Tabitha would be glad to see the last of these two for, no matter now much their usefulness to the cause was touted, she would never be able to abide their presence for long. They were just too different from the others of Chrysalis to ever fit in. And it was quite obvious they were fully aware of that little fact, but something about them suggested that they didn't care. Maybe they truly did see themselves as better, as something beyond the other modified Chrysalis members. If that was true... Tabitha repressed a shudder, fearing it would not bode well for the great plan.

"Are you certain the timeline is stable?" Sharon asked; her voice carried flawlessly across the intervening distance.

"For now," Delphi responded. "You must understand this was a stopgap measure only. What Stark put into motion cannot be prevented."

"But you have gained us time." It was both a question and a statement, Sharon wanting confirmation that everything was back on track.

"Yes, but it will require constant vigilance to maintain this path," Lethe asserted. Of the two, he was the more disconcerting. Something over the last few days has altered the man dramatically and left Tabitha wondering what had happened to change him so.

"Merde. Jared has cost us much," Sharon complained bitterly, and Tabitha could only agree, given the recent mess. Allowing the host of his child to not only find the boy, but also succeed in stealing him away not just once, but twice. It was unconscionable. So, it was no wonder Sharon had decided to cut their losses and let the child go. It would make for one less complication for Chrysalis.

"He could be of use in another sector," Tabitha suggested sweetly. She wouldn't mind getting rid of the man and his personal machinations.

"Non, he is needed there." Sharon made it clear there would be no further discussion of the matter.

"As you wish, Sharon." Tabitha knew better than to argue.

"Delphi, you implied that the Agency is important to our future, oui?"

Delphi's features went suddenly blank and it made Tabitha think the woman was hiding something.

"Important to Chrysalis' future, yes, but how exactly I was unable to ascertain," Delphi explained, her voice cool and steady, betraying nothing of what she felt.

Sharon was silent for several minutes, only the green light on the phone showing that the connection was still live preventing Tabitha from asking what the problem was. Plainly, there was a serious decision to be made here.

"Delphi, you will remain in Sector G and read the members of the Agency. I wish to know exactly how their future will affect ours."

Tabitha frowned. That was an unexpected turn.

"Lethe, you will join me here. I need you for a special assignment."

That got a reaction from Delphi. "Sharon," she began at a shout, but quickly got herself under control "I will require Lethe as a prompt..."

"Cooper, can serve in that capacity," Sharon argued.

"Their memories..."

"You rely too heavily upon Lethe to cover your tracks. I would recommend that you find an alternate method of contact for the duration." Sharon's voice had lowered dangerously; something was going on that Tabitha did not yet understand.

Delphi glanced at Lethe, whose look was stony. "I would prefer not being separated from Delphi."

Sharon's sigh of irritation was audible. "It is necessary. Why does it seem you have forgotten who is in control here?"

Delphi bristled visibly, which Tabitha found quite interesting, but Lethe set a hand on her shoulder, calming her before he spoke, "We have not forgotten, Sharon, and will do as you request, as always. I simply wish to remind you that we function optimally as a pair and not as individuals."

"A valid reminder, Lethe, but it does not change my need. If things go as I plan, you will be reunited in a few weeks."

Delphi still did not look happy, but said, "I understand. I will investigate this Agency." She paused, a faraway look in her eyes. "Their future is tangled with ours and breaking the threads will do more harm than good."

Tabitha muttered, "Of course it will. They are like a sickness; tiny insignificant on the surface, but to cut the infection out would be devastating. Why can things not be simple?"

Delphi cocked her head. "Because life is not simple." Her attention left Tabitha. "Sharon, it may take me some time to make contact with all involved. I will need assistance."

"You will have it. Sector G's resources will be at your disposal. Do not abuse the privilege." The last was clearly a warning.

"You do not have to worry about Delphi. She understands the burden you are placing upon her." The look Lethe leveled at Delphi was fraught with meaning that Tabitha was incapable of interpreting. She did not trust the woman at all and would watch her carefully so long as she was in Sector G.

"She will have my full cooperation, of course," Tabitha confirmed, though it pained her to say so.

"Bon. Lethe, I want you here in two days," Sharon ordered.

"As you wish." He was completely unreadable, unlike Delphi whose eyes showed her utter discontent.

"I will see you then," Sharon said. "Tabitha, I want a full report by nine a.m. tomorrow."

"You will have it," Tabitha assured her superior just as the connection went dark. She leaned back in her chair and watched Delphi warily. "I will arrange accommodations for you in town, if you wish."

Delphi nodded. "That will be fine. I will need all the data you have on the Agency and its employees. Especially this Darien Fawkes." She and Lethe stood, and stepped towards the large window overlooking the city.

"I'll have it for you within the hour." Tabitha rotated her chair to keep the couple in sight. They stood side by side in silhouette, hands clasped behind their backs, gazing out the window at the whole of San Diego laid out before them. They were so still, and so silent that it unnerved her and she felt the need to break the heavy silence. "Will that be acceptable?" She didn't know why she felt the sudden urge to be obsequious to the pair, but she couldn't seem to stop herself.

It was Lethe who finally responded with a single word, "Yes."

---

This wiseguy named Gide said, "Know thyself? A maxim as pernicious as it is ugly. Whoever observes himself arrests his own development. A caterpillar who wanted to know itself well would never become a butterfly."

It's true too, and it's a dangerous trap to fall into. We're not static creatures unless forced to be... or designed to be. See, that's the pitfall of the path Chrysalis had chosen to wander down. They were seeking perfection, an ultimate version of man that would take them to some future utopia. Rushing mankind's evolution with what they hoped was the pinnacle in intelligent design. But they were so focused on their grand plan they couldn't see anything else. That whole forest for all the trees thing. If they weren't careful, they might not succeed in escaping their chrysalis.

---

Finis