That's right folks... I started this next section and it came out badly. My style wasn't matching what I had written in the past, since unifying these perspectives is tricky. Maybe someday the old version (what little exists) will come to light. Who can tell...
He held his precious sister close.
As the held each other more tightly Nic felt the microchip in his pocket pressing into his chest. And he remembered the other plan.
Time escaped all their minds during the long-awaited unification. Chronology was gone, too, and awareness of one's surroundings. Nic and Cea never knew how long they held eachother, and neither did the Smyrna family, nor did any of them care.
All Nic knew was that when he woke up, it was dark. This offended his mind, since when he went to bed, it was dark, and he could tell by his sleep cycles that he had slept the regular amount of time. And then he realized he was twenty feet below ground level in a room surrounded by people who would undoubtedly start their day by making orations to apparition of their minds. How very sad.
Nic couldn't really see much down there anyway. At least he wouldn't have to watch the spectacle. He proceeded to explore the room.
Junk in that corner. Junk in that corner. A body in that corner surrounded by junk. Ashes in that corner. Then he found the little pit for fire. A pile of kindling near it, just barely determinable by the tiny light the embers emitted.
Nic had learned how to make a fire in one of his pre-history classes back in his fifth year of college. They had run out of general education classes for him, so they stuck him in that one. He never thought his knowledge of Neanderthals would be useful.
Nic began his business with fascination. Fire itself was a novelty to him, unless it was at the end of a butane burner or in small amounts on test substances. He smelled smoke. He knew more about its chemical composition than he did about its smell, or the fact that it stung one's eyes. He learned that quickly.
He proceeded to tear tiny strips of paper off of the first book in his hands from the kindling pile. He watched with fascination as the tiny strips would be illumined in the red light of the hot remnants of combustion, twist and turn, turn black at the edges, and then become ashes in the wake of a tiny glow.
Nic leaned close and blew on the embers, watching with a fascinated pride as it glowed more strongly while his breath was on it. It was like the Christian creation story. Stuff becomes alive when you blow on it.
He tore off strip after strip and watched as it burned. He took off a larger chunk of paper and put it on slowly. As he did a few words were revealed on the paper that flashed into his mind.
"the story of the King, who died for a people not his own."
The paper twisted away and burned to ashes. Nic hoped for his own survival sake he had not just burned some part of a Bible. Christians, he knew, did not believe in hatred, anger, or murder, but figured they might make an exception if the last of a Bible document was burned away. Especially if it was by the guy who lead the team that destroyed them in the first place. And most especially if that guy happened to be the only non-Christian in a darkened basement of a Christian underground. The dregs he was dragged through for his science.
For twenty more minutes Nic tried to make a fire. But no matter how much paper he put on at once without smothering the fire, it all just burned away.
Suddenly another face was awkwardly close to his, blowing on the fire, and then instantly a wrapped up tube of paper planted on the hottest ember. It gradually caught. The body in the shadows fed it smaller wads and tubes until finally what little wood was in the fire pot was caught.
Nic looked at Dr. Smyrna next to him, "So. Where did you learn how to build a fire?"
"In the camp. They didn't always give Unaccepted electricity in the winter."
"Did you burn your Bibles in there?" Nic asked, just to elicit a reaction.
"No. We burned yours."
"We don't have Bibles. We are scientists and humanists and other such apostates."
"Sure you do. They're called biology textbooks, history textbooks, government announcements, art commentaries."
"Those are academic texts."
Smyrna didn't even take a breath, "And so is the Bible."
"Yeah, but your Bible is a lot more."
"Not to you it's not. You go to your textbooks for wisdom, for instruction, for meaning, and all such things. Those and the movies are your Bibles."
Nic stared at the fire that still burned well. "So what's the difference if we both find satisfactory truth?"
"We both find satisfaction. Only one of us finds truth. Now tell me, who is more likely to have truth, the movie directors or the Truth Himself?"
"So long as you reserve the right to define your deity as the embodiment of truth, you will never lose this argument."
Smyrna smiled, "And if we define Him as anything else, He isn't God anymore, and you win this argument."