50 Mutual respect 2
"I didn't expect it to come to this, and certainly not this quickly, but your recent actions have shown me the necessity of giving you a warning." Lazar began to stare exclusively at Andrew to let him know that what he was about to say concerned him more than Buren, "Believe me... You don't want to know what's going to happen if you continue to disrespect her." He stated bluntly.
'Looks like he really cares about her.' Andrew hid behind a smile once again, but deep down he had rarely been as furious as he was now. The woman next to Lazar was definitely going to become an obstacle to the happiness of his daughter, and when it came to her, it was impossible for him to reason rationally and coldly as he usually did. She was the only family he had left...
Lazar had antagonized Amandla even more in Andrew's eyes and he was aware of it, but there was a purpose in showing that he considered her life precious.
"Speaking of disrespect." Lazar turned his attention to Buren and smiled at him provocatively, "The first thing you should have done is apologize when you saw my partner, don't you think?"
It wasn't a remark but a request and Buren didn't hesitate when he understood it, he instantly rose from his chair without protesting, "I do apologize, Miss." He said while bowing lightly before sitting back down.
His apologies lasted barely 4 seconds and clearly lacked sincerity but Lazar was expecting it, he was even astonished that Buren executed himself so easily.
'It's... awkward.' Buren's pathetic excuses and Lazar's chivalrous attitude made Amandla really uncomfortable.
In fact, it was Lazar who was embarrassing her the most, she hated it when someone acted that way for her and she was disappointed to know that Lazar hadn't understood that she wasn't the kind of person who liked to be overprotected.
"I don't want it to happen again, I hope that's clear?" Lazar added to Amandla's spite.
If Lazar had allowed himself to act this way it was also because he knew that Buren and Andrew wanted to ask him something, and the fact that someone who seemed to care about his pride as much as Buren apologized so easily to Amandla made him think that they weren't going to ask him something pleasant.
Under these conditions, he was satisfied to be able to hurt their self-esteem a little before hearing their bullshit.
"That's very clear Logan, for both of us, but I'd like to get back to what we were talking about before." Andrew said with a seriousness that didn't suit him at all, "As I was saying earlier, I'm not here as the mayor of this city..." He went on to say while staring at Lazar with a gaze that seemed to seek for his sympathy, "But as a father."
Lazar didn't react right away, he needed a few seconds of adaptation to integrate Andrew's words, '...Is he serious?'
Lazar was already saying 'no' by shaking his head before even opening his mouth.
Andrew seemed astonished at his reaction, as if the mere mention of Kathelyn should have been enough to willingly make him do anything for her, "Logan... Why are you reacting like that?"
Lazar stood up calmly and turned to Amandla, "I've heard enough, let's get out of here."
'Maybe it's for the best.' Amandla also stood up without discussing Lazar's decision, she herself was no longer sure she wanted of this association with the army.
"Wait Logan!" Protested loudly Andrew as he was about to go after him to hold him back, "What are you doing?!"
"You don't even know what it's all about, wouldn't it be reasonable to listen to the whole story before refusing." Buren argumented to make Lazar and Amandla stay.
It was indeed unreasonable, Lazar could refuse after hearing them. At least he would know what their goals are by staying, "We are listening."
Andrew breathed a sigh of relief and gave Buren a grateful look when he saw that Lazar and Amandla had sat back down.
"All right." Buren had a little satisfied smile on his face as if Lazar had already agreed to help them.
"When we arrived in Boston, our first concern was the evacuation of civilians, starting with the younger ones. We've been through every kindergartens, elementary schools, colleges and universities..." Buren began to say as he leaned under the table.
'...' Lazar saw that Amandla's expression had softened slightly at the mention of these places.
"In spite of the opposition of the monsters and our losses, we successfully completed each exfiltration... At least when it wasn't too late to intervene." He continued to say without a hint of emotion in his words while he was mentionning the death of children, teenagers and young adults who were supposed to have a future perhaps pessimistic but certainly less cruel than what the apocalypse had done them.
"And?" Amandla felt compelled to break the long silence that followed what seemed to be the opening of the zipper of a bag.
"We have successfully performed every exfiltration except one." Buren came out from under the table and dragged a file with the initials 'M.I.T' written on it over the table in the direction of Lazar.
'M.I.T' undoubtedly meanning Massachusetts Institute of Technology since Buren had talked about universities, by deduction Lazar understood that this was the place where the exfiltration had failed.
He immediately opened the file at the first page and placed it at equal distance between him and Amandla so that she could read it at the same time.
The file wasn't very thick, about 30 pages at most, and if Lazar relied on what he had read in the first few lines, the beginning of the file focused on what had happened during the failed attempt of exfiltration.
Andrew and Buren were silently watching Amandla and Lazar read the content of the file and when Buren saw that Amandla and Lazar frowned nearly at the same time, he allowed himself to give them some details because he knew exactly what was bothering them, "In the first few minutes of the operation everything went well, there wasn't even a monster in sight. Then we lost both radio and visual contact with each of our soldiers at the same time."
"And you don't know what happened next since of the 300 soldiers you sent, none have returned." Lazar said to complete the assessment of the operation that Buren was doing.
Buren lowered his uniform cap, it appeared like a gesture to show his miscontentment at the fact that Lazar was pointing out how much of a disaster his operation had been, "Mr. Sullyvan and I view things this way; If you want me to accede to your request, there's only one way to get me to say 'yes'. Succeed where I failed."
The way Buren had said his last sentence, it appeared as a challenge to Lazar.