'It's not going to work, is it?' said Macrig, looking at the model octopus that his engineering team had constructed.
'No,' agreed Adrig. 'It's not going to work.'
'It's pathetic,' said Edrig. 'Hopeless.'
'We did our best!'
'But it's still not going to work, and the camera will be coming back up again later today .'
'So we need another plan.'
'The broken camera excuse?' Macrig suggested.
'You think they'll fall for that?'
'I don't know.'
As they were considering their options the communications controller Weerig came rushing into the room with his yellow communications section gown billowing behind him.
Weerig was a small man with a thin and spindly body that made him look older and more frail than he really was, for he was still a relative youngster at only 617 years, although more than twice the age of Adrig and much older than Edrig. His completely bald and shiny head did not do him any favours either, in terms of appearance, and everyone was used to him rushing around as he was one of the most jittery and nervous inhabitants of the tower. Which explains why Adrig, Edrig and Macrig were not unduly surprised to see him rushing towards them, but the news that he had to deliver changed everything.
'You haven't responded to my messages. Have you not heard?'
'Heard what?' asked Adrig rather lazily without much interest.
'About the fleet? There is a fleet coming in from Outpost Six! About fifty of them!'
'Oh,' said Adrig and Edrig and Macrig, all at pretty much the same time.
'We've got two days to decide what to do. And what to do with the Ladies!'
'Ah yes, the locked up ladies,' said Adrig thoughfully, 'but why so long? Two days?'
'That's the thing,' Weerig continued, 'They are coming in the slow method so they must be big vessels, so we are talking about lots of Ladies and probably lots of weapons.'
'An invasion?' offered Edrig.
'Indeed. They must be coming to take the tower back.'
'Back from the octopuses that are no longer here?' said Edrig, before adding, 'Oh dear, that's a bit of a pickle.'
'Oh shut up,' snapped Adrig. 'We can… well, we can just say that they fled when they saw the fleet coming. The rescue fleet! Coming to rescue us! Our saviours!'
'Oh yeah. Great,' said Edrig sarcastically, 'Our saviour Ladies coming to release our own angry Ladies and plunge us back into serfdom.'
'Ah yes,' Adrig agreed, 'Unless…'
'Oh, another plan?' Macrig asked.
'Yes, Macrig, another plan. Perhaps we need a meeting. We have some time. Or perhaps…'
'Uh oh…' said Edrig, 'Here we go.'
'Yes perhaps,' Adrig continued in an irritated tone, 'Perhaps we do indeed go, and perhaps Macrig would like to come with us. Would you Macrig?'
'Eh to where?' Macrig asked.
'To Sample 717 of course. To freedom.'
'With implanted locator chips in our necks, or at least in your neck and mine?' Edrig reminded him, 'Even if they are prone to malfunction, you did find me eventually.'
'Ah… but these could easy enough be removed, now that I know precisely how from the Ladies' records… either…'
'Eh, just give me some time to think my lad. Some time to think. We do need to consider whether to consider this all together or just among ourselves. And you Macrig? And Weerig? Would you two come?'
'Um…' said Macrig, while Weerig just looked puzzled.
'You'd like it Macrig. You would.'
'Um… What is their engineering like?' Macrig asked.
'Ha ha,' laughed Edrig. 'That's our Macrig. Always the engineer!'
'It's eh… primitive actually,' Adrig conceded, 'Very primitive. But interesting. You'd find it interesting. And you could help them, perhaps, with your knowledge. In fact…'
'Oh I think I have just had the most brilliant idea!' Adrig anounced.
'Oh.' Said Edrig.
There was a pause, as details of the most brilliant idea were awaited, but instead the pause was broken by a beep from Weerig's communicator.
'I have to go,' he said, with his usual sense of urgency. 'But 717. What's that all about?'
'Don't tell anybody,' Adrig commanded.
'Okay… but what's it all about?'
'Come and see me later. Don't tell anybody, although... oh... I already did, in passing... Oh well...'
And then Weerig departed.
'Can he be trusted?' Edrig asked.
'I don't know,' said Adrig.
'More to the point is can Adrig be trusted,' commented Macrig
'With his brilliant idea?' began Edrig, 'Almost certainly not. But then, it may be the only idea that there is, whatever its flaws.'
'Well I'll just not tell you about it then,' said Adrig huffily.
'That might be best,' Edrig replied.
'You two don't make much sense you know,' Macrig said quietly.
'Nothing makes much sense,' Edrig told him. 'Nothing at all.'