Epilogue

"The Port is a cultural hub of trade, commerce, and ingenuity. It is right, then, that we dedicate this rebuilt city in honor of the late Lev Fedorov, who helped foster in an age of…"

"You never did like politics, did you?"

Antanas turned from the blueprints in his hand and looked up to see his brother, Nikolai, giving a knowing expression. The voice of the Representative had gone unheard by the busy director. Rebuilding a port the size of Vladivostok had proven to be a much more difficult task than he had anticipated. Politics just added a distraction he didn't have the patience to deal with.

"You should be wearing a hardhat. You're in a construction zone," was all he had to say to his little brother.

Nikolai chuckled, "You've gotten too serious since I last saw you. I know you've been through a lot. We all have. But you gotta lighten up. Besides, you're not making the guy on the podium wear one."

Antanas didn't hear the last part of Nikolai's babbling. His mind flashed to that very street they stood in almost two years ago, where he saw the cruelty of average people up close. The man that looked over the blueprints with him noticed the sudden change in his demeanor; he saw as Antanas's keen eyes suddenly took a distant turn.

"You alright?"

"I'm fine, Mister Garder. How close are we to finishing up the new living sector?"

Petras titled his head as he thought about what was left. "We should be wrapped up in about two or three months."

"Make it two and I'll give you a bonus," he said. His hand was extended to make it a deal. Petras accepted it.

It was strange how different life was for him now that he had lived through one of the most horrifying incidents in their nation's troubled history. Before, he was just a mid-tier crane operator with no chances of moving past his poverty stricken life. Yet now he was an assistant project manager, tasked with helping complete the stressful rebuild of a very vital city. The first time he had returned to Vladivostok, it was difficult to stand on those broken streets, but now it was refreshing as he witnessed it climb higher than anyone thought possible.

"Have you ever wondered if we're just building Babylon?" he suddenly asked.

Antanas followed Petras's line of sight as it stared into the blue sky, nearly covered by the large skyscrapers they had erected at record speeds. "Let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto Heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth," he quoted. Petras had to raise a brow, surprised to hear a biblical quote come from such a person. Antanas smiled and said, "But now, we're scattered upon the face of many planets and satellites. Humanity's reach is broader than ever."

"Then we should pray that only the good reach the stars."

Silenced followed, but it was welcomed.

A ZLI employee interrupted them when he asked, "The crew for the Interceptor is looking to depart. Will you make an appearance?"

Antanas waved him off. "They can't be delayed any longer. I have almost a dozen cargo ships bound for the Jovian Sector that are long overdue for repairs. Till Miss Braun and her crew Godspeed. Oh, but ask Romeo to be nice to the new guy. He's a good friend of mine."

"Of course, sir," was the automatic response for the worker.

Antanas and Petras decided it was time to walk away from their spot near the podium. The propaganda about Lev was too much for either to bear. Since that fateful day, they had heard as the media, which had long sold out to men like Fedorov, spun the massacre at the Port into a mere "incident" caused by a few fringe members of the growing anti-corporate movement. Antanas didn't want to correct them; he tried to use it as leverage to make as many reforms as he could to his company. He was trying his best to atone.

"You're not going to work through the leave I granted you, are you?" Antanas suddenly asked.

Petras answered, "I need to get paid. Something tells me being a parent isn't going to be cheap."

"I'll take care of it. You don't want to miss the birth of your daughter. You'll regret it. Believe me."

A comforting hand placed itself on his shoulder. He smiled at Petras in a hushed thank you. The gesture was returned. When the hand was removed, they continued their trek down the streets, away from the noisy construction and dedication ceremony.

A distant roar tickled their ears. Once more their eyes turned to the skies. A lone streak shot out above all else and climbed until it was but a speck that disappeared amongst the clouds. Even after it was long out of eyesight, they still continued to look its way. Antanas let out a grunt that sounded like a stifled laugh before he shoved his hands in his pockets and continued on. Petras kept his eyes heaven bound for just a second longer.

"I'll see you up there, Shelton."