His temper wasn’t subdued in any way. The situation was thoroughly infuriating so Falk gestured his arms around, flustered, and voiced his protest:
“Okay!? Are any of us even here for a good reason? Seems like you’ve already made every move and decision without–why are we even here?”
“No need to be childish, Falk,” Eliza said, the nerve of her. “The world is under threat of annihilation in case you haven’t noticed, we need to take actions as soon as we can. Honestly, acquiring intel shouldn’t need consultation.”
“For sure, can always use more information.”
Falk didn’t even notice who said it, he had his eyes closed at that moment, trying to retain what little patience and self-control was available to him. Falk could be undermined and irritated as was possible to be, but he was adamant in not simply shutting up. No matter how the conversation would go, he would be at its vanguard.
“Fine,” Falk sighed, “let us arrive at a plan to bypass the defenses in that canyon. I can tell you the airship won’t make it. Maybe the Warlock and the Darkness can? With their abilities?”
That would be convenient for him since those two presented the greatest threat to his plan once the beasts were out of the picture. It felt very good to know, for sure, that he was the only one thinking about what came after. It gave him an edge.
“The entrance is terraformed, we confirmed as much,” Shu mentioned, “that means no shadow arts.”
“The Warlock is basically a warrior, he can accomplish nothing against the Beasts if they haven’t been weakened. And the Illusionist…maybe. We need to find out if they see like we do, but even then, it’s unlikely.”
It was a difficult problem to solve and Falk knew they wouldn’t talk about anything relevant until there was a plan in place to exploit the knowledge of the beast’s location. Even in death, Griff was hindering Falk…
“Let’s think about the issues boundlessly,” Falk said, adamant to keep taking the charge, to be leading them at every step, for what other mind was there with the capability to do so competently? “If we wanted to drop a bomb past their defenses? Could we?”
“Yes,” Emery said.
“We could?” Falk asked.
“There’s a reason why some of the scouts came back,” the street brat pointed out, “I guess?”
“The gun emplacements are not that fast or accurate, there is a lot of error involved in their use. There are simply a lot of them.”
“It compensates,” Shu warned.
“Yes. But that said, if we just wanted to drop something, odds are very high they wouldn’t be able to shoot it down. Especially if it’s something small.”
“Okay, so that’s how we think about the problem. Obviously, we’re not dropping the bomb, or whatever we’re producing, if anything…” he tried not to sound too patronizing on that note, “someone needs to be dropped, it’s the only way we’re getting through short of giving up on Neyrk completely.” Which was absolutely not an option but he gave it a second to see if anyone thought it was.
Content, Falk asked, “Who has the ability to survive terminal fall velocity?”
Everyone went silent.
“We need someone who can survive the fall, but is also adept enough at stealth,” the Head of Mist’s voice commented, seemingly from the man’s direction far as anyone else could tell. “Just because they are not able to shoot them down does not mean they will not be noticed by the Beasts, either by the guns, or once inside their lairs.”
“Yes,” Falk agreed. “Obviously, that disqualifies the warlock or any machine I could build in the time we don’t have.”
That was why Falk was convinced they should not even be discussing it. From the second he heard they had found the location, he knew it would be useless information given the time and resources at their disposal and the fact it was idiotic to assume the Beasts would have left their home undefended. Seeing as they had needed so little to near-eliminate all humanity had to offer as resistance, it made no sense to take everything the Beasts had to fight at Neyrk.
In fact, that was why they would win.
They all looked at Eliza, a bit loss at why she had just called out a bird’s name for no reason. In contrast, Falk was intrigued because the name rang familiar to his ears. In that way that scratched his brain, making him feel the dreaded discomfort of not remembering something he knew.
“She was part of the contest and lost in the second round,” Eliza informed them, “her specialty is…well, falling.”
“She the gal jumpin’ off buildings?” Jamie asked, a bit excited, “I met her the other day, she helped me out.”
“She did, how so?” Emery asked.
Jamie smirked up at her own thoughts, apparently entertained by the question, or by the answer she would give. “Doesn’t matter,” or by something else.
“Would she do it?” The Shadow asked.
“Is she alive?” The Hunter asked.
But Falk was ahead of them, as usual. He sighed.
“She’s already in the building, isn’t she?”
Eliza smiled in a motherly fashion.
“We have no time to waste,” Eliza said, gesturing at someone who immediately left the room, evidently to go fetch the girl.
Falk had meanwhile remembered who she was, she had been with the Mole and Falk, in the prison, during the first round of the Shadow Conclave. His impressions of her had been good, she had a healthy, respectful reservation when it came to talking to him.
Even that didn’t help him to hide how displeased he was with the situation. Eliza was someone to contend with, there had never been any doubt about that. The only one of Magni’s agents to become its leader, from Sorcerer to Matriarch, and she respected even by her contemporaries, which was a rare trait for anyone.
However, the mistakes she had done in regards to Griff, and LBA itself, as well as constantly getting her people caught and ambushed throughout most of the Beast’s campaign, revealed she was not much of a chess player in the game of world and people.
Yet, it seemed like a meeting involving the most significant human beings in the planet had been entirely hijacked and very accurately predicted by her. The fact she wasn’t leading any of the conversations, or any of the points, simply resulted in no one contesting her.
Falk, obviously the smartest and most perceptive of them all, was the only one noticing it.
“Do you have a problem, Falk?” Eliza called out to him. “I’m not sure whether I appreciate that look.”
Falk smiled diplomatically and edged his head somewhat, as if focusing on her.
“Apologies, Matriarch,” Falk said, “I was thinking about someone else, it wasn’t about you at all.”
“Good,” Eliza simply said, summoning a very low scoff from the street brat.
If anyone understood that exchange, it was definitely him.
Needless to say, Falk now had to decide whether to ruin Eliza’s efforts and convince this skydiving girl to not take part on this mission, which would be easy since it’s clearly suicidal, or to convince her to actually go.
Honestly, the only victory I can achieve here is to get this matter done with so I can discuss my plans for Neyrk’s defense.
Yes. If he stopped the girl from going, they would just keep thinking about the problem. It was likely that Eliza had other plans in mind to convince them of. This might not be her favorite, even, seeing as she wasn’t the one to suggest it.
Fine, Falk thought.
The door opened and the perky young woman entered, wide-eyed and holding back a smile due to the awe of seeing all of them standing there and looking back at her like she was important.
I will doom this girl to die.