@4wd. Thank you very much for going Sherlock Holmes. See if this fixes it:
That clears up that little mystery but to be honest, the disparity between the number of people was not the real reason I had a "wait a minute" moment at that point.
Sorry, if I'm going to get hyper-critical here seeing as no-one else picked up on this but when I'm reading a book I hate having to go back a dozen or more pages because I think I've missed something - it interrupts the flow.
So feel free to ignore me, I'm still enjoying it
I'll go back a few pages to where the four "conspirators", (for want of a better word), are meeting in Rec #2:
Nearby, a woman finished sampling a swimming pool and adjusting the pool water’s composition minutely with a tray of chemicals she carried. She finished and exited the area, smiling at Byron, who waved back at her and returned the smile. Their eyes lingered on one another a few moments too long, Sethra decided, and he made a mental note to torment Byron about it later.
Byron spent the night two kilometers away, in another cavern filled with residential cubicles. He was enjoying the company of the Environmental tech he’d shared a smile with earlier in Rec #2. It wasn’t the first time the two had felt sparks when in proximity to one another. Zuzana Wesley was her name, a red-headed knockout!
From those two excerpts I was under the assumption that Byron and Zuzana had only, errr...., "interfaced" for the first time that night - previous contact being a few smiles and/or words.
But when I read the line, (now modified), below:
With a heavily encrypted brief message, Sethra announced an impromptu meeting in his cubicle, sending the chime to Byron, Zuzana, Veronee and Eddie.
She appears to be one of the conspirators but was not joining them in VR, (originally), nor was privy to the meeting in Rec #2 - it left me a little confused so I ended up reading that whole section again.
I hope what I've said make some sort of sense.
There appears to be one too many or few quote marks in this section:
“May I?” Sethra asked, sliding his hand forward on the table. At a nod from Byron, he picked up the data chip and held it up to the light. “And we just happen to have the tech down here to actually access this data. “Given the research in which I was involved at MIT, if the conclusions we were beginning to reach are realistic, then this chip, run on the hardware here in the compound, could allow our consciousnesses to survive our seemingly imminent bodily deaths.” Handing the crystal back to Byron, he continued, “I never thought I’d see that again.”
I think this line:
No need for a nuclear strike, if these aliens were sophisticated enough to slay a quarter of the population with a long-range electronic virus they bathed the planet in before they were even all the way in-system.
would read better grammatically, (although I'm hardly one to talk about proper grammar
If these aliens were sophisticated enough to slay a quarter of the population with a long-range electronic virus they bathed the planet in before they were even all the way in-system, then there's no need for a nuclear strike.
But he follows the protocols, which means he has his chief of security, and certain androids, constantly casting a wide electronic net of surveillance throughout the compound.
But he follows the protocols, which means he has his chief of security, and certain androids, constantly casting a wide electronic surveillance net throughout the compound.