Uncle hid behind the corner when he heard the younger members of Ohm walking towards him. ‘Younger’ didn’t have anything to do with age at Ohm. They could have been centuries older than Uncle but they were newer recruits. He heard their voices coming towards him and was able to make out enough to realize they were going for a private meeting.
His initial thought was to confront them about it but his body hadn’t waited for him to complete his thought and instinct drove him to hide behind the corner.
“You heard what they said, we are equals here on paper. They’ve had much more time to think this through. We should be able to think for ourselves without their influence. The last 3 months’ recruits are all going to be there. Doubt they will wait for us so stop second guessing yourself and keep up.”
From the sound of their steps he realized they had sped up. Carefully he followed them through the corridors he had become all too familiar with over the decades.
He was surprised to see them go towards the operation room where they did the complete tech conversion for the volunteers. He waited until the door was closed. He was trying to decide whether he should notify someone, secretly listen in on their meeting, or simply let it go. Last time he went to Arsinoe with the idea of spying on a fellow Ohm member he had gotten scolded. He took a deep breath and, after making sure there was nobody else around the corridor, he made his way towards one of the other doors for the operating room.
“...torture and kill us one by one until they win. They’re ruthless. What chance do we have?”
“We can’t just go around doing immoral things. Have you not read any history about what they called terrorism? What is the difference between a terrorist group and a freedom fighter? Most of the time it’s the fact that they think their ends justify their means and they cause so much pain. Moreover, if they don’t succeed they end up being just people who did lots of bad things. Would you want Ohm to be remembered as an organization which caused lots of pain and suffering for the sake of causing pain and suffering?”
“I get your point but I think we still need to do all we can to have a proper chance to change the status quo for the better. We can’t stick to being nice and ‘ethical’ as they fight with every possible horror they can conceive of. However, there has to be a limit to what we find acceptable for us to do. For example we can’t start converting people into complete techs to fight against the pures because then we will be no different. Where we draw the line is an important thing to discuss.”
“Even if we stay on what we think is the morally justifiable side of this arbitrary line and succeed in changing the status quo we may end up with a world that is no better. Then we will have done lots of bad things for a bad outcome. Would you be comfortable risking that possibility?”
“What happens if we don’t take that risk? We just stay where we are and wait to be annihilated? How is it possible for us to be even half as evil as the pures? How can life get any worse for complete techs? I think, even in our worst moments, we couldn’t possibly make the world any worse off. We are good people.”
“Would we still be good people after doing so many bad things?”
“Yes, because we mean well. Our every action would be in order to make life better for everyone.”
“You mean everyone we haven’t hurt yet.”
“Ok, as I said we can draw the line where we feel comfortable. We don’t need to actually hurt innocent people. We can stop at maybe using them a bit like pawns. Not killing them, not turning them into complete techs, but just slightly manipulating them into helping us without knowing. It’s not that evil right? Especially when you think about what we can achieve at the end. Once we have the power to change everything we can make sure that life is better for them. Some amongst Ohm have a lot of influence and power so it might be possible to pull this off.”
“If we start seeing people as pawns, and if others notice how we are using people, what is to stop us from being used as pawns ourselves?. They might try to manipulate us and before we know it we might end up living in a society where trust no longer exists. How long do you think it would take for society to fail without trust?”
“More than that, even within Ohm people might start getting suspicious of each other, worrying that they are being manipulated. Loss of trust within our own resistance would be our absolute downfall, possibly even before we challenged the pures.”
“So what are we going to do then? Hug the pures into submission? Kiss the engineers into converting back the complete techs? You heard what Arsione said. Even as prepared as we are, the probability of us getting anywhere is still very low. We need to be ready to do some things that are against our moral code.”
“So let’s for the sake of it try to come up with a list of what would be acceptable and what would be unacceptable. I am guessing all of us can agree that forced complete tech conversion in order to have more fighters on our side is unacceptable.”
Heads were nodding all around the room though some hesitantly.
“What else would you not be ok to do?”
“Killing”, someone jumped in.
The murmurs and sounds around the room suggested that while some agreed completely, others were in disagreement.
“How about the founders? Are we not supposed to kill them either? If someone is about to kill one of us or hurt our cause are we just supposed to stand by? We shouldn’t stop at just killing them either, we should torture them for what they’ve done!”
“Come on people! We can’t go around killing and torturing and still claim we are the nice guys in this. We will have to be compassionate and forgiving. We will have to take the moral high ground and be better than them. How can you even imagine torturing and murdering others? What the hell is wrong with you?”
The murmurs of disagreement had now turned into statements of anger and insult. At the height of the noise level, one of the attendees noticed a familiar uninvited face standing in the back and staring at them. In less than a minute, the room was drowning in silence.
“Uncle, we weren’t doing anything bad I promise...” one tried to explain with a trembling voice but got cut off by a single hand gesture of uncle.
Uncle looked at the faces of each and every one of them before he started speaking. “Taking the moral high ground and being the nice and sweet heroes of the revolution may be why you joined Ohm. But once they hurt you and everyone you love, you won’t be able to think of anything but torturing and killing them. You will stop caring about this moral shit and start caring about fixing things so others don’t suffer as bad as you did. Now go spend your time on something productive.”
Uncle left abruptly because he didn’t want to hear more blabbering from the young fools. He felt a hint of pride as he walked towards his room for putting them in their place.
Some in the room had left after Uncle but others remained.
“Can you believe the nerve in that fucker? He thinks he is the only one who has suffered so far. Does he think we joined Ohm because our lives were so dandy? Does he think he is the only one who has lost everything and everyone?”
“I heard he was better before he became pure. Well, not necessarily a good and nice person but less fucked up. Maybe he just misses some metal up his arse.”
“If he pulls something like this again I will be happy to reunite him and my tech foot.”