Again they ate in silence, waiting for the inevitable next step. Until they reached St Lucy, there just wasn’t much to talk about. Last night was all about strategy, today would be all about seeing how far they could carry it out.
As they ate, Shades recalled a haunting dream he had last night. In it, he saw the children of St Lucy being moved out of Adnan’s. Teachers, staff, as well as several men in business suits, whom he suspected were with the research institute, leading the students down to several ships. The kids themselves looking both confused and excited, as if they themselves just found out they were moving. One even tried to go back for something, but the suits wouldn’t let him.
Though he doubted he would ever know if that was really how it all went down, upon waking all it made him think of was just how sinister the name Camcron sounded.
This whole repeat-loop scenario was starting to remind Shades of how people used to always greet him repeatedly at work. As if they hadn’t just met five minutes ago. Stuff like that got on his nerves very quickly.
What John would have called a monotonous phenomenon. Just like these islands now.
He shook his head, concluding that nostalgia would be no help here. Thinking about the past and his old friends may have been okay before, when they were still blissfully unaware of their true predicament, but now he needed to focus. After all, he really wasn’t so sure his old friends would necessarily be any more help than his current companions, so it was imperative that he got it together so as not to be a burden.
Predictably enough, shortly after breakfast, the Isle of St Lucy loomed in sight. In addition to preparations, they would need to stop over here first. After all, since the same day kept repeating itself, there was one problem in St Lucy that needed to be taken care of.
First, they stopped to refuel, confident that no one would recognize them. Sure enough, Max ran into Sheriff Boggs, who once again failed to remember him. Meanwhile, Justin and Shades took care of the supplies, finishing with Shades making an anonymous call to the police. If they were going to have time to investigate Adnan’s, they wouldn’t be able to stick around to intervene against the robbery— let alone risk getting killed or arrested themselves— but they figured if the local constabulary had a heads-up on it, they would hopefully be able to stop the robbery without anyone getting killed. Plus, it would have the bonus effect of keeping Boggs’ watchful eye turned away from Adnan’s.
All three of them wondering what the looks on those poor bastards’ faces were going to be this time when they tried to rob that store.
That settled, the made for Donaldson’s place next.
Even if they knew how to operate the computers, knew exactly where to look, the data purge itself still wouldn’t leave them enough time to take advantage of it. The next step was to learn as much about the island as possible. If they could find a proper key to that door somewhere, they could surely bypass the Camcron Building’s security measures altogether. Hopefully.
Sure enough, taking stock before and after shopping, they were indeed starting the day each time with the same money and supplies as before, just as Max suspected. Just as predicted, the journal disappeared again, at some point while Justin was sleeping. And Justin’s budding cold evaporated, as well.
And, as always, just as any time before, any attempt to stay awake simply ended in them nodding off at some point lost to memory, and waking up to the same dismal morning.
Wasting no time, they approached quickly, then slowed down to a more casual pace once they were in sight. Max taking the upper helm so they would all be above board. Mr Donaldson was standing off to the left of his home, chopping firewood next to a shed half hidden behind the cabin itself. When he noticed the ship approaching, he stuck the axe in the chopping block and started toward the dock.
Again, they pulled up to the tip of the dock, and Donaldson again stopped short of the dock, until he spotted Bandit, whose presence among them seemed to reassure him.
“Ho there!” he called out, sounding much as he had before, “I don’t get too many visitors out here. What brings you out this way? Ship troubles?”
“No, actually,” said Max.
“Mr Donaldson,” Shades told him, “we need to talk to you.”
“Do I know you?” Donaldson wondered for a moment if they were perhaps former students or something, but no matter how hard he looked at them, they failed to bear any resemblance to anyone he had ever seen before.
“No, I suppose you probably don’t,” Shades remarked cryptically.
“But we know you.” Justin’s words only added more confusion to the old man’s face.
“At least not yet,” Max put in.
“It’s a long story,” said Shades, “but the important part is that we’ve got an idea what Camcron did to St Lucy.”
“Camcron…” Donaldson paused in mid step at that name. “Did Boggs send you?”
“No,” Max assured him, “we’re not with them.”
“You could say we have a common enemy and a common problem.” Shades was hoping more to pique the man’s curiosity than to frighten him, but he was having trouble hiding his amusement at this strange conversation. “We’d love to stick around for some of your delightful tea, but I’m afraid we’re in something of a hurry.”
“Why don’t you come with us?” Max invited.
“We’ll explain everything we know on the way,” Shades promised him straight-up.
“The way to where?” Donaldson clearly starting to become suspicious of them again.
“Adnan’s?” Donaldson put his foot down. “What’s this all about?”
“We need your help,” Shades told him flatly. “Besides, I believe you want to know the truth about Camcron and Project Pythagoras, don’t you?”
“Pythagoras, huh?” Donaldson thought about it another moment, figuring that these young men weren’t Sheriff Boggs’ type. And if they were with Camcron, they wouldn’t reveal so much so easily. That this might well be his only chance to find out the truth. “Just a moment. Let me go get my coat.”