BUT! Mike is smarter than he gives himself credit for, and so under the cover of darkness he heads off to check out the locked shed. As someone watches him covertly, he picks the lock and goes inside. Soon he comes across a pile of kid things, including a jacket with the name "Eli Russell" written inside. That kid really was afraid of losing his stuff, huh? Mike hears a click and turns, and there is Clayton pointing a gun at him. Clayton says that he always liked Mike, which is why he's going to talk instead of shoot, at least for the moment. He sets down his gun and says that the short answer is that Eli Russell was there. The long answer, of course, goes into a whole other universe of fucked-up-ness. Clayton says he can't even begin to tell Mike what it was like when the Seventh Mass went down. Skitters came after them like locusts, and tore them to pieces. The folks on the farm are the only people who survived the raid, and the Skitters were hot on their trail. They'd retreat and defend, but the Skitters kept coming.
One young girl with them, Megan -- who Clayton mentioned in his first conversation with the Second Mass folks -- fell behind. They didn't realize it until the Skitters got her, and so just kept retreating. But then the Skitters stopped and stayed away for a week, almost like they were saying, "Okay, thanks for supplying us with fresh, nubile slave labor!" Also, Clayton surmises that they were thanking the Seventh Mass folks for not attacking, and just letting them keep Megan. A short while later, a harnessed Megan found them and delivered a message from the Skitter in charge of her group -- all they wanted was the kids. They don't want to die anymore than humans do, but they have their missions just like us. Yes, even aliens have quotas. Mike has a look on his face like he can't even believe this shit. Once they understood what the Skitters wanted, Clayton says, the relationship just "evolved."
Mike, slightly trembling with rage, summarizes: "You've been trading kids to the Skitters." Clayton adds that it's in return for immunity for his men and their families. That's why he went after the Second Mass. Mike now knows that the whole part about the Third Mass and Porter's orders was a lie. Clayton tells Mike that this is a messed up world, and this is all they have. He knows that Mike understands this, which is why he asked Mike to come along. Really, he should have asked Anthony, who is always in favor of getting rid of the kids. Mike is too morally sound for these kinds of shenanigans. But Clayton pulls his biggest card, which is telling Mike that he has to think about Rick. How ironic would it be for Mike to make a deal NOT to give Rick to the Skitters? That makes absolutely no one happy!