“I think I understand,” I told [Mel]. “But I am not certain how that plays out.”
She paused for a moment, then set down her fork. “It comes down to what our limits are, Kinzie. We cannot cause someone to select an option they are strongly opposed to or would have never considered. And if the individual is emotionally invested in their choice, then it becomes nearly impossible for us to influence them to pursue other options. Take the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda in the early nineties. Are you familiar with that tragedy?” she asked. I shook my head, and she hesitated for a moment before continuing. “Hmm. Perhaps over your winter break, we will spend some time on that episode. It is informative as to how, when, and why we work, as well as what can go wrong. In that case, Rothston, along with one of our sister organizations overseas, attempted to avert an atrocity in which thousands of innocent people died. But due to the determination of the participants and the emotional frenzy that developed shortly before the massacre, we failed. On the other hand, if strong emotions are in play, we can easily influence decisions in ways that are consistent with the individual’s emotional state.”
My head swam with the idea that Rothston influenced global affairs – affected massacres! What role had they played in wars? Or in peace for that matter. It sounded like Rex was wrong about them not doing anything. Or at least, they tried.
“So, how do you decide when that should be done – influencing an outcome?”
“That is the question, dear,” Mel answered with a nod. “One that is vital for all adepts to understand. The adepts of Rothston and around the world adhere to a Minimal Intervention Policy which prohibits us from intervening in the affairs of the commons except when necessary to avoid a significantly dangerous or adverse outcome.”
I picked up the glass of iced tea in front of me, but before I drank, I asked again, “How do you know when that is?”
“Consider the Cuban Missile Crisis. A much better outcome than Rwanda. It is an example of both our Minimal Intervention Policy at work, as well as what we can accomplish. With the U.S. and Soviet Union on the brink of nuclear war, our adepts were positioned to influence both the White House and the Kremlin. But we did not act immediately. We waited until the results would be disastrous if we did not. At that point, it was important enough for us to influence the decisions being made.”
“But what if you had been wrong? What if you waited too long?”
She gave me a kindly smile. “Then you and I would not be sitting here sharing this delightful meal.
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Genre - Science, Fantasy, Thriller
Rating – PG-13