Shan had satisfied Zuo that there was no possible trail leading back to them. Li’s disposal had been made to look like a suicide, and Fed Ed would keep the incident highly classified. As for the foundation that Zuo’s minions had chartered and funded, Zuo had considered whether Philippe Roux needed to meet with an unfortunate accident. But he reasoned that Philippe had no conceivable incentive to talk, and if necessary he could be dealt with after the excitement died down.
Zuo looked over the city, his hands clasped behind his back. “It is but a modest setback.”
Shan hung his head in shame.
Zuo whispered, “Perhaps Tondal understands the soul of United States better than we. Perhaps it is not yet the right time for the US to let go of its pretentions.”
Shan remained motionless.
“Their own, safe universe, their naïve reverence for law.”
Shan finally spoke, meekly, “Sir, may I ask?”
Zuo nodded, almost imperceptibly.
“Why did Tondal decide to interfere? This was not expected to occur for a long, long time.”
Zuo admitted, “I do not know.” He paused, then said, “Perhaps they want the US to continue down its current trajectory, until their problems intensify and become plainer, and only then can they recognize and accept the immorality of their system.”
Shan considered this. It made his head spin a bit.
Zuo continued, “We and Tondal are in alignment: neither of us can let the US know that it is being maneuvered. I am sure you can understand. This is an imperative.”
Shan’s head was spinning more crazily now. Shan’s final, final thought was that the poison which had somehow entered his bloodstream was a necessary action for the campaign. He succumbed.