The Children of Nemesis: Prologue
(For Na(tional)No(vel)Wri(ting)Mo(nth), kids and adults alike are encourage to attempt writing a novel within the 30 days of November. Since I've already started working on a novel, I thought this might be a good opportunity. My goal is to get a lot done, not necessarily to finish all of it, but I'll still be writing for my life.
There is more than one way to be right.
Truth be told, by the same logic there is no such thing as wrong, since someone doesn’t do something unless they believe that they should— and any reason, no matter how “skewed” and different from the conventional, can be reason.
Some strive for the betterment of the world; others strive for the advancement of the self or those close to the self. Some take only the most appropriate, approved and legal measures; others go to any means necessary to do what they want done. Some are solitary and subtle; others gather armies of followers behind them. While one choice may seem “nobler” than the other, every person is working for the same thing: something better. A better job, a better house or family life, a better mindset, a better technology, a better culture, a better species, a better world— we are all human. We all want improvements.
The only clash— really, the only conflicts we face— is in what is better and what is worse, and how to go about bettering things, and which things should be bettered first. That is, in truth, the only human disagreement.
The door-buzz clacked impatiently. Pens were quickly capped, papers folded and tucked under piles of books in a desk drawer, the drawer closed tightly, and a computer monitor swung neatly around to the front of the desk, its screensaver of a lush jungle waterfall quickly fizzling into a blocky recording of six people arguing around a table. The door clacked again.
A panel in the wall slid seamlessly open and two uniformed people, a man and a woman, strode through to stand at the desk. The woman peered at the computer. “Watching the conference vids again, sir?”
“I’m analyzing the conclusions I should draw from the board’s opinions,” the desk’s inhabitant explained evasively.
The woman raised an eyebrow. “You’ve been watching that video over and over for six days. What’s so special about it? If it’s that important, just have another conference.”
“Such a facade of authority, punctuated by your incessant commands to your superiors, suggest to me, Doctor Nightley, that you believe you should be in a position above them. I might advise that so vigorously expressing such a wish is exactly how not to get promoted.”
The woman abruptly shut her mouth.
The man beside her spoke. “We need the Program codes again, sir. Clog-up on B3.”
“B3 again? Wasn’t that giving us some problems last month?”
“Yes, sir. We believe some of the installed hardware may be malfunctional. Including the pause function, sir, if you know what I mean.”
“Get that fixed before anything else. You know what happens if the pause fails. Time is rather antiquated, yes, but in this case it is of the essence. This should be your people’s top priority.”
“Yes, sir. I’ll have my best technicians up there soon.” The man turned to leave, and the woman followed, still looking sullen.
The man turned back again respectfully. “Yes, sir?”
“Yes, sir. My operatives will be there by tomorrow.”
“Make it tonight.”
Only a slight shift in the furrows on Marland’s brow suggested any kind of worry or surprise. The rest of him was stony. “Yes, sir.”
“And after you fix the pause, use it. Right away. I’ll link you the codes.”
“Yes, sir.” Marland moved to the door again, a little more quickly than before, as if hoping to get to it before another order was tossed at him. This time, he made it.
“Urgency!” was called after him, just once, as his gleaming boots vanished into the hallway.
The woman tarried by the sliding wall, as if deliberating on something of importance. At length, she turned back towards the desk, standing straight, and opened her mouth as if to say something, but seemed to think better of it and turned to hurry after her colleague.
The man at the desk sighed, long and loud, as the silent panel slid closed behind her. Rather roughly, he swung the monitor away from his face, opened the drawer, and pulled out his paper and ballpoint pen again.
Think about it. Every war, every quarrel, every mission or job or action taken, has been in the name of betterment. Of what is right. At the same time, the words “better” and “right” are exeedingly versatile and complex. By right, some mean “true and correct”, while other simply mean “for good”. And these are hardly synonymous.
All the same, in a very broad sense, it is all one hope that we all have. One goal that we all look to, if only in different forms. And if we are all created with this flexible but single drive, it is clearly there to bring us together, to find us all a common purpose, and lead us down the path to creating something better out of all our lives. Together.
Thus, in the name of a better and righteous world, I begin my will. Do not do what I would have done, or what I once said to do. Do what is right. Behind our drive to create good, we all desire to know good. Even if good and evil are only manifestations of each other, perhaps they should not always be cast away, if only to maintain the kind of ideal needed to lead.
Perhaps we must sometimes admit to being in the wrong.