“Damn it, Karl, we have nothing.” Phil snapped. “The best we can do is give them guesses based on what we’ve pulled from minds who are too far removed from the chain of command to know anything useful.” The two men had been arguing for the better part of an hour and were no closer to agreement than they’d been when they started. Phil’s hair stood up in little spikes where he’d dragged his fingers through dozens of times. Karl’s horn rimmed glasses were slightly crooked on his face. Neither seemed to notice the additional disruption to their appearance. Weeks in the mine had done more damage to their normal comfortably neat appearances anyway.
“Phil, even you have to admit our guesses are pretty darn good. How many people have the logistical savvy to pull something like this off, much less the connections, the power and above all, the money?” Karl countered. “You said yourself we could make a strong argument for anyone on our short list.”
“Yeah, you’re right.” Phil admitted grudgingly “But I hate getting Sasha and Mariel involved over assumptions. I just wish we had something more concrete.”
“While we keep working on getting something solid, the information you pass to the girls would allow the Council to start looking into that short list. If we don’t give them something soon, they’re liable to do something stupid like sending in the cavalry to rescue us. If they do that, our cover’s blown. Then we can kiss any advantage we have good-bye.”
“Damned if we do and damned if we don’t” Phil winced at the throbbing pain in his right temple which worsened with Karl’s words.
“It’s really to our advantage to involve the Council. They have resources we can’t access right now without giving ourselves away. If they factor in who has the most to gain from delaying or stopping the Transition, they’ll narrow our list down to one or two.”
“OK, OK. I concede this one to you.”
“Besides, you‘re still treating the girls like innocent children. If I know Tess, she’s added a few lessons in life’s harsh realities to the training they’ve been getting the last few weeks. She probably has her hands full trying to keep them from jumping forward too quickly. After all, they are our kids!” He couldn’t help adding just a little bit smugly.
Paul laughed at the very accurate picture Karl painted of their two daughters though it made his head hurt more.
“Fine, I’ll give Sasha what we have when she comes back today. I see your point about getting the Council involved. Sebastian has probably worn a hole in that fancy rug in front of his desk, pacing out his impatience. You can’t blame me for wishing we had something more convincing by now.”
“If we waited until we had everything we thought we needed, it would be too late.” Karl offered gently. “And what seems like so little to us is a great deal more than they’ve figured out from their vantage point outside the energy block. Sebastian probably has his paws full trying to keep anyone else from taking matters into their own hands. He and the rest of the Council lost most of their credibility over this and are scrambling to hold onto positions they no longer deserve.”
Phil smiled at Karl’s summation of the situation. His friend had always been a perfect balance to his own, overly serious nature.
“True. A lot has changed in the last two days. Dumping that Adams character in here is just the beginning. They’re tying up loose ends and cutting their losses. The elevator going down to the lower levels has been working 24/7. That can only mean they’re getting ready to move.”
“Not to mention the shift in energy we’ve been feeling for the last few days. They’re no longer bothering to hide what they’re doing as if they think anyone who might have tried to stop them has already been silenced.” Karl reminded Phil. “If things continue the way they’ve been going, it won’t be long before we can contact the Council directly…” catching Phil’s thought that it would be better for the girls, he was quick to add “…though the risk of being detected would still be far too high. Using the girls is our best option. You know Tess and the others will take every precaution. If they even think the girls are in any danger, they’ll pull the plug and get them back to the compound, willing or no.”
Phil knew his worried frown had prompted Karl’s last words. It injected an image of an orange sign w...