It is not often that one gets to meet a de savant. In the United Confederation one does not see many around anymore. They have been rounded in, so to speak. And it is perhaps thanks to them that I have had the privilege to meet one.
He lives in the Round Square off Westside in New City 004B. So it was necessary to board the Train and cross the Continents to reach him. In the train I confess to a certain ambivalence; quite like that which one feels upon meeting a jaguar in the Old Wild. Of course, that is prohibited now. I wore the City 015R workclothes, which felt very anomalous because nothing in the guidelines pointed me to an appropriate choice of wear to a semi-informal (C-13) interview with a P-tag. But I am going off on a tangent. I shiver at the strange surroundings. It is not often that Urbiners have an oppurtunity to cross cities; their jobs do not let them. But mine does. And so anomaly comes to anomaly.
It is novel and disturbing to have the resources to open G-Doors and access M-lockets. So thus did I venture off to Round Square in halfwear, thoughtfully provided by the City authorities. The squalor around me is distressing and I fight the urge to call for the Bureau. In any of the Confed sanctums such a digression would have led to serious consequences for those responsible. But the Round Square lies outside Confed jurisdiction.
So I enter. The poor denizens stare with hostility, wretches that they are. I feel a pang of pity at their Unmodified physiques and weak immunity. I think, surely the Savant will not be like this, living here as it is. But doubt creeps in and I long for the PH holo.
His apartments are spare and irregularly shaped, with odd angles at every glance. He sits there, smiling serenely. The P-tag dangles from his neck. I rarely see a P-tag smile. It is against the decree, of course, not to assume a neutral expression at best. But rarely do they smile. Even a P-tag, though, living in the Outdoors - is an anomaly.
His name is Havek Lir Sador.
And I have to admit, I do not think he is resentful.
He welcomes me with a smile. I sit on the cleanest spot in his room and marvel at the waste, the spaciousness of individual purpose rooms. "Charmed," he says. The son of a Senior Adjucator before his exile he has had proper instruction in UniSpeak. Yet his accents are strange and tone of voice novel.
I greet him in accordance with Unispeak Proprietary Law 3.
His face twists as if in discomfort, and his smile slips. I plunge into the interview. At first he is stiff and unsure, but he warms to the questions as if tackling an opponent in Uniwrestle. I ask him on his emotional responses with regard to his seclusion, a necessary query based on Journalism Law 7B-2. "I felt very human at first," he says, smiling. "Resentment. Anger, definitely. Rage. Depression." I stare in shock at the impropriety. And then he goes on to issue another, greater shock. "But the feelings, they fade. Now I am glad that I no longer am a part of the UniCon. I feel...content. And that is also human."
"I wonder why we humans have to build arbitrary laws for ourselves. Customs that have no basis in reality. It is a cage to trap us, a prison of bars clustered too close for light to seep through." Sador pauses and takes a breath. I reply, "The UniCon provides us with the perfect balance, neither too close or too lax. If they did not, anarchy would follow."
And Sador retorts, "Whither you stand?"
And after a pause, he continues. "All the universe is may be construed to an arbitrary set of laws whose randomness is to massive for us to perceive. To us there is order in chaos, meaning in nothingness." Sador leans back. "But the UniCon gives us purpose and function: to serve in the UniCon for the betterment of humanity!" My sensibilities are disturbed, now.
And Sador says, "That is why we create meaning for ourselves; to live without meaning is to live without life. But the human is often too weak to envisage his own fulfillment."
"That is why there is culture. That is why there is belief."
"The UniCon has transcended culture and belief and united the nations together for the betterment of humanity!" That Sador cannot see this is truly astounding. I see now why he is a savant.
"But we must find strength within ourselves to make our own lives in the embrace of our sociological reality," Sador continues, unpreturbed. "And only like this may we weave our own unknowable destiny. A destiny in the stars."
But the stars are hidden and dead, and the light that shines is that which deceives.
Soon, I leave. It is too much, enduring the contrariness of his opinion and the grubbiness of his abode, spacious as it is. I return to my City. I disinfect myself in the Communal Bathing Facilities. I sit and type this.
But I wonder, as well.