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Social Conundrums, Part XXI

Updated: Jun 7

My dragon body landed lightly only a few feet from where Jerome lay on the web. The energy filament's lights shining on his scaly back, which compared to our normal iridescent shimmer, was lackluster and pale. A sure sign of a deeply troubled Little Dragon.

It took Jerome a few moments before he acknowledged my presence. As I waited, my mind reviewed the last time I had been this close to him. Our circumstances had been very different then, I was his transitional mentor to the physics field. A short assignment because of Jerome's previous work on other scientific projects. He struck me then as a brilliant, capable, honest scientist. We respected each other. A wry smile forming on my face at the knowledge that he wouldn't anymore.

Jerome's golden eyes widened in shock once he finally turned around to acknowledge my presence. Then they immediately narrowed as he said. "Gershom," by way of greeting.

Ignoring the curtness in his tone, I spoke my piece. "I hear you are working on freeing Anne," I said to him. "There are some things you should know," I then mentally projected a picture of the Rzerth burrow Hannah and I met in earlier that morning. "Meet me there in an hour and bring Ezekiel if you can."

I left before he could respond. There was no doubt in my mind that Jerome would be at the rendezvous and once there I am sure his disapproval of my role in this venture would be expressed. I didn't feel it was necessary to undergo his displeasure now in the garden as well.


Neither one of them were late. I could hear their centipede like feet moving towards my present position. I sat in the same tunnel that Hannah and I had occupied earlier. The stench of death laying thick everywhere.

"What is that smell?" Jerome suddenly called out a note of panic in his voice.

Moving towards the tunnel entrance my large eyes locked with the two Little Dragons in Rzerth form. “A disease killed everyone in this colony that is why it is abandoned,” I said to them. “It also makes it a safe place for us to talk without fear of being overheard.”

Slowly they moved further into the burrow until all three of us were inside the tunnel. I had considered the place cozy with just two Rzerths, with three we barely fit driving us closer together than any of us particularly wanted. I didn’t care. It was going to be hard enough to tell them what I knew so keeping us in proximity will make sure nothing said is willfully ignored by the other parties. I suspected that Jerome especially will not want to give me much credence once he knew of my role in the affair.

Feeling the full force of their eyes on my face, I managed to begin. The words sounding strange even to my own ears like I recounted the story of someone else other than me. Unfortunately a complete silence descended once I had finished, reminding me I was very much involved.

“So Res Publica is behind the murder and an elder is potentially involved,” Ezekiel finally said breaking the stillness his voice deep and heavy.

“At least that is what your friend Hannah believes,” Jerome responded his large eyes examining me while a sharp tangy smell started to fill the room. Any Rzerth nearby would recognize the scent. Jerome was absolutely furious with me.

“She is a lot of things,” I admitted to him trying my best to preserve what credibility I still harbored by refusing to lower my eyes at his onslaught, “But I know she was telling me the truth.”

The spicy smell intensifying in the tunnel right before Jerome spat back, “You both were content to lie in order to discredit Anne. How can I believe a single word that comes out of your mouth Gershom!”

“I believe him,” Ezekiel then interjected surprising us both into looking right at him.

Whereas Jerome was enraged, it suddenly became obvious that the elder Little Dragon suffered from a completely different reaction to my earlier confession. Staring into Ezekiel’s opaque Rzerth’s eyes I could feel his terror. “It all fits,” he then said but his words didn’t shed nearly enough enlightenment for us.

“I don’t understand,” Jerome then said the sharp tangy smell rapidly dissipating amid his confusion.

“Before coming here I was following a lead,” Ezekiel admitted, “Something about the description of the weapon used to kill Linda Devine sparked a memory. How familiar are either of you with an earlier scientific theory called the anti-garden?”

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

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