Davis is awoken by Blister in the Raven’s Tongue just before sun rise.
“Hey you gotta get up, I just heard from one of our sub-cluster scouts; they’ve seen your brother”
Davis springs out of bed nearly tangling in his blanket.
“They saw Nox?”
He puts his boots on.
He dons his coat.
Blister and Davis walk side by side with a ferocious, silent pace to the map room in the heart of their base.
“Right here, ten K north of us…” Blister points.
“…They said he was headed West from here”
“West? You’re absolutely sure?”
“Yeah. I trust these guys man, they said West”
Davis studies the map intently.
“They can only be going to one place. Blister, they’re taking him to the advanced reprogramming station… I knew they would, sooner or later, but now I know for sure he’s going there”
Blister looks Davis’ face over; eager to see the reaction to what he’s about to ask. Blister knows this could spell danger for their Cluster if Davis decides rashly.
Davis appears distant though, contemplative, as he stares at the map
“What do you want to do man…” Blister asks, Davis doesn’t reply just yet
“…These past few weeks with Abishua, making the new Intelliguises for us, we’ve been able to grow tenfold, but it won’t be enough to take that station by force”
Davis has made up his mind and in a calm voice he looks Blister in the eyes to say:
“No one else is going, I’m doing this alone, quietly”
Blisters brow contracts and his eyes squint.
“But, we need you here”
“I can’t risk losing anyone else Blister, not this close to our final attack”
“Don’t you think I know that? That’s why I’m coming with you, we can’t risk losing YOU this close to our final attack either”
Blister reiterates Davis original point in the hopes he would see how stupid he was being about going alone.
“I have to get him man, I already failed him once by letting him get captured, and I can’t leave him there”
Blister’s tone changes to one filled with more empathy.
“Come on, you know there was nothing you could’ve done to change that. He made his choice, and he chose your life over his own. So you could continue with his campaign, so you would have something to live for”
Davis absorbs Blister’s sentence with blank contemplation on his face, he stored this wisdom and swiftly cast it aside in his mind, and instead, he readied himself mentally to infiltrate the reprogramming station.
Elix sluggishly walks into the main room, rubbing sleep from her eyes.
“Hey what’s going on? What are you two arguing about?”
Blister turns to her and opens his mouth ready to spill Davis’ foolhardy plan, but Davis places his hand on Blister’s shoulder and steps in between him and Elix.
“I’ve just got word of my brother’s location; I’m going to get him.”
“I’m going too!” She spouts, waking immediately at the shocking news.
Elix has never had a sibling but she knows loss and she knows that any chance at reclaiming what is lost, is a chance worth taking.
“No. Elix I can’t let you go. I need you here, with Blister, to carry out the attack on the emissions satellite if I don’t make it back.”
“Wait. Don’t make it back?”
Elix’s heart beat rises causing her next words to vibrate a sombre frequency.
“Why would you say something like that?! You have to make it back”
She looks to his eyes for Davis to look into hers and respond. Davis averts his gaze from Elix’s now tear coated eyes. Now that two of his friends are giving him the message that he’s wrong, he too is beginning to see their point.
“Davis, you won’t be able to get in there alone, you know it, I know you do” Blister states.
“Get in where? Where is your brother?” Elix asks.
Davis looks up from his feet at Elix.
“He’s in the biggest reprogramming station in this hemisphere”
Confidence and adrenaline replaces Elix’s sombreness.
“Okay now I’m definitely going”
“And there’s no way I’m letting you two go alone” Blister adds.
The two are now standing right in front of Davis; waiting for his answer.
“Fuck…” Davis says, followed by a sigh.
“…Fine, we leave tomorrow morning, before the sun comes up, in the meantime Elix, you’re on scavenging detail, I’ll need you to help Abishua build up as much stock as we can for more Intelliguises…”
Elix wipes her teary eyes and complies to Davis’ order with a nod.
“…Blister, you need to meet with Cluster E and G, see what they know, see if they’re ready to set our attack plan in motion. That means acquiring water transport, scuba gear, setting up decoys and distractions from decoys, and make sure you take their attack map with you, if you get caught make sure they find the map, it could be the only thing that saves this mission”
“Got it” Blister replies.
The two stay stationary before Davis; just looking at him, admiring his change in attitude, his ability to be a pragmatic leader when his team mates are offering sound advice.
“Well? You’re both up early, get to work”
Inside the Encephalon; a nonagonal room with a nonagonal table at its centre seats the nine leading members of the Encephalon. There are no windows on any of the walls leading up to a beaming nonagonal light no bigger than a metre in diameter. The room has only one door for access and egress. A larger chair placed farthest from the door seats a man of sienna complexion and brooding brow, the fiery woman to his left raises her voice at him:
“Nam-Bara! The Rejects seem to be converting more and more of our Assimilated. We need to do something NOW before they’re able to revolt”
“I agree…” Nam-Bara says.
“…Something must be done. Ereb, you are in charge of coordinating our Assimilated what solutions do you offer?”
Ereb confers with the three other members on his side of the table via their modified Intelliguises. Which, in the Encephalon’s case, don’t guise their intelligence at all.
This is the way the eye pieces where originally designed; for communicational purposes, learning, enhanced vision and even as a survival aid, an extension of the human brain, much like the smart phones of the early twenty first century, but whatever their original function; now, the leaders of the Assimilated use it to converse amongst themselves about how they will direct the Earth’s population next.
Amy Broca at the third chair to Nam-Bara’s left, speaks before Ereb and his right side have finished deliberating.
“We need to wipe them out, now! I suggest we bomb and sweep any sector suspected of harbouring Rejects”
Her fierce vine-leaf coloured eyes dart around the table, insinuating the weakness in her colleagues’ inability to swiftly act.
Ereb and his side talk for a second longer before he stands, and slams both his hands on the table, looming his towering mass to say:
“You fool! We need every able body alive, or have you forgotten our pledge?”
Amy turns her gaze from the confrontation she initiated. In her head the plan would work and they would still have enough time left to recuperate any lost lives.
Ereb continues his stare at Amy, and then he sits and turns to Nam-Bara.
“No, we mustn’t kill them. They’re massing an army, which means they’ll be attacking soon. If they are smart, and we know that they are, they’ll be targeting emissions arrays, Assimilation centres and Intelliguise manufacturing plants. What we need to do is set traps at these locations, as many as we can, to capture and Re-Assimilate these people so we can advance our sixth phase to its maximum efficiency”
The four to Nam-Bara’s right each put their right hand on the table, signalling their agreeance with Ereb’s plan. The four to his left are reluctant to accept this direction but one by one, starting with Nam-Bara’s immediate left they each place their left hand on the table; their signal of agreeance. Amy is the last of them to do so, even though she disagrees.
“Then it is settled…” Nam-Bara begins.
“…Ereb Fronta will coordinate the placement of all Assimilated necessary to trap the Rejects. Sens, you and Cere-Pons will aid Ereb in making the migrations as efficient as possible. Sens, you will also need to work with Amy and Tempora to gather as much Intel as you can about the Reject’s attack plans, we’ll need as much information as we can scavenge. Moe, Thala and Entar, you three need to surpass all previous statistics related to Assimilation; we need to be as efficient as possible for the final phase. As usual I expect all of your reports by sundown. Dismissed”
And with that word the eight in the smaller chairs left the nonagonal room to carry out what had just been discussed.
Amy’s fists where firmly clenched as she left but she managed to hide it from the others.