Lettie led them past a room where finely dressed men and women talked in groups, their voices blending into a blur of noise that ebbed and flowed with laughter and loud voices. Several people stopped to look at them, but Lettie ignored all of them, leading them to a door guarded by two men in black suits. “I’ve Professor Hyarzden and his daughter, Ayn,” Lettie said.
The men nodded and let them pass into a hallway that was as quiet as the room outside was loud. Bare white walls were lit from some unseen source.
Ayn shivered, suddenly chilled, and took her dad’s hand as if she were a little girl again.
He looked at her and gave her his “It’s going to be all right” smile and squeezed her hand.
Lettie raised her hand to a small box beside the first door they came to. A red light appeared beneath her hand, and the door slid open. “Professor Hyarzden, they’ll prep you here,” she said.
“My phone—” He held out his hand to Lettie.
“Of course.” She placed the phone on his outstretched palm. “You’ll just take a look at the little speech we’ve prepared, though.”
Ayn moved to follow her dad, but Lettie said, “You’ll come with me.”