Ileana was not happy with his news.
“When I said I wanted to send out emissaries to tell people about Lodestar, I didn’t mean you!” she cried. Her footsteps echoed as she paced agitatedly across the nearly empty, echoing room. “Chess, we’re creating a home here… a new life. We need you here.”
Chess smiled. He had been wondering if he would actually be missed, if he left. But Ileana’s reaction had dispelled some of his doubts. “No you don’t,” he said quietly. “You need me out there, to get the word out as much as I can -- if I can. I… I think I’m going to head out another way, but eventually toward those kids at Razor’s, and see if I can’t send some of them here.”
Ileana looked chagrined, now. “You’re caught up in my ideas of changing the world?”
Chess shook his head. “I just want to help, if I can. Too much misery out there. But there are so many brave people, too,” he added, beginning to speak more rapidly. “I mean, take this samiz technology, for instance…” He took her hands in his and led her over to a couple of chairs in the corner. “For the longest time, I was so frustrated by it: I never could figure out exactly how it worked. What was this revolutionary new technology -- an internet outside the regular internet, not controlled by government or corporations? I wanted to harness it for my own uses, you know, for contacting Lodestar, and maybe making Razor’s computers faster.”
She nodded, and her gaze looked far away, as if she might be remembering that time, back when they first met at Razor’s.
“But,” he continued, “It took me so long to realize: the power of samiz rests in people -- the number of people who use it and re-transmit to others, and who are willing to risk their lives to get information out there. If those people had more information, better information, plus other resources like the water wizards’ knowledge, well, who knows what they could accomplish?”
“Who knows…” Ileana echoed. “I’ve been using the samiz, like you showed me. It’s very clumsy – or I am. But Fogg has been happy to help me.” She grinned. “You know, he’s really sweet. But he doesn’t want to deal with the villagers at all.”
“Do you ever think about how we just descended on them – the artificers? And now we’re bringing more people in?” Chess interrupted her. He felt that he was mostly to blame for all that.
“Yeah, well, it’s lucky that they’re so self-absorbed,” Ileana answered dryly. “So… remember when we heard that the wizards had filmed the drone strike? I found the video out there. They had sent it to someone who posted it.” She frowned. “I wonder who they sent it to? It wasn’t Isaac Dale: I sent it to him. But it gave me an idea,” she added, brightening. “Why don’t we put their designs online?”
“I think that’s a great idea,” Chess answered, beginning to feel a little more confident about his own ideas. “I think you should also talk about what you’re doing here. And answer questions if they come in – you’re good at talking to people. If you did regular transmissions, and you made your presence known,” he suggested, “then maybe people will start sending information to you.”
“You want me to compete with Isaac Dale?” she asked, with a self-mocking smile.
Chess shook his head. “Cooperate with him, and with others who are out there. There should be more voices telling people what’s going on. Dale shouldn’t be the only source of truth and comfort.”
“And I could fact-check him, too?” she prodded, with the same wry smile.
“Could it hurt?” Chess shrugged. “There’s no one I would trust more than you.”
“I guess I have a lot of work to do,” Ileana murmured thoughtfully. “Maybe, with the wisdom and effort of all those people out there… and if there’s enough time… maybe the world can be changed for the better. It’s worth a try.” Then she added hesitantly, “And Sariel…?”
“Yeah, we talked,” Chess answered simply.
“You’re sure about this? You’re going?” Ileana sighed. “Well, I hope Sariel’s goddess goes with you and protects you.” She blinked at him. “Please don’t take any unnecessary risks out there.”
“Me?” Chess laughed. “Never.”
Continued next page...
Skye: Usually one person doesn't solve the solution, but a hundred people with one percent of the solution? That will get it done. I think that's beautiful: pieces solving a puzzle.
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: 0-8-4, Season 1 Episode 2
I greatly admire leadership. However, my wish for great leaders, of course, does not mean I would prefer a dictatorship or monarchy, even a benevolent one. As messy as it can be, democracy appears to be the best system of government. By definition, it takes into consideration many different and opposing ideas, and this seems most conducive to arriving at the best decisions. But it also has a terribly good chance of stalling completely when a decision cannot be agreed upon. Just as the scientists of Gaviotas had to work together because no one side had the exact right answer, we all need to work together if we have any hope of solving world problems. And to work together, the scientists had to begin by talking to each other. And listening to each other. Everyone of them had some unique knowledge to contribute.
A biochemist, an engineer, an economist, a village health worker, a historian, and a librarian walk into a bar (a very quiet bar, apparently, with ample seating)... and walk out with a beautiful solution.
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