The Colonel came with the two Masters-at-arms following in lock step behind him. They took Sir Terrance away without saying a word. Sir Terrance put up no resistance and left whistling Bach’s Aria from the Goldberg Variations. The Colonel waited until Lutts’s whistle was gone and then sat in the same seat that Sir Terrance had occupied.
“He is a cool one,” Colonel Mann began, “but I think we learned a lot. Much of it I did not want to hear. How many clones do you think he has?”
The Princess was the first to speak, “Three, but more likely four. There are three research facilities. One in America, one in Norway and one in the U.K. I could see him having a clone at each of them. Then there would be the real Sir Terrance confirming and consulting with all of them. Perhaps a spare that could be used for when he needed to be in the public’s eye while the others continued to work.”
“I agree,” the Monsignor said, “A committee of geniuses that all could work together is one thing, but when a committee gets bigger than five it becomes a bureaucracy and that is not Lutts’s style. He would not want to waste too much time trying to keep every other Lutts fully informed. So my guess is that we are dealing with four of them.”
“With today’s advances on swarm networking I would not be surprised if we would find some extra wiring inside each of the Luttses.”
“I’ll ask the ship’s medical team to take a look at our guest. Mr. Huntington, where do you think they are?”
“I think they are close by the original research centers. Look at how Lutts had a secret room where he captured us during the first raid. I think that is a good place to start. If they are not there, then they could be anywhere. Does he own anymore ships?”
“I don’t know, but we can try and look into that. Most likely if he did he would have them masked with that flammable foam. Now that we know something is up if we can’t scan an entire ship it will be easy to find any suspicious vessels.”
“I would include planes and freight drones, too.” Frank added.
“Crap” the Colonel said, “why not include trucks and everything else. We can’t look under every bed in the world.” The Colonel did not look happy.
“I’m sorry we could not be more probing. I’m surprised he admitted there was more than one of himself. He seemed rather cocky that we knew that,” the Princess said with sincerity to the Colonel.
“Madame, you did better than we did. We know for certain his plan is still advancing. And while he may be launching some of his nano-vectors from some secondary locations by the original research centers he would need more. China is a long way from Norway. At the minimum he would need one on every continent.”
“Since there are not enough Luttses to go around, he still needs some kind of command and control,” the Monsignor correctly surmised.
Everyone looked towards the Colonel for some answers, but he was now looking down at the residue at the bottom of his coffee cup. A silence filled the room. I could only guess the humans were feeling frustrated or unhappy. Maybe both emotions were at work. Humans can be very complex creatures when it comes to their emotional states. Sir Terrance sure was a great chess player. He had lost some pieces, but he sure had a nice pile over on his side. He had even lost his Queen, if you could call Dr. Larson a Queen, but they realized that there were at least four King pieces on his side and that is a lot of power. His checkmate could come from any direction: at any time. I guessed this was one of those times I needed to keep my mouth shut.
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