Maphira wasn’t sure how much more of this she could take. These meetings were usually fine, but ever since Con had shown her the footage of Rylee meeting up with Cole, who was – without a doubt – not alive, she couldn’t take her mind off it. The Resistance’s drones had followed them closely, all the way to a crumbling house in the hills. Over the last two weeks, Rylee and Cole had been hard at work restoring the place, so presumably, they intended to move in there together.

“Are we almost done here?” Maphira said, unable to help herself. “I get why updating the solar energy storage website is important and all, but do we really have to keep up this front? It’s not effective at bringing people to our cause.”

Con paused, turning away from his presentation, and glared at her. “Your disapproval of our recruitment methods is well known, Maphira. Over the years, however, we have tried many tactics, and using a solar energy company forum is by far the safest. There’s no point getting more people if we have the Conclave here in minutes!”

Maphira stood, raising her hands before her. “Look, I get that, but our numbers simply aren’t big enough. What if instead of a website for businesses offering residential solar systems near Melbourne, we did something a little more on the nose? How about a website for a garbage business that specialises in disposing of old robots? People would probably wonder if it’s actually a metaphor for taking out the Conclave’s machines.”

Putting a hand over his face, Con said, “That’s exactly my point. If regular people suspect that, the Conclave will too. We’ll be smoked out of here in no time. It’s too risky.”

“Fine, keep letting the world think we’re solar power experts.” Maphira walked toward the door. “Just know that I completely disagree with this continued direction. I hope it’s something you’ll all think about because sometimes you have to take some risks.”

Maphira left the conference room, happy enough to have gotten out of the meeting, even if nobody listened to her idea.