Special Agent Philip Henry has a reputation for coolness under fire. This reputation has sometimes been described in semi-flattering terms, like when one of his superiors compared him to Joe Friday from the old Dragnet radio programs. Sometimes the description is less flattering, like when one of his colleagues accused him of being a soulless, cold-hearted son of a bitch.
At the moment his reputation is being tested. As Sergeant Alishia Webb glowers at him from across the table of the sole booth in Elliot’s Diner, he fights back the urge to flinch away from her gaze.
The silver-shrouded man hangs in the air, suspended by a power that existed before time.
Granite walls and floors gleam dully in the soft light filling the otherwise empty room. The light doesn’t come from the room, but from the power: the circle that surrounds him, the symbols inscribed within the circle, all glowing with enough strength to reach the very end of the long room, to reveal the door—plain, almost shabby compared to the room—that sits, closed, at the far end.
“OK,” CB says, leaning forward over the table to glower at Robert. “Please tell me this is some kind of sick joke.”
They’re all sitting in a conference room at the Nautilus’ stern. The bulkheads are a latticework of steel polymer and a transparent sheet of something significantly stronger than glass. At the moment, the windows (portholes? CB isn’t sure what to call them) show nothing but solid darkness—they’re too deep for light from the surface to filter through, and they’re not running with external lights at the moment—so the only light in the room comes from fixtures in the ceiling. The interior lighting combined with the near absolute darkness of the water outside serves to turn windows into mirrors, reflecting the interior of the room from nearly every angle. CB finds it disconcerting.