The silence said it all to Gordon, the horrific mind-numbing silence, told him, everyone else was in a bad way.

'I'm guessing that they're not ok?' He said very quietly, eyes remaining focussed on Alan.

Alan looked positively white, to Gordon it seemed as if he could keel over at any minute. He looked at Gordon, then the floor, then Gordon again until finally he shook his head, silently.

'So how bad are they?' Gordon asked desperately hoping that there was some way they could have escaped serious injury.

Again, the nervous looks, the silence, until ever-reliable, ultra- responsible Scott stepped forward.

Virgil shared a meaningful glance with his elder brother before moving aside and letting Scott sit on the bed.

Looking back Gordon would say that that was when he knew that they were all dead, that moment he saw the dreadfully appalled expression on his eldest brother's face before Scott told him the news. But at the time he didn't believe it till he heard the words.

'Listen....' Scott began, taking Gordon's hand and Gordon started shaking his head very slowly, even before he'd finished the sentance. 'It was a horrific crash Gordo, you were all seriously hurt.......'

'But they're ok right,the Commander, Curtis, Noel, Sam?'

Scott shook his head, 'Curtis is ok...'

Gordon missed the collective disgusted looks at Scott's comment.

'Commander Brown.......' he shook his head trailing off.

Gordon swallowed hard, determined not to lose it, he looked back up at Scott with a desperately awful feeling that worse was to come.

'Noel and Sam, they didn't make it.'

His family were staring at him wondering how he'd react. Gordon felt numb, he felt like he was trapped in some alternate universe, he'd only spoken to Noel and Sam, a few days ago. Then he felt a rising sense of panic.

'Jack? But Jack he's alright right?' He heard himself ask his voice pleading with his brother to tell him some good news, to give him something to work on.

Scott looked away, at his father, Jeff answered this time, 'No son' he said gruffly, 'I'm afraid he's not. He passed away a few days ago.'

Gordon felt nauseous, for a moment he raised a hand to his mouth, sure he'd be sick, but then the feeling subsided and he schooled his face to some level of neutrality.

He mentally shook himself for the question he knew would be the hardest, the question he feared the most above all others, 'and Steph?' He heard himself ask, and was surprised at the lack of emotion he heard in his voice.

'Is she alive?'

Scott ran his free hand through his hair, and Gordon knew.

He knew in the second he saw John biting his lip, Virgil unable to meet his eyes, the single tear falling down Alan's cheek, and the way his father hung his head.

Scott took a shaky breath, 'No Gordo, she's not. I'm so sorry but she's not.'

Everyone in the room was crying but Gordon, he looked at them all and he couldn't comprehend what had happened, no-one was alive, there just had to be more than him and Redding, it was a 7 man crew! How could they all be dead? Steph? Jack? Noel? Sam? Commander Brown? How?

He heard himself say, 'ok, thanks for telling me.'

He felt nothing, no sadness, no remorse, just a huge sense of shock and disbelief, like this wasn't really happening.

His brothers and father stared at him, obviously worried by his lack of emotion,

'Gordy.........' Alan attempted.

Gordon interrupted, 'if you don't mind I'd rather be on my own right now if that's ok?'

His voice sounded completely unemotional.

'No that's not ok Gordo, we're not leaving you alone right now.' Virgil frowned at him.

'Virg, I'm ok, really, listen,I'd just rather have some time to myself.'

'No Virg's right, there's plenty of time for you to have time alone later.' Scott put in.

'Look you're alright to leave me you know, there's no razers or rope in here, nothing I can top myself with you know, so it's ok.' Gordon's voice kept up it's toneless words.

His family stared at him, horrified by his words.

Jeff spoke in his usual no-nonsense tone, 'well that may be, son but we're not leaving you so that's the end of it.'

Gordon stared for a good 5 seconds at his father and then nodded, 'fine, doesn't bother me.'

The room descended into silence again, no one knowing what to say.

Gordon broke it, 'so' he said retrieving something from the bedside table and forcing his tone to become chirpy, 'who's up for a game of cards?'

_______________________________________________

SO

WILL GORDON KEEP LIVING IN DENIAL,

FIND OUT IN THE NEXT PART OF '2026'