Gavin waited patiently outside with the rest of his little band whilst Karen gave herself a moment's rest. He couldn't blame her for her frailty - indeed, he was relying on it - but it was still somewhat vexing to have to deal with. It was a petty thing to be irritated by, but letting himself indulge in petty annoyances helped keep the much bigger, more daunting problems at bay. The one thing he absolutely couldnt
afford to possess right now was a sense of perspective.
The knowledge that Cyrus might be able to improve their situation did hearten Gavin a little, but he was already virtually certain of the security provided by the thick metal walls of the massive freighter. Still, there was no such as being overly prepared in a game like this. The deck was already stacked against them, and every miniscule advantage might mean the difference between life and death.
When Karen finally emerged from his room and announced she was ready to go, Gavin didnt bother to reply. They all knew the parts they had to play, and prolonging the conversation only meant prolonging the tension. Everyone had already given their consent, now the only thing left to do was make as much use of the calm before the storm as they could, and hope they could weather it when it finally came.
"Cyrus, youre with me." He said, taking charge of the situation. "Weve got the tools, but youll need a strong assistant if you intend to get anything done before the evening. Since Karen obviously isnt reacting well to all this rust, she can go and help Megan collect driftwood on the beach. That should be a fair enough distribution of labour."
Gavin glanced around one last time at the trio before he set off with Cyrus, taking in their expressions. He wanted to fix their faces in his memory as something to hold onto, now and hopefully forever. These were the people who had stuck with him, who had trusted in him, who had collaborated together to make something that defied the games espoused philosophy of backstabbing and paranoia. Whatever they might think of him, he was proud to be with them.
Whatever else came next, Gavin felt as if his destiny was finally back in his own hands.
((Gavin Hunter plays Rook in The Only Winning Move.))