[Follows from here.]
Earl took Rayford to the employees lunchroom, the third tier of cafeterias, below the one currently being enjoyed by the dignitaries and reserved for special guests, something that Nicolae had had installed on every base and airstrip on the off chance he might stop in. Also less worthy than the one reserved for actual military, a force kept in line in part by being reminded that they were being treated better than the underclasses that existed to serve them.
The employees lunch room was for people who were meant to have no illusions. They were servants. They were fed because otherwise they would collapse, and there was no effort to make them comfortable. The sooner they consumed their calories and got back to work the better.
It was a stark contrast to what Rayford had become accustomed to. A reminder that he, like so many other Global Community employees, was being pandered to in hopes he wouldn't notice how the rest of the world had suffered in the last 18 months of theoretical peace. Wage slavery was just the beginning, he knew.
Earl looked around, checked that they were alone, and made himself a sandwich.
"Right now this base is sending out gibberish in every frequency," Earl began, "which will play Mary Hobb with everything electronic within range. Including the microwave, by the way. The good news is that it means we can talk here safely. The usual bugs are just as disabled as everything else."
"So what did you want to talk about?"
"You know Nicolae is evil."
"You work for him."
Rayford looked at his feet, "Yes."
"How's that been working out for you?"
"Like Shit." Rayford had nearly shouted. "He gets my services and I get nothing useful out of him."
"But you wanted to be close to him?" Earl asked.
"If I thought cut the head of the snake would work in this situation I'd have crashed that fucking plane ages ago."
"Spy." Earl said, beginning to smile.
"Yes!" Rayford shouted. Then caught himself and spoke more quietly, "But it hasn't been working. He doesn't let things slip. No even the slightest hints."
"I was hoping you'd say that," Earl said. "You are going to love your new plane."
"I don't care about the plane."
"You'll care about this one." Before Ray could ask why Earl said, "Like this facility Nicolae has ordered bugs in every room."
"And that helps me how?"
"Unlike this facility, I built it. You'd have to take apart the electronics piece by piece to find out, but the supposed master control for the bugs is nothing of the sort. The real master is in the cockpit. It's hidden two passwords and three arbitrary sequences of switches deep, but if you're in the pilot's chair and you know how to use it, you can hear everything from every room."
"That would mean...." Rayford never finished the thought, it would mean so many things. Not least amoung them that taking this job might not have been the greatest mistake of his life.
"Now let me explain how it all works before they stop jamming, because if the bugs come back online we'll both be shot in the head."-
[Skewed Slightly to the Left Index]