with nuclear weapons. Get your story straight!”

“Well, now hold on,” Nahas said. “How about telling us this. Since you were happy Evan got us away from Lang’s house, and rightly so, where DO you think we should go right now? Is visiting with military troops possessing a dangerous portal and nuclear weapon really worth the risk?”

Robert clenched his mouth tightly, made fists, and turned away. He was obviously upset, but thinking about things.

Akina walked closer. “We could go to my place. I doubt they will go there. It’s in Sendai, Japan.”

“No, Akina,” Nahas said. “They will. The influences behind all the world governments, for something like what happened to us, are just too powerful, too widespread.”

“True.” Dad gave Akina his kind, concerned eyes. “And besides, we could be putting your neighbors at risk.”

She nodded gently. “Yes, we could. I just really wanted to show all of you my home, and Sendai.”

“We will,” Dad said, “at some other time.”

But would there even be another time?

Nah, don’t think that.

A few large fishes swam up above, clearing Evan’s thoughts. He looked up, watching them, and then glanced around the water again. Gosh. Would be nice to stay here. Besides, Alan seemed to think so too; he was still poking around at the stingray settled within the sand.

Robert turned back. “All right. Much as I wanted to visit my flat, I have to agree, it’s risky. I thought about only standing down on the street below Kavanagh Towers, but that’s probably where those MIBs would be parked. But I don’t like it here.” He looked up and around. “Nearly drowned once when I was a kid. But never mind that. My cousin Todd died, several months ago…which, I know, is telling, since we all seem to have someone who died recently…but, regardless, he left me his home in Warburton, Victoria. And I doubt those MIB will be waiting for us there. It’s like Lang’s – out in the country, with the nearest neighbor about sixty meters away. What about it, mates?”

“Why do you want to go there?” Dad asked.

“I just want us to think a bit. See if we can figure out our next moves. And a big plus, the scenery is beautiful there. Maybe we can even relax.”

Evan did the math in his head. “Is sixty meters about two hundred feet?”

“Yeah, kid. About. So, we’re not that close to other people.”

Kyleigh walked over and stood by Dad. “Warburton is up in the mountains, Lang.” She concentrated on Dad completely, totally ignoring Robert. “It is beautiful. It would be fine with me, if we go there.” She even gave Dad some of those loving looks again.

And Dad sort of let out a few of those looks himself.

Finally. They were realizing they needed each other. Anything to get Dad out of those terrible slumps of missing Mom. Anything - although, no one could ever truly replace Mom, not really.

Dad and the others finally agreed to go there too.

“And I’m okay with it,” Evan said. “Especially since those MIBs probably don’t know about it.”

Robert looked at Evan. “Can we form in a hull tent?”

“Why?”

“I want to hold your hand, to see if by doing that it represents some sort of symbolic gesture to the hull, even though I don’t see why it’s necessary.”

Evan shrugged. “Well, okay.” He looked up at Dad, now having his eyes all on Evan instead of Kyleigh. “Is that okay?”

Dad let out a grumbling sigh. “Well, I guess so. We don’t even know if it will work.”

“Can I give it a try, Lang?” Robert asked.

Disappointment on his face, Dad nodded in silence.

They formed a small hull tent, right in the water. How different, amazing and beautiful; the orange-tinted hull swept through its rapid joining motion against the background of the underwater scenery, and completely protected the entire process from any gushing water.

Geesh. It was sad they had to leave this place.

Robert took hold of Evan’s hand. “I’m thinking about Todd’s home. Try moving us now.”

Evan closed his eyes. Surprisingly, a faint image showed up, right inside his closed eyelids. It was a pleasant image, showing a small white home on a property that sloped downward, since it was on the side of a hill. He opened his eyes. The same image was before him, only much more distinct. “Cool! It worked!”

Robert was chuckling quietly. “Yeah, kid. You did it.” He released Evan’s hand. “You like the view?”

Evan took in more. First of all, the others were all here too, in the same positions as they were underwater. Alan didn’t look too happy, though, since he was probably still messing with that stingray when they left. But they were all standing on the home’s downward-sloping driveway. The driveway led to a small home, with four nice sliding glass doors on the front-facing wall of the home, all four doors made of those checkerboard-like windows. Each sliding door opened to one large wooden deck. And everywhere else was green grass and shrubs, some with flowers, but no colored leaves. “It’s not fall here?”

“No, kid. We’re just entering spring down here. Seasons are reversed. So, you like it here?”

“Yeah, it’s really nice.”

And it really was. Beyond the home, straight ahead of them, was a view of rolling mountains, with smooth, rounded tops, covered by thick green forests.

After Robert left their small hull tent, he led everyone to a side door on the home’s right side.

Evan looked around, but he couldn’t see any people anywhere. The closest house probably was about 200 real feet away, but it actually felt too close, though.

They entered the house. Wow. What an awesome home – three levels were visible, to the left, right, and straight ahead. The middle level they stood upon had a nice tan and red rug over a rustic wooden floor, with a big dining room table on it, while there was a small kitchen to the far end of the room. The lower level to the right, down four carpeted steps, was obviously a living room, with sofas, a coffee table, more carpet, and a TV. The upper level to the left, with four steps going up, led to an open, railed hallway, with open doorways revealing a bathroom and some bedrooms.

“Very nice home,” Dad said, looking around. His eyes eventually ended upwards on the thick wooden beams of the sloped ceiling.

“Yes,” Nahas said, “I agree.”

“Thank you, mates,” Robert said. “And see, I appreciate the country too, which is why Todd left me this place.” He made an ugly frown. “But sure feels damn, freaking strange to be in this place now.”

Alan poked at a small ceramic statue on a wooden table. “Hey. Was Todd Buddhist?”

“No. Actually, Todd was a Christian, believe it or not. He had that statue around for me.”

Suddenly quite curious, Akina walked over to Robert. “Are you Buddhist?”

“Well, no. But I have to admit, if there was one religion I’d follow, it would be Buddhism. Peaceful. Selfless. Open to all. The only religion that makes any sense to me.”

“There are many wonderful, beautiful Buddhist temples in Japan,” Akina said. “I would have loved to shown them to all of you. And Tokyo. And Tokyo Disneyland, or the Trick Art Gallery, with optical illusions. Or Tokyo Tower. Or where I work, Kireina Yama Hotel Sendai.”

Those places heightened Evan’s interest immediately. “Really? Darn, I wish we could. But all those spots have lots of people there.”

“I know,” Akina said sadly. “Maybe some other time.”

Like Dad’s words, if only what she said could be true. But that just didn’t seem possible, not at this point. Something dark, and dreary, invaded Evan’s mind whenever he thought of time in the near future.

Alan walked over to the stairs going down to the living room, and hobbled down each big step, like a little kid. When on the living room floor, he hurried over to another sliding glass door. He sure loves running over to windows. A huge deck was outside the glass doors. “Great view!”

“Why so many sliding glass doors in this place?” Evan asked.

“Not sure.” Robert looked at Alan. “Yeah, it is a great view.”

Robert hobbled down the stairs himself, having even more trouble than Alan, and asked everyone to come see the view outside.

Evan followed along and hopped down each soft step. Though it was fun, suddenly horrible, scary feelings stabbed through him, at how tiny he was now. No! They’re not gonna spoil the fun. Be gone, stupid thoughts. He chased them away, finally.

After everyone passed through the glass doors, which was nearly instantaneous and revealed nothing really to see in the glass, they stood upon the spacious, wide deck, with a great view.

“This is a very pleasant sight for weary minds.” Dad was gazing out beyond pine and willow trees growing along the back yard’s perimeter, to the forest-covered mountains in the distance. “Very much so.”

Nahas nodded. “Yes, I would agree, except for those disturbing sights and sounds.” He pointed at a bird flying by. The bird’s flapping wings were clearly visible as in single movie frames, and its chirping was low, deep, and frightening. “And I’m never going to be adjusted to the sky now. It just doesn’t look right.”

Evan looked up too. The sky was too large, too broad, like the entire sky was being viewed under a massive magnifying glass. “Yeah, Nahas. I see what you mean.”

“Hey, I want to say something.” Robert positioned himself pretty much in the center of everyone else. He crossed his arms over his chest under his hull and took on a suspicious, tough face. “I think we need to get this out, once and for all.” He glanced from Kyleigh to Dad to Nahas, and then to Akina. “So, all of you had suicide prayers. You all prayed for your God to take you home. Be honest.”

 “I already told you that I did,” Akina said. “Is that why you assume it from the others?”

“Well, yeah.” Robert looked at Kyleigh. “What about it, bus driver. Were you praying to die while you were driving us about?”

Kyleigh’s eyes squinted with disgust and anger. “What? Why do you need to know this now?”

“Ah, so you were. And for your info, I need to know because I’m trying again to figure out what exactly these aliens want from us.” He looked at Dad. “What about you, Lang?”

Evan couldn’t help himself. He just had to say something. “Dad. Please. You still need to tell me, because of that deal you made.” 

Dad had his eyes on Kyleigh. She had turned away, ashamed, her head facing downward. Dad frowned, and sighed quietly. “You’re right, Evan. I owe you this.” His sad eyes met Evan’s wondering stare. “Yes. I did. I just…I just felt I was being a terrible father to you, with those frequent bouts of seeing your mom, not accepting her being gone. I’m really… really sorry.”

A wrenching feeling twisted around Evan’s heart. “No, Dad. You don’t need to be sorry. I understand…very much.” Tears even began wetting Evan’s eyes. No. Go away!

“Okay, so we got that out.” Robert looked at Nahas. “You too?”

Robert’s abrupt response made the tears stop, fortunately.

Nahas formed a half-frown and gave Robert a sideways stare. “Yes, but I don’t like the way you’re carrying this out.”

“All right. I know. I’m a cold bastard.” Robert was then quiet for a while. “Okay. So you all prayed for joining your God, and then, for some blasted reason, we end up with seven of us. Why seven?”

“I have thought of this too,” Nahas said. “The number seven. It means completion, or perfection, in the Bible. So, why seven of us? This whole situation is nowhere near complete or perfect.”

“These aliens have a sense of humor and deceit,” Robert answered. “They want us to believe God is doing this, for some damn, unknown reason.”

“Again?” Alan was staring out across the deck to the right of where they all stood. Beyond some hanging tree branches, toward Robert’s nearest neighbor, a figure slowly moved. “Another bloody oldster, gawking at us. And he’s stepping closer. Probably gonna call the authorities on his cell phone, if he has one.”

Robert focused in the same direction. “Old man Martin. He gets suspicious sometimes. We should leave. Looks like we’re never going to find any peace out here.”

“We really shouldn’t be here anyway,” Kyleigh said. “Don’t any of you worry that we could harm the local people?”

“I’ve been thinking about it,” Dad told her. “And Indalo’s second to the last image may not have happened yet. It shows them all arguing about something. So, that would have to occur first, before any explosions take place from Indalo’s last image. But, I don’t--”

“But you can’t say if it’s happened yet,” Robert interrupted. “None of us can. So I get it. We should leave now. Problem is, where to?”

“Antarctica!” Akina said happily. “They wouldn’t think to look for us there. And there is nobody there we could hurt.”

“Good suggestion. But if the hull allows satellites to work, we’ll stand out very easily against the white background, especially you with your red sweater. Wish we could go to a footy stadium, the infamous Melbourne Cricket Ground.”

“Here, here!” Alan said. “I second that. Would be bloody awesome!”

“Footy?” Dad asked. “Is that like football?”

“Sort of. Not exactly. A bit like soccer, a bit like football.” Robert’s explanation was somewhat vague. “If we could watch a game, and you’d see for yourself.”

“Hell, yeah!” Alan yelled and shot his fist up. “And see it in slow-mo, so we know for sure the umpires have it right.”

Robert laughed. “No joking, right on, mate. But there would be too many people.”

“Antarctica sounds good to me,” Evan said, shrugging, though in truth it sounded rather boring.

 “Wait.” Kyleigh walked closer to Evan. “Evan. Do you think we could see a planet again, before Antarctica?” She looked at Akina. “Would that be all right with you too?”

“Sure, I don’t mind,” Akina replied. “Another planet would be nice.”

“Sounds like a good idea to me,” Dad said, though he was probably just trying to get along better with Kyleigh.

But either way, this actually sounded like a great idea, if they all agreed. “Well, um…” Evan looked around at the others, especially Robert. “You guys okay with that?”

“Why not?” Robert said. “They certainly can’t spy on us, or see us there. I’m in.”

Nahas and Alan each said they were fine with it too.

“Okay then.” Evan smiled, a rush of excitement surging through his body. “And I’ll bring the bus too, so we can sit down and rest again.”

“Jupiter,” Kyleigh said. “I would love to see Jupiter.”

“It’s a gas giant,” Nahas said. “It doesn’t have a surface, really.”

“I would still like to go there,” she said.

“I’ll get the hull to float us up high, in Jupiter’s atmosphere.” Evan closed his eyes. “You’ll see.”