Klaus-Peter Kubik ~ The Discussion

Episode 16: Put Up Or Shut Up

part of: The Shadowed Ones

by Jeff Beardwood

Related by K’oja, Twilit Ez Perjezlah of the Fourth Generation

“The history you relate is bleak, yet somehow familiar, for Wanderers are all about change as well,” I told our dinner guest. “Katia’s commentary seems to shed some hope…the story your great-grandfather set in motion is certainly not yet complete.”

“Right! The question now is, what are we going to do to affect change…today…right now?” Katia was all over this idea.

There was no way for Daegle to recognize that gleam in Katia’s eyes. The world was changing behind those eyes. Her considerable stubborn side was digging in, while her hopes lept onto the tail of a passing comet. We all knew from experience just how dead serious she was. For Daegle, this was new territory.

“A little after dinner tea and changing the way the world works,” Daelge quipped and laughed.

“And why not?” she challenged, daring him to find a reason to do otherwise. “Daelge, that was a heart-wrenching story you just told us. You expressed regrets about the turns it has taken. Humans are amazingly adaptable creatures with a huge intellect…we are engines of creativity. Can you think of anything more important to direct those energies to at this time?”

“Fair warning Daegle,” I said to him warmly. “Katia is famous for her ‘put up or shut up’ approach when she gets this tone in her voice.”

“Exactly the right phrase…put up or shut up,” she laughed, a lighter moment easing the intensity slightly. “Anybody can see fault, point out problems around them, wistfully dream about the way they wish things would unfold. So, what are you going to make of it? What solutions do I have to offer. That’s the meat of it. That is what makes it worthwhile.”

Mallen set his cup on the table, folded his hands under his chin and looked around the table. His dark eyes pierced each of us, a silent accent to Katia’s more boisterous challenge. Finally he asked the bottom line question we all had been wondering. “What do you have in mind contribute to a solution?”

“First of all, let’s clearly identify the problem we are going to focus on,” I suggested.

Daegle started to warm up to the whole idea. I couldn’t help but marvel at his adaptable nature. “Well, the original mission was to affect peaceful change in a pretty slimy political system to preserve personal freedoms.”

“Good start,” Felice urged him.

“At the root of it seems to be the way people interract with each other. As Wanderers, we apply that foundational change across many aspects of our lives,” Dyre noted.

“People would interract with each other a whole lot better if they could stop killing each other. That might be a prime focus to begin with,” Dhona pointed out. I was worried that might make Daelge flinch a little. In the spirit of the moment though, no sign of discomfort was apparent.

“I think Dyre’s point about the what’s at the root answers to what Dhona is saying. If people were more tolerant, could get past that ‘Us and Them’ stuff and see each other the way we are all seeing each other now, as human beings around this table, the violence would surely be addressed,” Mallen told us.

“Wise words Mallen,” Katia added. “However, Wanderer culture has been consciously working with that for four generations now. I have no doubt our grandchildren’s children will still be doing that work. Maybe what we want here is to supplement those efforts more directly.”

“You have something in mind,” Daegle said. He was catching on quickly about Katia and her passions.

There was an expectant pause around the room as Katia gathered her thoughts.

“It seems to me we have a unique opportunity, if you’re willing to help Daegle. But I’m sure it will mean huge sacrifice on your part.”

“What opportunity?” Daegle asked what we all were wondering.

“Are the goals of the Shadowed Ones still the same among the leadership there? Or have they become so involved in retribution that the original goals have been lost?” Katia wanted to know.

“Shadowed Ones don’t get to see their chain of command very clearly. It’s a protection measure, so that if one pod is discovered, it can’t be linked back very far to the rest of the movement. However, I do believe by what I know that the goal is still to affect meaningful change,” Daegle explained.

“Hard to believe from the news that reaches the community at large,” Windsong said.

“The fear and disdain the public feels filters the message out I believe,” Felice added.

“What are you getting at Katia?” I asked.

“Daegle, would you be willing to work with me, and anyone else here who is willing, to provide mediation between The Shadowed Ones and our world leaders?”

“Wow,” was all he answered.

I must admit, I didn’t see the scope of her idea coming either.

“You have a link to the ear of The Shadowed Ones. As a Wanderer I have some credibility as a balanced observer. Does anyone see any harm that could come trying to bring these two groups closer together?” Katia asked.

“None that isn’t worth the risk,” Mallen said.

“What risk do you see?” I wanted to know. None had occurred to me.

“By Daegle’s own tale, we see how misinformation caused a group with good intentions to be linked to terrorism to discredit them. It’s a possibility we should consider and guard against, Mallen explained. “But I believe with cautious consideration, that danger is not great.”

“You want to do this to stop the violence?” Daegle wanted to know.

“And to bring some lost ideas back into the light of public consideration where they belong,” Dyre added.

“I don’t know if I’m even in a position to organize a single meeting with the Shadowed Ones and all of you, never mind working on the scale you’re talking about,” Daegle explained.

“Are you willing to try?” asked Katia. “I do understand the position this puts you in. I don’t know if it may even put you in danger.”

“I have to think about this,” Daegle said softly.

“A very reasonable request,” Mallen said warmly. “I don’t know what you expected of tonight, but I bet this wasn’t it.”

As the table was cleared and good night wishes expressed, Daegle was most introspective. We all were, in fact. What ever was about to unfold, my gut told me we had made a new friend.