"That's what I mean," I replied. "I don't see any valid options than to stop this thing myself. There aren't any options. It have to go and deal with these monsters before they start killing people. If this gets me killed in the process, so be it, but we don't know this yet. In any case, I won't let them kill Indira for my stupidity."
"That's not good enough," Ushi cried. "That won't solve anything."
"Of course it isn't good," I answered. "I don't want to die anymore than you do, but if I don't go they will kill all these people. They want me, can't you see that? They will kill until they get me. Indira will be first, if I don't go, and then the rest of our family will be next, and Olive too."
"How do you know they won't kill them anyway?" Ushi asked. "Just look at yourself. You're confused. You are too close to this case. You have lost your logic. No person in such a position as you are in right now can think clearly. Just listen to yourself. You talk as though you are dealing with sane and honorable people. They are not normal people. They are people who have been destroyed as human beings, by their power. They are killers. They will surely kill you, and everyone else in spite of your sacrifice. There must be another way out of this."
Jacky shook his head. "You don't really believe that I will let you sacrifice yourself, and for what?" said Jacky. He spoke quietly to me. "I am not going to let you go. I will talk you out of this no matter how long this will take. So, you might as well forget the idea. You are not going. This door is closed."
He looked around the room, to Ushi, to Steve. Steve was standing by the window staring into the dark outside. "Steve is right," Jacky continued, "you are too valuable to us. I can't let you do this to yourself, we can't, China can't."
I raised my hand to stop him, as I had done so often.
"I am perfectly aware that you would go," Jacky continued, louder now. "You would do this to save the life of those people. You have put yourself in great danger several times before to save the life of other people, but in all those cases there was a very good chance that you would come through, and you did. This time, it seems, you won't have that chance, so we can't let you do this to yourself. As I said, you are too valuable to us. This also means that we have a responsibility to solve this problem for you. It had become our problem."
"But I can't let them kill Indira!" I protested.
"That's precisely the point," Jacky replied calmly. "If you don't go, that won't happen. If you go, they will kill you, and they will kill Indira as well. I have seen this happening so many times. They are not so idiotic as to leave traces behind. But if you stay completely out of this game and let us handle the situation, I can almost guarantee you that they won't kill anyone. They have cornered themselves. They have no options but to sit tight for now, at least for a while, and wait for your response. This gives us time; time to act; maybe two weeks. Actually, we won't need more than a few days, I think. Besides, they don't even know whether or not you have received their letter, unless you give them a signal, saying that you have, which you won't do. This means they have to sit tight and wait, and send their letter again. In the mean time, you'll be lecturing in another city. This buys us even more time, as they have to track you down while you move around on your lecture tour."
"Time to do what?" I interrupted. "To send a swat team in to rescue Indira with guns blazing? Then they'll kill her for sure."
Jacky just laughed. "This isn't a wild West show. When there are lives at stake, we cannot take such chances, nor would we need to."
"But they will be raping her, maybe every day, several times a day until she is dead," I replied.
"They are bluffing," said Jacky. "They will do no such thing. They are not that stupid."
"I don't believe that. The local enforcers more often behave like beasts," I interrupted Jacky. "Even the police do this, according to Indira. Thousands of Dalit woman have been raped in detention."
Jacky shook his head quietly. "This doesn't apply here. The whole geometry of the game is totally different than you think it is, or even than they think it is. The world has changed, and it has changed with your help I might add. You may not have realized that. In August of 1945 the world was once radically changed by a single act, when the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It totally changed the geometry of the international relationships. Nothing was the same after that. Another such change occurred over the last few months, but for the better, and a lot of things in China were affected by that, especially in my sphere of influence, and Indira and you have become intertwined with that. She affected even some people at higher levels. Something similar may have also happened in India. I can only guess at what happened there."
"I had something to do with all that?" I said astonished.
"You and Indira, both, and Ushi," said Jacky. "While you have been talking about universal love as an element of our humanity, and been lecturing on this theme all over the world, in Russia, in Europe, in the Americas and elsewhere, somebody has been listening, believe me. We have heard what you said, even in China. Some of it was broadcast, did you know that? And some of it was presented on the Internet. The trouble is that you don't believe yourself what you say. The reason may be, that you have also spoken to far too many deaf people. But I believe what you said is right, because I can understand it, and am experiencing it. And now, I believe you are beginning to experience this too. You say that universal love is the natural manifestation of our common humanity, the humanity that we all share. That makes you one of us, a member of humanity, a member of our family, of our larger Chinese family, as well as the family of all human beings. And as a member of that, especially as a member of our Chinese family, you are precious to us. You have made some profound contributions to enrich this family. All of our people have become more and more precious to us, especially our children, and you had something to do with that. We have come to cherish our children as a national treasure. This had already begun, but what you stood for strengthened the process. And that is how you should see yourself. You are no longer living in the USA where countless children go hungry to school, and hungry to bed, and someone like you would be standing alone in the world. In China you are not alone. You are a part of us. And that, my friend, is what the fondi have not recognized in dealing with you. They don't see us as a part of the equation. The entire geometry of their position has changed from what it once was. When they realize that, they will see that they have no options, but to change their game. And they will change their game. They will stop it. They will let Indira go. They won't touch her. My guess is that they won't just let her go, they will also pay for her air ticket to China, and it won't be a tourist class ticket either. They will send her first class, believe me, and you will greet her on the Lu Rose before the week is out."
I just shook my head, still in disbelief. But soon I nodded, even smiled. Wow! what a wonderful feeling it was to be able to smile again.
"That is why you have to trust us," Jacky added. "You must promise us that you will not leave tomorrow. There will be a University lecture scheduled tomorrow that you will conduct, and another one in another city on the next day, and so on until Indira lands in Chongqing. Naturally, you will perform on every one of these occasions, exactly as you did today. You will be alert; responsive; dynamic; not absent-minded. You will do all that while we deal with the situation the fondi have created for us."
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