The first time Harry met the curious engineers was in a penthouse suite at a casino resort.
“Tell me, Mister Wilson,” asked Max, “do you believe in ghosts?”
What an odd question, thought Harry. “It would depend on what you mean by believe. Is belief assured knowledge? Or do you mean belief as a hoped-for situation? I know people who believe in the Tooth Fairy.”
“I admire precision,” nodded Max. “The continuity of the soul, the essence of self-awareness continuing in time. Yes?”
Harry rose and went to the bar. He found, and poured, a single malt scotch, neat. If nothing else, Snead knew how to stock a bar. “I would defer to the conservation of energy. Energy can change form, be used, but can’t be destroyed. The life force, energy, must continue. Perhaps altered, but existing none-the-less.”
“I believe Max means consciousness, self-awareness,” added Junior. “Does consciousness follow the law of energy conservation, in your opinion?”
“I don’t know enough to have an opinion since you put it like that,” confessed Harry. “I’ve studied consciousness, but consciousness is considered a product of chemical processes in the brain. I don’t think that’s what you mean.”
“The brain is a machine,” stated Max. “Tell me, Mister Wilson, are you an honorable man?”
Another curious question, noted Harry. “Am I honest with myself and others? Yes. When I’m wrong, I change my mind, rather than attempt to change everything else to suit me.”
Max and Junior finished their vodka, exchanged expressions, and stepped towards another room. “Excuse us, please,” said Junior as they entered the other room and closed the door. Harry finished his scotch and returned the glass to the bar. He went to the window.
Snead had a point. What better place to hold a discreet meeting than the top floor of a controlled environment? Everyone else is busy and casino security tracks everyone, at least in the gaming areas. Throw in a partnership with a discreet organization or perhaps the government and - voila – an accessible luxury safe house.
Suppose he was standing in such a place right now. What did it mean? What was Harry Wilson doing here? Why was he here? Well, that much he knew. When Snead called the second time he reminded Harry of the activation clause in his contract. The government could, under circumstances, invoke his service ad hoc. Translation: Go voluntarily or go in handcuffs, but to the meeting ye shall go! Harry recalled that clause.