As the entire temple imploded under the crushing pressure of the goo net, a black Land Rover sped away. Aaron Littleton was at the wheel. Next to him sat Clementine Phillips. In the back was Ji-Yeon Kwon and Julian Carlson. There was a fifth passenger as well. In the Rover's expanded storage bank, hooked up to a portable power supply and cryo-cooling tank, was the coffin containing Christian Shephard. "Malachi said you knew an escape route, " Aaron said, "Where to now?" "Just keep driving straight at those shrubs just up ahead," Julian replied. As the Rover rapidly approached the wall of shrubs, Aaron began to grow a little concerned. "Uh, when do we turn?" he nervously asked. "Keep it steady, we're going right through them," Julian said. "Right through them?!!" Clementine yelled at Julian, "Look Evel Knievel, you kill yourself on your own time!" Julian just smiled as the Rover smashed through the shrubs and down into a tunnel. "Whoa, what is this?" Aaron asked. "This is our escape route," Julian replied, " an underground tunnel that will lead us to a road a half mile from the temple." In about two minutes, they emerged onto a paved country road. "Where now?" Aaron asked. "Head East. Go five miles. There is a private airstrip. We have a plane waiting for us," Julian said. "Where exactly are we going?" Ji-Yeon asked, as she began to sense something wasn't right. "We are going back to America. New Mexico to be precise," Julian answered. "And what is in New Mexico?" Aaron asked. "That is where my employer works. We're taking our "cargo" and those documents you stole, Ms. Phillips, to him," Julian answered. "Employer?" Aaron said, "I thought you worked for the Ordo de Angelos Custos?" Julian smiled, "That is what Malachi and his monks thought too. No, I work for the man who hired the mercenary army to bring down the temple." "But you helped kill some of those soldiers, yourself!" Ji-Yeon said. "Collateral damage," Julian said, "sacrifices that had to be made for the greater good." "And what greater good is that?" Aaron asked. "Why for the man I work for. He is a wonderful man. A great man, whose genius will save this world. Save all of us. A man you will soon meet. A man who will reveal to all of you, your destiny. Your renewed purpose in life." "Who is this man?" Aaron asked. "He goes by many names," Julian said, "But for now we will call him, Mr. X" "Mr X?" Clementine said, "You work for Mr. X?" "The very same person who freed you," Julian replied, "The very same person whom you double-crossed. Mr. X will especially be happy to see you again, Ms. Phillips." "Oh, I bet he will," Clementine said. Soon they approached the airstrip. In the center of the runway was a black Scramjet 3000. The Rover pulls up alongside and all the passengers get out. Down the ramp, out of the jet, stepped Eva Jarrah, with gun in hand. "Whats Sheena doing here?" asks Clementine. "Oh, she is going to help me escort all of you back," Julian says, as he pulls out a gun and points it at the group. "What is going on?" Aaron asks. "I told you, all will be explained by Mr. X, as soon as we arrive at his lab in New Mexico. Now help get the coffin loaded into the cargo bay of the jet. Mr. X is waiting and he doesn't like people to be late!" To be Continued: Next Chap. 18 "A Gathering in the Desert"

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