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Social Conundrums, Part XIII

Updated: Nov 3, 2023



G​ershom

Hannah's promise rang in my head throughout the meeting. Without it, I would have felt utterly defeated. Other than expressing sympathy with my views and position none of my supporters had anything of true substance to add.


A​ few promised to start a protest to call attention to the issue. Others vowed to voice their full objections to it at our final meeting with the mediator. These were nothing more than symbolic gestures and would accomplish nothing.

The reptiles remained respectfully quiet throughout Hannah's presentation but no one thought it had any merit. Her suggestion of doing a thorough background check into Anne's past had been a controversial one. In the beginning, I too discouraged the idea but as our options narrowed I pushed for it to happen. Now I felt the backlash of that decision.


"​Anne's past is not relevant," an indignant Indian python said with a loud angry hiss after Hannah spoke. "It is her philosophical view that we dispute, not her character." Many other reptiles called out in agreement at the python's statement. I recognized the speaker as a young historical anthropologist named Stephen. He showed a lot of promise which is why I asked Anne if he could join the committee. His disdain for Hannah's efforts, however, annoyed me. At least she was willing to do more than talk which is more than I could say for nearly everyone gathered here.


A​ll of them were weak Little Dragons too afraid to do more than state their opinions. I began to wonder how many of my human ancestors had stood on a precipice knowing what had to be done but were surrounded by people, who were too cowardly to make the hard decisions.


M​y eyes locked with Hannah's for a moment only to see my own feelings mirrored on her face. Our sympathies in perfect alignment. I knew then this meeting was pointless and wanted it to end.


T​he Little Dragons, however, kept talking and planning. I listened but no longer cared. I gave up Anne for this cause so their words held no meaning to me. My insides grew cold and hard, hating their cowardice. Somehow I kept all these emotions to myself until they finally dispersed. All that is except for Hannah.


"​Tell me your idea," I said as soon as we were alone.


"​Are you familiar with the group known as Res publica?" Hannah asked deliberately pitching her voice low.


"​I have heard of them," I said suddenly wary. Her words brought vividly to mind a time when the Little Dragon society could speak of nothing else but Res publica. They had done what no Little Dragon had since the age of enlightenment, inhibited others free choice. The group secretly and deliberately ruined the reputations of Little Dragons they believed were exposing ideas contrary to the public good.


"If memory serves they were exposed and disbanded half a century ago," I added recalling that their undoing finally came about because one of the scientists they took issue with fought back, a Little Dragon named Simon Carmen. He made intriguing theories about the existence of energy beings even more evolved than us. After a major presentation on the subject, legitimate rumors surfaced that Simon falsified data in a past scientific experiment. A serious deal.


An investigation was started, and he was unable to prove his innocence to the elders. He had to go through one year of rehabilitation. A very minor penalty considering our lifespan but Simon Carmen always maintained his innocence and spent decades trying to understand what happened. His tenancity eventually lead to the truth that more than a dozen Little Dragon’s lives were altered for the worse because of the group Res Publica. Its members were issued several centuries of rehabilitation.


"Only officially is the group dead," Hannah then said bringing me back abruptly from my ruminations. A sudden sharpness springing into her cobra's beady eyes her hood expanding.


M​y heart skipped several beats at her announcement, and I found myself suddenly unsure about everything. How did Hannah know that? I wondered as I began to realize that maybe I didn't know her half as well as I thought I did. "Really," I finally said to her.


"​If you are still serious about stopping Anne, I can arrange a meeting with a representative for you," she admitted.


W​hen snakes feel threatened they tend to flatten their heads and puff outward. Doing that in front of Hannah I sensed would stop this conversation in its tracks. Part of me wanted to give into that instinct but another part knew that if I did, Anne would win. I meant it when I told Hannah before that I would do anything to stop her.


Instead of flattening my head, I forced my reptilian eyes to bore into hers. “I am still serious,” I said. Hannah nodded her head satisfied. Something in her expression suddenly reminded me of the time we spent together as Rzerth predators. Vividly I remembered how her face had lit up when she talked about the deadly virus that ate a Rzerth from the inside out. I then realized Hannah did more than just study other predators. “Did you know when you first made the suggestion to investigate Anne that you wouldn’t find anything?” I asked.


Hannah gave me a knowing smile. “Yes,”


Inside I seethed at her deception. She had been acting like a predator setting a trap for me, her prey, to see if I was worthy of learning her secret. “Don’t take too long in setting up this meeting,” I then said my voice hard.


Hannah’s smile at once began to fade. She stared at me for a moment before giving me a quick nod and slithering out of sight.


That ends Social Conundrums, Part XIII. Next month is Social Conundrums, Part XIV. Learn more about the Little Dragons by reading the earlier blog post series titled Humanity's Evolution.


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