Philip was let out of the hospital the next day. Before he left, Dr. Randolph got a chance to talk to him without the company of Dr. Fitzsimons. He sat down on the bed as Philip was finishing up changing into his street clothes. "Listen...Philip," he started, "There is no medical reason for why you have gotten your eye sight back. In fact, the amount of scar tissue on your eyes would lead any doctor to believe that your vision coming back would be...well...impossible. You are a very lucky man."
"Luck has nothing to do with it."
"Realistically, it would be like your eyelids were permanently shut. And yet, well...-"
"Look, Doc, I know you're lookin' out for me and everything, and for that I thank you, but some things you just can't explain,"
"That's what I'm trying to get at... Just because you got your eyesight back doesn't mean you're obligated to go back to Afghanistan. I don't know what you've gone through-"
"Exactly! You have no idea what I've been through, and that is why you can't pretend to know what's right for me. I have to do this Doc, so just back off."
"Fair enough. But can I just say one more thing?"
"Make it quick."
Dr. Randolph thought about his next words very carefully, "Fitzsimons... he's not who he seems to be. He's a scientist, a user. Don't trust him, Philip-"
"That's enough. I gotta go. Thanks for everything, Doc. But your part in this tale is over."
"Don't do this Philip!" But Philip had already left the room and was making his way down the hospital and was unable to hear Dr. Randolph's last words of advice, "He can't be trusted..."
Philip walked out of the hospital, slipped on a pair of sunglasses, and took a breath of fresh air. There, waiting for him in his father's '73 Cadillac, was his ex-wife, Sarah. He got into the car, closed the door, and looked over at her with an infectious smile. She could not help but smile back. But that was not enough for Philip. He leaned over, grabbed her by the back of the head, and pulled her in for a kiss. He was radiant. A total change in personality.
"I've been such a fool," he said to her. Sarah put the car into drive and attempted to withhold her tears. Tears of joy. She was so overwhelmed with emotion. Finally, she had found the man she married, the man that she fell in love with at the Millennium Carnival. They drove the rest of the way home in silence. Sarah silently trying to cope with all her erupting emotion, and Philip just enjoying the sights he had missed so much. They pulled into the driveway of Philip's parents' house. Philip greeted both his Mother and Father with affectionate embraces. His mother was stunned, and his Father was awkwardly alarmed. This did not seem like the son they knew. He sat the three of them down in the living room and addressed them with a speech he had apparently been preparing since the hospital...
"You all have been so patient with me, and have done so well by me. And for that I thank you. You stood by me when I was at my weakest, and I intend to repay now that I am better. I know what you are thinking and, although it does not look like it...I really am better. My vision has returned completely. It is hard to explain...which...leads me to my next point. There is something I must do, as a sorted...payment, for this amazing gift."
"What is it, Philip?" asked his Mother.
"I must go back to Afghanistan. For what... I cannot say, but you have to trust me. Once I complete my mission, I will return," Philip paused and knelt down before Sarah, "And when I do, I promise...the rest of my life will be devoted to you. For I am eternally yours." Sarah was dumbfounded by all of this. So many thoughts and questions rattled her brain, and she was still fighting to hold back the surge of emotion quarreling within her. In a sweet release she nodded her head in agreement and kissed him again, while rogue tears streamed down her cheeks. She could not do this enough. Partly because of their renewed vows, and also due to the lurking imminence of Philip's departure. Mr. and Mrs. Dresden held each others' hands and admired their son's marital reunion.
Just then the doorbell rang. Philip ignored the bell and whispered softly into Sarah's ear, "One day I will tell you everything...I promise." Mr. Dresden answered the door. Upon opening it, the family found Dr. Fitzsimons, the Military Scientist, standing in his full military dress uniform. Before Philip rose from his knelt down position, Sarah took off his sunglasses, placed them on the table next to the couch, and said, "I'll be waiting for you," as she kissed his scar-covered eyes. With four words Dr. Fitzsimons concluded Philip's joyous reunion, saying,
"It's time to go."
Philip walked out of the house and got into the Humvee. "Shoot!" he jumped.
"What?" asked Fitzsimons.
"I forgot my sunglasses."
"It's okay, these are for you," Fitzsimons pulled a pair of military issued aviator sunglasses out of the glove compartment and handed them to Philip. He examined the specs and then put them on. Fitzsimons smiled, but underneath... his curiosity was clawing at him. How could this freak-show see after all the trauma to his face? The mad doctor wanted to lock him inside a laboratory and perform experiments on him until he got to the bottom of the mystery. Instead, he put on a phony face, and drove him to the local Air Force base. They fast-tracked it to a hangar where a C-5 Galaxy cargo-aircraft was being prepped for take-off. "All our equipment's waiting on board, and there is a team awaiting our command at Kabul. Congratulations Dresden..."
"Along with your re-activation into the army you have been promoted. Effective immediately, you are now... Colonel Dresden."
They walked up the bay door in the back. Philip buckled in as Fitzsimons went to tell the pilot that all personnel was on board. After a couple of minutes they were ready for takeoff. The plane cleared the runway with a smooth climb in altitude. In no time, they were well on their way to the other side of the world. Philip was now fully embarked on his journey back to where this all started. Half of him was frightened over what was to come. The other half was excited to get to the bottom of all the strange events that have been riddling his life of late.