Disclaimer: See Prologue.

Rating: PG-13

Rating: A, E, R, ALT

Tears and Silence


Quest Compound/November 9, 1996


Jer arrived at seven that morning and helped Hadji make a huge breakfast of pancakes, sausage, bacon, biscuits, cinnamon rolls, and hash browns. The six of them sat down and ate almost in silence until everything was gone. It was a farewell breakfast for Race and Dr. Quest, who had been called out of town for a special conference just the day before.

Race put his coffee mug down on the table. "You kids sure you'll be OK?"

"Yeah, Race," Jonny replied. "You're only gonna be gone for two days. How much trouble could we possibly get into?" Seeing the look on Race's face, he added, "Don't answer that."

"You kids remember: Mrs. Evans will be here in a few hours, and she'll be staying over. Please be polite and courteous," Dr. Quest begged.

The four of them looked up at him from the breakfast table. "Aren't we always?" Hadji asked.

"You, maybe," Race said. "But you two…" He glared at Jonny and Jessie. Jonny opened his mouth to say something, but stopped. "Anyway," Race continued, "I'll leave this here on the counter, just in case." He got up and put a gun on the counter. "You understand you aren't to touch it unless there's an emergency?"

"Dad, you go over this every time you leave!" Jessie said, getting up to clear the table. She kissed his cheek and deposited the dirty plates by the sink, saying, "We'll be fine. We won't touch the gun. And when you get back, we'll have dinner waiting."

Dr. Quest glanced at his watch and said, "I think we should be going now. Goodbye, you three. Be careful. Behave."

Race smiled. He followed Dr. Quest out to the garage. "Bye, Ponchita. Bye, guys." He shut the door to the garage, and the three boys started helping Jessie clear the table.

"Hey, is that a Colt Gold Cup 1911 model A1?" Jer asked, glancing at the gun.

"Yes, it is," Hadji said. "How'd you know?"

"Oh, my uncle used to carry one of those. He was a private detective."

"Is that the same Uncle that advocates Italian dining?" Jessie asked with a smile.

"Actually, yes it is," Jer told her. "He was also a great proponent of big breakfasts."

Jonny looked warily at the mountain of dirty dishes. "Yeah, but who did he get to wash up?"

"I think it's your turn, Jonny," Jessie told him.

"Oh, no!" Jonny cried, throwing up his hands. "I'm not washing all that!"

"Why not?" Hadji asked. "You ate most of it."

"Hey, no fair! C'mon, Hadji. Do it for me just this once, and I'll owe ya."

Hadji raised an eyebrow. "'Just this once'? I did it for you last time, too."

"But I wanna show these guys the new Questworld setup I programmed."

Hadji sighed. "Just this once. And you really do owe me," he added, glancing at the pile of stuff to be washed.

"Great," Jonny grinned. "C'mon, guys!"

The three of them left for the lighthouse, leaving Hadji brandishing a scrub brush and a bottle of dish soap, wondering where he should begin.


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