A short, round man slammed his cane onto the tabletop. “I ain’t no candidate! I came down here to avoid being prey, and you all want to go marchin’ into the lion’s mouth!”

“Shortcut, we will put it to a vote, as we always do.” C:\ silenced him.

“Hey,” interrupted Hard Drive from behind us. I had forgotten he and his 3 lackeys were there. “I, for one, did not crawl down into this hidey-hole to die a pastey pool boy! Candidate or no, I’m not dying where I can’t see the sun!” His lackeys petted his broad shoulders, in mock comforting gestures.

“I’ve been up there.” This was my last chance to convince the council. “They threw a flash grenade into my living room. Not only did it erase all my data with an EMP charge, it nearly erased me! The longer the droids are out there, the more they learn. The more brains they reap, the more data they collect and use against us, the better the weapons, and the underground won’t be safe anymore!”

“I’m in.” Virus stood in a show of readiness. “Who’s with me?”

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