I turned as I reached the door to watch them rip the hood off of my fellow passengers.
Her mussed-up golden curls obscured her face, but there was no questioning that this was Cea.
I was completely confused. What did Cea and I have to do with anything?
I pushed through the door. It was one of those old manual ones. Then up a narrow stairwell, twisting, turning. I went up several stories of cold concrete stairs following the navy blue uniform of the guard in front of me. All the way I heard the clomping steps of the peace-keepers behind me.
I reached a landing where there was another manual door. As the guards caught up to me the front one barked, "Through it and to the left. Keep your head down."
I pushed through the door and passed to the left. It was a huge corridor. It reminded me too much of the infinite numbers of them on Mars.
Suddenly I heard behind me, "Stop. Door on your left."
This one was electronic, in the same way as those on Mars. I faced the door and waited for someone to let me in.
The captain came close on our heels and took out a programming disk like Dr. Nic's. He programmed the door and it opened. He took my hand and dragged me quickly inside. I was followed by five men carrying Cea, still tied. They set her down in the middle of the floor in our room.
The captain lay down a small dull knife next to her and said, "Philadelphia, as soon as the door is closed you can untie her. Then if you would, dispose of the knife through the garbage grate. I'm not supposed to let you do that, but I figure you will take my orders as a kindness and follow them."
Without waiting for a response he went out through the door. He took out his disk again and commanded it to close.
Instantly I was on my knees cutting away Cea's ropes. I did her ankles first, and she kicked me in the head.
"Ow, Cea, it's me! Phil!"
She relaxed instantly, and I sawed away her bonds on her wrists. Then I untied her blindfold and gag. She breathed normally, and got up on her knees. Wordlessly she hugged me, and we cried together.