“I’ve known Magnus for a long time. He trusts me to handle the details he doesn’t have time for,” Colette said, her voice catching as she talked.
I couldn’t help but suspect that even though she answered Kals’ questions, she was screaming inside.
Kals sighed, “What kind of things do you do? I need to know more details.”
After a pause that might only have been Colette gathering her thoughts, she replied, “I do projects for him. Sometimes this means running the Dominators for him. Sometimes it means acting as an ambassador to the Human Ascendancy. When Magnus was one of the leaders of the Cabal, I helped him run it and work with the other leaders. I also communicated with the Cabal’s original creators when Magnus needed information and sometimes their assistance.”
“Original creators,” I said. “Like, who? The Abominators?”
Colette didn’t say anything, staring at Kals.
With a look back at me, she told Colette, “Answer his question.”
Colette took a breath, seeming to take extra time before answering, “The Abominators didn’t create the Cabal. Other immortals organized them to be soldiers that served them. Magnus was once one of them, but the others have drifted away into their own interests and projects. The leadership of the Cabal was still loyal to them, so I sometimes had to get permission from the others for things he wanted to do.”
Haley and I looked at each other. While I couldn’t read minds, I saw her eyes widen. She had to be thinking what I was thinking—crap (or some variation on the same concept). We’d had no idea. Way back when we’d fought Grand Lake’s mayor, Daniel drilled into the guy’s mind and I watched a conversation with the mayor and a representative of the Cabal. The man had made a reference to other people in the Cabal’s leadership being slow to change. Now that I thought back to it, they could have meant other immortals.
I wasn’t sure how we’d missed that, but the mayor might not have known himself and when the Cabal came for us, they were going after us on their own. We never asked if there were immortals behind the immortal warriors even though the organization had to come into being somehow. It just hadn’t ever seemed important enough to ask about.
Haley looked over at Kals, “Ask her if the other immortals are involved in looking for the Artificers’ device.”
Colette tilted her head and frowned for a moment, “I don’t know. I know that he learned about the device from the others. I don’t know if they are helping him look for it. They kicked him out of the Cabal’s leadership, but there are still a few that are friendly to him.”
Haley spoke up the second she stopped, “Who are they? Where can we find them?”
Kals stared at Colette, “Answer her.”
Colette opened her mouth, “I… I don’t know. Magnus doesn’t tell me everything. These are his personal friends. I know one name—Urin. I don’t know where he lives.”
The name Urin rang a bell. That was the name of the person who’d written the Sumerian tablets that Cassie read to us, assuming that they were true. Urin had been immortal and sensed Artificers, much as I could.
Frowning, Haley said, “You told us that you talked to these people. You have to know more names and you had to meet them somewhere.”
“Explain that,” Kals said, grinning at Haley and then Colette.
The muscles in Colette’s face tensed, “I do know names and I have met with them, but I don’t know if any of them are still friendly to Magnus. Urin’s the only one and I’ve never met him.”
Haley looked over at Kals, “Tell her to list the names of every immortal she’s met and where she met them.”
Then she looked over at me, “You’ll remember them?”
I said, “Yes.”
The implant would anyway.
“You won’t know any of these names,” Colette told us. “They don’t use them with everybody.”
Then she started listing them in a near monotone. She was right. I didn’t recognize any of them.
When she was done, I told Haley, “I’ve got them.”
I did. They were stored with thousands of years of history and everything else the Xiniti had given me.
Haley narrowed her eyes and asked, “Where’s Martin Magnus? Even if that’s not his real name, you know who I mean. If it’s an alias, he used it for years.”
Kals grinned and glanced back at Haley, “I like your style. Colette answer the question.”
Colette’s eyes widened and she moaned, her body tensing.
“Oh, no,” Kals stepped forward toward Colette, “If you’re doing that, stop. Reverse the command. Don’t kill yourself.”
Then Colette fell forward, hitting the ground with a muffled cry followed by a scream that ended in a cough and rattle.
“Shit,” Haley said, “she’s dead.”
“Wow,” I looked back toward Mindstryke. He responded to my unspoken thought.
“She didn’t know it would happen. I reached into her brain to try to stop it, but she couldn’t control it. I think I know what happened though. Some of the Nine’s people have died in the same way. We haven’t figured out how to stop it.”
He shook his head and even though his mask covered his face, I could see him shake his head and hear him sigh. “The one bright side,” he added, “is that they don’t do it to everybody, just those with critical secrets. There’s no sign that Ana has any kind of trigger.”
“Yeah,” I looked down at Colette’s body where it lay, limbs splayed out too far to be comfortable. “I find it interesting that they didn’t have any protection at all against us finding out about the other immortals—just Magnus.”