Swamped Chapter 56 Page 2

You’re not dealing with this. You walk over to Razor.

“Is this really the time to go on with the meeting? We don’t know how widespread the attack is.”

“You only reported that it was in the menagerie. I assumed three officers, on top of the two already on site, would be able to put together a group capable of dealing with it. And if they couldn’t, they know enough to report back here. Why the sudden concern? Did you see any other signs of digging on the way here?”

“Actually, yeah. Well, not on the way here, but before I saw the machines, something seemed to be moving under the ground. But they didn’t seem able to get through the purple wood. Thing is, I had to clear some from under the menagerie because…”

It occurs to you that you have a lot more to report. Some of which you’d really rather not cover.

“…well, there was an incident in there. Probably should’ve mentioned this before, but we’ve got a couple of intruders too, and I made a hole in the process of stopping one. I don’t think they’re working together, though, and we’ve got both in custody.”

“You definitely should have mentioned that before,” Razor says, standing up suddenly.

“I would have if we didn’t have an emergency situation with the digging machines! It just slipped my mind for a moment. The intruders are already under control, more or less.”

“The ones you know about might be,” Razor says. “But who’s to say there aren’t more skulking about?”

“That’s what my worry is with the machines. You don’t seem so concerned about that.”

“I’ve had to fight a machine or two,” Razor says calmly. “I’d hardly call myself an expert, but they just aren’t that dangerous. They can only do what they’re designed to do, so once they’re in a situation where that doesn’t work, they fall easily. People, though. People are unpredictable. Especially people who you don’t even know about.”

He turns to the gathered officers.

“I’ve just been informed that two separate intruders have been found in the fortress. It’s clear we cannot let our guard down. We need an immediate full-scale search to find any associates or other troublemakers who may have slipped in. Including any other digging machines like the ones Crosswinds has reported.”

There’s a vaguely optimistic murmur from the crowd.

“That said – the meeting has not concluded. If I do not call your name and send you to form a search party, you are to remain here.”

He calls off about two dozen names. The rest are looking more than a little annoyed at being stuck here.

Most of them, you can’t help but notice, are on Razor’s list of suspects.

“Now then, Crosswinds,” Razor continues, sitting down again. “I believe I asked you to do something for me?”

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Okay I guess it’s handled?

Start going over the plan but keep it vauge, listen to see who asks what questions.

If there are spies here, they should be uneasy seeing that all of their group has been singled out.