"Nic, unless we see something real, something that works, we will just end your game."
"Your threats are not intimidating," but
the paleness of his face and the twitching of his mustache gave away
that he was just hoping to out-game the representative.
"Oh Nic, you just don't understand the stakes involved, for yourself, and for others."
Nic tried to get the representative to give away his trump card. "My fellow scientists are less concerned with removal than I am. They're Unaccepted, remember, so as far as they concerned, to die is gain."
Dr. Smyrna and Ephesus raised an eyebrow in surprise. Nic knew the Bible better than they had figured.
"Yes, Nic, they're Unaccepted, which only plays for me. They value their families a lot."
Ephesus and Smyrna jumped. They already were guessing what was afoot. The representative went on, "At the same time that we got you your scientists, we took for ourselves some insurance. My branch of the United doesn't play games, Nic, we win wars. It pleases me to announce that Philadelphia Smyrna has been taken into special custody. If your scientists do not deliver on Red Rain very soon, I'll be forced to think of some fascinating futures for that bright little girl."
Nic laughed. His face went cold but flushed with life again. He stood taller and said, "Well I am glad you got these Unaccepted some motivation. It's been most difficult getting them to do anything of use around here." He relished in his immunity to the upgraded threats. Did the United really believe he could be controlled by threats against the girl that had ruined him the first time?
A second sound of laughter entered the room as the representative ceased trying to restrain himself. He spurted nearly incoherently, "And she has a roommate with your same last name, Nic," he trailed in maniacal laughter.
Nic froze. He went on, "Her name is Cea, and from my reports, she's in no small amount of pain already! And with what will happen to her if you don't deliver, that would make Philadelphia's future sound like living in a rose garden!"