“Now,” Elbarto said, turning to look across the wide expanse of flat ground, where Government House perched, a massive, sprawling building that had been the first habitation on the colony world. It had grown beyond that, exponentially, so it was the government offices, the center of learning, the center of healing and science and military activity. And in times of fear, it provided shelter for refugees, both in the multiple layers of building dug down deep into the butte, and even in the caves. “Let’s see what we can do to frustrate the too-obvious minders the Council has set over us, shall we?”
“Booby-traps and bombs and sleeping drugs in their food?” Edrian whispered, leaning closer and glancing toward Government House, as if he feared someone would come running from over six hundred meters away and slap them in restraints.
“Hardly. And not half as much fun. Although some nasty potions in their food to make them sick might be a good idea.” The elderly man chuckled. “Or at least a good start. No, our duty is to defend our colony and our people and most especially our home. It’s a given the Council has called your father and Eryk away to try to … hmm, shall we say … re-educate them? Try to plumb the recesses of their minds and determine their loyalty, if nothing else. And while they’re away, these babysitters set over us, to ostensibly help me act as governor --“
“You don’t need help, Grandfather. None of us need help.”
“Hmm, yes. We’ve done just fine without the Central Allied Worlds for generations, but anyone who tries to convince them of that gets re-educated. We’ll just let them think they’re helping us, and we don’t suspect anything. When they’ve relaxed and become even more oblivious and obvious than they already are, that’s when we strike.”
“And do what?”
“We’ll figure that out when the time comes. For now, though … you’re in charge of protecting the Nightskimmers.”
“What are you going to do?” Edrian asked, while his pulse tripled and he could barely restrain a howl of delight. He had known since infancy that restraint was a matter of survival when it came to the spies the Central Allied Worlds inflicted on them on a regular basis.