Eye of the Dragon
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Arssanguinus
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Golem

“Now who says I’m on any side.”

He offers a small smile.

“Aside from Mr. Kemp and possibly Enkidu I may just be the oldest individual alive. It tends to give one perspective, even if much of it I do not remember. And I have enough perspective to realize that I, and certainly you, are part of a science experiment of sorts. More than just you, me and those picked up from Enkidu’s ruins. Do you see it, I wonder?”

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Lamar

"That first part sounds just like something my mother would say. As for the science experiment, almost definitely. Both sides of the coin, 'heroes' and 'villains' to be reductionist, and those of us who prefer the edge as well. The question is, where is the control group, the double blind study, and the peer review?"

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Golem:

“To be honest, Lamar. I don’t think the staff here is really on anyone’s side, at least so far as the recognized sides. If you claimed that Grey was on the side of Eidolon , I’d have to laugh. Mariel is very much her own person and won’t be constrained. Kemp I think is the sort that recognizes principles rather than principalities. Carver is Carver, and I think someone assuming they control him would not end well. Eric? An odd bird, to be certain, and he did invent much of the technology that goes into ‘The Black Hole’ - however I’m not sure he is happy with that anymore. All of them are their own brand of rebel. None of them are villains yet they don’t really work within the system any more than neccesary.

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Lamar

“I did specify those of us who prefer the edge. Eidolon is definitely one side of the coin, the likes of Alchemy and Nyx on the other, both of them desirous of being top of their respective piles and in control. Eidolon’s perfect world includes full ownership of the monopoly of violence, that one thing that makes a governed state a governed state. Alchemy and Nyx are more might makes right.”

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Golem:

“Lamar, I have a question, and you can be honest. Are you angry with me?”

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Lamar

He took a moment to weigh up his feelings. It had hardly been a usual upbringing, but Golem’s absence from it was something neither of them had had much say in or influence over.

He shrugged. “No, not really. Never knew you well enough to develop strong emotional ties, the concept of you being my father was largely an abstract one. Never really desired your presence to the extent that Inanna’s power would pick up on it, all things considered. Not enough there to fan the flames of anger or the pangs of loss.”

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“I may be coming back here. I think it is time for me to pick a side, even if that side is not a side. And I think … this is the right side. These are the right people.”

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Lamar

“What makes you say that, exactly? Sure, they’re better than Alchemy and Nyx, less calcifying than Eidolon, but those are pushes. ‘Least worst’ might be valid but it’s a low bar, low enough to store up future problems. So, what to you are the pulls? What draws you in here and makes you actively want this side?”

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“Allow me to ask a question, Lamar. Do you know the fable of the scorpion and the turtle, or in its more recent incarnation the scorpion and the frog? “

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Lamar

“Because the scorpion is so set in its ways, a prisoner of its nature, it and everything it tries to help perishes.”

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Golem:

“What, Lamar, is the nature of which I am a prisoner? The prisoner almost always holds the key, should they dare to use it. The cell is locked from the inside. Lamar, I will not talk to you as if you were your actual age. Your actual age is just a number, and one that can at times I’ll define you. So I will ask you this question as if you were an adult with all that entails. What do you think, broadly speaking, the difference is between the way Eidolon and Alchemy view people and how those you see around you here view people? What is the biggest similarity between Eidolon and alchemy, and the biggest difference of say, Grey from both?”

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Lamar

"They see themselves atop their pyramids, the apex of their worlds, defining how things are and ruthless towards those who oppose their vision. Grey tries not to be where she looks down on everything, is less ruthless and tries to be more magnanimous and egalitarian in the way they wish to define things. I don't really see you in the scorpion role."

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Golem.

“Speaking in quotes can be droll but … if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice. The current balance cannot hold. The center cannot hold. I may not be a scorpion, Lamar - but in the current situation scorpions abound. And sometimes, you need to surround yourself with turtles and frogs who can sting back. Who know and admit they could be wrong, and that they do not have all of the answers already sealed up.”

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Lamar

“Metaphors, parables and fables have their place, but it’s probably a really good idea not to read too much into them when there’s an option to speak plainly and straightforwardly for mutual understanding and to make sure we’re on the same page, rather than ascribing values to each other’s allusions that may be illusions. So. Eidolon’s current regime is brittle and in the process of cracking. A and N are looking to impose a new one in its stead. Grey et al, most likely with us, are placed to try and weather the coming storm and make something better if we’re able. Would you say that was where we were?”

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Golem:

“If you potentially include Enkidu in the mix, whatever role he has in … this. If, Lamar, there is someone to pick up the pieces I would rather they were those who care more about people and choices than power and ideology. Choice is free but seldom easy - but it is the very essence of human freedom. And whatever else we are, Lamar, we are still human. In the end, I go with those who acknowledge this.”

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Lamar

“Freedom versus control, I’m choosing freedom. Relevance to baseline humanity is another matter. Both of my parents and myself have been very non-human things at various times, and to deny or suppress that, to assert its wrongness and insist it be otherwise… it feels like the wrong side of the freedom-control equation. I’m not saying ‘better’. I’m not proclaiming Homo Superior or something equally stupid or powerhungry. But what I am, what we are, is loosely constrained within the bounds of the ‘human’ super-type, for some but not all of the time.”

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“Lamar … you still are human. You are an odd human, but you are no less ‘human’ than anyone else. I am human. Dash is human. Mariel is, also, human. Inanna is human. History, all of history, is a changing and refining of human nature. All of what you are fits within the boundaries of human. Human is in the mind, in the soul. The things I can do are not wrong. They just are part of the human I am. I am not more - and I most assuredly am not less. I just am.”

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Lamar

"It is a label, and to decree everyone fits in the box on which that label is plastered is to deny the possibility of anything transcending it, nor anything from outside being granted personhood or valued as sentient life. Consider a dolphin with powers and superintelligence, an elephant, one of the great apes. Given what can and has been done to us, to many of the people in this building, such things are entirely within the bounds of possibility. For that matter I've been most of them. Can you at least see how the insistence of that overarching category feels overly constraining?"

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Golem

“You don’t get out that easily, Lamar. You being essentially human does not,deny sentience or personhood to anyone. Yet you are, essentially, human. Were any test run, you would be - human. All of the things which we are can fit within that rubric. Were one of these other things to exist they would be what they are. They would be a self aware being who is still what they are. The more important category is that you are Lamar, and that is both constraining and freeing on its own.”

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Lamar

“‘Of primarily human origin’, then. I am, first and foremost, Lamar, and how I choose to self-actualize is an inalienable human right, namely that of self-determination. And yes, I’m aware of the irony.”

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“The important thing is … you are not a monster to be hunted, or a thing to be worshipped apart from your own actions. “'Human' is not one narrow subset of primate DNA. From the scientific standpoint we can breed true with and produce vibrantly healthy children with unpowered humans. Mariel herself had a vibrantly healthy daughter with her thoroughly ‘normal’ husband. From a scientific standpoint it is an undeniable attribution. From a moral standpoint we are, in fact ‘representative of or susceptible to the sympathies and frailties of human nature’ Even Nyx, even Alchemy. However you want to view yourself is up to you, but for the future it is important that you are not viewed as ‘other’ and do not view those you must share this world with as ‘other’ yourself. The road of coexistence is the one I choose. The technology isn’t available to divorce and move out of the house.”

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Lamar

"Rest assured that I'm very much against othering, in any direction."

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“Near as I can figure, this family. Possibly figuratively, definitely genetically. If there were stock books for supers, then Enkidu, I suspect, is their owner. There are several distinct lineages, but I suspect that there is significant crossover - some of it, perhaps, engineered through whatever it is he does. Mariel’s father, Inana and her … mother. Have you ever given thought to how many supers have odd circumstances?”

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Lamar

"In many ways, it goes with the territory. To inherit powers is to have a parent with them, which lends itself to a complete lack of normality. It'd be stranger to have a latter-generation super who didn't have odd circumstances."

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“Oh, the norm through much of history, has been one-off enhanced individuals. They would pop up, but not breed true in most cases. It’s only recently that there has been an explosion in second and even third generation powered individuals. And the majority of those who have bred true have been villains, those outside of the accepted structure. Isn’t that interesting?”

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