Mr. Yellow's Thoughts

Mr. Yellow- that is, Congressman Phineas Daily- had refrained from sharing all his thoughts during the meeting of the senior members of the Cabal, knowing that many of them would not like some of those thoughts. In fact, if he'd told them everything that was on his mind, there was a good chance some of them would have turned against the Cabal, and helped Mufasa Gothic in his investigation of the organization. He could certainly understand how some might see his intentions as evil, but he'd just as certainly never seen himself as evil. Still, when he'd first begun to think about the Cabal's long-term survival, before it had even begun, years ago, he'd realized a certain state of affairs would someday be required, and he'd done is best to bring that state about. It was, he told himself, a necessary evil, but that necessity had never prevented him from feeling uneasy about what he was doing. And now that the time he'd spent the last eleven years preparing for was finally at hand, his unease was greater than it had ever been. Of course, he would never let that unease show, when dealing with the other members of the Cabal. He needed them to believe he was completely confident that what they were doing was unquestionably right.

When he first met Macen Illustri and his friends Zeke and Noson, back in 900, he had no way of knowing that just a year later, that acquaintance would change not only the course of his own life, but the course of history itself. It was soon after meeting Macen that he revealed to Phin the full extent of Kizin's Plan for the Coming of the Order, which Macen had learned of from Zeke and Noson. In 901, Macen passed along an idea that another friend of his had come up with, and that idea was what eventually led to the Cabal's creation. Macen said he himself had no interest in organizing such a group, let alone leading it; he had other plans for his own future. But he thought Phin would be the perfect person to do it. At first, Phin didn't see the need for a group like the Cabal, particularly considering the fact that it remained to be seen whether the goals of the Coming would ultimately be achieved. It seemed a bit premature to start putting together a second conspiracy, when the first one was still only halfway through its own machinations. Still, he did whatever he could to support the Coming financially. And the more he thought about it, the more he began to believe that the Plan was far too short-sighted. And so, he began seeking out like-minded individuals, to carry on the work of the Coming beyond the realization of its original goal.

While he knew that everyone who joined the Cabal would be willing to occasionally take actions they found distasteful, in order to ensure the continued existence of the beneficent organization, he also knew their belief in the group's importance would only go so far. He knew it inevitable that eventually, outsiders would learn of the Cabal's existence, and that it would then be only a matter of time before InterVil began to pick the organization apart. So the only way for the Cabal to remain in power would be if its power was unassailable. Part of that meant ensuring that the future king would be on their side. He had known Demos for many years, and felt confident that he was the most likely candidate to see the value of the Cabal. Of course, he probably couldn't be expected to win reelection for the rest of his life, no matter how good a ruler he turned out to be. And even if he did, what would happen when he died? There'd be no guarantee whoever came after him would support the Cabal, so Phin wanted him not only to become king for life, but to start a dynasty, with the hope that he would indoctrinate his children to our cause from an early age. (Phin had to grin, for he knew Demos would be shocked to learn he'd had that plan in mind long before Demos himself had.)

But making sure the monarch was on the Cabal's side was merely phase one. The Cabal had already existed for a few years by the time Demos was inaugurated in 905, but its development was still somewhat tentative. Getting Demos into office, and recruiting him as an 'unofficial member', gave the organization the luxury of slowly expanding its membership and influence, solidifying its power base. But even with the king on their side, the problem remained of how to ensure that neither the police nor the general public would turn against the Cabal, once they learned of its existence. In the short term, there would have to be a war, and that led to the problem of ensuring the military would accept the orders of those who were loyal to the Cabal. As Mr. Cyan had said in the recently concluded meeting, some would follow orders without question, and others would need to feel those orders were justified. And eleven years ago- two years before the first war had even been fought- Phin had wracked his brain, trying to imagine how to do that. It had occurred to him that there must be some way to make the Cabal seem like victims, and to that end he had worked as hard as he could to make sure whatever the public eventually learned of the group would portray them in a generally positive light. But it also meant some people would need to have reason to attack the Cabal. And so he worked to ensure that the right sort of people obtained positions of power, once the government was established. People who would be morally outraged by the mere notion of the Cabal's existence, whether it could be proved they'd ever done any harm to the world or not. The events of the last few months had played into his plans better than he ever could have hoped.

But none of that was what made him uneasy. It was not what he feared would be seen as evil. For that was never his real plan to ensure the public and the troops supported the Cabal, it was merely a plausible explanation he knew the other Cabalists would accept. What truly needed to be done was to bring about a state of fear and paranoia. And so, the revelation of the Cabal's existence was not just the problem, but also its own solution. To begin with, he insisted that no member of the Cabal should ever know the identities of every other member, particularly within the ruling council. Of course, it couldn't be helped that some of them would know, or suspect they knew, the identities of of several members, but Phin knew they would understand it was in everyone's best interest to limit that knowledge. After all, there was no way of being certain that someone who was recruited into the Cabal might not turn out to be a mole for the police, or some government watchmonog group. Or that even if someone was a sincere member to begin with, that they might not turn against the group someday. So the fewer members any one Cabalist could reveal to the authorities, the safer the entire group was. Once again, a plausible explanation, but only a half-truth. The greater reason Phin wanted to limit the knowledge of his fellow Cabalists was so that no one would know the full scope of the organization. And if the Cabal itself didn't know that, how could the public? If literally anyone in the world could potentially be a member, whether senior, mid-level, or low-level, or could know someone who is a member and unwittingly pass information on to them, paranoia would ensure that no one dared say anything dangerous to anyone. If a person- be it an ordinary citizen, a government official, a police, a soldier, or even a Cabalist- should voice the opinion that the Cabal was a bad thing, that opinion could make its way back to Phineas, through some unknown chain of communication. And if they believed that the Cabal was truly capable of making people disappear, then most people would claim to be in favor of the Cabal, whether they were or not. It was in this way that Phin hoped to ensure the military would follow the orders of Mr. Cyan and Mr. Magenta.

Phineas knew that such psychological tactics had been used on other worlds before, and the regimes that used them never lasted indefinitely. But he also knew that because of the unique nature of the punishment God had enacted on Landians when they Fell, making them so deeply prone to feelings of isolation, of loneliness, of incompatibility with others, the people of this world were very probably the best candidates for paranoia in the Universe.

Still, a world of fear was not a world he ever wished to bring about. He hoped that paranoia would carry the Cabal through to the end of the war, and that after perhaps a few years, if not sooner, people would begin to see that life is good. They would remember that life was good for eight years after the Second Order was established, when they knew nothing of the Cabal's existence. They'd realize the Cabal never did them any harm before, so as long as everyone stayed in line, there'd be no reason for the group to start doing them harm. Of course the paranoia sould persist, to ensure they never thought of rising up against the Cabal, but it should be a low level, background sort of paranoia. Not something people spent much time consciously thinking about. They'd just go about their happy little lives. In time, perhaps a generation from now, people would even find it comforting to know that the Cabal existed, quietly working behind the scenes to ensure that life continues to be good. Which is, after all, why we exist.

As much as he consoled himself that what he was doing was necessary, for the greater good, he didn't doubt that other, more squeamish Cabalists might come to suspect the public's paranoia was intentional, on his part. But again he grinned, as he thought, "But hopefully they'll think they're just being paranoid, to suspect such a thing."

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