A Chance to Rebuild
Brynn races down the facility halls using the directions the agent unwillingly gave her. The truth serum didn't give him a choice, and since he took the brunt of the Siphon's attack he was too injured to stop her either. The path of destruction she passes through worries her though. There's a bunch of debris and agents lying everywhere. She tries not to wonder if they're dead or not. The Siphon has clearly been through here, heading in the same direction she is. And the sounds of laser blasts are getting louder. When she gets to the next corner she pauses, peaking her head around the wall. There, only meters away, is the Siphon, firing on more agents who fruitlessly try to put up a fight. She could backtrack, try to find a way around him, but she'll probably just end up getting lost. Her only chance is to go through. She was faster than him once. She can be again.
Steeling her nerves, she takes off running as fast as she can. The Siphon starts to turn, hearing the pounding of her sneakers on the floor, and she moves to the side so that as she passes him she stays just out of his periphery. Now all she has to do is make it to the end of the hall and around the next corner before he shoots her. She keeps her eyes forward and her feet moving, telling herself in a mantra not to look back, to just keep going. The laser gun goes off and she squeaks in surprise when it hits what sounds like just feet behind her. But she doesn't stop, she can't stop, even when blasts start exploding all around her. She dodges back and forth, trying to make herself a harder target, but she keeps moving forward. Only a couple more meters now. She can make it.
A blast hits the ceiling in front of her, causing concrete and pipes to break away and fall down. There's no time to change direction so she ends up running right into it. Something hits her shoulder and fresh pain bursts through her as she's knocked to the ground. Everything is fuzzy for a moment but she urges herself to get up. She has to get up. The stomping of the Siphon's boots gets closer and she looks up to see him standing right in front of her, gun pointed at her head. The gun gives a loud-pitched whine as it powers up for another shot and she closes her eyes, not wanting to watch her own death.
Then strong arms wrap around her. The gun goes off but she doesn't feel a thing.
Her eyes fly open and she's staring into Seth's face. He looks worn and his blue eyes are full of fear, so unlike his usual cool, calm self. The white hospital scrubs he wears make him look even paler. "Come," he says urgently, pulling her to her feet, "we must run."
With her hand tightly grasped in his they run down the hall. The Siphon fires at them again and again but this time Brynn isn't afraid. She's with Seth. He'll keep her safe; keep her from getting hurt. When they reach the end where the hall turns to the left Brynn sees Alex, Jack, and Sara waiting for them. She also sees a couple of grenades in the tactical vest of a fallen agent. "Wait," she says, letting go of Seth's hand to bend down and take two of the grenades. With careful aim she pulls the pins and tosses them in quick procession. Seth then takes her hand again and all of them run in the opposite direction. Soon after there are two loud explosions and the rumbling roar of the ceiling giving way. When the dust settles they creep back to see the hallway completely caved in.
"Do you think it's dead?" Alex asks quietly, as if she's afraid that if she speaks too loudly the Siphon will hear her.
"I hope so," Brynn says. "I hope the entire mountain fell on top of him." With one last, resentful scowl at the rubble she pulls her eyes away to look over the others. "So is everyone okay? The Men in Black creeps didn't hurt anyone?"
"We are fine, Brynn," Sara says with a reassuring smile. "We were more worried about you."
"Yeah," Jack says, "when Alex and I didn't find you with these two we were afraid they decided to get rid of you or something. But then Sara reached out with her voodoo-whatever and found you."
Brynn shakes her head at them. "You shouldn't have bothered trying to find me. You need to get the experiment device back home."
Jack snorts. "Yeah, well, try telling Seth that. He nearly blew a gasket when we couldn't find you."
Seth is looking down at the ground, jaw clenched. His hand still grips hers, almost painfully, but with a sort of desperation. And Brynn realizes that the fear she saw in him moments ago wasn't fear of the Siphon. It was fear for her. Something stirs within her. Something warm. Something hopeful. "Seth?"
His eyes stay down, but he does speak, softly, almost lost, "I couldn't just leave you. I knew the humans would not kill you. I knew the likelihood that you would be alright. I knew I should have just found our ship and completed our mission, but I-I couldn't."
"You should have just left me behind." She thinks back to what he said when they first met. "The mission takes priority, remember? And your ship is here. You can go home. You don't need my help anymore."
"No," Seth growls, pulling her closer to him by the hand. "No. We do need you." He finally looks at her, his eyes a stormy blue, and lifts his free hand to cup her face. "I need you. More than a mission or obligations. I thought that if I could just do something with my life to honor my family and my people, then I would be happy. I was wrong. You proved me wrong."
Seth's hand slides from her cheek to the back of her head and then he swiftly draws her close so that their lips meet in a kiss. She can feel his desperation in the way his lips move against hers, all of the pent up emotions from the last few days, and she responds with just as much ferocity. Her arms wrap around his neck and his arms go around her waist, pressing themselves as close to each other as possible. Her heart soars as her walls crumble, allowing that part of herself she had locked away to rise up and embrace her feelings for Seth. This kiss is a ceasing of denial, an acceptance, a letting go of all logic and allowing themselves to fall.
The kiss slows. He pecks her once, twice, again, long and tenderly, and then he pulls back just enough to rest his forehead against hers. "Whatever happens," he says softly, "I want you to know that you have my heart. No matter what."
She smiles brightly, tightening her hold on him. "And you have mine."
"Seth, Brynn," Sara suddenly says, reminding them that they are not alone, "I know that this is an important moment for the both of you, one that I have been anxiously awaiting, but right now we must make haste before we are apprehended again."
Brynn reluctantly pulls away from Seth, knowing that she is right. They can already hear the running of more agents getting closer. "Right. Let's go." She slips her hand in Seth's and together they race down the halls with Seth using his GPS device to find the ship's location. When they get close they enter a room with a workspace on a metal platform above a bunch of large machines. Jack leads them cautiously inside, moving slowly up the stairs. At the top they are able to see the spaceship down below on the other side. They crouch behind some equipment, staring down at all of the men and women in lab coats working around the ship.
"We have to hurry," Sara says.
"Well, tell them that," Jack says in frustration.
"Good idea," Alex says, putting on one of the white coats and going down to the people below before anyone can stop her. Using her scientific knowledge and an authoritative air, she convinces them that the sirens are an indication that the area is unsafe and that they all need to leave the hanger. Using the threat to call Agent Burke, she finally convinces them to leave. When the coast is clear they all join Alex.
"Nice work," Brynn says.
Alex smiles proudly. "Why, thank you."
"So now what?"
Seth squeezes her hand. "Wait here a moment."
He and Sara climb up some scaffolding next to the ship. Seth attaches the GPS device to the ship's side, just like he did the refrigerator back at the outpost. So it does open up the ship, just like she thought it would. For once, she's actually grateful the Siphon caught up to them. It stopped the agent from using the truth serum on her, stopped her from giving them what they wanted. The device beeps and the ship hums to life, lights coming on and two panels at the front sliding apart to create a doorway. A bright white light shines from within the ship, extending outward in a solid ray to create a ramp up into the ship. The five of them start to climb up the ramp when the sound of guns being drawn makes them turn.
"Thank you!" a man calls down from the platform, the man Brynn takes to be Agent Burke who she hasn't had the "pleasure" of actually meeting yet. And he is not alone. They are completely surrounded by men with very big guns. "We were having a hard time figuring that part out."
Jack steps forward to stand between them and the agents.
"A brave but empty gesture, Mr. Bruno."
"They're just kids," Jack says, but Brynn knows there is no reasoning with men like Agent Burke. He is a man who always gets what he wants, no matter what and no matter the consequences.
Brynn and Seth look at each other. They just found each other. They are not about to lose each other because of one man's obsession. They join hands and step forward, Seth taking Jack's hand. Alex and Sara step forward as well, Alex taking Brynn's hand and Sara taking Jack's. Whatever happens, they're going to face this together. They've gotten through a lot the past couple of days by sticking together. They can get through this.
Brynn isn't sure who gives the order, if anyone, but one of the agents opens fire and it sets off a chain reaction, making all of the other agents fire as well. But she isn't afraid. She believes in Seth and Sara. And she's right to. The bullets hit them but when they do they flatten as if they hit a brick wall. All she feels is a slight pressure, like someone is poking her over and over again. She looks to Seth and he smiles confidently. His abilities are spreading to all of them though their joined hands, just like Sara's do when they touch. Burke calls out for the agents to hold their fire and the shooting stops. Then there is a huge explosion somewhere behind the ship. The Siphon, apparently, isn't dead. They scramble inside the ship, Seth and Sara sitting in the two seats at the front in front of a big glass screen. They activate the screen, touching a bunch of different things on it and the controls on the armrests of their seats until the ship lifts into the air. The screen also acts as a kind of windshield, showing them what is in front of them.
"You do know how to fly this thing, right?" Jack asks nervously.
"How do you think we got here?" Seth retorts.
"Well, you crashed, remember?"
Brynn stands behind Seth, gripping the back of his seat. Something tells her this is going to be a bumpy ride.
The Siphon stands between them and the tunnel leading out of here, and the twins send the ship crashing right into him. Then they are swerving around the curves of the tunnel, knocking into the walls, ceiling, and floor because it is such tight quarters. The end of the tunnel comes into view and they can see the night sky ahead of them, but the hanger doors are closing. Brynn cringes as they get closer. It's going to be a tight fit. But then the twins turn the ship on its side and they shoot out of the tunnel just before the doors close completely. Everyone laughs in relief as they rise higher and higher into the sky, racing away from Witch Mountain.
"We made it!" Brynn says, leaning forward to wrap her arms around Seth's neck from behind.
Seth leans in to her touch. "We did. It's finally over."
The ship gives a sudden lurch, their flying becoming unsteady. "What was that?" Alex asks worriedly.
Seth looks over the screen. "The air lock is jammed. I need to manually override the system."
"You two fly," Jack says. "Just tell me what to do."
After relaying quick instructions, Jack goes off to fix the air lock. However, after several minutes and the ship still not evening out, they begin to become worried.
"Brynn, it takes two to fly the ship," Seth says, getting up from his seat while keeping his hand on the orb on the left armrest of his chair. "I need you to take the controls."
"O-Okay," she says, sitting down and taking the controls from him. She has no freaking idea what she's doing.
"Don't worry. Just keep it steady and you'll be fine." Seth then goes off in the direction Jack went.
The orbs feel funny on her hands. There's a sort of electricity running through them, tingling her palms and pulling them in the direction that the ship tilts and jerks, like a water current tugging her hands. She tugs back, trying to keep the ship as level as she can, but as the minutes slowly pass the ship becomes more and more unstable. She starts to worry that it's going to make them crash when suddenly the tugging stops and she's able to effortlessly even the ship out. The three of them breathe a sigh of relief as the flight becomes smooth. Seth and Jack return with Seth retaking his seat.
"Any problems?" Brynn asks, reluctantly giving up the controls. She had been flying a spaceship and it was freaking awesome.
"The Siphon had returned," Seth informs them, "but he is now permanently dealt with."
"And we're sure this time?"
"Most definitely yes," Jack says.
Brynn feels herself finally relax. They're in the clear now. But that just means one thing.
It's time to say goodbye.
They land in a field next to where they hid the RV, all of them piling out. Brynn keeps her distance from everyone as Seth and Sara say goodbye to Jack and Alex. She thought she was ready for this, but she's not. The pain she's endured at the hands of her father and his men, none of that compares to the ache she feels in her heart now. She has her eyes trained on the ground when she sees Seth's and Sara's shoes in front of her. She doesn't look up. She's too busy trying not to cry. But when Sara wraps her arms around Brynn in a hug she feels her resolve slip as she clings back. She can't cry. She has to be strong for this. When Sara pulls back she's proud of herself that her eyes aren't blurry at all.
"Thank you, Brynn, for all that you've done," Sara says with a warm smile. "You truly are one of our dearest friends."
Brynn nods, not trusting her voice right now. And then she turns to Seth. By the look on his face, he's hurting just as much as she is by this. His Adam's-apple bobs in his throat as he swallows. "Brynn…I…."
And there goes the rest of her will-power. As the first tear falls down her face they reach for each other at the same time, coming together in a fierce hug. Her face is buried in his chest and her fingers clutch at the back of his shirt, not wanting to let go. She doesn't want him to go. She knows he has to, but she doesn't want him to leave her.
"Are you sure I can't come with you?" she whispers.
"I wish," Seth says against the top of her head, "but no, you can't. It is too dangerous for humans on our planet right now."
"Then what do I do? I mean, I had no idea where I was going before this little adventure started. I just knew I needed to get far away from my father. Now I still don't know where to go."
"I think we have an answer to that." Jack steps forward and Brynn looks up at him questioningly. "You can come with Alex and me."
Brynn straightens in Seth's arms, looking wide-eyed at Jack. "Are you serious?"
"Of course we are," Alex says. "Burke and his goons are still going to be after us. We need to stick together so that we don't end up kidnapped and dumped in a ditch somewhere."
Jack nods. "Plus Wolfe is still going to be after us because of what happened at Planet Hollywood. We've got a big storm chasing us and we need to find a way to get ahead of it. And you're not going to be able to do that on your own. So what do you say, kid? Are you willing to stick with us?"
Brynn gives him a watery smile. The four of them, she already considers them to be her family. They're more of a family than she's ever had, except for her mother. Now it's time for her to rebuild again. "Yeah, I'd love to go with you."
"Alright, sweety," Alex says, backing up and pulling Jack with her. "We'll just let you guys…finish up."
Brynn looks up at Seth and he lifts a hand to brush her tears away. "Well, looks like I have a plan now," she says.
"And now I do not have to worry about you as much," he says.
She gives a breathy laugh. "Yeah, right, you know you're going to worry anyway."
A corner of his mouth tilts up. "Yes, I know I will." The smile vanishes and his eyes bore into hers with sadness and longing. Their lips come together in a kiss that Brynn feels all the way down to her toes. Her hands go into his short hair, trying to hold him there, but all too soon they break apart. Their eyes meet again and this time Seth's are glassy. "I will come back to you. I swear."
"You better," she chokes out, her own tears returning. "Or else I will tear apart galaxies trying to find you."
"I do not doubt that." One of his arms unwraps from around her to hold out the GPS device to her. "Here. I want you to have this. So long as it is in your possession, I will be able to find you again."
She takes it, holding it close to her chest. "I'll be waiting."
He kisses her one last time, lingering as long as possible, but they both know it is time for him and Sara to go before they are found again. They part, both of them reaching out to each other as he moves away until finally their fingertips slip away. He rejoins his sister in the shuttle and Brynn goes to stand between Jack and Alex. The three of them join hands as the twins disappear and the shuttle takes off into the night, racing out into the darkness of space. On their way home.
But Brynn feels like her home is being taken away from her.