Rune could feel Casady's eyes burrow beneath his words, judging, weighing, digging. He knew Casady was still distrustful. How could he not be? Rune had all but sworn off an alliance forever, and now, he was asking for one.
That had to look suspicious.
But there was no other way.
"So what exactly are you suggesting, if we don't have Vinnia? Do you want me to go to some Force officials and ask them to return her? Because I've already done that." Casady swore, something that was rather unlike him. "I've already pleaded with them to give her back. They said that it's all in my hands now, and Rune, I can't deal with that." His honesty almost struck a chord with Rune, a chord of pity.
"I can't imagine how difficult that would be, Casady. I can hardly take care of myself, let alone a group of Singers. I'm not downplaying what a hard situation you're in right now. But we can use it to our advantage."
Casady rolled his eyes. "Of course we can," he muttered, bitterness in his voice.
"We all know what a hold you have over Aretta," Rune began, but before he could go any further, Casady sat up straight and shook his head vehemently.
"I'm not doing anything with Aretta," he exploded, arguing before the actual discussion had truly begun.
"For Heaven's sake, Casady, just hear me out!" Rune replied, glancing nervously around to see if anyone had heard Casady's harsh words. "And for crying out loud, keep it down! We can't have anyone noticing you shout. They'll know you're not Singing."
"This cubicle is soundproof, Rune. If they can't hear people Singing, then they can't hear me yelling."
"But they can see. Yelling looks a whole lot different than Singing." Seeing he had caught the attention of both Casady and Morgance, Rune cleared his throat and continued. "If Vinnia is gone, then someone needs to head up your Singing group. For reasons we don't know, unless you're not telling us something, she's chosen you - not Trace - to be the leader of your section. She's left you in the dust, Casady."
"If you're trying to sway my loyalties, it's not working."
"I'm not. All I'm saying is this: you're in charge of your group. People in charge have special privileges. Casady, talk to Aretta. See if she can get you access to Ground Zero. Explain to her that Vinnia left you in charge. It might be our only ticket to the underground."