Could It Be
Our Lives Are Perfect?
Section I: Episode 35
May 3, 2015
"What are you doing?"
"Oh, Javelin. Hello."
Galavar put the book down on his desk and rubbed his eyes, then looked mindlessly down at the cover. In small black print it said The Applause, and beneath it the name Dornind.
"Tarsel gave us a lot of reading to do before summer's out."
She smiled, and sat down in the easy chair by the window. It was blue and very plush, one of the few outward ostentations in Galavar's tiny little slice of the world.
Javelin said, "I studied grammar under Tarsel, you know."
He scooted his desk chair around to face her.
"How did it go?"
"You'll never earn a perfect score."
Galavar tilted his head at her, and smiled.
"Of course I'm bragging."
"Heh. What brings you to my humble dormitory today?"
"I haven't seen you in a while."
"Are you here to ask me to reconsider your plea to carry the torch for Team Javelin?"
He had been joking, but as soon as he said it Galavar realized that this may very well have been her reason. Javelin loved him, and she wanted very much for him to acknowledge her other great love, the athletics at which she had no rival.
Javelin frowned. "I don't want to bother you about that." And before he could feel bad, she held her head up high and said "I can be at peace with my legacy as such. What I really came for was to see you—and to ask how your big project is going."
"Ah, yes. After Orni and I visited Jahvoy, I got to thinking about the upcoming referendum, and I had the idea to look at problems in Ieikili society."
"We have problems?"
"It's dangerous to think we don't."
"I think we have it really good here."
"That's the thing. We have it so good here that I don't know if I can accept it. And at the same time I don't know if I can accept the descriptions I've read about the rest of Relance, either. It sounds like a horrible place. Even the Empire. Especially the Empire. So I wonder if it's not all just a bunch of bias."
"I learned an interesting theory in social studies class this spring. Tribalism."
"Oh, right. Apparently we all warp our perceptions and judgments to benefit our own tribe and abase everyone else." She grinned. "I think it doesn't apply to me at all!"
He laughed. "Yes, you're definitely the most objective and dispassionate person I've met."
"Now you're just talking tribalistically. What you mean to say—"
"What I mean to say is that maybe the rest of Relance isn't so bad. You know…I'd like to go and see it for myself."
"They do the Creqmer Tower field trip in middemate year."
"Eh, the slots are already full. The only sure way to get in is to have a focus in farming or whatever."
"I don't think I ever asked you what your focus is."
"Military engineering?!" He barked out his laughter. "Yes, Sourros doesn't protect us well enough. Let's go sharpen some bone fragments into spear tips and sally forth against our foes!"
"Ooh, I'd be a good spearmate."
"I think they're called pikers."
"Are pikes and spears the same thing?"
"You're asking me?"
"If your focus is military engineering I am!"
"My focus is artifice, actually. Or 'mechanical engineering' I guess it's formally called."
"I didn't know you wanted to be an artificer."
"I'm not sure, yet. It's still provisional." He turned back to his desk and picked up a different book. "Although, I've been reading about the Viedavie Magus since everything that happened on the Day of the Dawn, and it's bonkers inspiring. Did you know she built a tower that didn't stand up on anything?"
"It just floated…like…I don't even know what. Rhya Kimbrii, I guess."
"Well, with the Power of the Gods you can do anything."
"No, but it wasn't the Power of the Gods. It was entirely artificial."
"And that's just for starters. She could build anything. She was a renaissance mate. She built an artificial heart out of a polymers!"
"What is a polymers?"
"I really don't know—some kind of flexible material the Empire uses."
"Oh, Empire. So noble, so advanced, held aloft us all by your floating towers and beating polymers hearts. What need have you for the wretchedness of we outsiders, who struggle to wash clean the shit from our bolts?"
They laughed together, and Galavar said "That was very poetic."
"Sometimes it seems the Empire has everything there is to have."
"That general idea is what's so exciting about artifice."
She paused for a moment, mulling it over. "Hm." Then she bobbed her head slowly. "I guess so."
"Regardless, I still haven't had much time to work on the big project. As I was saying, I've been looking for problems in Ieikili society."
"What have you found?"
"Very little. It's almost utopian here."
"I'd buy that," she said.
But he pursed his lips, sighed, and leaned back in his desk chair.
"I wonder why I find it so inadequate."
"That's easy. You're like me. You want to get out there, tread the ground you've never trod."
It was more than that, though. He'd considered that. That was a part of it, but only part. As for the remainder…he didn't have the words yet. To find them he put on his best concentration face, and shifted his still-pursed lips left and right a few times, but no words came.
O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!