“What do you mean, Judi?” Maribelle asked.
“Do you recall when the esteemed Mr. Hamm asked me what I had expected would happen, sooner or later, to our mutual friend here?”
“I think so, yeah.”
“Well, the truth of it is, I did rather suspect that someday an attempt would be made to put our friend into captivity. I tried to convince myself it wouldn’t happen, but I must confess I did come to certain decisions in the event that my fears proved prescient.”
“What did you decide?” Maribelle asked.
“Quite simple,” Judith replied. “I determined that, should the creature ever be captured, I would wait until the most convenient opportunity, then forget, convenient as it were, to lock his cage upon retiring one night.”
“You’d let him go?”
“But after the fact.”
“Yes,” Judith said. “And I fear that our surest, if not our only hope may tend in that direction.”
“So you think we should let him be captured,” Maribelle said, “so we can turn him loose later?”
“If we were to assist in that capture,” Judith said, “it would guarantee the company’s trust in us, and guarantee me a prominent position on the team of scientists that will study the creature. With you as my able assistant, of course.”
“And then we let him go when nobody’s looking.”
“There you have it,” Judith said. “We could go back to the camp, explain to Mr. Hamm that we didn’t trust him to handle the capture and so decided to do it ourselves. To talk the creature into coming along with us, without violence or a struggle.”
“Would he, you think?” Maribelle said. She looked at the sleeping creature.
“I don’t know,” Judith said. “It might depend on his ability to understand the plan.”
“And his ability to trust us,” Maribelle said.
“That most of all.”