At that moment, there was a noise from below deck. Something mechanical had broken. “Charlie,” called the Captain. “Get down here. We need help.”
Charlie made a move toward the hatch, but Other Charlie stepped in his way.
“Now,” said Other Charlie.
Charlie shoved his double aside. “I don’t know what you are, but you’re not me. They need me.”
Other Charlie kept his hand on the original’s chest. “It was hard for me to make the choice, too.”
Charlie stopped his attempt to pass.
“Where are you, man?” the Captain was yelling.
“The gear in the hold,” Charlie asked Other Charlie. “It’s a machine, isn’t it? That’s why we’re out here?”
“It’s why you’re so far from anywhere,” Other Charlie confirmed. “Less chance of an accident.”
“What will happen?” Charlie said quietly.
“You’ll drift for thirteen days. Then you’ll make it home to do what you were always meant to do. The others will get airlifted off the island another three days after that.”
“Salamander” scraped the bottom close to the shore. Charlie knew escape on the ship was a lost cause.
“The life boat?” he said.
“Bring water,” Other Charlie suggested. Then he disappeared, having done what he came to do.