Chapter 2. The Terrorist that Returned from the Cold

After we arrived at the village, we parted and each one of us returned to his house. It was approximately 7 am, when I opened my house's door. No one was in the living room, so I sat on the coach, took off my shoes and, as I was used to, placed my feet on the table. Then I remembered that this was not appropriate for someone who lives in the house, so I took my feet off the table, put my shoes back on, and placed my feet back on the table.

I started to hum a popular tune, like I used to do many times after I returned home after an exhausting day of work at the Organisation. I must note that despite my extraordinary intelligence, even I sometimes forget stuff. In this case I forgot that during the previous times, I returned home only during the evenings.

A few seconds after I started to sing, I heard some noise from the adjacent room and then several whispers, which seemed like they were coming from the direction of the corridor.

“Why the hell are you making noise now?!”, shouted in whisper a feminine voice, that I recognised as the voice of my younger sister.

“I’m making noise? I was sleeping like a baby. You were the one who made the noise!” my brother, who is younger than she is, replied to her.

“And you think that I wasn’t sleeping? I don’t know, maybe you talk while being asleep.”

“How do you know that you don’t talk in your sleep?”

“Stop it, will you? I made the noise.” I shouted towards them in whisper, “And come to talk here, so you won’t wake up Mum by mistake.”

I saw my two younger siblings hesitantly take a look at the sofa from the opening of the corridor. When they saw it was I, they looked at each other and then looked back at me. “The Member, why are you back home at such an hour?”, my sister asked in a surprised manner.

“The ex‐Member.”, I corrected her.

“Oh… you quit? That explains it. Well, on a normal condition I would have congratulated you. If a congratulation is suitable after a resignation. In any case, I’m too tired to think and I want to go back to bed.” and so they both returned as they came.

A little later that morning, the whole family (including me) sat down near the dining table to eat breakfast. “Can someone pass me the butter?” I asked a short time after the meal had begun.

“There you go.” my mother told me while she was passing the butter and putting it on my side. “I understood you resigned from the Organisation.”

“Yes.”, I replied and started to spread the butter on my slice of bread.

“So, what are you planning to do now?” my father asked me.

“I have not really given it a lot of thought. I suppose I’m going to look for a job.”

“Very good.”

After we finished breakfast, I went out of the house and went to the other villagers to look for a job. The first villager I approached was a farmer that lived several houses away from us. When I reached him, I saw that he was doing some work in his crop field. “Good morning!” I told him as I approached him.

“Good morning, the Member of the Organisation!” he replied.

“Actually, it’s the ex‐Member, and that’s the reason why I turn to you right now. You see: I’m looking for a job.”

“I am very sorry, I would love to offer you a job, but my business has not been very good lately. Because of the Enemy, of course.”

“But Sir, not a single missile that the Enemy shot on this village had ever hit your land or even fell close to it.”

“Nevertheless, the noises that the missiles emitted caused the crops not to grow properly.”

“But according to my knowledge in acoustics, the resonance of the seeds is far higher than the frequency…”

“What difference does it make? The Enemy is responsible for all that, any way you look at it.”

“I see. Have a good day.”

“Yes. And good luck to you in finding a job.”

I went to another farmer, who lived farther from my home. When I reached him he was also busy taking care of his field. “Good morning, the Member!” he greeted me as he noticed me approaching him.

“Good morning!” I replied. “In fact, I quit from the Organisation today and I came to ask you if I can work for you.”

“Unfortunately, the crops in my field, because of the Enemy’s activity, were not as successful as I hoped for. Therefore, I cannot offer you a job.”

“But the last missile which the Enemy fired and which hit your land was 7 years ago.”

“Still, the explosives remained in the soil.”

“I’m afraid I disagree. The amount of work you put into removing them, not to mention the erosion during all that time, were supposed to leave only a minute amount of them in the field, if at all. And, besides, there is no indication that harvest that grows on a field with a small amount of them will not grow normally.”

“Never mind. I still think that there was a long term effect.”

“Okay. I’ll try some place else. Bye!”

“Good bye to you too.”

And so I went to look for a job at the village’s grocery. I had to stand in line and when my turn cam the grocer said to me: “Good day to you! We don’t see you around here often since you joined the Organisation.”

“Actually, I quit this very day. I was wondering if you have any job for me.”

“Thanks to your wonderful organisation — I don’t. Do you remember that, three weeks ago, the post next to the neighbouring village tried to fire a missile at one of the Enemy’s posts but instead it hit this grocery store by accident? The missile ruined half of the ceiling and reaped a large hole in the west wall. The renovations here cost me a fortune, and although I could really use some help here, I really don’t have the money for a worker’s wage. Maybe some other time.”

“That does it!”, I thought to myself. I had to react to such a crime against logic. “Sir, ” I told him firmly, “I’ve heard some rather weak excuses for a weak financial status today that I decided to keep silent about, but I’m not ready to simply resume my daily agenda after such a poor excuse.

If your business is in bad shape, try to find out what you didn’t do well and don’t blame someone else. This excuse is non‐factual, not to the point, inconsistent and simply unconvincing. Even a bad politician would not have used an excuse like that.

Even if you had had a job to offer me, I wouldn’t have agreed to work for you. Have a good day. Maybe I’ll come back in the evening, listen to you telling me what happened to you today, and then I’ll be able give you another ten excuses why your financial status has been recently. And believe me that all of them will be better than the one you gave me this instant!”

And so I left the place in anger. A complete lack of reason is always an irritating thing, not to mention that there was a personal insult involved in it as well.

After I went out, I noticed that there were a senior mature officer and a group of soldiers from the Occupier’s army standing at the end of the street. It seemed to me like they were asking the residents of the village something, and then I saw that one farmer pointed straight at me in answer to their questions, and that they started walking towards me.

The Enemy holds a small part of our country, which is close to its border, claiming that it needs it to protect his border settlements. The Occupier, on the other hand, holds half the nation directly, and the other half of my country is ruled by a government that it assigned and supervises. Hence, the men of the Occupier’s army can do within my country as they please.

In any case, after the group of soldiers got close enough to me, the officer spoke to me and asked: “Are you the ex‐Member of the Organisation?”

“In the flesh.” I answered.

“In that case, we have a few questions to ask you. The post in which you served, was found today in an almost destroyed state, and most of its members were lying around killed. Do you know anything of the post’s destruction?”

“Yes, what do you want to know?”

“For instance, what caused its destruction and the killing of all the members of the Organisation that served in it. One of our investigators claims that all evidence point to the fact that they fought each other, yet we thought it was very inconceivable.”

“Actually, it’s very conceivable. It was a constructive outcome of my efficiency improving proposal.”, and I went on to tell him the rest of the story.

“But it makes no sense.” cried the commander.

“Look,” I replied “You must understand that for every logical claim you can think of there’s an opposite claim which is not logical. The conclusion is that half of the claims in the world are illogical. You should probably encounter them every day.

Let me give you an example: principally speaking, is it moral that another people, say the Enemy, will hold and tyrannise the country of another people, say the Occupier?”

“Damn no!” said the commander firmly. “If they dared to do so…”

“And yet you yourself are doing it to us, even though you don’t need to do it for a long time!”

The younger soldiers started to laugh maniacally until the commander turned his angry look towards them and they silenced.

He returned to me, “In any case: it was not the handiwork of the soldiers of the Enemy’s army?”

“Not as long as they are defined according to Aristotle’s Organum.”

“O.K. You are free to go.”

“Thank you.”

And so they went away. It seemed to me like the soldiers continued to giggle or were at least smiling to themselves.

I couldn’t find a job that day, but when I returned home that evening I was told that a I had received a telegram from the leaders of the Supporter, the country that finances the Organisation. I opened it and started reading it. The telegram read:

Head of the Department of External Security

Headquarters of the Supporter’s Military

The Capital City

State of the Supporter

ATTN: The ex‐Member of the Organisation.

RE: Summoning for Questioning and Consultation

Dear ex‐Member of the Organisation,

As a result of your proposal, the Organisation stands in one of the most severe crises in its entire existence. We would like to summon you to our meeting, so we can all discuss your proposal and the consequences of its execution. Although we cannot force you to come, we must mention that it is your duty as an ex‐member of our organisation, according to the Organisation code, which you took upon yourself to follow.

The government of the Supporter will finance your travel, and you will be able to leave tomorrow morning. We would like to inform you of the following facts: we cannot assure your safety during this travel. Furthermore, despite your long service at the Organisation and your constructive proposal, we cannot say, wholeheartedly or halfheartedly, that we wish to protect your safety. Likewise, we cannot guarantee that we would not take actions that may harm you, indirectly or in a direct manner.

We hope to see you here very soon.

Head of the Department of External Security of the Supporter’s Military

After I considered it during the evening and discussed it with the members of my family, I finally decided that I do want to go there and meet with them. The next day, I travelled to the airport by car, and boarded an aeroplane that flew there.