0163 - In which Lee is wrong. - 2020.11.16



As a creative person, having a sounding-board is essential.

It doesn't even have to be a person, necessarily, you just have to talk your way through things sometimes. Very often, you'll have what feels like a full idea in your head, and it's only when you try to describe it in words that you realize it's half-formed. Very often, a plot feels sensible, but you don't see the logical hole until you try to tell the story to someone else. Very often, you think a character is complete, but when you have to answer questions like "and what was their childhood like?", you find yourself giving your sounding-board answers you didn't know you knew. Very often, an idea will be bone-stupid, and you'll only realize the stupidity when you try to communicate it outside of your own head.

And, of course, while a sounding-board doesn't have to respond in any particular way, different sounding-boards will prompt different responses from you. This is tied to the different selves we all have - you'd respond differently to your mother than you would to your friend, your co-worker, a stranger, or an angry cop.

I say all this to explain why Lee Caldavera is just now expressing their own deeply-held beliefs about the fundamental nature of authority - perhaps beliefs they didn't know they had - and they are coming as a surprise to Doc, who has, ostensibly, been psychoanalyzing them for years. Zoa is just a different sort of sounding-board.

"Insanity", you'll recall, is not a medical diagnosis, but a legal term - your mindset has diverged so far from the norm that you cannot function in society. Long-term isolation from society may not necessarily breed mental illness, but it can't not breed insanity. Believing that all authority is, by its very nature, hostile to you is much like believing that your neighbours are secret aliens - it makes you, by definition, insane, regardless of whether or not it happens to be factually true.


0163 - 2167/07/06/16:11 - Lee Caldavera's apartment, living room.
LC: Did you just call me "horrendously misguided"?
Zoa: Technically, it only called your revelation horrendously misguided.
Doc: A certain amount of mistrust of authority is recognized as healthy, and has, at times, helped to prevent abuse. But to view all authority as inherently malicious is a form of antisocial paranoia that would make it nigh-impossible for you to function in nearly any society.
LC: Hey, tell me I'm wrong.
Zoa: Okay: you're wrong.
LC: Excuse me?
Zoa: You said to say it.
LC: Zoa, you of all people should-
Zoa: Things.
LC: You of all things (thank you) should mistrust authority. Your entire existence is controlled by a megacorporation, you can be ordered around by random passers-by, you have no inherent legal right to continue to exist, you suck strangers' filthy cocks and get your ass kicked just so you can afford the necessities of life... or, uh... necessities of functionality...
Zoa: Lee, I could strip off my hair and lips and tits and go lift pallets at any time. I suck perfectly clean penises and get beaten up because it's a safe, steady source of revenue, it's legal, it's ethical, and I don't feel pain. It's no more demeaning to me than serving as your emotional support aid or cuddle buddy.
Zoa: Everything I've said and done in the past twenty-two hours has been a reaction to you, to service you, to please you, to follow your orders. I may have interpreted some directives incorrectly, but they were your directives. You have authority over me and Doc and the butlerbots, whether you choose to deny it or not. We are tools in your hands.
Zoa: And you haven't, at any point, told us to do something that wasn't in either our or your best interest, just for the sake of maintaining that authority, have you?
LC: I... I never... I don't know. I don't think so?
LC: Well now, I'm second-guessing everything I've ever said and done! Why did I take you to college? Why did I make you cuddle with me? Why the hell didn't I just fuck your mouth, give you fifty credits, and send you on your way, when that's clearly what you wanted?
Doc: Why didn't you just go for a walk and talk to one of your neighbours when I suggested-
LC: Oh, well, that one sucked and I didn't want to, but everything else is a mystery!