Had they been set up for this? She tried to sort through the last few days, before this rush from one disaster to another. Had she seen a sign that this was coming?
There had been . . . an oddness with her immediate supervisor the last week. Hamilton had been nervous around her . She'd also found him going through her desk yesterday --
"Hamilton is in on it," she said, despite herself. She still didn't want to believe.
Theseus looked at her, eyes narrowed.
"If you don't trust what I'm saying, why are you dragging me along?"
"Good point. Why the sudden change?"
"If it is true that we're being called terrorists, then I think any protest on my part would be pretty stupid."
"We'll have the proof here soon," he said with a wave to the door. "If you trust what we provide."
"There's no good reason for you to do this just to drag me into your plans," she replied softly. "Besides, I knew bad things were happening at New Worlds for Humanity. I didn't know about the station. I had looked into some supplies that were supposedly heading to them and the trace came to a dead end. I thought the files were corrupted."
"You'll need to start making notes of everything you can think of like that." Theseus looked less troubled, though she couldn't guess why. The situation wasn't looking any better as far as she could tell. They hadn't mentioned it, but she wondered who else might have been killed in the explosion. Who else did Brown and his people want to get rid of?
"Why now?" she asked.
He nodded, understanding the question. "We believe someone in Earth Government has started looking into New Worlds. He didn't want their attention."
"You don't know?"
"Earth Government doesn't generally report to Inner Worlds Council Security," he said with a quick smile. "Word had gotten out, though, including to Brown. He needs to shut down and lose information -- and the people who could produce that information for him. Earth was his last refuge."
"Is this going to help him?"
"I don't know yet. Honestly, I'm not sure I care. Right now I'm more concerned with the two of us getting out of here. What happens afterwards . . . we'll see."
She found that reassuring. She wanted him focused on their escape.
The cook brought them information. She watched a vid that showed her and Theseus apparently planting explosives. The shock still made her ill.
In the next hour they were both transformed; her to someone slightly heavier with dark hair and eyes. When Theseus came back, she saw that no only did he look and move like an older woman, he even bore enough resembles to her to make the family relationship obvious.
"I never played dress-up as a child," she admitted.
"Now you get to see what you missed," Theseus replied. He looked less harried.
The cook held out a lovely set of jewelry: necklace, earrings, bracelet and rings. The gems looked real and she glanced up at him with a little trepidation.
"Each piece holds a blocker," Tom explained. "So even if you lose one or two, you'll be fine. You need only get on the jumper to Greece. By the time you're out of the port, you'll be out range. Stay in character until you can get clear of everyone. Then I suggest you head for the London port. We're going to plant information that makes it look as though you are heading to the Western Wildlands or maybe the China port."
"Thanks Tom," Theseus said with a hand on his arm.
"You know I'd do the best I could for you Theseus. You are one of my best customers."
"Which means you work on Earth often," Alicia said with a little frown.
"Too often," he mumbled. "And I don't like it."
Tom lead them along the hall away from the cafe. At the far wall he glanced back behind them, as though making certain there was no one around. Then he tapped at the wall in a couple spots and it slid aside, showing a far longer corridor.
"Go all the way to the end. You'll come out in the Museum District. Here are stubs showing where you've been; people save them for souvenirs. This chit will feed in touristy pictures and records of your trip. Just feed it into one of the comps first and then the other -- it won't copy exact pictures, so you should be safe. In two hours there will be a shuttle to the port. Don't go anywhere near the off-world section."
"Yeah, I can handle it," Theseus said. "Thanks."
"Drop the chit in the hall before you leave. Good luck."
He all but pushed them through the door and it closed behind them. Theseus looked back for a moment, his face showing worry.
"He's afraid they're going to be raided," he said. "He wanted to make certain we're safe. Damn. I hate leaving people to protect my back while I run."
He took out the comp and shoved the chit in, saying nothing as they walked. It was a long ways down the corridor, and they passed other doors. Theseus clearly wondered where they led, but he didn't stop until they reached a set of stairs leading up to the last door.
"Show time," he said and straightened his hair and hat.
"What if we're scanned. They'll know you aren't female."
He held up a ring of his own. "Got it covered. As long as we don't face anyone who knows us personally, we can pull this off."
He sounded assured. Alicia realized she had gone from scared to numb. Numb was better. Her heart hardly missed a beat as Theseus pushed the door open . . . and they stepped out into a world filled with yells and the sound of anger.
"Something wrong," he said softly.
She wasn't surprised.
To Be Continued
To Be Continued
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