Anthony looked upwards. All he could see at first were clouds of dense smoke. He coughed to clear his throat, then called to the others. Ed was the first to answer.
"Over here, son" said Ed. "You all right John?"
John coughed. "What happened?" asked John.
"Don't ask me" said Ed. "Something blew. The moment Carol popped off." The smoke was still too thick to see clearly but Ed could just about see the source of the immediate problem. "John, I think TIM's down."
John looked upwards to see TIM's tubes shattered. The mist that surrounded them was in fact the contents of the tubes which had vaporised under the reduced pressure of the Lab. "Oh no, that's all we need! Right, everybody out I think" said John. John and Ed made for the door, and with great effort were able to force the door open. They stumbled out, to be followed Helen, Anthony and Lyndon.
"Is that vapour toxic?" asked Anthony.
"Not exactly" said John. "More irritant with prolonged exposure, but there shouldn't be any lasting effects. Now let's just do a quick headcount." With that John did a brief survey. "We're one or two short. Janice and Carol."
"Carol jaunted" said Anthony.
"Are you sure about that?" asked John.
"Yes, certain" said Anthony. "She dematerialised immediately before the explosion."
"Didn't you see?" said Helen. "As she was about to dematerialise, she fell backwards. The shock of the explosion, I suppose. Do you suppose that would matter?"
"I suppose it all depends whether or not the jaunt was complete" said John. Ed recovered his breath and made for the door. "Where are you off to?"
"Janice. She's still in there, and there's an outside chance that Carol didn't get away" said Ed just before he disappeared into the mist before returning a minute later carrying the semi-conscious Janice over his shoulder in a fireman's lift. "The mist's thinning out now" said Ed. "I had a very quick look around but there's no sign of Carol. She must have made it." He lay Janice on the ground and propped her up against the wall. Slowly, she came round.
"What happened?" she asked drowsily.
"Easy, love" said Ed. "We've just had a bit of an incident that's all."
By this time, the mist had almost completely gone. Curiosity had got the better of Anthony, who, without anybody else noticing, had gone back into the Lab. "I think you'd better take a look at this" Anthony shouted form inside the Lab. At his suggestion, they filed into the Lab to find Anthony standing above Carol's helmet. "I just hope this is just a helmet. I mean I hope there's nothing in it."
"Oh God no!" said Janice, realising what Anthony was implying. John moved slowly towards the helmet and gingerly rolled it over. It was empty. "Oh thank goodness for that!" said Janice. "I thought for a moment that . . . well never mind what I thought."
"This still begs the question of where Carol is" said John.
"She's gone! Jaunted" said Anthony.
"Not necessarily" said John. "She could still be in the Lab. Okay we'll have to search everywhere. Look behind the furniture, in the equipment room, everywhere." The others searched without success.
"She's definitely not here" said Lyndon, "so she must have made it."
"Oh Lyndon, I wish it were that simple" said John.
"What do you mean simple?" said Lyndon.
"I don't even want to think about it" sad John, "But to be honest, I don't fancy her chances making it back without her helmet."
"You mean? . . . Oh no!" exclaimed Janice.
"Not necessarily" said John, brushing the debris off the telepathy table. "Of course, we can't do much without TIM's help, but we can do our best. Right, Lyndon, Anthony, Helen, join me here and link." The Tomorrow People assembled around the table and touched hands. "Now we really need to concentrate to make contact." John led the 'path. Carol? Carol do you copy? No reply. Carol, this is John, please come in? still no reply. They persevered for ten whole minutes without success.
John's face became drained of all colour as the truth suddenly dawned on him. Carol was missing and should be presumed dead.