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General Forge Forums => Publishing => Topic started by: Ron Edwards on December 01, 2005, 09:17:51 AM

Title: [A PUBLISHING STORY] The emissary
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 01, 2005, 09:17:51 AM
Second in a series. I don't know how many yet.

They call him a freelance negotiator, and maybe he even believes it. Sometimes they think they're journalists, sometimes attaches or officials of various sorts. I must say, they do have fine trenchcoats and impressive identity cards - always some organization or other. And that standup Powerpoint apparatus is spiffy too.

"My dear friends," he says. "Look at this remarkable concession and opportunity afforded to you on this day. I have hammered out a peace plan that will serve everyone's needs and ensure the hope of prosperity for all."

The emissary always starts nice and friendly. He wants us to know he understands our position, and that, like him, we are tough guys too. Real players, you know, in the big scheme of things. He expects us to acknowledge this inclusion with himself and a few guys like him. We deserve a place at the table, he says, and he's got that place all set out this time. He can't seem to stop craning his neck, casually glancing at whatever maps and notes we've left lying around on the camp tables.

He's showing us the same old plan, hotted up with a new color palette and bullet symbols. I've seen this plan back when it was passed around on chemical-smelling Ditto sheets, then later when it was printed from Mac SE programs by a dot-matrix whirr-whirr printer. Powerpoint doesn't change the plan's content. I wearily point out the basic problem in the overall scheme of things, as he calls it, and that we are already doing things to our satisfaction without any particular concessions. I point out that over on our territory, there are vast resources and fascinating new areas, so far untapped only because we are so few. I point out that as far as I can tell, most of the others here aren't even very interested in the mined-out, radioactive, blasted area that the emissary is so generously offering to cut us in on. Me, I only sympathize a bit because I came from there long before most of my allies did, back when it seemed like there was nothing to come over to, and wouldn't mind helping a few more of my kin get out. Besides, we're just beginning even to comprehend what the new territories offer and haven't really hit our stride yet.

Keith hasn't stopped honing his knife since the emissary got here and keeps giving him the hairy eyeball. I wonder if the emissary understands how much danger he's in ... Keith's a little batshit about the whole thing, and he's not alone. At least one early emissary gave us infected blankets, and there's no real illusion among everyone concerned about the basics, here. Clinton almost didn't recover from the last couple of similar visitors, both of whom had tried to kill him (one with a grenade, one with poisoned toothpaste) in some harebrained attempt to curry favor with me, and that put him right off the emissaries forever. He fires off a few rounds into the air to make this point clear.

The emissary reacts just like they all did, one after the other - shocked outrage, snide provocations, then a return to "reasonableness." He tries to oil up the rest of us, missing the set of our expressions. They never quite understand Vincent's particular smile at these times. They don't realize what Luke collects as trophies. This one seems very sincere, which makes it all the harder, in a way.

There's no point in speaking directly to the emissary. He's empowered to do one thing only, and it means nothing. His bosses are busy with a complex dance of grabbing what they can and inventing new titles for themselves, when they're not outright Vulcan nerve-pinching each other. This plan of inclusion simply means we'd pay them fees so they can keep doing it. They, and their emissary, sincerely seem to think that we need them, in order to exist at all, when as it happens, the precise reverse is true. Their own fields and granaries are played-out; they're only sending this guy (or maybe he thinks he's here on his own) because they scent what we've got. They don't understand it, but they want in with us. On their terms.

They don't get it when I accept their offer of friendship but then show them a foxhole and hand them a rifle. They keep wanting me to get an ID card like theirs instead. I had one for a while, and in fact it helped me make my first stake; that was when the radioactivity hadn't really hit yet. There's no point now.

The emissary is still talking. Some of us are trying to listen and interact, and some even in good faith, wanting to check out every slide and every bullet point just in case there's some logic or novelty that is worth pursuing. I don't see any point in trying to stop them, because for one thing, I don't have or want that authority, and for another, I don't have any particular beef with this emissary. Even if he was the author of one of the most egregious propaganda booklets for his bosses, a bit back. He hasn't mentioned this once, indicating he has some idea of the possible dangers. Maybe he'll get out alive. It's nothing to me, either way.

Title: Re: [A PUBLISHING STORY] The emissary
Post by: Troy_Costisick on December 01, 2005, 10:11:14 AM

I don't know if you're looking for replies or not, Ron.  But I will tell you this:  your post was understood, at least in part, by me and it gives me a whole new appreciation for what you, your comrades, and The Forge are all about.  I think I understand the "why" behind this website, Sorcerer, The Big Model, and the Ronnies now.  And whether you meant to or not, I have been encouraged and challenged to design and publish by your post without seeking the ways of the Emissary.  I know what I have to do now.  And I won't be looking back at the radioactive wasteland.  Thanks Ron.


Title: Re: [A PUBLISHING STORY] The emissary
Post by: Brand_Robins on December 01, 2005, 11:47:12 AM
That post was funny as hell.

And I speak as someone who may be an emissary. (I dunno). It was still funny.

Title: Re: [A PUBLISHING STORY] The emissary
Post by: Keith Senkowski on December 01, 2005, 12:36:26 PM
And I speak as someone who may be an emissary. (I dunno). It was still funny.

I ain't giving you the stink-eye Brand so don't worry about being the emissary...


Title: Re: [A PUBLISHING STORY] The emissary
Post by: Luke on December 01, 2005, 12:46:33 PM

I think Paul Tevis' interview with Chris Pramas is relevant to this line of thinking.


Title: Re: [A PUBLISHING STORY] The emissary
Post by: Joshua A.C. Newman on December 01, 2005, 05:48:50 PM
Hee hee hee!

Can someone link up to the first one?

Title: Re: [A PUBLISHING STORY] The emissary
Post by: Ron Edwards on December 02, 2005, 08:51:36 AM
#1: [A GNS STORY] The liberals (

#3: [A THEORY STORY] The youngsters (

Title: Re: [A PUBLISHING STORY] The emissary
Post by: Jared A. Sorensen on December 02, 2005, 09:27:35 AM
I'm waiting for the Swift-boat veterns to show up...any minute now.