Chapter 29

Why does Stan obey Doug’s hands-off orders?

©iStock.com/ollirg

©iStock.com/ollirg

We learn more about this in the next two books, but Stan’s motivation for obeying Doug’s hands-off orders is really very simple: their agreement states that if he violates a hands-off order, Doug will call the Final Battle. Since Stan wants as much time as possible to prepare for that eventuality, he is very keen to observe these orders. He also ensures that no one else violates them by threatening the severest punishment (usually reserved for treason): their thumbs would be cut off and they would clean septic tanks for the rest of their lives.

Because of the lingering effects of the Viv fruit, the exiles heal life-threatening injuries so quickly that they simply don’t die; the more severe the injury, the more rapid the healing. Therefore, Stan does the next best thing to killing people he’s really mad at: he makes their lives as miserable as he can. Initially he cut off their thumbs to prevent them from wielding a sword against him. Now it just makes their lives difficult, as well as providing a visual marker for traitors. Stan also maintains a septic tank cleaning business, even though it’s not a huge money-maker, specifically because it is such a loathsome job to Paradisians.

Then why doesn’t Doug just issue hands-off orders on all his runners?

Stan et al are incapable of understanding that Doug truly loves and cares for his runners. They believe his interest in them is strictly because of what they can do for him. So whenever Doug personally intervenes on a runner’s behalf, Moden Industries interprets his intervention to mean that the runner involved is of special importance in his war preparations. This means Moden Industries will only direct more resources against this runner, which endangers the runner’s family and friends and exposes the runner to an intensified program of manipulation (which is what Chris and Susana experience in the next book). Doug has to take these factors into consideration when issuing a hands-off order.

 

How does Garrick get away with speaking so freely to Camille?

Garrick holds a unique position in the company, one that warrants a special measure of respect from both Stan and Camille. In fact, he’s the only other person (besides each other) that they always pay the honor of addressing by his title (Dr. Sondem) in front of the other exiles. They generally only do this—no matter how many doctorates the person may hold—if the situation specifically requires it.

Part of this special relationship is as Camille relates it: he’s a lifelong friend of both, and he truly respects and is respected by both. However, as is often the case in Desmon Tower, they also have an ulterior motive. Since the incident in which Camille was kidnapped (3275 ME), Garrick has been charged with guarding security for Stan, Camille, and the organization. What this really means is that Garrick, who is also a strong, charismatic leader, has been the commander of their army for over 4,700 years. Even though Stan retains ultimate command as the army’s Commander-in-Chief, Garrick’s men are, by and large, very loyal to him. Stan and Camille both recognize that, if a division were to arise between themselves and Garrick, the army would support Garrick. Stan actually now regrets having allowed anyone to amass such potential power. He’s even a bit afraid of Garrick (not that he’d ever admit it) because he rightly recognizes that Garrick could lead a successful coup d’état if he ever chose to.

Nevertheless, Stan’s lucky that this situation developed with Garrick rather than with someone else, because Garrick honestly does not want the top job in the organization. He not only truly loves his current job, he hates dealing with the public relations situations that Stan’s so good at. So, although Garrick could mount a successful coup, the only way he would is if he lost faith in Stan as the best one to lead them to victory against Doug.

This, therefore, is the real reason behind Garrick’s freedom with both partners: his potential as a successful rival. He knows this, which is why he’s not afraid of them. He’s tactful enough not to be disrespectful in his liberties, but he will take liberties with them that no one else would dare take. He is, in fact, the only person who will confront either partner with their errors; even Stan and Camille are generally not this free with each other. In Stan’s case, such confrontations often turns physical, but this doesn’t deter Garrick either (actually, he enjoys it), since he and Stan are equally matched physically. As The Final Battle draws closer, we see Garrick fulfilling his self-appointed duty of keeping both partners focused, as he does here with Camille, more frequently.

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