Chapter 20: Plans of Action

"Few. So few," Jewel murmured, a sad, faraway look on her face. "Raeyn, we can't possible make a difference."

"Does it matter?" He replied, placing an arm around her shoulder.

"But there's only five of us; you, me, Dr. Malcolm, Reuben, and Arithea."

"Ah, but don't forget Antony, and all the people he has also possibly saved. Small steps shall move us great distances." Moving to draw her closer, the doctor jumped back in shock when his arm passed right through her, as if she weren't there. Raeyn tentatively reached out and tried to touch her, but his fingers penetrated her form.

"What.?" Backing up a couple steps, he reeled in shock and horror while Jewel slowly turned into Ahwri, hair going from darkest black to deepest vermillion.

"Consider my offer," the Armadi commander said, voice sounding as if far away. Dr. Raeyn did not respond to the apparition, and before his eyes she seemed to , melt away.

Suddenly able to take stock in his surroundings, Raeyn tried to discern his environment. They only way he could comprehend it was that he was standing in a massive obelisk of pure light. It shone pale yellow, and as he started walking in an unidentifiable direction, a surprisingly swift wind picked up, whipping his grey coat around violently.

Voices, a cacophony of them, suddenly rose into the air. The doctor recognized a lot of them, picking out Malcolm, Perena, Brianson, the Proprietor, Ahwri, and even detecting his own. Time became indeterminable as he listened to them, though he was unable to understand.

Tiredly trekking on, feeling as if he'd been striding for days, Raeyn collapsed, the last thing meeting his eyes being a looming mind-scanner.

Jerking awake, he took several lengthy moments to reorient himself, a slight sheen of cold sweat on his face and back. Sitting up, the doctor checked his clock; it was the second Dark Hour, the middle of the night.

I have not had a dream so vivid for a long time, Raeyn thought, moving sluggishly in his fatigue. Could it be worry?

The government will provide. Forcing her eyes open and quelling the harsh voice in her mind, Jewel tried to discern her position.

Looking straight ahead, she saw a tiled ceiling and a light; not quite comprehending at first, Jewel figured out that she was lying on her back. After a couple more seconds, she remembered what had happened, though only to a certain point.

Gently touching her face where the man in the library had hit her, Jewel winced, feeling a large bruise. Her left shoulder ached painfully, and, glancing at it, she noticed a half-cast around it. Two needles with tubes were stuck in her left arm, feeding what Jewel assumed was Restituency drugs.

Sitting up and blinking to clear bleary eyes, Jewel examined the sides of her arms and legs, which were covered in purple contusions. She was wearing pastel blue hospital apparel and laying on a cot inside of a peach- tinted sick room. It was a little unnerving to see that the sun had already set and twilight was fading away; the time zone distance was a few hours difference, and it hadn't mattered when she was on the shuttle.

We had, she thought grimly, only expected to be staying for two days. Gazing around at the small room, she noted the medicine cabinets on the wall; the sink, and half-open door on the adjacent wall which was probably a bathroom. The actual door to her room was the same color as the walls and had a small, square window on top.

After completing the assessment of her surroundings, Jewel found herself becoming extremely tired all of a sudden. Doggedly keeping herself upright and sitting, she gazed at the drug-feeding machine, and perceived in confusion that the color of the fluid had begun changing from clear to slightly reddish in color.

Must be another a to be released at .time. Too weary to speak aloud, Jewel sank back into the cot and let sleep overtake her.

"No, not desperate," Amnighad countered a remark from a senator. "This plan is not one of desperation, but strategy! The Western Continent is maintaining a communications silence for a reason: they are not willing to negotiate for our independence, and it's easy to see that they are probably planning an attack."

"Is it?" Questioned another senator from the other side of the table. "My supporters are not going for this, this confrontation you are developing! We're not an aggressive people, Governor."

"That is true, but now is a more crucial time for us to fight for what we want," he argued.

"Unacceptable," the senator said, standing up. "We have taken their Ambassador, fired on their shuttle, and dismissed them from our territory. Surely they are just deliberating, and will decide to grant out petition because we took such measures."

"Governor, I must concur!"

"I agree!"

"He is right!"

"Order, senators, order!" Yelled the chief strategist, who was sitting at Amnighad's side. After a couple minutes, the conference hall quieted down, and the man proceeded. "The fact that we will be engaging in actual skirmishes, battles with the Western Continent, is just as new, just as undesirable to us as it is to you and the citizens you represent. But, unfortunately, we have taken the first few steps and can't turn back now."

"Shall we simply swallow it, that we have no choice?" The first senator inquired coldly.

Eyes flashing, Amnighad stood up and spoke forcefully, passion and authority in his voice. "One year ago, I had the approval of all of you and your provinces to make ready for possible war with the Continent. As the months went by, my military staff and I frequently clued in all the people of Wyrmulinx of what we were doing, and that high risk was involved. Now that we are actually initiating action, a lot of you are attempting to back down. Should we stand apart now that it is started, we will have absolutely no chance of winning this war. The Western Continent will crush us, and send over their horrendous Order with machines and devices to brainwash every man, woman, and child on each island. If you shall not allow me to send our fleet to commandeer all the Continent's major ports and harbors, at least let me dispatch part of it to begin the voyage and wait just inside our ocean borders. They can go in silent running, and no one would be the wiser of it until I may give them orders to pursue their mission."

For a single moment, the chamber remained silent; then, one of the few pro-war senators responded, "Though I'd much rather see your real plan put into action, that suggestion may have to do for now. I support your motion, Governor."

There was a general murmur of assent from the rest of the senators, some voicing their approval.

"Very well, I shall do only that," said Amnighad. "Senators, thank you for your time; you are dismissed."

Shuffling chairs and the sound of numerous conversations filled the air as the representatives left and talked with each other and their aides. The governor and his military strategist exited out a different door, speaking quietly.

"Why do they not understand?!" Amnighad seethed. "The Proprietor is a power-hungry man, and this is a perfect opportunity for him to strengthen his dominion over the island nations. Adrian will strike unless we do so first."

"I know that as well as you do," the other man agreed calmly. "We just need to find a way to get the senators to see this as well."

"Umm. I shall just have to call the Governess, inform her, and ask as to her military plans. Hopefully, she will have had confidence granted to her."