The Proposal (part 49)

It was obvious as soon as the Counsel began arriving that everyone was on edge about something. They stood in the living room, not even bothering to sit, drinking cocktails and eating finger food, their conversation a buzz of topics Ayn mostly didn’t understand until Professor Chirwnoff said, “That’s right, the mine’s been closed now for a week.”

Ayn’s listening perked up at that. One of Nev’s conspiracy theories had to do with how the minerals in the eastern plains were really being harvested. He’d only mentioned it once, and, like most of the time, she’d thought he’d been making it up as he went along. He’d always been a good story teller. That one though, had sparked her interest because it involved the Terrestrials.

He’d said there were Terrestrials harvesting the minerals that were used to generate almost all the fuel cells that powered most everything on the planet. “But the thing is,” he’d said, “in their pure state, the minerals are hugely toxic.”

“Exactly, that’s why they have machines do that,” Ayn had argued.

“Have you ever seen vids of machines doing that?” Nev had shaken his head, the look in his bright green eyes intense.

Ayn had shaken her head. “No, but there aren’t vids of Terrestrials, either.”

“Well, their systems are already messed up from the home planet,” Nev said. “That’s why they use them.”

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