Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Back from the Dead #8

In his prime, Ajax would never have abided any of this nonsense.

This statement should be clarified: “Any of this nonsense” should be understood to mean not just the business with the resurrection of the Witch Doctor and her growing rebellion against the system, but also the system itself.

That, too, needs clarification.  Ajax fully understood the concept of the Council itself, but he never quite got the handle of the need for squires.  Of all the Council, he still believed in fighting his own battles.  This was probably due to the fact that he was easily its senior member, a generation older than his next oldest ally, which would be Alpha Dog (not that the general public thought of Alpha Dog as old).

Perhaps he had such difficulties because his squire was nearly the opposite of what Ajax had always understood himself to be, much in the same mold as Alpha Dog, a strong and confident and very obvious warrior who was easy to understand and did not need interpreting.  The Quiet Man was none of these things.

This caused a great deal of contention between them, and was the reason why Ajax held the system in contempt, complaining bitterly about it at every Council meeting (first Monday of every month, except in emergency situations).

It was actually Ajax who had originally imposed the rules, once it was clear that he was not going to be able to talk his allies out of their decision, on the selection of squires.  Out of the available pool, he had personally selected the Quiet Man, believing that his experience and guidance could mold the younger hero into something he could better comprehend.

After six months Ajax was disabused of this belief.

He could never bring himself to understand, first of all, why a superhero would choose the name “Quiet Man” in the first place.  In his worldview, there was no room for subtlety.  If something needed to be done, it needed to be done in the most obvious and forthright way possible, otherwise the point would not be made and nothing would be achieved.  He tried to make this plain to the Quiet Man.  He could never abide the methods of the Cold War, for one thing, something his father had instilled in him, a warrior from a different time but at least someone Ajax could understand.

He knew well enough that different tactics could be useful in a strategy, even in a fight, but the Quiet Man represented an entirely separate ideology, and for some reason, that was always the most difficult obstacle to surmount.  It was a fight, then, that he could not win, and he tried not believe that it was a matter of intellect, because he knew that it was not his strong suit, and he secretly loathed anyone for whom it was.

Perhaps that was why the relationship was such a hassle for him, because he could not bring himself to respect the Quiet Man, and he believed the same was true of his squire.

Still, they had been together for a long time, and despite himself Ajax felt a kinship with the Quiet Man, and didn’t like to see such a relationship put in jeopardy, because that was another thing he’d learned from his father, and in time, the value of associations.  That was the main reason why he’d joined the Council in the first place, because working in a group is always more effective than working independently, and as far as he was concerned, that was the main thrust of the Council’s imperative.  Never mind what anyone else thought.

The present situation, then, threatened everything he’d ever believed.  How to approach the Quiet Man about it?  Ajax only wished he knew.  Perhaps this was the crux of it, the thing he’d tried so long to ignore, hoping it would just go away.  Well, it hadn’t, and now it had just gotten worse.  Then again, a part of him was glad.  Things were about to become interesting again…

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