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Thoughtful readers will have been wondering how long it would be before Minacou got to this point. The conversations with Maggie and others have clearly been mutually rewarding to both sides, but there are limits. The price of those conversations has been a loss of freedom of movement to the dolphins, and talks between captor and captive, however intellectually stimulating, are imbued with an inequity that can't be overcome purely by mental challenge. Prompted by Kitik, Minacou has clearly decided that the status of her relationship with the humans has to be changed, and is demanding that her friend allow that change to take place. In her place, wouldn't you feel the same? Now Maggie is faced with a dilemma; will her professional goals take priority over friendship, or will the needs and desires of her friend prevail?
This chapter, like the one about Barbie, is meant as something of a lark-an interlude, of sorts, between the more serious stuff. At the same time, it also has a point. I mean, have you ever given much thought to why our monetary system exists, and what is its history? Yes, Hiram's explanation is a bit simplistic, but it does have a lot of truth in it. Anyhow, it's a fun respite before we get to the climax, which is coming beginning with the next chapter. Three more chapters to go, plus the lengthy epilogue.
Once more, if you grow too impatient, the whole novel plus an afterword that will be used in my final blog entry about this story is available on Amazon for just $3, as are my other long works of fiction. If you don't have a Kindle to read it, an emulation is available from Amazon for desktops, laptops or tablets at no charge.
I'm pretty sure dolphins aren't actually quite so pacifistic as I present here in their internecine conflicts over primacy.
Neither, on the other hand, do they partake of the viciousness that pervades many of their land-based counterparts, ourselves definitely included. Some animals will fight literally to the death over who leads the pack, who mates with this or that female, etc. And in some species a new leader will purposefully kill all surviving progeny of his predecessor in an effort to ensure that his genes will dominate the pack's future. The animal kingdom isn't a kindly regime. Little, if any, of this sort of behavior has been observed among dolphins. Leadership, while coveted as it is in any species, doesn't evoke such extremes among them; I've simply carried that concept a bit further than is probably true. As Jason points out, the Rousseauan ideal simply doesn't match the reality of the world in which we live.
I told you there'd be more about that general whipping dog, "national security," and this chapter's it.
As is so in most other areas of human activity, the field of government intelligence, however dim a view you may take of it, is not exclusively populated by assholes. No matter how fanatical some may be in their devotion to what they perceive as the "national interest," there's an underlying sense to the endeavor; in some ways it does truly involve itself in the preservation of our society and the protection of individual members thereof. Therefore, among those whom it attracts will naturally be some who are dedicated to that goal without mindless zealotry. I've tried to present one such as part of my story. As a writer, I'm not fond of setting up straw men to be tumbled over at my creative whim. Most fields of human activity include people across the normal spectrum of those you might encounter in a typical day, and it pleases me to depict this variety in my fiction writing.
The truth is that even contemporary machines don't emulate speech very well, not even our own let alone dolphins' (in the conceit of this novel).
There'll be more later about the rather curious role of national intelligence in our lives. I've remarked on the catch-all of "national security" in another novel, and how it's used so freely to excuse so many misdeeds and so much foolery. Our safety has become no more than a political football.
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