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Invisible Orchestras

Father Donnelly got the change ready. Suki pulled up to the drive-thru window. She took the tray of drinks, passed the money from the reverend to the guy in uniform. 

As the car pulled away, Suki said, "I'm sorry."

Donnelly popped the lid on his tea and took a sip. "I appreciate the apology, but... Well, you put our lives at risk." 

Suki drove out onto the road. Scorpio was quiet in the backseat, napping or maybe meditating.

The Father continued, his voice calm but with an edge to it. "What if they had moved on us sooner? Before he removed the implant? How would you have apologized over the sound of that SWAT team shooting-first-and-asking-questions-later? Remember I've seen these cells of theirs at work before, too." Of course he had survived then, thanks to Max. Of course it was thanks to Max that they were after him in the first place. 

"That wasn't LEGACY at the motel. They won't use another cell. Max has been burning their fingers every time they reach out to grab him, so they will go to an outside source. They'll be trying to exploit Max's reluctance to retaliate against uninitiated players. That's why I let those boys-and-girls-in-blue live back there."

Donnelly hadn't been sure that she was going to. Watching from the shadows as the armored van swerved into the parking lot, as the soldiers spilled forth and stormed the room they had been in only moments before. She had taken that strange gun out of her satchel and it had started to glow... But once Suki had identified the team leader, she got them out of there, quick and quiet. 

"I feel sorry for you," Donnelly said. "That you have to think like this. 'Players'... My God, the life you must lead."

Suki glanced at him, a flicker in her eye like a whip about to crack. The younger girl she had heard on the phone earlier today would have said something nasty to the priest. A mean comeback. Things were different now. She looked back at the road. 

Donnelly could tell Suki was honestly trying. And he knew that he was trying to provoke her, letting his stress pull his leash. He was worried about the church, about the sudden shifts, about Mayganne. He tried to keep his voice relaxed. "Okay, explain to me how that near miss back there helped us."

Suki took a sip from her coffee. Before Max she had never tried the stuff. 

"Max will be hunting his hunters. Now we know who that is."