"You tried returning him?"
"Christian, I told you ten times already that I hit the return key several times before I called you. I came in, saw him wired in, and hit the call switch to wake him up. But he never responded, so I hit the return key and again, nothing. I tried it again and again, but nothing worked. He's trapped in there, goddammit and we've got to do something for him!"
Christian thought to himself that Michael wasn't going to be of any value in figuring this thing out, if he couldn't get hold of himself. He needed to get Michael calmed down if they were going to get Neal out of there alive. And he was still alive. His pulse had been normal and his pupils responded to light.
"You shouldn't have taken the hood off him, Michael. If the feed wasn't cut before, it surely is now. It's gonna make it a lot harder to trace it back to his current location in Neverland."
As soon as Christian made the remark, he regretted it.
"Well what in the bloody hell would you have done, smart guy? I'm standing here over my friend, who is unresponsive and shows no signs of whether he is alive or dead, and I had to make a decision. What the fuck was I supposed to do, huh?" Michael's face had flushed in anger at the comment and Christian remained silent, knowing that he'd deserved the angry rebut.
Christian put up his hands in treaty and said, "Look, man. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. But we're gonna need to work together to get him outta there, and the quicker we start talking about a plan, the better chance we have of finding him in there."
Michael seemed to relax at that. "So what do we do?"
"Okay. I need to get back to my place and to my equipment. I need you to stay here with him and keep the phone close. I'll call you as soon as I get back and we'll go from there." Christian wasn't used to giving orders but Tech work was his thing, and he felt comfortable as he settled down into a working rhythm.
Christian felt a rush of blood course through his body as his pulse quickened. And though time wasn't really against them in the short term, he still felt the urge to sprint to the tube station. If the connection could be traced, they could find Neal no matter how much time had passed. If the connection could not be traced and consciousness restored, eventually the muscles would atrophy and permanent brain damage was possible. That was the theory anyway. No one that had ever been lost in Neverland for more than a few hours had ever woken up to tell about it.
Christian nodded to Michael and turned to go.
"Chris. What are we gonna do?" Michael's voice seemed... older somehow. Fragile.
"We're gonna find him, Mike. Whatever it takes."
I hope you'll forgive the lapse in time between chapters of this serial short story. If you've lost track of what the hell is going on, you can find the other chapters under the heading Playing in the right side bar titled Jump to an Article. Or you may click here and be instantly transported to the correct page. Thanks for reading!