“Well, that confirms what Daniel told us,” Matthias said as Andrew finished relaying his tale. “Emms is building something to help him usurp me, and he intends to use it against Earth.” He scowled at the ceiling. “And how typical of him to make it a throne – suits his damned personality perfectly.”
“Why do you work with him at all?” Daniel asked from the corner. He was the only one of the other three there. Andrew guessed Karen and Lydia had gone to bed. “It’s obvious you know what he’s like. You should have stopped him.” Borderline hostility had crept back into his brother’s tone.
“Well, in theory, I was going to keep an eye on him.” Matthias pulled a face. “It seems that hasn’t gone exactly according to plan. But it’s also because he’s unfeasibly good at finding wild talents, and I thought I could use that to my advantage.”
“We need to take them off him soon,” Sonia added. “That place sounds like an uncomfortable mix of Cult and Terrorist Training Camp. I don’t even want to think about Astral Terrorists.”
Matthias just nodded his agreement and scowled. “And it seems that he’s been holding out on me. He’s found a lot more Wilds than he’s told me about and I had no idea about that place. How has he hidden it from everyone? This going to make taking them off him harder.”
“I can do it,” Lucas said confidently.
“I know you can,” Matthias agreed. “But the way he’s got that place set up he’ll notice pretty quickly and move to block you.”
“I’ll come up with something,” Lucas said. “I’m more worried about what else he might have snuck past you. It’s really not like you to let someone pull the wool over your eyes like this. Are you sure he’s not faking about not knowing who you really are?”
Matthias narrowed his eyes and shook his head. “No. If he knew who I really was or suspected that I wasn’t mostly commited to his worldview, he wouldn’t be risking contacting Drew.”
“I hope you’re right, Matt,” Sonia said and looked at Andrew. “Did he ask you to do anything?”
“Like spy you mean? No.” Andrew shook his head. “I got the impression that he was sounding me out more than anything.”
“Yes,” Kimi said. “I think he’s concerned that Andrew may be too idealistic to go along with his plans.”
“Most people wouldn’t go along with his plans without coercion,” Andrew said hotly. “He really doesn’t care how many people he kills to fulfil his vision. I think he knows I don’t agree with him.”
“From your reaction he could hardly miss it,” Sonia said. “Did he say when he wanted to meet you again?”
“No, he said that he’d send a message and I’d know it when I saw it,” Andrew said. “He wanted to leave it a while to let any suspicions die down.”
Sonia tapped her fingers on the arm of her chair in a stacatto rhythm. “There’s something about this that feels very wrong, Matt,” she said. “I can’t pin it down but it’s there. I don’t think he should go back when Jayden calls him.”
“I don’t mind the risk!” Andrew protested. “He needs to be stopped.”
“No,” Matthias said meditively. “If Sonia says it feels wrong she’s almost always right. It’s one of her affinities.”
“Almost?” Andrew asked. “So you could be wrong.”
“It’s possible.” His mother gave a strained chuckle. “I’m as prone to normal anxieties as the next person. Sometimes I mistake them for psychic impressions, and visa versa. I don’t think I’m wrong about this.”
“I’m inclined to agree,” Sarah said. “It does feel off and I don’t like the way the feedback from his device messed you up. You really don’t want to be near anything that does that.”
“A very good point,” Matthias said. “We’ll call this mission off unless we can find some way to ensure it’s safety. I wonder why it affected him that way? Any ideas, Sal?”
“I have no idea.” Sarah shook her head. “It’s far more complex than anything I’ve ever attempted and a completely different function. I wouldn’t know where to start.” She tossed her head thoughtfully. “It may be because it isn’t finished, but I don’t see why.”
“You make this sort of thing?” Andrew asked.
“Not this sort of thing exactly, but things that resonate with astrals, yes. Just toys really – a torch which glows when you will it to without the need for batteries or bulbs is probably the most useful. It’s just a hobby.”
“I see.” Andrew frowned. “I don’t think I’m in immediate danger but if you don’t want me to go back I won’t.” He broke off in to a yawn. “Damn, I’m tired.”
“Yes, it’s an after effect of the headache,” Sarah said.
“Yes, go and rest up, Drew,” his father said. “We’ll go over things again tomorrow when you’re more awake.”