"You wanted to see me, Beacon?" "Thank you for coming, Tacks, yes I did. My operatives..." "Which ones?" "The new ones I recruited to help a.u.n.t.ie, i call them Ember Ravens." "So black, but burning up? Short life expectancy?" "Ah no, just the ability to burn secrets if captured." "Ah, proper blackboard clearers? That'd be novel." "Zim-Nessuna-Honour, i meant no disrespect when calling you Tacks, it's affection, and an admission you'll always be that officer I could never outshine. You've made your point, so you don't need to insult my operatives, who are doing their best, in difficult circumstances." "It'd work better as a compliment if you hadn't called me a fussbudget, that time." "Then you misunderstood me, no one but someone of your compétence could make the fuss you did, the budget being proportional, had to be." "So I'm supposed to be happy I'm fussy?" "I see I have to explain it, you're so brutally competent, Meihomei lets you fuss her. No one else gets to do that." "Well, I did get these nice shinies, I suppose I should let you explain why you wanted me here?" "My operatives discerned signs of Coalition infiltrators from traffic patterns near the . We're told the Navy has a significant installation there." "Tsk, tsk, you make me wait two years to tell me about Spyglass, but you expect to be told about Tannhauser before it's even finished?" "Err, ok, I deserved that. Spyglass was not kept secret from you deliberately though." "Then why?" "We wanted to build Spyglass as either our own new headquarters, or at least, some kind of shared installation for the . But before the plans were finished, Meihomei and Secretary Veneer handed them off to Lai Dang Treaty Authority, and told us we weren't to tell anyone without Treaty Authority's permission." "Whose idea was it to have Treaty Authority's secret provisos so much larger than the public ones?" "The New Etruscans, they suggested all public resources be focused on fighting the coalition, and all private resources keep off each other's throats, since the converse was impossible, and we only had so many resources to throw at the problem, we couldn't really afford redundancies." "And those Ravens, they have any relationship to my old fraternity?" "To Neverraven? No, should there be?" "A Neverraven was a mythical creature, an Emberraven that never 'lit' up, as it were, so could never be captured, unlike the Ember Raven Exemplar, who could be captured if you'd get any of its ashes."
Government, Secret Service