Burning: Part 5

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?

19 thoughts on “Burning: Part 5”

  1. Typo(s):

    “If they’re popular because of support from the poor, release statements where the say bad things about about the poor. If they rule being support from the country’s generals, release recordings of them badmouthing the generals that make their rule possible.”

    Should be ‘where they say’, and ‘they rule using’?

  2. Trying to parse this & I’m not sure – “it’s a risk, but I’ve got any ideas to how to make it less risky” – does this mean he hasn’t got any ideas, or he’s got some ideas?

    I had no idea Daniel was particularly athletic. Is that powers or just good (but normal human) genes and hard work?

  3. Doesn`t work.
    Not in real life at least.
    People simply don`t believe that the ruler is a thief, even if proved in court. I`ve seen it a lot in the past months (election time), the guilty is the judge, the police, the press that is, of course, full of capitalist pigs. Never the president and her party.
    And, of course, she will do in the next four years everything that she didn`t in the last four plus some.
    Nope, politics is not easy. Not against good marketing.
    Of course, in a democracy people may learn and not do the same mistakes again in four years. In a dictatorship there is the added problem of difficulty in regime change.
    On the other hand … a dictator`s control of information may be a weakness if information start to be widespread that contradicts its lies. Who knows? But you have to be smart, and it is difficult.

  4. Errors
    “It’s nice to fantasize about, but at core when” There should be a the before core.

    “wonder about their sanity and a depressingly good chance of doing that.” And should be had

    ” A pogrom against his own people that wouldn’t have happened without my meddling wasn’t something I wanted to be ”

    It should be program or maybe problem

    1. “Pogrom” is a political term and used correctly here. “po·grom/ˈpōɡrəm,pəˈɡräm/
      an organized massacre of a particular ethnic group, “

  5. AVR, if Daniel runs up against someone who resists his powers, he can’t just superspeed away or phase into the ground, or fly off really fast.

    He can levitate I think, but I do not remember it being very fast. I suspect Daniel reads Jim Butcher novels and agrees with Harry Dresden about reasons for being a good runner.

    How close am I, Jim? I know you read Jim’s Dresdenverse stuff

    1. Well, being physically fit when you’re fighting regularly is a good idea for a lot of reasons. Growing up in a family where everybody’s super, and where both parents have been active supers and one of them is quite high profile, you probably just absorb this as normal. Certainly Daniel has–partly for the same reason as Dresden, partly simply by not resisting his parents’ assumptions about this.

      There’s another thing going on here though. For better or for worse certain elements of Nick and Daniel’s friendship have always been there, but haven’t had any reason to be visible in the story. Daniel is better looking, more athletic, and about as smart as Nick in some areas. His family is also better off.

      It hasn’t been hugely important, and probably won’t be, but it is part of the dynamic of their friendship.

  6. Wait, Daniel’s mom is/was an active super? Did I miss that in the story or is that background we haven’t gotten yet?

  7. That strategy doesn’t necessarily work in regimes with extremely good control over the media. I mean, how are you going to release to North Koreans that they aren’t a military superpower led by a demigod? After all, that information is freely out there for others to see…just not for the North Koreans.

    1. Eli:

      NSA: Discovers secrets. Tells US government, but mostly keeps them secret.

      Daniel’s suggestion: Discover secrets. Expose them to stop the government from killing its own people.

      Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Eric Snowden’s actions weren’t exactly loved by our government. Imagine if they’d been done by someone from the outside?

  8. For starters, the Rocket isn’t likely to make a fake sex tapes. I don’t know if the NSA’s done many of them, but the CIA has a few times. There was the time they tried to make a gay porn with a Saddam look-alike to discredit him. I think there was also an attempted one for an Asian leader. Then there was the plot by the CIA to slip Castro some stuff that would make all his hair fall out. Before that, the British wanted to slip Hitler a bunch of estrogen.

  9. “Before that, the British wanted to slip Hitler a bunch of estrogen.”

    Yeah, that plan didn’t work out too well for us – we accidentally created Angela Merkel…….

  10. See, how I see it (and this is mostly in response to Jim) is that no world superpower who is acting in good faith to their people and their allies should have anything to worry about full disclosure. It doesn’t really matter if everyone knows the maximum air speed of a fighter jet if the only people capable of dealing with that jet are allies or citizens (similar sentiment for most ‘military secrets’, really- though troop positions and things like guard rotations should be kept on the down-low) and anything less than that doesn’t really need to be a secret anyways.

    Why do I care if it turns out my Rep visits BDSM clubs? So Merkel made some phone calls- unless they contained plotting to destabilize the EU, what’s the big deal that they were leaked/listened to?

    Sorry, folks, but you’re PUBLIC officials. That means you answer to those ‘beneath’ you- that’s the whole point and root of modern Democracy, and a Representational Democracy simply falls apart if you don’t allow your citizens the Truth and the Whole Truth to make decisions with. If they don’t pay attention, well too bad for them. But the information should be available.

  11. heh
    Thing is, I also have a plan to take over the world. I would implement except it requires years of work and motivation but… I’m lazy. It makes a great time killer though, thinking of ways of how to make the world more stable.
    Hint: i would still have democracy (also this way the world wouldnt ruin itself when i died)

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