They again had breakfast and settled in for what usually turned out to be a week or two between realms. Over breakfast, the conversation centered around the Camcron Building and those two Sleeper sculptures. That building, especially, proved a tantalizing question mark that each of them had a slightly different take on.
“I still think we should have gone in,” Max insisted, figuring Justin, at least, would agree with him.
“Are you nuts?” Justin still couldn’t pin down exactly why he was so hesitant about it. Odd, given that he would ordinarily be gung-ho for casing the joint. All he could come up with was how much trouble he went through the last few times he simply barged into places without knowing what he was getting into. Tranz-D. The Harken Building. That haunted island estate. “I think we should have tried to find out what those bastards were doing in there before going in.”
“I think we were probably smart to stay out, no telling what they were ‘researching’ in there, though you can’t help but wonder…” Shades knew it was easy to be brave now, but whenever he walked past that place, he couldn’t help feeling as if he had experienced it before, in a dream or something, and the foreboding impression that taking that building lightly would be a dangerous mistake. “It felt really weird standing near it… like there was some kind of energy source in there… But I’m not sure. Maybe we were just spooking ourselves.”
“Well, I suppose now we’ll never know,” Justin remarked. Last night, in his cabin, he had flipped through that diary he picked up before he finally crashed, but there were only a handful of entries that had anything to do with the building, or those two machines, and none of them shed any light on what it was that was actually going on. Which only added to his frustration, since even bringing it up would amount to admitting he had broken their agreement, so he kept his mouth shut about it.
“I guess.” Max resumed his turn at the helm now that he was finished eating. As Justin and Shades continued to discuss the building and Camcron’s possible motives for setting up a research facility in a backwater realm like this, he spotted something on the horizon. He rejoined the conversation with: “Hey guys, I can see something up ahead.”
Both of them turned and looked forward, for none of them were expecting such a short trip.
Each of them had their own bad feeling about this, recalling yesterday morning.
“No… No way…” Justin stammered, noticing it just before his friends did.
No way out… Shades’ thoughts finished for Justin, though he didn’t like where his intuition was going with this. By different paths, they were working their way toward the same conclusion. “I’ve seen this shit before…”
Max looked back and forth between his two friends for a moment, the last to recognize, expanding before them in the front window, the Isle of St Lucy.
“Something’s not right here…” he muttered.
“You’re tellin’ me,” Shades commented.
“I am,” Max insisted.
“But how…” Justin tried to wrap his head around how they could have gotten turned around not once, but twice in a row, shaking his head as if in negation of reality.
“I think I have an idea.” To Shades, this scene looked exactly as it had, down to the angle of their approach, the day before. And the day before that. And he was starting to harbor suspicions about the day before that, as well.
“Don’t tell me…” If Justin could read his thought, he would probably concur in spite of himself.
“We’re going in,” Shades said, having come up with a perfectly plausible plan to test his theory. As he ironed out the details in his mind, he tried to fight back the panic lurking in the back of his thoughts, trying to creep back in at the thought of it being true.
“But what about Sheriff Boggs?” Though Justin knew he was asking mostly on reflex. “I’m not setting foot off this ship unarmed, man.”
“I don’t think Sheriff Boggs will be a problem,” Shades told him, a grim smile crossing his face. “And quite to the contrary, not only do I not expect us to go in unarmed, I think we should come prepared for battle.”
“Why?” Of the three of them, Max was the only one who didn’t quite get it. Even Bandit seemed to look at him with that knowing expression of his. Still, he found he was starting to get an idea. Whatever we do, we keep ending up back in St Lucy…
“If I’m right,” Shades said as they approached the port, silently hoping with all his heart that he wasn’t, “we’re gonna have to be if we’re going to stop a robbery.”
The implications of his words left a lingering moment of silence as they began planning in earnest.