"We're gonna be totally outnumbered!" Marco's shouting, and Cassie's looking worried because that's what Cassie does, even though she always goes with them in the end. Jake's got his Serious Face on, nodding and thinking, and Marco's right, this is a big deal, a big meeting, and there's gonna be a ton of Controllers there, and tons of security, because they're starting to realise now, starting to understand that there's a force here to be reckoned with, even if they don't really know what that force is.
So, yeah, lots of controllers, probably lots of Hork-Bajir, and only the six of them (always six because, dammit, he can still be useful and they all know it). But this is an important meeting, and even if they can't stop it, even if they can't bust it up and do some damage, at the very least they need to know what happens here. Something is building, something big, and they're going to need all the information they can get.
"We're gonna be slaughtered," Marco's saying now, waving his arms around, and Tobias really wishes he could still do things with his face, because he'd totally be raising one eyebrow right now if he could. As it is, he settles for staring disapprovingly (the Look goes right over Marco's head; Tobias thinks it's the disadvantage of all of his facial expressions looking like hungry glares these days).
Jake levels a stare of his own, and, okay, maybe Tobias has developed this bad habit of paying way too much attention to people's expressions since he stopped being able to make his own, because Jake's stare is clearly saying, You are being ridiculous and crazy and please shut up, oh my god, this is SO not helpful right now.
"The only way we'll be able to do this is if we only go in as eyes and ears," Jake says, arms folded across his chest and looking around at all of them like a general surveying his troops, and isn't that just about right, Tobias thinks. He doesn't like this plan, and not just because it means he'll have to stay outside as backup. They've tried the simple in-and-out missions before; they're usually the ones that go wrong in the worst ways.
Rachel rolls her eyes. "So we're just going to, what, use the flies? Cling to the walls like little bitty bugs?"
"That's exactly what we're going to do," Jake says, firmly. "There's too much risk otherwise."
"There's always risk," Rachel protests. "No matter what we do, there's always a chance something's gonna happen. We've always known that."
"Which is why we shouldn't go looking for danger," Cassie says, quiet, and Rachel looks away for a moment, chewing on her bottom lip.
"I'd just rather go into it expecting action," she mutters, "rather than going in cold and having to change the plan halfway through."
"We have to play it safe on this one, Rachel," Jake says, and there's something on his face that makes Tobias think he's not above pleading with his cousin on this one. "But I promise," he says, holding out a hand, "if anything goes wrong, we'll let you have the first swing."
Rachel smiles, and it's more like baring her teeth, reminds her more of Jake's tiger or her own grizzly, and it shouldn't look so natural, shouldn't be so beautiful, but then, Tobias is all violence and killing these days, beak and talons and that need to find his next prey, so maybe it's just natural that he finds that same quality attractive in someone else.
"Now that's an arrangement I can work with," Rachel says, smile sharp and her eyes bright, and Tobias thinks, She's dangerous.
And honestly? He couldn't care less.