Monday, November 7, 2011

Refining the Refiner

It seemed I hadn't gone in too soon, for shortly after I had locked the sturdy door I heard the sound of beasts come sniffing all around. They clearly were looking for something to eat and I heard them try a couple times to get in, though they found no weakness that they could exploit. After making sure they were not going to find their way in I sat down at my table with the crude lamp I had hand made illuminating the small room and started carefully taking apart the device, cataloging in my mind where each piece went. There were many parts and I had to take quite a bit of time studying how they were connected to make sure I could put it back together. The most fascinating part of it was how simple they all were, they had been hand made and the device must not be of a very high quality compared to what I could create when I used it. I didn't have any paper with which to write, so my walls became my parchment and the residue from the lamp my ink. The sun started to come up again when I had finished cataloging and drawing everything and when the device was back together there was a knock at my door.

I didn't even have to open the door to know it was the same elders as before, but they had brought a few others with them as well along with some supplies to draw with and create plans. Inwardly I smiled at their foresight in the need of these things and wished I had done the same when I had come out yesterday, though I hadn't anticipated what I would have been up to then. I was tired and they had been thoughtful enough to bring food. As I ate they asked me about what I had drawn so crudely on my walls and I explained that I was trying to create a new device before the one I had broke. They were surprised that I mentioned the device could break and I could see fear in their expressions. I told them if they would be patient I was ready to begin trying to recreate the thing they desired so much. When they consented I brought in the materials I thought I would need and sat down, staring at the wall with all the drawings and notes I had made. It took quite some time and I could hear the elders shuffling behind me, but slowly the parts were recreated and even better than the previous ones. As each piece came into existence I replaced the one in the device I was using, testing it out and so long as it worked it remained. Some of the parts took a few tries but eventually I had figured out what I had done to make it in the first place. It wasn't until each piece was made that I got to work gathering all the materials again and instead of making just the bits and pieces I created a fully new and redesigned device. It was smaller, sleeker, stronger and much more capable than the original and when it was done and fully tested I used the new one to destroy the old one, much to the shock of the elders. When asked why I had destroyed the original I explained that it was a dangerous device to leave lying around due to the way it could alter their ways of life. I assured them I would help them rebuild, but they would need to take the time to learn the technology on their own. I would not artificially advance their society and would work equally with all the towns to make sure they maintained equality in some measure. As they made their way out the door, frustrated, I began to think about what I had accomplished today. I felt some sense of familiarity with the device I had in my hands and began envisioning further use of it to acquire better resources. I knew not all the elders would agree with my decision, but I knew their society would benefit from learning instead of receiving. With the remaining light of the day I quickly made my way back to town and picked up my remaining possessions, taking a moment to appreciate the refinement of the other tools compared to the original refiner. It really was amazing that the first tool could be made by hand and then be used to quickly produce the rest.

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