Chapter Seven Dawn was just starting to peek over the horizon when Donna made it back home. She rode down in elevator taking off her shoes and rubbing her feet as if she had been walking along a beach side in the summer. She hummed quietly the tune that had last been playing on the radio when she got out of her car. It was nice to be out with someone new, somone not connected to the project and more importantly to Sam. She stopped humming. "Sam" she thought to herself and sighed letting her tiered shoulders drop. The memory of him seems to grow more and more faded as the years rush by. It is like waiting for someone who is lost. Always hoping that this will be the day they find their way home but knowing deep down that there is little chance you will ever see them again. The elevator stopped with a soft bounce and the doors pushed open. She had not expected to run into Al at this time of night but there he was waiting on the other side of the elevator doors. All at once she felt guilty. She felt like a teenage sneeking into her parents house. Al waited until she was off the elevator before speaking. "I am glad you are back," Al said in a soft voice, "are you doing okay?" "Yes a little better," she suddenly became aware of how she must appear. She was a little gruby from the desert dust and from handling the steering wheel so hard during the blow out. Her hair was loose and throw casually falling around her shoulders and she was still holding her shoes in her hands. "I had a blow out," she offered up immediatly feeling like she was justifying something though she was not sure what. Al spoke up with concern in his voice "are you okay? I told those guys to make sure the cars are double checked." donna cut him off "I am fine Al and there was no way anyone could have predicted this. I picked up something in the tire that's all. Thank you for the concern though." "Did you have to fix it yourself," Al asked innocently enough. Donna felt herself not wanting to answer but knew that would only make matters worse. "No I had help. Another driver came along and he helped but the tire on. We stopped and had coffee as my way of thanking him." Donna felt a small relief at putting that information out there. Now it could be in Al's court. She had hid nothing and nothing more could be made of this unless he wanted to read things that were not there. Instead of asking anything more about the incident Al began to talk about Sam. "I know you think Ziggy has lost her collective circuts on this one and I am not I don't agree with you but unfortunatly we do not have anything else to go with on this one. I will not push Sam to accept this as the only solution as to why he has leaped where he is but for now we have to let him go along with Ziggy until something else can be figured out." Donna let out a large sigh that seemed to deflate her entire body. "I don't think it makes a difference what we do." Her words suprised herself. She had thought them for a while now but had never considered saying them out loud. Al looked at her curiously "What do you mean?" "Sam does not want to come home." "That is not true" Al said jumping to Sam's defence but laking conviction in his voice. "When is the last time he asked you to run any new configurations into Ziggy? Does he even discuss the possiblity of coming home to you?" Al shifted uncomfortable. He too had noticed Sam asking less and less about those left behind and he had not tried any new ideas through Ziggy in almost a year, still it was not for him to say what Sam truly wanted. "Sometimes when you are trapped for a long time you run out of ideas. Maybe he is just trying his best to accept where he his and gear up for some new plans to get back. "Al," Donna said with kindness lacing her voice "when you were held prisoner did you accept where you were? Do you give in and do nothing to hold onto your sanity and forget those that were back in the states?" Al did not answer, he did not have to they both knew the answer. No second or minute passed that he did not struggle to remain himself, keep his sanity, make it back alive. A moment passed with only the hum of the flouresent lights filling in the silence. Finally Donna shook her head as if trying to clear it and then she said " it's too late for this Al. I'm going to bed. Goodnight." Al watched her walk down the cooridor and wondered if she was referring to the hour or to Sam.