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There were hundreds of Anasazi cave dwellings in the Four Corners region. With the Captain's help, he'd plotted them on a map. He could flee with Miranda, hole up, outwait the fanatics streaming toward Los Alamos, and then run loose through the world with what was left of their time. It would mean betraying her father, to whom he'd promised to deliver Miranda, or trying to betray him. Nathan Lee took it for granted that Paul Abbot had his every move under the tightest surveillance. He was more of a prisoner than the prisoners in Miranda's basement. Even if he could escape Los Alamos, Miranda would never agree to leave with him. Her devotion to the city-her utter faith in it-baffled and frustrated him. She acted as if she'd been born here.

The notion gratified him. He despised what had been done to them. They and their sacrificed brothers had been used a thousand different ways by Los Alamos, from serving as lab subjects to titillating the city's mystical itch. Now they could be used one final time, as his surrogate for breaking free.

Nathan Lee was astonished. But you're their keeper, he protested.

Not him, Nathan Lee said, Ben.

They're prisoners. They have no choice.

Fine, grumbled Izzy. We'll pick one. But which one?

You've got your work cut out, said the Captain.

They're prisoners. They have no choice.

Well, all right then, Nathan Lee said, trying to believe his luck. So when is the right time?

Nathan Lee was surprised. Then you're not opposed to them going free?

And so, for now, Nathan Lee resigned himself. He did the next best thing to making his own escape. He devised the clones' escape.

Fine, grumbled Izzy. We'll pick one. But which one?

Not yet. And not me, said the Captain. But when the time's right, I'm all for you.

Fine, grumbled Izzy. We'll pick one. But which one?

Better me than most, said the Captain. Anyhow, I had this hunch someone like you might show up. And then it would need someone like me to be where I am, doing what I'm doing, who could nod his head yes.

Izzy balked. Why would any of them trust us? They're onto us now. In their shoes, I wouldn't trust us.

Nathan Lee went to Izzy, who thought it was a terrible idea. I told you, they know we're the enemy. Eesho's got them ready to kill us if we show our faces.

Fine, grumbled Izzy. We'll pick one. But which one?

Nathan Lee guessed that was one way to view the universe. You're going to let them go? he reiterated.

Nathan Lee was surprised. Then you're not opposed to them going free?

They're prisoners. They have no choice.

In the meantime, Nathan Lee wanted to prepare the clones for alien times. They knew how to quarry limestone, sow wheat, work leather, smith iron, and herd goats. But survival in the ruins of America was going to require different skills. One can of spoiled food could wipe them out with botulism. One wrong highway could land them in the Canadian winter. The cities might be dead, but they were still mechanically alive, and deadly. The clones needed a crash course in the twenty-first century.

Not yet. And not me, said the Captain. But when the time's right, I'm all for you.

Izzy balked. Why would any of them trust us? They're onto us now. In their shoes, I wouldn't trust us.

I'm thinking the boys should get turned loose, he announced to the Captain in the quiet of one afternoon. They were watching the yard over cameras. Over the weeks, the prisoners had slowly begun to trickle up from their cells and brave the sun again. Ben was the stalwart, first every morning, last at dusk, walking, feeding the fire, walking, walking, getting those muscles ready. Nathan Lee could see his mind at work. Ben had not missed a day. For weeks he'd had the place to himself. Now it was inhabited again. The burnt sacrifices of birds and squirrels resumed, though the season was getting cold and they'd largely hunted the place out.

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