Periodic East, Chapter 31 – Initiating a MAC Scrub
This would be the first time that Sam would be inside Kairi’s quarters since he spent the night with her. Even though it was just a few nights ago, for Sam it felt like it had been weeks. As Sam and Jack were walking through the halls of Icarus, Sam and Jack passed other members of the crew. The member of the crew were trying poorly to hide their stares, but Sam noticed that most of the stares were directed at him and not the new fully-formed adult that found his way on board still without explanation.
Sam ignored this realization and explained it away in his mind by concluding that it was just slight paranoia brought on by tremendous amounts of stress. Stress that was absolutely warranted in his mind.
Both men reached Kairi’s door to her quarters and Sam took a deep breath before speaking. “These two are the most important and powerful on board Icarus,” he began. “What I’m about to ask of them has never been done before and it’s the second time I ask in the last few hours. Treat them both courteously and respectfully, do you understand?”
Jack nodded. “I understand you, Sam,” he said with a tone of familiarity that made Sam uncomfortable. “I don’t exactly understand what you’re going to ask of them, but I know it must be important and that it’s the right thing to do. I know that because I know you.” This last remark made Sam particularly uncomfortable.
“Before we go in,” Sam said, “I know you can’t explain why you look like that, but why do you insist on being called Jack? If you are Simon-“
“I know what you’re saying,” Jack interrupted. “But the truth of the matter is, I don’t recognize Simon looking like this, I am him but-“
“Wouldn’t that be the first step towards recognizing and accepting… this?” Sam asked while gesturing with his arms over Jack’s appearance. “To go by your given name. I think it would also help make my-our case when I go in there and ask this impossible ask,” Sam concluded raising an excellent point causing Jack to sigh deeply.
“Okay,” he began. “You’re right. I am and always will be Simon, no matter what I look like.”
Sam smiled and placed his hand across his brother’s cheek. “Come on, Simon,” Sam said. “Let’s figure out how you got here.”
Sam pushed a button just outside Kairi’s quarters; a doorbell as it were. Without any response, the doors swung open. Inside, Kairi’s quarters were just as Sam remembered it. Why would it be any different? Immaculately kept and minimally decorated. In the common area sat Kairi and Captain Bellamy, neither one looked up from their reading material as both gentlemen walked in.
Sam audibly cleared his throat before speaking. “I’m sorry to bother you,” he began, but I’m glad you’re both here because I need to speak to both of you.
Captain Bellamy looked up from her reading material and saw Sam and the unfamiliar man standing beside him. She did her best to keep her poker face, but could immediately tell that who Sam was with was someone that she had never seen before.
“Yes,” she began. “Dr. Miyaki and I were just about to have some tea, would you care to join us?”
“That’s very kind of you,” Simon interjected startling Captain Bellamy a little more. “We’d love to.”
“Dr. Miyaki,” Captain Bellamy began. “Would you please set up two more place settings for Sam and-“
“Simon,” he said. “My name is Simon.”
Kairi finally looked up from her reading material and barely flinched at the seeing the two men, one of which, of course, was a complete stranger. She simply stood up and looked to Captain Bellamy. “Of course, Captain,” she said and made her way into the kitchen.
“Sit, both of you, please, “ Captain Bellamy said. “Sam, I wanted to let you know that I just reviewed your monthly report,” she said trying to sound cavalier. “Good work,” she concluded.
“Thank you, Captain,” Sam replied as both men sat in the semicircular sofa in Kairi’s common room; a round coffee table, both in a muted color, at the center.
Dr. Miyaki emerged from the kitchen with a round tray that had four tea cups and a tea pot in the center and she laid it on the coffee table before sitting down.
“So who’s this?” Kairi asked in her usual unabashed way.
“This is Simon,” Sam began. “Simon Ng; my twin brother.”
Both women looked at Simon closely and were speechless. “I don’t understand,” Captain Bellamy began.
“Fraternal,” Sam interjected quickly, “but clearly even that is hard to believe and the last question on your minds right now.”
“The doctor just completed a DNA test,” Simon said respectfully. “I think he said he was going to send you both the results as we made our way over here.”
Both women looked at their portable screens and saw a notification of a new member on board Icarus, only it wasn’t a birth. Without knowing how else to declare him, Dr. Reynolds had labeled Simon as a “Stowaway.”
Kairi looked up from her screen at Simon and stared him down. Truly, this was something to behold when Dr. Kairi Miyaki, one of the most brilliant minds to ever live, was stumped and speechless. Captain Bellamy immediately noticed, which diminished her poker face.
“Simon,” Captain Bellamy said.
“This is the captain,” Sam whispered into Simon’s ear.
“Yes, Captain?” Simon responded with utmost respect and poise.
“You have no recollection as to when you arrived or how?”
Simon calmly explained everything he had explained to me; the last of what he remembered. He told her about his work with President Eastman and believing to be the first person to interpret First Contact before General Keats broadcasted it publicly to the world. Then how three hours later, he initiated Operation Periodic East severing all forms of modern communication.
It was Keats who ultimately pressed the button.
“All the reports I’ve read on Operation Periodic East were deemed inconclusive and speculation at best,” Kairi argued.
“Well I saw it happen,” Simon said. “After President Eastman’s pod successfully launched with me inside,” he continued, “I received a call on my portable communicator. It seemed like the other men didn’t know Eastman had made the call so I stayed quiet. I saw Eastman back in that secret bunker behind The War Room. Eastman looked like a shell of himself. ‘This is so history will remember,’ Eastman whispered.
“The three men stared at the button and after about two minutes of what I thought was a lost connection because everyone was so still and quiet, Keats just smashed the button. The call disconnected a few seconds later.”
As he said all this, Simon reached into his pockets and took out a charred portable communicator that looked beyond repair.
“If you can fix this,” Simon began, “you can see for yourself.”
Immediately Kairi lunged for the device and took it from Simon’s hands. Sam looked over to Captain Bellamy who was in a quiet state of shock over what she had just heard. She was processing everything. The way a good captain would, and she was the best.
“Captain,” Sam said. “I must request again that the ship and Icarus undergo a MAC scrub. Doing so will not only help determine how and when Simon arrived, but also-“
“Yes,” she suddenly replied and then looking over to Kairi as the captain stood up and we all followed in suit. “Prepare the initial procedures for a MAC scrub,” Captain Bellamy said. “I will alert the crew and instruct them to prepare to re-enter a hyper-sleep state. I want it to begin as soon as possible.”
Kairi still had her never-before-seen speechless look on her face. Suddenly she seemed just as vulnerable and human as the rest of us.
“Yes, Captain Bellamy,” she replied softly. “Right away.” Then Kairi walked out of her own quarters leaving the three of us in the room staring at each other just as confused as when we walked in.