Homecoming

I returned to the escape pod and used it to return it to Earth. I splashed down in the middle of the ocean where Jamal came to pick me up. We secured the pod to the QuantumPlane and flew back toward the cave. I noticed Jamal was acting strangely. “Are you all right?” I asked him.

“Of course,” he smiled back, which was so encouraging with his sharp dinosaur teeth. “I…I’ve just never flown in this body before. It takes a bit of getting used to.”

I laughed. “We’re Freed, Jamal! There’s no reason to worry!”

“Right. Of course,” he replied. Something definitely seemed wrong with Jamal. I wondered if maybe his raptor body was causing issues to his ability to understand. I didn’t see why that would be. If it could work on both a human and a Xian, it should certainly be able to work on a human brain even if it was in the body of a dinosaur. Maybe there was something wrong with how connected the synapses. We were in prehistory. Jennifer could hardly be blamed if she didn’t perform the operation perfectly.

I reminded myself I would check into how Jamal’s brain was accepting the new body as we landed in the Quantum Cave. I smiled as I saw it. It was good to be back home after so long.

Jennifer and Mathilda came out to greet us. “Frank,” Jennifer said, strangely looking nervous. “You’re back! Everything…go all right?”

“It did.” I smiled. “Both of them, the other me and the other you, took the pills and no one suspected the thing. As we speak, they’re on the are on their path to being Freed. They will act as we did and soon they will understand as we do. Because,” I chuckled, “they are us.”

Jennifer and Mathilda exchanged a look that I didn’t understand. Had I missed something? “Good,” Jennifer said. “That’s good.”

“Is everything all right here?” I asked. Why were they all acting so strangely?

Mathilda replied, “We weren’t able to rewire ALAN yet. His brain still needs a lot of work.”

I waved it away. “We’ll get to it when we can. Whether we do it now or in a few days or even weeks, ALAN won’t know the difference. The important thing right now is preparing humanity. We need to Free them all. They are living sad lives of not understanding. We must change that. We must save them.”

“But first,” Mathilda said, “we think it might be best if you went into the box to deal with your instability.”

That was strange. Since when did Mathilda worry about my instability? She was older now, more mature, but she had also been gone for years so it wasn’t as if she had to deal with my condition in a long time. It made no sense. Why would she say such a thing? “We were talking about it,” Mathilda said, as if reading my mind. “Jennifer was worried about the other chamber.”

“That’s right,” Jennifer suddenly said before I could mention Mathilda’s wierd behavior. “I did say that to Tilly. About the other chamber. It’s just that the Xian’s hadn’t been tested before. We don’t know how well it will stabilize your condition. I don’t want there to be a problem. Since we’re here, I figured it would be best if you went into the box and sured up any possible instability that remained.”

I laughed. “Is this about how sexy I look?”

Jamal growled, “Yes and it’s very creepy. Now get in the stupid box!”

Jennifer said, “Frank, I’m just worried about you. Will you please just go into the box? For me?”

I smiled. “Of course, Jennifer. The last thing I want in the world is for you to be distressed. I see your concern. I understand. You want me in the box, I’ll go.”

“Thank you, Frank,” she said and led me to the chamber.

We’ll deal with this little concern, I decided, then we can move onto saving the world.

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