For Dinner: Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato
Mood: . Relief mixed with guilt.
Written in the Year of our Lord 3580, April 10th, Tuesday night.
Location: on my way in our transport.
When I came to, the next morning, Folgi had still not returned. I tried the door, but of course it was locked, and there was no easy egress out of there.
At least before I was in the open air. If I'm slowly starving to death, that's the way to go...
Then I poured me a glass of water and tried to get out of my self-pity trip. People have lasted for weeks on fasts, as long as they have access to water.
Obviously, something had happened to
Folgi. She made it sound like it was a simple walk down to that communication
device, as one might talk of going to the store. Perhaps she had been set
upon by robbers and killed on the way.
Breaking out didn't look like too obvious an option. The windows are mere slits that no one can fit through, many of them, but not enough to allow me any way out. I noticed that the walls were thick, although this building looked run-down. That makes sense...otherwise in a totally amoral society, the house would be prey for every robber who came by. I had noticed a secure, castlelike look to many Lokiite buildings, but looking at it from their perspective, it seemed the only way to build.anything and have it secure.
All the chairs and furniture were bolted to the floor. There wasn't anything big enough to break down any doors.
I did some mild exercises,
more tai chi than anything else...slow and controlled, not enough to take
away from my energy store, just enough to get the kinks out.
I spent some hours reading by the light that came in through the slits...there was no obvioius lightswitch. Then the sun started setting, I spent a few hours in the dark, praying and meditating. All of which sounds very pious, but part of me was a little child whimpering because he thinks he's going to die slowly in an unfamiliar place and wants his Mommy.
I dozed again, only to hear a gigantic Thump! Thump! like a giant knocking on a door. I jumped out of bed and hid behind it. Then there was a gigantic grinding, splintering sign as the door was forced open with some kind of giant mechanized battering ram.
A beam swept from the machine,
but I hid as best I could. Then two soldiers came out, armed, obviously
looking for me.
Andrenelin was surging through me. As one came close, I did a kick, with the sort of giddy nervous energy that comes from being at the end of one's tether...and there was a quick oath/exclamation, and then I was knocked down with two weapons aimed straight at my heart....
Then Tiafem said, "About time we found you, Redwine."
Glutheim came up behind them, handing me the other nanoprocessor. "Need this?"
I first created small pieces of
bread to eat, and fruit juice, so as not to overwhelm my stomach. An hour
later, as I was on the transport, I fixed me some tomato soup and some
grilled cheese sandwiches. The nanoprocessor can create any meal out of
any organic material. Glutheim was filling me in.
"Folgi contacted the Fel hierarchy, but also the Haki hierarchy and several others, wanting to sell you to the highest bidder. She was waiting for the negotiators to arrive, but one got there first and tried to torture your location out of her. She died under the torture, obviously overestimating how much she could withstand..."
I nodded. Lokiites
would not willingly face death, but they would try to hold onto their secrets
as long as possible.
"We instead quizzed residents...rather forcefully...on where she lived, and came directly here. I don't think the other hierarchies, once they realized you needed the nanoprocessors, would have been that interested. Else we might have had company."
"What happened back at the town we were in?"
"Razed. The Sia riots destroyed much of it. When Tiafem came to us, injured, and saying you had disappeared, we made an example of them."
I was drinking hot soup, but was suddenly cold. "How many--?"
"How many died? Five hundred or thereabouts. Good riddence. Those Sia were always parasites, feeding off the larger hierarchies. Now perhaps they'll learn the lesson...."
"Five hundred died. Plus that female Folgi. Because of me."
"Yes. It would be extremely inconvenient to explain your death to the Community authorities, especially the Cardinal."
"Inconvenient. Yes. Death is very....inconvenient."
"You seem upset. Yet I can't understand why..."
The sad fact was, he didn't. The fact that over five hundred of his species have died because of me---held as little interst to him as the fate of ants in the way of a walking man.
"I don't know if I can explain it, Glutheim. Let's just say killing for me is almost as distasteful to me as killing others myself."
He looked at me as if I were an odd bird, acting incomprensibly.
"Look at it as arithmetic. Over five hundred lives were sacrified to save one," I continued.
"An interesting way of looking at it. But it was your life. Aren't you pleased we rescued you?"
I nodded emphatically. "I just wish it could have been accomplished with a minimum waste of life. It's...wasteful...if nothing else. You can't ever give those lives back that you took away."
"But there are always new lives, new babies being born. Life is cheap."
"But if it were you who was being threatened with death, Glutheim, you would fight it until your dying breath, right?"
"Yes. Of course."
"There's a rule in my religion, and many others on Earth. It is put this way...Do to others as you would have them do to you."
Glutheim looked at me. "You know, your Naviscan is excellent, but every now and then it slips up. You just said, 'do to others as you would have them do to you', did you realize that?"
"Yes. That's what I meant to say."
Glutheim got up. "Well, you're weak, and possibly delusional. We'll discuss this later."
Total incomprehension. They'll never understand.
I had over five hundred deaths
caused because of me....and even those killed would not blame me. Only.....myself.
Return to Redwine at Dinner.