While the five chairs knew everything about the organization they were in charge of, they very rarely showed up to the same things, or communicated directly. That was probably a level more security than they actually needed to be existing under, but Kay had pushed quite hard in the beginning for it being better to start under the assumption you needed everything you can manage. Better than discovering after the fact you hadn’t been careful enough.
But the Eriene had officially crested a thousand members the year before. They weren’t a small secret organization anymore.
It technically should have been Kakapo’s job to organize a quiet, safe place for the board to meet, but Marie had only held the title for two months and Moira had never gotten around to explaining how that worked to her.
They’d spent time on video conference while Thea explained how to make the preparations. How to request that Alice make sure everyone’s schedules worked so it wouldn’t be too worrying from the outside that they’d taken a somewhat unexpected vacation.
All so they could all—or nearly all—sit down in a room together.
“Katydid isn’t coming?” Alice—Kagu for the purposes of the meeting—asked, sitting down in the wide stuffed chair. It was her favorite, they’d kitted out the lake lodge—an old crumbling hunting club on the shores of Lake Superior—together, back in the early days. They all felt comfortable there, it had been their place for years.
Victoria Makepeace—Kingfisher—laughed. “When does she ever come to these things? As hard as it is to get the rest of us free and clear, it’s nearly impossible for her.”
“Especially now, I imagine,” Marie input, sitting with a cup of coffee. “She did send me a message. That I was allowed to remind all of you to stick to code-names—which is strange coming from me as I’ve only been Kakapo for a couple of months.”
“It helps to give the warning every time.” Thea sighed. It was going to be harder for her. Outside these exact occasions she was almost never Kestrel in person. “For it to be tradition so no one has to feel nervous about it. The previous Kakapo was the oldest of us, she was always sure she’d be the first to change.”
“You’ve taken up the mantle brilliantly,” Victoria insisted. “None of us ever doubted Kestrel’s choice, of course, but Kagu and I want to make sure you understand we’re just as happy with you as Kestrel and Katydid are.”
Marie laughed. “Katydid has been quite an adjustment.”
“Most of her involvement comes through Kestrel,” Alice said. “I’m sure now that you’re settled there’ll be less of the sudden text messages from an unknown number at two in the morning.”
“Speaking of,” Marie insisted, smoothly. “She informed me this morning that Kestrel officially had right to make her vote for any decisions we make in the course of this quorum.”
Victoria rubbed her hands together. “Good. So what are we deciding on?”
“Our previous Kakapo felt we’d reached a size, and complexity as an organization that we needed to have an actual headquarters.” Marie pulled out files for each of them, and passed them around. “Inside these you’ll find the details of a property she planned to purchase just outside Honolulu proper. Currently it supports a hundred room resort with all the trappings. It would need a bit of work, but nothing excessive. She also left a detailed efficacy statement geared toward each of your areas of concern.”
“Do I have an area of concern?” Thea asked, flipping through the land value assesments, and pictures of the property.
“Us.” Alice and Victoria answered at the same time.
Thea blinked at them.
Alice flushed. “Katydid mentioned it before. I’m responsible for record keeping and technical security, Kingfisher is responsible for wider member interests and recruitment, Kakapo is responsible for physical assets and property, and Katydid is responsible for high level financial operations. You’re responsible for making sure all of us can focus on those things.”
“Okay.” She frowned. “I’m not sure what that means for Kakapo’s efficacy statement.”
Marie smiled. “First, Kagu, there is a plan for server installation on the property, as you’d asked for a secure placement.”
“Yes,” Marie answered. “And I have a packet for you about all the available utilities and basically anything you want we’ll make it happen.”
“Okay.” Alice nodded.
“Kingfisher, your biggest concern in recent years has been how to fold people into our organization without raising eyebrows, she suggested a Hawaiian resort vacation would be a good way to remove people from their everyday lives and give them some time to think over the proposal, and also mean if they chose not to join they hadn’t had a strange businesswoman hanging around them.”
Victoria grinned brightly. “I like it. I could work up some sort of ‘travel prize’ for the members who don’t have the money to go on a Hawaiian vacation.”
“We’ll have to pay for everyone’s travel here though, before they become a member,” Thea input, making a note to check the legality of a giveaway, particularly as it wasn’t actually a give-away.
“Kestrel.” Marie looked up at her, and bit her lip. “Yours was a little more complicated.”
“I imagined it would be.” Given she didn’t have the first clue where Moira had been going with this, in regard to her.
Marie smiled. “She wanted this to be an actual headquarters. In such, we would all relocate to Hawaii.” She held up a folder. “I have a selection of living arrangements for all of us to choose from. Cost of living projections and all of that. And why this isn’t a horrible idea is part of Katydid’s statement so I’ll give you that in a moment. For now, she said the purpose of this organization was, in some ways, to create bonds. And it has, for all its members but us. Most especially you. Your involvement and position leaves you constantly out in the cold. This, as you know, always sat ill with her.”
“Okay, skip to how she thought this wasn’t a horrible idea,” Thea said, frowning.
Victoria laughed, leaning back. “Because the rest of us don’t understand how she thought she was going to convince Katydid this was viable, never mind Kestrel.”
Marie nodded. “Hawaii is an island, and therefore something of a closed system. It has a built in cover story, both for us—who wouldn’t want to live in paradise—and for people who need to see one of us in person. As a closed system it is easier to manage our security, both online and in person.”
“It will look strange if we all move to Hawaii at the same time,” Thea offered.
“She thought of that. If we approve this plan I will start working on the resort immediately, so I will be in Hawaii, but not at this stage permanently. Once the property is set to a certain extent Kagu would relocate to finish the server installation and other security issues. She believed Kingfisher would prefer to split her time between her current residence and perhaps spend the winter months in Hawaii.”
“I would love to,” Victoria answered. She had her finger in the real estate folder, obviously having selected a place.
“And Kestrel would relocate before the beginning of the next school year,” Marie finished.
Thea rubbed her face. “And then when Katydid returns she would find a place there as well.”
Marie nodded. “Because, again, who wouldn’t want to live in paradise.”
“When are we voting?” Thea asked.
“Tomorrow. We have some other business to discuss,” Victoria offered. “Do you need to place an untraceable call?”
Thea nodded. “If she’s going to throw a wrench in the security statement, I’d rather know it now,” she said, grabbing her phone and heading for the hallway.
Alice watched her walk away and whispered to the others. “Bets on how much of this was Katydid’s idea?”
“No dice,” Victoria whispered back. “They were both worried about her.”
This week was a little long, but were down to the last seven letters!
Come back Monday for T.