V

Vista Icarus is now abandoned. The staff involved in the CWTP had moved out, sent to take up posts in other research facilities all over the country. I hear some of them retired from the scientific community after the events of 2015.

Every December I take a plane to travel to the facility. I meet Matt, Eric and Verlaine, and together we descend underground.

Returning to Vista Icarus is like returning to your childhood home after everyone has moved out. There is no one there, but you will never forget the feeling of your house, even though all of it is dusty and disused.

Our rooms are as we left them. A dent here, from where the boys had a wrestling match, a taped photograph there, from someone's birthday. It is almost painfully nostalgic.

In the lab, the air is stale and musty. Everything is covered in fine layer of dust. Much of the equipment was left there. When we enter, the lights switch on, but even they flicker first.

Rod still sits in his chair. His hair is long and dirty. His fingernails are more like a cat's claws. I hesitate to say that he died. Officially, that is what the records state; but in truth, he is not dead, but he is not alive. He is just in a state of limbo, neither dead nor alive. He just is.

We do not bring presents or cakes, or cameras. There are no more happy photos or crazy cake-dunking matches, just a sober and solemn ceremony.

We spend several days there. This is the only contact we have with each other. After the failure of the CWTP, we went our separate ways. I know Matt runs a car dealership somewhere along the East Coast, the business he and Rod dreamed of. Eric and Verlaine are still together but their whereabouts are unknown to me.

We tell Rod about the things that have happened to us. We do not know if he understands or if he can even hear us, but it bring us a small measure of comfort that he still breathes. I have told him about the birth of my son and how we named him after my friend. Rodney Hollis Han is now three years old and a handful, just like his namesake.

The last time we went back, I was the last to leave. I told him about the government's plans and how I would tell the world his story. I asked if he would mind.

I think he smiled.

Non omnis moriar. (Not all of me shall die.) - Horace