We hit the ground running, popping open the chopper door as soon as it touched the ground and leaping out.
As we raced across the tarmac I briefly stopped and looked back. The helicopter was a collection of yellow and black planes, simple, stripped down, like a childs' toy. A slight leak of Red from the bottom glittered in the sunset like a tear of blood.
The pilot, huge eyes barely visible under some kind of mask, waved slowly at me. "That one needs a bath" I thought to myself.
I rushed to catch up with Steve, dodging the shallow pools of Red on the runway. I had now wish for even a small transformation or revelation right then.
We got a cab and once on the back seat resumed our argument.
"Look Giles, it was all running fine out there. There's no need for human intervention in the drilling process at all."
"A regular supply of Red is too critical to be left to puppets. The only way to run that operation without human presence would be to give them a dangerous level of independence. What if they break through?"
"Breaking through is just a legend. Even if they did we could just nuke then."
"Any use of fission weapons has to be reported to the Families. Do you have any idea how much paperwork that would generate?"
"I can guess. Still it's a valid option. With that much Red around there's nothing to worry about as far as radiation goes."
"It's not going to fly Alan. The Families will never agree to withdrawing human supervision."
And the argument went on, looping around and around, never reaching a conclusion.
We could have flown home or got a ship or even have flowed down the east coast to the Thames.
Instead we took the train as usual, a long journey but one that we found soothing and interesting in equal measures.