Darius stepped over to the rod and picked it up, turning it in his hand. It felt surprisingly warm and made a low humming sound. He looked at the carvings along the edge of the rod.
"This... this is Allis writing, isn't it?"
"That's right. This is an Allis Power Node. Orbus heard rumors through the Inops underworld that someone had discovered it in one of the old ruins on the planet. Finding out whether the rumor was true was a more difficult matter, but it looks like our hard work has paid off."
Darius's eyes widened under his mask.
"Are you serious? This... little rod is a Power Node? I thought they'd be bigger!"
"The Allis continue to surprise us, to be sure. Who knows what other secrets they may yet have left behind? But that's not important right now. You know what this means?"
Darius nodded his head slowly.
"Well, yes. A portable unlimited reactor. The only other two I know had been found were at Unity headquarters, being researched... before Cykris took over."
Kessler waved his hand and tutted.
"Yes, yes, the power is important. But, if my theories are correct, this will allow us to finally activate Allis technology. The bigwigs over at Unity HQ never thought to try it out."
Darius was totally shocked.
"We can use Allis weapons now?"
"Well, it'll definitely take some time to figure out exactly how. All the more reason for me to keep low. If Cykris found out we had this... well, I wouldn't want to be me."
"I'm assuming this is why you sent for me?"
Kessler cocked his head to the side.
"Sent for you? I did no such thing! It was a complete surprise to see you here!"
"No, no! You sent me a holo-message, I definately saw your face, and you asked me to come find--"
Darius went quiet as the horrible truth dawned on him. They had been set up. He spoke in a terrified whisper, completely different from his usual demeanor.
Kessler's face was a look of absolute terror as he came to the same conclusion. The Querymen had tricked Darius with an illusion to make him think he was talking to Kessler. He had led them right to him!
No sooner had he figured out the truth than a pounding came from outside the door.
Kessler grabbed Darius and Orbus, and thrusting the Power Node into Darius's hands, shoved them into a large closet in a back room.
"There's a secret room behind this closet. Hide there, and don't come out until you're sure it's safe! You must keep the node out of their hands!"
"But what about you, Hermann! I got you into this, I won't--"
Kessler cut him off.
"I don't blame you for this, Darius! I'll be fine! Now HIDE!"
Slamming the closet doors behind him, Kessler ran off to confront the intruders. Darius grabbed Orbus and moved through a false back panel into a dark, cramped room. They could hear faint voices coming from the main room.