Feb 7, 2012


Isadora spent the entirety of her afternoon waiting. At about two o'clock she made her way down to the port area and waited in her car. Staying in her apartment proved to be too much. After lunch, she had nothing to do but sit around and wait. If she went down to the port, then she at least felt closer. After an hour, she got out of her car and took a walk. The skies were overcast and the air cool. It was enough to make her appreciate the jacket she brought along.

On her way to the actual docking pylon, she passed by the Fujikawa Network western receiving point. There were technicians running about working to have the system ready for the Line's arrival. They all seemed confused, like they lacked direction. Isadora knew why. Constance was dead. She felt for a second that she should tell them, but decided against it. They had enough problems to deal with. Still, Isadora felt terrible about Constance's death. He died helping her and likely saved her life. She hoped that his death would not be in vain.

She walked down the dock and sat down on a bench at the end. It was not long before she spotted a ship coming in from the horizon....

Standing at the ship's rear loading bay, Captain Hank Mitchell realized he had not felt this excited in a long time. Finally, they were pulling into port at Boston where their latest mission, one which had lasted years, would finally end. Hank looked forward to taking a break from worrying about the Fujikawa Network. He planned to spend a week or two in Boston with his family, just enjoying time to relax. Beyond that, he was thrilled to see his old friend, Constance, again.

There was still work to be done. The line would have to be connected and tested, then the Holdsworth once again would need to be refit to have the bulky, ugly cable-laying equipment removed. Hank would also have to find new work. Someone was always looking to move something across the Atlantic, so he was not worried. Finding the right work, on the other hand, was more difficult. Oftentimes, the pay was too small or the job less than savory. Hank insisted on doing honest work.

Lena came to her husband's side and held his hand. “You ready for this, darlin'?”

“There aren't words.”

Hank suspected he might see Isadora again, but ever should she be in Boston, such was unlikely. He would never have expected that she would be first to greet him on the docking platform. Yet there she was, standing with her arms behind her back and bearing an unreadable expression. Hank and Lena exchanged glances, then Lena beamed, “Isadora!”

Their cold old friend surrendered a swarm smile as Lena charged her for a hug. “It is very good to see you both. You have no idea,” Isadora said. “You couldn't have come at a better time.”

Hank embraced their English friend when Lena let go and asked, “How you doin'?”

“Not well,” she said with a frankness Hank did not recognize.

“Aw,” Lena made one of those faces.

“I'm glad you're here,” Isadora said. “We need to talk.”

“What ab-”

“Sergei!” Isadora exclaimed as her son stepped off the Holdsworth along with Emma and Liam.

In the most strangely nonchalant manner Hank could imagine, Sergei said, “Mother,” and embraced her. Their hug lasted less than two seconds.

“Are you alright, Sergei?” Isadora asked.

“I am, mother,” he replied. “How is it here?”

“Not well,” Isadora said. “We'll need to discuss them later though.”

To Lena, Hank whispered, “Good God.”

Lena made another one of those faces as she nodded.

“How was your trip?” Isadora asked.

“Well, it was more exciting that I would have liked,” Hank said. “We had two funerals, one for a crewman and one for- you remember Ivanov, right?”

“The private from the airfield?”

“Yeah, that's the one,” Hank nodded. “He passed on. He came to us in Lisbon and died not too long after.”

“I'm sorry to here that.”

“Yeah, me too,” Hank said somberly. “Look, I gotta ask because you might know. Do you anything about someone called 'the Shadow'?”

“'The Shadow'?” Isadora's facial expression remained a blank slate. She once again proved absolutely unreadable. “I can get my intelligence analysts to look into it, but it doesn't ring a bell at all.”

Hank suspected she could be lying, but there was no way of knowing. Perhaps he could bring this up later. He changed the subject, “Well, thanks. You seen a rather chubby fella around here? Goes by ConArt?”

Isadora looked down at the floor, “Hank we need to talk about that.”

“What do you mean?”

“He's dead.”


“It happened last night,” Isadora looked him in the eye. “He died saving my life.”

Hank fumed, “What the hell happened?”

“I can't tell you here,” she looked over her shoulder. “Can we talk inside?”

“Yeah, we will,” Hank clenched his fist. “Yeah, we will.” Lena touched her husband's shoulder. He sighed, comforted.

“Hey, dad,” Liam cut in. “I'm gonna head up inside and make sure the computer systems are prepped.”

“Go ahead,” Hank nodded. “We'll be there in a minute.”

“Right,” Liam nodded as he was off. Emma and Sergei followed.

“Does the crew here know?” Hank asked Isadora.

“No,” she sighed. “It happened just last night. I haven't told a soul.”

“Well, we gotta break the news,” Hank said. “Come on, let's go.”

The inside of the Fujikawa Network headquarters in Boston was very much like the one in Lisbon. There were maybe twenty computers in the main room with a master screen at the front. Liam felt right at home. He sat down at one of the computers and logged himself in.

Emma pulled up a chair and sat beside him, “So, ConArt-”

“I don't really want to think about that right now,” Liam sighed as he pulled up the program they used to perform diagnostics on the network; a program Liam helped design. “I just want to get this done.”

“I wonder who killed him,” Sergei said. “My mother said he died saving her life. But from what? Or who?”

“I don't care who it was,” Emma puffed. “I'm gonna make 'em pay.”

“Hey,” Liam snapped his finger. “Let's talk about this later, I need to concen-” His computer and all of the lights in the room suddenly died. “Hey, what the hell?”

A set of yellow emergency lights came on as Emma asked, “What just happened?”

“The power's out,” Sergei astutely noted. “Bloody brilliant timing.”

A tech came rushing into the room and said, “The power systems are down, but not from our end.”

“Dammit, dammit, dammit,” Liam slammed his fist into the desk. “How do we get the power back on?”

Hank, Lena, and Isadora walked in. Hank asked, “What's happening?”

“Power's out,” Liam told him briskly and turned back to the tech, “What do we have to do to get it back on?”

“It's not dead on our end,” the tech replied. “It's dead at the power plant.”

“The power plant?”

“We use a small power facility just north of here,” the tech said. “We lost contact with them two days ago, but the power stayed on. We sent someone to investigate, but they haven't come back. Since the power stayed on, it wasn't really a priority.”

“You lost contact?” Hank growled. “They could be hurt or in danger and they aren't priority?”

“We need to get the Network-”

Hank shook his head, “Yeah, we do. Ideas?”

Liam said, “I'll go.”

“Won't we need you here to-”

“Look, you need someone who knows what he's doing,” Liam argued. “And if people are disappearing, we both know what probably happened. I can get that power plant working and I can kick ass doing it.”

Hank nodded, “Take someone with you.”

“I'm going,” Emma stated firmly.

Lena said, “No, you still need to-”

“I'm fine,” Emma growled. “I can do this. You won't stop me.”

“I'm going as well,” Sergei said.

Emma rolled her eyes, “Okay, look, he can't-”

“That's fine,” Liam stood up. “I'm taking Emma and Sergei, and we're gonna go up to the power station and get this sorted out.'
“Okay,” Hank nodded.

“But Hank,” Lena interrupted, “what about Emma's leg?”

Emma scoffed, “I can do this. I'm better. I'm ready.”

Hank looked to Lena, then back to Emma, “You're sure?”

“I am,” Emma said, leaving no room for reservation.

So Hank said, “Then get suited up.”

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