"Theresa. Go home."
"But Ev just-"
I stared at Ev's dad for a couple seconds, taken aback at the abruptness of it and swirling inside my own head for a couple seconds. I ... I really couldn't think of anything to say.
I don't know. How could he come barging in here and just -
What an assh-
-But it was his home. I guess. So I finally just threw up my hands.
I pushed past him toward the front door, while he just stood there staring ahead at Ev like I didn't even exist anymore. So I got her attention one last time before I left and stabbed a finger at the back of her dad's head.
"You tell him," I mouthed at her. Then I flicked off the back of her dad's head before rounding back on the door.
I stopped there, though. Realization came at me in a rush, nearly knocking me back off my feet. Instead, I slowly turned back around.
That message couldn't have meant ...?
That was ... crazy.
But there was something in the way he was standing. I felt a cold dread come over me as he stared at Ev that way. They had said ...
But - Who? Who would want to come after her? I mean - Ev? Of all people ...
I practically ran out the door as soon as I turned back around. It slammed shut behind and I darted down the corridor into a corner around the bend. A quick once-over to make sure no one was looking at me, and I pulled out my pad. I had old Weir-do's secret inbox bookmarked and shortcutted. And I breathed a small sigh when I got in without a hitch this time. He hadn't figured out I'd cracked it or changed the encryption yet.
There was a new message in there, already read. I opened it up.
Two are on Riftwatch already. That was all it said.
What the ...?
Two what? Or did they really mean that-?
I went back and looked at the past messages too, just to be sure. I'd chanced upon Ev's dad's covert inbox while rooting through the mainframe a couple months ago, not even knowing it was his until I got inside. It had just looked interesting, seeing as someone had gone through some trouble to hide it from anyone and everyone else. At first, though, it had been disappointingly routine and legitimate. Progress reports, research correspondence, and peer editorials. I had almost given up digging any deeper until I found some messages a few weeks back where he started talking about the 'other side', 'enemies', and using double-talk in messages with people without electronic signatures like spies from the vids.
It was just a little funny at first. I didn't pay much attention to it except to imagine stuffy, old Weir-do acting like some covert agent up in his ivory tower. The station could be boring as hell most of the time. Maybe that work addiction of his had been wearing him down more than people realized.
But then they had started talking about Ev.
Someone was after her. That's what the gist of it all was. I had read them over and over, until I was sure Weir-do would find me out. It took that long to be sure just what they meant, and still I couldn't believe it. Not until I saw that look in her dad's face before he kicked me out. He was serious.
There were people after Ev. And they were already here?
I glanced around, but no one was really paying me any attention there - crouched in my corner. Not a lot of people were out that night.
So, what was he going to do?
I thought about it. Maybe he'd go all hardcore and hunt down whoever was on the station coming for Ev. Maybe. But that wasn't really like old Weir. And they didn't say much about fighting those guys. Just staying one step ahead of them whenever they could.
Then it hit me.
There was a shuttle in loading bay thirteen. Most people didn't know, but it was old Weir-do's super secret, personal shuttle. I couldn't figure out if he ever left the station in it, but I had gotten inside once to look around because it never moved and no one ever talked about it down there. Very hush-hush and suspicious. So I figured it'd be interesting at least.
But now ...
The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. Ev's dad was going to grab her and just take off. That's what he was going to do. They were going to leave the station. Maybe even for good.
I was halfway home before I even got past that thought inside my head. And I had already snuck past Bertram's room and almost finished packing a bag before I stopped to think about what I was doing.
What was I doing?
Ev was in trouble, right?
And I couldn't just let her go off all on her own, right?
Okay, well it was settled then. Really, there wasn't any other choice. It wasn't like Ev could survive long without me around to keep an eye on her anyways. Old Weir-do could barely take care of himself. To be honest, really - I'd probably just end up taking care of them both.
So that it was it then. I rushed out the door with barely a scribbled note left in Bertram's inbox, and headed for bay thirteen. Some goodbye, I guess. I tried to call Ev along the way, but it didn't go through. Weird. The stupid automatic re-direct sent it over to her dad and I had to hang up in a hurry when I saw that start to go through. But I didn't have time to worry about it. I had to get to that shuttle before they did.
Weir wouldn't have much liked seeing me there. Good thing I could get that shuttle open easy. No one noticed me as I snuck into the bay and around back to it - they were too busy and I was too quick. Once inside, I grabbed a few of the microcameras from my bag, planted them around the cabin, and hid myself inside the storage locker in the head. That shuttle was outfitted to be lived in for a bit, but I wasn't going to get much chance to be comfortable along the way just yet. So I took out my pad, hooked into the camera feeds, and-