It was time to get back down to Luna and see what was going on. Mac, Mikki, and Alyssa were holed up with Autumn and her crew, with the assistance of Harpo, for a fortnight. Honestly, I was surprised someone hadn’t died; Mikki was never known for tolerance, and Mac can get on people’s nerves pretty easily (completely without meaning to).
Then they had to actually, you know. Plan. Plan a revolution. Taking Autumn’s ideas and applying some reality to them.
It wasn’t easy.
But they got it done!
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CHAPTER TWENTY EIGHT
“I think we have a plan.”
It had taken the best part of two weeks, far longer than anyone had anticipated. By now the three Federation representatives and the four would-be revolutionaries were heartily sick of the rooms at the Raffles; occasional walks only increased their paranoia instead of relieving any tensions.
They’d had security in the room and over the LunaNet, thanks to Mac and Harpo, but even with their implants and Q-Net connections they’d been largely on their own. This was intentional, to a degree. Kendra had explained she wanted them to evaluate the plans and possibilities this group presented without being swayed by the wishful thinking of others not present. They could also present a greater sense of independence, rather than waiting for consultations. Finally, it allowed Stone to hold back the continued survival of the various Artemis refugees; she thought it to be a good card to keep concealed. Just in case.
“You just want to get out of this hole,” accused Newling.
“I won’t disagree,” Stone answered. “But we’ve been back and forth. This is the one which gives you, no, us, the best chance of success and survival. It might not be much more than one match, but sometimes, one match is all you need.”
“You’re certain that you can get your leadership to go along with the plan?” asked Novak.
“I’ve told ye yes I don’t know how many times,” Stone growled. She’d never liked diplomats, for all their weasel words and qualifiers, and hadn’t found any reason to change her mind dealing with Novak.
“Whatever plan we go back and recommend, the Admiral will sign off on. If we went back and said we should leave you to hang, then we would. We won’t,” she hastened to add, seeing the alarm on the conspirator’s faces. “My point is, she trusts us completely.”
“And I’ve been keeping her in the loop, well, as much as I can, since we’ve been tapped into the Q Net it was easy enough to do, so I did, and while I know she’s not going to do anything remotely, she’s not like that, she’s going to wait until we get back because I know I didn’t get everything, the only one who could get everything we say would be Harpo but he hasn’t been listening in, there just isn’t the bandwidth going through the implants and besides it would have been totally unethical and sneaky which just isn’t my style.”
It was a testament to the time they had all spent in close proximity to Mac that not a one so much as batted an eyelid.
“Then the next step is getting us to Tycho Under,” said Newling.
“I’ve got all their travel documents, their indentures, and the ID’s worked out, they’re going to be registered to us, I mean to me, as term-limited servants hired for six lunars, and since I’m miss Rich Bitch nobody is going to care that I picked up some strays in Artemis City, they’ll probably guess that I’m sleeping with you all, which I’m totally not, but I wouldn’t care if they thought so, it’s all in the LunaNet so all we have to do is get to the port and board the de la Paz.”
“There isn’t much of a military presence in Tycho Under, but I still know a few people. I think that I’ll be able to make discrete contact with Minister Taylor,” said Mwangi.
“My contacts are all in Artemis, but that’s not a problem. I have the list of finks in the organization in Tycho Under, and even though it’s been a while since I did any wet-work I’ll bet I haven’t forgotten how.”
“That’s not the plan!” squeaked Mac. “I mean, I totally get how you might feel that way, but that isn’t what we agreed to!”
“McAllister is right. We have to stick to the plan, and that means we bring them into their own fink organization. Let them report on each other and wait for MinSec to come down on them. We keep that up long enough and we can have MinSec do all of our weeding and wet-work for us, because they’re never going to believe they themselves created the problems they’re going to find.”
“Then let’s get out of this dump. Mac, how long will it take DiPasquale to get clearances to lift off?”
“I don’t know, I can ask him, but it’s going to have to be old style, he doesn’t have an implant which is a little awkward for me, I hardly remember how to contact without one but I’ll manage, you have a particular time in mind?”
Stone checked. It was fourteen twelve.
“If he can get us away before dinner I’d prefer it. Alyssa, get us a suite of rooms in Tycho Under, someplace decent if you can but I’ll trade quality for security.”
“I’ll do what I can, Chief.”
“Then let’s be about it, people.”