In the dark, moonless, night Ben and Meira had stood against the cabin. He stooped to peer under, to count the legs and look for a way out. She stood calm, listening and thinking. Ben came upright. “Better they don’t find you.”
“Yes,” she agreed. “Can we climb on the roof?”
“Yes,” Ben grinned. “Let’s get me up. I can pull you up.”
She wondered how – he was so slight of build but . . .
She lay on her back listening. Ben lay prone, watching. “Are they the Kurds you’ve been teasing?”
“No. This is another bunch. They’re not Kurdish. They might be Iranian security of some sort. Police maybe.”
“Give them time then. They’ll take everything and everyone.”
Ben looked at her. “You need Peter.”
“Better if we have him, but more important he stays alive.”
“Let’s watch and wait. Maybe we’ll have both.”
“Better not. They will leave guards while they fetch trucks to move all our equipment and stores. We have to go now, while it’s still dark.”
Ben nodded, thought, then peered over and down. “Okay there’s only one guard to the left. It’s our best chance.”
She followed quickly after he slipped over the side and almost soundlessly broke the neck of the unfortunate soldier. It wasn’t good – on many levels it wasn’t good, but it was the only immediate solution. They made their way west, away from Atlantis, with meticulous stealth until they felt safe enough to run and then ran, and ran and ran and ran – covering two miles or more – then slowed to stop where the ground rose to a rocky outcrop that might provide shelter from the Sun when it arose. They slept.
Meira awoke before the dawn and moved out, away from the warm shelter of the stone, to the flat tundra where she could see the first light reach from sky to barren ground. She left her clothes and walked a hundred metres or so and squatted. Her heels pressing deep into the earth, she let her mind go blank and waited, not long; she didn’t have to wait long; she was with them almost immediately. There were minds all around her and an eternity of lives as far as ever she could see or feel as the sounds, the music, arose. They were singing. Everything was sung – The pitch, duration, volume, all contributed to the stories – to the experiences, to the wisdom that was hers to use.
As quickly as they came, they left. She didn’t have to stay long, not like before when she would drift gradually in, stay long in the pain and misery of history, then come up quickly to re-establish in the present. This was quicker, not more than five minutes in duration but very much more was conveyed. She stood, walked away, dressed and returned to Ben, dear Ben, who met her for the first time the Hotel Le Presidente Meridien in Sao Paulo. She didn’t know then that he was the son of Sir William Saint Thomas Houghton, her saviour in the Middle East, and agai
n in Sean Reap, when the Federation of Fossil Fuel Suppliers were out to kill her and Fiona. Thanks to Sir William, and subsequently to Ben, she survived and would, in time, be able to reward them. For now there was the immediate need to stay away from the Iranian guards – she needed much more time in Atlantis
She had connected with Peter who, as luck would have it, had slept long in the subterranean corridors while listening to the water moving all around him. He would remain there until she reached him again. She had to continue the work – this was not the time for foolish police work. This was the time for most important study.
With Ben she made her way back towards the base camp but stopped short to assess the situation. Ben left her side and skirted the area to the west. He returned to say he thought there were only a few guards as the main force had left with as much of their equipment as they could safely carry. He went again, to the east this time, to check from there and was back within minutes. “Not more than ten guards I’d say. I only counted seven but we should allow for more.”
“We need to go inside the large cabin.” Meira was thinking aloud. ‘If there’s a senior man he’ll be in there.”
“It’ll be obvious.”