Terra Dawning
if the Duke has tried to get in touch with Elrond?”
    “At once, Prime. However, I feel I should mention that I have been monitoring their computer and communications systems. There have been several attempts by an unknown source to contact Elrond directly. These attempts are consistent with previous communications by the Duke of Cassius, however, until there is a connection, I have no way to isolate the origin.””
    “Prime Council, This is Jorga Bedouin. Elrond has been notified that the Duke has tried several times to contact him. For now, he is simply ignoring them. He has asked me to inquire if he should treat them differently,” Jorga's voice issued from the hidden speakers in the room.
    Ben looked thoughtful for a moment. “Yes, if he would, have one of his lieutenants accept the communication and imply that Elrond is not available because he is out attempting to follow the Dukes orders. I imagine the Duke will make threats and generally throw a tantrum, but there really isn't much he can say if he believes that his orders are being followed. That should buy us enough time to get their people to safety at least.”
    “That was one of his suggestions, too. I'll be there, so I can record the conversation into Mother's memory. Elrond thinks that since it won't be him - personally - making the connection, we'll be able to trick the Duke into giving his authorization codes, thus verifying his identity. It's a long shot, but it'll sure help as far as evidence goes,”” Jorga replied.
    “Excellent. Thank you, Jorga. Be safe,” Ben said, dismissing her.
    “And you, Prime, Councilors,” Jorga replied and clicked off.
    “Okay, so we're going to invite the Commander here for a chat. We'll take her to the base, but limit her exposure to it. I'll speak to her, and I'll limit the information I give to her until I'm sure she can be trusted with it. Do I proceed?” Ben asked.
    “Nay, you do not,” Councilor Carlyle said before the voting could actually begin.
    “Excuse me?” Ben asked.
    “Brothers and Sisters, please forgive my breach of protocol by speaking out of turn. However, I feel a major alteration to the Prime's suggestion needs to be made. It should not be himself that is exposed to this woman. We should choose a representative to speak to her on our behalf.
    “My ken is that yon Prime is of far too much importance to our survival to risk in such a manner. He is our leader, and granted he is but one among many, however, we all know he is not to be placed in danger any more than the rest of us. Aye, less than the rest of us I would wager, for 'tis this man alone that has full and complete knowledge of us and our new society. 'Tis this man alone that our people look to for guidance and stability. Aye, we are their leaders, but he is an icon to our people. One that must be protected.”
    “I second this motion. You are too important to our people to risk in this manner, Prime,” Councilor Yoshi agreed.
    “If not me, then who would you suggest? None of you are close enough to get here in time, and no one else has full knowledge of what's been going on,” Ben replied.
    “The lovely Deirdre would be the ideal one. She has a unique ability to endear herself to her audience, and still manage to get the message across. I grant ye, that she isn't expendable either, but for this, I would say she is the right person for the job,” Councilor Carlyle said.
    “If this is your wish, I will of course summon her immediately. However, if you feel that this task is as dangerous as you are implying, I find I am not willing to agree with you,” Ben looked down at his hands. “For the moment, I'm not speaking to you as Prime but as a friend. I love all of my family and would kill to protect them. If I lost any of them, it would devastate me. I do understand your concerns in this, but if I can't be protected in the middle of a military base, then I ask you all, where is safe?”

Chapter

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