I sat in the outer office of Grandpa Z’s office for only a minute, but it seemed much longer before Nana came to the door and ushered me in. Things have happened so fast since I came back to be with the family. It seems a long time ago that I stood right here while Zeus whipped up a blinding thunderstorm in anger and soaked Cassandra. And now Cassandra was…well, now things were different. Nana Hera saved me that day, and laid the foundation for Father’s and my sometimes rocky reunion. Still, it has all been better than worse, and I am glad I came back.
But now, now there was concern on everyone’s faces. The reappearance of Kronos and Chronos, as a team no less, was a serious situation indeed. No one admitted it, but I knew the sudden return of Uncle Hades from his holiday in Boracay was in no small part due to the events at Nyx’s winter solstice party. The serious nature of the last several weeks’ events was also why I requested Nana Hera to take a few minutes to talk with me about how best to protect our family, our faithful, and our assets.
“Dinlas, please, come in,” she said as she opened the door wide and stepped back to allow room for me to pass. I scratched at the two nicotine patches on my neck as I entered the spacious office and saw Nana Hera immediately noticed.
“Dinlas, are you injured? Are those bandages?” she said as she looked at them, but I motioned for her to sit and gave her a kiss.
“No, no, Nana, they’re nicotine patches. I quit smoking several days ago. Nyx, Eleni, and Phobos all told me to get them. Apparently, I have had a short temper since I quit.”
“Do you normally wear two at a time?”
“Well you’re not supposed to, or at least mortals aren’t supposed to.”
“Well, Dinlas, why are you wearing two?”
“Nana, I’m wearing three of them, but it’s really not why I came to talk with you.”
Nana rolled her eyes at me, obviously displeased with my tone.
I took a deep breath and restarted. “Nana, how are you?” Then I added with a grin, “Have you been enjoying your gift?”
She gave a small smile in spite of her irritation with me, as she thought about the flying carpet I had gotten her for Yule. “I will, I am sure. Zeus and I only got to try it once before, well, you know before his injury. But I’m sure you didn’t ask to see me about my carpet. What is on your mind?”
I nodded and replied, “Yes. I’ve been thinking a lot about this ever since the winter solstice.”
Hera scowled and replied, “Kronos and Chronos? Have you seen them? What about them?”
I smiled. With questions like that, this was going to be easier than I imagined.
“Well,” I said, “that’s the point, the point exactly.”
Nana looked at me, clearly confused by my response. “What does that mean, Dinlas?” she asked from her chair.
I leaned forward and clasped my hands together. I had thought about this speech for several days, but I was still nervous pitching it.
“My point is, that we have no idea what they are doing or where they even are right now. They crashed the most exclusive party in the last five-hundred years. They did it with no warning, at a top-secret location, and then they waltzed out without so much as having a kiss blown in their direction.”
Hera shifted uncomfortably in her chair. It was obvious she felt I was chastising Grandpa Zeus for letting his guard down.
“Nana,” I said as I leaned in even farther, “I’m not trying to assign blame to anyone here. We were all caught laughing it up with our pants down. All of us. But we don’t need to let that happen again. In fact, we can’t let that happen again. We need to be ahead of this sort of thing before it happens.”
Nana looked at me thoughtfully and said, “And you have a solution?”
“I do,” I replied. “Since taking over Wares Security, I have noticed something.”
“Go on,” she replied.
“When we merged my database from Felon Retrieval Services with the software and hardware at Wares Security, strange things started happening.”
“What kind of strange things?” he asked.
“Well, the computer started generating locations of wanted felons on its own. Also, we started getting security notifications when there were potential problem people in the building. The system would track them and alert us. It’s like it is protecting us. So it made me start thinking. Having a security system, even like this, is very reactive. We need to be proactive. I want to build on this system and create an intelligence agency for the deities.”
“I will confess my knowledge of computers is limited. Is this sort of thing normal?” asked Nana Hera.
“My knowledge as well, but Ares says it never did that before we merged them. Eleni, my assistant, says she has never seen anything like it, and she is knowledgeable about them.”
“Is this something we should be concerned about?” she countered.
I shrugged and replied, “I’m willing to take the help where I can get it right now. We are dealing with the biggest jailbreak in history. We need to utilize every advantage offered to us.”
Nana Hera thought for a moment, then leaned forward. She always had the reputation as a no-nonsense ball-buster, but the fact of the matter is, she is a shrewd woman. She has to be. She and Grandpa have settled into a comfortable life after a couple of millennia, but she still has a brood of unruly godlings that she contends with on an everyday basis. She and Grandpa might snipe at each other for an audience, but the truth is, they are a hard-assed couple that always has each other’s back.
“Dinlas, what exactly would this intelligence agency do for us?”
“Ideally, keep us safer. Be able to ascertain issues before they happen and intervene when it best suits us. I mean think about it, we have some of the best in the business right here. Moxie can read thoughts and plant subliminal messages, Proteus is a shape-shifter, Morpheus can read thoughts as well and see people’s subconscious, and the list goes on and on. We have everything we need to get this started so that we can keep tabs on enemies and track down these rogue titans and primordials.”
Hera still looked uncomfortable and shifted again in her chair as she chewed on her thumbnail.
“Dinlas,” she said. The look on her face and the tone in her voice made it clear she was about to say something uncomfortable.
“Here it comes. Whatever it is, it’s gonna be bad, I can tell by the tone in her voice,” I thought.
“Dinlas,” she said, “what about Nyx?”
“What about her?” I asked as I furrowed my brow and pretended not to understand.
Nana looked at me hard and said, “Don’t act stupid, Dinlas. She isn’t one of us, she’s a primordial.”
“And?” I challenged. “She hasn’t been good to this family? She’s a primordial, but she has never given you a cause to distrust.”
“I know, I know,” she said, “but things are different now. We don’t know what is happening, or how it happened. I need to know, if someone is on the inside, they are fully committed to the cause. I mean these two showed up at her party.”
“I see, so we have deities running around wielding all sorts of chaos and mischief, but because Nyx is a primordial, she gets the skunk-eye? I can tell you one thing. She can keep a secret.”
“How’s that?” replied Hera.
“She never told me what she offered to Zeus as a gift at the Yule celebration.”
Nana sat up slightly taller in her chair and said, “She didn’t? She never told you?”
“No. I didn’t ask, either. I trust her implicitly, and it is none of my business.”
She frowned. “You’re okay with her keeping secrets from you?”
“You can’t play it both ways, Grandmother,” I replied in a more formal tone. “Either you are upset she keeps secrets or upset she can’t keep secrets. Which is it?”
Nana leaned back, waved her hand, and said, “I am just concerned. Concerned about all of it, and you are right, we are operating totally blind right now. I’m trying to keep all this together as well as not fixate on your grandfather’s condition.”
“I can help. Remember, it wasn’t too long ago that Prometheus whispered about a coup before he disappeared again to who knows where. We never even followed up on that in the slightest.”
“So you would spy on family?” she asked.
“I will watch whoever we deem a threat to our safety.”
Nana chuckled. “You have always had a way of tactfully not saying something, Dinlas.”
I shot her a sheepish grin and she added, “I don’t want to know. Let’s go over some plans and some ideas and make this work. Who else needs to be notified?”
“Eleni and I have already discussed it, as have Nyx and I.” I looked hard at her, but she didn’t flinch this time so I continued. “Beyond that, I will have to wait and see. I suspect Ares will be involved, as well as Uncle Hades.”
Nana stood up and I followed her cue.
“I like it,” she said, “I want to know the details on setting it up. Zeus doesn’t need to know the, uh, day to day operations. I will fill him in if…that is as soon as he recovers enough to talk about it.”
“I understand,” I said as I gave Nana a hug, then a kiss on the cheek. She stood that way for several seconds and I felt her body, so tense at first, relax just a little.
“He’s going to get through this and we will all be better and more prepared for it.” She kissed me back on the cheek, let me go, and just nodded. Tears glistened in her eyes.
After she let me go and I headed out the office door. I paused to look back and she was standing by his big desk chair. Her hand lay lovingly on the head rest and she was deep in thought.
I whistled to my girls, who waited in the outer office, and both padded out from under an empty desk to join me as we hit the elevators. We boarded together, and as the doors slid closed, I couldn’t help but lean over and tousle both their heads as I whispered, “Are you two ready to help me fuck some people up?”