The Bright Light after the Remechians
“Repetition, Repetition! Mr. Phinean you’re repeating yourself, you either need to submit a new idea or we need to go to a vote!”
That’s when I knew I had it. I’d been waiting years for this. My proposal was finally being judged by The Forum. Hanon and Souri will be so proud. I look for their faces amongst the myriad of people. I can’t find them, but they’re there, with faces beaming.
Perhaps I should start at the beginning. This is Sabar. After Remechian forces pushed through the Sabarian Militia protecting Naga, the city fell and all hope was lost as the Remechians continued their bloodthirsty campaign through Baras. Foreign air strikes brought Naga to dust and those of us who survived but were unable to flee were forced underground.
It’s now been two decades since the raids, and although finally the Remechians have been wiped out, those left behind now face the bigger challenge of rebuilding society. The Remechians have shown us that it is fruitless to kill and fight. In the end days we were not fighting for God, we were fighting for power. Mothers and daughters were forced to pick up the pieces of their martyred sons and brothers. It was then that it was decided: this travesty will never be seen again.
After hundreds of years of war, we realized there would be no peace until we abandoned the traditions of our forefathers. We decided to build our society on real democratic traditions. We live in peace now that we are no longer governed by religious ideologies.
Those who took the lead in building this new society, or The Creators as they are known, decided that all would have a voice in our new nation. Education, discussion, and mentorship would be the foundation of our new Sabarian society.
In Sabar, everyone at the age of five is matched with a mentor who specializes in a certain field. This is the beginning of their primary schooling, which lasts for 11 years. For example, all five year-olds work with their mentor to understand cooking, nutrition, and health. Towards the end of their year their learning begins to focus on what resources are available here in Sabar, and how these resources are used. They visit the crops and speak with Sabar’s farming community to better understand components in the soil and how nutrients and sunlight are absorbed to permit growth. Their next year is spent in gardening and agriculture. Every year tries to relate and flow into the next track of learning.
It is also customary for those who are too young to yet be in The Forum to prepare a feast for the members each week. It was the hope of The Creators that this would develop their leadership and teamwork skills while inspiring feelings of pride in something they worked hard to create for the good of the community.
There were times when I felt that the feast day was ridiculous, simply a way for the members to take advantage of those who were not in The Forum. But after speaking with my mentor about it I realized what The Creators were trying to do and how important this meal was for the community. In fact, everything – from the conceptualization of fluid learning tracks, to the institution of the mentors who help you decide your specialty – was for the good and progression of our community.
The remaining years of their education are focused on the development of philosophical thinking and critical analysis. This is accompanied by the understanding of interpersonal communication and proper tactics for debate. These tracks are meant to prepare each person for the ways of The Forum, which they are admitted into at the age of 16.
After the 10th year of schooling each pupil meets with all of their past mentors to decide which subject they would like to specialize in for their 11th and final year. This is very important because it dictates one’s responsibilities within the forum. If you decide to go into engineering, you will be responsible for helping to build models and eventually structures for whatever The Forum deems necessary for the good of Sabar. The 11th year is spent mastering your skill and finally, by this time, each young adult will possess enough knowledge and experience to participate in The Forum.
However, you are not limited to specializing in only one thing. If you make a case to your mentors, and if they believe you are driven enough, you may choose to combine subjects to serve specific needs for The Forum. This is what I did. I chose to work with my Physiology mentor, Hanon, and my Oceanography mentor, Souri, in order to work on creating an innovative way to move water throughout Sabor, something we had been struggling with since before I could remember…
At 12 I had overheard my parents late at night discussing The Forum and how, once again, no one had been able to come up with a working model for water distribution. The members were not allowed to discuss the issues or disagreements being worked on within The Forum to those of us who were still in primary schooling. They wanted to keep us focused on our studies and keep us from worrying about things we could do nothing about. That night, after I heard the fear and frustration in my parents’ voices I knew what my destiny was and I worked hard towards a solution.
At 13 I was in my eighth year and I began working on Anatomy and Physiology. I found the flow of blood through the body to be particularly interesting. Constantly pumping, the heart was able to move blood from the head to the fingertips and toes, then back again. Constantly circulating.
I had found my first concept.
We were all one big body, Earth was one big body.
I went to my friend Bashia’s house the next day since we didn’t have lessons. He was two years ahead of me in Engineering and together we began to toy around with some metal, making a replica of a heart out of iron. I asked Bashia if he thought we could make a heart-like pump to move water from the spring below into the hills where most of the population lived. I asked if we could make the water work the way the body did. He told me that in the body blood is always circulating, but people aren’t always using rushing water; as such, pressure would build up and need to escape. He tried to help me understand through the lessons he received in Oceanography about pressure and tectonic plates, but I wouldn’t learn that until the next year and I found the concepts very confusing. I decided to put my project on hold until I began my Oceanography lessons.
Souri, my Oceanography mentor, did a much better job at explaining than Bashia. We discussed tectonic plates and learned how heat and pressure beneath the surface of the earth contorted the rock. I began to imagine the water beating inside the earth, trapped, pushing it’s way up through the hot rock, the water had nowhere to go. When I explained my ideas to Souri she took me to the edge of our town where the underwater hot springs were. She believed that I could use the power of the pressure, steam, and water to power our city and to irrigate the crops. I was going to help make the Earth a heart. It would be powered by the pressure and steam below ground.
So, today is the day. After five years of working and struggling I am finally in the middle of The Forum offering my idea. My opponent, who felt my idea would take too many resources if it failed, had been called on for “repetition.” Among the few rules of The Forum, which does not have a judge and is run on a volunteer basis, is one that states that if you begin to repeat your argument or fail to present any new evidence that opposes or supplants the issue at hand then you have one more opportunity to bring forth something new before The Forum votes. The “repetition” rule helps prevent discussions from going into the wee hours of the morning.
My opponent had been called out for “repetition,” and I knew in my heart that the vote had finally come. It was time to see what The Forum actually thought of my idea; it was time to see if my plan would finally come to fruition.