Castling: Second Interlude: Zugzwang
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Carter replaced the phone in the cradle, sighing. Turning slightly to face the gentleman to his right, he put on a somewhat hesitant smile. “He’ll produce, but he’s starting to feel too relaxed. He’s scared, but confident.” His well-groomed suit’s shoulders lifted in a dismissive shrug, his head shaking slightly.

The man in the chair to his right waved his hand, all that was visible in the dimly-lit corner where he sat, the rather gaudy ring flashing in the half-light. “He’s provided funding resources, nothing more. Granted, that American company paid handsomely for that interface technology, but we can’t let services slip.” The smooth voice sighed, the hand drooping on to the leather arm of the chair. “Two weeks is rather generous for a outside contractor. Are you sure he can still produce?”

“Oh yes, besides, we have Wallace watching them. Nobody ever looks twice at an old man, and by the time they realize what has happened, we'll already have control of whatever great wonder Kilroy has up his sleeve.” Carter paused as another suited man quietly rushed up to him, whispered in his ear for a few seconds, then vanished back outside.

“Something amiss?” the man in the dark asked, watching Carter turn a little pale.

“Fuck and bother… excuse me sir, but it appears The Foundation is significantly closer then was previously expected. Our phone call was intercepted.”

The man in the dark shifted in his chair, the leather creaking slightly. “Is this a problem?”

“No,” Carter replied, fishing out a bottle of liquor from behind the oak bar, “It just escalates things sooner then expected.” Pouring a stiff shot of the amber liquid into a glass, Carter watched the little waves ripple across it. “Our lost little dog already knows how to sit and play fetch. Let's see if he can jump through hoops as well.”


“I'm not doing that.”

“You will perform within the guidelines assigned to you, the same as myself.”

“Yes, but you're insane, so it's not the same thing.”

“I am well within the operational window assigned by Medical.”

“Those same people said Agent Harper was still alright to work, and he was missing a arm.”

The two men continued to rattle off the argument between them, bouncing slightly as the large, converted semi trailer sped down the highway. Appearing on the outside to be a milk delivery truck, inside was filled with equipment, weapons, and several people, two of which were sitting at a small table and engaging in a spirited debate.

“Entity Kilroy presents a more significant danger to our reality via his capabilities of cross-time contamination. Already the damage has reached an irreversible level, and the situation will continue to decay at an accelerated rate if not checked immediately.”

The man on the other side of the table shook his head, his shaggy blond hair betraying a lack of showers for several days. “The girl is the one we want. So what if some guy is passing out technology? Most likely little to none of it will be usable in our time frame anyway! It's the girl that's letting him get away with this, she should be the one we're trying to pinch.”

“Regardless of our personal opinions,” the other man said, his voice oddly toneless, “our orders still stand with the primary objective of the recovery and interrogation of Kilroy. Alice is secondary, and can be dispatched if required to better disable Kilroy for containment.”

“The girl can talk to machines! Doesn't that peak your interest in the slightest?”

“Her research value, while high, is not irreplaceable.”

The blond man sighed, standing up and scratching several times behind his ear. “Aren't you supposed to be helping chase that big sea monster… reptile… thing around Canada? I thought they were having issues containing it?”

“My direct involvement is no longer required for containment development and implementation. I am here in the capacity of supervisor and negotiator.”

The blond man laughed, a barking burst of laughter that made several of the other men turn and watch. “Negotiator? Good lord, there's calm under pressure, then there's you.” The man sighed, looking around. “I don't like this. Why are we out here? Why all the gear? Why all the man power? It would take a couple Agents, maybe an MTF to grab this guy, yet we're rolling out like we're hunting Keter. Somethings not being said.”

“Professor Kain, you appear to be experiencing unwarranted feelings of paranoia. Kilroy has already shown himself to be extremely difficult to capture by conventional means. The Foundation is taking the required steps in light of the presented issue.”

Kain sat down, casting a somewhat wary glance as a large steel cube in the back, flanked by two guards. “Not sure how I feel about carrying that, too. This whole things smells funny Gears, even you have to admit it.”

Gears paused for several seconds. “Do not concern yourself with possible outcomes. We have been assigned our jobs, and will perform them to the best of our abilities. If events occur that invalidate our previous directives, we will adapt accordingly.”

“Always the fountain of comfort, Cog. Tell me, if it comes to it… will you do it?”

“Do what?”

“Shoot the girl to make Kilroy come with us.”

“I will perform my job to the best of my abilities.”

Both men rode in silence for a long time after that, one staring into space, the other warily watching the crate and the other man with almost equal levels of suspicion.

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