“Its all about growing stronger in the shadow of the dragon until you are a dragon yourself,” Candyman said. “Sucking its blood and growing stronger…ever so slowly stronger.”
It was four in the morning, and a foul morning at that – the wind from a Pacific storm, so much stronger than in decades gone by and now liable to bring with it acidic rain as a by-product of China’s great urban megacity and it’s industry. The three senior members of the Desiderium Cartel had been up all night, hunched over the holo-table in the group’s headquarters rest area, going over plans and possibilities again and again.
Francheska Wolfir leaned in towards the table once more, studying the complex cascade of probability predictions which she knew hadn’t come from inside her own beloved Desiderium, nor from the fourth member of the late-night meeting, the young hacker Saxby Diggs. No, the codes to access the AI-driven software that had created this stochastic predictive matrix had come from one of the 23Enigma terrorists Candyman had ordered released last week – the woman, Bianca Klieber. The path was an elegant one, but was it doable?
Francheska sighed – she had to trust the man she’d given her life and her very self to. “As you will it, Pater,” she breathed. Hugh DeBois, the other Desiderium lieutenant, simply grunted assent from his powered wheelchair. He looks tired Francheska thought, this kind of thing is harder on him than the rest of us.
Sitting across from her, her lover and master Candyman was warming to his theme – again. He’d been fuelled with an inner fire since his talks with that Professor Gregori and with the Klieber woman, Francheska had seen how little he had slept as he thought and schemed.
“We’ll be a shadow of a dragon, a terrorist insurgency without the terror, until we are strong enough,” Candy continued. “The matrix shows us that eventually we’ll come into conflict with the Emir because he cozies up to the corporations and their proxies in the city’s government as a way to protect his business interests. But for now he’s our Mommy Dragon, he can shelter us under his wing until we have enough wealth and power to fly off to some secret cave of our own for the next stage of our development.”
“They also show we have to cut the immediate link with Lazarus. They’re becoming too high profile and will attract corporate scrutiny. That and the type of jobs they take on would increasingly leave me too vulnerable to harm, even being killed, before the plan can be realized, and that’s just not acceptable. Still, we should keep contact with them, offer them some aid, maybe even hire them ourselves when they would be useful tools. I’m saddened by that, but I must harden my heart.”
“As for you, Saxby,” Candyman gestured towards the slim young man lounging in one armchair, “You’ve seen the matrix, you know what computing power produced it. Do you doubt it?”
“I doubt everything, C-man,” Saxby replied, laconic and still at ease even after such a long and grueling discussion, “But I’ll go with the flow for now. If these predictions are even half right, I’ll be able to channel far more cash to my own project by sticking with you than by any other method.”
“That’s right,” Candy nodded, satisfied, “And your quest to make digital ghosts free for all is an essential part of our endgame, the one that sees us able to emerge from our cave as a dragon in our own right.”
Candy stood, “We’ve come full circle several times tonight and we keep coming back to here. This is what we are going to do. Let’s all go get some sleep now, there’s a lot of work ahead of us. Come Francheska.”
“Yes Pater,” Francheska breathed, relieved that at last the talking was done. She stood and followed her lover towards their bedroom.
Outside, the wind howled again, like the wolf she was nicknamed after. Francheska shivered. There’s going to be so much blood, she thought to herself.