For Dinner: Caesar salad and assorted
cheeses, constructed with my nanoprocessors in my quarters.
Mood: "Free"...more or less.
Written in the Year of our Lord 3580, March 20th, Wednesday night.
Location: The Fel arcology on the city Vagnar on the continent of Laufey, near the Ran ocean, on Loki.
When Glutheim entered my quarters this morning, I said, "Any more tests and I explode. Very seldom-mentioned fact about humans. Cannot tolerate more than two days of tests and quizzes."
"Um. Doubtless why you spend years at school getting nothing but tests and exams?"
"Uh oh. You were paying attention."
"Anyway, I am pleased to tell you that Derheim has determined that you should be given access to all non-sensitive areas, that you are free to leave your apartments when you want to. He concluded you were basically harmless. The big decision was whether you were some kind of trap, a living weapon aimed at him. He has determined your motives are...well...pretty incomprehensible, but still, nothing to be afraid of."
"Baffling but benign?"
"That'll do. But being given your freedom doesn't mean that you should take immediate advantage of it. There are things about Lokiite society that I'm not sure you comprehend. Just as there are the major hierarchies, there are smaller groups that prey on the larger ones...."
"Gangs. Or pirate bands."
"I daresay. So it will not do for you to go out by yourself, certainly until you understand our world better. If you disappeared, kidnapped or killed, there could be unpleasant repurcussions vis-a-vis Community/Loki relations."
"Yeah. That makes sense...."
"So, for now, I would prefer when you go out to go out in my company. If you do not....then I must assist you be accompanied by these." He clapped his hands, and two armed soldiers showed up from outside. Both of them were female.
"Redwine, I would like to introduce you to Eilfar and Tiafen. They have been guarding you, Eilfar during the day, Tiafen at night, keeping you from leaving if you tried. Now their orders are changed. Unless you are accompanied by myself, they will accompany you any place you go."
"Glad to meet you," I said as a reflex. They both looked at me.
"Why?" asked Tiafen.
"Um...because you look very capable of protecting me?"
They relaxed. It was a motive they could accept.
"Any time you leave your quarters and I am not here, either Eilfar and Tiafen will accompany you. Those are Derheim's orders, not mine, although I agree with them."
He gestured, and they returned to the door, to wait outside, guarding me.
"I've got a question, Glutheim. The only reason a Lokiite does anything is because it's in their own interest, right?"
He looked at me, as if muttering to himself, remember, he is an alien. "Yes. Of course."
"How is it in anyone's self-interest to be a soldier? To take a wound or be killed for someone else?"
"Oh, is that all? Soldiers are fed subtle addictive substances since birth. If they are withdrawn from them, they die. The art of subtle addiction and poisoning is a very refined art here on Loki. Our pharmacopeia of subtle poisons is quite extensive...."
"In other words, if they don't do what you say, they'll die a lingering death anyway. So better to guard me and face possible death, then refuse and face a certain death."
"Very interesting." I don't know if he caught my ironic tone.
He took me to a market, where objects of art and foodstuffs were sold. It was interesting, like an old-timey Oriental bazaar. But I think I need to be a lot more fluent in Naviscan, their language, and understand the Lokiite mind better, before I try that.
I have heard the confessions of many
drug addicts, sellers, even murderers. All of them, even the most
sociopathic, at least feigned some remorse. But I am now in a society of
sociopaths, that will murder or drug anyone to further their own ends.
Return to Redwine at Dinner.