Anything that could make Cea act like this must be important. "What does that include?"
Cea smiled, "A weapon powerful enough to keep us from being assimilated
back into the monster, Phil. Stick with me and they won't be able to do
anything to us, as soon as I find a computer."
I didn't know how to respond to that. Weapons and power and monsters were problems outside of my experience.
"Why do you think they took us? Are they on to what you are doing?"
"No, if it was me, they'd have taken me, not you and me. But you are right, we need to figure out what they want us for."
"You think they found out about your copy of that old movie?"
Cea laughed. "If that's what it is, they are paranoid! Besides, Cami was there, too. They'd have nabbed her if that's what this was about."
I pondered the situation. "You think maybe they want to know something about Mars? We were both there..."
She cut me off. "That's it! Not Mars, Philli. Not what was on Mars. Who was on Mars?"
I didn't get it. "Lots of people. You, me, daddy, Ephesus, Dr. Sardis, Carnegie, Nic, tons of them."
"Yes, but how many did you know very well?"
"Only Daddy and Ephesus, and eventually you."
"And who did I know best?"
It fell into place. She said it for us both, "We're here because something is up with Nic. He's making trouble again, looking for his way out."
"And they've got my family."
Cea nodded. "That's why. We're hostages. Leverage in case they try something funny. The United is trying to get those three to do something for them. What would they need all three for?"
I swallowed. I did not like where this was going. "They need them for Red Rain."
Excitement was growing in Cea's face. "And what would they want Red Rain for?"
It was too much for me. I couldn't think straight, or answer her stream of questions. She answered for herself, "They want the power a weapon like that has. What will they do with it?"
I just let her answer it. "They either threaten to wipe out all their enemies, all the Unaccepted, Christians and unbelieving rebels with the most terrible weapon known to mankind, or they will actually do it."
I sat down with my head in my hands. I didn't want to cause trouble. I didn't want to get involved. Not with this.
Cea took my hands away from my face and made me look at her. "Philadelphia, how are they going to get Red Rain?"
I answered through trembling lips, "By making Daddy.... and Ephesus... and Nic..." She knew that I understood her question.
"Yes, and how are they going to make them do it? Your dad and Ephesus would never just fold and give them Red Rain if they asked nicely or even if their lives were on the line. Nic would never surrender his power. He'd die first. How will they make them do it?"
"B...b...by threatening them with... us."
Cea nodded slowly. I began to almost sob. Cea picked up my chin again. I was sitting back against a wall with my head between my knees, and she sat in front of me on her knees, holding my hands. "Now Philli, now you have to be brave." I let out a choked sob. "No Phil, none of that." She squeezed my hands hard. I felt nearly insane with the stress of it all. "Philadelphia Smyrna, it's time for you to be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened."
I finished for her, "And do not be dismayed."
"For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."