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118 Days Until Misery And the Uncertain End
Uly looked miserable. Which was to say he looked more miserable than the days leading up to his eventual collapse. He was laying on the floor with his eyes to the ceiling. The computers were still running their reports. Whatever he had been searching for was coming up inconclusive, or at least Evester thought it was inconclusive. Evester suspected it was about living conditions on the potential future planets.
“You dead yet?” Evester asked stepping over Uly’s body and then dropping down to straddle his best friend. Uly turned his attention from the ceiling to Evester and glared.
There was a long moment where Uly starred at Evester and then looked to the computers. “In twenty minutes I will be.”
“Nothing yet?” Evester watched Uly’s expression. When was the last time Uly had slept?
“Nothing.” Uly stretched and sighed.
“I thought the Project gave us suggestions on planets with viable life.” Evester moved away from Uly to sit next to him instead. He crossed his legs and leaned back o his hands that were placed near Uly’s face. Uly leaned on him. Evester would not tell Uly that he needed sleep. Uly knew that he needed sleep and he did not need Evester to argue with him about it. Uly now had a team, but as the perfectionist that he was, Evester did not doubt that he couldn’t trust the new people.
“It gave suggestions. You know what else it gave?” Uly’s fingers traced Evester’s veins in his arms. “The suggestions. In code. In a code that is so outdated that its a ballpark number. The suggested planets aren’t viable to sustaining the amount of life we are trying to bring it.” He breathed out hard and Evester wanted nothing more than to roll Uly up in a blanket and lock him in a sound proofed dark room for a few days. Or maybe give him a vacation. Uly deserved a vacation.
“Make a planet.” Evester suggested, not that he was sure it would work out.
“Make a planet. You want me to terraform a planet to fit us?” Uly suddenly sat up. Evester met his stare. Uly’s eyes were wide and his voice was tense.
“That takes millions of years.”
“And we’ll be traveling in space for that long, no? Just send something ahead and by the time we get there, it’ll be good.”
“Wow. Why didn’t I think of that?” Uly’s sarcasm made Evester’s skin crawl.
“No idea.” Evester tried to lighten the mood. He ran his fingers along Uly’s bearded jaw. “Probably the lack of sexy that’s going on. I swear it drops your IQ by twenty points.”
“I’m going to murder you.” Uly glared at Evester as Uly slapped his hand away. “Stop playing.”
“In all seriousness, has my father been helping at all?” Evester did as was asked and let the seriousness return.
“Maverin and help go together like oil and water. He’s retrofitting the Project to be suitable to adapt to the new planet.” Uly groaned.
“That we don’t have.” Evester thought that the cosmic humor would perhaps kill both him and Uly. Why was his father so terrible?
“He’s anything if not a futurist.”
“And the rest of the staff?”
“Running diagnostics and considerations. But I saw a few of them sneaking information to unknown sources. If I’m not careful this will become political too fast. I have to keep a tight wrap on who is in the know and not. If I do decide on a planet that is not ready now but may be in the future, I can’t let that knowledge get out. Do you know what sort of panic that would create? I don’t trust a single one of them, and its not like I can better vet them, and your father isn’t helping with that either. ” Uly collapsed back to the ground. “We have to think of each planet as it would be there when we arrive. Too much of anything and we are screwed. It has to have the basic building blocks for life, an atmosphere that isn’t too dense with oxygen, and a system of recycling it.”
“Yes. Water. Although we can synthesize water. Carbon based planet with oxygen in the atmosphere and water. Easy enough right.” Uly sighed once more.
“Seems it. Next you’ll be telling me it has to be close enough to its sun to keep our temperamental bodies warm enough to survive.”
“Yeah. An impossibility, right?” Uly sighed. “There are contenders. Planets that look like nothing now, but after years of natural processing might turn out like home. All of them to be in that state by the time we arrive. But they might also end up like Mars or Venus.”
“Oh. What a risk.” Evester hoped his melodramatic tone was not too much. When Uly chuckled, he knew he had done well.
“Your father is hoping the Project can help with those calculations. I understand why he’s doing what he is, but I need his help to check these people and to get out the rats or at least watch them.”
“The miracle machine come to save the day.” Evester looked at his friend. “Why even need him if you knew he wasn’t going to help?”
“I didn’t need him.” Uly shook his head. “I needed you and as long as he was out there, possibly dead, I didn’t have your focus. It is not your father who is going to get us out of this. You found that out when we found him. But I need you with me.” Uly said pulling Evester to lay down next to him. The two of them laid side by side with their heads touching.
“Wow Uly. I don’t know what to say. You see, EverDanger rules state—“ Uly smacked him lightly and Evester laughed. Evester closed his eyes and thought of every mission EverDanger had ever done. The two of them would always lay on the floor after Uly’s considerations, planning, and predictions were done. Uly would run the numbers and Evester would execute the plan. The two of them were the brains of EverDanger, and as much as Evester needed Uly to back him up, Uly needed him. And Uly needed Evester now, which was why he was so deadset on making sure Evester could live a life without adrenaline. When they got to their new home, Uly would not have a break even if Evester was not needed. But Uly needed Evester’s support as much as Evester needed his.
Evester knew he would panic about his father so long as his father was somewhere unsafe. Evester needed to make sure his father was safe more than anything else, but as it was, he could let his father go if it meant helping Uly. “I’m in this with you Uly. I promise. Tell me what you need me to do and I will help you check the scientists. Tell me who and I’ll intimidate them. Tell me when and I’ll do whatever you need.”
Uly was silent for a moment before the computer beeped. Neither of them moved for a second. “Yeah, well I need a shower.” Uly spoke soft. Evester turned over to block Uly’s view of the screen from the floor and the two starred each other down. Evester’s eyes traced Uly’s face and grimaced as he looked at the unruly beard. “Fine and a shave although it is a waste of time. I’ll even get properly dressed.”
“Oh. Tell me more.” Evester smirked.
“Then I’m going to start going back over and narrowing down our options. We don’t have time to play around with guessing anymore.”
“How many do we have option wise?”
“Right now? Hundreds. After today? I’m aiming to cut it down to at least one hundred. Then from there hell begins.” Which was to say it was not hell already. Evester had two days to hunt down every dangerous person and potential mole to the operation. He did not doubt that Uly already knew who they were. Given the time, Evester could get evidence and properly intimidate them all. For now, however, he needed to get rid of the largest liabilities for Uly. Evester helped his friend up and decided that he would have to feed Uly better. Uly had lost weight, which meant he may not have been eating at all. Evester couldn’t have that.
As Uly showered, he got Uly an actual meal and then got to work looking over Uly’s handwritten notes on the profiles of all the scientists that had come to assist. One by one he learned their weaknesses. One by one he made his plan on how to charm and destroy them.
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