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         “Goldfish!” Razor cried, his face breaking into a huge smile. And, before Chess could react, Razor rushed toward him and gave him a jarring thump on the back. “Hey, you’re here, too!”
         The smack rattled Chess’s old injury, making him gasp until he was quickly doubled over. And, as he struggled for breath, he heard Razor exclaim cheerfully, “Man, when they told me you ran out on us, I though for sure you’d be dead in under a week! But here you are!” And then Razor turned to Ileana again. “And here you are…” he said in a quieter voice.
         “And I wish you good morning, as well, Razor,” Sariel’s amused lilt floated up from where she was still seated, looking unbelievably calm, in the middle of the road.
         Chess saw Razor look down at Sariel. And then Razor made a small, inarticulate noise and edged away from her with a visible shudder. After that, Razor’s attention could no longer be moved from Ileana.
         After another few moments, Chess’s wheezing fit subsided enough for him to straighten, and, in continuing disbelief, he watched Razor crushing Ileana’s small frame in his embrace. And heard him murmuring over and over that he loved her. “I found you,” Razor kept saying. “Ileana, I can’t believe I found you. I’ve missed you so much. You don’t even know…”
         And then, Chess saw Ileana’s expression melt into softness. She still loved him, Chess realized, and the knowledge hit him like a blow to the stomach. She had fled with them, had run with them all this time, he thought, but she was still in love with Razor.
         “Come back, now,” Razor whispered fiercely, setting Ileana down onto her feet. “Enough of this. Come home with me, now,” he insisted. And Ileana, to Chess’s horror, was looking unsure.
         Ileana inclined her head toward Razor and said something that Chess could not hear. And then the two of them began holding an earnest discussion in low tones.
         Chess looked toward Sariel, but she only shrugged at him, and reached for the folder containing the water wizards’ papers, which was still lying, forgotten, on the pavement. Then, with the papers safely gathered in her arms, she held out her hand, and Chess helped her up.
         Suddenly, Razor’s voice grew louder. “Look, I’ll just tell my men to go on ahead,” he was saying. “We’ll follow in the last truck.” And then Razor was walking toward the trucks and Ileana turned to Chess.
         “You’re not going back with him?” Chess hissed in disbelief as Ileana frowned at him. “You can’t go back with him!” he repeated in panic.
         Ileana shook her head. “I’ll just go with him for now.” She touched Chess’s hand reassuringly. “Don’t worry. I’ll be okay.”
         Chess grabbed her hand and squeezed it. “What about us? Ileana? What about Lodestar?” he pleaded. He threw a furtive glance toward Razor’s retreating form.
         Ileana gripped his hand and tugged him in close. “I am saving Lodestar,” she told him firmly.
         Surprised, Chess looked more carefully at Ileana’s face, and realized that she was calm and composed again. She no longer seemed frightened or confused. She was back to being the person that he knew: the one who was in control of the situation.
         “This will distract him completely,” Ileana explained matter-of-factly. “He won’t even remember exactly where he found me. So, he won’t give the wizards any more thought, and he won’t have a clue where Lodestar is, either.”
         “But…,” Chess persisted, “he - he just killed people. Right in front of you, he killed Tez’s men.”
         For a moment, Ileana stared at the disabled truck. And then she shook her head, looking pained. “Well, do you have a better idea?” she challenged. She stepped away from Chess as Razor began to walk back to them.
         And then Razor was standing beside her, with his arm around her. And, as Chess watched in stunned silence, they walked away, together, to the trucks.

Continued next page...

Adelle DeWitt: ...given that you're a raping scumbag one tick shy of a murderer, I can't recall: do you take sugar with your tea?
- Dollhouse: Belonging, Season 2, Episode 4

         Seemingly, the revolutionaries that I have studied tended to push away from political ideas that they knew were bad, and embrace something that sounded better. But which political ideology was correct? Both of their countries still exist, and both have their own good points and their own fairly unique problems, so how does one judge? Most of the time, we can only truly judge an idea or an action to be good or bad in hindsight, when we see how it played out over a long period of time -- and, quite frankly, we have no real hindsight here because history has not yet ended.
         As discussed earlier, world history is filled with real-life examples of nation states that have been founded on a particular political philosophy -- many have failed and some have not... yet. But what is the definition of failure: revolution, economic collapse, or just mass dissatisfaction of the citizens? And what is the criteria for recognizing a modern day state that is on the verge of failure: oppressed North Korea, warring Syria, bankrupt Argentina or simply a country that cannot get enough of its citizens to agree on a path toward future success? The last definition reminds me of the centuries-past Viking colony in Greenland: they did well for a long while, and their citizens probably thought there was no need for change, until it was too late. That description could apply to nearly every one of the rest of the countries in the world, including the U.S.
         Who can judge what is the best sociopolitical / economic system? Yes, probably the only one qualified is Dr. Who, because this question is a matter of perspective in terms of time...

The Doctor: People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint - it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly... time-y wimey... stuff.
- Blink, Dr. Who, Season 3 Episode 10



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