Part II – Action
“The first requirement in taking a step in the right direction is to take a step in some direction.” Robert Brault.
“It was the weirdest of weirdo experiences,” Jack told the other two.
“Yeah, I know,” Joel looked from Jack to Mark.
“Same here. I think they mixed my memories with some other kid.”
Whatever had happened all three agreed on one thing, it was like nothing else they had ever experienced.
“You need to get some sleep,” Joseph told them. “I know it sounds a bit odd, after you’ve been dreaming through your memories, but it's necessary. So go to bed and we'll pick things up in the morning.”
He left them in the large bedroom with the single big bed.
“What do you think happens next,” Mark asked as he was getting undressed.
“I got no idea, except...” and as he said that Joel leapt on Mark and wrapped his arms around him. They fell together propelled by the momentum onto the bed.
“I think he said get some sleep dudes,” Jack was smiling at the two of them.
They separated, laying back down and looked at him.
“Come and join us then.” Joel smiled at Jack.
“Unless you wanna sleep on the floor,” Mark added.
Jack pulled off his sweat and kicked off his shoes. Standing in front of the two of them he flipped open the top button of his jeans, slowly pulled the zipper down, revealing a hint of red. Mark was staring, Joel grinning. Jack slid out of his jeans and stood there in just his underpants, he had a very nice body, a little white, but totally smooth. It didn't escape Joel's attention that Mark's cock was sticking straight out as he watched.
“I see someone liked the show,” Jack grinned at Mark, then came to join them on the bed. In very little time Joel had stripped and the three of them had squirmed under the sheets together.
“How long will it take you to reprogram the car,” Eve asked.
“Not long, maybe thirty minutes or so,” Andre replied.
“Okay well as quickly as possible. I don't want to hang around too long.”
“I’ll plug the memory chip in and we can see what we've got.” Evan took the little memory stick and pushed it into the console as Andre set about the reprogramming.
On the screen in front of them was displayed a list of information, as much as they had had time to grab before the hack was detected.
Location 312003, 1205027
Executive list not available
Launch instructions not available
Access codes 6799859, 6744321
Procedure not available
Checklist not available
Data control Morro Bay Facility Four
Journey time estimate 998 years
“Wow, what the hell does that all mean,” Mark spoke outloud.
“It doesn't look like a viable escape plan for humans unless they have some really long hibernation system, which we know there isn't.” Evan added.
“We can worry about all that later,” Eve said. “It's obvious our only course of action is to get to Morro Bay and either find Professor Madison or find this Facility Four. Whatever it is, it could be useful.”
“I'll be finished in five minutes, it's easier than I thought. Then we can get out of here,” Andre told them.
“We need to consider our next step carefully,” Professor Madison was addressing the boys. “I think you will agree with me that getting your mom and Charlie here, along with your brother,” he glanced at Mark, “would be a good move.”
“Of course we agree,” Joel said, “but how do we do that?”
“Yeah, once we've found you we're supposed to contact Kado using the sat phone.” Jack added.
“Phone and say the professor wants everyone together. Get them all here, including Kado and Henry.”
“You really think it’s that easy? That they'll just all pack up and come on down, like one big happy family.” Sometimes Mark's immaturity annoyed Joel.
“Well, why not? If you tell them about the Plan B.”
“He's right,” Professor Madison stated. “It's probably the only thing that will work to get them here. There isn't too much time to do anything else. If Project Weatherman isn't successful, then we all have to leave or die along with the planet.”
“Well okay then, I'll make the call. Get the sat phone Jack.” Joel was thinking he'd judged Mark wrongly on that one, the youngster was not so stupid. He'd make it up to him later.
Jack pulled the phone out from his backpack and handed it to Joel. Everyone was quiet as he put through the call.
“Kado,” Joel said on hearing him pick up the call.
There was no speaker option on the sat phone so everyone apart from Joel heard only one side of the conversation.
“Good news, we found them.
“The situation is good and bad.
“Well first off the cloud seeding is well underway.
“Yes. It had started before we got here.
“No. Once it’s initiated there’s no off switch.
“No, but here is something that puts a whole other dimension on things.”
Joel then explained about the interstellar evacuation Plan B. He suggested they should all come here. He told Kado that he needed to move quick, because nobody really had any idea as to whether or not the cloud seeding would work and if it failed, they might never make it here. Joel said he wanted his family here and Steve. They could sort everything out when he arrived, his uncle was willing to give him the low down on everything, there was nothing to keep back anymore.
Finally, he ended the call and Jack and Mark were obviously eager to know what Kado’s answer was. His uncle wanted to know as well, but was a bit more restrained about it than were the boys.
“Okay, he will talk to Henry and call back soon.”
“And Steve was there with them?” Mark asked.
“Yes. Steve found my mom and Charlie and they are all back at Mount Columbus.”
“What about Grif?” Jack wanted to know.
“I never asked. I thought one thing at a time, I'll ask him when he calls back.”
They would all now have to wait on that call to see what happens.
“It's done,” Andre told them. “What next?”
“Morro Bay,” Eve told him. “Can you get us there?”
“The location given,” Evan interrupted. “I think those numbers are the GPS coordinates. Degrees, minutes and seconds. If I'm right and you enter them we should arrive at the exact location of the facility.”
Andre called up the destination screen and keyed in the numbers as GPS degrees, minutes and seconds.
“Good work,” Andre looked up at Evan. “That takes us right to the place, somewhere in a park area of Morro Bay.” He hit the GoTo destination key.
“Your destination is not within the grid. Please enter an available destination.” A rather nicely spoken woman’s voice filled the interior of the vehicle.
“Override,” Andre commanded.
The engines came alive with a humming vibration and the car once again took off.
“Estimated energy reserves insufficient for the distance.” The woman's voice was once more there with them.
“Detail the short fall,” Andre questioned the computer.
“Estimated ZERO batteries at 2.97 miles from destination. There is no recharge station known.”
“Well if she's right we'll have a three mile walk at the end of this."
Kado had decided not to explain everything to Henry. Now, he thought, it was time to leave Henry here and go to Morro Bay with Joel's family and Steve. What he did tell Henry was that he needed to take everyone with him to Morro Bay and that was because he might need to negotiate with Madison. He did not tell Henry that Project Weatherman had launched and could not now really be sabotaged. However, that maybe wasn't entirely true. It couldn’t be stopped Joel had told him, but perhaps it could be made to fail?
Grif was still unconscious, so he would stay there under medical supervision, but he would allocate a vehicle to follow. Because he was sure the boys would ask, he could tell them that Grif was recovering – a lie, but was still to weak to travel – a quasi-truth.
Joel, Jack and Mark took time out to watch the video on Operation ReGen and another short documentary on what the professor had named Plan B. None of these seemed to Joel to offer any hope for them, here and now. Jack and Mark were pretty much banking on the cloud seeding working, but none of them really understood the concepts.
What was especially difficult to grasp was the memory transfer they had each been through. Having a robot with your memories, that could act and think, walk and talk as Mark put it, what would that mean?
“It can't really be me, just a double that knows everything about me. It's absolutely crazy no?” Mark looked across at Joel as if he might magically have the answer to that question.
“Yeah it’s weird, and what would it do moving forward?”
“Moving forward?” Jack didn't get what he was talking about.
“Yeah, like when the robot has to decide something. Is it gonna use your memories in that choice? On it’s own a robot just makes logical choices.”
“You mean if I had to decide whether to leave here and go find Steve, I would do it because he’s my brother. Would my robot self do It?”
Mark wondered about this, how would memories interact with logic. The short video gave no real clues, it was almost as if, whoever came up with the concept had no idea of the consequences. What it more or less showed was some people, scientists, who had developed a process of memory transfer from human to robot. So now they were using it, but no one knew the outcome.
“We're guinea pigs!” Mark exclaimed.
“Yeah, perhaps,” Joel responded. “I wonder what your robot self would say if I wanted to fuck him.”
Jack burst out laughing. “He'd tell you go fuck yourself human!”
“You guys only ever think about sex. I was being serious.”
“Well, being serious,” Joel made a serious face. “The robot might change his decision because of your memories. That is, he might decide he should leave to find Steve because of the kinds of memories he had.”
“In that case,” Jack said, still laughing. “I take it back! The robot wouldn't say go fuck yourself, he'd say you better make it last longer than last time!”
Mark started smiling and Joel had a big grin on his face. “What you been telling him Mark?”
All three ended up laughing so hard that they were almost crying.
Just as Joel was recovering, the sat phone rang.
“That'll be Kado,” he picked it up. “Right on cue!”
The others listened as Joel replied.
“Yes, okay fine, that's great.
“But how's he doing?
“Okay, I get it.
“So we wait.
“Yes, see you tomorrow then. I'll let my uncle know.”
The call ended. Joel put down the phone and turned to Mark and Jack.
“Kado’s coming here tomorrow. With my mom, Charlie and Steve. Grif is doing okay, but he can't travel, so he might follow later. That's all he said.”
“I don't trust him one hundred percent. He always tells half truths and mixes stuff up. He uses people.” Jack told them.
“Yeah, but it's like that, we don't have a choice in how things play out.”