John answered more reasonably, though still below Nic's standards, "Great. We will sneak you out somehow and then get you someplace where you can concoct that ultra-weapon for us sometime. How's that sound?"
Nic squinted in disgust, "A little to vague. Aside from that, there is one other catch. I will have to accomplish this mission by acting as a double-agent. As you know, Ambrose has been seeking me out as well, and the only way that I can get access to a full laboratory is if I join his side, only in appearance, mind you. I will appear to work for him, but once the research is done I will steal it and bring it to you by whatever method we can arrange."
Dowe looked suspicious, "Sounds complicated."
Nic was not glad for any discussion of his facade of loyalty, "Sounds like our only opportunity. What do you say?"
John answered, "Fine, do it however you like. You're the one doing the sciency stuff anyway. Just make sure the United doesn't end up in control of Yellow River or whatever it was they called that ultra-weapon..."
Nic pursed his lip, "Red Rain, you fools, Red Rain," though the middle part was only audible to himself.
Dowe responded, "See, I told you it had nothing to do with the geography of China!"
John replied to him, "Oh why don't you go turn something into rubber?"
Nic turned and walked away, his jumpsuit still somehow giving the impression of a lab coat. His golden brown hair had begun to get some growth in it in a shape other than the Q the barbers had given him. They'd probably nab him and redo the hair any minute.
Ambrose could not be found anywhere on the surface, so Nic returned to his cell. Not too much to his surprise, he found the retired commander awaiting him in the dark of one of the stair wells. "Hello, Doctor Q. Make any life-changing decisions lately?"
Nic despised the conceited tone in the commander's voice, but he was not in a position to mock him as when he had ruled his colony. "Yes. I will join you on a few conditions."
Ambrose answered smoothly, "I have been instructed as to what you may demand. Tell me what you want, and I have authority to make it a deal if it is within those terms."
Nic answered, "I will work in one of the North American labs, and I will work on my own. I do not want any of the Unionists involved. They can't think originally enough. Second, I will need full access to any information that survived the accident on my base."
Ambrose laughed aloud, "You mean the plot hatched by some Christian girl to undo 'the most prominent base in the galaxy?'" Ambrose thought this was so funny he finished it off with a punch to Nic's stomach. Nic fell back and glared at the commander, clenching the railing so hard his knuckles went white. Ambrose smiled down and added, "Sorry. You have no idea how badly I wanted to do that during our long conversations during which you pressured me into smuggling you Unaccepted scientists. Most embarrassing part of my career, really."
Nic snapped, "Except the part that all you ever amounted to was the commander of a no-name concentration camp for the most pacifist people on the planet, and couldn't even manage to keep them from transmitting Bibles to ever corner of the earth?"
Ambrose kicked the doctor up a stair or two, then grabbed for the non-existent collar of Nic's jumpsuit. Nic caught that arm and twisted it around. "About my conditions?"
Ambrose stood stock still, "Yes, about those."
"First, working in North America away from Unionists. Second, full access to any information about or from my base. Third, when it is all done, I want to be placed in command of a new research facility away from earth, self-sufficient, and to never be contacted by the United again."
Ambrose smiled sickeningly, "Why the last one? So you can plot to wipe out life on earth all over again?"
Nic twisted viciously the arm he still had a grip on; Ambrose fell over trying to keep it straight as Nic let go. "Once I am there and have my team, I won't need to have any capacity for space travel. That should prevent me from being any threat to you. I just want to go and forget you and your petty disputes."
Ambrose muttered, "Sure, sounds fine."
Nic added, "There is one more matter of concern."
Ambrose barked, "What?"
Nic smiled sickeningly, "My hair. I want a good barber to take care of it and my moustache."
Ambrose rolled his eyes in the dark, "Sure, whatever you say. We'll be out of here as soon as I can manage."
Nic raised his eyebrow and combed finger combed his confused locks in concern, "We?"
Ambrose turned and smiled cruelly, "Don't think you can get away from all the Unionists. We aren't as 'fluffy' as some seem to believe."