Elizabeth rubbed her face with her hands, trying to straighten her thoughts without exploding.
"Let me see if I have this right," she began, forcing her voice to remain level, "Jason's a bit miffed at me for being less cooperative than he would prefer, so he's coming up with all these insane tests to not only gauge me but to force me into this agency. Now you two correct me if I'm wrong."
Murali shrugged. "That seems about right."
"Now, Swapna's mad at me because I procured information that was not mine to know, and she's trying to get that information back." Anya nodded. "So, unless I'm totally mistaken," Elizabeth continued, "as far as I can gather, between the mental genius and the rancorous server, I'm pretty much screwed."
"Well, if you want to be a pessimist about it, then yes. Unless you give in to either or both of them..."
"... which I'll only do if there's absolutely no hope. But as of right now, that is not an option."
"But the question is," Anya said, her forehead creasing with worry, "what are your options?
"I haven't quite gotten that far yet. The idea would be to get out of here, but I don't have the means under my fingers yet." Elizabeth ran her fingers through her hair, but stopped suddenly. A thought struck her. "How willing do you think some of the students would be in helping me get out?"
Both Murali and Anya looked surprised, but the glitter in Anya's light eyes indicated that she was seriously considering. "I know that after more recent planning meetings, when Jason's discussed your testing, I think support for the project's been about fifty-fifty. I've been skeptical the whole time, Tom was against it from the beginning. Daria is... was, a strong supporter of the project."
"I was for it in the beginning," Murali admitted sheepishly, "but after I got looking at the records, and after Jason told me how he planned to continue, I've been thinking against it."
"I can only guess that about half would be willing to help you out," Anya continued, "but I don't know which people are in that half, and which are in the pro-project half. And even in the 'against' half there are those who are kind of teetering in the middle, and could be persuaded to go either way."
"Now do you mean persuaded, or 'persuaded'?" Elizabeth asked, a note of surmise in her voice.
"With the way things've gone, it wouldn't be out of the question to consider either," Murali mused. "We'll have to be very, very careful if we try to involve others. If we're lucky, there'll be some who'll be more than obliging to help you out."
Elizabeth nodded, a bit relieved to hear that not everyone in this place was after her. But she couldn't help but think, There may be those who are willing to get me out at all costs, but at the same time there may be those who'll be just as vehment in making sure I don't get out.