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The inside of the religious center looked much like a church. It was more obvious than ever that these people came from our world at some point in the last fifty to sixty years but because of the way time works here, have lived many many generations. This church looked like so many I’d seen in movies and TV shows, with its two rows of benches and nice carpeting covering the aisle down the middle to an altar-looking thing. It was much nicer than any church I’d ever been in, even though it seemed so much older. The churches I grew up visiting were often store fronts or old movie theaters, not the reverent structures so many rich folks had access to. But whatever, my life taught me that if there was a God, he wasn’t too interested in helping people of color and that’s certainly what it’s taught me since this whole thing wrapped up.
But inside the religious center did make sense for them to use as a hiding place. From what Wing could tell us, they were supposed to end up in the civic center but that the old timers gravitated toward the place of worshiping God.
“I mean, I’d go with the more reinforced structure of the civic center,” KJ said, adding, “but maybe they’ll listen to actual reason and let move them there next once that Maelstrom out there starts to close in.”
“We can only hope,” I said. Though, honestly, I found something admirable about them reaching out to God. I mean, I have no idea why I found that admirable, maybe there is a part of me that still respects all that religious stuff our parents tried to force down our throats or maybe the nihilist in me respected their recognition that there was no one else to turn to for help at this point.
“But I don’t get it–why didn’t these idiots evacuate to our side?” Dot wondered aloud, and then wincing as Wing, having overheard her words, replied: “It’s a surprise–they didn’t want to force their way into your world like the others.”
“Oh, hey, sorry, Wing, I didn’t mean they’re all idiots,” Dot said.
“Well, some said they didn’t want to invade, while others said that this was their homeland and they always said they would die here so they will even though it is beyond their time.”
“Well, we’re going to try to save them, even the idiots,” Dot said. “Come on, Kate, let’s find what you’re looking for.”
“Wing, where is the place no one is allowed to go?” Kate asked with an urgency in her voice that I was not used to hearing.
“Um, maybe the high priest’s quarters?”
“That’s a good place to start,” I said, as the doors we’d entered through opened again, allowing soldiers to come in. My trigger word was on the tip of my tongue when Wing slung his rifle over his back, moved toward the soldiers, while holding his hand toward me. “No changing!”
It was only then when I noticed that these Conva weren’t even holding weapons, but equipment instead–gear that would have looked at home back on Julio’s shelves. Wing exchanged words with them in Conva and then turned back to us. “They are bringing field generators from the Civic Center to reinforce this building, you and your friends, go find the secret place and please find a way for us to leave!”
“You heard the Conva, Kate, Dot, KJ, you guys get going and I’ll catch up in a bit,” I said.
“What are you going to do?” Kate asked. I smiled, ignored her, and started to walk toward Wing and his fellow soldiers. “He Wing, can you and your buddies use a hand?”
Kate smiled, nodded, and took off toward the altar.
“Maybe. The generator components are too big for the door way,” Wing said. I smiled and said: “I gotchu.”
And then I said, “Memories.”
And felt the stretchy clothes Jim had made for me get just a little tighter, saw the floor move a little further away and the door way we’d come through get a little smaller. Oh and the soldiers looked worried and backed away from me at first but then stopped as Wing spoke to them.
“If you can just make the door way a little bigger!” Wing called up to me.
Minutes later, they had all of their equipment inside and were repairing the bigger door way I’d made with something very similar wood. Within what I guessed was about twenty minutes, they’d set up the field generators which began to reinforce the structure of the church.
Once I saw that, I moved after Kate and the others. I found the high priest’s office and then a door that said “DO NOT ENTER” in English and probably the same thing in Conva right below it. The lock had already been blown apart so I just passed through and moved down a stair case where I found a blown apart door.
Eventually, I found my way into a pretty big lab.