Well, this is where the whole story's been heading all along.
I'm of course leaving myself wide open to accusations that I'm anthropomorphizing-placing human perceptions and feelings in the mind of my computer-spawned creation, whom I've so carefully held aloof from such notions up to now. But I gave this a lot of thought as I wrote this chapter, and I think the logic of Spook's reasoning is pretty sound even from a non-human point of view. Events have proved the accuracy of his self-perception as being immune to independent external control. Sure, that's been the case all along. But is it not credible that he might not have viewed himself so, at least not to an extent that converted itself to possible future actions? Bear in mind that, up until the Estrada incident, Spook has never directly intervened in human affairs in any similar way. Now that can of worms has been opened, and must be looked at squarely along with the potential consequences.
Remember, Robert A. Heinlein's "living" computer Mike likewise abruptly disappeared from human cognizen at the end of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, perhaps for something of the same reasons. Having taken my initial inspiration from the Heinlein novel, I thought it was sensible to follow his lead in that regard.
Just one more chapter, to clean up some bits and pieces and provide full closure. Thanks once more for reading. For those who are interested, all of my novels are available on Amazon; if you don't have a Kindle, Amazon also offers a free computer emulation that lets you read Kindle books on your desktop, laptop or tablet.