ALL THINGS CONSIDERED
Rating: PG-13 (profanity, adult situations)
Disclaimer: Amblin and Universal own it. Whatever.
Author's notes: A huge thanks to FCB Kate and to Manuela for their beta and for all of their wonderful help.
More author's notes: This is the sequel to my fic, "The Greater Good." I'll summarize it for you, so you don't have to go back and read it again. Devon became sick and was placed in a cryotube to prevent her death. The Edenites discovered that the reason for her illness was because she lacked a bio-stat implant. Because Eben's chip was too damaged and Bennett's crew didn't have implants, the group had originally planned to carry onward to New Pacifica and would return for Devon when a chip either could be manufactured or became available after the colony ship arrived. However, before they could leave, the Terrians dreamed to Alonzo and explained that it was imperative that Devon was healed as quickly as possible. Apparently, the Terrians had foreseen the future and, if things had remained as they were and Devon hadn't been restored to leadership in time to greet the colony ship, all would be lost. The colonists would have rejected the planet and, ultimately, the planet would have rejected humanity. A change in their destiny had to be made. To achieve this, Danziger's bio-chip was removed and implanted into Devon. During the operation(s), Danziger met Devon on the Dreamscape to say good-bye. She woke up to find that she was healed and John was now the one in the cryochamber. The story ends with Devon, True and the rest of Eden Advance leaving Danziger behind and reinitiating their journey to New Pacifica.
Timeline: New Pacifica, approximately twenty-eight months after the events of "The Greater Good."
Summary: It's time to make things right.
"It just wouldn't be New Pacifica without John." - Devon Adair, Brave New Pacifica
This was the day that Devon Adair had been waiting for. Although she had been preparing for this momentous event for just over two years, it had felt like a lifetime. The remaining members of Eden Advance were ready, too. Together, they had survived a multitude of obstacles that had been thrown into their path and had learned to work together as a cohesive unit. They had journeyed across the continent at a brisk pace, bound and determined to make up for the three month period of time lost when the cold weather had forced them to seek refuge in the biodome. And now, thanks to Devon's unwavering leadership, the crew's tireless commitment, and the fortunate recovery of several of their missing cargo pods, the once untamed coastline known as New Pacifica was now a budding township. There was more than enough housing for the crew and for the 248 Syndrome families as well as a cafeteria, a large meeting hall and a two story administration building. The hospital was also fully equipped and Devon had placed its daily responsibilities in the very capable hands of Dr. Julia Heller. Devon had personally seen to it that every minute detail of their mission had been checked and rechecked numerous times. After all, too much hung in the balance for there to be any mistakes. In the minds of every member of Eden Advance, this was about finally setting things right and, in a few cases, this was also a labor of love. Failure was simply not an option. Because today was the day that John Danziger was finally coming home.
Devon was already hurrying toward the docking pad by the time her gearset alerted her of the shuttle's impending arrival. She skillfully moved through the busy streets of New Pacifica, weaving her way in between prefabricated housing units and groups of colonists, many of whom were casting odd glances in her direction. She reached the landing site just after the ship had touched down and a large crowd including medical personnel, True, Uly and the rest of the Eden Advance crew had already fanned around the vessel's lowering platform. The gathering also contained a heavy dose of curious spectators. Most of the colonists present were there to show their support of their endeavor to help a fallen comrade. Others were simply interested in seeing the man who had been the subject matter of much of the town gossip. And a few were there to witness the rescue mission firsthand, genuinely perplexed as to why so much time and effort was being spent to save the life of someone whom they'd considered to be nothing more than a worthless Drone.
"Let's make some room people," Alonzo demanded from the ship's doorway as Julia and a medical technician wheeled Danziger's stretcher down the ramp and into the frenzied crowd.
Julia ignored the barrage of questions being hurled at her and, instead, focused her energies on her patient. "We need to get him into surgery before any more of the Koba venom wears off," she declared to the assembled group of doctors and nurses. "Is the O.R. prepared?"
The staff nodded in affirmation. "Good. Let's go," she instructed with an authoritative wave of her hand as Alonzo joined her. The team began to push their way through the throng, but halted when they came upon a very worried True.
Her eyes were brimming with tears as she reached out to touch her father's lifeless form. "Dad?" she whispered, her lip quivering.
Julia placed her hand on the young girl's shoulder. "He's going to be okay, True," she said in an encouraging tone, successfully masking the fact that John's life was still very much in peril.
True's hand slipped back to her side as the medical crew whisked Danziger away to the hospital located at the center of town. Most of the members of Eden Advance followed behind them, content to spend the next several hours settled in the waiting room of the building's surgical wing until it was known whether or not John's neurochip implantation had been a success.
The rest of the crowd immediately started to dissipate and splintered off into several smaller groups as they returned to their regularly scheduled duties for the day. Devon, with Uly now in tow, had also begun the short trek toward the hospital. However, they stopped and returned to the docking pad when they noticed that True had remained exactly where she was, her feet seemingly rooted into the ground.
True continued to stare off into the distance, her frightened eyes centered on her father's stretcher as it disappeared into the bustling town. "He felt so cold," she said with a shudder.
Devon slipped her arm around the girl and gave her a comforting squeeze. "You heard what Julia said, Honey. Your Dad is going to be fine," she assured, following the physician's lead and putting on an optimistic front. Devon knew that it was imperative to True and to the others that she remain as calm as possible, despite the wide range of emotions that she was currently experiencing. Seeing John Danziger in the flesh again after such a long period of time was enough to make her want to shout for joy. But seeing him in the clinically dead state which he was currently in, a condition that would remain permanent if the operation failed, was enough to almost make her lose the contents of her stomach.
Devon's arm remained around True as the threesome slowly began to make their way toward the hospital. As they walked, Devon thought about how incredibly proud she was of both of the children and she marveled at how much they had grown in the past two years. She sighed, noting that the very same could be said of the other members of Eden Advance as well.
Several excruciatingly long days followed. The surgery had been a difficult one, but there was every indication that it was successful and a full recovery had been expected. Yet to everyone's shock, Danziger had never regained consciousness and was completely unresponsive to all stimuli, even pain. Many of his friends and family began to speculate that something had gone terribly wrong and feared the worst. Perhaps his body had rejected the bio-stat chip. Or maybe the century old cold-sleep crypt on Bennett's ship which was supposed to have protected him had malfunctioned in some way.
Another distinct possibility was that the mechanic had accidentally overdosed or suffered a toxic reaction to the Koba venom. Even almost two years after Julia had injected the Koba poison into Devon and John's systems, the substance still had many unknown properties which she knew nothing about. She wished that she had been able to find another way to temporarily shut down their vital organs to allow her to perform the extremely delicate procedures. However, even if the doctor had somehow miraculously come up with a different option, Elizabeth had warned them that the neural implants were endowed with a fail-safe mechanism which would kill them outright if it sensed that it was being tampered with or removed. Using the Koba poison to trick the bio-chip into thinking that its host was deceased seemed to be their only viable option. And now it was entirely possible that, in Danziger's case, it might be more than a trick.
Julia ran test after test, but was at a loss to find the reason why Danziger had remained literally dead to the world. By the fifth day, many started to wonder how much longer they should wait before concluding that John's situation was hopeless and making the necessary arrangements to provide him with a proper burial.
Throughout the ordeal, True was steadfast in her refusal to give up and was convinced that her father would return to her. She had vigilantly remained at his bedside and a second cot was moved into his hospital room for her to sleep. Many colonists thought that it was cruel, bordering on the macabre, to allow a young girl to spend her days and nights with a family member who was essentially dead. However, those who knew True best understood that this was where she needed to be and that she could never be persuaded to go elsewhere. As such, the rest of the Eden Advance crew, especially Uly and Yale, came by to lend their support of the Danzigers as often as possible. Devon also continued to visit John as much as her jam-packed schedule as the town's Executive Administrator would permit her to do so.
It was during the very early morning hours of the seventh day that a faint beeping sound gradually awakened True from her fitful slumber. Still half-asleep, she staggered out of her bed and stumbled throughout the darkened room as she sought out the source of the noise. As she neared her father's cot, she was snapped wide awake when she realized that the sound was emanating from one of the many machines which had been hooked up to monitor his life signs, or lack thereof.
True bolted out of the room as fast as her legs could carry her and raced to the nearest nurses station which was located at the end of the hallway. There was a single nurse on duty who had nodded off, hoping to catch an hour or two of uninterrupted sleep before her next set of rounds. True barely slowed down as she hurried around the desk and grabbed the unsuspecting woman by both shoulders, shaking her hard.
True's face was mere inches from the nurse's as she shrieked at the top of her lungs, "MY DAD'S ALIVE! GET JULIA! HURRY!"
The poor hospital employee could only sit there in stunned silence, her heart in her throat and her ears ringing. The first comprehensive thought that came into her mind was that, if True's father hadn't been alive before, that piercing scream had certainly been loud enough to wake the dead.
After finally regaining her bearings, the nurse was able to extract True's hands from her shoulders and retrieve her gearset from the countertop. As the two rushed back down the corridor to John's room, she contacted Julia at her residence to alert her of the possible change in her patient's status.
By mid-afternoon, the entire crew of Eden Advance had crammed into Danziger's hospital room. Although John was still unconscious, the medical equipment relayed a steady increase in his neural activity, a strengthening heartbeat and confirmed that his body heat had finally risen above room temperature. He was also breathing on his own and True was mesmerized by the sight of his chest rhythmically rising and falling. At last, the moment that she and the others had been praying for arrived.
"True," John croaked out, slowly opening his eyes.
There was a mad rush of activity as his friends let out a jubilant cheer and crowded around his bed. True flung her arms over her father, hugging him tightly and burying her head into his neck.
"Hi, Daddy," she whispered, crying tears of happiness.
Danziger felt a firm pat on his shoulder. "Welcome back to the land of the living, Buddy," Walman exclaimed with a wide grin.
John was considerably weak and disoriented and it took most of his energy to turn his head toward the group of people closest to him. However, the images remained too blurry for him to decipher who anyone was. He heard a voice which must have been Julia's telling him not to attempt to speak and to lay as still as possible while she examined him. Of course, he ignored her.
"Did it work?" he asked in a raspy voice.
"I just said no talking, Danziger," Julia declared as she shook her head in mild disapproval, amazed that John had been awake all of fifteen seconds and was already disobeying doctor's orders.
John made a desperate grab for her diagloved hand which was hovering over his stomach, gripping her securely by the wrist. There was a frightened, almost despondent, quality to his eyes and voice. "Did- it- work?"
The room went silent, all of them thoroughly confused by Danziger's actions. Even True flinched at his unusual behavior and backed away from the bed to stand in between Bess and Morgan.
Julia carefully disengaged her hand from the mechanic's grasp and her tone was sympathetic, yet concerned, as she replied, "You're going to be fine, John. We did have a bit of a scare for a few days. I think that we may have injected you with too much Koba venom. But I expect you to be up and around in as little as two or three-"
"No, not me. Devon," he interrupted in between anxious breaths. "Is she-" He paused as if unable to form the words.
Comprehension collectively dawned on the group. Julia gave John a warm smile before moving out of the way to make room for a different visitor. "Why don't you see for yourself?"
Danziger squinted as another person slowly came into view and sat down on the bed next to him. Although his vision remained hazy at best, he recognized her immediately.
His rigid posturing relaxed and a small grin formed on his lips. "Hey, Adair," he said softly.
"Hey, Danziger," Devon whispered, her voice cracking slightly. "We've missed you."
John wanted very much to continue the conversation but, despite his best efforts, he was too exhausted and his eyes began to flicker shut. It wasn't long before he drifted off into a comfortable sleep, grateful and relieved that those he cared about most were safe and sound.