Julian and Vic sat on a park bench, watching the people. Julian had gotten his long-overdue apology for their 150-year-old scuffle, and they had talked things out, both feeling in the end that it was a peculiar bit of history, and all the old players were long gone, and it didn’t mean much now. Julian looked at Vic’s slumped shoulders, and suddenly he appeared to Julian as just a tired, old, old man.
“It’s funny,” said Vic. “I’ve had a feeling of, well, elation. The entire time I’ve been here. With so many old problems solved, or, mostly solved. The budgets, the interest groups... the fundraising. Man, that one—it’s so great not having to spend all your time asking people for money. You can just do your job!”
“Too good to be true, right?” replied Julian. He thought a bit. “And the policy debates in this age – honestly, feels like so much ‘muck’ has been eliminated, all the stupid, fringe stuff that we had to pretend to accommodate! The paranoia!”
The two men chewed on this. It felt like it was supposed to feel, two innocent visitors together in a strange land.
Julian asked, “Were you really against the Amendment?”
Vic’s guard went up momentarily. But then he relaxed. “Who knows, maybe it’s a good idea. Or maybe it’s not. I guess I think the intent is good, but... not sure society is ready for it, or at least not the US.” He added, “Tondal didn’t think so.”
“Christ, can you believe that? I mean, Tondal, a more-advanced civilization, talking to us?”
“No! Too hard for my little brain to process.”
“Do they think we’re ridiculous?”
“We are ridiculous.”
Julian’s brow furrowed, and his eyes narrowed. “But it doesn’t matter. We’re finding our way. That’s what matters.”