February 9, 2138 (Morning continued)

The explosion that came from the power grid was frightening. The sky lit up and everything shook, but the results were what we had gone there for. A few seconds after the explosion the city fell into darkness. Kim quickly went into trying to get me to leave the catwalk because of the battle still happening around us. If Dad and the others weren't still firing on the biodreads we wouldn't have been safe at all. All that I wanted for them to do was to leave me there. I was really trying to hear and understand their words. What they were saying to get me to start walking back down, but nothing could get me to want to leave until Kim said, "The faster we get out of here the faster we can start looking for Tommy."

I heard that like she had yelled it in my ear. But did she really mean it, or was she just trying to save me? I had to believe that she wouldn't give me false hope, or at least that she would try to find him. Even if she thought that it was only for me. What she said to me made me feel as though I was risking any hope that he might have to survive if I just sat there letting it happen. So I made myself go on like her and Rachel wanted me to.

More biodread troopers and a few technicians were moving out of the buildings. Troopers would fire towards the gate where Tad and Dad were. They would fire back, attempting to keep them away from the gate and the entry to the catwalk. As the three of us ran back down the catwalk, I kept looking to the water hoping that I would see Tommy, and to Dad and Tad and noticed that they were the only ones still shooting back at the enemies leaving the buildings. Nothing was coming from the woods any longer, and nobody was making any effort to fire towards the woods either. I must have muttered Sarah's name and was heard because Rachel started calling to Sarah on the communicator, but she wasn't getting any response. The guys at the gate were too busy to turn back to the woods and go to her, and we wouldn't make it out of the gate ourselves if it weren't for them covering us. So all of us picked up our pace even more.

Hearing Rachel calling for Sarah and knowing that she wasn't receiving an answer by now, Dad was trying to shoot and talk in the communicator at the same time.

"Sarah? Answer me, damn it. Where are you," Dad said on his communicator with no answer returning.

We cleared the catwalk steps and started towards the gate as Rachel and Kim started firing on the troopers, too. A part of me didn't want to make it to the gate because I knew what was waiting for us. Tad. And telling him what had happened wasn't going to go well. And yet we couldn't waste time because of Tommy and whatever was going on with Sarah.

As we ran up to them, Tad kept firing until he noticed that Tommy wasn't with us. When he stopped and looked at me I didn't have the words to tell him with. He finally asked where Tommy was as he kept looking at me, and I closed my eyes to try to hide it from him. I told myself years ago that I wouldn't let him get hurt like he had by losing his mother again, and now I was going to have to hurt him all over again. Without even having to come right out and tell him, he knew. For as long as I live, I'll never forget the empty look of sadness that took him over. And all of it was more than he could accept.

He tried to break through Rachel and me in an attempt to get to the catwalk. None of us were able to tell him that Tommy had fallen off of it, so he must have thought that Tommy was still on it. I was already reaching out to him to comfort him in any way that I could, so I was able to get a hold of him right away and Rachel grabbed him, too. But he wouldn't stop fighting to get free of us, and keeping him held in our grip was difficult with the armor he was wearing. He broke free of us and started running towards the stairs of the catwalk when Dad bolted by and ran after him. Even Dad was unaware of what had happened to Tommy, but he knew better than to allow Tad to run back into the plant instead of out of it. After getting about ten strides into it, Dad tackled Tad and they rolled across the pavement. I could hear Dad telling Tad that we couldn't help Tommy like this, but he wouldn't stop. As Dad seemed to be winning the battle in keeping Tad from getting any closer to the catwalk, getting on top of Tad and holding him down, Tad did what none of us were expecting. I could see him reaching for something with his right hand instead of continuing to try to push Dad off. It was the adrenaline tube that was hanging from the box on the armor he was wearing, and he grabbed it and pushed it into his armored suit.

Using the enhancement that the armor offered was never part of the plan because none of us knew the effects it would have on us in the end, but Tad didn't care anymore. Much like I didn't a few minutes before, and it became obvious very fast that Tad wasn't going to be stopped physically. As big as Dad was, Tad was starting to overpower him as the adrenaline started pumping it's way into his system. Laser fire kept hitting Tad and Dad as the struggled with each other. Each hit breaking into little streams of electricity darting across their armor still. But the hits that Tad was taking seemed to be pushing him back now, and his armor kept smoking as though it were overheated. Each time he would get hit again, we started hearing it impact on his armor. This didn't happen before when they first started taking hits. His armor was giving out and Rachel was very aware of it.

"Keep covering them, Amber. We have to get him back and get out of here before his armor fails," Rachel said.

Kim was now running out to try to bring Tad under control as Rachel and I were the only two firing back at the machines. Kim being the only one of us left with the ablative armor out of us three meant that Rachel and I were stuck where we were and couldn't expose ourselves like the others. I tried as hard as I could to push the grief out of my mind and concentrate on thinking of what to do to get Tad to stop and come with us. As I pondered this, Tad had thrown Dad off of him and back in our direction about ten feet. As Tad turned back towards the stairs to the catwalk, Kim had reached him and she jumped on him, too. By now I would have thought that he would have at least felt how much Dad and Kim cared about him to be fighting him like this, but nothing would get through to him.

"Talk to him, Amber. Get him to stop," Rachel said.

Still lost in thought and concentrating on Tommy as I kept firing my laser at anything that looked like it was moving, Rachel finally yelled at me, "We're going to lose him, too. Is that what you want?"

Her outburst made me more aware of the chaos going on and that it was possible that we could lose a lot more than what we already had, so I tried to talk Tad back to us like I had at the hospital.

"We can't help Tommy by losing you here, Tad. If he has any chance left at all, you're killing it by doing this," I pleaded as he kept fighting with Kim.

I could see that Kim had gotten a grip on him and was using her hooked hand technique to keep a hold of him. Both of them had gotten to their feet again as another laser hit Tad's armor and knocked him back into Kim a bit. Still acting unaffected by it, I could see Tad trying to break her grip. Unlike before when she challenged both of the boys, Kim was struggling to keep her hands together against Tad alone. As they stood there fighting against each other, a biodread started running towards them and Rachel quickly put it down with a shot from her laser. Tiring of the whole situation, Rachel finally grabbed the communicator from my hand and yelled, "Sarah's missing too, Tad. We can't find her if we have to keep fighting with you. Do you want her to die out here, too? Because that's what will happen if we don't leave now. So, come on. We can't do this without you."

I hoped that Rachel was wrong, but the truth of it was that she could be right. Sarah hadn't appeared and no shooting was coming from the woods still. And as much as I feared for Sarah, Tad must have, too. Dad had gotten back up and reached Tad again, but he had suddenly stopped fighting Kim after hearing Rachel's words and she and Dad pulled him back to the gate.