Alex shook his head, but the motion made him dizzy. His sight was blurring withbursts of white clouding his vision. The ring finger, now void of the symbol he'dgrown so desperately comfortable with, felt cold and numb.Finally anger gripped him. Alex reached forward with both hands and took Reilly bythe shirt. "We have to go back!""We can't, sir."Alex shoved Reilly out of his way and the blanket went flying. He blinkedviolently and the bridge blurred, then came back into focus as his bedroom, softlylit from outside the large window by the lights of the Scotian shipyard.Nightmare! Alex held his hand up, inches from his face, and was rewarded by theglint of light off silver. He stared at the ring and heaved a huge, shudderingsigh of relief. Just a nightmare. Evan was here, sleeping in his room on the otherside of their quarters. The ring was there, on his finger where it belonged. Alexswallowed and ran the hand through his hair, comforted by the familiar feeling ofthe ring.He remembered now. They hadn't left the shipyards, at least not yet, and lastnight he hadn't been drunk. In fact, they'd only just begun advertising for a newcrew and had a lot of work ahead.Alex glanced at the chronometer and realized how early it was. If his nightmarehadn't woken Evan, then being awake for too long now certainly would. He paddedover to the bathroom and splashed cold water over his face to wash out the lastvestiges of shock, then climbed back into bed and got comfortable on his stomach,facing the window and the view of the shipyards beyond. It was the first time in along while he'd had a goal that didn't involve hurting anyone.Delving back into the Pendulum Nebula this time around wasn't going to be a raceto win, and there was no reason to believe it would cause the death of eighty-sixinnocent people. But more importantly, it wasn't going to be personal. This tripwasn't going to open up old wounds, or tear down ideals or anyone's way ofthinking. He didn't have to feel guilty about what they were going out to find.Not this time.The fact that Evan didn't hate him forever, after Alex had dragged him out to meetMaker and the horror that came from it, was nothing short of a miracle. And oneAlex wasn't likely to ever forget. He owed his friend more than just his life. Heowed him a life worth living, and everything that entailed, good and bad.When the morning alarm finally did go off, Alex didn't mind opening his eyes. Thefirst thing he saw was the ring around his finger, then he raised his headslightly and noticed the Scotian shipyards, still brightly lit and beginning tobuzz with morning activity. He climbed out of bed and was rewarded with familiarsounds of movement in the main living area. In a quick detour, he opened the doorand caught sight of Evan standing shirtless in the galley, hair still wet from ashower. With a sigh of relief, Alex went to the bathroom and prepared for the day."Good morning." Evan glanced up as he finished pulling his shirt down over damp,jet black hair. He straightened the shirt, and retrieved the coffee just deliveredby the catering unit."Thanks." Alex finished a yawn and accepted a steaming cup. "Did you sleep okaylast night?" He sipped the hot coffee and eyed his friend over the rim.Evan shrugged. "I know you had a bad dream and woke up, if that's what you mean.But after that, I slept fine."Alex felt a pang of guilt, but he knew from experience there was nothing he coulddo about it. "Sorry.""What was it about?" Evan set two plates of breakfast on the table and sat down."Nothing." Alex shook his head and joined him at the table. "I don't evenremember." It was a lie, but he didn't feel like going over it. He'd explain hisanxieties, Evan would tell him he was being ridiculous, and that'd be that. "I'mjust restless again, ready to head back out there and see what we can find.""Well, we're getting responses to the ad for a new crew. I have answers from mostof the last team, and a group of applicants to go through."