Sam was not pleased with their progress, they could all tell. He was brooding at the controls again while everyone else sat in the kitchen, trying not to discuss the situation. Mark had gathered up his cards since nobody felt like playing anymore, and shuffled them idly.

“Two days to the first location, a week after that to the next. We’ve got supplies to get us there but almost nothing after that. ” Sam startled them all, appearing in the doorway and retrieving some water from the fridge. He glanced around at all of them, but nobody made eye contact, “Vortran, can I talk to you?” He gestured towards the control room. Vortran slid out of her seat silently  and went past him out into the hall. He closed the door once they were both in the control room and sat down again. Vortran climbed into the seat next to him and stared at the monitors.

“We could gather supplies at the first location, if they aren’t there. That’d give us a buffer for when we find them.” She pointed to the food supplies, “But we can do that at either stop so there’s no reason to worry.” When she looked over at Sam he was looking directly at her and her heart skipped a beat.

“Am I doing that thing again?”


“You remember how I used to get, kinda…” He twirled his finger at his head, “Disconnected. I can never tell till afterwards.”

“Oh.” Vortran knew exactly what he meant, “Well you didn’t have to shoot the guy.”

“I knew it… everyone had that look on their faces.” Sam looked back at the monitors, “I’m the worst dad ever.”

“I wouldn’t say that… you’re running across the system looking for her.”

“Because she got kidnapped, because she got separated from me, because I never got around to getting a ship compatible with two-man pods. You’ve done more to keep her safe than I have lately.”

“Sam, come on, parents screw up all the time. You can’t fall apart right now.”

“I left her behind once because I didn’t realize she fell asleep in a shipping crate.”

“My mom ate most of my siblings, don’t try to one-up a pascal in bad parenting.” Vortran shook a claw at him and he almost smiled for a moment.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do once we find them… can you try and keep Jessie out of the way? I’d rather she see as little of my brand of crazy as possible.”

“Of course… do you want me to hold onto that gun?” Vortran tried not too sound hopeful. Sam shook his head.

“Sorry, can’t do that.” He frowned at the monitors, “Yeah I guess we’ll have to try and hunt up some supplies at the first stop, but there’s nobody living there so it’s going to be raw.”

“I think between the four of us we can figure out something.” Vortran scratched her cheek and hopped down off the chair, “I’ll let the others know and see if either of them have scavenging experience.”


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