Talked to my boss about my bad news, and he also thinks that it wasn't a simple mistake, that there must be something else going on. And he knows the players involved much better than I do, and has considerable sway himself.
It's somewhat comforting to know that someone else has the same opinion of the situation as I do, and knows how much it means to me.
As for the little meeting of our group today, the consensus was that it was a mistake. But it also turned out that someone else wasn't chosen, either, which (while he was someone who never fit in with the group) adds to my suspicion that someone is aggressively pushing their agenda, and I'm only roadkill. If they were mistakes, there were a lot of them.
That said, the current leader wants to keep me around as a 'special advisor'. That may or may not have been said in jest.
It's clear, though, that while some of us may have been removed from the group, the ones who are left will bond just that much more strongly. So someone may be pushing for a certain agenda, but will very quickly come up against a hardened block. The whole move may prove counterproductive, in that it entrenches resolve the wrong way, when before we were open to the idea.
'Now you have to look for something else,' my boss said. Indeed. Just that one detail.