The captain appeared surprised. "What do you mean? Neither of you are coming."
We stood there staring at him. I didn't get what he meant. And neither did Daddy or Ephesus.
The captain elaborated, "Unless one of you is Philadelphia Smyrna."
I froze. I didn't know anything scientific. I hadn't done anything illegal except copy a few Bibles. Surely I didn't deserve a team of soldiers coming to get me.
Daddy asked him, "You said there were two. Who is the other Christian you want?"
"I can't tell you that." This time we didn't know how to take that.
I went back into my room and quickly packed my things. As I was doing so Daddy came back and helped me. He knew exactly how much of everything to bring when suddenly detained. They had taken him a few times before.
"Daddy, why do they want me?" I was almost ready to cry with the shock of it all.
"I don't know, Phil. Whatever it is it must be important."
My bag was full and I turned to go out of the room. Father grabbed my arm and said quickly, "Don't tell them anything about anything. Evade their questions if that is what they are after."
I reached for my reader. Daddy squeezed my arm, "No, don't take that. We'll have to hope it's not for long, but it's too dangerous for you to take that. You might never get it back, and they find some sort of crime on it to make things worse." I had trouble imagining how things would be worse. I was being taken from my brother and daddy at once.
I hugged Daddy close, then went back out into our living room. Ephesus was closely engaged with the captain, "Come on man, you must know something of what's going on. Can't you tell us, off the record, what's happening?"
One of the soldiers answered him, "Nothing happens off the record."
Another added, "The United is waking up. Soon we will really rule the world."
Fear began to grow in our faces, and seeing that the captain kindly rolled his eyes. But that was anything but reassuring.
Before I could even say good-bye to Ephesus two of the soldiers grabbed me and pulled me out the door. The captain grabbed my bag and led the charge back out to the van. Just before we reached it the door popped up and they all jumped in. The captain gave me his arm to help me climb in, and then jumped in himself with my bag. The door sealed behind us.
I asked the captain again, "Who is this other Christian?"
A soldier answered, "Another troublesome one."
Probably Mr. Dass, I figured. I expected the van to turn speedily around, but instead the lights turned on and they gunned ahead. With the lurch I fell backwards onto the floor, but no one laughed. The captain helped me back up. "Sit against the back wall if you don't want that to happen again. And you can use your bag as a pad."
I think I thanked him. I sat back and just as I did the brakes screeched and I fell on my face. The captain spoke softly, so his men wouldn't hear, "Sorry about that. As soon this last one's in we'll stop with the starting and stopping business. The driver is a bit over board."