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!"
Nic leaped out of his seat and pressed his face against the bars, to see who it was that spoke. There was one on each side of the door frame.
John and Dowe. How ridiculous.
Before Nic could question them, they answered, "We told you we don't spend much time around our cell."
Nic didn't care to think about what they had told him. Every time he spoke with these two old men he felt dumber himself. "What do you want with me? Answer that straight and then get out of here! My deal could be jeopardized if two fools over heard the offer."
John and Dowe looked each other, and Dowe answered, "Well, if it comes to that, we will use that tactic if we must. But we'd rather seek a better solution."
Nic was tired of the absurd happenings of the day. He asked, "Let us take this scientifically. Tell me the problem, and then we can work on a solution if I want."
John replied, "Simple. Don't give them Red Rain or Sable Snow or Yellow River or whatever it is called. That would mess over the whole thing."
Nic snapped, "You are talking about solutions again. I refuse to continue this conversation until you define the problem."
Dowe answered, "Ambrose represents one camp in the United government, though they imagine themselves to be the only ones in charge. There is another party, another side to the story. Ambrose's people want a weapon of unstoppable power so that they can shut the mouths of those who would prefer a more tolerant policy. The tolerant ones want a government that let's religious people live like any other, where criticism of the government is accepted through proper channels, where scientific theory can flourish even if it threatens the status quo. They want progress. Ambrose's people want to stagnate the planet where it is now, and hold everything under their grasp."
John took over while his buddy breathed, "They are, obviously, the face of the United that everyone sees. But for decades the United military, the government, the civil service, the censors themselves, they have all been infiltrated by persons of more reasonable minds. Now Ambrose's commanders want a weapon to silence them all. They would not fear to annihilate life on earth if they figured they could not hold onto their power over all mankind."