-Part 3-
Saving the Island

72 hours before the Incident

Locke sighs after his hand passes through the flashlight he tries picking up. "This is going to be more difficult than I thought."

A dump truck carrying a load of fresh dirt rumbles close by. Locke steps out in front of it, crossing his arms and looking the driver straight in the eye. He stands his ground as the heat radiating from the diesel engine closes in; suddenly, the temperature cools as a static wind passes through his body. The sights and sounds of moving metallic parts envelop his senses as he passes through layers of steel and diesel machinery. He pats his arms and chest after exiting the truck's rear axle, finding himself completely untouched. "This is going to take a little getting used to," he chuckles, brushing dirt off of his shoulders.

He walks over to the drill positioned over an ancient well. Construction workers have dismantled the bricks encircling the shaft, making the hole flush with the ground. They mount another extension to the drill, enabling it to extend all the way to the bottom. The group of scientists comes over to inspect the rigging; Radzinsky stares down the Well, eying the beautiful sparkle of light glimmering from the deep. "Make sure you center the drill over the light!"

Daniel Faraday rejoins the scientists with his journal open to a diagram describing the Island's geology. "Perhaps the people who dug the Well realized it would be unsafe to release the light."

"Oh yeah? Or maybe it was because they couldn't dig all the way through with the archaic tools they were using!" Radzinsky responds, annoyed the persistent geek from Michigan still lingers. "And I'm here to finish what they started!"

Daniel droops his head, discouraged that his science colleagues fail to heed his warning. He flips to the next page of his journal and sees the schematic diagram of a nuclear bomb. "It's time to go look for my mother."

Locke glances down the shaft one last time and repeats a similar sentiment. "And it's time for me to find Jack's father." He walks away from the Well, again passing through people and objects in his way. He stumbles on the pile of ancient bricks the workers removed from the Well. He kneels to check his stubbed toe and taps the bricks with his fingers, confirming the first solid objects he's come across which he can't pass through. "Interesting. It must be because the bricks are very old," he figures. He finds a long length of rope laying next the bricks, apparently once used for access to the Well during ancient times. He smiles as his hand successfully grasps it. "This will definitely come in handy," he says as he hoists the rope over his shoulders.

Inside the protective dome

MIB picks up the end of an ancient rope and threads it through a wooden pulley system placed over the Well. He yanks through several feet of slack then ties a loophole at the end.

"Dude," Hurley gulps, his hands sweating looking down the shaft.

Sayid stops fiddling with the radiation sensor and looks to the man wearing black. "Are you seriously considering descending the shaft or are you hoping for a volunteer?"

Sawyer leans over and pulls down on the rope. "I'm first."

"You can't be serious," Kate reacts, instinctively digging her fingernails into his arm.

"Calm down Freckles; this could be my ticket off this rock." Sawyer shakes her grip and hangs one leg over the shaft. "Last time I watched somebody climb down a Well with a light at the bottom, he got to go home."

"Locke," answers Jin, nodding to Jack.

"When it's time to leave, we will all leave together," explains Christian. "For now, we have work to do." He reaches for Sawyer's arm and helps him safely back to solid ground. "When John Locke returns with the stone plug, we will lower it into position over the light."

Jack glances down the shaft, the twinkling light mesmerizing him. "So that's it? We place the stone over the light and that will save the Island?"

"No." MIB shakes his head and ties another loophole in the rope. "The Heart of the Island is a place where energy is transformed into healing. The three ingredients needed are the light, the stone, and water. We have the light. And soon, John Locke will have the stone. The only other thing we need is water."

sorry short! more to come! -bobt