Dutch, Smith, Moe, Marmot, and Klarssen had stayed overnight in the bowels of the Plant, marvelling all the while at the ancient constructions. They had meetings scheduled that morning, but as soon as breakfast ended things started going wrong. Marmot tried to open his brain to the maelstrom, but was sucked into an eddy of emotional chaos and memetic slogans. One he remembered as he came out, “Violence is the monopoly of the state.” The guards assigned to the meeting area were concerned upon hearing this out loud, and recommended that the group see an additional person before they left.
A short time later, the meetings started. First scientist the group spoke to was Preston. Preston was earnest about trade, and the group had a short conversation about commodities and routes. Preston seemed all right, even though everyone in the group was initially suspicious of him. Next in came Charles, who spoke more broadly about diplomacy and the “civilizing influence” he expected electricity to have over the area. His ability to hide his contempt for those outside the Plant was…not suitable for someone who was supposed to be an envoy.
The final official meeting was with a man named Winslow. Winslow was neither earnest nor contemptuous, but spoke bluntly about violence in the world and the plans the scientists had for expansion. He made an offer of giving the Waystation a high-level radiation payload to attack Scarytown, much like how the scientists had already attacked the Hunters. This gave the group pause.
There was a break in the midday and the group had their “unofficial” meeting, under the cover of showing off Marmot’s truck. The senior scientist they met with, who kept his identity secret, revealed the sorts of schisms happening in the senior leadership at the Plant. Many in junior positions thought the most vocal senior scientists were power hungry, and the group’s representative confirmed that those who spoke out against the leading bloc were intimidated into silence.
This was driven home after the last meeting of the day. The three representatives met to give the group a consolidated agreement. Winslow once again pressed the chemical weapons issue, something the group had been worried about. Before he could cajole or bully further, Winslow was interrupted by Preston, who ensured that no one had to commit to anything prior to Marco seeing the agreement. The mood in the room was cold, but the meeting seemed to have gone well overall.
As they left, the group gave a note to the resistance contact they had spoken to earlier. It revealed the location of a psychic emitter that Klarssen found while investigating Marmot’s strange psychic dalliance. After that, the group left, and the ride home was uneventful. Just as Marmot was about to put the Unimog away, Preston rolled out from underneath, having hitched a ride in the frame of the truck. Apparently, his choice to speak up for the group and prevent the intimidation tactics Winslow was planning was very dangerous to him, so after he made his public show of defiance, he fled. Now more than ever, it was unclear what needed to be done…