Friday, July 10, 2015

The Green Monks, an Underfable

          The Green Monks

          Once upon a time, the Council of the Order of the Green Monks sent young Brother Viriditas to Reactor Hall in their Alchemy Museum. There Brother Viriditas met old Magister Ambrose.
The alchemist pointed to the Hall’s mothballed liquid-salt thorium reactor. He asked the Green Monk, “Have you kept it in working order?”  Viriditas nodded. Ambrose said, with a smile, “Even though it produced ‘the Devil’s Dung’?”
          Viriditas smiled back and said, “Please do not read too much into Brother Verdi’s anti-alchemic sermons. He is pious and fervent; but the others on the Council routinely overrule him. We keep our reactor in good condition, as we have done for the past three centuries, to honor heritage and history.”
          “Has the dung that this devil shat out finally cooled off?”
          “Yes, the alchemic waste dump is at last radiologically safe,” Viriditas said quietly. “Our three-hundred year guardian mission is now complete.”
          “And your stash of alchemic rhodium is now exhausted,” said Magister Ambrose. “I should know, for the Council paid me its last kilogram! And for what? I’ll tell you! You see, dear student, the Council has, over Brother Verdi’s strenuous objections, signed an electric power deal with Lord Syko.”
          Brother Viriditas gasped. “You mean…”
“Yes, the Order has hired me to restart the reactor; and I have chosen you, my best though most naïve student, to be my assistant.”
          Brother Viriditas said, “But why? And why now?
          Magister Ambrose said, “Lord Syko wants a ‘new industrial revolution’, if you please. He desires skyscrapers and jet planes and spaceports; sun, wind, water and geothermal aren’t powerful enough for his insane ambitions; so he turns to  alchemic power! The Council will humor him because they’re out of rhodium; and also because the mad lord made them an offer that they couldn’t refuse.”
          “But… how much power does he want?”
          “Gigawatts, for decades; easily within this reactor’s capacity. Have you any starter fuel?”
          “Well, yes, some U-233, we’ve kept it pure –”
          “–  as heritage and history, right. Good,” said Magister Ambrose. “Then with your help we should have the reactor up and running by next month. Lord Syko has already given us a tonne of thorium, and will deliver a tonne a year.”
          “But, but the waste! Each year a tonne of thorium will become a tonne of deadly radioactive alchemic waste! What’ll we do with it all?”
          “The same thing you did with the Devil’s Dung three hundred years ago. Hide it in the dump, wait ten years, extract a stash of rhodium, and guard the rest for three centuries.”
          “Rhodium!” brother Viriditas exclaimed. “Is that what this is about? After all this time, the Council betrays anti-alchemism for base financial gain?”
          Magister Ambrose laughed. “Oh, no, no, no, dear monk, rhodium is just a means to an end! To be sure, it will represent fabulous wealth; but that, to the Council, is not the point!”
          Brother Viriditas said, “Then what is the point?”
          “The waste itself, of course! An anti-alchemic guardian order needs alchemic waste to guard!”
Brother Viriditas said, “So… though we Green Monks are anti-alchemic activists, we’re really part of the alchemic power system?”
Magister Ambrose said, “Sharp lad! Good catch! Yes, the Order needs to be needed; so for its sake let’s make some waste!”

          Moral: The good born of evil owes a debt.

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