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ADAHGA 30 - AD / EXTRACTS FROM THE PRIVATE JOURNAL [...]

 
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Lefdmae Deemalr Effaeldm
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2022 3:25 am    Post subject: ADAHGA 30 - AD / EXTRACTS FROM THE PRIVATE JOURNAL [...] Reply with quote

Quote:
WARDEN DIOS: EXTRACTS FROM THE PRIVATE JOURNALS OF HASHI LEBWOHL, DIRECTOR, DATA ACQUISITION, UNITED MINING COMPANIES POLICE

Or the story of how the Dragon got his cursed treasure.

It starts with Hashi's contemplations about Warden.
Quote:
Nowhere is the particular and peculiar genius of the man more evident than in his handling of the matter of the Intertech immunity drug.

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.
Then he switches to muse about the Dragon himself.
Quote:
an explication of Holt Fasner's motivations is not a challenge to be undertaken lightly.

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.
Quote:
the difference between unimaginable riches and even more unimaginable riches is ultimately trivial.

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.
Quote:
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.

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.
Quote:
And I might further observe that all human aspirations to godhood must fail while the Amnion and death exist.

And many others, though these are most relevant for this case.
Quote:
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?

Always looking for a practical outcome, rather than simply demagoguing - thinking this way is extremely rare, and invaluable, in particular when analyzing this case.
Quote:
... 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.

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.
Quote:
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?

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.
Quote:
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.

With the forces at least supposed to serve justice rather than riches or power. The warriors side of the Dragon story.
Quote:
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.

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.
Quote:
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?

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.
Quote:
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.

And the cursed treasure rests under the Dragon's belly.
Quote:
Therefore the commonly held view that Warden Dios is the perfect instrument of Holt Fasner's will is affirmed, is it not?
I think not.

Right, Holt practically gets a bomb ticking under his seat
Quote:
Consider 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.

They're practically given a sword, a shield, and an extra cherry on top of every pie
Quote:
Only Protocol suffers under the burden of secrecy--and such men as Godsen Frik are born to suffer.

Lol
Quote:
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....

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.
Quote:
I state categorically that Warden Dios is a genius.

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.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 29, 2022 8:18 am    Post subject: A Dark And Hungry God Arises 30 - Extracts From The Private Reply with quote

A terrific and very well-reasoned chapter dissection, Lefdmae! Thank you for your hard work on this, Effie, as it was fun to read!

My impression of this chapter is that it is basically Hashi Lebwohl slowly building his case for Warden Dios being a genius with his handling of Intertech's immunity research, for the purpose of convincing future generations that read his private journal. Perhaps Hashi hopes it will one day be widely circulated and read. I don't suppose it could be otherwise, for if Hashi's written thoughts here are made public in his present time, then Holt Fasner would be forewarned of how Warden Dios is manipulating him and be motivated to dispose of Warden (by firing him or even having him killed).

Quote:
I have had occasion to note in previous entries that he is my superior because he possesses a quality of charisma--the ability to lead by inspiration--which I lack. In other ways, however, I consider him my only peer--certainly my only peer in the hallowed bastion of UMCPHQ. Yet I must acknowledge that I would have been hard-pressed to manage the crisis which Intertech's immunity research represented as well as he did. Perhaps because I lack charisma, I might not have been able to obtain--as he did--the most desirable of all possible outcomes...


My feeling upon reading this chapter is that Hashi is so impressed with how Warden has maneuvered Holt to continue the immunity drug research that he just has to tell somebody how he feels about that development, even if it means doing so in a way that communicates only with posterity and excludes any audience in Hashi's present time. Aat least Hashi has an outlet to express how the feels about the situation as well as having a chance to discuss the irony of Holt keeping his natural enemy Warden "close by", professionally speaking.

Quote:
Yet this is a paradox--at once fertile and dangerous--because Warden Dios' needs and ambitions can never be identical to the Dragon's.

Intertech's immunity research provides a case in point.


I get the sense from Hashi's writings that Holt wants to use the immunity drug as leverage against both the Amnion and humanity. He will use it as leverage against the Amnion through rumors of its existence, and as leverage against humanity by restricting its accessibility. It obviously didn't occur to him at first to look that way at the Intertech situation.

Quote:
At once the Dragon moves to quash the research. It must be removed before it can become the means by which his hold on human space frays away.

So much is predictable, hardly worthy of comment.


What I find most entertaining about reading this chapter is how Hashi discusses Warden's becoming complicit with Holt in suppressing knowledge and use of the immunity drug from most of humanity's awareness. And what I mean by that is even as Warden is compromising himself, he is also empowering the UMP against Holt.

Quote:
His natural enmity to the Dragon is apparently defanged by his implication in the Dragon's disdain for humankind. Once again Warden Dios is subsumed by Holt Fasner's avarice.

Inevitably the Dragon cedes his approval. And so the Intertech research comes to me, to complete and use as I advise--and as Warden Dios sees fit.


The only weak part of Hashi's reasoning in this chapter is when he tries to qualify himself as an expert in recognizing genius in others. particularly in Warden. According to Hashi, we should recognize his expertise in identifying genius because he himself is a genius. And why are we supposed to see Hashi as a genius? Simply because he says he is.

Quote:
...having no scruples myself, I do not hesitate to call myself a genius. However, I am more cautious when I apply that name to others...


Something else that I find entertaining about this chapter is that it has a rather...refreshing...feel about it. And I suspect that is because, for the first time in the Gap story, we get a chapter (however brief) presented from Hashi's point of view.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2022 3:30 am    Post subject: Re: ADAHGA 30 - AD / EXTRACTS FROM THE PRIVATE JOURNAL [...] Reply with quote

Lefdmae Deemalr Effaeldm wrote:

Quote:
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?


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.

Quote:
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.


With the forces at least supposed to serve justice rather than riches or power. The warriors side of the Dragon story.


The paradox here entertains me as a reader, to see that Warden fulfills Holt's outward goal of showing that the police are necessary to defend humankind, while Warden subtly thwarts Holt's covert goal of keeping balance between the Amnion and humankind, by holding onto the making and distribution of the immunity drug. If Warden decides to change the availability of the immunity drug, the balance of power between humanity and the Amnion becomes changed, putting the Amnion on the defensive. Warden can control when something like that can happen, by having control of the immunity drug's supply. Clever of him to talk Holt into letting him have it, for sure.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2022 9:24 pm    Post subject: A Dark and Hungry God Arises 30 - AD/Warden Dios: Extracts Reply with quote

I feel Hashi makes a convincing case that there is much more to making Holt "tick", so much more that drives him. than merely greed for monetary wealth. Holt wants GODHOOD. And, as Lefdmae has pointed out, that ties this story more strongly in with the Ring cycle (Fafner the Dragon aspires to transcendent power, but Wotan leader of the Gods wants to retain power, as Warden wants to retain the key to the immunity drug).

Quote:
Speculation is both easier and less useful than true insight.

I might, for example, consider the possibility that the common view of the Dragon is inadequate. Of course, I do not refer to the public perception that he is simply the most wealthy, dominant, commanding, glamorous, and therefore necessary man living. Rather I mean to cite the view which commonly underlies the public perception--the view that he is a man driven by avarice, impelled by greed to risk all human space against the Amnion for the sake of the UMC's profitability.


It turns out it isn't being wealthy, dominant, commanding, & glamorous that counts most with Holt, but that it's necessary for him to keep living. That's enough for Warden to use against Holt, to convince him he needs the leverage of the immunity drug against the Amnion to one day bargain for immortality with them (by getting them to use their mind-copying technology on him).
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2022 10:19 pm    Post subject: A Dark And Hungry God Arises 30 - AD/Warden Dios: Extracts Reply with quote

I can easily imagine Hashi Lebwohl relishing writing down the following sentences in his private journal, loving the recollection of acquiring a secret power to protect humanity, with the blessing of someone who is shaping up to be one of humanity's most serious foes (I could be talking about Holt Fasner, or the entire race of the Amnion, and this statement could still fit), and of someone shaping up to be one of humanity's most serious defenders (Warden Dios--who else?).

Quote:
His natural enmity to the Dragon is apparently defanged by his implication in the Dragon's disdain for humankind. Once again Warden Dios is subsumed by Holt Fasner's avarice.


Warden gets away with controlling the immunity drug by the simple expedients that such control increases Holt's chance of getting enough power to achieve godhood, and that Holt must trust somebody because he can[t manage everything himself.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2022 10:32 pm    Post subject: Re: ADAHGA 30 - AD / EXTRACTS FROM THE PRIVATE JOURNAL [...] Reply with quote

Lefdmae Deemalr Effaeldm wrote:
Quote:
Only Protocol suffers under the burden of secrecy--and such men as Godsen Frik are born to suffer.

Lol


I also chuckled when I read that passage. We've seen Godsen Frik stressed out about Hashi's choice of Milos for companion and controller of welded police weapon Angus. We've seen Godsen freaking out about having to explain to Holt why Warden decided to admit to GCES members of selling off the suffering Morn to pirate Nick.

Someone like Godsen seems born to suffer because he pretends to be the solid ally of both Holt and Warden, therefore there's bound to be some eroding trust for him from both his bosses when they are scheming against each other the relentless way that they are.

Somehow it appears likely, based on Hashi's observation above, that Godsen's suffering hasn't come to an end--not just yet. Shifty
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