In the night, Marshall heard the securities go by twice; they scuffled noisily and spoke in loud voices, but did not stop to examine anything. Marshall let his head lean back against the rough concrete wall of the dark utility room. He breathed a sigh of relief. Thank goodness the unconnected people were so feeble, so stupid. The securities’ own footprints had already covered their trail. This was a safe place to stay. They’ll be looking for the woman far from here. Still, Marshall needed to think of a place to go, to hide, to get away. Marshall felt that he had already cast his lot with this woman, this woman Rozina who had fallen from the overpass. He was sure about her now. She was not connected.
She moaned several times during the long night. At one point she seemed to cry or whimper in her sleep. But mostly she slept peacefully. Her face, which he tried to examine in the near darkness of their little storage room, was angular, with a very straight nose and prominent cheekbones. She breathed more deeply and softly as the night wore on. Her wild hair had been tucked underneath her head, and Marshall could discern two scars on the side of her forehead, above her temple. She seemed to be a beautiful woman. Or what was once a beautiful woman. Like himself, she appeared worn and weathered.
Marshall let himself fall asleep just before morning. When he awoke, he saw that the woman had already risen and was actually standing opposite him, leaning against the concrete wall. She must have been very quiet, because he usually heard even the slightest noise. It was one of the skills he had acquired, to sleep lightly. It was amazing that she had been able to get to her feet at all.
“Good morning,” she spoke softly. “I let you sleep, you must be tired.” She paused as if to gather her thoughts. “I hope you don’t mind that I say this, but you aren’t connected, are you?” She waited for him to respond.
He rose himself up to a sitting position and leaned back, rocking. Exhaling, he said softly, “No, I’m not”.
They looked at each other in silence.
Finally, she said, “Look, I need to tell you something. It’s about a mission I was given. A campaign that we will launch from inside the Grid. I have the program. It’s really quite simple. However, the Grid isn’t too happy about it as you have seen. They will come after me constantly from now on.”
“Yes,” he said
“So, I am warning you that you too will be killed, certainly tortured if they catch you. So …”
“I know that already. It’s OK. I’m with you.”
She looked at him intently for a long moment.
“You’re sure?” finally she said, looking directly at him.
“Yeah. Let’s get going. We should leave soon, but your leg needs to rest still. Question is where.”
“My cousins are in St. Paul. They are also unconnected. If we took an air-bus…. Yes, we will have to risk taking an air-bus…. Well, at least we could stay with them for a while until my leg heals. From South Bend the trip is only an hour plus the border crossings.”
Marshall was shaking his head.
She continued hurriedly: “Well, we definitely cannot take an air-foil. It will have to be a bus. And, yes, I know. I will need to walk at least until we reach the station….Which is three miles from here, is it not?”
“Yes. Three miles. “
After a long silence she said. “OK, I know. You’re probably right. They are probably waiting for us at the station. The securities will probably have a zip at every station. But we cannot stay here. We have no choice but to leave. Let’s prepare to leave.”