11 April, 2011
[SFAP] Chapter 2:11
This is the eleventh section of the second chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.
“Jo have you a minute?” asked Alice peering around the door of Jo’s room.
“Always” replied Jo looking up from his desk, “Why? Is something up?”
“You’ve known James a while haven’t you?”
“Long enough to know you’ve nothing to be worried about, at least not worry about his metal state.”
“He’s doing this for the wrong reasons you know”
“You think they’re the wrong reasons.” Said Jo quite plainly, motioning towards a seat for Alice.
Alice entered the room and took up the proffered seat. “I do, look you’ve counselled him on this plan of his, look I know you have your own reasons for why you’re here, though goodness knows what they are. Why you want rid of the Habitat is anybody’s guess but you can’t think this will work with what we’re up against?”
“Which is why the reasons that James has for what he does don’t matter, it suffices that someone does them. Someone has to take a stand, be something other than the lamb outside the abattoir”
“The reasons are everything, if you do the right thing for the wrong reason then the work is tainted, it always creeps in. But it won’t do any good though.”
“Look I can’t tell you that. I can’t say anything that will both make you feel better and be the truth aside from to say James is the right man with the best people available doing the job someone in the human race has to do and the sooner it is done the better.”
“You know what the men say though about you don’t you?” asked Alice.
“I think I can guess”
“That I’m still loyal to the Habitat, that all this is one huge trap, that what better way than to get rid of the resistance to the Habitat than to help organise it and then lead it into a suicide mission.”
“It is the oldest trick in the book.”
“Not quite, but valid point, but the fact that we’re having the conversation is the entire justification for all our actions and our likely deaths.”
“That we choose.” Jo paused for a second seemingly to think, but more likely thought Alice to act as punctuation; she suspected he had probably planned this conversation out from the moment she entered the room, before that even if she was any judge of how Jo operated “More than that, it isn’t an easy decision and in every material way you will lose in almost every sense by your actions here today; but you are standing up and saying no”
“Easy for you to say.”
“It is, and I can’t judge the value of different people or their causes, only council and manipulate.”
“I really hate it when you talk like that.”
“Of manipulation and schemes, am I so different or just worlds weary and honest.”
“You’re a fucking robot is what you are”
“In that case is it a wonder that I am weary, no I would rather say it is the cynicism of age and of a thousand plans and dreams failed.”
“You really suck at cheering people up.”
“That was never my job, I’m here to do what I believe is the right thing, what scares you and is actually the source of your annoyance is you’ll never know what that truly is and only instrumentality would fix that and yet that is the one thing you’ll resist more than anything. Admit the cause of your unease with me is within yourself and be content in the only joy in the world is the individuality of others rather than frustrate at your own ignorance of other’s motives.”
“You’re trying to get me to storm out of here aren’t you?”
“Is it working?”
“No because we haven’t talked about James yet”
“Ah yes, James” Jo paused again in one of his punctuation moments “perhaps I should offer you a drink”