For idontknowreallywhy, obeyweegee214 and katblue42.
Whumptober Day 10: "Can't you see that you're lost without me?"/"You said you'd never leave."
Characters: Virgil, Gordon, Alan, Brains, John, Scott, Kayo
They all looked at each other, shock clear on their faces.
'So I guess the billion-dollar question is who created portal travel and what do they want with Scott?'
Virgil, as usual, hit the nail on the head. There was silence as the question was digested before Alan went to speak.
All eyes turned to him and eyebrows raised in question, but it was Gordon who prompted Alan to explain what he was thinking.
'Hear me out. I'm just trying to figure this all out. Did the fridge kill Scott?
'Did it eat Scott via that portal?'
'Alan? What? No! Alan, are you ok?'
'Yeah, yeah. Just…processing a thought.'
'You said the fridge was hot, Gordon.'
'But the portal was in the wall beside the fridge.'
'We all saw that, Al. what's your point?'
'My point is…maybe the fridge is the key somehow.'
Silence greeted that thought before Gordon thumped Alan on the back.
'Excellent thinking there, lil bro. Well, my very clever engineering brothers? Is our smartest brother onto something?'
Alan blushed but looked pleased and he watched as Gordon and Virgil moved the fridge out so that they could check out the theory. He soon got bored as Virgil and Brains carefully dismantled the appliance.
Gordon joined him at the table and they sat, picking at the food as they watched them work. John joined them not long afterwards but pointedly declined any of the food his younger brothers pushed towards him. When Alan protested John just fixed him with a look.
'You think the fridge killed or ate Scott and yet you're eating the food from it?'
Gordon stared at John and deliberately ate the biggest spoonful of double chocolate ice cream he could fit on his spoon, licking the spoon as he pulled it out, all without breaking eye contact.
And just like that the atmosphere lightened and the three brothers at the table fell about laughing.
Just as Virgil emerged triumphantly from the back of the fridge.
In his hand was a small chip. On it was a logo that they were all familiar with.
The laughter died abruptly and was replaced with angry yelling. Brains let them shout out their fear as he took the chip from Virgil, adjusted his glasses and examined it. He looked it over intently and then his face creased into a smile. He looked up at the brothers before him.
'I – I – I think I use this and th-th-the…'
He trailed off as he realised no one was listening. He frowned and waited, but the anger was just increasing. Brains did something then he'd never done before.
They all shut up immediately, all staring at their engineer.
'T-T-Thank you!. I th-th-think I can use th-th-this chip with the energy t-t-trace and engineer a w-w-way to find Scott!.'
The brothers crowded around him for a moment, each one offering to help, but in the end it was Brains and MAX with John and Virgil who retired to the lab to work, leaving Gordon and Alan in the lounge.
'I think it's time we filled Kayo and Penny in on what's going on.'
Strong arms still clasped Scott tightly and he struggled weakly against them. Whatever that…thing he'd been pulled through had been it had left him disorientated, dizzy, nauseated and as weak as a day-old kitten.
As if his stomach had heard him it gave an ominous lurch and growl. The arms and other hands forced him into a chair and a metal basin was pressed into his hands just in time to catch the bile he expelled.
Great. Now he was shaking. A bottle of Gatorade was pressed into his hands, lid already removed. Scott sipped at the drink, and as the dizziness began to fade he began to make out details around him.
The familiarity of the furnishings hit him first. The table, the floor, the kitchen. All of these he knew well. Even the Gatorade was the usual lurid yellow of his Squid's favourite sports drink. As he drained the citrus drink Scott looked up into faces that made his heart lurch.
Virgil, Gordon and Alan stood before him.
But they were not his Virgil, Gordon and Alan.
The three men before him were considerably older by around 10 years at a guess. Scott was aware his mouth was hanging open as Virgil looked sheepish, rubbing the back of his neck and staring at the ground. Gordon and Alan were grinning at him, but there was something off about their behaviour.
Up the stairs in a rush came Kayo and Brains. His sister's eyes lit up at the sight of him and she was the first one to come over and pull him up and hug him tight.
Kayo was crying. Scott blinked as her actions seemed to unstick his brothers and they too joined in hugging him tightly, tears flowing freely.
'It worked! I can't believe it worked!'
Virgil's words were uttered in various forms by all his family, and as much as Scott enjoyed the hug he knew he needed to find out what the hell had happened.
What had happened in their future that was so bad it had necessitated Brains breaking one of his cardinal rules?
As if sensing the question the hug dissolved. Everyone looked to Virgil, who looked uncomfortable to be in the spotlight as usual. Wait a minute – if Virgil was acting as head…where were future him and John?
'Scott. I – er…it's so good to see you. I'm sure you have lots of questions. Come upstairs and we can talk.'
Scott shrugged and followed everyone up.
The command centre-come-living room hadn't changed much either. On the centre table the news played out silently and immediately drew his eye. He gasped and, without realising what he was doing, sat down heavily in the chair at the desk.
The news looked grim. The ribbon of speech underneath the images told of a terrorist attack of unknown origin on world governments. Chaos was spreading as wealth was being redistributed from the rich to the poor. Riots and looting was occurring across the globe.
All eyes were on him and Scott paled. Had he caused this? Oh god, he had! Had he lost it? How had he lost it? No – more importantly, why had he lost it?
'What happened? Where's John?'
All eyes turned from him to Virgil and his brother coughed and blushed.
'John's on Five. He…he's a little upset at the moment.'
'A little upset?! Understatement of the decade there, Virg.'
'Yes, thank you for that Gordon.'
Scott just stared at them as he tried to put the pieces together.
'We, um, we need you.'
'John needs you.'
'The world needs you.'
Ok, so his two youngest were still into hyperbole then. He knew his eyebrow had raised at their words, and he felt sure that the scepticism was clear on his face, but it was Kayo who came over and sat on the desk beside him. She took his hand and held it tight in both of hers.
'They are right. The world needs you again. This time you need to save the world from John and EOS.'
Scott swallowed hard.
He'd always known that his immediately younger brother had the ability to bring the world to its' knees, and that the addition of EOS had only increased that. Scott had always been reassured that nothing would push John to that extreme, but apparently he was wrong.
Something had pushed John too far, and he had an awful feeling he knew what it was.
'Tell me what happened.'
'Three weeks ago you were called out to a rescue. Another Fischler disaster. Only this time…this time you didn't come home.'
Her voice cracked on the last words, and Scott stood up and pulled her into a hug, looking at his crying brothers over her head as Kayo clung to him for a moment before pulling herself together to carry on explaining. She didn't let go of him, though.
'One of his stupid inventions, one that Virgil and John had tried hard to get banned previously, malfunctioned and in rescuing the madman you died. It broke us all, but John…'
'John had holed himself up in Five and is doing this. He swore that they would pay for not listening to us and getting you killed.'
Scott's throat was dry. He couldn't find the words to speak. This was his future? Dying on a rescue was something that he'd always known was the most likely future he had, but to know it was a reality struck him harder than he thought possible.
'John's locked Five up tight and overridden all protocols. We can't get to him and we can't stop him.'
'Only you can, Scott. Yours are the only protocols that are still working.'
'We brought you here to stop John from burning the world down. We're lost without you, but John…John's broken, like something inside him has snapped.'
Oh. No pressure there, then. Scott swallowed.
'Let me get this straight. You created a portal, pulled me forward in time and you want me to stop John destroying the world because I died. Is that about right?'
'Yes, that's about right.'
'Couldn't you have used the portal to get to John?'
'No – it can only be used on Fischler tech and there is no Fischler tech on Five.'
Well thank goodness for that small mercy, Scott thought as he tried to work out what to do. There was a lot he needed to address, but getting to John was the biggest need, and already he was standing to make his way to his chute to suit up.
Virgil's hand on his arm stopped him and he turned to face him.
'Not that way. If you go that way you'll trigger Five's sensors and John will stop you. He hasn't let us off the island since your funeral, and we have no way of knowing how he's going to react to your protocols being activated, so we think the elevator is the best way to go.'
'Will EOS stop me?'
'We don't think so. She's helping John but she is also very upset at everything. We think – hope – that she'll not let John know until you are on board because she just wants to comfort him.'
'That – that is a lot of hoping there.'
'I know, but it's all we have.'
Scott steeled himself. Save his brother from himself – it wasn't anything he hadn't needed to do before, only last time it was making John rest and eat rather than stop destroying the world…
He got dressed and used his code to call the elevator down. Instead of just standing there waiting the 15 minutes alone and thinking, though, he spent that time standing with his earth-bound brothers and sister. They didn't say anything but they were all touching something – Virgil with his arm slung over a shoulder, Gordon in front of him with a hand on Scott's forearm, Alan under his other arm and Kayo with her hand on that shoulder.
And then the elevator was there and Scott was strapping himself in.
'Welcome back, Commander.'
'EOS. Will you help me help John?'
'Of course. He has missed you.'
'Is he aware I am on my way?'
'Not yet. He is currently looking at how to change access codes on some missile sites.'
'Please don't tell him I'm coming. I think it will be better this way.'
'Very well, Scott.'
Scott ignored the way his heart dropped at the thought of John changing missile access codes and thought more about what he should say when he saw him.'
He didn't have to think too hard. The elevator docked and he stepped out. Gravity was on in this section of Five but he knew it wouldn't be on in the hub. Sure enough he floated into the hub and John's back. His brother did not turn around.
'I don't know how you fooled my overrides or persuaded EOS to help you, but you can just turn right around and go home. I'm not going to stop until every last one of those bastards pays for what they have done to our family.'
At Scott's voice John's hands stopped moving. He heard him swallow before his brother turned around. Shock, incredulity and hope warred across his face as he looked Scott over.
'Hey, Johnny. I hear that you missed me.'
A sob broke free from his brother and Scott was across the room, pulling John in tightly. The spaceman clung to him like he was a lifeline.
'You – you said you'd never leave me.'
'You know I wouldn't have if I had the choice.'
'Don't leave me. Don't leave me.'
And Scott held John tight while he cried.