The preparation was almost complete. Everything should be in motion now. There was plenty of rocket fuel to go around. There were a bunch of prototype barrels containing a new oil substance which was quite potent. But the rocket were mostly going to be using the nuclear barrel in normal cars used in the Back When times. Those energy fuel cells were powerful enough to send these rockets past Mars. They were huge rockets, that was for sure. As big as a building. If Sol had to estimate, he’d guess that it was the size of about seven super mutants. And there are three of them, all big and painted in bright red. They were almost back in working condition now, or at the very least be good enough to make the trip, Jason had made sure of it.
“I would like to thank you both once more,” said Jason as he approached the two of them, “This Great Journey could never have been a reality nor would it even come close to being complete if it weren’t for you two. You two were a blessing from the Creator himself, I’m sure of it. We, the Bright Brotherhood thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
“So is everything in order?” Sol asked, “It’s been three days now, it should be completed by now right?”
“Almost,” said Jason, “I’m having Chris in the back room working in the final details, once that’s done, we are good to go.”
“I gotta ask though,” Said Sol scratching his head, “Where is exactly this Great Beyond you mentioned? I mean what kind of place is it?”
“Normally,” Jason explained slowly, “we are not allowed to reveal to outsiders the secret of our great pilgrimage. However, you two are not of the outside world but instead a blessing from the Creator himself, therefore you deserve to know.”
Boone sneered when Jason called them blessings from the Creator, but Jason paid no attention, instead he continued:
“You see, the Great Journey is in fact a gift from the Creator. It is a gift of atonement for our harsh treatment of this destructive wasteland. The Creator is a being of love and compassion, he feels for us ghouls who faces hate and mistreatment every day. Therefore he has given us the chance to begin again. In the land where I’m sure that all of us can prosper under the soothing radiation. It will heal our wounds, our minds.”
It suddenly struck Sol, he had a feeling, but he didn’t want to believe it. He glared into Jason’s eyes, almost mad. On the verge of breaking.
“You,” Solmund said, “… you… you never intended to bring Chris along… did you?
A grim look suddenly struck Jason. His eyes diverted from theirs. He looked away, and it almost seemed like he was in pain. Jason explained:
“When… um... how… how do I say this… when Chris came to us. It was night, he was actually injured that day. There were bruises everywhere, he even broke one of his arms. I knew that it wasn’t safe for him to be here for my feral brothers were not kind to strangers or outsiders. But he was hurt, how could we ignore him. We took him in, and decided to help with his wounds and return him to the human world once he feels better. But it was the strangest of things. Chris… he was convinced that he was a ghoul. Just like one of us. I didn’t think he was a ghoul of course. But then I saw it… in his eyes were the look of a child. A child in pain, struggling to break free. I’ve understood everything about Chris’s past life even before he introduced himself to us. What I saw was a child, full of hope and enthusiasm in doing what he loves. And what he loves doing is tinkering with the machinery. He loved doing it, but Chris is a man who’d been crushed by the human society, the outside world… so how could I… how could I say no… how could I crush his hopes and dreams once more?”
“But the Great Journey,” Sol said, “You’re just ditching him here?”
“I couldn’t risk Chris’s life,” Jason said, “The radiation on the Great Beyond will rip Chris into pieces the moment he set foot on land. As much as he wanted and as much as he deserved to go for all of his dedication… I… we… can’t do it.”
“So you lied to him,” said Boone coldly.
“I take no pride in doing such thing.” said Jason, almost imploring, “you have to understand… what Chris said was true, despite him not being a ghoul… he is still one of us. And as the teachings of the Bright Brotherhood goes. We cannot bring ourselves into harming him… I’m sorry.”
Sol didn’t know what to do at this point. Boone had been telling Sol to just drop this and leave. Just go home and tell Manny that the ghouls were taken care of. He’ll never know. The Bright Brotherhood was going into space anyway, so there was no point… maybe he was right. Sol thought for a long time, what exactly could they do in this situation? Chris was in the back room repairing a couple of components, just minor details. Jason had told him to just finish up the final details and then after he was done with the final launch codes he was to join them in the Great Journey. So it began…
“Chris…” Sol said while he was in the underground command room, a lot of ghouls were now over yonder in the space suits now. They were down in the main launch pad, while Chris was here behind a wall of glass.
“Oh, hey Sol,” said Chris, “the final preparation is finally complete. We can begin our Great Journey.”
Was it too late? Sol thought to himself, should they tell him… about what Jason told them? Could he still make it though? But what if Jason was right, will Chris be killed if he set foot on this so called Great Beyond? So many questions, for just one little engineer.
Suddenly from the intercom over to the side of the wall came a loud boom, just like the sound exploded when Sol and Boone first came into the facility. Jason suddenly came through to the center of the launch pad where the rockets were. He was wearing a space suit, in bright red along with a big glass helmet, just like in one of those old cartoon films.
Jason began speaking through the intercom:
There was a moment of silence for awhile, Jason’s mouth was clearly moving and talking but there was no noise, no sound. Nothing came across. All the ghouls stood around Jason can clearly understand what he was talking and yet they heard nothing. It went on for a whole minute as the darkness over the dome at the launch pad fell on them. Jason was talking, Boone and Solmund were watching them, and in the back Sol and Boone can distinguish one sound throughout the whole silence, the sound of sobbing…