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"Right." Bettmann stood up straight and marched forward to help drag aside the bodies from the finished battle and make room for the hostages now streaming through the tunnel at a greater rate than before. The cloud of tear gas gradually dissipated, and the coughing of the new arrivals subsided as well, to the point that the cabin was almost perfectly silent by the time the last passengers from the John Glenn, a dozen lifeless bodies, were transferred to the main level of the Airbus.

It was at that time that the tidal flow between the two vessels shifted for the last time, and hijackers began streaming through the tunnel to join their comrades on the spacecraft. Carter Dedender removed his mask to explain to the gathered hostages that their craft would be uncoupled from the John Glenn as soon as the last of his "children" (as he called them) had crossed the tunnel, and that any attempts to interfere with the spacecraft would only endanger themselves: almost all of the Airbus's fuel had been dumped and its new pilots would only have enough for an emergency landing in Recife, Brazil.

His speech ended, Dedender nodded to his guards, who included Bettmann, and stepped into the tunnel. Bettmann stared down at the crying Lisa Goodall, and at Madison McCormick, who was trying to comfort her, and took one step forward. Then a hand was on Bettmann's shoulder, and he was staring through his mask at a set of cold blue eyes beneath a second mask. Svetlana took him by the hand, and led him several steps backward into the tunnel before an aluminum replacement door, the last item from the footlockers, was pulled into place over the doorway behind them.


"Hi Daddy!"

Ronald Goodall took his crying daughter in his arms and began to tear up himself. "Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Pumpkin--"

"It's all over, daddy!" Lisa gushed into the shoulder of the President's suit. "It's all over!"

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