“I still think we should go to the Light,” after spending a few days with the Amazons, Ethan, Yoweri and I had gone back to Aquarium. Kimball and Mbali had arrived before us, even if they had to take a detour to take Greca back to her post.
“I’m sure they will be fine, Melchizedek and Camil are taking care of that part. You don’t have to do everything,” it wasn’t the first time that Kimball said the same, but I couldn’t help feeling like I should be with them, helping them.
“I know, it’s just…”
“It’s just that you feel like you should be there, with them, making sure that everything goes according to plan, you can’t be sure things will turn out fine if you are not there to supervise,” Kimball said, as always, he knew exactly what was going on in my mind.
“It’s not like I think they are unable to do their work, it’s just that I’m used to doing these things by myself.”
“It’s just the first step, if something goes wrong, they will have another chance, and if that’s the case, I’m sure you will be there, offering your help. For now, you have done enough, so give them some time.”
“I still don’t know what will happen with the Empire, I still think there is a good chance that Pompeyo will decide to accept the Dominion’s offer, but still, the temptation the Kingdome of Light represents might be too strong.
“Then we need to start thinking what we will do about it, as one of the leaders of Mzansi there’s not much I can do, I have been too involved with this already and I’m sure that some people will disagree with my actions. You on the other hand, despite being a Dominion citizen, have the advantage of being part of the Empire, that gives you more flexibility to act.”
“But if my goal is to help the Light, and the Empire is the one going after them, I can’t use the excuse of being part of the Empire to help them, not when it’s clearly against their interests.”
“Because of that, we need to look for alternatives. Right now the problem is that the people holding the power in the Light don’t want to let go, and the people under their control wants to be free of them and their control.”
“As always, people want freedom, or at least they want to believe they are free. Most of the people fighting, won’t see a real change, they will only follow a different boss. The change will come from those who will lose their power, and the ones who will gain it. Change will depend on what the people in charge is willing to give. At first it will be ok, people will demand the changes they fought for, but some people is able to pretend is giving them what they ask for, when in reality they are only giving what they want to.”
“That’s true,” Kimball agreed, “but it won’t be easy with Melchizedek and Sofia working on it. At least in the near future, there will be people around making sure things are done properly.”
“Ethan says that at least this generation is ready to fight to make things right. I really believe that in Ethan’s and his friends’ case it might be true, those kids have ideals to fight for, but they are not the only ones in the game, there are others that might come into play, people we are not aware of just yet. So many things could happen.”
“Have you seen something?”
“I haven’t gone so far into the future, I know the probabilities for the near futures, but the farther away it is, the harder it is to know what will happen. Ethan will be a key element in the future, and it’s probable that most of what happens will depend on his decisions and the paths he takes. We both know he will end at the front of the Dominion, the only things that’s not clear is when and in which position he will be at.”
“What about Malkia and Greca? What’s their role?”
“They are also key elements, and again, the question is when and how.”
“But we are getting away from what’s important right now. The next step is to make sure the every nation in the world is connected again, just as before this all happened. In the old world we had many examples of institutions created to try and control the countries and monitor them, created to stop wars.”
“Which didn’t work, that’s the whole reason we are in this situation to begin with.”
“The problem is that as long as the individual countries have freedom and independence, there are things that can’t be controlled. You know about it, you were the first one to let the countries break out of the Dominion without retaliation.”
“At least not directly,” I reminded him. We had economic sanctions and trade barriers put into place for when a country decided to leave the Dominion, it was nothing that would affect them directly, just something to make their lives a little more difficult.
“Anyway, that’s one of the dangers of freedom. And this gets us back to the start, what’s next? What’s our goal?”
“We can’t just impose the Dominion values to the rest of the world, and we know that the way the Dark Empire and the Kingdom of Light are run is quite different, that’s not taking into account the fact that we have no idea what shape the Light will be once their conflicts are done. What we know, and we need to consider is that we need some kind of group that kind mediate between the different groups, someone who speaks everyone’s language and who can be able to find the middle ground between all of them,” even if I couldn’t read Kimball’s mind, and I wasn’t as good as him reading body language, I knew what he was thinking, thanks to everything we have gone through together. “And before you say anything, no, I’m not that person.”
“You would be perfect,” Kimball said.
“But it would be very hard with my job as the Governor of Aquarium and Queen of Mzansi. I’m pretty sure I will be dragged into the politics of it one way or another, but I will try to stay out of it as long as I can. How long are we staying here?” I asked, trying to change the subject, but also aware that we couldn’t stay long in Aquarium, Kimball had responsibilities to attend to.
“According to the reports I got from the office, we can stay here a couple more days, after that, it would be impossible. Things have been stable, but with everything that’s going on in the Light, there are a lot of discussions about how to act. Once we open our doors for trading, I know a few countries will be eager to start on it, and you know some of the countries in our zone are worried about how it could affect them.”
“I think this agreement will be the best for everyone.”
“But not everyone thinks the same, many people think only about their own benefit, not the common one. When we started these talks about reconnecting with the rest of the world, everyone was thinking about what they had to gain, but as soon as they realize they also have something to lose, this whole situation will turn extremely complicated.”
“Every change requires some adjustment, but everything will turn out well at the end,” I had to trust that was true, to believe that our actions would take us to something better for everyone.
“You look tense, I know about a couple of ways to help you relax,” Kimball said, and by the spark in his eyes I knew he was planning something. “Which option do you prefer?”
“You haven’t said what are the options,” I lied, because I knew exactly what he had in mind.
“Option number one: we can go to the gym and spar for a while,” he said as he moved from his seat to be next to me, “or we can…” one of Kimball’s hand went to the back of my neck, the other on my waist, pulling me until he could reach my lips. That was something I never got tired of, being with him was refreshing.
“Which one do you prefer?” he asked, ending the kiss, it took me a minute to get my breath back.
“I think it’s time to move this to our room.”
It was comforting to know that even after all the problems we had, and the ones we still had to face, I had someone like Kimball by my side. Our roles had changed a lot during our time together, most of the time he was the one supporting me, and even if I had every intention of supporting him in his role as King of Mzansi, I still felt like I was the one getting most of the attention. I was always trying to find the right moment to finish my work and get rid of the weight over my shoulders, but it was easier to say it than to do it.
What many called a gift, my clairvoyance, the power so many envied, was a hard to carry weight. How could you glimpse at the future and not want to work at getting the best possible result? I was convinced that once this last step was taken, I could step back and stop fighting on the front lines for the better future, but it was easier said than done. For the moment, all I could do was enjoy the time I had with my family, I knew that by the next day we would have to move again so that Kimball and Ethan could go back to their jobs and their responsibilities.
As soon as we arrived at the capital, Kimball was surrounded by his advisors and aids, all of them fighting to get his attention on the subjects that worried them the most. More subtle, one of my assistants came to my side to let me know I had a message from the Elders Council requesting a meeting. As Queen of Mzansi, even if my position was more of a symbol than a real job, I still had some responsibilities and had to follow certain rules. Even if my job as Governor of Aquarium gave me a whole different kind of responsibilities, none of those jobs required me to interact directly with the Elders Council, so a meeting request was something odd, usually when they wanted something, they sent Zola to talk to me, but a meeting was going to turn whatever they wanted to talk about into something official.
The Elders Council was in another city, and since the message didn’t say anything about meeting in person, I had to assume they were asking for a videoconference. I told my assistant to schedule the meeting, I knew that it wouldn’t be fast, so I went to rest for a while while the others got to work. I knew that I had things to do, but I also knew that I needed some peace before starting my new mission.
Kimball and Ethan were busy, so neither of them realized I had a meeting, by the time I had to get to the meeting with the Elders Council, I had managed to rest for a while. Even if I hadn’t had a chance to get into the fog, I didn’t get a bad vibe from the situation, and I was fairly certain that whatever they wanted to talk about, wasn’t something bad.
“Good afternoon,” Zola’s hologram greeted me, I could see the rest of the Council around her, but as usual, Zola was the one talking, “thank you for agreeing to this talk. We would have liked to talk to you earlier, but we know you had an important mission to take care of.”
“Greeting, honorable Elders. It’s true that I have been busy lately, but, how can I help you?”
“I guess you already know Sofia’s plans, right?”
“It’s been a while since I talked to her. The last time we spoke was when she visited me in Aquarium with William and Camil, to let me know about their plans for the Light Ones.”
“Sofia and Camil have been talking to many nations, trying to get them to agree to intervene in the conflict in the Light, but you know better than anyone how that would look, any intervention by a country will be bad seen by the other members of the Dominion.”
“Yes, we talked a little about that.”
“We have been talking about this, and we found a loophole,” Zola said, glancing at the rest of the Council, as if she was making sure no one was going to protest her words. “It’s true that we can’t get involved in the conflict, we can’t send weapons, much less troops, but we can send help, and we think that it is within our power to send you as a mediator, maybe even as a trainer for their armed forces.”
“Are you sure that’s allowed? I think that many countries will argue that this is the same as sending some of our troops.”
“The Dominion is thinking about sending people to instruct them in alternative forms of farming, medicine and construction, basic needs. We were studying the alternatives and we concluded that sending people to help them solve their conflict was in line with these. You mentioned you had a contact with those people, and if he accepts you as a mediator, there nothing to stop you from doing it.”
“I’m not sure if that’s an order or a suggestion,” even if I respected the Council, especially Zola, whom I knew better, I wasn’t too happy at being told what to do.
Zola started laughing, with the freedom of someone who doesn’t care what other would think of her. “My dear Kaiserin, we know you enough to know that it is impossible to tell you what to do. From what we know of you and your relationship with the Light Ones, we thought you would appreciate to have the option. Let’s say this is us giving you permission to act, if that’s what you want. Think about it, sleep on it, and if you feel the need to step in, at least you will know where the lines are. If you act between these limits, you will have our full support, if you go further, I’m afraid there’s not much we can do for you.”
“I appreciate the option, but I still don’t know if I’m going to act on it.”
“Just let us know what decision you make, so we are prepared. Any decision you make, we know it will be the best for all of us, your people, and the people from the Light.”
The Elder Council’s offer surprised me, but I had to admit I felt a lot better knowing I had a choice, and especially knowing I had my people’s support in case I needed to interfere. I hadn’t considered the option of going in as a mediator, I always thought that the only one capable of that was Melchizedek, maybe Camil, but the option did look interesting. I knew that I had to visit the fog and study the new possibilities.