Sunday, May 27, 2012

Back from the Dead #6

In order to be persuasive, you must first be in the position to be so.

For instance, Alpha Dog knew the one strategy he needed to affect the budding alliance around the Witch Doctor, and that was to persuade Meme to betray it.  The only way to do this was to convince Justin Proper that getting at least one of his squires in line was possible.

Now, Alpha Dog was not as unreasonable as he might sometimes appear.  He believed in the truth of his convictions, and that was part of what made him so endearing to the public, and despite his faults that was true of his colleagues as well.  Sometimes his convictions could be a little more rational than other times, and he could present them in their best possible light.  Justin Proper was always game to humor him, and that didn’t hurt, either.

The way all this actually translates to relevance for our story is that Alpha Dog recognized that Justin Proper’s primary concern, as always, was for a sense of order to prevail.  He didn’t care as much for the particular sense of order that Alpha Dog preserved with such fanaticism, but Proper could be convinced that the particular order that the Witch Doctor’s alliance now suggested might not be as conducive to the order the Council had been maintaining for years as the returned hero might be thinking.

In fact, all Alpha Dog had to say was “Traverse,” and Proper knew exactly what he meant.  For good measure, he also referenced the Conformists, and Proper had an even better sense of the kind of chaos that was possible from this development.  The actions of the Eidolon were notorious enough, but they had taken places years ago, and as with all of history, no matter how relevant it continues to be, there always needed reminding to keep the memory alive.

“The Conformists believed that they had eliminated all their enemies,” Proper said, shaking his head.  “I see what you mean.”

So he quickly set about using his influence over Meme to better understand the Witch Doctor’s plans, their strengths and weaknesses, and how exactly each of the members in this conspiracy actually believed in them.

The benefit, as Alpha Dog well knew, was that someone like Meme could spread whatever was impressed upon them easily.  The problem was getting the right message across.

He suspected that Proper could figure it out on his own.  All he needed was a suggestion, and he’d tackle it all the way to the ground, with a relentless sense of logic.

That’s how Proper approached Meme.  Both of Proper’s squires had been women, which some members of the Council had considered to be a mistake, but Proper always insisted that he could handle it, and in truth, he had, with aplomb.  There were the suggestions that he took the death of Ellen Encanto hard because he’d actually fallen in love with her, and that he showered attention on Meme afterward because he needed to fill a void, no matter how improperly, but Alpha Dog had been the one to insist that this couldn’t have been the case, not with Justin Proper.  And everyone believed it.  Meme was the one who convinced them, actually.

But then, everyone was secretly in love with her.

That was the main concern now, that Proper’s better instincts would be affected, but Alpha Dog brushed that aside.  He believed in Proper.  Proper, in turn, believed that he was completely in control of himself, and he believed in the system, and he believed in Meme.  Meme, after all, was a pussycat.  She’s listen to him; she’d understand exactly what was at stake.  She’d betray her friends, even the Witch Doctor.

And everyone else would fall back into line.

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