The phone chirped. Dr. Blake tapped and an ancient voice spoke. “Heh, young lady. How’s my girl today?”
“Jake? Is this you? Oh my God, I am so surprised! What, I mean how, I mean…”
“Shh. You have a particularly important person with you. You must do nothing to disturb her – or allow her out of her restraints. I want you to give her another dose and keep her very heavily sedated until I can get there. It will take me at least two days from the West Coast.
“Do you understand? You must do exactly as I just said. Repeat it back to me immediately.”
“I am to give her another dose and keep her heavily sedated until you arrive in two days.”
“Very good. Tell your daughter to maintain her cool, too. She can be excitable by the new and adventurous.”
“She is begging me to remove her restraints and welcome her to our community—”
“No! Tell her – let me tell her – now!”
“Kim,” she called over the hospital intercom, “Please come to Control immediately. You have an important call. Come immediately. Run!”
The young, disheveled woman opened the door, panting. “What is it? I was over—”
“Hi, Uncle Jake! How exciting to hear your voice! Are you coming to visit us? When—”
“Kim, sit down. You need to listen to me very closely, then repeat what I say verbatim back to me. Are you sitting?”
“Yes, now what’s so important? Have you found me a partner?”
“Kim, the woman you found today. You are to keep her under heavy sedation until I arrive in about two days. Under no circumstances are you to speak with her, look at her, even be in the same room with her. Anyone in the room must be in complete HEPA suits. Always. Repeat what I just said.”
Kim repeated his instructions perfectly, anxiously. Then she asked, “Who is she? Why is she so important? Can I watch you with her when you arrive? Is she your partner from the Old Days?”
“She is Tracker.”
Kim collapsed on the floor. Her adventure had become a nightmare. She could have let her loose by her indiscretion. She sobbed as her mother sat down next to her and held her in her arms.
“You will be fine, baby. You will be fine. Just let it out now.”
“I am so foolish, such a moron. I could have killed the rest of us!” She sobbed violently against her mother. Two other physicians came in as they heard the cries. One was her mother’s partner, who bent over and picked Kim up as if she were a rag doll. He was a tall, strong man about 50 years old with bright-blue eyes and a rugged complexion over a muscular frame.
He took her outside, still sobbing. “You will be fine. Just weep for now,” he whispered into her ear.
“I am so wicked, so stupid…I am sorry!”
“Shh. Quiet now…”
When Paul returned to the hospital Control room, Sally was suiting up in the next room. “Is she who I think she is?” he asked Sally.
“How could she return? She is dead. We saw the body. She cannot be here now. Jake must be mistaken.”