Or the story of how the Dragon got his cursed treasure.WARDEN DIOS: EXTRACTS FROM THE PRIVATE JOURNALS OF HASHI LEBWOHL, DIRECTOR, DATA ACQUISITION, UNITED MINING COMPANIES POLICE
It starts with Hashi's contemplations about Warden.
True enough, at a glance, the situation seemed to be a sure lost cause - what else could Holt do but destroy the risk to his power? The Dragon wants something gone, the Dragon gets something gone, as simple as that.Nowhere is the particular and peculiar genius of the man more evident than in his handling of the matter of the Intertech immunity drug.
Then he switches to muse about the Dragon himself.
Right, it's often easy to dismiss a person into a plain-ish category, and particularly people often categorize a person who possesses wealth as someone who cares for nothing or little else. Also another thing related is not thinking much through a person that's not likable, be it an enemy or someone distant, a "bad guy" label is often felt like enough by so many, though even if it's correct that the person is horrible, that's usually not a motive, and not really helpful with calculating what moves that person can make - and how to outmaneuver those.an explication of Holt Fasner's motivations is not a challenge to be undertaken lightly.
Not necessarily, psychologically, hoarding riches and stuff doesn't follow the logic of trivial or not. In a grimly amusing way, many people act so much like dragons. But not the case here - so might be that Hashi dismissed not as trivial overall, but for the Dragon here. This one, while perfectly recognizable in his role, went for riches and treasures not so straightforwardly seen as such.the difference between unimaginable riches and even more unimaginable riches is ultimately trivial.
This is also a reference to the Ring Cycle, which is loosely recognizable throughout the Gap Cycle, images of the Aesir and the Dragon, explicitly called so here, showing though the superficially human characters. And interestingly it's the Dragon who seeks godhood. And his cursed treasure here is at once more realistic and more epic than if an actual curse was on it, the secret that could save lives and yet lies under the Dragon's nigh-invulnerable belly. Still better than completely destroyed, so after all an important victory was acheived.Instead I might speculate that his avarice is not for wealth, but for power--that he is driven by a desire for godhood, a yearning to attain the stature of unquestionable as well as unavoidable fate for the whole of humankind.
And many others, though these are most relevant for this case.And I might further observe that all human aspirations to godhood must fail while the Amnion and death exist.
Always looking for a practical outcome, rather than simply demagoguing - thinking this way is extremely rare, and invaluable, in particular when analyzing this case.Finally I might conclude that it is this ineluctable failure which both confirms Holt Fasner's lust for power and erodes his ability to control it.
But having said all that, what have I accomplished? Have I shed any light into the dark heart of the Dragon in his lair? Have I altered any of the decisions which must be made, the actions which must be taken, concerning him?
Interesting, he contemplates the opposite option to dismiss properly, rather then immediately out of hand, as appropriate for a person used to not give in to first impressions and ideas lightly.... accept, then, the underlying common view that Holt Fasner is cemented to his own fate by ordinary acquisitiveness--that all his great attainments and cunning are dedicated to the uninteresting goal of acquiring meaningless increments of wealth. Does this imply a concomitant acceptance of the commonly held underlying view of Warden Dios, that he is nothing more than the perfect instrument of Holt Fasner's will? that he is at once so brilliant and so mindless that he can serve Holt Fasner purely, untainted by needs and desires of his own? that he lacks both of those glorious human foibles, scruple and ambition?
Certainly not. It is patent that brilliance and mindlessness cannot coexist, that ambition metastasizes exponentially in the absence of scruple. Holt Fasner QED.
This is definitely an interesting take on how to handle an enemy. But unless sincere loyalty can be achieved somehow, in this case it becomes a necessity to be extra watchful and careful - like using feral wolves to pull your sleigh, it's just a one little mistake away from getting eaten.it follows as naturally as humans fear pain that Warden Dios is not the Dragon's instrument, but rather his natural enemy.
This explains the Dragon's selection of him as director of the UMCP. How better to both defang and profit from a natural enemy than by binding him to yourself, sealing him away within your own structures and exigencies, so he cannot serve himself without also serving you?
With the forces at least supposed to serve justice rather than riches or power. The warriors side of the Dragon story.Grant for a moment that Warden Dios is another Holt Fasner--less confirmed in his lust for power, less eroded in his ability to control it, but another Dragon nonetheless. Precisely because he has been less confirmed, less eroded, he cannot aspire to supplant his nominal master. Yet what other outlets remain for his ambitions? What other needs or priorities might his brilliance serve? And--do not neglect this point--how else can his natural enmity to the Dragon express itself?
Perhaps by identifying himself with the UMCP rather than with the UMC.
And as so many monsters in history, the Dragon knows how to thrive on conflict, on war, on the excruciating standoff - how to feed of people's fear and despair that make them so vulnerable, so defenseless. No way would he want this to end.Now consider the matter of the immunity drug.
The moment Intertech's research threatens to succeed, the Dragon perceives a threat. If humankind may be immunized against mutagens, the peril of the Amnion recedes. Therefore the necessity of the UMCP--and of its corporate host--recedes. Therefore the logic which sustains that host as the sole conduit for alien trade and wealth loses its syllogistic inevitability.
Striking with brute force simply wouldn't have worked here, the power imbalance was too much - Warden was wise enough to recognize this, and to do the only really efficient thing - to make the Dragon strike himself.But how does Warden Dios respond? Does he permit himself spasms of self-righteousness, as a lesser man might? Does he fall prey to scruples or fainthearted alarms? Does he oppose his putative master, either openly or privately?
And the cursed treasure rests under the Dragon's belly.He does not.
Instead he persuades the Dragon that Intertech's research must be permitted to continue in secret--in my care, in fact. Employing his considerable resources of eloquence and charisma, he convinces the Dragon that an attained immunity drug--if it were kept secret--would be a tool of unmatched power. He does not stake his argument on the proposition that such a drug could be used to secure the safety of his own people. Instead he suggests using, not the drug itself, but knowledge of the drug against the Amnion. By "leaking"--odious term--that knowledge, he can induce them to be more fearful in their dealings with us. They will be at once confirmed in their distrust of humankind and eroded in their ability to act on that distrust. And this development will conduce to the security of the UMC as the sole conduit for alien etc.
How can the Dragon resist such blandishment? Its virtues are too plain to be refuted. The current state of poised but inactive hostility between humankind and the Amnion is reinforced. UMC profits are maximized. And Warden Dios' purity as the instrument of Holt Fasner's will is demonstrated.
Right, Holt practically gets a bomb ticking under his seatTherefore the commonly held view that Warden Dios is the perfect instrument of Holt Fasner's will is affirmed, is it not?
I think not.
They're practically given a sword, a shield, and an extra cherry on top of every pieConsider the beauty of this outcome from the perspective of the UMCP. Certainly the Dragon is given what he most desires--the immeasurable and ultimately meaningless satisfaction of his greed. But the more significant, the more effective, benefits belong all to the UMCP. We have the drug itself, to use both for our own security and for the consternation of our opponents. The risks of actions we have already taken are reduced. The risks of actions which we have heretofore declined are made acceptable. We can manipulate the defensive postures of the Amnion almost at will. The consequences of humankind's quite natural and comprehensible impulse toward piracy are diminished. We are given a bulwark against the depredations of politicians, protected by the mere existence of our secrets from ham-fisted tampering.
LolOnly Protocol suffers under the burden of secrecy--and such men as Godsen Frik are born to suffer.
Saving the immunity drug was a feat already, but even then one more extremely important thing was achieved - maybe even more important. A lot can be said about those in power getting their senses eroded like this - that's how many of them fell, from "let them eat cake" to deforming skulls and expecting that to create superhumans - it's all losing touch with reality... and it tends to end similarly.Warden Dios has gained all this--and at what cost? At no discernible cost at all, apart from the delicious expense of allowing the Dragon to retain his illusions. And failures of godhood will--they must--derive from any illusion. Thus Holt Fasner has been at once confirmed in his lust for power and eroded in his ability to control it by his most necessary subordinate--his most natural enemy....
Yay! The Director of Data Acquisition is secretly Captain Obvious! What a way to end the epic story about the Dragon, the cursed treasure and the doomed future of reality-disconnected power.I state categorically that Warden Dios is a genius.