The story so far:
The two held each other's gaze for almost a minute, then at once the light seared into Rosalinda's eyes and she was forced to look away. Then came a voice.
"Ros? Is that you?"
She could not remember the name or face of the speaker, but something in the way he addressed her brought much needed warmth to her body. It took her some time to respond, and when she did her voice was choked. Her throat still burned.
"Who--" She stopped herself. It would come to her. Instead, she asked. "How did we get here?"
"I tried Ros, I really did. They were everywhere. One of them sideswiped me and the next thing I knew they had hold of my gun and were pulling you by the arms and-- are you okay?
The question caught her off guard. Her challenges had been so immediate, her mind so disoriented, that she had not yet taken time to assess the state of her own body. She half expected to find herself shot or impaled, but to great relief she discovered her flesh intact.
"Fine, I think." she responded. "A little bruised, perhaps. These guys aren't exactly gentle."
"Yeah," said the voice. He paused. "I'm not really doing so good myself."
Rosalinda detected a hopelessness in his tone that gave her chills. She wanted to comfort him. Her mind reeled to a faint memory of a fireplace and a fleece blanket.
"Ros," said the voice. "We lost Pete."
For the first time, Rosalinda directed her attention to the body that lay beside her. Barely more than a boy, his blue eyes stared at her in desperation. The face was contorted now, and yet she could remember how it had looked when smiling.
"What's happening to us?" she begged.
"I'm not sure," said the voice, "but I think this is the Union."
"What is the Union?" she asked.
He paused. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"I'm fine," she insisted. "What is the Union?"
"You don't remember, do you?"
The question angered her. Of course she remembered. Sort of. She had a feeling of memory, even if the actual details wouldn't come. She remembered the crowd, and the screaming.
"Listen, Ros" -- and now he sounded urgent-- "Don't try to remember, and don't tell them anything you do remember, especially if you can't make any sense of it. And don't let on that you know me. You're in plainclothes. If you play your cards right they may think they've made a mistake."
Even as he whispered these things to her, she could hear footsteps coming from the other side of the door. He clearly heard them, too, and spoke more and more rapidly.
"Just tell them they've got the wrong girl, Ros. Tell them you were raised on the South side. Don't speak to them in English."
From the other side of the door she heard the turning of a latch and the man let out a small yelp. At once the eye was backing away from her. She could hear his screams and the thud of his kicking boots against the concrete and then silence. The light shone from under the door once again. She glanced at the body beside her and this time caught sight of something shining upon its chest. The silver shield was as familiar to her as the man's voice.