As Jack slowly gained consciousness, he was aware of the scent of industrial-washed sheets smushed up against his nose, and an uncomfortable puddle of drool on his pillow. He tried to move his head, to roll onto his back, but the shooting pain in his shoulder put the kibosh on that idea.
"They don't even have the good Jell-O here."
The way-too-familiar voice made Jack open his eyes. It took him a minute to focus on the other person in the room. He groaned. "I'm delusional."
"Probably." The other Jack O'Neill, the older one, dressed in that old leather jacket that Jack wished he had snagged before bolting from Colorado Springs, continued to spoon Jell-O out of a plastic cup. "George says hi, by the way."
Jack tried to swallow. His mouth felt like it was coated in sandpaper. "How long was I out?"
"A day." Old Jack switched to the sandwich on the hospital tray. "Head injury."
Jack swallowed. "Concussion?" Old Jack nodded. "Great. My first, all over again."
"I remember my first concussion," Old Jack said fondly.
"So do I." Jack grabbed hold of the side of the bed and heaved himself into something resembling a sitting position. "Why are you here?"
Old Jack shrugged. "Technically, since you're made of me, then I was really here the whole time, right?"
"And I got Henry's email."
Right. The coordinates of where Henry had tracked Sandra's cell phone.
Old Jack pointed a finger at Jack. "I was saving that favor, you know. Henry's got box season tickets to the game."
"You want box seats? I'll buy you a box." Jack took mental stock of his situation. He didn't feel like he could move very fast, after having lain immobile for several hours. Other than the pounding in his head and the slicing pain in his shoulder, he thought he was okay. His knees survived an experimental flex without even a twitch.
The joking expression left Old Jack's face. "I pulled in an SGC doctor for this."
" Jack wanted to sit up all the way, but the pain in his back made him settle for a glare. "What the hell did you do that for?"
"Hey, you're the one who grown in an alien test tube. There might be... stuff."
"You mean complications." Jack closed his eyes. He thought they had been done with this, after Thor healed his dying immune system. "Great."
"We'll know soon. Plus, there's the werewolf thing."
"The doctors told you that?" Jack gave Old Jack a suspicious look. "Who did you tell them you were?"
"Your uncle." Old Jack went back to his sandwich. "They bought it, something about the family resemblance."
"Well, I was looking pretty beat up when I came in here."
"Whatever." Jack closed his eyes and wished he had some of the SGC's more pleasant painkillers.
The chair shifted on the linoleum, a soft familiar sound. How many times could Jack remember sitting beside the hospital bed of one of his team while they were injured? "The police identified the two werewolves in the woods."
Two? Jack wondered what had happened to the third psycho one. Hopefully, someone had taken care of him. "Bill Harris was one," Jack said quietly. "The dead one."
"Yeah." Old Jack leaned his elbows on his knees. "I pulled his file. He's been doing mercenary stuff for the past decade, nothing big that he got nailed for."
"Go big or go home," Jack muttered. "Do you know why he did it?"
"No." Old Jack shook his head. "He used to be a good man. Until he was infected. His ex said that it was like he lost everything, and he just went weird."
"He didn't lose everything," Jack said in clipped tones. He didn't let himself say what he was thinking, that at least Bill had lived, that his kids were fine, that his wife was fine. That whatever Bill had done, wasn't out of loss.
The silence grew in the room as Jack tried to figure out why his clone was really there. The SGC didn't think he'd caused a security breech, did they? In whatever form, he was Jack O'Neill, not some inexperienced teenager.
"How's SG-1?" Jack finally asked, unable to stand the quiet. "They still fine?"
"Yeah." Old Jack leaned his chair back on two legs. "Most of it's classified, but they're all alive."
"Great." Jack eyed the older man. "So, General?"
Old Jack looked faintly embarrassed.
"A desk job," Jack said, shaking his head. "Lame."
"I guess they figured it would keep me off the streets," Old Jack said. "Speaking of which, the police want to talk to you."
"That girl's kidnapping, one dead werewolf, and why you didn't call the cops in the first place." Old Jack rocked the chair. "That Federal Marshall's been in here a couple of times, too. She's pretty pissed."
Jack sighed. Wonderful. Just wonderful.
"The girl's parents came by." Old Jack suddenly became very interested in his watch. "She's saying you saved her life, and they wanted to say thanks."
"So Sandra's okay?"
"A bit cold and a lot angry. She reminds me a little of Carter." Old Jack raised an eyebrow. "So, you and her?"
Jack refused to think about how his clone made that little mental connection. "No, she's just a kid," he protested. "And, she's got a boyfriend, some little punk with funky hair."
Jack wished there was something he could throw. "You're a dirty old man."
"Whatever. Hey," Old Jack said, raising an eyebrow. "George mentioned something about you going back into the Air Force?"
"What about it?" Jack snapped.
Even though it had been over a day, Jack could still feel the grind of metal against bone against his hand as he killed Bill. Did he really want to go back to that life? He had the memories of the Air Force life, of saving the world. His clone would get to retire soon, couldn't he?
He was just tired of saving the world, even if the world was just one scared teenager in the woods.
"Maybe," Jack said, picking at the blanket. "We'll see."
Old Jack drew a breath, and Jack could just imagine the speech. Hell, he'd know what he'd say. Suck it up, the world needs every soldier it can get in the fight against the Goa'uld.
But then Old Jack just shrugged. "Been to the St. Louis Arch?" was all he asked.
Jack's confused glaring was interrupted when a vaguely familiar doctor came into the room. Since Jack had never been to hospital in St. Louis, it had to be the SGC doctor.
"Hello, General O'Neill, Mr. O'Neill." The doctor gave Jack a happy smile. Jack found he was smiling back. Now he remembered her, she had started working in the infirmary just before the little cloning incident. "Good news."
"I'm all for good news," Jack said, still smiling. So sue him. He was a teenager, no longer in the chain of command in the Air Force, and the doctor was pretty hot.
"I had a blood sample sent to the base for testing," the doctor said. "With your past medical history, there was a question of if your immune system was up to the task of healing your injuries."
The doctor brandished a piece of paper. "And the results were interesting. Have you been sick at all?"
Too experienced at strange questions from doctors, Jack didn't blink as he said, "Recently? Not really."
"I mean at all. Since your... since you left the base."
Jack frowned as he thought about that. "Not that I can think."
The doctor nodded. "There are traces in your bloodstream of antibodies to pneumonia, recent traces. The levels are at the point where it is as if you had just gotten over an illness, but as you said, you haven't been sick." She turned the page over. "The same thing with the lycanthropic infection."
"So I'm not infected?" Jack demanded. True, he hadn't really had a chance to think about what it meant to have been clawed up by a werewolf, but still...
The doctor glanced over her shoulder at the open door, and lowered her voice. "It appears that the same genetic manipulation that existed to prevent Loki from creating a proper clone, is also at work in preventing the lycanthropic virus from infecting you. At the heart of it, the way the lycanthropic virus works is by rewriting your DNA. It appears that your DNA cannot be changed like that."
"Huh," both Jacks said at once.
Jack gave his clone a look. "And they didn't figure that out with you?"
"How often do I get in a fight with a lycanthrope?"
"Oh!" Jack snapped his fingers. "But I wonder what else Thor was up to. If lycanthropy is out, what else might Loki have been doing?"
"Why would Loki have anything to do with werewolves?" Old Jack looked doubtful, but Jack suspected he was on to something.
"Actually, he's not far off," came a voice from the doorway. The doctor spun around as Old Jack let his chair fall to the ground with a thump. Anita Blake moved into the room slowly, her arms crossed over her chest. "There's a wealth of mythology surrounding werewolf lycanthropy that says that the Norse god Loki had a hand in cursing humans with werewolfism. All myths, of course."
"Of course." Jack was mildly amused at the panic on the doctor's face. "How're things?"
"Fine." Anita narrowed her eyes at Jack. "So, you want to tell me what possessed you to go into the woods after a pack of werewolves on your own?"
Jack shook his head, then regretted the movement as the stitches in his back pulled. "Not particularly."
Old Jack stood up. "I've got to call George with the good news," he said. "I also need to get back to Washington."
"Thanks for coming," Jack said, and was surprised to realize that he meant it.
Old Jack nodded. "You did good out there." He hesitated, fidgeted a bit. "I'll call you sometime?"
Old Jack gestured at the doctor, and together they left the room. Anita watched Old Jack as he left. There was a frown on her face as she turned back to Jack.
"Who was that?" she demanded.
"An--" She broke off as a man Jack had never seen walked into the room. "Zerbrowski."
"Blake." The man nodded at Jack. "Jack O'Neill? I'm Detective Zerbrowski. I'm with the Regional Preternatural Investigation Taskforce."
Jack didn't say anything. The man knew damned well who he was.
"I'm here to talk to you about what happened yesterday."
Perfect. "I'm recovering from a head injury," Jack said.
"I know that." Zerbrowski sat in the chair vacated by the other Jack, settling in for the long haul. "But we need to get all the details of what happened, in case there's something we missed."
"Blake, can it," Zerbrowski interrupted. "You're about this close to me telling you to wait in the hall, got it?"
Anita glared at Zerbrowski, anger written clearly on her face. Jack wondered what had happened while he was out. Looked like the police weren't too happy with Anita.
"So, Jack." Zerbrowski turned his back on Anita. "Let's hear it. For starters, how did you find Sandra's location?"
Not really seeing a way around the situation, Jack sighed. "I went out for a run on Sunday afternoon. When I got back, I got a call from Pete, Sandra's boyfriend."
"What time?" Zerbrowski interjected.
Jack cast his mind back. "I'm not sure, around four? It was starting to get dark. The call's logged in my phone, I can look it up if you want."
"Maybe later. Go on."
"Yeah, so, Pete's wondering if I had heard from Sandra, because she didn't show up to her job and she wasn't answering her phone. I said no, but something in what he said got me a little worried. So I went to the library to see if she was okay."
"How did you know she was at the library?"
"Pete told me." Jack shifted in place on the bed. His back hurt like hell. "And Sandra mentioned something about doing homework in that library. It's not in the best part of town."
"And why did Pete call you?"
"I'm not sure." In all the excitement, Jack hadn't thought about it. "Maybe he was calling everyone he knew. Maybe he was worried about his girl."
"Hey, it's okay." Zerbrowski concentrated on writing something in his notebook. "Just go on. What happened next?"
Jack shook his head. "I got to the library, looked around, found some of Sandra's stuff scattered on the ground. I was going to call her old man or something, when Sandra called me."
"Sandra called you?"
"Yeah, she called me. If you don't believe me, ask her. Hell, check the phone records!"
"I'm not saying I don't believe you. I just wanted to be clear."
"Then are we clear?" Jack's temper was rising, fueled by the pain in his back, and it was all he could do to hold his reaction down. "I'm not making this up."
Jack spared a glance at Anita, standing silent by the wall. "So, Sandra calls and she's freaking out. She tried calling her folks but the line was busy, you know? She told me where she was and then one of the psychos who grabbed her took the phone and told me that if I called the cops they'd know and kill her."
After so many years in Black Ops and the Stargate program, lying came easily to Jack. Skipping over the part about Richard, Jack said, "I didn't want to call 911, so I called Anita. She's a Federal Marshal, right? She'd know a way to keep the news off the lines."
"And how did you get Anita's number?" Zerbrowski asked.
"I called her office and the secretary gave it to me."
Zerbrowski flipped back in his notebook. "According to the secretary, you said that the reason you needed to speak with Anita had to do with Richard Zeeman, one of your teachers. Right?"
Jack could feel Anita's glare on him. "So? I knew they used to be engaged, I figured that it was my only way to get the number," he said. "What else did I have? I wasn't exactly running on a lot of options."
"So it didn't actually have anything to do with Mr. Zeeman."
"Not a damned thing." The pain in Jack's head pounded slightly out-of-time with his heartbeat, making an annoying echo. "But Anita's phone was off so I left a message and went to see if I could help Sandra myself."
"And you thought that messing with a girl's life was a good idea how?" Zerbrowski demanded, all trace of lightness gone. "How the hell did you know exactly where Sandra was?"
The accusation filtered through the haze of pain in Jack's head, and he felt himself go cold. "She told me she was in the park," he said through clenched teeth. "I went there and tracked her down."
"You tracked werewolves and a girl through a snowy park in the dark."
"My dad used to take me tracking when I was a kid. It's not the kind of thing you forget," Jack said. "I found them, and things kind of went to hell."
Zerbrowski closed his notebook. "Sandra said you distracted one of the werewolves and started some fucked up game of chase in the woods."
"Yeah, well, he was talking about having a little fun with Sandra, and I'm not talking about dolls and a tea party," Jack said. He rubbed the side of his head, wincing as his fingers brushed over a tender bruise.
"And then there's the matter of one of the dead werewolf," Zerbrowski continued.
Jack brushed a piece of lint off his blanket. "I refuse to continue this line of questioning without my attorney present," he said, not letting the jump of adrenaline sound in his voice. How could he have been so stupid? Of course they'd connect Bill Harris's death to him. He'd had blood on his hands and on his knife, which they had probably tested. It had been self defense, but how could he explain shooting the other werewolf with the tranquilizer gun?
"You're not being charged with anything," Zerbrowski said.
"I refuse to continue this line of questioning without my attorney present," Jack repeated. "If I'm not being charged, then there's no reason to continue this."
"All I'm doing is looking for information," Zerbrowski continued. "We're trying to put together the picture of what happened, to see if anyone got away. Sandra said there were three men involved, but we only found two, the dead man in the forest and the unconscious one in the clearing with Sandra."
Jack thought back to the mass of people in the woods, Anita and the half-shifted werewolf that hadn't eaten him, and the weird man in the fancy shirt. Whatever happened to Frank the werewolf, Jack was willing to bet good money that he hadn't made it out of those woods. "I have no idea what happened to him. I was with Sandra when Marshall Blake found us."
"Can you tell me exactly what knocked out the man that was guarding Sandra?"
"I refuse to continue this line of questioning without my attorney present."
"Would it have anything to do with how well you knew how to handle the tranquilizer gun that you gave Sandra?"
"I refuse to continue this line of questioning without my attorney present."
"Jack, I'm trying to help you."
"And I refuse to continue this line of questioning without my attorney present."
Zerbrowski pocketed his notebook and stood. "Fine. Call a lawyer and we'll talk. Whatever you might think, Jack, we're not trying to nail you for anything. All I want to do is make sure that this sick bastard isn't going to go after any more children."
Jack believed him. He was a good judge of character, and he believed that this cop was a good man, someone who wanted to protect people. And honestly, if Jack thought Frank had gotten away, he'd have spilled the story and let the Air Force clean up the mess.
Zerbrowski pulled a card out of his pocket. "You call me once you get this lawyer and we'll set up a meeting. Don't wait too long."
Jack took the card, fighting to not show the resultant pain from lifting his arm. "I'll be there. Donuts and coffee, right?"
Zerbrowski refused to rise to the bait. "Mr. O'Neill. Blake." With that, Zerbrowski left the room.
Anita let out a slow breath. "He's usually a lot nicer than that," she said.
"What, to suspects or to you?" Jack snapped. "What did you do to piss the cops off like that?" A look of guilt passed over Anita's face, almost too quick to see. "Oh, man, you didn't call the cops after I called you, did you?"
Anita didn't answer.
Jack lowered himself to the bed. "Whatever. Can you go away now so I can weep in privacy and maintain a little of my manly pride?"
"What the hell possessed you to go into the woods alone?" Anita burst out. "With a knife and a handful of chalk powder?"
Jack doubted that Anita and Zerbrowski had planned some kind of good-cop-bad-cop thing, but he couldn't risk it. Besides, he was only half-kidding about the weeping part. "I told Zerbrowski the whole story."
"Except the part about calling Richard?"
"Would you like to call Zerbrowski back and explain that to him?" Jack shot back. "Hey, yeah, so the reason the freaks were after Sandra and the reason I called Anita was because my teacher is secretly a werewolf? Perfect idea."
Anita paled. "You wouldn't."
Jack propped himself up on one elbow and stared at Anita. She was really worried that he might do that, might give Zeeman up. "Do you honestly think I told that story if I was going to pull Mr. Zeeman out of the furry closet?" he asked.
Anita shook her head, hair falling over her face. "Teaching means a lot to Richard," she finally said.
"Well, whatever. He can keep it up for all I care." Jack laid down. "Can you go away now?"
Anita pushed herself off the wall. "What you did out there was pretty stupid," she said.
"And take the pep talk with you."
"Right." Anita gave Jack one last look, opened her mouth as if to say something else, then left the room.
The fact that Anita hadn't asked about Frank the Werewolf told Jack all he needed to know about the psycho's fate. As he groped blindly for the nurse call button, it occurred to him that he was going to have to take Major Davis up on that offer for help. Damn it.~~~
"So everything will continue on as it has before, with all our various secrets in place?" Jean-Claude asked, leaning back on his silk-covered bed.
Richard glared at the vampire. "Nothing's all right!" he exclaimed. "Jack's in trouble with the police, and RPIT is so pissed at Anita right now that they're going to keep digging until they find out about me!"
"Richard, would you shut the hell up?" Anita asked. "I told you, Jack talked to the cops with his creepily efficient lawyer and they're not going to press charges against him, it's totally a case of self defense. And he keeps talking so much without mentioning you, and I really think Zerbrowski buys it."
"But why?" Jean-Claude asked.
"Why is the boy keeping our Richard's name out of the story?" Jean-Claude slowly pushed himself off the bed. "What does he have to gain from this omission?"
For the first time all evening, Anita had no answer. "Maybe he's doing the right thing," Richard suggested.
The look that Jean-Claude gave him made him feel extremely stupid. "And how often in your life, Richard, have people done things that are truly altruistic?"
"It's possible!" Richard exclaimed, pushing off the wall and stalking over to the vampire.
"Oui, it is possible." Jean-Claude managed to fit condescension and mockery into four words, and Richard wanted to hit him.
Anita was suddenly there, pushing them apart. "Knock it off!" she demanded. "Whatever his reasoning, Jack's keeping his mouth shut, and we'll just have to deal with that." She gave Richard a little shove to get him farther away from Jean-Claude. "I think we dodged the bullet on this one."
Anita gave Jean-Claude an unfriendly stare. "Would you stop picking at this? Don't we have bigger problems?"
"Do we?" Jean-Claude affected surprise. "I thought the recent challenge to Richard's leadership was over, and the pack impressed with the finality of your solution. Rafael is not upset at the damage done to his wererats, and you have indicated, ma petite, that the police are once again thawing to you."
"Maybe," Anita said with a shrug. "Zerbrowski's still pissed about something."
"But the 'good guys' won, correct?" Jean-Claude asked. "Let us stop borrowing trouble and move forward."
Richard sighed. "What do you mean, Anita?"
"I mean that there's something about Jack O'Neill that's bugging me."
"Like... you saw what he did in those woods. The trail back to the parking lot, the tripped bear traps, the chalk powder. You told me what he did to that werewolf in the woods," Anita argued. "I can understand the trail, but the rest? That's not the mark of a teenager who did some tracking with his father." She pushed her hair back with both hands.
"What bothers you about this situation, ma petite?" Jean-Claude asked quietly.
Anita paced across the room, thinking. Richard could almost see the wheels turning in her head. "He reminds me of Edward," she said finally. "Like, not a lot, but some. The way he killed the one wolf, and shot the other, that needs training. Scary training."
Worry churned in Richard's stomach. They still didn't know if Jack would change into a werewolf on the next full moon, and the thought of having someone so deadly in his pack, regardless of his power level, scared Richard. He didn't want to have to kill Jack O'Neill for the good of the pack.
"Where would such a young man learn such skills?" Jean-Claude asked, his eyes on Richard's face. The vampire's gaze made Richard feel naked, as if his whole being was exposed.
"I have no idea," Anita said. "But... Edward wouldn't have gone back to Sandra like Jack did. He'd have gone after Richard, or else bailed. And Edward wouldn't have let a tranquilized werewolf live. He'd have killed the man."
"Where does that leave us?" Jean-Claude asked.
"We wait," Richard said, crossing his arms over his chest. "We wait to see what the cops do, what happens with Jack."
Anita shook her head. "We can't just sit around!"
"You mean you can't sit around," Richard shot back. "Fine, go make this better, talk to the cops, do something."
"What are you going to do?"
"Go to class tomorrow? Hope to hell the cops don't subpoena Jack's phone records to see that he called me before he call you that night? What do you want me to do, Anita? Pray for a happy ending? Take everyone out for ice cream and suddenly it's all better?"
"Fine, be that fatalistic!" Anita shouted. "I'm trying to help you and all you do is push me away!"
"Where the hell did that come from?" Richard demanded. "I never pushed you away! I never said I didn't want your help!"
Anita stepped back. "Just-- I can't deal with this right now." She stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind her.
"What the hell is the matter with her?" Richard asked, not really expecting an answer from Jean-Claude.
The vampire straightened a painting on the wall, knocked askew by Anita's melodramatic exit. "She is more bothered by her estrangement from the police than she wishes to let on. It hurts her to be thought of as an impediment to justice, and she cannot tell the truth of the matter for fear of exposing you."
"So you're saying this is my fault?"
"Non." Jean-Claude turned to face Richard. "She needs to deal with this, and it is easier for her to fall back on familiar patterns than it is to deal with the issues at hand." He glanced at the door. "She needs time."
"And a valium," Richard muttered.
"As if you are any better in this situation."
Jean-Claude held up a hand. "You are as worried as she, only on different matters. Have you see this young Mr. O'Neill since the event in the forest?"
"No," Richard said, hating the hint of sullenness in his tone. "I can't think of a reason to go to the hospital."
"Then all you can do is wait." Jean-Claude started towards the door. "I will attend to ma petite. Please, feel free to remain in my suite as long as you wish."
Richard was moving before the door even closed behind Jean-Claude. There was no way he was staying in Jean-Claude's bedroom, alone. Certainly not while Jean-Claude was tracking Anita down with 'comfort' on his mind.
Not even able to whip up the usual amount of jealousy at the mental image of Anita with Jean-Claude, Richard headed toward the exit of the underground lair. He needed to talk to Sylvie about the state of the pack and what they might do if Jack turned out to be a werewolf after all. He had responsibilities to take care of.~~~
After class, Jack pushed his binder into his backpack, ignoring the stares of his classmates. It was only his first day back at school, the day after the full moon, and everyone kept watching him as if they expected him to grow a second head, or shift into a werewolf.
As if spending the night at the police station, 'just in case', wasn't enough punishment for one lifetime.
At least his back was feeling better. He'd have an annoying scar, but at least he wasn't a werewolf. At least Loki and Thor had left him with that much.
Slowly, Jack picked up his bag and drifted towards Zeeman's desk. The teacher looked up from his papers, looking about as nervous as Jack felt.
"Hey," Jack said in greeting. "Look, I need to get the assignments from those two weeks while I was gone."
"Of course." Richard picked up a packet of papers from the side of the desk. "I heard you were coming back today."
"Yeah, no time like the present." Jack shoved the papers into his bag, then stood there, uncertain. What now? He'd been lying to the cops about Zeeman being a werewolf for weeks, was he supposed to explain that? The teacher had to know what Jack had done; Anita Blake had been hovering around the police station constantly. "So."
"So." Richard leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms over his chest. "You missed the college fair last week. The military recruiters had a table set up."
"I thought you were planning on signing up with the Air Force?" Zeeman said.
"Maybe." Jack slung his backpack strap over his shoulder. "I've had a lot of time to think, since... since."
"And?"And maybe I'm tired of this, of dealing with the secrets and the danger and all that bullshit. The SGC seems to be saving the world just fine without me.
"Not sure if being all I can be is right for me."
"You do have some time to think about it," Zeeman agreed.
Jack shifted his bag higher on his shoulder. "Lucky me." Was this how it was going to be? Just never mentioning the subject of dead werewolves and lies to police and all that other bullshit? How fucking perfect.
"Anita wanted me to say hi, to you," Richard said suddenly. "She's glad you had a good night, last night."
"Yeah, no unexpected DNA shifts for me," Jack said. "Look, are we done the awkward talk? I have to go talk about my 'feelings'," he made air quotes around the word, "with the school counselor."
"That's what I said." Jack took a step back. "So, yeah. See you tomorrow." He turned and was out the door before Zeeman could respond.
It had only been two weeks since he walked these halls, but it felt like an eternity. He wondered why he came back to it at all. True, it was part of the life he'd been trying to build on his own, but he could have walked away, taken his GED tomorrow, and enlist as soon as his pretend birthday ticked away to eighteen years old.
Maybe he was feeling responsible, but for what he wasn't sure. Sandra was fine, no one knew that Richard Zeeman was a werewolf. All was perfect with the world. Right?
Jack stopped at his locker, spinning the dial absently. Just as he knew that Richard Zeeman wasn't all that he appeared, he couldn't shake the feeling that things were not all as they appeared in St. Louis. He didn't know what he could do, he was just one guy.
But he wasn't planning on leaving town until he figured it out.