T H E 1 0 0 YE AR MIRACLE 9
overrode everything. It zipped from scientist to scientist like static electricity, making them double-check cartons of equipment, bounce on their toes, and fiddle with zippers. Rachel was ner vous, too. She clenched and unclenched her fi ngers inside her coat pockets, both looking and trying not to look at John, who stayed next to Hooper, the two of them leaning close when they spoke. The ferry, which was rolling in the choppy sound waters, docked. Vehicles returning to the mainland were driven off, and the team hurried back to their cars. John, who had the build of someone who played rugby, bent to pick up his duffel. When he did, he reached his other hand out for the backpack sitting at Rachel’s feet. She was on it before he could wrap his fingers around the straps. “That’s mine,” she said, lifting the worn bag and shrugging it over a shoulder, well out of his reach. “I thought I might help.” “I don’t need help.” Too many seconds went by before she remembered. “Thank you.” “Never?” he asked. “Never what?” “You never need help?” Rachel directed her answer at his left ear. “Once. I electrocuted myself trying to rewire my bathroom light.” The last vehicles drove off the ferry, and a gull landed near their feet, attracted by an empty potato chip bag. “I can’t tell if you’re kidding,” John said. “I had to get an EKG.” John didn’t reply. Hooper called his name, and he peeled away from her without saying good-bye, which was fi ne, except that it was usually Dr. Bell who Hooper was calling for, and so she was left alone.
It was a two-hour ferry ride to Olloo’et Island. The seven-member team deployed workstations at both the water’s edge and at the offseason summer camp where they were lodging. They worked as
—-1 —0 —+1
1/19/16 2:38 PM