They had both sat down by the time the port guards were heading up the lift -- they could hear the distant buzz of power as it neared.
Theseus patted her leg and smiled. "We're done now. Answer everything they ask, even about where we've been. My friends will have moved on by now, so don't worry about it. This may take a while to work out, but we'll be safer with the Port Guard than we have been on our own, and probably safer than if we'd been taken in by the locals."
"I suppose so," she said and tried to calm the frantic beating of her heart.
"Help will be on the way." He patted the door at his back. "They were slow to come up here. The message has gone out."
That should have given her some hope since it apparently did so for Theseus. She didn't know these people, though. How could she trust them when the ones she had known -- the people at New Worlds for Humanity -- had betrayed her on every level?
Trust Theseus? No, not particularly.
This had changed her and her world. She felt as though she had to be a different person between going to work -- was it yesterday morning? -- and by the time the lift opened and the armored troops rushed out towards them. The sight startled her at first, but then she realized they expected explosives.
"You'll want to see this," Theseus said. He pushed something golden out across the floor. Everyone froze, but a moment later a voice muffled in the armor spoke.
"No explosives. Our guy is just sleeping something off."
"We are not the terrorists," Theseus said. "But we are dealing with something from off world."
One of the people came and signaled Alicia to her feet. She stood and gave a nervous glance back to Theseus, but he stayed seated and only gave her one parting nod.
The guard said nothing at all. They went down several levels, but she was surrounded by guards and could see nothing. They didn't have hold of her and they hadn't secured her, but there was no way she could get past them, so it hardly mattered. One wrong move, she thought. One move and they'll just shoot me.
How many had died out there? These people were not going to simply take Theseus at his word, so they still believed that she was someone who had wantonly set bombs off in the city and killed anyone who just happened to be in the area. The thought made her ill.
She sat in a cell for a long, long time. No windows. No way to tell time. There was a fountain and a somewhat private bathroom. One cot up against the wall.
She sat on the edge and stared at her hands. No one had asked her anything so far. She hoped that meant they were learning the truth about Theseus and he would simply clear her in this matter. Then she would not have to clear herself.
Eventually a woman came in, sat a chair down in front of the cot and gave a nod. "I am recording, both your words and your physical responses to what I ask. Do you understand?"
"Yes," she said and swallowed. Her heart had begun to pound harder.
"Why did you set those bombs?"
She stared, shocked by the question. "You can't believe -- we didn't do it! Theseus thinks Brown is behind it all -- I think he might be right, but it wasn't us."
"What access do you have to weapons?"
"I don't know," she said, confused this time. "I've never tried to get weapons. I suppose whatever access people have to them."
A pause. The woman wore an ear piece and was clearly getting information from elsewhere.
"Tell me about your job at New Worlds for Humanity and what happened there today and afterwards."
She'd been going over that part in her mind, but even so it didn't come clearly now that she had to tell the story. The woman asked several questions that clarified what Alicia said, and so they worked through the entire sequence of events. And then again, but with a much shorter range of questions.
The woman finally nodded and stood. She went to the door and it opened.
And she unexpectedly looked back and offered a little smile. "This shouldn't take much longer."
Those were the first words of hope she'd heard. As the door closed she felt the drain of everything that had happened, and finally just laid down on the cot and stared at the ceiling until she slept.
How long? She didn't know. She woke, used the bathroom, drank some water and sat on the cot again. Waited, waited. For all she knew, the others had simply forgotten her.
Stupid thing to think, but the idea lingered in the back of her brain and brought her up from sleep with a cry of despair that seemed to echo in her brain.
All she could do was wait. They brought her food finally. The guard carried in a little table and put the platter on it, saying nothing. She nodded her thanks. The person left again.
She nibbled at the food with no appetite. The coffee was bitter. She poured it out and brought back water instead, ate a little more of the eggs and bacon and wondered if it really was morning or not.
Wondered where Theseus was now, and his precious Inner Worlds Council. Anger slipped in around the despair and she let it have full reign for a while. Too tiring, though, the hold that rage.
What the hell was going on out there?
To Be Continued
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