I met with Smith again this morning. She was agitated, and explained that she could only speak to me for a few minutes. We met in a small, windowless room. She kept turning to look at the closed door, as if she expected us to be interrupted at any minute.
She caught my gaze and told me to ask the question I wanted to ask. She said she'd do her best to answer it. I didn't have to think. I asked her how the research here related to the expansion problem, and how close we were to having anything that could be used to hold back The Sick Land. She looked away, her eyes fixed on a point miles in the distance. She told me I should have worked it out by now. That there was no escape, no holding The Sick Land back, no resisting the mal. All we could do, all the facility did, was try to find ways for humankind to survive the inevitable. I stared at her, my mouth falling open, and wondered if this was the official line, or just Smith's personal take on the situation. I started to ask her but she cut me off. She said we had to adapt as a species, had to find ways to keep the human race going while The Sick Land washed over us. Change was coming, and death for billions. I didn't know what to say.
She told me she had to go, and left the small room in a hurry. I sat there for another quarter of an hour, brooding on what she'd said. I only left when two soldiers opened the door, looked in and saw me, then went without a second glance. Something is happening.