Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Odyssey 5. The characters and the universe of Odyssey 5 do not belong to me. I make no profit from this story.
"There is nothing here, Kurt, let's go home." Neil called out for what he felt must be the hundredth time. They had been searching the area for a hidden Sentient lab for hours. So far they hadn't found one sign that it really existed.
"It has so be here somewhere." Kurt insisted and kept searching the ground.
Sighing Neil looked around himself. They were in the middle of nowhere. The Sentients had to be crazy to built a lab here. It had took them three hours to get here by car and they had needed another hour walking through the forest to reach this place. And there was nothing to see but trees, grass, some bushes and more trees.
"Maybe this guy who told you about this was just plain crazy. He sure looked that way." Neil tried again.
"He might have looked crazy, but what he said made a lot of sense. It has got to be here."
Neil rolled his eyes and kept searching. He was convinced there wasn't anything here. "You know, I had this great date planned with Holly. She's not gonna like it if I have to cancel it. Again!" He looked expectantly at Kurt but got no respond.
After about another hour he called out to Kurt again. "How much longer ..."
Suddenly the ground beneath him gave in and he fell into a deep hole. It all went so fast he got no chance to grab at anything to stop his fall. The last thing he heard was Kurt calling his name before everything around him turned black.
Kurt was just about to interrupt Neil's new complaint when he heard him cry out. Startled he looked up just in time to see Neil disappear in some sort of hole. Quickly he ran over there, calling out for his friend.
"Neil ... Neil, can you hear me?" He knelt beside the hole, careful not to break in either. The hole was so dark inside that he couldn't see a thing. "Are you all right? Neil?"
When he didn't get a respond he ran back to his backpack that lay a few meters away. There should be a flashlight in there. When he found it he shone inside the hole. He could see Neil laying on the ground of what seemed to be some kind of cave which must be at least six meters deep. He wasn't moving and he was bleeding on the head.
"Neil" He called out again, but he still got no reply. Cursing Kurt pulled out his mobile phone to call help. When he got someone on the other line he quickly explained what happened and where they could be found. When he finished the call he looked down the cave again. Neil still hadn't moved.
"Neil, I called help. Just hang in there, okay? Help is on the way."
It took the Rescue party over three hours to arrive and another half hour before they had Neil stabilized enough to get him out of the cave. When Kurt saw him laying on the stretcher he looked so pale and lifeless that he was afraid he would be dead. But one of the medics assured him repeatedly that he was alive and that they had stabilized him enough that they should get him to the hospital without problems.
Nevertheless Kurt decided to leave his car and drive with the ambulance. He didn't think he was capable of driving now and also he didn't want to leave Neil out of his sight. He prayed that he would be all right again. He had been here just because Kurt had insisted that they would follow this lead. Neil would be sitting safe at home by now if it hadn't been for him.
Almost six hours after Neil fell into that hole they finally arrived at the hospital in the next town and Neil was rushed into an examining room immediately. There was nothing else for Kurt to do than wait for anyone to tell him about Neil's condition.
He didn't know how much time had passed, but eventually Angela and Sarah arrived at the clinic.
"Kurt, what happened?" Sarah called out worried. All that Kurt had told them over the phone was that there had been an accident and that Neil was in a hospital in Greenbary, which lay about two hours from Houston.
Startled Kurt looked up at his friends. He had been so deep in though he hadn't even noticed them coming closer.
"He .. He fell into a hole, it was a cave or something and ... I ... I don't know, he just lay there and he was bleeding. He lay there for hours before they got him out and ... he was cold as ice by then ... I ..." Kurt stammered. He was clearly still in shock over what happened.
"Are you alright?" Angela asked as she knelt before him and took his hands in hers. Kurt just nodded and stared at the floor.
"I thought he was dead. When he didn't answer ... He wasn't moving ..."
"He will be alright." Sarah said confidently. "He's strong. He will get through this." She had sat next to him and now put her arm around his shoulders to give him some comfort.
They stayed like this for a while until a doctor approached them.
"Hi, I'm Dr. Jackson. Are you here for Neil Taggert?" He asked.
"Yes." Kurt said immediately. All three had jumped up at the sight of the approaching doctor. "How is he?"
"Are you related to him?"
Kurt let out a frustrated sigh. This doctor had to be kidding. He was just about to start yelling when Sarah started talking.
"We're friends of the family. His mother is dead and his father and brother are on a vacation. We haven't been able to reach them yet. Neil was staying at my place until his father was supposed to return." Sarah told the doctor. Kurt was amazed how she could lie like this without even so much as a wink. He figured it came with the job.
"Well, in that case ..." Dr. Jackson had obviously believed her. "Mr. Taggert has a severe concussion. So far he has only regained consciousness for a short time and he appeared very confused a the time. We're hoping that he will be less confused when he wakes up again. He also has two broken rips and a broken leg. He was also slightly suffering from hypothermia, probably due to the long time he lay motionless in that cave." He paused for a moment to let these news sink in.
"When will he wake up?" Kurt wanted to know, the concern evident in his voice.
"That is hard to tell. I'm hoping he will regain consciousness within the next 24 hours but I can't make any promises."
"Can we see him?" Sarah looked hopefully at the doctor.
"Of course, his room is down this corridor, second door to the right." He showed them the right direction and then left them alone again.
When they entered the room they were all shocked at the fragile and pale appearance of Neil. He had an IV on his arm and was hooked to several monitors. Silently they all took a seat around his bed and waited for him to wake up.
After the first ten hours Sarah had to leave. She had been away from her own son for far too long, so Kurt and Angela were left alone with Neil.
Angela had noticed how Kurt grew more anxious every minute. He had hardly spoken a word and held tightly onto Neil's hand as if the mere contact between them would prevent Neil from slipping away any further. He also hadn't let him out of his sight once since the moment they had entered the room and he seemed oblivious to anything that was going on around him. She doubted he had even realized that Sarah had left.
"Why don't you take a break, Kurt? Get something to eat. I'll stay here until you come back." Angela tried to pull him out of his daze. When he didn't reply she repeated her question a bit louder.
"What?" Kurt looked at her confused.
"Why don't you get something to eat. I'll wait here." She said again.
"No, I can't leave him." Kurt said determinedly.
"Kurt, he's save now. He ..."
"I'm not leaving." Kurt glared at her for a second before he looked at Neil again. Suddenly he put his head in his hands. "What am I going to tell Chuck if ..."
"He will be fine, Kurt. And don't worry about Chuck. If he would care about his son he would have at least called a few times to check on him." Angela interrupted him in a bitter voice. She still couldn't understand that Chuck had left Neil – and all of them for that matter – just like that.
It took another five long hours but finally Neil began to stir slightly.
"Neil." Kurt immediately moved closer to his young friend, trying to help him regain consciousness. After a while Neil slowly began to open his eyes.
Relieved Kurt smiled at him. "Hey, welcome back."
"Hey Neil." Angela greeted him. "You had us worried here for a while."
Neil looked at them confused, then he started looking around the room. "Where am I?" He asked in a weak voice.
"You're in a hospital. You fell into a hole, remember?" Kurt explained quietly.
Neil slightly shook his head and winced at the sudden pain stabbing through his head.
"Try to lay still. You have a pretty bad concussion as well as two broken rips and a broken leg." Angela told him carefully. She didn't want to worry him, but she figured it would be better if he knew what was wrong with him. This way he wouldn't try to move quickly and therefore inflicting more pain on himself. If he was even capable of moving, she thought when she looked at his week appearance.
When Neil closed his eyes again, Angela thought he had slipped back into unconsciousness. The more surprised she was to see his eyes suddenly open again.
"Who are you?" He asked, his voice hardly audible.
"What?" Angela looked at him stunned, before she glanced at Kurt. He looked as surprised as she.
"What's the last thing you remember?" Kurt asked him worried.
"Neil closed his eyes again as he tried to think of an answer. When he opened them again, he looked at them scared. "I ... I don't know .. I don't remember anything."
"I better get the doctor." Angela said and quickly left the room.
They had to wait about half an hour before Dr. Jackson approached them. They had to stay in the waiting room again while Neil was examined.
"What is wrong with him?" Angela asked him.
"It looks like he's suffering from amnesia. He can't remember anything, not even his name." Dr. Jackson explained them.
"Is there anything we can do?" Angela asked helpless.
"You can tell him everything you know about him, answer his questions. Hopefully his memory will return with the time."
"And what if it doesn't?" Kurt asked quietly.
"Then he will have to live with what you tell him. I'm afraid there is nothing else we can do."
Dr. Jackson left Kurt and Angela alone again to see after another patient.
"So what do we do now?" Angela finally broke the silence between them.
"We tell him everything he needs to know." Kurt replied determinedly.
"Well, we should probably wait with the more complicated matters." Kurt sighed.
When they returned to Neil's room they found him asleep. Seeing him unconscious again worried them immensely but a nurse, who was checking his vitals, assured him that that was absolutely normal. He was still very weak and needed his rest.
"We should get something to eat while he's sleeping." Angela said.
Sighing Kurt gave in this time. Now that he knew that Neil was out of danger he started to feel hungry and tired. "Let's go. And if we still have time we should get my car back. It's still standing in the forest."
"Let's wait with that until tomorrow. I think we're both too tired to drive now."
Kurt nodded and together they left to get something to eat and find a room for the night. None of them wanted to go back to Houston before Neil was feeling any better.
The next day Neil already had regained some strength and he was able to stay awake for longer times. But he still had no idea who he was.
"Hey Neil, good to see you're awake." Angela smiled at him when she and Kurt stepped into the room.
"Hey ..." Neil said hesitantly. He remembered them both from yesterday when he woke up but other than that he had no clue who they were.
Kurt and Angela noticed his uneasiness and introduced themselves.
"I'm Angela Perry and that's Kurt Mendel. We are friends of you." She told him with a warm smile.
"Oh, uhm, hey ..." Neil stammered. He had no idea how to respond to that. He figured he didn't have to introduce himself when they were friends. They should know his name.
"Has Dr. Jackson told you anything ... about you?" Kurt asked quietly.
"Not much other than my name." Neil replied.
"Well, do you have any questions?" Angela looked at him expectantly.
"Uhm, I don't know ... Maybe you could just tell me something ..." His voice trailed off. He felt so helpless. He couldn't remember a thing, so how the hell was he supposed to come up with any questions.
"Okay, let's see ..." Kurt began. "You're ... 17 and you live in Houston, Texas. That's in the United States ..."
"I remember Houston." Neil called out. "Well, I remember it's a town and where to find it on a map, but I don't remember any special places." He added in a disappointed voice.
"Well, that's a start." Kurt smiled. "At least you haven't forgotten everything."
"No, just the important stuff." Neil sighed.
"Hey, it's very important how to find Houston." Kurt joked. He was relieved to see Neil smiling. It was only a small smile and it didn't last very long but it was a start.
"Okay, what's more ..." Kurt went on. "You're a Highschool student ... at the moment. And you ..." He paused for a moment. He wasn't really sure if they were helping him at all if they only told him half the truth. On the other hand, telling him that he traveled back in time five years to safe earth which destruction he had witnessed while being in a space shuttle probably wasn't such a good idea either. So he stuck to the plan and only told Neil about his first 17 years.
"You have a girlfriend. Her name is Holly. At least you were still together when we last spoke about her." He let out a short laugh. Neil and Holly broke up and got together again on a regular basis.
"What about my parents?" Neil suddenly asked.
"Your parents ... uhm ..." Kurt struggled to find the right words.
"Your mother passed away a few weeks ago. Her name was Paige." Angela helped him out. She spoke in such a soft voice as Kurt had seldom heard her use. "Your father, Chuck, is traveling around since then. Her death took him pretty hard. We tried to call him but so far we haven't been able to reach him." She paused for a moment and cleared her throat. "You have an older brother. His name is Mark. He left the day of the funeral. He ... had some problems and I guess it was all just too much for him."
"So I'm all alone?"
It broke her heart when Neil asked this question. She could see the pain in his eyes. She silently cursed Chuck Taggert. Even when Neil had no memory at all of his father he was still able to hurt him.
"You're not alone. You still have your friends ... And with your friends I mean us." Kurt added. He wanted Neil to understand that as long as they were around he wold never be alone.
Angela threw a surprised glance at Kurt. Since Neil had his accident she saw a whole new side in him.
Neil stayed silent for a while as he tried to understand all these new information. It felt weird, hearing about all these people and not even knowing what they looked like. He even had a girlfriend. Even though that was nice to know the fact that she could walk into this room right now and he wouldn't even recognize her was very frustrating.
"Give yourself time, Neil. It will all come back to you eventually." Angela tried to assure him.
"Yeah ..." His response wasn't very convincing.
"Your father works for the NASA. He's an astronaut, as is Angela here by the way. Your brother tried to get in too, but he failed." Kurt paused for a second and waited for Neil to say something. When he stayed quiet Kurt went on. "Your mother didn't have a job, but as far as I know she had a lot of social projects running. Helping old people, things like that. She was a very nice woman."
"How did she die?" Neil wanted to know.
Neither Kurt nor Angela had any idea how to respond to that. They could hardly tell him the truth – that his mother had been controlled by some sentient creature and had therefore tried to kill a senator – Angela's father – before this creature had finally killed her.
"It was an accident." Was all Angela managed to say. There was always time for the truth later.
Neil sensed that they were hiding something from them. He may not remember anything about them but he wasn't stupid. They were obviously withholding information from him.
"Was it her fault?" He finally asked after a few moments of silence.
"No, not at all. Your mother did nothing wrong. It was just ... a stupid accident that should have never happened. It was no ones fault." Kurt told him. He knew that Neil had felt partly responsible for what had happened to his mother and he had struggled hard with that. If possible Kurt wanted to keep that pain and the blame away from Neil for as long as possible.
Neil suddenly felt very tired. He tried to stay awake but Kurt and Angela could see he had problems keeping his eyes open.
"Get some rest. We'll be back later." Angela told him with a warm smile. That smile was the last thing Neil saw before he fell back asleep.
A.N.: I hope you liked this chapter. Thank you for reading and please review.