The room erupted into cheers and whistles, hands clapping and mouths whooping. They clapped each other on the back while Davids tried to quiet them down, shushing loudly.
Bobby turned to Fiona, smiling wide. "We freaking did it! Can you believe it?!" She shook her head, trying to keep back the joy. "Hold on, ok? Let's just see." Bobby rolled his eyes, spinning his chair back towards Davids.
"Davids to Stevenson, do you copy?" The room waited with baited breath until the radio clicked.
"Copy, this is Stevenson." His voice was flat, but nobody noticed.
Davids' mouth twitched, a smiling trying to break out. "Can you....can you put them on?"
"Stevenson, I repeat. Can you put them on?"
The room of scientists looked around, confused. A small murmuring broke out which Davids quickly shutdown. "Why not?"
"There's....I just can't. I just can't. There's nothing..." A creeping edge to his voice.
The room was silent. "Stevenson, what do you see?"
"You can be more clear than that."
Ray spoke up. "Are you sure you didn't jump into the closet again?" The room laughed, but it was tinged with nerves.
Stevenson looked around at the barren landscape before him. Fire and rubble and smoke. His radio called out for him to respond. He put his hand to his ear and held down the button on his earpiece. "A red sky. The building in ruin. Scorched earth."
Bobby heard Fiona emit a low whine, and wanted very badly to be able to turn and comfort her, but found himself rooted to the spot.
"Is this a joke, Stevenson?"
"Excuse me, sir?"
"I'm sorry. But...are you sure, absolutely sure, you made the correct jump?"
Davids turned to Andrew, whose face had lost all color. "Did you calibrate the timer correctly?"
"Of course I did. I mean...it is possible...." Davids waved him off, leaning against his chair. "No, you're too f-cking smart for that kind of mistake...unfortunately."
"No, no, I could have... I don't know, accidentally set it for 24 days or 24-"
Davids cut him off with a firm "No." He steadied his hand. "You set it right. You know you did." An idea came to him and he spun eagerly.
"Check the bunker."
They waited, again. The silence was a massive pressure, but they did their best to maintain composure. Several long minutes passed until the radio clicked.
Davids pressed his hand against his face, trying to steady his breath.
"Sir, maybe they just... didn't answer..." Ray said nervously. Davids looked at him with a blank look. "Would you do that?" Ray sputtered for words, but looked away.
"I'm screwed, aren't I? Sir." Stevenson asked, already knowing the answer. "Yes. I'm sorry. At least it won't last for long, if that's any comfort. Your radioactive levels are off the charts."
Another long silence.
"I wish I could be there with you guys."
"So it'd be quicker. So I could say goodbye. So I could face it head on."
Davids pressed down the radio button to speak, but no words came out. He held onto the button a second longer before letting go.
"Sir, I'm going to cease communication."
"Don't be. Nothing you could do. I guess it's nice to have a warning."
"Thank you, Adam."
A short burst of static came from Davids' radio and they were alone.
"We can do something. We have to do something, sir. Call the president, the media, somebody!" Bobby said, almost jumping out of his chair.
Davids smiled softly, shaking his head.
"Why the hell not?! At least we can get to the bunker! It's 5 minutes away, for gods sake."
Davids looked him in the eye, his eyebrows slightly raised.
"We don't make it to the bunker."
Bobby's face fell slowly, crumpling.
Outside their walls, the sky flashed.