The Price of Independence - Day 22

Altman frowned and felt something settle within him. That was it then. It was likely that this Pottle, a Conclave member, would be unable to share this technology even if he wanted to, even if he agreed with Tremaine. That just felt wrong, so very wrong. Altman wanted nothing to do with it.

“Uncle, I’ve decided. I’ll remain here. Your work is too important not to go on, and I can’t seal myself into the Conclave’s system of closed, hoarded knowledge.”

The old man nodded knowingly and smiled. There was still a light in his eyes, though his sight had been growing worse just in the few days they’d stayed with him. “I had a feeling about you that first night, nephew. I don’t spend a lot of time around people these days, but I was an excellent judge of character in earlier years. And …”

“Deman.” Altman nodded.

“I don’t mean to speak ill of your friend, Altman. He seems a nice enough lad. He’s also the Conclave’s creature through and through, if I’m any judge.” The old man’s voice was tired.

“You’re right. He overheard our conversation about the electrite. He knows of it, though not the full extent of what it’s capable of. He’s sure I’ll come around to his way of thinking in time.”

“You’ll have to be prepared. He could cause a lot of trouble for you if you don’t go along with him. He could bring the whole of the Conclave down on this place, and probably will.”

“I know. It’s a risk I have to take though, Uncle. There’s too much to discover, and too many opportunities, things that could be made better that will never happen otherwise.” Altman tapped the arm of the study’s chair idly, thinking.