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Episode #1














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Hope ever tells us tomorrow will be better.

                                                 -------Tibullus

Aislin Harrison stiffled a yawn as she through back the bed covers and slolwy dragged herself out of bed.  Aislin banged her leg against the bedside table, she was totally disorganised being in a new place.
She grabbed the asthma pump on the the table and quickly inhaled 3 deep puffs she was always wheezy in the mornings.
She glanced over at the other bed, Deborah was still fast alseep an empty can of vodka dangling from her hand. Aislin shook her head, trust Deborah to take a can to bed with her. Aislin smiled she had an awesome friend, Deborah always stuck up for her, even know she had her own voice, and Aislin would gladly lay down her life for her friend.
Aislin rubbed her sleepy eyes, grabbed a nearby towel and headed to the nearest bathroom. She banged on the door and heard the soft spoken Tao say she was in there.
Aislin grumbled as she headed down the corrirdor to see Babs bouncing up and down.
"What are you doing waiting out here?" Aislin asked
"Rochelle and Mindy have overtaken this bathroom, they've been in there for over an hour. Honestly you would think they were primping for a screen test" Babs said rolling her eyes.
Aislin threw her hands up in surrender "I'll have a shower later" she said as she stumbled back to her bedroom.
 

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Jimmy had just gone for his early morning run, he took a deep breath as he climbed the stairs back to the cabin. In the city he always enoyed his morning jogs there was always something different to see, but in the middle of nowhere it was even better, there was just so much to take in. He gave a wave to Jacob who was sitting on the porch looking out at the lake doing some charcoal drawings. Jimmy walked over and looked over his shoulder, he was very impressed with what he saw, Jacob was a fantastic drawer, he had even sold some of his designs which had helped him with his University fees, he was very talented. Jacob had told him once he planned to be a famous artist one day, live in a city apartment and just paint and draw, he hoped his craft would make him a millionare.

Jacob became self-concious with Jimmy eyeing his work, he looked up and gave a small smile. "I wanted to thank you for inviting me on this getaway this is a great cabin and I am enjoying the company."

"Anytime mate" Jimmy said waving him off

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  Jimmy entered the cabin to find Angelique busy in the kitchen preparing pancakes, eggs and fruit salad. "Where are the others, surely your not doing it all yourself?"

"I love to cook, most of the others are up and about in the bathrooms. Grant, Mike and Deborah cant get out of bed, I think they are still hung over" she said with a little shake of her head. "And Aidan left 15 minutes ago said he was going for a walk, he was looking really strange like he had something on his mind"   Jimmy nodded and hoped his friend was okay.

Babs and Tao entered the room and Angelique set them t work setting up the dining room table. Aislin arrived with a pale looking Deborah both collapsed onto the sofa's Deborah vowing never to drink that much again.   "Until tonight" Aislin joked. Jimmy joined the group still in his jogging clothes, he started calling out to the others to get their butts down for breakfast. Rochelle and Mindy arrived looking like they were heading out to a nightclub and not to breakfast.

Rochelle wrinkled her nose at the pancakes, but spooned some fruit into a small bowl. Mindy really wanted to try the pancakes, but seeing the way Rochelle looked at them, she decided to go for the fruit also.              

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The group were sitting down to eat, Angelique had her bowed in thanks. Mike and Grant stumbled into the room wide stupid grins on their faces. Mike  looked fine apart from he needed a good shave.  Grant on the other hand looked terrible, his usually neat hair was messy and he had bloodshot eyes, he had on the same clothes as the night before and he had a strong smell of cigarette on him, he plopped himself down on a sofa with a loud sigh.

"What happened to you guys, and Grant you stink" Jimmy commented. Grant gave a laugh "Mike and I got on a bender last night after the rest of you went to bed. I swear I dont want to see alcohol again." Mike laughed as he placed a friendly hand on Grant shoulders "Poor white guy cant hold his booze against a small asain" Grant laughed as he slipped Mike the bird. In return Mike offered him some fried eggs, Grant took one look at the eggs and hurried to the nearest bathroom.

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The meals was quickly consumed Jacob, Mindy and Rochelle were given the task of cleaning up the dishes. Somehow Mindy and Rochelle disappeared and Jacob was left to do it on his own. Jacob grumbled all the way through it, and in doing so thought up a perfect plan to get back at them both. There was a chatter among the group what they were going to do for the day some had ideas about swimming in the lake, or going for a long walk.  Babs who had been lounging on the sofa excused herself and headed off to the bathroom. Jacob wondered what was up with Babs even for a girl she spent too much time in the bathroom.  Jimmy arrived and like the leader he was set up organising the fun for the day.

It was while everyone was heading out to the lake that Mindy and Rochelle wandered into the lounge."We need to go back to the general store, I thought to pick something up" Rochelle said "What?" Jimmy asked "Rochelle ran out of tampons" Mindy said with a giggle which recevied a stern look from Rochelle. "So can I please borrow your car, I promise I wont damage it" Rochelle saids smiling her pearly whites"

Jimmy rolled his eyes, digged in his pockets and tossed her the keys "If there is even one scratch, I will kill you" Rochelle smiled and was headed out the door when she was stopped by Grant and Angelique. "We need to goto the store too" Grant said. "Cigarettes" Angelique said shaking her head.

Grant gave her a weak smile back while Rochelle nodded her head "The more the merrier"

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Rochelle floored the car as soon as they were out of the prying eyes of Jimmy. Mindy giggled and clapped her hands as she fiddled with the music dial. Grant lit his last cigarette much to the disproval of Angelique who cranked down a window.
The four started singing along to a popular song until they saw the sight of the general store approaching. As they drove closer they couls see the owner of the store rushing about putting stuff in his car.
"What is he doing?" Mindy asked "Is he crazy or what?
The four got out of the car Grant hurried on ahead "What is going on sir?"
The owner look at the four like they were mad. "Dont you know anything, our country has been attacked"
The four looked on in amazement, they had all thought this man had gone crazy.
"What are you babbling about" Rochelle said getting irritatated has something happned?"
"Has there been a terrorist attack?"Angelique asked, it was all too common now to switch on a news program and find out some country had suffered a coawardly terrorist bombing.
"Its worse than that" the man gulped "We have been invaded, last night the invasion began"
Upon hearing those words Mindy burst into a fit of tears, Angelique hugged the girl deeply as she tried to hear what the man was talking about.
"It's over the news, and radio, enemy forces are bombing and invading out shores. It was a complete surprise attack". The three girls began talking all at once, Grant ran a hand through his hair a look of worry on his face "What about New Melbourne, is it safe?"
The guy shook his head "They are under fire as we speak, the military is streched to it's limits. Look I cant stand around and chat, i'm packing up and heading further into bush, until it all blows over"
"What are we gonna do?" Rochelle pleaded tears forming in her eyes.
"We have to go and get the others, than head back home" Grant replied
"No, go back to where you are staying and stay put, if you go back to New Melbourne who knows what will happen. It's safer where you are"
The man's news set Mindy off again, Grant barked at Angelique telling her take Mindy back to the car. Rochelle was standing close to Grant, her hand clutched around his arm tight. Already her fingers were making an imprint on his arm.
"What are we going to do Grant" Rochelle whispered again. A thousand thoughts were going through his head, he had no idea what to do, he was as clueless as the rest of them, he had no idea why Rochelle was turning to him.
Grant shook his head "Why is this happening"
The man spat on the ground "I have no idea son, but like I said go back to your cabin and stay put. If you even think of going back to New Melbourne at the moment it will be suicide"
A shrill spun Grant around it was Rochelle she had her mobile phone in her hand, she looked over at Grant her lower lips trembling. "I tried calling my mother, but my phone is gettig no signal at all"
"They've knocked out alot of the communications" the man said as he slammed the boot of his car "Signals out here are always bad, but i'm pretty sure the enemy would have knocked them out first" the guy smiled at the group "Good luck. I'm sure we wont have to hide long"
He ran around and hoped in the car, in less than a minute his car was speeding away.
"Everyone in the car now, we gotta get back to the others" Angelique was holding a sobbing Mindy in the backseat, so he dived into the front passenger seat. Rochelle stuck the keys in the ignition with a trembling hand, the car made a humming sound but wouldnt turn over, Rochelle made a little whimper and turned to Grant who barked at her to try again. Rochelle tried again and when the car started she turned and gave him a victory smile. Rochelle was about to drive out when someone banged on the back window, the four screamed in terror.
"What's going on" a familar voice asked, the group looked to see it was Aidan banging on the window.
A rush of relief ran over the group upon seeing there friend. Grant rolled his his window telling Aidan to get in the car. Aidan was puzzled with the way the group was acting, Grant quickly gave him the rundown of what they had just heard.
Aidan's face was a pale colour as what was said sunk it. He realised now what that feeling he had in the pit of his stomach was about the night before.
"We need to get supplies" he said "The guy isnt going to care if we take some of the food"
Grant and Rochelle nodded in agreement they both stepped out of the car, Mindy who was still crying refused to get out and help and Angelique questioned the act as it resulted in stealing.
"You can starve than" Rochelle said with a sneer "But i'm taking as much as I can carry. It may decide if we live or starve while we are hiding"
"But how can we take what isn't ours" Angelique questioned
"Our country has been attacked, you really have to question your way of living Angelique. If we dont eat we will starve" Aidan said.
Angelique nodded silently and followed the other three to the store. Aidan tried the handle and found it locked, he stepped back and looked around the ground. Grant found the large rock first he picked it up and hurled it through the window, Angelique backed up in fright while Rochelle clapped with delight. Grant stuck his hand in the broken window, cutting his hand up as he did. He unlatched the door and swung it open.
"Your hand"Angelique said "You've hurt your hand"
Grant shrugged his shoulders "I'll bandage it up when we get back to the cabin"
The three hurried around the store while Angelique trailed with bags to collect the groceries in.She considered it stealing but she justified it by only carrying the bags.
Grant gave her a guilty look as he placed a few cartons of cigarettes into the bags "I need them" he mouthed as he moved over to the toilet paper.
Mindy suddenly rushed into the general store "Guys, I hear a buzzing sound from outside" a hint of terror in her voice.
The other stood froozen in place, looking at her blankly, finally Grant moved and hurried out of the store, he returned in less than 30 seconds, his face also pale. "It sounds like planes"
The group got into a frenzy as Grant barked for them all to get in the car.
They piled out of the store and tossed the bags into the boot. Rochelle was heading for the driver's side when Grant hurried over and said he was going to drive, Rochelle nodded and jumped in the back with the girls.
Grant turned the ignition and heard a splutter, Grant cursed as he tried the ignition again, it made a splutter but wouldnt turn over.
Mindy started to whimper from the beatseat, Angelique turned around and screamed back at the others "The plane is approaching"
Sweat poured down his forehead, from the corner of his eye he could see Aidan shaking. He tried the ignition again but the car didnt make a sound at all.
"The battery must be dead" Rochelle said "Last time I use Jimmy's car"
Angelique called out again that the plane seemed to be getting lower, Grant spun his head around and noticed the plane himself.
"Out of the car now and into the bushes" Grant said throwing open his door. Grant was the fastest the others all seemed to be moving in slow motion, until Grant's barking woke them all from there daydream.
Aidan jumped out and ran full speed to the bushes, the last Grant saw of him was his feet as he dived into the bushes.
Angelique tried to get out of her side of the car, but was terrified when she found her door stuck.
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Angelique pushed and pulled at the stuck door. Rochelle was pleading for Mindy to get out of the car, but Mindy was refusing.
"I just cant take it" Mindy sobbed "It's all a bad dream. I'm going to wake up soon in my safe warm bed"
"We have to get out of the car" Rochelle urged "The plane is moving in on us fast"
Grant helped Rochelle out of the car, and pointed towards the bushes, Rochelle hurried off as fast as she could.
Grant bent in the car "Mindy get the hell out of the car now. Do you want to die?"
Those words seemed to shock Mindy to the core, one she was shocked as Grant never spoke to her like that and secondly she valued her life.
The buzzing of the sound was closing in, Mindy wiped away her tears and let Grant pull her out of the car. He stuck his head in the car and mouthed to Angelique "Quick"
Angelique hoped out of the car and looked up towards the sky to see the silver fighter jet closing in at a fast pace. All colour drained from her face "Run" Grant urged the two girls, all three ran at a fast pace, Grant trailed a little behind to ensure the girls were safe.
They were a few metres from the bushes when they heard a loud clatter, the sound of the jet filled there ears, a warm heat throwing them all throwing them to the ground.
From the bushes Aidan and Rochelle let out terrified screams as they saw there friends hit the ground.
The jet zoomed passed, Aidan took a peek to see Jimmy's car burst into flames. He looked at the jet and saw that it was turning around ready to make another hit.
Grant was the first to climb to his feet, brushing off the dirt,  he walked over and helped Angelique up, a small gash on her forehead.  Grant turned next to Mindy, who gave a cry when he grabbed her left arm. "I hurt it when I fell" Mindy sobbed "It hurts real bad" Grant crouched down next to her he was about to check her arm when Aidan screamed from the bushes "Incoming" Grant turned to see that the jet was returning.
"Everybody get down"Grant said, Angelique limped over to the bushes, while Grant and Mindy lay spread eagled in the dirt, wanting to become part of the dirt.
The jet sailed over again, two black darts sailed out from under the wings and blasted into the general store.
It was like the store was made out of carboard the way it went up, burning faster than anyone could imagine.

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For an added affect the jet fired a stream of bullets into the bushes, the three in the bushes let out screams as they moved back hoping to avoid any of the bullets hitting them. The jet than flew off in the opposite direction.
The grop waited a few minutes before they started to move Grant stood up, spitting dirt out of his mouth he getly helped Mindy to her feet as she compained about her left arm hurting, Grant through she must have hurt it when she slammed into the ground.
Aidan, Angelique and Rochelle appeared out of the bushes looking disheveled and scared out of their wits.
"What are we going to do"Angelique voiced, they all looked at each other than turned to Grant there adopted leader.
"We have to make our way to the cabin and tell the others"Grant ran his hand through his hair "We will regroup and talk about what to do next"
"How are we going to get back, we have no car" Rochelle asked
Aidan rolled his eyes "We walk dear, and I say we start now before that jet comes back with his friends"
Rochelle grumbled but she locked arms with Mindy  "We well better start, I wanna get back ad have a hot shower"
Grant told Aidan to lead the way, well he took up the rear so he could continue searching the skies, he didnt want another surprise. They choose to walk along the road but the stayed as close to the treeline as possible. The whole walk back Rochelle or Mindy complained about something, Grant nearly couldnt take it they all should be lucky they were still alive.
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Deborah, Tao, Mike and Jacob where playing a card game at the dining room table. Babs was sprawled out on one of the sofa's flicking through a magazine and telling Aislin who sat on another sofa, which of the guys she would make out with.
Aislin smiled as she filed her nails. It had been a great day they had spent it at the lake, swimming and tubing. Aislin herself had gotton in a good hour sunbaking.
Babs and Jacob had headed off for two hours for some hiking. Aislin wondered if there was more too it. Back at University there had been a rumour that Jacob really liked Babs, but as far as Aislin knew Babs didnt feel the same way back, who knows maybe this getaway would awaken a desire in her. Jacob was cute there was no doubting that.
 
Jimmy was on the front porch trying to get reception on his phone, they all promised not to take there phones with them for this week, but Jimmy and a few others brought theres just in case of an emergency. Aislin could see Jimmy pacing back and forward he looked extremly nervous.
Debrorah jumped up from the table and accused Tao of card counting. Tao laughed and accused her of being a bad sport.
"Where are the others, they have been gone for ages" Babs said looking up at the clock.
Aislin nodded in agreement they had been gone too long "Maybe we should drive out to the store, they might have had car trouble"
Jimmy walked into the store, a worried look on his face as he had been trying to get in touch with his girlfried Sun-Hi but he had no luck. "No even a busy signal, just a dead silence"
"We are worried about the others" Babs said "Should we go out and look for them"
All of a sudden the cabin door flew open, the occupants inside screamed in fright, than in walked Grant and the others all looking like the walking dead. They were all dirty and grimy. Aidan hurried over to the kitchen sink and poured himself a glass of water and sculled it down. Rochelle walked in holding onto Mindy hard,neither looked like the centrefolds they did that morning. Angelique was the last to walk in dried blood on her forehead.
"What in the hell happened to you guys?" Deborah asked, the others in the cabin were all stunned at the sight of there friends.
"We were attacked by a jet" Mindy said trying to be strong but she broke down and had to escorted to a sofa, she sat between Rochelle and Babs crying.
"What do you mean attacked?" Tao asked
Grant sat in the closest chair and began to explain to the other what had happened, ever so often one of the others would add a point that he had forgotton.
There were shocks and tears from the whole group, they were in utter disbelief that something like this could happen. Grant finished talking and there was silence for about a minute before Jacob asked "What are we going to do?"
Jimmy who was usually the calmest person dialed his phone, telling the others he had to get in touch with Sun-Hi, he tried dialing but received the same dead tone.
Angelique quickly explained to Jimmy that the guy at the general store explained that alot of the telecommunications had been knocked out. Jimmy went sullen and saw down on the floor with his head in his hands.
The other began talking amongst themselves, they were all worried no one knew what was going to happen to any of them.
Mindy cried out again, Jacob who had done first aid, sat beside her and began to check out her arm. Mindy gave litte whimpers but in the end she was told all she had was a badly sprained arm and wrist.
Tao left the room and returned with a torn sheet, together Tao and Jacob created a sling and told Mindy to try not to use her arm for a few days.
Grant grabbed a face cloth and some bandaids and began to clean up Angelique's face, when it was clean he gently kissed her forehead. Than squeezed her hand.
 
"So what do we do from here" Deborah asked "Our country is at war, what do we do?"
"There are a few options" Mie said, like Grant and Jimmy he was also a great leader with both boys indisposed he decided to step forward and throw some ideas around. "We can assume that our country is still fighting, we dont know if we are winning or losing.And from what we have learnt to go back to the city is impossible. It could mean our lives"
Mike got up and began walking around the room "We could always surrender, but do we even know who were are going to surrender too"
"I will never surrender" Deborah said standing up "Surrender is for the weak, and who knows if they even want people to surrender"
"Maybe surredering is a good option, the Genova Convetion demands the enemy looks after there prisoners" Angelique said "Surrending could be a safe option"
"The world has changed, you have animals out there killing people simply for being white. do you think they care about the geneva convention" Deborah said getting heated" And remember Angelique we are female, gos knows what they will do to us if we surrender."
All the girls in the room shivered they all knew what might happen to them.
"There is no way I want to be raped"Babs said "I dont think we should even consider surrending an option" the majority of the room nodded in agreement, only Angelique was seriously considering surrender, it was the safest option and she knew deep down that the enemy might not be as bad as Mike and Deborah were saying .
"So what option dowe have left, we are not soliders we cant fight" Jacob said
"We can stay here and hide until its safe to come out" Mike replied "The cabin is in the middle of nowhere we should be safe here for a long time, and if anyone comes snopping we can always leave. What do you think Jimmy?"
Jimmy looked up clearly worried about his girlfriend. "We are safe here, you cant spot the cabin from the sky and we can always find a way to block or cover up the road here" he said quietly.
The group was miserable but they were warming up to the idea. They knew they couldnt do much but this cabin had a safe feeling.
"Let's take a vote, I wanna see where people stand" Mike said
"Anyone fancy surrending to an enemy we have no idea about?" Angelique raised her hand much to the displeasure of the rest of the group.
"Who wants to go back to the city?" Mike wasnt expecting anyone to raise there hands but Rochelle raised her slender hand "I have to know" she said getting teary my family, my boyfriend are all there, I need to know"
"We all do" Deborah said "But going back to the city and getting ourselves killed isnt going to help"
"Dont you care about everyone at home?"Rochelle shot back
"We all do"Grant said "But getting ourselves killed wont help any of our families. I understand how you feel but we cant help them if we cant help ourselves"
Rochelle seemed to quiete down, but her mind was still racing.
"All those who want to stay here until a better option arises" Mike said. Slowly hand by hand went up until all the others had there hands raised.
Nerves annd tensions were high everyone was worried about the news that they had just digested. "We have alot to think about" Mike said "I suggest we get some rest, and some time to think and we will regroup in the morning"
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Everyone seemed exhausted, Grant lit a cigarette and walked out onto the patio. Slowly the others  drifted off to there rooms. Some to sleep and others to think.
Grant sucked on his cigarette and blew out a stream of smoke, Angelique walked out and smiled at him. "I know I feel that surrender is the best option I just want you to know I will agree with whatever you say"
"Have time to rest on it Angel, you will know we are right." Grant gave her a big hug "It's all bloody terrible, but whatever happens I want us to stay together" he kissed her lightly on the mouth "And I will always be here to protect you"
Angelique hugged him back she felt warm and safe in his arm. "Now goto bed, we can discuss it more tomorrow" Angelique nodded and kissed him on the cheek "I love you Grant" Angelique than drifted back into the cabin.
Grant gazed at the lake, wondering what was going to happen to them, he hoped Mike and Jimmy were right that they would be safe here.
Grant walked back into the cabin to see Jimmy, Mike and Babs still sitting in the lounge.
"I was thinking" Grant started "We should set up sentries, just to assure that everything is safe and sound.We should draw up a roster so everyone gets a turn, but I'll do it tonight."
"I want to help" Babs said "I wont hear no from your mouth"
"I'll do a shift too"Mike said "We can do it in 2 hour shifts"
Grant nodded and sat down next to Jimmy "Sun-Hi will be fine"
Jimmy looked up at Grant "Sun-Hi is a fighter but I worry about her. She is so close, yet so far. I just want to take a car now and drive out out to her"
"Dont be hasty" Grant said "Let's organise ourselves than we can think about other people"
"I wont wait long, I want to bring her here where she will be safe" Jimmy replied
"We will" Grant nodded "We will"
"I better get some sleep, two hours come pretty quickly" Babs said giving a yawn. Babs headed up the stairs she passed Rochelle and Mindy's room, she could hear Rochelle talking heatedly about how everyone in the house was selfish and uncaring. Babs yawned agan she wasnt in the mood for an argument, so she passed the room and went to see how her roommate Tao was going.
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Grant sat on the porch trying to keep awake, his eyes were heavy but he still had a half an hour to go. He really wanted to wake Babs but he knew he had to be strong people were falling apart so he knew he had to be strong.
He fumbled in his pocket and pulled out a cigarette, he lit it and blew out a stream of smoke.
He started to nod off again, so he was unaware of someone quielty walking across the gravel to the cars. Grant jolted awake when he heard some curseand the sound of keys dropping onto the gravel,making a clinging sound as they did.
Grant jumped up and ran down the stairs, he heard a feminine whimper and bolt for the car, "Stop" Grant called out.
Rochelle turned around her eyes wide "Leave me alone Grant, I'm going home. The rest of you may not care about our families but I do"
Grant ran over to her but Rochelle was quicker, she unlocked the car and jumped in, she fumbled to put the keys in the ignition.
All the while Grant called out for help from the others, he also stood in front of the car and held out his hands.
"Leave me alone" Rochelle called out, she turned the keys and the car started."Get out of my way, I dont want to run you down"
All the noise had woken up members of the cabin, many rushed down the stairs and stepped outside into the cold night air.
Mindy stood with tears in her eyes "Please Rochelle dont do this'
Mike, Jimmy and Deborah raced over and stepped in front of the car with Grant.
Babs headed over and knocked on the car window, inside Rochelle had broken down, tears streaming down her face, she placed her head down hard on the steering wheel setting off the car horn, which echoed into the night.
Grant looked at the others, this was only the start, but already someone was cracking up.
 
 

In the next episode of Hidden Fire;
 
  • The group try to reassure a distressed Rochelle,
  • The stronger members make some tough choices,
  • One group go in search of food and provisions
  • Jimmy details a plan to Mike, Grant, Deborah and Babs concerning Sun-Hi
  • Aidan deals with withdrawls
  • Jimmy's news upsets some people at the cabin.

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