The laughter faded, leaving me with a strong sense of Daniel’s presence plus a hint of both amusement and tiredness.
I was with him on all of the above.
That’s a better way to go than going over and taking over a country. It’s nice to fantasize about, but at core when someone does that, they’re assuming that they know better than all the people that live in that country. Plus, it’s a sovereignty thing. Countries have rights, or at least they ought to.
I looked around to find him. Daniel was faster than I was, but his range couldn’t cover the entire track from what I remembered.
I checked in front of me, seeing other runners, but not him.
Behind, Daniel said, and I turned my head all the way around, seeing Daniel on the curve half a lap behind me.
My range is improving.
I suspected he was right. I didn’t think he could have managed a connection this solid from that distance last year.
Yeah, I thought back. Concentrating on keeping my pace consistent even though Daniel was on his way to lapping me.
Daniel thought back, Sorry. Dr. Nation said to run as quickly as you felt comfortable.
Got it, I thought back. I didn’t have a problem with him lapping me. Not really. I did find it a little annoying that I was slow enough to be lapped by people with fully human physical abilities like myself, but after spending four years on the cross country team, and three on the track team in high school, I knew I should be used to it.
Daniel had always been exceptionally athletic anyway—provided you compared him to people with fully human athletic potential.
Daniel said, I like the idea of causing the dictator to doubt his own sanity. The only bad point is that he might take it out on the country. Even if he doesn’t blame the country, he’d probably blame his guards and anyone who he worked with in the presidential palace.
Not stopping or slowing, I continued to run. Daniel had a point. I didn’t want to kill anybody, and causing a dictator of a country to wonder about their sanity had a depressingly good chance of doing that.
Worse it might trigger something on a large scale. I definitely didn’t want that. A pogrom against his own people that wouldn’t have happened without my meddling wasn’t something I wanted to be responsible for.
Except for that, Daniel said, I’m okay with butting in. There are always going to be countries that are acting too quickly for the international community to get together and take action. What I’d do is make it hard if not impossible for them to ignore. You know how you sent in the roachbots and had them record everything the mayor said? And remember how we almost released things he said, but ultimately didn’t?”
I sent him a feeling of agreement, continuing with, we didn’t because your dad wasn’t impressed with the material I’d gathered. He didn’t think it was enough.
Right, Daniel thought back to me. My dad’s got a good sense of that kind of thing. What I think we ought to do is something like that. Record them, and release the recordings in a way that removes their support. If they’re popular because of support from the poor, release statements where the say bad things about the poor. If they rule with support from the country’s generals, release recordings of them badmouthing the generals that make their rule possible.
I sent back to him. Are you saying I should actually do this? You were laughing at the idea of doing things to them, but this is a whole new thing. You know how going the other way could result in people dying? This could too. I can’t see any way it wouldn’t.
Daniel’s feelings came through our link—tiredness mostly, but also thoughtfulness, and a little fear.
I know, he thought at me, it’s a risk, but I’ve got ideas about to how to make it less risky. After we’ve got what we need, we give it to the government or some super we respect like my dad or someone else. Then we abide by their decision. That way it’s not all us.
I nodded, and then remembered to give the mental impression of nodding instead. I like that idea better than mine. I don’t want to be the person who throws a country into chaos—at least not without input from people older and wiser, you know?