Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Trust is a Two Way Street

I don't think I have ever met anyone with so many shades of gray. 

What I mean is that our guest, Lieutenant Will Price supposedly from Richmond, Ky, is a quick talker that seems shockingly honest at times and incredibly shifty at others. He can blatantly contradict himself one second and then offer a correction so reasonable that you have a hard time not believing it. 

We have been trying with little success to sift through the truth and the lies about this guy since our meeting with him last night. He says that his superior ordered him and his men to fly here in search of survivors, and supplies. Evidently one of them remembered the helipad at the hospital when fuel started to get low. From what he says, the chopper started malfunctioning about a mile outside of Frankfort, the apparent result of overuse and improper maintenance. Guess they don't have people in Richmond who know how to service a helicopter. 

I want to believe him, really. He seems like an earnest guy that is in over his head, hopeful because he is alive and still amped up from the fact that he survived the fall of society and of his helicopter. But he's also scared as hell, and extremely cautious when he remembers to be. I can't blame him. Here he was, probably six or seven years into his military career, veteran of two foreign wars by his mid twenties. His expectation when he woke up and saw us was probably that most people around here would be just like the civilians he used to know before society crumbled. People who he would automatically be superior to in situations like the one we live in now. People with awe for a uniform hardwired into us. Blind followers. Sheep People. 

Or, as my wife likes to call them, Sheeple. 

Sorry, that one still makes me giggle every time I hear it, and I had to share. 

But Lt. Price is learning what we are. Farmers and builders, teachers and nurses, all of that for sure and we are proud to keep those skills alive and growing. But we are also the hard iron that had all of the chaff burned away in the crucible of Ragnarok. We are remnants of a society renowned among its own denizens for its brutality and cold calculation. We are killers when we are threatened, and most of us are willing to err on the side of caution. In our case, that means we'd kill the good lieutenant in a moment if we seriously thought it would make us safer. 

We'd feel bad about it, absolutely. Some among us with better souls, like Treesong and some of his students and friends, would openly protest such an action. (Don't let me give you the wrong idea, I deeply respect Tree and his friends, and any of them would and have defended this place multiple times. They just think that killing living people is an act only reserved for immediate defense of life, like someone holding a gun to your head.) But we would do it. 

To be even more crystal, I would do it. My pregnant wife? She would pull the trigger without hesitation. 

I say this not to intimidate or to give the wrong impression. Not too many out there who could be reading this would have trouble understanding what I am saying. All of you out there have almost certainly had to do similar things. 

My point is that if the good lieutenant is acting as a point man or a scout for a group that has malicious intent, they and he need to be very clear just what the stakes are. 

In other words, it would be a terrible idea to fuck with us. We are scarred and battle tested, well practiced at staying alive against stupidly unbalanced odds. We want that to be clear. 

We will listen to any peaceful proposal with open hearts and minds. If Will Price is what he says he is, and his trip here was just luck on his part, then all will be well. If not...well, we will cross that bridge when or if it comes. 

But if it is his intent to gain our trust, he will fail. Unless, that is, he begins to be honest with us to a much greater degree than he has been thus far. Maybe I will tell him in great detail about one of mine and Patrick's first escapades, when we burned a bunch of sleeping men to death for brutalizing and raping women. 

You know, just to give him a better idea who we are. 

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