When it was time for Claire's departure, she was pacing the length of her cell impatiently. The past hour had been especially difficult for her to endure, feeling the time tick sluggishly past as she waited for her helicopter to arrive. She had never been good at waiting, particularly when she was only free to move about in a limited amount of space.
When Colonel Grant entered her cell once more, Claire whipped her head around to stare at him. "Please tell me the helicopter is here," she said.
Grant was surprised by her impatience. Cadet Crane had lived in her holding cell for two days, and now she was pacing after an hour? Perhaps it was the fact that she was anticipating the helicopter's arrival that made her so anxious. In any case, her wait was over. "Yes, it's here. It's waiting for you outside," he told her.
"Good." Claire followed the Colonel out the door of her cell, down the hall, and out of the building. Two guards shadowed her closely.
Outside, a helicopter sat idling while Claire was escorted to it. Its blades whirred deafeningly, and she winced as she climbed in. The soldiers inside watched her warily. As Claire sat down between two of the men, they scooted to either side to give her room. Clearly they had been told she was a mutant.
"It's okay, I don't bite," Claire assured them jokingly. She smiled to herself. The soldiers glanced at each other and ignored her.
Outside the helicopter, people were clearing the surrounding area for takeoff. The copilot turned to look back at his passengers and said, "Strap yourselves in." Everyone complied.
Claire felt a lurch as the helicopter lifted off. Then the upward motion became smoother, and they turned west towards Colorado.
Two hours later, the helicopter arrived in Colorado. As it touched down, Claire craned her neck to get a view out the window. She couldn't see much because of the angle, but she did get a glimpse of soldiers patrolling in front of a tunnel leading into a mountain. On the top arch of the tunnel, "Cheyenne Mountain Complex" was written in white letters.
Whoa, thought Claire. When they say secure, they mean it!
The door of the helicopter opened to reveal a cluster of soldiers. The man at the front of the group wore a crisp navy-blue uniform, with a white collared shirt underneath. He had short, slightly messy brown hair tinged with gray, brown eyes, and a relaxed expression.
"Welcome to Cheyenne Mountain," he said. "I'm General Jack O'Neill; I run things around here. You must be Cadet Crane." He looked to Claire for confirmation.
"Yup, that's me," she replied nonchalantly.
O'Neill smiled to himself at her casual response, but said nothing. He motioned for Claire to follow him as he walked away from the helicopter and towards a truck at the entrance to the tunnel. She left the helicopter and trailed behind the General, flanked by two soldiers. The procession piled into the truck, continued down the tunnel, and then they were swallowed up in the darkness of the mountain.