Ralu was bored, as he had nothing to do while his father and the other grownups talked. He had walked around the lab as much as he could. Doctor Patel had asked him to not touch anything, as there was a lot of very delicate equipment. So he took to watching the one called Adam. He was busy looking at one of the moving pictures and marking on a piece of paper with a piece of wood.

Ralu could make out some of the words that Adam was writing but couldn't quite understand what they were for. His curiosity increased when he saw what the picture was. On the screen was a round looking object with great patches of blue and even greater patches of green areas. He remembered that Anna had once brought a map when she was teaching and explained that the map was a picture of Pandora.

However the map on the screen was different. It was moving and had patches of white on it and they were moving. He had not realized how close to Adam he had come until Adam turned to him with a cockeyed look.

"See something interesting?" His voice took Ralu off guard, making the young Na'Vi pull back in surprise.

"Oh, I was just wondering if this picture is of Pandora?" he asked.

Adam nodded. "Yep, it's an overcast view of Pandora," he said, pressing his hand to the screen and pushing it across the screen, causing the view of Pandora on the screen to spin. "I use it to predict the weather." Ralu's astonishment was obvious.

"You can tell what the weather is by walking outside or simply looking," he said in a matter of fact manner.

Again Adam nodded. "That's true but I'm looking in the future to see what the weather will be tomorrow. This just helps me predict what will happen tomorrow." He smiled.

"So without this, you could not foretell the weather," Ralu said slightly proud. "Grandmother Moat is able to tell the weather by communing with Ewya."

"Well I can't really communicate with Ewya like you or your grandmother can, so I have to use the tools I have. But I can foretell the weather without this screen. The screen just helps,"Adam said with a grin.

Ralu looked backed at the screen. The way Father and Mother talked, most tawani were blind and yet this one claimed to be able to do things that Grandmother was able to do. Not only that but he could do them without communing with Ewya.

"Well, there is more than communing with Ewya," said Ralu, his childish ego getting ahead of himself. "When I grow up I will be able to tame my own ikran and ride Pali." He grinned, but that soon faded as the next thing Adam said threw him for a loop.

"Bet I can tame a nantang," replied Adam, never looking from his screen until he finished looking over something he was finding interesting. He pulled back from the screen and looked at Ralu.

"There's no way a Tawani could tame one of Ewya's children, unless they were a dreamwalker," Ralu retorted.

Adam shook his head. "Nope, not a dreamwalker, this is the only body I've got." A small grin snaked into his face. "I'll prove it to you right now," Adam said standing and making his way to the airlock. Ralu was curious as to what the strange tawani was going to do. Could he really tame a nantang?

Ralu began to follow him but stopped when he reached the doorway. The voice of his father stopped him. The conversation he and the other scientists had stopped and his words were directed at Ralu and Adam.

"Where are you two going?" Jake asked. Ralu turned to his father.

"Adam says he is going to tame a nantang," Ralu said pointing to Adam. Jake's face took on a look of confusion.

"Tame a nantang, Adam?" Adam didn't answer. Adam gave him a wide-eyed look and tilted his head to the airlock. Jake nodded.

"Just be careful there, and don't go far," Jake said. Ralu's face lit up as he followed Adam into the air lock.

[*-*] Tom Petty ^ I Won't Back Down [*-*]

MICRO MAFIA STUDIOS

presents

- Dream Walker -

- Memories From Nobody -

- 1:8 A New Life -

With inspired by AVATAR created by James Cameron.

Additional inspiration by AVATAR: The Video Game.

Written by Tibricel

Edited by Cheyla

Most characters created by James Cameron

Suvi and Adam created b Tibricel

Other characters property of their respected owners.

© 2012 Micro Mafia Studios Ltd.

The air lock hissed as it opened, letting in the Pandora air. When the light turned green, both Adam and Ralu stepped out into the open air and sunlight of what was turning into a warm and cool evening on the moon they called home.

Had anyone been watching, they would have seen the relief on both the young Na'Vi and human as they exited the building. Both stretched and seemed to have a more vibrant smile on their face once out of the confines of the Hell Gate's interior.

"So how does a tawani tame a nantang?" Ralu asked, It was obvious that he was still very doubtful of Adam's ability to tame one of Ewya's smaller children.

"First off, stop saying tawani. You know my name, Just call me Adam," Adam said turning to Ralu, who nodded in acknowledgment. "Now to tame a nantang you first have to find a nantang," Adam continued, motioning for Ralu to follow him.

"Most nantang are lazy as hell during the day." Well the only nantang Adam knew about always seemed to be lazy as hell during the day. Adam was glad that he had his cast removed so that he could have a little fun with Ralu.

Adam was amused with Ralu. He seemed like any other kid he had known. Curious about everything and holding on to what he was told by his family as if it was from the mouth of God. In Ralu's case, Adam guessed that might not be far from the truth.

As the two walked towards the center of the avatar grounds, Adam hoped his plan would work. Knowing Buck he would be getting up and about to go prowling about soon. True, Adam had never studied viperwolves but he had raised Buck for whatever that was worth. That, by no means, meant that Buck was a typical viperwolf.

"Ok so what you have to do is call the nantang. You do that with a special call like this." He said, lifting his Exo pack off his face and placing two fingers to his lips and letting out a loud whistle. He smiled at Ralu as he pulled his mask back down as the young Na'Vi cringed from the whistle; Ralu's ears were flat to his head. "Sorry about that. Forgot you guys hear really well."

The two stood there for a moment and nothing happened. Maybe Buck was just having a good nap. Usually when he called, Buck came running. Ralu, too, was looking around though it was obvious that he still doubted Adam's ability to tame a nantang, but it was all in good fun.

"I think you've been playing a trick on me Adam," Ralu said simply

"Wait for it. When he shows up, don't move. Stand perfectly still." Adam was in the process of pulling his mask off for a second round when he noticed the grass line to his right waving. He turned to it and suddenly an inky blackness sprang forth.

The look on Ralu's face was priceless. Adam felt a little bad about causing Ralu to have such fear. He had literally scared the poor kid stiff. Adam paid him no mind as he walked over to Buck and reached out for Buck to come closer.

"This is Buck, he's a friend of mine," he said as the nantang came closer. "Just hold out your hand and don't make any quick movements." Taking Ralu's hand with his own, Adam held it down to where Buck's antenna brushed gently across his hand.

It was obvious to him that Ralu wanted to pull away but he just shook his head at the young Na'Vi and held his hand firm till Buck finished his inspection, signified by a lick of Ralu's hand.

"See tamed a nantang." Adam said with a sense of pride. Ralu slowly turned his head to Adam, his look of utter terror replaced by a look of wonder.

"^_^"

The sun was beginning to crest in the east as it did everyday on Pandora. Ryder had had enough of being indoors so she had decided to check on Ralu and Adam. After all, it had to be better than being inside and she really didn't have any input on the conversations at hand. After the conversation of the three so-to-be Na'Vi, the conversation had turned to the operational issues with the last of the inhabitants of Hell's Gate.

It had seemed the best time to get some fresh air. After spending only a short time inside, it was a relief to get out of there. As she exited the confines of the air lock, the warm air was a welcome feel and easier to breath then the recycled air of Hell's Gate.

After stepping from the air lock Ryder stretched, getting the kinks out of her back that came from having to bend over while inside. She enjoyed stretching; there was just something so revealing about it. She guessed it was the feline in her.

After her stretch, she surveyed the avatar grounds looking to see where Adam and Ralu had gone. She heard a giggling sound from the garden area. The sound grew as she made her way there until she saw the inky blackness of Buck slipping through the garden, swiftly followed by a smaller blue streak moving through the stalks of the Paka fruit.

A voice called out to from the avatar hut. Sitting on the steps was Adam waving her over. She walked over as Adam pulled out a small flask and lifted his mask and took a drink, not the smartest move in her opinion.

"You know that could kill you." Adam just smiled before pulling his mask back over his face.

"What, having a drink?" he said, with a satisfied smile. Both shared a chuckle.

"Felt a little cramped in there and I figured now was a good time to see what you needed to talk to me about," said Ryder. Her gaze turned back to Ralu as he played with Buck in the garden.

Adam nodded. "I was going to ask for a favor from you. I know Jake has his hands full and Max and the others have their hands full with everything that's going on here. I was hoping I could ask you to give me a lift out to 51, the weather station." Ryder's brow furrowed.

"I didn't think you were going back out there," she said. "I wouldn't have thought you would after your near death experience." Adam waved her off.

"I'm just going out there for a few weeks. I can go on my own but it would make life easier if I could get a ride."

Ryder nodded. "Well I guess I can do that. Have you told Max yet?" Adam shook his head.

"No, I'll tell him later. He has enough on his mind right now with all that's happened here over the last few days." Adam looked back at Ralu. "Just don't want to bother him with anything else right now," he said and offered Ryder a drink, which she declined. She was surprised to see Adam just shrug, lift his mask and take a drink.

"You know, it's bad for you to be exposed to the air like that." Adam just smiled and replaced his mask. It looked to Ryder that he was about to say something but he paused and seemed to stare off into the distance. Then he seemed to come back to the conversation.

"Oh, I'll be fine. Well, I guess you guys will be leaving soon, right?" Ryder nodded and stood up. Adam followed suite and started to make his way back to the lab. He called to Buck and Ralu, telling them it was time to head in. Ryder didn't know why she said what she said next but it seemed to just pop out.

"Adam." Adam stopped and turned. "About what you asked last time, I never answered you." Adam stood, not moving. "Yes, I think we could have been," Ryder said. A small, almost sad, smile crossed Adam's face.

"Food for thought."

"^_^"

Dr. Martin Dulem had always prided himself on being good at talking with others and really understanding people. Hence why he had decided to go into the realm of physiology. He enjoyed helping people with their problems and the human mind was a very interesting thing. Today, however, he had not been the best of listeners. He had a lot on his mind. Éclair was still almost in tears all the time and wouldn't talk to anyone about what was really bothering her.

For the past few weeks, the two had been closer than ever. Then, just like a lightning strike yesterday, she seemed to not want to have anything to do with anyone. His thought about her had kept him up late last night. If he asked what was wrong, it just made her more upset. This morning she had run to the bathroom again, sick, just like the day before.

Martin let you a huff of annoyance, then noticed that Adam was looking at him from couch. Had he just missed everything he said? He just nodded as Adam continued on with talking but again Martin was lost in his own thoughts. Why was she so upset? He had been so happy at the thought of being a father but that hope had been dashed, though it was just a passing thought.

The truth was that he had no business being a father. Not here, not like this. What had started to settle in with him, as well as the rest of Hell's Gate, was that their time here was running out. They had held everything together as well as they could but over the last few days, it seemed as though their world was falling down around them. It was evident in the looks that everyone had been given.

Something that Adam said finally caught Martin's attention and made him focus for what now seemed like the first time. Damn, he mentally cursed. He needed to focus.

"I like kicking kittens," Adam said. Martin finally began to come out of his own world and focus on his patient. "Kittens?" he asked. "How long have you enjoyed hurting small animals?" Martin asked, now fully focusing.

"You weren't listening, were you?" Adam's look on his face made it clear that he had been led on. "I don't kick kittens, Martin. Hell, I don't even know where I would find a kitten to kick out here." Martin mentally sighed; well at least he isn't exhibiting the makings of a serial killer, just an isolationist. "Martin, buddy, maybe you're the one that needs someone to talk to. I mean, come on. Everyone needs to vent once in a while." Martin sighed to himself.

"It's nothing really, I'm just worried about Éclair." Adam just nodded. "She's still sick and won't link up with her avatar anymore. Max said he is going to put her on an IV if she won't link up today. Being in her avatar was her favorite thing to do and now she just doesn't seem to care if it lives or dies. We were getting so close before and now…now she won't even talk to me or tell me what's wrong." He wasn't sure why he just let it all out to Adam of all people. The two didn't really know each other that well, though he had become something of a friend over the last few months.

"Umm…well," Adam started. "I know about as much as you do on what's up with Éclair. The girl seemed really spooked. Maybe just give her some time?" Adam laughed. "Heck, the girl I was sweet on thought I was dead and came back big and blue," Adam said with a laugh.

Martin perked up at that. "Wait, what? Who?" Then it clicked—Able Ryder. "Ryder?" he asked. Adam just grinned. His face became a light red as he leaned back, looking up at the ceiling of Martin's office.

"Yeah, dated a few times before," he said, "before the world got pulled out from under us by that asshole Falco." The last part was smothered in mirth. Martin could tell there was an underlying negativity about Falco, a man that Martin had never met. Quoric had been in charge when Martin arrived on Pandora; Carl Falco had died a year or two before he arrived. There were people that still talked about him in passing then.

"What was your relationship like?" Martin asked; now that he was on a roll with a patient, he never let the ball stop.

"Well, it was more of us hanging out together several times. You know, shoot the shit and all. It didn't have time to get serious before he screwed Ryder over." Again, Martin noted the tone when speaking about Falco. It was always with disdain.

"I get the feeling that you blame Falco for what happened to Ryder?"

"Well yeah, that asshole is the one that pulled the trigger and killed her," he huffed. "Well, I thought at the time he killed her. But the bastard got what was coming to him in the end."

Then Martin saw it. It was only for just a split second but the look in Adam's eyes said that he knew more than he was telling. Like he almost took pleasure in talking about a dead man. Martin decided to press the issue a bit.

"So what happened to Falco? I wasn't here at the time. That was almost, what, eighteen years ago?" Martin added the last part guessing the amount of time. But it got Martin to thinking; he knew Adam had been on Pandora a long time but more than 18 years?

"Something like that, it was a while back. As for how he died, he was struck by lightning. Fitting end if you ask me. He was on his way to the weather station for some reason, made it over a mile just to have the Lord strike him down outside my door," Adam finished.

Martin was confused. "Do you mean he was at that weather station when he died?"

"No, I mean he was outside the fence of the station when he got struck by lightning," Adam said like it was an everyday occurrence. "I was outside and saw it happen. One minute he was standing there and the next, he was dead as a doornail." Martin just nodded. He knew Falco died and he had heard that it was by some act of God but he never knew that Adam watched him die. He didn't get a chance to ask another question as Adam's watch went off.

"Oh, look at the time. Sorry buddy, but I got to run. I told Max I would let him get some lunch about eleven," Adam said standing. Martin followed suite, nodding.

"Yeah, okay, I'll be by later, too. I have to talk with Norm," Martin said as Adam moved to the door. Adam waved as he left the room and headed for the link center.

Martin sat at his desk as the door shut and he was left on his own. He sat his notebook down on the desk and began to write some notes in it about his conversation he had with Adam—at least, the parts that he could remember.

He made a note to talk with Max about Falco's death. For some reason something was not sitting right with him about it. Maybe there was a video file of it. Adam had said that he did that at the weather station. Maybe there was a record of it, something that might help him with one of his patients. If nothing else, it was something for him to do.

With that he stood and looked at his watch. Lunch time. Maybe he could talk to Max while he was at lunch. He had to get Éclair some food as well, he thought to himself as he made his way to the cafeteria.

"^_^"

When Adam arrived in the link center, he and Max exchanged pleasantries but Max didn't stay very long. It was meat loaf day, which was one of the few things the food replicators got right in their flavoring system. It was also one of Max's favorite dishes, which took Adam by surprise. Really enjoying anything that the food replicators made was amazing to him.

So he sat in the link room, amusing himself with a tennis ball that he had found a few days ago. He had thought about trying to it out with Buck but decided against it. As soft as it was, Buck's teeth would shred it like a blinder. So he would use it to keep himself from getting bored.

It was about 30 minutes into his shift and on bounce number 189 that one of the links began to open. He missed catching number 190 as his attention turned to the computer and making sure the system ejected the driver. It was Norm. His fingers ran over the computer, logging the information of a driver coming out. Adam went over to the link pod as it began to move out from the large diode. The seal on the pod broke revealing Norm Spellman.

"And how is your day going, Doctor Spellman?" Adam asked, stepping back from the link pod. Norm sat up and threw his legs over the side of the pod.

"Pretty good," he said with a grin. "You know I never received a Doctorate."

"Really, I thought you did?" Adam walked back to the console and bent over looking around for his ball. "What brings your back so soon? You're usually not back until later in the day," he said, finally spotting his ball under one of the link pods.

"True, but Jake thought it might be good if I spent a little more time around here for a few more days. Before…" he trailed off for a moment. "Well, you know."

He knelt down and picked up the little, fuzzy, yellow sphere of fun. "Gotcha," he said to himself as he stood and walked back to the controller desk. He noticed that Norm was rotating his left arm and rubbing his shoulder with his other hand.

"Yeah," he said, knowing Norm wasn't really fond of talking about it. "You okay there, buddy?" Adam pointed to Norm's arm. "You're not about to have a heart attack, are you? I think a pain in your left arm is one of the signs."

Norm shook his head. "No, it's not a heart attack. It's just phantom pains, that's all. I get them from time to time." Adam just shook his head, letting Norm know he didn't know what he was talking about. "It's from when I got shot in my avatar. The neural stimulus was so strong that it causes a real impression on me." Adam still didn't seem to get it.

"Yeah, Max said something about you getting shot but you mean it affects the real you?" he asked. That was weird. He had never heard of something like that. It was kind of interesting, he thought.

"Well, a good example of it is someone who loses a limb; sometimes they will report having pain in the limb they lost. I know Jake mentioned one morning having a pain in his legs, even though he had no feeling below the waist." Adam just nodded and turned to the computer in front of him, making a few notations.

"It just seems kind of odd, don't you think? That you get phantom pains from a body that's not yours, yet?" Norm just shrugged.

"Yeah, I guess, but if you think about it, not really. I mean our mind is our mind, no matter where it is, in an avatar or in a real body. It's not so much the body that carries the phantom pains—it's the mind and that stays with us even through the link." Adam just nodded, understanding Norm's explanation. It was very interesting, a feeling that traveled across the link and stayed with the drivers.

"So anything new happen while I was out?"

"Not really, talked with Martin for a while this morning. Éclair's still sick, he said. She's still really upset and all." Adam shook his head. "Max can't figure out what's wrong with her. He said nothing is wrong that he can figure out but she shows all the signs of being pregnant. Morning sickness and mood swings, anyway."

Norm just shook his head as he stood. "Well, I guess I'm going to get some meatloaf. Want me to bring you a plate?" Adam's hands rose up in protest.

"I'm good, thanks, but no. I'll survive."

With Norm gone, Adam looked at his yellow tennis ball again, then smiled, leaning back in his chair and throwing the ball at the window to the bio lab. He hadn't even reached his 10th throw of the ball when something seemed to click. Out of nowhere it hit him.

"Éclair is pregnant." Adam didn't catch the ball as it came back, just barely missing his head.

"^_^"

Max had arrived in the cafeteria beating most of the others there had paid off. He ended up with a much better meal out of it. At least he thought so. Martin had joined him later after checking up on Éclair. She was still upset and didn't want to talk about anything. Max could tell that not being able to figure out what was wrong with her was really distracting the man. The two men made casual talk for a while. Martin had asked about the guy that was head of security before Quoric. He really didn't know too much about the guy, and then Martin asked how he died again. Max had no idea, though he told Martin he was welcome to look through the personnel files if he liked.

He agreed and the two talked a bit more before Max headed back to the link center. He saw Adam standing at the window over looking the avatar grounds as he walked in, greeting him. However, Adam just turned and looked at him.

"Éclair's pregnant," Adam said calmly. Max just stared at him for a moment.

"What? No she isn't, we checked," Max said with a retort. Was Adam questioning the test? he wondered.

"You checked just her body but not her avatar's body," Adam said flatly.

"That's ridiculous, how did you come to that conclusion?"

"Phantom pains. When Norm came out of the link earlier he was having them. He said he has them in his human body even though it was his avatar that got shot. Think about it Max. Éclair's morning sickness, there had to be some chemical stuff in her tests you did." Max thought. Sure it was true, she did have higher levels of estrogen production indicative with child bearing and her glucose levels were high as well.

Sure, Norm had bouts of phantom pains from his injury but could it be true? Could Éclair's problems really be stimuli from her avatar body affecting her? Maybe? Could it? Really? It seemed imposable but why couldn't it be possible? It happened to Norm, so why not Éclair? It would make sense. She didn't want to link up any more and she was scared of what might happen when everyone found out.

"Don't tell anyone about this yet, not until we're sure. This has to stay between you and me," Max said in a heated tone. "It will take me a little while to be sure but if you can stay here, I'll get started."

"Yeah, Max, that's fine."

It had taken Max only a few minutes to go to the lab and get the equipment he needed, making sure to grab a supplemental IV on his way out. He had planned on putting the avatar on the IV later today any way. It had been almost two days since she had eaten, not to mention if Adam's theory was right, she shouldn't go this long without eating. Avatars "doing the deed", for lack of a better word, had never been documented.

It kind of made Max blush thinking about it. He took a deep breath as he donned his Exo-pack and made his way out to avatar hut. It was a very nice day outside, a stark contrast to what over the last few weeks had seemed like doom and gloom. Maybe I need to go outside more often, he thought to himself.

Before he knew it, he was there standing at the side of the ten foot tall, blue female Éclair. Max looked over her shapely form. Her abdomen didn't seem to showing signs of growing larger, but again Max reminded himself that this was a special case. So without another thought, he went to work.

"^_^"

After his lunch with Max, Martin had checked on Éclair. She seemed to be doing better now. She had gotten up and began moving around to watching some movies at least. Martin then decided to take a side trip to look over some personnel files, namely those of Carl Falco. He had nothing else to really do, so it seemed like a project to kill some time.

The best person to ask about that would be Tom Johnston, one of the more tech savvy avatar drivers who had been put in charge of manning the control room. It only took him about five minutes to reach the command module. Sure enough, Tom was there, Martin noticed, as the door slid open. Tom turned in the chair he was sitting in.

"Hi there, Mr. Martin. What's the good word?"

"Well, the sun rose this morning and we're all still here." Martin smiled.

"So very true. So, what brings you to command?" Tom asked, turning back to take a look at his controls.

"Well, I was hoping you might be able to help me out with a personnel file."

"Oh," Tom said. "Whom are you wanting to take a look at?" Tom turned around again, swiping his hand across his screen of his computer display, clearing its contents.

"What can you tell me about Carl Falco?" Tom swiftly began running his fingers over the keyboard as he spoke.

"Ok, let's see what we have here," Tom said as his screen was populated with information.

"*********************************"

Name: Falco, Carl

ID: STS-1920

CLEARANCE: Lv. 5

CURRENT STATUS: Deceased

BIRTH: 6/15/XXXX

POSITION: Director of Security and Special Operations

PERSONAL INFORMATION

'- LINE DELETED -'

'- LINE DELETED -'

'- LINE DELETED -'

'- LINE DELETED -'

'- LINE DELETED -'

'- END OF LINE -'

Projects:

Security Operations

Field Work

'- LINE DELETED -'

'- LINE DELETED -'

'- LINE DELETED -'

'- LINE DELETED -'

'- LINE DELETED -'

'- END OF LINE -'

RDA USE ONLY

(Reference Information)

VIDEO Log XA-4324-7783-94610038

VIDEO Log RA-4312-1111-79253400

'*********************************'

Martin turned to look at Tom. "So where's the rest?" Tom then began to typing again as he shrugged, moving the file to another screen.

"Gone," Tom said as he queued up the first video log. "Someone deleted it, but there are some video references here that someone felt needed to be logged with Falco's file.

Both men looked on the screen as a video image came to life. The image was of an office. The two noticed a very broad man sitting behind the desk, wearing military fatigues and sporting a finely groomed mustache, presumably Falco. He looked up from his desk to the door.

'- BEGIN PLAYBACK -'

The angle of the video was not the best being as it was facing away from the door and toward the desk. Another person walked in, male from the looks of it. Martin wasn't sure but the person looked familiar, but he couldn't see anything other than the man's back from an overview angle.

"You wanted to see me, Colonel Falco?"

"Yes, Mr. Greenfield, our resident weatherman."

"Meteorologist," the man now identified as Adam Greenfield corrected.

"Yes, anyway, I called you in here for two reasons. First, I was noticing on your file here you have been here on Pandora for some time. Too long if you ask me."

"If you'll notice, I have privileges allowing for an extended contract." Falco nodded.

"I see that, however I feel that it might be time you head home. I'm assigning a new team to the weather station in four weeks so pack your bags." Adam just sat there for a moment, saying nothing.

"The second thing I wanted to talk to you about is Able Ryder." Adam visually perked up. "Over a month ago it was discovered that she was conspiring with a rouge faction of scientists to disable RDA operations as well as aiding the Na'Vi in terrorist actions." Falco leaned back in his chair, and it was obvious that Adam was growing agitated. "I'm telling you this because I thought you should know that she's dead."

Martin was taken back a bit. This guy was an ass, but why? There wasn't a reason to inform Adam about what happened to Able Ryder and it was obvious that it had struck a nerve. Falco had been trying to hurt him.

"...What did you do?"

"You're dismissed." Falco said simply and leaned forward, going back to his paper work. Adam slammed his hands down on Falco's desk, making the man look up.

"I asked you a question? What happened to Ryder, and what's this bull shit about me going back to Earth?" Adam seethed. Martin couldn't see Adam's face but he was sure that the video angle really didn't do his anger justice.

Falco looked up slowly and calmly. "I'm giving you a courtesy and not throwing you in the brig or sending you back in a pine box, so to speak. How about conspiring with the enemy? Maybe I should just have you shot?"

"Conspiring with the enemy? What the hell are you talking about?" Adam asked.

"The Na'Vi that have visited your little weather station. We have the video. It shows you clearly interacting with them. As for Able Ryder, she was dealt with the way traitors are dealt with." Falco smirked. Adam stepped back from the desk, his arms falling slack to his sides, the thunder he once had gone.

"You'll get yours, you son of a bitch," Adam said, turning to walk away as Falco started to speak. The video cut out.

'- END PLAYBACK -'

"Let's look at the next one," Martin said as the file ended. Tom did as he was told and queued up the next video.

'- BEGIN PLAYBACK -'

The video was of a small out cropping trees that had been cut back and a view of the tree line from the angle of the camera. It was mostly capturing video of the gate in the fence, with a center focal point being the gate and entrance keypad.

From the tree line, a figure appeared running to the fence stopping short of the electrified structure, clarified by a sign reading, "Danger, high voltage". Then the angle shifted to an angle closer to the gate the figure was now standing at. It was Falco, his clothes were tattered and he looked as if he would fall over due to exertion at any moment.

The frantic man came to a stop near the gate and began to press the keypad, trying to get the gate open but it didn't budge. Then he typed on the keypad again and received the same answer as before. Then his focus turned toward the gate. He stopped and began talking though there was no audio, and his lips were not at the best angel to try and decipher what he might be saying.

The conversation went on for maybe two minutes before Falco visibly became angry, his face lighting up with fire. Then he spoke one last curse the two thought and there was a flash of light. The video feed turned fuzzy for a moment before coming back on.

Falco was laying face down, a slight charring on his backside and smoke rising slightly from his body. The video then went on to show someone with shaggy brown hair coming over and unlocking the gate and step through to Falco's body, looking down at it. He leaned down and pressed two fingers to Falco's neck and walked away.

'- END OF LINE -'

"Tom, what was the cause of death for Falco?" Tom began to read over the file.

"Act of God, says he was killed by a lightning strike."

"A lightning strike? What are the odds of that happening?"

"Rare, though your chances of getting struck by lightning are better than winning the lottery."

"Okay, well thanks, Tom," Martin said, taking his leave of the control room. Did it really mean anything that Falco had died at the weather station, the place where Adam Greenfield was stationed? Adam was a meteorologist but he wasn't God and he couldn't control the weather, let along cause lightning to strike.

He decided to let it go for now, maybe he could ask Adam later if he knew anything about it and if that was Adam that checked to see if Falco was alive.

Martin decided to spend the rest for the day with Éclair, which meant him being in the same room with her, watching old movies. He didn't ask any questions. He was just happy that she wasn't crying and was content just to be there in her company.

For all intents and purposes, it had been a good day.

"^_^"

"So what's the plan now Max?" Adam said handing Max a cup of coffee. Max shrugged.

"I called Martin and Éclair to come down here/" Max sipped at his coffee. "I just don't know what to say."

"How about congratulations, Martin, you're a dad after all?" He chuckled. "Oh, come on Max. Want to play chess to put your mind at ease before you have the birds and the bees talk? I'll play at a handicap."

"No, I think that's a very poor idea and no on the chess idea. You'll just beat me like you always do," he huffed. "How did you get so good at chess anyway?"

"Years of practice, my young Palawan."

"What's a Palawan?" Max asked, looking at the other man in confusion. But the look on Adam's face was one of bewilderment.

"Star Wars? Palawan, young Jedi in training?" He paused, dumbfounded. "You've never seen Star Wars, have you?" Max just shook his head. Adam couldn't believe it. Even if the movie was over a hundred years old, it was still well known. He was about to tell Max that they would be watching it soon but Martin and Éclair came in.

"We'll talk about this Star Wars problem later," Adam said, putting the subject to the side; it was obvious there would be more talk of it later. Max stood up and walked over to Martin and Éclair, ushering them into the lab where all three could sit down and have the talk.

"^_^"

It was late in the night when Max finally returned to the control room. All the link beds were empty by now. His head turned to the observation room to where his own avatar lay on a gurney. He really needed to link up with his, younger Na'Vi self and do something. You're a growing boy, you know. He could just hear his mother. Well, she wouldn't be wrong, he thought.

He sat down at the controls. It wasn't until that moment that the fatigue really hit him. The talk and ensuing conversation with Éclair and Martin had truly worn him out. Behind him, he heard the airlock hiss but he made no move to turn and find out who it was.

"Well, everything is buttoned up outside," came the voice of Adam. It was so unmistakable with his southern drawl, Max thought.

"Good, it's been a long day," he said, a long deep breath escaping him as he stood from his chair and began walking toward the door.

"How's the birds and bees talk go with Martin and Éclair?" Adam asked casually as they began walking toward the dorms.

"Pretty good, I guess. They admitted doing the," Max coughed a bit, his cheeks darkening a bit, "deed. We discussed options and its decided it best to just abort the pregnancy." Adam stopped dead in his tracks.

"You're going to do what?" he asked, his features growing hard.

"An abortion. Martin and Éclair decided they're not ready for kids, let alone a child that was born from body that isn't really their own," Max said turning to his friend.

Adam just shook his head. "But that's just…I don't know, it seems wrong," he huffed. "I mean they made their bed, so now they need to sleep in it. It was their choice to get it on. Well, welcome to the world of coincidences," he said bitterly.

"Adam, they're not parenting material. They know that and it would be best for them and us if the situation was just dealt with," Max fired back. It was a problem that needed to be dealt with. They had no business trying to raise a child here, much less one conceived from two avatars.

"Oh, so now the child is a situation? And what's this "us" stuff, Max? How is it hurting anyone by being born or existing? It wasn't his or her choice. You're going to get rid of a child just because the parents were dumb and wanted to get it on in a body that wasn't their original one?" Adam retorted, his displeasure evident. Max, too, was more aggressive at this point he was tired and drained from his discussion and having an argument with someone that had no real foot in the situation was not what he wanted right now.

"Do you really think they knew what they were doing? Or that we have what it takes to tend to the needs of a child here, much less a child that is half Na'Vi?" Max spat in frustration.

"Yes, Max, I think they knew what they were doing. They wanted to get off and maybe thought it was kinky to get a little blue ass action! You know, having a child around here might just make the place more lively and brighten up some spirits because everyone here just seems like they're ready to call it quits and die."

"Well, you're not far from the truth! How much longer do you really think we're going to be able to keep this place going? Maybe four to five more years? Here's the truth—most of us have given up hope." That was it. The last words escaped his lips in little more than a whisper. "The last thing we need is to have to allocate resources we don't have to taking care of a child." He licked his lips, not realizing how dry they were.

"Is it really that bad Max? I know people are down and out but are they really just sitting around, waiting to die?"

Max didn't answer; he simply removed his glasses, wiping his face clean of the frustration he felt. "Yes, Adam. I know you don't see the day-to-day goings on here but that's the short of it. Unfortunately, there is no bright sunny rainbow at the end of this adventure. Most of us knew that when we turned against RDA. Some, however, knew there might be consequences and then there are a small number like you that just got caught in the shuffle and stuck here to reap what we sowed," he said tiredly.

Adam huffed. "Listen Max, you're my friend. I haven't really had one of those in a while, but don't worry about me. There's no need to add me into that lot and feel like I'm your responsibility. I'm a big boy and this is my home. I was here before you were and I like it here. As far as everyone else is concerned…well, they made their bed so they can lay in it or…" he trailed off with a knowing look before continuing, "they can find a new place to sleep."

Max thought about what Adam said. For someone that came off as anti-social and a hermit, he did make some good points. However, Max was tired right now. The stress of talking with Martin and Éclair had been a lot. Adam told Max he had an errand to run before going to bed and that he would see him in the morning. The two parted ways and Max, after what seemed like an hour, made it to his suite. He had taken it after one of the higher-ups had been evicted. As he walked in, there were two piles of clothes to his right—one clean and one ready to be cleaned.

For all his natural prowess with biology and lab work, Max had never mastered the home economics skills his mother had attempted to force on him. Not to say his room was dirty in the least; he just saw no reason to get in a hurry to fold clothes or clean dishes right after their use.

He lumbered over to the couch and sat down. Why he kept doing this, he didn't know. Over the last few years he had lost interest in sleeping in his bedroom on a bed so he had started sleeping on the couch. It wasn't really comfortable but there was a sense of peace that he derived from it that the bed didn't seem to give him. Maybe it was age catching up to him. Even though he was only in his thirties, he felt older. At the same time, he couldn't shake the feeling that it was wrong for him to feel this way.

The thoughts of the world drew further and further away as he lay there until finally the blissful world of dreams took over, washing all the day's events away.

"^_^"

It was almost scary to walk the halls of Hell's Gate late at night by yourself. In fact, it did put a little inkling of fear in Adam but not as much as the little ghost that seemed to follow him around. She was following him again, just a few steps behind him. If he stopped, she stopped. If he sped up, she sped up. He had just taken to walking normally. She said nothing to him and he didn't say anything to her but she kept humming a tune. It actually relaxed him a bit.

It was like something a mother would sooth her child with, a calming sound that just seemed to make everything all right. Finally, he entered the command room. The young man at the console was watching some movie and turned his head to see Adam standing there.

"Hey, sorry to bug you so late but can I use the phone?" Adam asked.

"Hehe, who're you going to call at this hour?" the other man asked in jest.

"I need to talk with Mr. Sully, or rather his wife."

"^_^"

The early morning air felt so wonderful. At hearing a female voice, his vision turned around to see a young Na'Vi female sitting down and beckoning him over. He walked over and sat on the edge of what seemed to be a cliff at first. It quickly it became clear that they were high up in what could only be a large tree. There was no fear. He turned to look at the young female's face; she was grinning at him. Then the first rays of the new day sun began to break over the horizon. He couldn't help but smile back at her. If it wasn't for that damnable alarm going off...

Max blinked his eyes open. The sun was beating down on him through an open window. He groaned as he looked at his com on the wall. He had a message. The com system was rarely used that much anymore but it showed that there was an announcement. He walked over to the screen and pressed the button for the message.

'===== BEGIN MESSAGE ====='

All Hell's Gate Personal,

All personal are to dress lightly and meet in the Avatar grounds promptly at 900 hours sharp. The weather should be overcast with a possible light rain later in the day. The highs will be in the 80's with a humidity of 100%. Further instructions will be given upon arrival.

P.S.—Running shoes would be best for outdoor activities.

'====== END OF LINE ======'

Max mentally scratched his head. It was sent from the command center but by whom, he had no guess. Max looked around and fetched some clothes from the clean pile. A quick shower and within twenty minutes Max was out the door and headed to the Link Center to find out what the hell was going on. He checked his watch. 8:43. That meant he should still be early.

When he arrived, he was not alone. Several others were already there. The link room had a number of people in it with Adam standing at the control center talking to all of them.

"I think we should have enough for a full two teams. How many of you have ever played baseball?" A few hands slowly rose up but more than a few odd glances were exchanged. Finally, someone broke the silence.

"You woke us up this early to play baseball?" said a voice. Max couldn't tell who said it but it was obvious that they were irritated.

"Yes, I did. All you introverts need to get out of this building and live a little. So here's how it's going to go…"

After talking with everyone for a few minutes, just about everyone had convened to play the game. Thankfully there was an even amount of players for each team. Teams, everyone found out, were chosen at random. Adam had procured a small black bag and inside he explained were red and blue poker chips. Thus everyone began to come forward and get a chip and head outside.

As Max donned his Exo-Pack, he walked over to Adam reaching into the bag. "I can't believe you actually got everyone to do this." Adam just grinned.

"Well, I figured it was worth a try. I mean, what else are they going to do today?" He smiled as the last person reached into the bag and pulled a chip.

"So what team are you?" Max asked.

"Well, I'm not really playing so much as I'll play catcher and umpire for the game." He smiled.

Max grinned. "Is this another one of the games you're a savant at?"

It was Adam's turn to grin. "No, I'm not really good at baseball," he said, looking out the window. "Come on, let's go."