Sleeping in the Rocket armor wouldn’t be completely uncomfortable, but I didn’t want to do it. I clicked and the full Rocket suit sloughed off me, reforming into a block behind my legs, leaving me dressed in the current version of the stealth suit.
Overall, it was extremely convenient. I could sit on the block and did, leaning my back against the wall and looking out the rooms front window at the glowing lights and empty streets of the colony’s underground hideaway.
Cassie laughed. “Well, that’s nice. A built-in chair.”
I shrugged. “It should have been a built-in bed. Wake me up if I fall asleep.”
I don’t think I heard her reply, but she did wake me up. Everybody was there. By everybody, I mean Jadzen, Kals, Marcus, Tiki, Jaclyn, Katuk, Crawls-Through-Desert and people from the colony leadership including Iolan, but not Maru. I learned later that that was at his own suggestion because he might have more buried instructions to follow if he overheard us.
The room didn’t have a big enough table for everyone, so some people stood.
Once I passed on the video, Jaclyn asked Jadzen, “Let’s get this out of the way. Are you and the Council going to turn yourselves in?”
One of the council members laughed. I didn’t see who. Jadzen shook her head.
“I don’t know Agent 957, but all I’ve ever heard about him is that he’s an honorable agent as long as his orders allow him to be. If his orders don’t require him to lie, we can trust him, but we don’t have any way to know what his orders are. So we can’t trust him.”
Crawls-Through-Desert floated near the table, fronds moving as it talked. “As we discussed earlier, the Human Ascendancy’s patience will end and when it does, they’ll aim their battleship’s main guns at the tunnels and destroy them. It’s not enough to hide. We’ll all be destroyed if we try that. No, what you have to do is destroy the battleship or its main gun. Your ship appears to be more powerful than most ships of its size. Do you think you can do it?”
The plant angled its leaves so that they pointed at me.
I thought about it. “I think so. My grandfather tinkered with it for years–so it’s powerful, but also stranger than average. It’s not so powerful though that we’d be able to challenge the battleship to a direct fight and expect our ship to stand up to something with that many guns, much less if it manages to bring its main gun to bear on us. We’ll survive direct fights with multiple fighters, but if we have to take on a battleship, we’ll need to be sneaky.”
The plant’s fronds rustled. “Then that’s what you have to do. Destroying the battleship turns it from being a question of how long they’re willing to wait before destroying us to a question who can survive on this planet longest. I’m betting that’s you guys, especially when you start aiming the local megafauna at them.”
Marcus laughed. “That would be hilarious. I don’t know how we’d do that, but yeah, I’m sure they didn’t come prepared to stay.”
Iolan took in a breath. “It worries me that we might then find ourselves fighting them on the ground. We don’t have an army even if some of us are experienced at fighting.”
“True,” I said, “but I think you’ll still have a better chance against them on the ground when you know the planet and they don’t.”
Iolan frowned, but then nodded. “If we can keep them outside the force fields for any length of time, they’ll lose most of their force to the wildlife.”
Jadzen looked around at the group. “It sounds as if that’s settled. What do we need to do to do it?” She looked over at me. “What do you need from us to succeed?”
I imagined how I’d do an attack. “We’ll probably need a distraction. If they think they’re dealing with something completely different, they’ll have their attention on that. In an ideal world, we’d get control of your mines again and redeploy them against the battleship, but that’s not the only way to do it. Plus, when it comes down to it, they’ll probably start looking for an attack if the distraction leaves them time to think.”
After a moment, I said, “You know what? I think I’ll just take our ship up there now. I think I’ve got a way to do this that could work.”