It had been part of the plan from the beginning.
When the founders had gathered that first time, on a cold, clear winter day in New York, they had talked and talked. But what they understood better than anything was that they were never safe. Nowhere on Earth could give them the security they desired for what they had chosen to do. It wasn't like they hadn't looked. Adam, Henry, Lucius, even Kiyoko at the end had all torn across the globe searching for a place where they could start without constant risk from the rest of the world. It was not to be found.
So they settled for the next best thing. They were ready to leave. It cost a hell of a lot of money, and when they started, they had no idea how it was going to work. In the end it was all okay. After 25 years they hadn't even needed it. Some of the founders thought it was a waste of resources, that the idea of building an entire city that could fly away was just something out of one of those crazy sci-fi shows.
It was a marvelous piece of engineering, a superstructure adorned with tall skyscraper spikes and bulbous domed structures and step pyramids. They called it Tranquility and hoped the name would become real.
It was wishful thinking, but it lasted long enough.
Tom found himself in the command room, at the base of Tower One. Every since he and Ric had been introduced to the Commonwealth fifteen years ago, he had always seen this one place as the most peaceful on the entire island. Ric ran on the beach; Tom sat in the command center, on the floor, right in the middle of it all.
He had been doing it so long that the command staff regarded him almost as a piece of the furniture. Even when he wasn't there, no one would walk through the cubic meter of space he routinely occupied, almost as if they felt he could materialize there at any moment.
Given what he had just witnessed today, Tom wasn't so sure they were being superstitious anymore. He wasn't that sure of anything anymore.
He looked up, focusing on a pattern of bright blue light panels on the far wall.
He had made his decision hours ago. It didn't take that long, once he sat down to it. But he couldn't escape the fear that it wasn't the right one.
He got up slowly, taking his time to observe the space around him. There were so many people, all purposefully doing their jobs, probably all believing that they would continue purposefully doing those same jobs for the rest of the day.
If only they knew...
Tom checked his watch: 11:53:02. The doors of the elevator parted smoothly and revealed to him the Office of the Triumvirate. Nobody called it that anymore, but the bronze-plated map of the tower in the entry hall had labeled it as such all the time that Tom had been on the island.
The alien--Miril--was back on the dais. Tom could have sworn that it hadn't even moved from where it was yesterday. The triumvirs were seated at their desks, and Ric was fidgeting as he sat in a chair some fifteen feet from the others.
"Choose," was all that Miril felt was necessary to say.
Tom had prepared something of a little speech. The importance of discovery, the cost it sometimes carries, the need to have no fear--all the things that are expected to accompany a decision as momentous as this.
"We go," was all that he said.
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