“Don’t think you can weasel out of it that easy,” Madeline said. “I told you what you wanted to hear. Now tell me why you are going around telling everybody about the return of solar power when you don’t know the first thing about it. My uncle worked with a solar panel installer back on the surface, so I know that restoring the solar panels isn’t possible with the roaches around.”
Dirk crossed his arms, irritated that she – of all people – had caught him out in the lie. Now what could he do? Tell her the truth? After all, he wasn’t that invested in working with Gideon. But to do so would be to betray the entire crew’s trust.
He did have to admit to himself that Madeline wasn’t quite the demon he’d convinced himself she was after the breakup. Now that he knew why she’d left, Dirk couldn’t really blame her. Sure, she could have waited around and delivered the news in person or at least left a note, but that didn’t make her a monster.
“I’m sorry,” he said, hanging his head slightly. “I can’t tell you. The crew wouldn’t approve. All I can say is that Gideon Nightshade wants me telling as many people as possible about the residential and commercial installation of solar panels.”
Madeline rolled her eyes. “You and that crew. I wish you could just leave them. Maybe then we actually would have had a chance.”
“You know why I can’t do that.” Dirk pursed his lips, wishing there was a way out. But without the crew, Dirk was nothing. “We’re in this together, like it or not. And so, if they want me to convince people that there are plenty of great options for solar financing, I will do so.”
“So loyal,” said Madeline. “I do wonder how loyal you’d be should that chain get removed. What if I told you that there was a way? A way to free yourself of them and become your own man. Would you like that? More importantly, would you choose that over your ludicrous vendetta against elite society?”
Surely there wasn’t… It couldn’t be done. They’d tried everything from science to magic, but the five of them were tethered together, their fate bound for good or ill.