Ron's doodle was beginning to look like a mobile, so he scribbled it out and started over. The momentary distraction from ignoring the meeting he was in was timely, though, because someone was calling his name.
"Craig. I asked for your assessment."
He looked up. The balding section chief at the head of the table had the stern look reserved for a repeat offender. "Oh. Sorry, Mr. Kulya. I was re-evaluating what I'd observed."
"And? You've attended two of their meetings, now. This practice we're doing is essential to developing your field skills. You may not get much time to infiltrate a suspected terrorist cell before you have to make action recommendations. What did you find?"
Having a double life was beginning to birth complications. He'd called himself Ron while spying on the founder of Constitutional Evolution, and the persona was accreting a semblance of reality when he thought supportively of them, as had happened while doodling. He shook off the dissociation and cleared his throat. "They're not like the others, sir. They aren't in it to push a cause."
Kulya shrugged. "That's not what I asked. Your objective was to get close to the leader and learn where he was driving. Either they're a potential danger or they're not. Anti-terrorism resources aren't cheap. That's why we have to focus them on people and groups that have the potential for disruption. Two meetings is all you get. Do we target them or not?"
He looked at the other neophyte spies around the table, people he'd been training with for months now, and wondered if any of them were wrestling the same conundrum. He liked Derek Boa, and thought that his group were akin to the patriots who had laid the groundwork for the existing constitution in old Philadelphia. But having revolutionary thoughts was not the same as advocating the violent overthrow of the instituted government. It wasn't treason.
"I'm not sure, sir. They're not advocating any particular cause, or agitating against any agency or policy. They're not even particularly interested in who's in power."
"Then what are they about? Is it some kind of cult?"
"No, sir," Craig said defensively. "It's not a cult, though their leader is rather charismatic. He's well-suited to motivating the people they do attract."
"Motivating them to do what? This wasn't supposed to be a difficult assignment."
"To think for themselves, really. To investigate ideas that could help them..." he trailed off.
Kulya was losing his patience. "Help them what? I assume from the name that it has something to do with changing the constitution. Are they agitating for a constitutional convention?"
Craig thought for a moment. "No. Not specifically, although on my first visit they did discuss whether the changes they envisioned could be made without one."
"Changes. Good. Now we're getting somewhere. How do they want to change the government? What do they think is wrong with it?"
He glanced at the scribbled-over doodle. "Balance, I suppose. They're convinced there are some missing bits. Checks and balances that ought to be added."