Almost in a daze he crossed over to it, pulling
the cord in the wall that opened the light panel on the ceiling as he
went. On the floor a couple of feet from the foot of his bed was a
coffin. The side toward him was dark, and from where he was North couldn't see through the top.
2 He covered his face with his hands for a moment, then summoned his
courage and crossed the room to the foot of the bed. Looking down on
the coffin he saw his father's body inside. The Undertakers had done
their job very well. There were no sign of the injuries North had seen
so many years before. His father's smile was almost natural, almost as
3 He knelt down beside the coffin and wanted to open it, but knew it
was sealed and filled with gas that would keep the body preserved for
thousands of years. Putting his hands on top of the coffin, North laid
his head on them and began to weep. For a little while he was that
young man again in that candlelit Temple.
4 Finally, he managed to get up, and sit on the foot of the bed. He took off his battle com and punched in his
Number Two's code. Gray River answered. "Yes sir! Something wrong? Why
are you using the com?"
5 "Come up here, Number Two," North whispered. "Bring the Medical
Officer. Make it quick!"
6 "Are you alright, sir?" repeated the Number Two.
7 North didn't respond, but only put the com back on his belt. A few moments later his door buzzer sounded. North
could hear it, but it seemed to be far away, not where he was at all. A
few minutes later the door slid open, the Number Two, the Medical
Officer, and a Hotel Security Guard entered.
8 "It's all right," Gray River told the Security