Its hours since the nerve gas has been recovered, the culprit locked away.
It's slightly fewer hours since Vesuvius itself (or an impressively accurate recreation) erupted in Kevin's living room, hilarious and horrifying all at once. Kevin will never forget Sam's wide, guilty eyes when Kevin walked into the room and saw the carnage that had previously been his son's history project.
Now it's late, and it's quiet—just him and Sam and a bedtime story—and after this Kevin will go back to his lab beneath the arcade. He has work to do. He's right on the edge of something amazing.
But for now he tells Sam about the Grid. It's his son's favorite bedtime story, all the more powerful because it's real. One of these days Sam is liable to grow up and stop believing his dad's radical tales, but Kevin is ready for that. Sam will believe again when he sees the Grid with his own eyes.
Kevin wants to share all of it with Sam; his son is the reason any of this matters.
Tonight he tells Sam about his miracle. Kevin’s never told him that part before.
He doesn't explain about the ISO's. Too complicated an abstract for a seven-year-old, even one as brilliant as Sam Flynn, and anyway Kevin’s going to show him instead. Soon. He'll take Sam and Lee to the Grid, and he’ll show them both everything Kevin has discovered.
But he tells Sam something extraordinary has happened. He tells him it's a miracle. Sam is all questions and wide eyes, and there's so much faith in his face that Kevin's chest aches just looking at him.
He promises they'll go to the arcade tomorrow, tossing Sam a quarter as Kevin moves for the door.
"Can we play doubles?" Sam asks, expression open and excited. "On the same team?"
"We're always on the same team."
Then he steps through the door, into the untroubled night beyond. His bike is parked on the curb outside, and Kevin secures his helmet, guns the engine.
Something's going to happen tonight. Something big. Kevin can feel it.