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Smith had to practically jog to keep up with the Kurdy's long legged strides. "You have to listen . . ."

"I don't gotta do anything," he snapped back.

"It's important!"

"It's always important," growled Kurdy but did not slow his pace. He was already thinking ahead to the mission, dismissing the smaller man without a second thought.

"Kurdy!" Smith began to fall behind as Kurdy picked up his pace, putting distance between them. How do I convince him?

The Voice gave him a word. A single word. A word that would stop Kurdy dead in his tracks.

A word that might also get Smith killed.

"Elizabeth," he said, quietly. But the name carried.

Kurdy stiffened instantly and his step faltered. He whipped around, a cloud of anger on his already dark features. Clenching his hands into fists, he marched back to the smaller man standing wretchedly in the middle of the corridor. His eyes burned with anger and pain and loss still too raw. "What?," he ground out.

"God says –"

Kurdy's hands shot out and caught Smith by the ragged lapels of his jacket, fairly lifting him off of his feet until he could barely touch the floor with his toes. "None of your BULL SHIT, Smith," he shouted into the man's face. "What about Elizabeth?"

"Where you're going. Tenlytown," he managed to rasp out. "It's where she's from. It's her home."

"Why's that important," demanded Kurdy in a cold, angry voice. "Or are you just looking to get your ass kicked for bringing up something you've got no business in?"

"They're not there. The raiders. That's what you were told, but it's wrong," Smith said quickly, knowing that this might be the only chance he'd get to appeal to Kurdy. "It's what they want you to believe. Because of how you feel. Because it's still . . . it's too soon. And being there . . . it might put you off guard. It's a trap."

Kurdy searched the man's hazel eyes, trying to find deceit or guile or cunning. There was none. Just a deep sadness and sympathy. Or was it pity? He released his hold on Smith and pushed him away. "No one's going to catch me off guard," he said darkly. "Least of all some sorry ass who thinks God's his copilot."

He turned on his heel and stalked away.

Leaning against a wall for support, Smith watched Kurdy's back until he turned a corner and disappeared from sight. They'd played out a few variations of this scene since Smith had arrived at the Mountain four weeks ago. It was almost becoming a routine.

It didn't really matter if Kurdy believed him or not, as long as he listened to the message.

Would ever come a time when Kurdy would trust him? Maybe even believe in him?

But on that point, the Voice was silent.

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July 2006

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