We watched our creator bleed out. We watched him lean heavily on the table, breathing as if each inhaled breath was an attempt to lift a large weight, blood bubbling around the wound, each exhalation comparatively feeble and sudden.
We watched him grope at the wound, pressing his hand to it. Still holding our knife, we moved it to the crook of his elbow, drawing the blade against that crease. He reached out, fumbling through the air in an attempt to grab the knife so he could be free to try to stop the bleeding, and he caught nothing but air. He attempted to staunch the wound again, and again, we used the blade of the knife to pull his elbow and hand back. His arm bled from the cut. He didn’t try to stop the bleeding with his hand a third time.
“Sylvester,” Lillian said.
The blade of our knife touched our lips, in a ‘silence’ motion.
“I wanted an answer,” she said. “I wanted to hear what the end goal was.”
Genevieve Fray had moved away from her position at one side of the desk, moving closer to the others.
Fray, Lillian, and Mary, standing opposite us. Ashton was standing from his seat, backing away. He’d been a little slow to notice the response of the others.
“If we say, he’ll know he was right or wrong.”
We shook our head. “He doesn’t get to know.”
“If you let him die like this, the rest of us don’t get to know either,” Mary said.
“I’ll tell you.” It sounded strange to use ‘I’.
“When have you ever, ever said anything and had it be the unvarnished, undeniable truth?” Mary asked.
“That’s not terribly fair. You know how my memory is.”
It was Lillian who chimed in, now, “Your memory might be bad, but you understand people. You understand yourself. You know people on an intrinsic level. You know you lie, you bend the truth, you manipulate. Even with us.”
Hayle reached over, trying to staunch the wound. We caught his wrist.
His breathing sounded bad.
He fought to wrench his arm free, pulled against us, to try to match my strength with his own.
We were stronger than him. We weren’t strong, Sylvester had never been, not compared to the average man, but we were stronger than him. Our creator was an old man, and all of the political power and scientific knowledge at his disposal didn’t change that he had very human limitations.
Hayle fell from his chair in the process of fighting us, slumping against the front of the desk. We held his wrist, so it was visible above the top of the desk.
“I love you, Doctor Lillian Garey. I regret every single day, hour, and minute I didn’t get to spend in your company. I love the girl you were, the young woman you are, and the person you’ll become.”
“It’s the unvarnished truth Mary wanted. Like you said, I understand people. I know who you are. I know who I am. I’m painfully aware of the ways we don’t mesh, the conflicts, the ways the gears and cogs that make up my being often grate and do damage when they run up against your finer workings. I’m… dangerously aware of the ways we could mesh, given an opportunity.”
We met her eyes. We still held Hayle’s wrist.
“As am I,” she said. “Dangerously aware.”
“It’s the fate of a Doctor to reap what they’ve sown. You’ve been gentle, Lillian. Any ugliness in you was sown by others.”
“And you, Sy?”
I’m not your Sy.
“I was worried that Hayle’s revelations would ruin us, by revealing something that could divide us. If we’d been- anyone else. If the blame fell down differently. He wants to ruin us with silence, so he gets this fate. I was a child who scowled at him. Maybe that’s ruinous in itself. It raises questions, doesn’t it? Maybe I was always ill-tempered and contrary. Maybe I can’t lay the blame at my creator’s feet. That might make things harder.”
“It’s only ruinous if you let it be,” Mary said.
We stopped, pausing. Part of it was for effect. Part of it was to digest, to find our bearings.
“You shot me in the leg,” she said.
We fell silent, staring at her.
“You shot me in the leg, and now you’ll invent reasons and explanations as to why, but it’s my best response to what you’re about to say.”
“Assuming you know.”
“I’m going to assume you’ll say you love me, you’ll say it with just as much meaning, and it’ll strike me right in the heart, with just as much impact as any dagger or bullet I could deliver to you.”
Hayle pulled at my grip on his arm. We let him. It wasn’t because he was fighting us. He was slumping over to the ground.
Mary went on, “You have your mission, and I don’t, not anymore. I’m not looped into it anymore, even now. I joined you, I fought the Infante, I brought Lillian and the others, but this was your plan. You told us to trust you. There’s a limit to how far that goes.”
“I already killed my creator, nascent Noble whatever you plan to call yourself. I’ve stood where you stand.”
“You did, you have.”
“But you don’t get to pull that card, to call back to the first time you kissed me, or to the time you helped me get my knives on under the stairs, or how you leaned on me after we lost Jamie. You don’t get to reminisce about how you brought me on the team, or how we play off of one another on a battlefield.”
Lillian touched Mary’s arm.
“You don’t get to,” Mary said. “I understand why you did it, why you needed to, but that ‘why’? It was evidence that I’m not your first priority. You don’t love me like that. You got to leave me behind, but you bought and paid for that opportunity at a cost. You can’t say the same kind of thing to me that you said to Lillian, or it’ll be a lie, and if you can’t give me truth, against your better nature, then I can’t know you’re speaking the truth when you tell us what Hayle’s end goal for us was.”
“I’ve said my piece. Now say what you’re going to say, be your manipulative self, pull on my strings and convince me you’re telling the truth,” Mary said.
We were silent.
“Please,” she added, as a belated afterthought.
“Thank you for looking after Lillian.”
Lillian’s hand dropped away from Mary’s arm.
“I know by saying that, I’m only reinforcing that you’re not in first place, I don’t like that. But it’s heartfelt. I do mean it. The only thing that kept me sane at times was that you were there with her. Ashton, Helen, and even Duncan too, but… mostly you, in that sense.”
“I’ll tell you where you do fall in first place. I realized the truth about the Block because of you. The nature of Nobles. The Falconer. She was you. That undefinable, underlying element. I saw that part of you in her.”
“I’m glad I helped,” she said.
I believed her. There was no malice in her voice. For all that she’d mentioned me shooting her in the knee, there was no hatred. Only quiet concern.
She wasn’t gripping that throwing knife with any less intensity than before.
“You’ve always been goal oriented. The mission, the challenge.”
“Percy hammered it into me. Slight alterations in my growth and upbringing to tune me to those ends.”
We looked down at Hayle. He was still, not even trying to breathe. A bubble of congealing blood popped at his side.
We stepped on the side of his neck for good measure. More blood bubbled out of his side in response, mostly due to how he’d shifted position at the added weight.
“And now I’ve killed my creator too.”
Lillian moved forward, hesistant to approach us. We didn’t move, watching as she circled the desk, giving me a wide berth.
“I won’t bite.”
The eye contact on her part was intense, unflinching. A thousand things communicated. She maintained it well past the point where she could have broken the connection and looked down at Hayle.
We saw her purse her lips slightly at the sight.
Fray, off to one side, frowned. She’d fallen silent. No doubt she was considering her various alternatives.
“The mission, Sy?” Mary asked.
“Our goal in this? Jessie and I had our plan we were working on. Key pieces we needed to knock down, things and people we could use, ways we could whittle at the greater hierarchy until something toppled. We didn’t have all of the information, we didn’t know how far the Infante would go, but it was workable. A long shot, but workable. That’s what Jessie and I were doing.”
“We’ve never shied away from long shots,” Lillian said. She returned to Mary’s side, glancing up at Fray as she passed the woman.
“No we haven’t. But I want you to know, Mary, my connection to you and your connection to the Falconer started us on this greater mission. It was when we started moving in this particular direction. One that sees all of us in this office. I’d hoped Jessie would be here, mind you.”
“Not entirely unpredictable,” Mary said.
“Not entirely. It’s still a shame.”
“It really is.”
“I couldn’t share the plan because if I’d been wrong, it would’ve left us with nothing. ‘Nothing’ is salvageable if it’s all you have at the end, all you need is the strength for one final effort. ‘Nothing’ at the outset or midway point of a long campaign makes the rest doubly difficult. We couldn’t have managed that.”
“We’re not so weak as that, Sy.”
“You aren’t. I might’ve been.”
We watched her, we saw the small changes in her expression, the way she looked at Lillian, as if she was betraying her friend by thinking it.
“It all comes together with us becoming Nobles, that’s the conclusion. I never would have figured it out or imagined us here if I hadn’t seen your other self as such a fine Noble, if I hadn’t known to my core that our Mary would have been so much better than her. It took a while to digest things and realize, I had my doubts, but it was a real process, and one that wouldn’t have been possible without you. Whether I communicated it or not, the mission was and is yours.”
We watched Mary, in much the same way we’d watched Hayle. The little details, summed up into the greater battle.
The rain was so heavy outside. We’d really missed it so. We’d missed how dark things became in the late evening, how the rooms were illuminated in strange hues by the combinations of candles and lamps, by artificial, voltaic lights burning their chemical yellows and oranges, and by the blue-green light so common to bioluminescent sources. No one light source was consistent or powerful enough to reach the corners and crevices, the combinations therein casting everything in a strange light.
Mary was so beautiful, so elegant. We felt an appreciation for her, and we tried to feel it in a way that could reach past the desk and the chasm that separated us.
Lillian not elegant, but beautiful in so many other ways. Lillian had been Mary’s professed reason for killing Percy. A just, overdue killing.
“Where does this mission lead?” Mary asked. “Hayle is dead, you can say.”
“Fray and Hayle gave up on us when we fractured and when we abdicated.”
“Not entirely,” Genevieve Fray spoke. “We held out a measure of hope.”
“But you made plans in case we didn’t succeed. Things were tenuous.”
“Eggs and baskets,” Fray said.
“The question arises, then. What does a rebel terrorist like yourself get up to when she needs something that would scare even the Crown, who thinks nothing of leveling whole continents, with plans to return to recolonize the ruins several generations later? She wants to spare humanity. Her resources are a headmaster of a special projects Academy, scattered few lost souls, innumerable rebel groups, a printing press…”
“Do you know, or are you asking?” Fray asked.
“I don’t know the exact answer. I expect the primordials are involved. Nothing else would scare the Crown, and you need to scare them if you’re going to try and convince them that defeating you means they lose as well. Nothing else would break Avis and Warren.”
“You’ve seen the answer, Sylvester. Lambs.”
“Clarify,” Mary said.
“The Hag Nerve. The Black Wood. The Harvester units. The Whelps. The Belchers. The Little Ones. I could name others, but I’d be less confident you’ve encountered them.”
“And somehow the printing press and the spread of Academy knowledge helps you deploy this assortment?” Lillian asked.
“It helps her deploy the safeguard. Only the safeguard. A backup measure, and a means of preparing distribution.”
“Sylvester,” Fray said. “Or… whoever you are. If you’re doing what I think you’re doing. I understand you wanted Hayle to die with doubts and torment, worrying about what he brought forth. If you think perverting my mission or even entertaining the idea of doing so is a similar kind of punishment for my role in your existence, then I- I really have to argue otherwise. I’m wary enough as it is.”
“I don’t understand,” Lillian said. “Those projects? All put together, they’ll create a mess. But… only a mess. Is there a greater whole I’m missing?”
“No. Nothing like that,” Fray echoed us. “But none of it is like it was. I’ve been refining them with the help of my lab partners. No one answer will really stop the Academy. Hayle and I planned to threaten a strike on all fronts. A crushing offense in a way that tops whatever they could bring to bear.”
“With a collection of special projects? You’re talented, I’m sure, Avis has her strengths, I read over her graduate work, but-”
“The lab partners aren’t Avis and Warren,” we interrupted.
Lillian closed her mouth. She looked between us and Fray.
“Primordials?” Ashton asked. He’d been the first to clue in, picking up on the lingering detail. “Your lab partners are primordials? That’s crazy. They’d be terrible at taking notes.”
“They weren’t there to take notes,” Fray said. “They were there to take what I gave them, turn the projects over and around, explore them, and give us something better.”
“That’s what you meant when you said they reached a point where they wanted to create tools. You’re insane,” Lillian said.
“I was desperate,” Fray said.
“You’re actually more insane than Sylvester.”
“I was desperate!” Fray said, with new emotion in her voice. “We were desperate. We’re all desperate, don’t you see?”
“We absolutely see,” the words left our lips.
“And you’re absolutely the wrong type of person to handle this, Sylvester-the-Noble,” Fray said. “I’m not even sure I’m the person to handle it. Only two of the projects are in a state where I could imagine using them. The others need more time.”
“So your safeguard might hold. Your tainted water, the leash.”
“Lillian,” Fray said. She wasn’t even talking to us, changing focus to our Doctor. Our heart. “You’re most equipped to understand what I was doing. It took two years to teach them that the chemicals I used in the leash was anathema, death and frustration as assured as anything. I kept them small, each of my primordials no larger than a human head. I’ve been working on it for years, and I still think it’s too dangerous. It was a last resort, and I don’t think you’re right, in calling me more insane than he is. I’m worried Sylvester is going to try to convince you all it’s a resort of the less than final kind.”
“I’m still trying to grasp this. What you were doing, with the barrier to the primordials, the scale of this,” Lillian said. Her eyes went wider than they already were. “You’d destroy everything?”
“Everything that wasn’t leashed. We’d distribute the leash. We’d clear out everything, but for an island of humanity. But only if it looked like there was no other way. I can’t emphasize that enough.”
“Oh my lords,” Lillian said. She looked between Fray and us as if she was trying to tell which was worse.
“That kind of cussing loses its meaning when we got here by killing lords.”
“Please don’t try to be funny,” Lillian said. “How close did we come? How close are we? Is this something you’re even entertaining, Sy?”
“I entertain everything. It’s part of what I do.”
“I-” she started. She turned and nearly lost her balance. Mary caught her. Lillian backed away several steps, to get a better view out the door. Our lieutenants were there. Red was there. My fairy tales.
Their expressions were dark.
“Please tell me I’m not the only sane person here,” Lillian said.
“You’re not the only sane person here,” Gordeux said.
The Treasurer spoke, “I’m not sure I get it. I’ve read about Primordials, I understand them in that sense, but I read about the war for the Crown Empire. Past a certain point, it’s words on a page. Important, ominous words, but still black ink on white or yellowed paper.”
“Don’t say that,” Lillian said. “Please. Don’t let me think that Sylvester could convince you to go along with this.”
“He’s considering it, like he considers everything,” Mary said, from beside Lillian. While Lillian made her plea to the Beattle rebels, Mary fixed her gaze on me.
“It’s a potential bargaining chip.”
“To?” Mary asked.
“To approach the King’s table as a person with a voice, if it comes to it. To threaten a war they couldn’t necessarily win.”
“We can’t do this, we can’t touch it,” Lillian said. “As a last resort, or as a bargaining chip. I don’t trust you that much, Sy, however much I do believe that you love me and the rest of the Lambs.”
It was barely a word that passed through our lips.
“When Sylvester was addressing Mary,” Fray said. “He spoke of needing something. That having ‘nothing’ at the early or middle stages of the journey made it impossible to forge forward.”
“He did,” Mary said.
“Then I want you to know this was our something. There wasn’t necessarily truth to this as a plan. We needed to know we had the option of going that far, while we were simultaneously terrified of being forced to. Because it grants confidence and the desperate need to put other options forward or bring other things to fruition.”
“That’s not good enough,” Lillian said.
Hayle was thoroughly dead. Our foot hurt where it pressed against his neck. We started to bend down to check him, and Mary moved, tensing.
Once she saw what we were doing, she gestured, allowing us to carry on.
We pressed one finger to the old man’s throat, and found it without a pulse.
We ran one hand over his thin white hair, brushing it back.
We looked at him, examining the features that had shifted as consciousness had fled him, and searched for a sign that he’d gone out doubting, afraid, and lost.
In the background, the others were talking. Lillian spoke about her brief experience with primordials. Fray countered with talk of the safeguards. Lillian made mention of how unsecure things had been at Lugh, how close we’d been to disaster.
We tuned it out. We paid attention to the patter of rain on the window. We knew the only enemies that remained to be defeated were across an ocean, years away from a confrontation, and were arranged here, in this room. Mary, Ashton, Lillian.
“I trust you,” the Treasurer said. “I don’t know, but you have the greatest grasp of things here. You know the Lambs in ways we don’t, you know the enemy, you have experience with Primordials.”
“I don’t know if I deserve that trust,” Lillian said. “But thank you.”
“I can’t guarantee we’ll all go along with you, but maybe most.”
“Maybe most,” one of the other Lieutenants echoed the Treasurer.
We straightened. We felt a kind of peace. Fray’s conspiracy, the tools she’d devised, they’d been the last god to defeat.
As we’d taken Power and turned it against the enemy, then taken Hayle’s unknown and visited it on him, we stood poised to take Fray’s conspiracy from her. The grand plan, the cards in her sleeve.
She would desperately fight to keep us from doing so. Lillian would too.
We walked around the desk, approaching the group, our thoughts turning.
It was Ashton who got in our way. He held Helen up and out, so Helen butted into our chest.
“Helen says no.”
The conversation in the background stopped.
“Helen can’t talk.”
“She deserves a chance, just like me,” Ashton said. “You convinced Mary and Lillian you’re being honest.”
“Not quite,” Lillian said.
“Well it sounded like you did,” Ashton said. “And then you were less convinced when Sylvester started talking about using primordials as an option.”
“Don’t be pedantic, Sylvester,” Ashton said, almost sighing as he said it.
“Well, I think Helen and I deserve a chance to hear what you have to say and argue about it. I think we’re harder to convince, because Helen mostly doesn’t have ears or a mouth, and I’m stubborn. And as much as I like them, I think Mary and Lillian are very biased, because you’ve slept with them lots-”
Someone in the back cleared their throat.
“-and lots, and sometimes both at the same time-”
“Move it along, Ashton,” Lillian said. Then, addressing the larger group, she added, “He’s referring to us sleeping in the same bed, for the record, when we were much younger.”
Ashton frowned, turning his head and opening his mouth, his expression changing as if he was trying to formulate an Ashton argument.
“Move it along,” Lillian said.
“Okay, well, you’ve only slept with me a couple of times, like that one time at Hackthorn,” Ashton said.
“Enough about that, please,” Lillian said. She was flushed now.
“I’m not as biased,” Ashton said, firm. “I think we should talk to Duncan and I think we should leave this be.”
“I think we should hold onto everything we can, as options and weapons go. We’re so close to having security for the first time ever, it’d be the worst kind of tragedy to get here and to lose that security immediately after.”
“At what price?” Lillian asked.
“Did I interrupt your one-on-one with Sylvester?” Ashton asked. “You’re all so terribly rude these days. It’s the rebel thing, I’m sure. It’s done away with your etiquette.”
“I’m sorry. Carry on.”
“You like the mice. There are mice all over the place. I think if you were the Sylvester I knew in the beginning, then you’d never want to risk hurting them, and I’m concerned you’ve forgotten that part. Or you’ve given it up, Sylvester.”
“I made a compromise. I’ve wrestled with this, with everything, over a very long period of time. Everything I’ve taken in and digested has led me to this conclusion. I think you’ve been taking things in and digesting them too. I think you’re trying to be funny, to fill a role, you’ve been looser, more free, more creative.”
“I’m trying,” Ashton said. “But it takes work for me. I think it takes you work to not slip away.”
“I think you might be right.”
“I like Abby, Lara, Nora, Bo Peep, Emmett, and Quinton. When I was reading my books and trying to figure out empathy back in the beginning, I was told to imagine my favorite people and I was told to imagine other people in their place. I imagined Helen, then, and that led to me getting yelled at a lot. It was very frustrating.”
We reached out. We rested one hand on top of Helen.
“The world has other Abbys and Laras, Noras, Bo Peeps, Emmetts and Quintons out there. Ones I haven’t met yet. If Ms. Genevieve Fray asked you what you wanted and what you believed, if that mattered, then someone should ask me what I want. I want to meet more of those people I’m very fond of. I don’t want to risk killing them, and I think that Fray is right and you’re the wrong person to trust with these primordial-refined projects.”
“Alright,” we said. “That’s a good argument.”
“Should we hear Helen’s, before we respond?”
“She can’t talk, Sylvester. Obviously.”
“So you’re going to have to imagine her arguing at you. I want you to imagine really hard, and come up with an argument that beats you, okay? Do her justice, give her a moment to shine. She likes those moments.”
“I can’t do that, Ashton.”
We stroked Helen, running a hand along the wadding of bandage-covered flesh.
“I want to bring about a world that makes Helen happiest. Her ideal world, in a way.”
“That’s not reassuring,” Lillian said.
“I want to bring about a world that makes you happiest, Lillian,” we said. “One where you have every last thing you want, and yes, the stakes are high, it feels like the world is resting on your shoulders. But isn’t that something you wanted, in its way? You wanted to run an Academy and run it well, and deal with all of those pressures. You’ve been preparing for it for a long time.”
We walked past Ashton, approaching Lillian.
“I want to give you us,” we said, placing an emphasis on ‘us’. We let the word sit for a moment. “I want to give you a black coat you’ve earned, and family, and peace. I want the cogs and gears to fit together. Believe it or not, with everything else set aside or reframed, I think it could be achievable.”
Lillian pursed her lips.
“You know he’s good at this,” Fray said. “The deceit, the manipulations.”
We shot her a look. Warning.
“He is,” Lillian said.
“But I’d like to believe it.”
We nodded. We glanced at the group just outside the door.
“I want the Beattle rebels and our other assorted allies to have what they wanted, when they offered us their help. A chance to finish their educations, a chance to bring about change that will see the history books. Security, safety, success, and something we haven’t had for a long, long time now. A shot at a life that resembles ‘normal’, at a time when it feels impossible to get back to that point.”
“All the promises in the world,” Fray said.
“I’ve been thinking on this very hard, for a very long time.”
“I imagine you have,” Fray said.
“Mary would make a fine Noble, and she would have her armies, her soldiers to train, and a mission unlike any other, one that might mark a turning point in history.”
“And Helen?” Ashton asked.
“Beautiful again. She’d have to be, to be a Noble. She would revel in the role, especially with some tuning. She could have the greatest of prey to hunt.”
“Your friends would be taken care of, as a generation to follow us. They’d be free and they’d be together. You’d have them, and others like them, Ashton.”
Ashton was silent at that, but he looked introspective.
We spread our arms. Emphasis, theater, trying to make ourselves larger, as if it was a demand for more attention.
“I want Jessie to live. I want Jessie to be Jessie. I want to be greedy and have everyone, and I want to be greedy and claim my fairy tale happy ending. I want everything I’ve promised to all of you, because those same things would nourish me.”
They were listening.
“I want to win, and I want to turn this shitty, blighted, corpse-strewn landscape into something we can be proud of.”
“At what cost?” Fray asked.
“The cost has been paid,” we said. “In large part. It’ll be hard work to secure things. Taking all of these things I’ve described, they could be easy enough. Keeping them will be hard. Costly. It will require work and focus.”
“And it’ll require you to have that bargaining chip, the world held at gunpoint,” Lillian said. She looked so terribly sad.
“Mary, if you would?”
“Search Genevieve. She’ll have the means on her. She wouldn’t trust it to other hands. Be wary of the needles in her fingers.”
“The means?” Mary asked. But she approached Genevieve Fray.
“I’m praying this is all an elaborate head game,” Fray said. She submitted to the search. Mary’s hands glided over her, searching, patting her down. Vials and tools came free, were held up for us to see, then tossed to the ground. “That Sylvester intends to break me in a different way than he broke Hayle. You’re better than this, Lambs.”
“Of course we are. We’re of the same stock as Nobles.”
“That is not what I meant.”
Fray reacted as Mary shifted to another location to search.
We watched as Fray closed her eyes.
Mary sliced at Fray’s blouse, to reveal what was beneath. She reached- and tentacles reached out, seizing her arm.
Fray had a creature living beneath her clothing.
“Down, Nina,” Fray said.
The tentacles released Mary’s hand.
Fray’s ‘means’ took the form of a key. She’d made a spot below her ribcage for the item to slide in. A sheath buried in flesh, so that the item could slide in, with only the uppermost end visible as a bar of dark metal against pale flesh.
Mary hooked the item with one finger and pulled it free.
A heavy iron key.
“Wendy will tell us where it is,” we said.
We paused for emphasis.
“You’ll find out, but don’t tell anyone, least of all me,” we said. We watched as expressions shifted. Relief, almost. “Lillian safeguards the key. Mary safeguards Lillian.”
We’d disarmed ourselves. The weapon was known, but we were no longer a threat. The hope we’d fostered would be free to blossom.
We touched the small of Lillian’s back as we approached her. “We’ve won. We have what we need.”
She stood taller. There was an element of the dream, here. The heady notion of possibility. She wasn’t alone, either. We’d claimed our third god, devoured it.
“He wanted us to worm our way into the graces of the Crown,” we said. “To subvert it from within. A gamble, one that could be made once at best. We had to prove we were worthy, surviving to this point.”
“We’re here,” Mary said.
“We’re here,” Ashton said to Helen.
Indeed. We were here.
“Take Fray into custody,” we ordered.
She stared us down as she walked past. There was no hint of a smile on her face. Much like Hayle in his final moments, she was left to wonder, to agonize.
The key could be obtained later, as the situation called for it. To potentially have the ability to bring about the end of life on earth as we knew it, but for our small parcel of reality.
When we’d come to our compromise, hearing out the voice, weighing everything and losing that fight to hold onto everything worth having and hold onto our sense of right, we’d realized it was untenable.
There would need to be sacrifices, to preserve those things we so wanted.