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.