Thursday, 3 December 2009 - 6:44 pm

Who and why

We didn’t get off to a good start this morning. We sorted out the obvious hitches without any problems; it was the unforeseen that tripped us up.

Loading in the last of the gear went just fine – we got it all stowed away and sorted out who was going where. Sally, Masterson, Bree, Mira, and the baby were in the campervan. Warren, Iona, Thorpe and Dale took one offroader, and Janice drove the other one carrying Jersey and the kids. Kostoya rode in the station wagon with Conroy driving. That left Jonah, Bobby, Matt and me on the bikes. Matt insisted on riding behind me, and I didn’t mind in the least. It’s nice to have him leaning on me like that.

We had everyone organised and in or on their vehicles. The biochemistry building was shut up, the doors and windows locked, and I caught a few eyes lifting to its familiar shape as we were about to say goodbye to it. It could have been a reflection on the glass, but I think Kostoya’s eyes were damp. This place has been his home for a long time now. His sanctuary. Even I was sad to be leaving it.

Then the campervan wouldn’t start. Every other engine chugged into life and we pulled away from the building’s entry one by one, stretching our tyres onto the road. Dale was driving the lead vehicle and stopped when he saw the van wasn’t following. We all stuttered to a stop, and a couple of us turned bikes around to see what the problem was. I had to shut off the bike to hear it – the tick tick tick of the starter that couldn’t find anything to catch onto.

I ended up elbow-deep in the engine with Jonah lending a hand, trying to find the problem while everyone else milled about aimlessly. In the end, it was the distributor causing the problem – we had to dig around for replacement parts and wound up rigging something together. It worked – barely – and I caught Masterson’s displeased scowl through the windscreen when the engine started. I don’t blame him. It didn’t sound good.

We encouraged everyone back to their respective vehicles and got them started again. Blessedly, everything sparked to life and the convoy started off again. I waved the campervan on ahead of us, so that Jonah and I could bring up the rear on the bikes. We’d be able to check for anyone falling behind, that way. Unfortunately, it meant driving in the dust from the other vehicles, but we didn’t figure that out until we were on the road and getting facefuls of airborne filth.


Just before we set off, Jonah pulled his bike up next to mine and gave Matt and me a searching look.

“You think that was what it looked like?” he asked.

I glanced at Matt, but we didn’t know what he meant. I shrugged.

“You think it wasn’t?” Matt asked.

“I just think it’s curious that we’re having so many technical issues,” Jonah said.

“You think someone did this on purpose?” I couldn’t help but sound surprised. Who would do that, and why?

Jonah shrugged in that way that means yes, he does, but he can’t give us anything more than that. Then he put his bike into gear and set off after the convoy.

I twisted to look at Matt and found a sour expression on his face.

“We’d better get going,” he said, patting my hip. I sighed and turned around again, gunning the engine to catch up.


I haven’t had a chance to talk to Jonah – or anyone else – about it since then, but there was plenty of time to mull the issue over. He’s right – we have had a few technical difficulties lately, all of which have slowed us down. The bullethole in the bike that didn’t show itself until days after it was supposedly done. The blowout that ruined another bike. Both of those endangered people – Thorpe and Bobby were lucky, considering what could have happened. And now an engine that won’t start, even though we’d checked it just a day or two ago. Fixed it, even, so that it would start.

But who and why? I keep coming back to those questions and I can’t find any answers. It had to be someone who had been with us out of Haven. One of the soldiers? But one of their number was almost killed, one of them can’t use an arm, and the third one warned us. Iona is strange and disturbed, but never violent and I can’t see her being capable of sabotaging a distributor like we found this morning. That leaves the Seekers, and even considering them goes against everything I know about them. The boys wouldn’t do that, and Jersey might be a lot of things but ‘sneaky’ isn’t one of them.

Besides, if they’re trying to slow us down so that Haven can catch up with us, why didn’t they just stay behind? Hell, they could decide they’re going back there and none of us would hold it against them. We’d see them on their way. They know that.

It doesn’t make any sense. It’s making me look at the group differently, weighing up motives and dangers. I hate this. Matt’s arms wrapped around me tighter than usual today; I think he’s feeling it too.

At least we made fairly good headway today, despite our delayed start. We’re setting a guard tonight, sitting up in pairs to keep watch. I’m going to suggest we mix the pairs up and see what happens. I guess that’s as much as we can do right now: wait for the person to make another move and hope we catch them in the act. At the least, we might find it before someone else gets hurt.

As if we don’t have enough to worry about right now.