-- Thanks for reading and reviewing! Yeah, I think Beckley is definitely testing Adele's limits with his open attempt at manipulating her. He wants to see what he can get away with. As for whether he'll get his way ... we'll see. Just because she's not a pushover doesn't mean she can't be swayed. You're certainly right that Icheb does not have a friend in Beckley. Beckley's said (thought) before, back in book one, that he would happily hand Icheb over to the Borg himself if he thought it would be advantageous. He may like the "kid," but not enough to keep his best interests at heart or anything like that. Glad you liked the bit about Adele 'tracking' them. Adele won't always be able to pull this trick, but she did this time. She's just lucky they're so close by. And Maren would be the easiest to track! Like a flashing beacon of angst and internal conflict. As for Malik, he is clearly horrible with people. Maren's not in the mood for his crap, but she gets put in her place pretty quickly. So we'll see what he wants to show them, and why he feels they need to be confined for him to do it. Thanks again for the awesome review.
-- Thanks for the great observations. Yes, this was a much more aggressive approach than we're used to seeing from Beckley. Like MF noted, he may be testing his limits ... or he may think whatever payoff is worth the risk ... his motivations aren't what you'd expect, so it's hard to judge his actions. Underestimating him would not be a good thing for Adele to do. Then there's Icheb, Maren and Malik. Malik is another one whose thinking is just not what we're used to at all. So judging his actions by typical human standards might not give the best picture of his motives. Icheb and Maren, of course, are very much not at their best. You make a lot of good points regarding their almost parallel situations. The fact that they are together right now actually worked against them for probably the first time in their lives, here. They used to make an awesome team ... they need to get back to that, or they just might prove to be each other's undoing. Thanks again for reading and commenting!