The meeting room was a study in quiet but unpretentious elegance. Three men sat at the stately oak table, a fourth standing by the window and staring out thoughtfully at the hazy morning sky. The man at the window could see the others reflected in the glass, though doubted that they noticed his careful scrutiny; for as sharp as they were politically, they tended to be fairly dull about watching what went on around them. After the phone conference, the man who always wore blue spoke first, directly addressing the elderly man with the groomed mustache.

“Do we need to discuss the ramifications of this?”

Blue asked. Mustache sighed. “I believe the report covered them,” he said airily. The tea drinker broke in, setting his cup down with a rattle. Steaming liquid slopped over the sides, distorting the tiny umbrella design that adorned the side.

“I don’t think it’s a wise idea to underestimate the magnitude of this… difficulty,” Tea said. “Particu-larly not with the current instability factor in develop-ment…” Blue nodded. “I agree. Things like this have a way of getting out of hand. First the secondary in Rac-coon, now the Cove…”

Mustache cut him off with a sharp glance. Blue, properly abashed, cleared his throat, his face red as he struggled to recover.

“That is to say, I believe there should be a more thorough investigation into these matters. Don’t you think so, Mr. Trent?”

The man at the window turned around, wondering how these people had ever managed to get where they were. He didn’t smile, knowing how much it bothered them when he didn’t smile.

“I’m afraid I’ll have to get back to you on that,”

Trent said coolly. Blue nodded quickly. “Of course, take all the time you need. No hurry, gentlemen, am I right?”

Without another word, Trent turned and walked out of the room, outwardly as intimidating and precise as they expected him to be, as they wanted him to be. Inside, he wondered how much longer the game could go on.

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