Ambrose had crept right to the bars, and he whispered through the door, "You can give us Red Rain, Doctor Nic."
Doctor Nic did not move. He sat still while he listened to Ambrose's fingers slipping back and forth on the bars in nervousness. Nic answered, "The United already rules. You have no need of Red Rain."
Nic could hear Ambrose smile, "Ahh, but we do. There's a wing of anarchists growing, and we need something to intimidate them. Massive retaliation. Deterrence. If they knew that we could at will wipe out whole swaths of the planets their tender hearts would melt away in a minute."
"It appears that you have nothing to fear, and it is also obvious that I am nothing more than a puppet. I will not be hooked to your strings again."
Ambrose responded with a crueler grin, "Then you will wear our chains."
Nic was not in the least shaken by the threat, so Ambrose expounded, "You don't have to keep this nice cell. You don't have to get to spend your days out of the mines and the hydroponics. They put you up here so that we'd be sure you survived. A day in the mines will fix that."
One phrase jumped into Nic's mind, something he had only ever confessed to Cea before, "Death bothers me."
Nic turned so quickly Ambrose nearly lost his footing jumping back, and he drew his little pistol. He'd somehow kept the same one since his days in Street 17. Nic answered, "We will negotiate somewhere other than the North Atlantic... like maybe the Caribbean."
Ambrose wasn't as much of a pushover as his equilibrium appeared, "Nope. A deal will be done before I talk to anyone about getting you out of here."
Nic responded, "Then I will have to think about it. That's what scientists do, commander, we think. Apparently commanders just do as they are told." Nic smiled cruelly.
Ambrose was flustered, "See where thinking gets you? You're nine floors down in hell! You could be in heaven with a glass ceiling if you'd just do as you were offered!"
Nic wiped his face expressionless and responded, "A touch of religion there, Ambrose? Perhaps you belong in Street 17, or maybe in my cell?"
Ambrose sighted in his pistol. Nic continued, "Tell your United that I will not negotiate with a villain like you. If they want a deal, they should send someone of prowess with whom the commander of a research facility on Mars can speak with dignity."
Commander Ambrose made no response and turned away.
Nic turned back to his desk to stare, sweat dripping from his brow now that the pressure was off.
He heard a rush of wind outside his cell, and looked out the iron bars. A slip of paper was fluttering through the air.
Then suddenly a voice came from right next to his door frame.
"Don't do it, Q, don't do it!"