The last time seeing his mother, sister, and Isadora had been a sad, but rewarding time. Emma decided on staying in Boston for a while and Lena chose to take Isadora's job. That was just the way things were and Liam had no choice but to accept them. And he had no trouble at all doing so. There was a world out there to save and a ship to save it with. Liam took the mantle of captain and the crew followed him. Only that mattered. Liam could either go on or die.
He stood on the dock beside the Holdsworth and took just a moment to look over his ship. She had been cleaned and looked sleeker than ever thanks to the cable-laying equipment finally being removed. They had even applied a new paint job to most of the hull. She didn't look new, but she looked better than before. In fact, Liam couldn't remember seeing the Holdsworth in such pristine condition. Once he gave Steelewood a list of supplies he needed, they pitched in above and beyond. Isadora even sent workers and engineers to help get the refits done. They even contributed some great ideas and brought in some state-of-the art components. Liam had never been more confident in his ship.
His ship. Liam doubted he could ever get used to that.
João Santos came beside Liam and said, “Capitão Mitchell? The ship is ready to go.”
“Excellent,” Liam said. Let's get underway.”
Emma stepped out of the restaurant and sighed. She stayed behind longer than the others to have another beer. She had two more, but stopped there. Her hook brought in a stare or two, but Emma had better learned how to ignore it. She actually came to enjoy a bit of the attention. The others at the bar were impressed with her ability to hold a beer mug with her hook. No one commented, but they certainly stared. She wished she could say that she didn't care, but she did.
The cool air hit her and she pulled in her coat to compensate. Such a trivial task was not easy, but Emma learned methods of dealing with it. Adjustment was not as difficult as putting the damn thing on. So many times her sleeve got caught on her hook. But it didn't matter. Emma sighed to the phrase, “It is what it is.”
Liam had made one last case for Lena and Emma to come back to the Holdsworth. He clearly wanted his family close and clearly loved, but once he was sure there was nothing left to say to change their minds, he stopped. He lied through his teeth saying he was happy for them. Emma knew when Liam lied. He was better at it than she was, but he lied. Emma knew that her staying behind killed her brother inside. Liam was the one reason Emma wanting to stay hurt.
She walked down the street. There wasn't any direction to her walking. She could go left or right and she chose left just to walk. After a few minutes of thoughtless roaming, she realized she was heading towards the docks. Maybe that was what she wanted. How could she be so stupid? Of course it was.
She didn't have long.
Lena rest her head against the window of Isadora's limousine. The sunsetting city of Boston passed beside her. She didn't care. But she did realize, “It's gonna be real weird livin' and not floatin'.”
“Do what?” Isadora chuckled.
“I'm just thinkin' out loud. I lived in a boat for twenty-five years. Now I'm gonna live in your fortress of doom.”
“Lena, I can't tell you just how glad I am you've accepted. If there's anything I've been needing, it's a friend and- and you're just that.”
“Aw,” Lena said in several octaves. “You're my friend too, Isadora.”
“I know. And I'm going to do my very best to make this as pleasant for you as possible.”
“I'm just- I'm sad I won't see Liam or Emma.”
“I know we'll see Liam. He'll come to Boston or we'll go to him.”
“Yes. So long as he's docked in proximity to an airport, we can go and see him.”
“Oh, that's amazing!” Lena beamed. “I was so scared it was gonna be years and years before- but now! That's great!”
“And with the work you've done on the Fujikawa Network, you'll be able to keep in touch like never before.”
“Hope he actually calls.”
“I'm certain he will.”
“My mom used to get onto me all the time for not callin'. She even bought me a cell phone once. There wasn't any dang way to get through her head that there ain't Bell South in Saudi Arabia. Heck, there wasn't any dang way to get it through her head that Bell South ain't even a thing.”
“What the hell is Bell South?”
Liam's thoughts lingered on his sister. Sure, he would miss his mother as well, but Emma's absence truly affected every part of his life. No longer would they share a room, no longer would she play bait on missions, no longer would they cheat at endless card games.... Liam stopped himself form finishing that line of thought. There was no time for feeling her absence. Life was going to go on without her.
Liam clutched the helm and announced, “Engines to one-half power, reverse turn.”
João Santos answered, “Sim, engines to one-half reverse.” The Brazilian pulled the lever and the Holdsworth slowly breathed new life.
Liam grasped the helm tightly. Something felt different about the rudder, but that was probably because either someone finally did the maintenance on it or maybe it was entirely replaced. Either way, it felt looser and Liam had to fight the ship's natural want to drift. The rudder chain might have been greased. Liam shrugged and realized it didn't matter. And then he realized that he was thinking in business mode and it felt good. Liam was happiest working and captaining was sure to keep him busy.
With care, he pulled the wheel to the left and the ship turned with him. There was something about having a behemoth answering his commands, doing as he pleased. Once the ship had turned around to face the vast ocean ahead, Liam ordered, “All ahead, three quarter power.”
“Sim, all head three-quarter.”
Slowly, the Holdsworth switched from reversing and accelerated smoothly into the night. The sun hid away behind them and Liam sighed, “This is it.”
Emma stopped breathlessly at the vacant dock. Her legs hurt like hell and her lungs couldn't hold air the way they could before she was nearly eaten. But none of that mattered. She spotted the Holdsworth out in the harbor executing a turn-around. It was too late. Liam was gone. The Holdsworth was gone and Emma stuck left behind. She stared hard at her home floating away. Her heart sank.
She let herself fall and landed flat on her bottom. There was no one close by, no one around who would care. Emma just sat there at the harbor and watched the Holdsworth sail away. She didn't cry though. She didn't scream or say anything. She simply watched. There was nothing she could do and Emma hated that, but doing something useless couldn't possibly help matters. So she just sat there. She couldn't go home to her ship and she had no interest in going back to her bed at Steelewood Headquarters.
Emma hated herself then. She hated her stupid decision to stay back on land. Who the hell would do that? She was perfectly happy the way things were. But change had to happen. Change was inevitable. Emma hated it, but life was all about change lately. Her father was murdered, her mother had been stolen by Isadora, her brother was captain, and Emma herself had to live basically disabled for the rest of her life. It came to Emma that she could never be happy in the same way again. It would never happen. Life could never be the same Holdsworth or not.
Neither side of life was made for Emma Mitchell.
But she was forced into one. She had to stay in North America and she had to try and assemble a new life. Emma got back on her feet. She had no clue whatsoever where to go or what life might ask of her. The horizon was terrifying, but that's all there was. Emma looked on to the future and relented to accept it. There was no use fighting the change. Not anymore.
She walked away from the docks and disappeared into the city. She had no destination in mind, only the will to roam....
Isadora Fleming remained the CEO of Steelewood Industries for eleven more years. Her changes to the company brought about more rapid restoration and charity for the world as a whole. When she retired, she was replaced by Benjamin Duckett, who worked hard to maintain Isadora's efforts. Duckett was never as strong as she and some of Steelewood's old policies returned. A great deal of Isadora's legacy remained though. The company would never be the same.
Lena stayed by Isadora's side until she passed away just a year after Isadora retired. Her passing was sudden, but peaceful.
Liam remained captain of the Holdsworth until the ship finally gave out from age. The cost of maintaining her simply outgrew her usefulness. Because of all of the charitable deeds and well-doing of the Holdsworth and her crew, hundreds of people gathered up enough funds to purchase a new ship, which was called Holdsworth II. The new ship was nearly twice the size of the Holdsworth. Liam only captained the new ship for three years before he finally stepped down at age seventy-two.
Lena's passing brought Liam and Emma back together for the first time in a dozen years. Emma roamed the American countryside for all twelve of those years. She never settled down in that time. For two years, she returned to the Holdsworth, but eventually left, never to be heard from again. No one is certain what became of Emma Mitchell.