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Stories from the Verse
Chapter 72: Kondor 114
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Chapter 71: Brown 130
When he considered the matter, Kondor realized that the medical staff of the camp really was well-trained at this point. They lacked many skills he could have taught them, but they also lacked the equipment to apply those skills. They were unlikely to do transplants without a lot of other advances he could not give them here in the field. They had no radiology equipment, not even simple X-rays, and their lab work was incredibly limited. At this point, their top people knew everything he could teach them.
He told them so. Obviously, he said, their medicine was not equal to that in the hospitals run by their enemies, but the technology needed to equal that could not be produced here in camp. Perhaps once he had helped the weapons program he might be able to work with their medical researchers to create the tools and drugs needed for better field medicine. He knew it was a lie, but it wasn’t a promise, so he didn’t feel as bad about it as he might have.
“Why do you do this? I mean, why do you care?”
The question came from the young doctor who an eternal few weeks before had objected to letting a shade operate on one of their patients, and Kondor knew it had to be answered. “Because,” he said, “you’re people. We’re people. Until you and I understand that, we can’t expect the war to end. Of course, a lot more people than you and I need to understand it, but unless we get that far, as far as the two of us, we can’t really complain about how everyone else is acting. The war has to end. It starts with people, and it ends with people.”
He didn’t wait to see whether that made sense to the man. He realized that on some level it would not have made sense to him even when he first arrived in this world. He had been so convinced that white people were still prejudiced, still oppressing blacks, that he had failed to see his own prejudice, his own rejection of whites as human. Maybe Lauren and Bob were the reason that changed. Maybe it was his realization in this world that the tables had been turned and it was just as ugly. People were all people, and until they all--we all--realized that, stupid things like color were going to continue to lead to violence.
In a few days he would leave these people behind, a bit better for his presence among them, but perhaps more than just that they would have better medicine, they would have their first glimpse that their enemy was as human as they were, not some demonized bipedal incarnation of evil but simply fallible and failing humanity.
He wondered afresh what impact they had had on the other side.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #243: Verser Redirects. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: