The story so far:
"Children," Pete said slowly. He raised his hands from the loose knuckled fist they generally hung in as he folded his arms tightly across this chest.
I moved my aim a little higher, level with his head, in an attempt to wordlessly state that I meant business. As I studied his reaction, there seemed something different about Pete. His posture was straighter, his stance was steadier, and the wrinkles that surrounded his eyes with his normal smile were gone with the expression that was beginning to look angrier and angrier.
With all my training, years of experience, this man had convinced me he was at least 20 years older than his natural age, simply with his body language.
He was good.
"She asked you a question," I felt Robert reach the top stair next to me. A quick glance in his direction revealed a gun in his hands, mirroring my aim. There must have been a gun in the car; I ran out so quickly, I didn't even bother to notice if he immediately followed or not.
"Children," Pete said again, "I don't think we'll be using that word. That insinuates that they are human. No, children isn't the right word at all."
Even his voice sounded younger. I could have kicked myself for falling for his guise. I was better than that.
"Are you saying that they aren't human?" Robert's voice rose incredulously, his shock faltering his cool. He attempted to regain it, "Nevermind. Your opinion in this does not matter. Tell us where they ARE!"
Rage shook the last word. I let my eyes slide to look at Robert momentarily. Robert was always cool as a cucumber, no matter what the situation. Even moments before when discussing our daughter's death, his voice never rose.
I looked back at Pete, pushing the suspicious thought out of my mind. We had been apart for so long and been through so much, surely he had changed. Nothing unusual about that.
Pete eyes begain to crinkle in a familiar way as his mouth broke into a grin. I watched the smile touch the skin around the eyes, but not the eyes themselves. Those remained unmoved, cold.
"Pete," I begain, "I will kill you if necessary, but right now, you need to answer us. Your lack of cooporation here won't make me kill you, but know that I WILL SHOOT YOU!"
I silently wished for a revolver for effect. While generally a pointless gesture with today's guns, there is nothing that puts fear in the heart like the sound of a gun cocking.
"Oh, Maribel, don't you understand?" Pete said, unfolding his arms and taking a step forward, "I'm not the bad guy here. The FBI isn't the bad guy here. It's those who choose to play God that cause the problems."
"Playing God?" Robert laughed as he asked, "You can make that argument about any sort of science! How is replicating someone playing God anymore than creating an artificial heart?"
Pete never took his eyes off me, still smiling, "Robert, you know the answer to that. Maribel, have you and Robert discussed what happens to these 'replicas' around ten years?"
I kept my gun steady, but my will faltered.
"What are you talking about?"
"Go ahead, Robert," Pete finally turned his gaze from me to look at Robert, "Tell her what you left out of your explaination."
I angled myself to keep the gun trained on Pete, but to look at Robert. I turned to see Robert's face falling, a wave of horror washing over his expression.
"What?" I demanded, "Tell me what is going on, SOMEONE!"
Robert's gun fell as his arms dropped to his side, his head dropping down as well, not looking at Pete or myself.
"How do you know?" He asked, I assumed it was directed at Pete.
"Did you really think you had successfully kept that under wraps? Did you really think that we hadn't found out, that we wouldn't find out?!," Pete spun back to me, "Maribel, our goal is to terminate this project, to terminate the ABILITY to do what they are doing. In theory, what your husband is doing sounds noble, but there has been significant evidence that any replicants that age 10 years...well, I don't know if explaining it is the way to go."
My mind was swimming. He was trying to say that something goes wrong, but what? Robert's posture remained defeated, as I looked to him for guidance. How do I react? What am I reacting to? My stance weakened, and I let the gun fall to my side.
"I'm working on that," Robert said, still never looking up, "We're in the process of fixing that...glitch."
"GLITCH?!?!" Pete roar, diving at me suddenly, getting the gun from my hands with no effort at all. He swung around to face Robert, who had sprung back up with his gun.
They stood facing each other, hardly three feet apart, guns steadily trained on each others head.
"A glitch?!" Pete yelled again, enraged,"That's one HELL OF A GLITCH! Glitches don't cause the death, glitches don't cause destruction! Glitches don't jeopardize the safety of MILLIONS OF AMERICANS!"
Robert was back to his cool self, never flinching at Pete's word as he kept his own gun steady.
I had enough.
I stepped in the small space between the two guns.
"Someone BETTER explain to me what the HELL is going on, RIGHT NOW!"