Nearing the apex (Richard, Tom)

"I suggest we try diplomacy first. If that doesn't work we can then go to using force." He thought finding out what Ben's captors wanted and trying to reason with them would be a good first course of action. Kelvin and Sayid at least should be willing to listen to him. What happened next would depend on a lot of factors.
"I suppose we can try." Tom wasn't sure how much good it would do, but he supposed it wouldn't hurt to at least try.
Richard smiled. “That’s all I’m asking,” he replied. He knew they may have to resort to violence. He just didn’t want it to be their first option. Despite being outnumbered he thought there were better ways of getting things done. (He was enough of a realist to understand that sometimes there was no other choice. That didn’t mean he liked it though.)
“It may end up being a waste of time but it’s always worth giving diplomacy a shot. Especially with some of these people.” He looked at Tom. “I don’t want anyone to get hurt while we’re doing this. I’d hope the people that have Ben would feel similarly.”

Getting to know you (Karl, Helen)

"That's good," Karl replied. They didn't seem like they were that fancy or hard to make. "I've had them a couple times and liked them." They were very tasty cookies.
"Yes, they are very good," Helen agreed.
"We could try making those sometime too." Either type would be fine with him.
Helen laughed lightly. "Of course." She smiled. "So, what else do you like to do?" She thought perhaps she might learn something new from him the same way he wanted to learn how to cook and bake from her.
Karl thought for a moment. "I like to read and draw," he answered. He wasn't a great artist but he did enjoy doing it. "I also like to do things outdoors like hunting, fishing, and hiking." He thought about the time he had spent with his dad and smiled. "I'm still learning how to hunt and fish properly though." He thought he had done very well all things considered.

Fight or Flight (Kelvin, Sayid, Sawyer, Frank, Miles, Charlotte, Daniel, Ben)

The sun hung high in the sky and cast dappled shadows on the jungle floor. Kelvin sliced the mango he was eating and took a bite. The group that had gone to see about the chopper had returned several minutes before. Now they, and everyone else there were having lunch. "How did it go?" Kelvin asked. They seemed in good spirits when they returned so he hoped that meant good news.
Things had been relatively quiet on their end. Ben hadn't said much. He also hadn't made Kelvin want to slap or muzzle him so in that respect he thought they were doing quite well. It remained to be seen what everyone else had to report.
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Girding for Battle (Tom>Richard)

"It's important that you try this," Richard said. "If our minds aren't clear it could be disastrous when it comes to facing the enemy. We'll likely be outnumbered and we need every advantage we can muster.

"Okay, fine," Tom replied. "Let's get going again, then." They had stopped while they discussed things and he wanted to hurry along.

"Okay." Richard adjusted his pack and they started walking again. "While we're going you can also be aware of how you're walking," he said.

"How I'm walking?" Tom said.

He subtly changed his own stride. "Try to walk more lightly, on the balls of your feet." He looked at Tom. "That will allow you to move more quietly. It also will help in not leaving tracks."

"Okay," Tom replied. "I'll try."

Richard smiled. "Great. That's all I'm asking you to do." He was glad Tom was willing to give his ideas a chance.

"Show me what to do again," Tom said.

He demonstrated the way of walking again. "Look at the way I'm walking and copy that," he said. "It may feel awkward at first but you'll get the hang of it pretty quickly and then it will feel like second nature."

Tom attempted to follow Richard's lead, but felt awkward doing so. "How's this?" he asked doubtfully.

Richard watched Tom for a bit. "That's not bad," he said. It wasn't perfect but it was good for a first try.

Smiling, Tom felt relieved to hear that. "Good."

"You've got the basics down." He demonstrated the walk again. "Keep at it a bit and it will start to feel more natural." He smiled. "It doesn't have to be perfect. Even doing it somewhat will help a whole lot."

Tom nodded. "Okay."
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Look Left

Lunch Break (Helen>Karl)

"I'm very happy to call you mom and have you in my life," he said. He had been hurt at first because he had felt abandoned. Now that he knew the true story he was just happy to have his family back in his life.

"You don't know how happy I am to hear that," Helen murmured. Tears had sprung to her eyes and she quickly wiped them away. "Perhaps we should get going before we're standing out here all day." She laughed softly.

Karl hugged Helen.

A bit surprised, Helen returned Karl's hug, wrapping her arms tightly around him. She loved him so much.

He felt warm and fuzzy inside. He thought about what else she had said. "That's a good idea," he said. He didn't want their lunch to spoil or get too warm.

Helen smiled at her son and then released him. "Okay."

They started walking again. "It's not too much farther." He led her down a path lined with vines. "Once we get through here we just take a right and we'll be there."

"Wonderful," Helen replied. She was looking forward to seeing the area Karl had selected. However, she was especially looking forward to spending this time with him.

They continued walking down the path and stepped out into the clearing at the end. They turned right and walked a short distance. "Here we are."

Helen gasped softly. "It's beautiful."

They were in a clear area with a stream with big rocks for sitting on along it's banks. Flowers grew all around and trees provided shade. "Why don't we sit by the stream to eat," Karl suggested. He thought the view would be lovely and they could set their lunch on one of the rocks.

"That sounds perfect." Helen started in that direction.
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Off to see the Wizard (Richard, Tom)

"I hope I am too." Richard had a feeling he was but of course he couldn't know for sure. They continued walking. Richard looked at the ground in front of them and the area on either side of the path. So far there were no signs anyone had been this way recently. He had seen footprints near the shore but the ground changed near the jungle and he didn't think they would show up there. "I saw tracks near where we tied up the boat," he said. "I haven't seen any since though. That could be on account of the ground." He paused.
Nodding again, Tom hoped they picked up a trail soon.
"Or it's possible they didn't come this way."
Tom looked at Richard. "Then we might be going the wrong way."
Richard shook his head. "I don't think so," he said. He knew there was always the possibility that was the case but he didn't think it was likely. "The camp is the most logical place for them to have taken Ben." There were other places they could have gone but they were low on his list of options if the survivors were involved in this. "There are other ways they could have gone besides this." He looked at Tom. "It makes sense to at least check the camp to rule it out."
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The Food of Love (Karl, Helen)

Karl smiled as he walked towards the garden area. He adjusted the pack he was carrying to make sure the boxes containing their lunch didn't spill. He had left a note in his mother's room inviting her to a picnic lunch and asked her to meet him in the garden. They would go from there to where they would eat.
He hoped she would like the meal he and Locke had prepared and he felt very proud he had been able to do it. He reached the garden and went to one of the benches and sat down. He took the pack off his back and sat back to wait for Helen.
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Search and Rescue (Tom>Richard)

"Honestly, I really doubt they would torture him or even really rough him up." He knew Kelvin and Sayid were perfectly capable of doing it. He also knew that Kelvin had changed and he would avoid something like that if at all possible. (He didn't know about the other people but he thought Kelvin could influence them.) He smiled softly and continued rowing.

Tom frowned. "You don't really believe that." He didn't like Richard pacifying him and didn't know why he was.

Richard looked at Tom. "I do honestly believe that," he said. He had hoped he would take him at his word but he wasn't that surprised that he hadn't.

Tom thought about what Richard said and decided he was probably telling the truth. "Okay."

"I can't say anything about the new people but I know Kelvin and Sayid." He paused for a moment. "Kelvin wouldn't allow something like that to happen if he had any say in things." He also doubted it would be Sayid's first choice of action.

"I hope not," Tom replied.

"Yeah," Richard agreed. "I hope not as well." He continued to row. "As I said, I don''t think that's likely." He obviously couldn't know with complete certainty but he felt safe in his belief. "At any rate, worrying about it won't do anybody any good."

Tom knew that was true. Of course, it was easier said than done.

He thought about what was ahead of them. "When we get ashore we should start thinking of a plan of action for when we reach the camp." He knew there were a lot of variables they couldn't control there. It would be best if they had a good handle on the ones they could.

"Why wait?" Tom asked. "We should talk about it now."

Richard thought about that. There really wasn't any reason they couldn't discuss it right then. He had just thought they would know more about the situation when they were near the camp. "That's fine," he said. There were still things they could discuss right then.

"Okay," Tom replied.

"I had been thinking we would wait until we were near the camp so we would have a better handle on the situation," he explained. "We don't have to do that though." He smiled. "It actually probably would be good if we started thinking about it right away."

"So, what do you think would be the best plan of action?" Tom pushed.

On The Road (Richard, Tom)

"I'll also need a weapon." He knew Tom had a gun already. "Do you have any others around here?" If he didn't he could always go to his house and get one. It would save time if he didn't have to do that though.
Tom had started to search for the matches, but turned when Richard said he needed a gun. He wasn't completely sure he wanted Richard to carry, but decided it might come in handy for both of them to be armed. "I have another one you can use." He found the matches and then went to get a second gun, placing it on the table in front of Richard.
Richard picked up the gun and looked it over. He checked to be sure it was loaded and tucked it into his belt. "Thanks," he said. He was glad Tom had trusted him enough to give him a gun. (He wouldn't put it past him to give him an unloaded one though. That was partly why he had checked it.)
He looked at the bags of supplies on the table. "Where do you keep the first aid supplies?" he asked.
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An Unexpected Journey (Tom>Richard)

"Thanks for doing this," Richard said.

"Yeah, sure," Tom said with a shrug.

"And for trusting me." He felt that was a big thing and he knew Tom didn't have to do it. He sat down at the table.

Tom glanced at Richard. He wasn't so sure he trusted him, but he was willing to give him a chance.

"Is there anything else you want me to do?" he asked. He preferred to be told in circumstances like this rather than assuming or acting too familiar. (He felt like he was a guest rather than someone visiting a friend and he didn't want to overstep any bounds.)

"You could pour some juice," Tom replied. "There's some OJ in the fridge." The eggs were done and he brought them and the bacon to the table. He then went back to butter the toast. "Why are you doing this anyway?" he asked Richard. "Helping me find Ben.

Richard got the bottle of juice out of the refrigerator. He filled two small glasses. "It's the right thing to do," he answered Tom.

Placing the toast on the table, Tom looked at Richard. The right thing? Why would he ever do anything for Ben after everything he'd done to him?

"I may not agree with Ben or like what he does but I don't want to see him hurt either." He couldn't deny that Ben deserved some comeuppance for the things he had done but he knew that violence wasn't the answer and wronging him didn't solve anything.

Tom nodded and sat down at the table. He knew he needed to be careful that he didn't allow this conversation to go too far. "You better sit down and eat before your eggs get cold."
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