A Survivor’s Dance
A Celebration — Dancing With Wonder
“We are hobbled by recency. Current perceptions deny; but gradual change with frequent huge disruptions is the reality.” – Allan Wallace
As the group gathers two weeks after the successful coup, they celebrate that only one of them had been injured. Pahl received blaster burns, now mostly healed, while fighting alongside his royal guard. “I’ve trained to be a king, but it looks like my only opportunity to actually lead my nation was as a battle commander in a small skirmish. Now I have stories to tell my students and grandchildren.”
Mose looks at him, his eyes shining. “You did so well, are you sure you don’t want to be king. I could use a long vacation, thirty or forty years to start th…”
Pahl interrupts with a laugh while playing poker online. “Not a chance. You are stuck until you can dump the whole nation back on itself. If you work as hard at giving liberty to the people of Elldee as you worked at avoiding the crown, you should be done in a year or two.”
They both look at Gloria and as if by agreement, King Jacob speaks; “Perhaps a ruling queen could handle the task better?”
Gloria pretends to recoil at the offense. “Me, taking a noisome task like ruling a kingdom? Please gentlemen, I have my pride.”
All three look at Jon, then shake their heads. Prince Pahl sums up their thoughts, “Oh sure, he could do it, but he would have to run it through computers until we have a technocracy. A kingdom run by computer is a kingdom run by computer programmers. Our friend Jon would rather hack than rule.”
Amelia already had her hands up as they look at her, “I’ve enough to do tutoring a certain prince in the value of restraint. That is a better use of my time than running a silly government; making decisions people are better off making for themselves.”
Gloria smiles at Mose, “I guess you’re stuck. We will stick around for a while, helping set up and take down your kingdoms, trying to keep you from being assassinated.
Amelia looks at her king. “I have word from the old underground: they are disbanding. The assassins league has contacted us, offering support for the new king. Hemlock escaped, and claims loyalty to the crown. There are still lifetime malcontents and Scar zealots milling about, you need to be careful.”
No one speaks as the news is absorbed. All eyes seem to look different places as they concentrate on painful memories and deep thoughts.
“As to the first,” Jon reasons, “if it is true, former assassins would offer excellent protection as anti-assassin teams. Some of them might also make excellent ambassadors or embassy staff – they surely understand fitting into foreign cultures and international intrigue.”
Gloria continues Jon’s thoughts, “As to Hemlock, he is talented — but duplicitous. I trust him less than assassins. I would suggest keeping a distant but respectful relationship. Perhaps he will find an opportunity to prove himself. Such an offer would be dangerous, but perhaps quite useful”
Jacob nods again, but with a glint of fresh determination in his eyes; “I’ll mull your ideas, we can discuss it further and develop responses this week. Those wounds need airing, they can wait a few days. Let’s get back to our celebration.”
Gloria intercedes with a note to loosen everyone’s concentration on recent poker online events. “I do have a good bit of news. You remember Susie, the fruit stand girl that subverted the border guards? Midas is sending her as a Natural Enterprise Cooperative intern to watch the esteemed King Jacob. She will probably be doing all our hard work.”
Mose: “After she handled those guards and all the refugees we sent her, I think she might make a wonderful generic hacker. I could always apprentice her to you two for a while. Someone has to replace Mose, now that I’m shackled in royalty. I may even ask her if she is willing to act as a liaison to the assassins guild, she could learn much dealing with them. They are sure to be superb and broadly trained, and will not normally be dangerous unless ordered. Her international marketing consultancy is also a good cover. Because of her age many will underestimate her.”
Mose continues, “If nothing else I will follow the plans of Midas, having Susie head the Elldee NEC. Like him, it might be wise to have her officially labeled as a minor functionary – NEC intern works for now. She will soon be giving Midas, and any other competitors, a run for their money. ”
Jon, sensitive to Gloria’s moods, inquires about her quiet thoughtfulness. The others following his lead, and wait for her response.
“We have a glaring fault,” Gloria starts, “We can’t repeat the success we’ve achieved. Top hackers, co-operative and organized resistance, a potential king that hates bureaucracy, and dozens of other elements. Our prayers and efforts encountered an opportunity that fit us perfectly. What we have achieved needs to be repeated. We need to know variable elements of a hacking venture that can be managed in advance. Let Susie investigate foundations required for sustaining liberty, and a repeatable framework of primary hacks for despot removal.”
“She can handle it.” Jacob states, “I will help her, I’m sure Pahl will help also — in fact all of us will have to be questioned by her.” Nods come from around the room. Pahl smiles, “As a former despot, and a current academic, I will be happy to contribute.”
Jon looks around the room. “I have so much to be thankful for, for a while there I thought I might not be able to enjoy another sunset, or another peek at Gloria’s dimples. John drops to one knee and looks up into Gloria’s eyes. Gloria, You know I love you, will you marry me?”
“Of course I will Jon, think of how much we will save on rent in the next tyranny we hack. Oh, and I love you too.” She gets serious quickly. “I feel complete with you. It is not only that we can live happily together, it is we would be miserable apart.”
Jon agrees. “Not only can I live with you, I can’t live without you. You read out loud the determination in my eyes when I waver – you keep me going.”
Kisses, hugs, handshakes, and smiles pass around the room — several times.
King Jacob notices Amelia and Pahl glancing at each other. and thinks: Another couple for me to watch poker online playing at this poker site.
“Let’s all finish our tea.” Amelia amends, “Then the head of the Elldee church can offer a prayer of thanks prior to dinner.”
Prince Pahl speaks quickly, “That adds a call to rejoicing. I’m removing the Elldee church from being a government tool, it is not healthy for the church … or for the government. Our God is real, his story will thrive in the pressures of an open and free ideological marketplace. God is big enough to take care of himself. Let a relationship with God compete on an even footing with all philosophies, and having done all to stand – let it stand. God offers free choice, who are we to overrule him? We will make welcome the persecuted. All non-violent religions, as well as the nonreligious, will be welcome in Elldee. When we limit others, eventually we are also limited. Religion will be open and free in Elldee.”
Jon looks at Pahl and smiles.”While I was detained, with weapons constantly prodding me, I sought to utilize any periods of peace for contemplation. I was pinned, unable to change my situation, but my mind remained free. I focused on how Gloria used a distributed network to spread her travel business through associates, and the resilience of her organization with no person or group in charge. Her model may be adaptable for reviving a historic church culture based on relationships, not hierarchy. Natural relationships with brothers and sisters, honorably sharing, while seeking wisdom and understanding.”
Pahl sits for a moment in stunned silence. “Some would say that is anarchy, and error is sure to follow.
However!” Pahl says, as if thinking out loud. “We know error always exits and is frequently perpetuated by hierarchy, where it is much harder to reform. History has shown neither scholarship nor elitism are barriers to drifting institutional beliefs. Situational ethics are a temptation to everyone. Heretics and hypocrites exist in and out of organized churches in equal measure, they are persistent human failings.”
Gloria adds her opinion. “As Jon said; it is the relationships that are important, the dominate one being a personal relationship with God, open to his guidance. We have been adopted into the family of God, no person less important than any other.”
Amelia looks at Pahl. “Jon’s idea of using Gloria’s model may well work. It will also eventually let you escape the bureaucracy you’ve inherited, to lead a more fulfilling life. God knows you have frequently declared a desire for self-crafted living — for freedom.”
Jacob again addresses Pahl. “You said God is big enough to take care of himself. The FLC shows that freedom is powerful in some forms of social interaction, you can extend that blessing. This would be a chance for God to call fourth and train servant-leaders as he chooses, rather than those chosen for him by plebiscite and politics. God has given us individual free choice, perhaps it is best to return the favor.”
Pahl waves a hand in imitation of one of his former royal flourishes. “In doing that I will of course be following King Jacob’s lead; who this week disbanded the Ministry of Travel, The Ministry of the Interior, the National Education Consortium, and is developing plans to eliminate the central bank. With his leadership freedom will rise, taxes will shrink, people will once again have money to spend as they wish, and the economy will thrive. And to think, Jacob is just getting started.”
Jon says. “It sounds like you may be getting started on an equally aggressive road.”
Pahl raises his eyes heavenward and nods, “I will pray over your advice, and consult and pray with you and Gloria. If I ignore you I may find myself arguing with God. Of course, I am still pleased to give thanks for our meal, ask protection for Jacob, and ask guidance for future ventures … Rub-a-dub-dub. Thanks for the grub. Yea Jesus!”
Jon laughing: “let’s eat.”