• Nick Richards

Chapter 7: The Emptiness of Space - Part Six

“I simply think you are not leading us correctly,” said Vialon with a face of controlled concern.

“Then tell me so in these private conferences,” said Jendi, “not in front of the crew. You are not qualified to lead, and when you publicly criticize me you undermine my authority.”

“Authority is given to those who demonstrate proper leadership,” he responded. “When you demand respect, you rarely gain it honestly. When you act in a way that instills respect in others, then you have it without the need to demand.”

“The crew follows my lead and always has, other than you expressing these words recently. Tell me, Vialon, what would you have me do different? You’ve always been with me on these planets, and you’ve seen how it has gone. What would you do differently?”

“We have tek! These people need what we have, and you are just giving them farm tools! Give them tek! Show them miracles and watch them line up to take what we offer.”

“So you think I am being too cautious about overturning society? If we do what you say it could create the conditions for more riots. We saw how that worked out on Aurial, didn’t we?”

“I’m saying that these societies don’t deserve to remain — they should be overturned for holding their people back in ignorance. Tek is the future whether they want it or not!”

“And we are gods who can decide how a society is supposed to operate?” asked Jendi with disgust.

“Better us than armies who will follow and enslave them,” said Vialon. “Once tek is out, it spreads — fast — and these planets need to be ready to deal with them. It won’t always be from Aurial, and won’t always be from someone as naive as you.”

“How dare you!” cried Jendi. “I am not naive, for I have seen as much as you have, and I lost more in the Riots than you ever did. Yes, I saw your record, I know what you did, but you didn’t lose a brother!”

“You do these people no favor by not forcing them to accept the inevitable.”

“You will do no forcing as long as you are part of my crew,” said Jendi as she walked away. As she turned the corner around from Vialon’s cabin, she saw Wenden staring at her, a look of worry on his face. How much of that had he heard outside of the cabin?

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