Interlude 18B – The Committee

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September 3rd, 2017 (The day before school began)

The room was a perfect circle, with a floor of glistening white marble, walls of polished emerald, and a vaulted ceiling that displayed the sky through a holographic representation. In the middle of the room, centered precisely, sat a circular table that was about half the size of the room itself. Twelve chairs were arranged around the table at equal distances from each other, none raised higher than any of the others.

At each of the four compass points in the room, there was a heavy, thick iron door. Softly glowing magical runes of privacy and protection were activated on those doors whenever, like now, the occupants carried on their often heated conversations and debates over the running of their society.

“We have been over this time and time again,” Gabriel Ruthers announced from his place at the circular table. A glass of amber liquid sat in front of him, and he took a smooth pull from it before continuing. “Whether or not the girl is a threat, it would be absurd for us to use our resources to turn her into one.”

Directly across from him, a man who would have looked at home in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies as one of the titular pirates sat stroking his beard. His voice was like gravelly thunder that filled the room. “Where I’m from, we don’t go blaming the sins o’the parents on all the little ones. That way lies terrible things. Which of us could stand up to moral scrutiny over not just everything we’ve done, but everything all our ancestors did way back through history? At what point do we draw the line, eh?”

“At the point, Teach,” Ruthers addressed him, “that it risks allowing a girl into our society and among our children who may be an agent conditioned by her terrorist mother to destroy our civilization.”

“Edward raises a fair point, Gabriel.” Beside Ruthers to his left, a pale and pristinely beautiful auburn-haired woman spoke. “We have no evidence that Joselyn Atherby has had any contact with her daughter within the past decade. Conditioning a child like that takes far more than a secret visit now and then that we don’t even have any actual evidence of. And given the reports we’ve received about the girl’s attitude concerning her mother’s absence, I find it difficult to believe that they are secretly allied.”

Before Ruthers could speak, the woman on his other side spoke up. Her darker skin revealed her Native American ancestry, and she looked old. They were all old, but she looked it more so than the rest of them. Her face was lined with more wrinkles than belonged on a normal person. Yet despite that, every motion she made was filled with life and energy. At that moment, she was pointing at the pale woman.

“You have a son in the school this year, Sophronia,” she chastised. “You should want to protect him.”

The other woman shifted in her chair, giving her colleague a hard look. “I do. And I’m the one who decides what Zeke needs protection from. At this point, from what I’ve seen and heard in those reports, being around someone like this Chambers girl may do him some good. Your argument only holds water if we believe that she’s a threat. I don’t happen to believe that, so you’ll have to try something else.”

Another man across the table, sitting beside Teach, cleared his throat. He was an exceedingly handsome black man with finely chiseled features and the smooth voice of an old jazz singer. “I’m sure Litonya wasn’t trying to question your parenting choices, Sophie. We’re all just very close to the situation. Which, if you think about it, is another point against the Chambers girl. If we can’t even agree on whether or not to allow her into the school, how will we agree on what to do if she doesn’t work out?

“Besides,” he added, “blood is blood, and she is her mother’s daughter. Her loyalty will be to her.”

Beside him, Teach twisted a little in his seat to squint at his neighbor with a clearly disbelieving look. “You of all people should know that family doesn’t always mean loyalty, Geta. How long did your brother let you share the throne with him after Septimius died? Less than a year? You really think this Chambers girl is some kind of secret plant by her mother after they haven’t even talked in a decade?”

Geta’s fist came down on the table. “That is immaterial,” he thundered back. “You know as well as I do that Caracalla was manipulated by one of the very same Strangers that we are charged with protecting our world from. His decisions were not his own, and I would not be at this table today if I hadn’t fought against the creature who took my brother’s sanity. Losing my brother was my first sign of the evil of Strangers. And I have seen far too many such signs over these centuries to risk allowing the same kind of dangerous treason to rise up in this society again after we worked so hard to remove it the first time. Do you really want to risk another war, just to allow one girl to enter our society? I have nothing directly against the Chambers child, but she is perfectly safe where she is. There is no reason to bring her into Crossroads. Maybe she is an agent of her mother and maybe she isn’t. But the benefit of her inclusion is far too small when compared to the risk that she either is a threat or may become one.”

Another woman, her Spanish ancestry apparent in her features, spoke from her place to the left of Sophronia. “That’s getting too close to straying from the point of today’s meeting. We aren’t here to discuss the nature of Strangers, only whether Felicity Chambers should be allowed into Crossroads.”

As Ruthers opened his mouth, the man who sat to Geta’s left interrupted. “Well, maybe we should discuss it, Elisabet.” His long blonde hair was tied into a ponytail, and the man wore a tee shirt advertising some modern Bystander musical group called the Ramones. “Because as some of us have tried to tell the rest of you for a long ass time now, there’s more to Strangers than we allow to be taught. And if we could just be open to entertaining some of what Atherby was teaching, we might be able to-”

“That is quite enough, Percival.” The disgust and annoyance in Elisabet’s voice was palpable. “This discussion isn’t an excuse to bring up that old lie. Strangers are incapable of living in harmony with humanity. They see us as prey, and any indication otherwise is a trick.” Her hand rose to point at him. “And don’t forget, we may have voted to allow such insane words to be spoken in this room, but if there is ever any indication that you or anyone else has been spreading them to the rest of our people…”

Teach grunted with annoyance of his own. “Sure, sure. Wouldn’t want the people to know that we can’t even agree on whether Miss Big Bad Terrorist Leader was right or not. It might confuse the poor dears.” His words were dripping with sarcasm, even as he grabbed the bottle of rum in front of him to take a long drink from before slamming it back down on the table. “Sure as hells wouldn’t want that.”

To Teach’s right side, a rotund, heavyset man who clearly hadn’t actively fought for many years scooted his chair a short distance away from his neighbor. “Do we need another vote to show you that you lack the numbers to enact any such change, Edward?” he asked while polishing his glasses on his shirt.

“A vote proves nothing, Oliver.” Teach snapped. “Not within this body of stubborn fools. If you want to see proof that there can be decent Strangers out there, you need to get out and interact with them, not sit in this room blowing smoke up each other’s arses. When was the last time any of you lot took the time to talk to something not-human before you shoved a sword in its gut? Never? That’s what I thought.”

Still cleaning his glasses, Oliver made a haughty sound before setting them back on his face. “Careful, old pirate. Keep talking like that and someone might think that you’re going back to your old ways.”

Teach just gave the man a dirty look. “Lucky for me,” he grunted, “as Elisabet already mentioned, there’s nothing wrong with bringing up the subject in this room. And you know full well why we made that rule. Cuz if we didn’t, you’d have a fight on your hands. And the Committee fighting looks bad.”

“It’s a fight you would lose, Edward.” The admonishment came from a young-looking Asian woman who sat to the left of Percival. Her features were more handsome than pretty, though her strikingly violet eyes definitely made her stand out. “The few of you who believe such complete nonsense do not have the numbers to even cause a tie within our ranks, let alone to affect actual change in policy. Which also means that, if we were to engage in combat, your side would certainly not survive for very long.”

Sophronia spoke up while Teach was still starting to react. “Is that a threat, Jue?” Her voice, while calm, was laced with warning as she lay both palms down on the table. “Because I believe you’ll find that, while there may be only a few of us who believe that peace with Strangers may eventually be a possibility, we are far from weak. If you wish to threaten us, you may come to regret such a decision.”

“Enough, enough.” Between Jue and Litonya, a man who looked like the stereotypical lumberjack with his thick beard which rivaled Teach’s, and dark red and black checkered shirt shook his head. “We’re not here to threaten each other. That’s the entire reason we voted to allow this kind of discussion, so that it wouldn’t keep falling to threats and violence. If the people outside this room understood how often we almost go at each other’s throats, they’d lose all confidence in us. So let’s try to stay civil.”

“Davis is right,” Oliver agreed, though his tone made it clear that he disliked the other man. “So we’ll settle this before it gets out of control again. Let’s see a show of hands. Who among us believes that there is any merit in Atherby’s old claims, that Strangers either are or can somehow be taught morality.”

Ruthers tried to stop it, but around the table, three hands were raised: Teach, Percival, and Sophronia.

“You’re all insane.” The words came from the left of Elisabet, where a man who could have stood in as a body double for the mythological Thor if his hair had been red rather than black sat. His fist hit the table hard. “I think the girl should be allowed into the school, because she hasn’t done anything wrong and her rebel mother hasn’t even talked to her for years. But the idea of good Strangers is just… it’s insane. We’ve all seen the depravity Strangers get up to when we aren’t there to hold them in check.”

Next to the big man, to his left, an almost astonishingly attractive black woman laid a hand on his arm gently to stop him from going on. “I don’t think now is the time for that kind of argument, Sigmund. Our emotions already run high because of the Felicity Chambers discussion. Let’s not get off track with insults and threats about a subject that we already know is not going to be settled any time soon.”

“The subject has been settled, Calafia” Ruthers pointed out a little testily. “Not everyone has to agree for a subject to be settled. This committee has long-since established that a majority vote binds all of us to it, since before almost any of us were actually a part of it. We may disagree in here, but out there, we present a united front. It’s the only way to lead our people. And the majority agree that Crossroads cannot afford another Atherby-like rebellion. It would destroy our civilization and allow Strangers to run rampant. To that end, I insist upon a vote. Do we allow Atherby’s daughter into our school? Do we take the risk of subjecting both our students and our entire society to another civil war so soon after the last one was finally put to rest? Like all of you, I hold no personal grudge against the child. But she is a potential threat. And further, there is no particular benefit to her recruitment. She brings nothing of importance to the table, and the potential downsides are far too numerous to explain here. So, let’s vote and get this over with.” As he finished speaking, Ruthers finished the last of the contents of his glass.

The lumberjack, Davis, nodded. “I agree. Let’s have a vote and see where we all stand on the subject.”

“Fair enough,” Litonya agreed. “Let’s say… if you believe that this Felicity Chambers should be allowed to enter Crossroads, despite the dangers related to her mother’s rebellion, raise a hand.”

The first hand to rise was that of Edward Teach, who scowled across the table at Ruthers rather pointedly. It was followed almost immediately by Sophronia’s hand, entirely unsurprisingly. After a couple more seconds of silence, two more hands were raised practically simultaneously as Percival and Calafia joined the other two. And for a moment, it seemed like that’s where the vote would fall, with only four of the twelve Committee members choosing to accept Felicity Chambers into Heretic society.

Then Davis lifted his own hand with a soft grunt and shrug, raising the vote in her favor to five. And a second after that, the count turned to six as the others were joined by Sigmund, the massive viking.

That was where they stood. There may have only been three members of the Committee who held any belief in Atherby’s claims of the potential for Strangers to be good: Edward Teach, Sophronia/Sophie Leven, and Percival. But the other three, Davis, Calafia, and Sigmund, believed that Felicity should be given a chance in the school even if they didn’t believe her mother’s claims.

Ten seconds passed then, as the Committee members looked at one another that way before Jue shook her head. “Is that where we stand now? A vote of six to six? Do we need to go over the facts with all of you again? Do we need to discuss the kind of damage that this Chambers girl could do to our society if she is working with her mother? Might I remind you all that some of your own friends and descendants were killed in the war that Joselyn Atherby started. Do you all want to live through such a thing again?”

Percival, still standing out in his ridiculously modern clothing, spoke up. “And do we need to remind you lot that Chambers didn’t do anything wrong, and hasn’t had contact with her mother for, again, a decade. What the hell kind of long-con game do you think she’s playing?”

That sparked another argument that lasted for a solid ten minutes before things settled enough to vote again. And again, they were tied. So they argued some more.

“It seems that we simply are not going to be able to come to an agreement,” Calafia remarked after their third such vote with absolutely no change in the result. “We are dead-locked, six to six. And from the sound of each other’s passionate arguments, none of us are going to be convinced to switch sides.”

“You know what that means,” Teach pointed out, unable or unwilling to hide his amused expression. “If we’re tied, it’s the leader of the school that gets to decide whether to accept the new student or not.”

“Gaia Sinclaire.” Litonya’s dislike of the woman was evident in her voice and pinched expression of annoyance. “And we all know how she’ll vote. She was too soft on Atherby in school and she’ll be too soft on her child. The woman is too soft in general. We can’t simply pass that kind of decision to her.”

“First of all,” Sophronia spoke up. “I would dearly love to see you call Gaia soft to her face, Litonya. I think the results would be… amusing. And Prosser knows, we could use a little amusement right now.” She smiled a little at the thought before continuing. “And second of all, you can’t simply refuse to follow the rules because you know they’ll go against you. We’ve voted five times now, and all five times they’ve come out to a tie. Therefore, the current head of the school is allowed to cast the tie-breaking vote. And the current head of the school is Gaia Sinclaire, which means she casts the vote, regardless of her established opinion.”

Geta straightened in his seat, letting out an audible sigh. “As much as I hate to admit it, she has a point. I disagree with how this vote will go, but I won’t stand against it. We’ve failed to come to a consensus ourselves, so it’s up to the Headmistress to decide, even if we know how that will end up going.”

“Indeed,” Elisabet confirmed with a look toward Ruthers. “And we all know who to thank for Sinclaire ending up where she is.”

Ruthers, for his part, stared around at the other members of the Committee. His bulldog expression hardened and twisted as he obviously fought to find the right argument. All he had to do was convince one of the others to turn. Teach, Sophie, and Percival were hard set against him, so it would have to be one of the other three. Yet even as his mind desperately sought the right words to change their minds, he knew it would be useless.

The vote would stay tied, which meant that Gaia would make the final decision. And as they all knew, that decision would not be in his favor.

Felicity Chambers was coming to Crossroads.

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24 comments

  1. And there’s your first real look at the Crossroads Committee! 😉 I hope it was both informative and interesting for you guys to read, and that you were maybe a little bit surprised by some of the revelations there. Obviously, we’ll be seeing more of those Committee members as the story goes on, particularly… well, I don’t want to spoil it. Suffice to say, it should be fun.

    In any case, thanks for reading, guys. If you’d like to throw a vote on Top Web Fiction by clicking right here, I know I for one would appreciate the hell out of it. But either way, we’ll be back Monday to see Flick again in the start of the next arc.

    Tags for this chapter are: Apparently In Zeke’s Case – The Apple Didn’t So Much Fall From Sophronia’s Tree As Get Picked Up And Thrown., Calafia, Davis, Edward Teach, Elisabet, Gabriel Ruthers, Geta, Jue, Litonya, Oliver, Percival, Sigmund, Sophronia Leven, The Minigame In This Chapter Is Called ‘Spot Which Ones Are Historical/Mythological Figures’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ” We’ve all seen the depravity Strangers get up to when we aren’t there to hold them in check.””
    Me: And we’ve seen the utter depravities that unchecked Heretics can get up to when caught up in their zeal to kill any Stranger they see, as well. It’s interesting how that duality works, imo.

    ” We’ve voted five times now, and all four times they’ve come out to a tie. ”
    Me: Numbers don’t quite match up here, I think.

    A very interesting look into the internal politics and interactions of the Committee, imo. I may be off-base, but I suspect that this will not be the last time we witness Litonya’s animus against Headmistress Gaia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me: Numbers don’t quite match up here, I think.

      lol, how did THAT happen? Whoops, thanks. Fixed.

      I may be off-base, but I suspect that this will not be the last time we witness Litonya’s animus against Headmistress Gaia.

      I think you’re pretty solidly on-base.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Blackbeard and Caracalla’s murdered-in-real-life brother are on the Committee? I didn’t see that coming. Sophronia certainly isn’t what I was expecting either. I’m a bit dissapointed we didn’t get to see a more recent meeting, but this was still excellent.

    Can’t really go further in-depth right bow, since I’m about to leave for work, but is there any chance we can get some info on what their various areas of responsibility are?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Blackbeard and Caracalla’s murdered-in-real-life brother are on the Committee? I didn’t see that coming.

      I thought that would be a bit of a surprise.

      I’m a bit dissapointed we didn’t get to see a more recent meeting, but this was still excellent.

      Originally there were going to be two meetings, but the first one took too long.

      Can’t really go further in-depth right bow, since I’m about to leave for work, but is there any chance we can get some info on what their various areas of responsibility are?

      I’m a little busy right now myself, but I’ll try to get into some more detail about what they do soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Originally there were going to be two meetings, but the first one took too long.

        Putting timeskips in interludes is something you do fairly often, and I think that’s the reason for the slight disappointment on my part both here and in Dare’s interlude. I’ve been conditioned to expect the second scene.

        Thinking about it more, I think having one scene works well in this specific case.

        I’m a little busy right now myself, but I’ll try to get into some more detail about what they do soon.

        Probably for the best. I think it would be ideal if the info came entirely in story, but if you choose to WoG it, the comments of chapter would be the best place.

        Like

  4. About what I’d expected. Okay, these are probably way off base:

    -Edward Teach is definitely Blackbeard barring some exceedingly unfair plot twisting.

    -The only Jue I can find with a cursory search on Wikipedia was a male official from the Jin Dynasty, so I’ve got no idea on who that is.

    -Sophronia has already been confirmed to be the individual who inspired the same named character from Jerusalem Delivered.

    -Calafia appears to be based on a story of a black warrior queen, but its hard to say as she does not appear to be identified specifically in the chapter. The first mention of the name is when they’re listing the votes.

    -My best guess for Sigmund is that he’s the character from Norse Myth, the Völsunga saga to be precise. I am very slightly tempted to say he’s the psychologist Sigmund Freud given that his first sentence is talking about insanity, but nothing else seems to match.

    -Elisabet I have no idea about. A cursory search has uncovered nobody of sufficient age with that name and of Spanish nationality (though it was stated that she only appeared to be of Spanish descent, I don’t have much to go on apart from that).

    -Geta seems to be the Roman Emperor pretty unequivocally from the dialogue, which I think makes him one of the oldest humans introduced so far.

    -All I was able to uncover about the name Litonya is that it apparently means “Darting Hummingbird”, which doesn’t narrow things down much given the sheer number of animal based stories.

    -Davis, Percival and Oliver are too commonplace names for me to search for without additional info, unless there’s some sort of reference that I’ve missed.

    -And Ruthers is an original character by my reckoning, so no guesses for him.

    Apart from the fun minigame (very much appreciated), I like the variety of opinions present on the Committee. I think just about everybody was expecting Sophronia to be a hardliner, and she is – for Joselyn’s side 🙂 I can’t wait for her and Flick to meet.

    I also like how Sophronia seems to believe that, even with the power of the Committee behind her, Litonya would still be better off not picking a fight with Gaia.

    And just one minor thing, but it seems a bit repetitive for Sophronia to state that “you can’t simply refuse to follow the rules because you know they’ll go against you”and then say “You don’t get to refuse that simply because you know that the result will go against you” again a few lines later.

    Loved the Interlude, now roll on Monday! I want to see more of the Magic Van!!!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. -Calafia appears to be based on a story of a black warrior queen, but its hard to say as she does not appear to be identified specifically in the chapter. The first mention of the name is when they’re listing the votes.

      That’s her, sorry. She was introduced as the astonishingly attractive black woman next to Sigmund, but her name wasn’t stated then. I’ve added in her name to Ruthers’ response int he next paragraph.

      And just one minor thing, but it seems a bit repetitive for Sophronia to state that “you can’t simply refuse to follow the rules because you know they’ll go against you”and then say “You don’t get to refuse that simply because you know that the result will go against you” again a few lines later.

      Fixed, thanks. 🙂

      Like

    2. -Edward Teach is definitely Blackbeard barring some exceedingly unfair plot twisting.

      Until he was called Edward, I was convinced that the Teach in the Committee was Blackbeard’s son because of the way he started talking about how ludicrous it was to hold children responsible for their parents’ crimes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know, he was called Edward in the chapter too. I wasn’t saying “I think he’s Blackbeard’s son until it’s proven otherwise,” I was saying “I thought he was Blackbeard’s son until I saw the name Edward, at which point I realized it’s Blackbeard.”

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m wondering if Percival used to hang out with a guy named Arthur and a bunch of friends at a Round Table… 8)

    As for Oliver, I’m thinking perhaps Oliver Cromwell

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nice guess for Oliver Cromwell, but nah, he’s one of the original creations. I didn’t want EVERYONE to be an established historical/mythological figure.

      But as far as Percival goes, yup, that was the last one that hadn’t been guessed. The historical/mythological ones were Teach, Sophronia, Calafia, Sigmund, Geta, and Percival.

      Going by his description, you might say that he’s maintained a closer tie with Bystanders and the modern world than some of his counterparts.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Two things just occurred to me. Firstly, Ruthers and co were very lucky and secondly they really messed up.

    I say they were lucky because, well, imagine how different things would have turned out if Flick had gotten Abigail’s Edge vision. Seriously, how would that have turned out? Probably not well.

    Given the Edge vision that Flick did receive however, Ruthers missed an opportunity. Given her opinion of her mother at the start of the year, telling her that the reason for the hung vote was because Joselyn was a dangerous criminal that they’d exiled, while probably have increased Flick’s anger towards her mother even further, thereby almost ensuring that she’d reject anything to do with her even if she did find about the revolution. Of course, Asenath’s appearance on her birthday would have still have made Flick change her mind re:Alters but Ruthers still missed a golden opportunity to do some manipulation of his own through telling the truth (as he saw it)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. To be honest, I think that if he had played his cards right, Ruthers could have stopped Asenath from changing Flick’s mind about Strangers. Flick actually was buying into Crossroads’ official “all Strangers are evil” line at first. She was even reminding herself what the teachers taught her about how how untrustworthy Strangers are when she first met Asenath.

      If Ruthers had reached out to Flick, then I think it’s possible that he could’ve used the right combination of details about her mother, his own history, and “Strangers” in general to have Flick convinced enough to not trust Asenath even after saving her dad. Especially if he shared his history with Fossor. If she had known about that, it’s possible that Flick could have mistaken Asenath’s genuine attempt to help her for a trick, just like Fossor tricked Ruthers.

      It’s the same mistake he made with Wyatt. If he reached out to him instead of leaving him with abusive assholes and then spying on him for decades, he probably could have Wyatt on his side by now.

      Basically, I think Ruthers could have easily pulled a Holtz and turned Wyatt and Flick (and maybe even Koren) against Joselyn, but his insane paranoia helped turn them against Crossroads instead.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. This is also the strongest argument for the anti-stranger faction to vote her in. Never turn down an opportunity to indoctrinate your enemies children against them. The fact that such an argument was never raised is a telling blind spot.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, the Committee is certainly an interesting bunch, as several of them are clearly in Ruthers’ camp, and some even more aggressive than him, a couple in the middle who can be swayed, and a few others who, at least in the privacy & relative freedom afforded by the Committee’s private discussions, are sympathetic to Joselyn’s line that not all Strangers are evil monsters that have to be killed for the good of humanity. Though it does show just how close Ruthers is to getting his way on any single point, and it sounds like if he can get a couple more of his people on the Committee, he’ll be able to do what he wants.

    Though it was a bit of a surprise to see that Sophronia Leven was very firmly in the side advocating for a softer, more nuanced approach that recognizes the difference between Alters & Nocen, given that she’s the one responsible for that trick using a magic trap in public places like bus stations & whatnot that makes Strangers ill and then ambush them when they go to use the can, and how her son thought that was one of the funniest things ever, on top of being generally rather hardline & an ass to boot. Indeed, it seems like one of the reasons Sophronia wanted to admit Flick was that she hoped that her presence would cause Zeke to lighten up & pull his head out.

    And Blackbeard, perhaps history’s most infamous pirate, is a member of the Committee- I think that at some point in the future, an interlude focused on him would be interesting, as have to wonder if there’s some other story behind his piracy, & if not, how he got reformed, as well as how he became a Heretic, & how that must have resulted in his surviving being shot a half dozen times & slashed & stabbed some 20 times by the crew of the RN squadron sent to take him down, as well as having ‘his’ head cut off & hung from the bowsprit of that squadron’s flagship afterwards.

    Some of the others on the Committee are interesting too, including a deposed Roman emperor, a Knight of the Round Table (who seems remarkably in tune with modern pop-culture as well as being one of the moderates,) a legendary warrior-queen, and a figure from Norse mythology.

    And whatever Litonya’s beef with Gaia is, it sounds like it’s not just an issue of ideology or methodology, but something rather personal, and I’d like to see the story on that at some point. Also interesting that even with the major powerboost one gets from being on the Committee due to the shared abilities thing, she’s told that picking a fight with Gaia probably isn’t the wisest course of action.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Every time I see the “all Strangers are evil” line I want to point out the Nazi ideal and say “Well, all humans are evil then.” Or maybe point to some African warlods, or how some nations treat their females or how Whites treated Blacks as chattel for genatations or any number of ways humans have been “evil” to other humans.
    I wish I could say it’s unexpected but people can and are just that bigoted, see afore mentioned Nazis.
    People are people and people are dumb. Guh.

    I do like how this lady gets off calling someone who quite literally changed the world by blowing up a state “soft”. Bitch, please, Gaia an’t soft, she’s just resting so she’ll be ready for when something actually challenging comes along, like an old god.

    Like

  9. People calling Gaia soft will never get old.

    Gaia is as if not more ruthless and willing to make hard calls than any of the hardliners. And I’m not talking about wiping a state off the map, though that’s pretty damn impressive.

    I’m talking about her willingness to make cold calculations with children’s lives with the hybrid student plan.

    I’m talking about her willingness to accept that she simply can’t stop the genocide faction NOW and play the long game.

    Thinking someone is soft because they want to protect everyone who isn’t the actual threat is a great way to end up blindsided when the old idealist with a grand cause is willing to go to extreme lengths to win.

    I imagine some of these people thought Jocelyn Atherby to be soft as well. If they knew why Prosser started his own faction they’d call him soft. They’ve conflated being soft with not being genocidal.

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