While Morgance and Rune carried on their conversation, Casady was fully invested in the conversation in Vinnia's apartment. After Rune had left, the room had been ghostly quiet for a minute or so. Finally, Vinnia had said softly, "Perhaps I asked too much of them."
Casady shook his head. "It's not you. It's Morgance, trust me. And when Morgance is upset, so is Rune. They're kind of getting ridiculous."
Vinnia shook her head. "I don't know what to do about her, honestly. She doesn't realize how she's going to jeopardize all of us if she doesn't cooperate. She's so intent on following her own agenda."
"Is there any way we could get her to realize how important it is to following orders? Do you know anyone who had to be punished because they disobeyed the rules?" Casady wanted to know.
The look that crossed Trace's face was strange.
"No," Vinnia finally said. "I don't know of anyone we could talk about. I mean...it's not like either of us have...you know...been punished."
Casady could tell that Vinnia wasn't telling the truth. It was the first time her words had been unconvincing. "What are you hiding, Vinnia?"
"Casady," Vinnia said, her voice low with urgency, "if I tell you something, you must realize that it is of the utmost importance for you to keep it a secret. Do you understand?"
"Even from Morgance and Rune?"
Sighing, Vinnia nodded. "Especially from Morgance and Rune. I don't trust Morgance, and I know that Rune will do whatever she says to do. Do you follow me?"
Casady nodded, but he was still confused.
"I have been through things you can't even imagine, all because of disobedience to the Force. Now, I lie low. I don't do anything out of the ordinary. I follow every rule to the utmost measure. The reason I was so distressed was because I spoke a somewhat rebellious statement at the meeting tonight."
"Can you tell me what you said?" Casady asked, but he wasn't surprised when his request was met with a firm no.
Trace lifted Vinnia's hand to his lips and kissed it gently. "You'll be alright," he said softly. "I don't think they'll make anything of it."
Removing her hand nonchalantly from Trace's grasp, Vinnia shook her head. "I wouldn't be so sure," she responded. "They've given terrible punishments to the pettiest of disobediences. I wouldn't bet too much on their mercy."
Casady was still worried over the fact that Vinnia didn't trust Morgance and Rune. "So do you think they're against you?" he asked at long last.
"Morgance and Rune? At this point, I can't tell."
Trace murmured his agreement.
"So I guess it comes to this, then," Vinnia said. She leaned forward and met Casady's eyes. "Are you with us?"
"Of course I am," Casady replied, but inwardly, he wondered if he should be as wary of Vinnia as Rune and Morgance clearly were.
"No, Casady. If you're with us, it might mean that you're against Rune and Morgance. Are you sure you're willing to possibly go against your friends? Would you really do that?"