Hvs.tCF 60:1/Text

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Hm.

Isaac knew that the Perfect Warlord was asking a perfectly valid question. This was something he Needed to Know. And so here was a new iteration of a familiar paradox.

To solve the Charlie problem, they'd needed to summon a counterpart, a matching mastermind (lowercase "m"). Not a Great Mind, but a great mind nonetheless. Nothing less would serve the purpose.

But any great mind will naturally be curious.

Isaac quite admired Chief Warlord Gotti's curiosity. He liked the man, personally. But now he was asking about Baddies, and that was one of the secrets they had summoned him to protect. Thus, paradox.

The secret of apostasy[1] and excommunication from Thinkamancy was being kept on something just a shade above a Need to Know basis; it was deemed Need to Ask. The Great Minds acknowledged that Chief Gotti probably Needed to Know it. But they'd agreed to wait until he asked first, and then to discourage him from asking too much more about it.

Isaac could, of course, have hidden his displeasure with the question; control of facial expression is basic to all forms of Eyemancy. But it was a perfectly good nonverbal channel of emotional communication, and so he let his face fall into a bitter scowl.

"Chief Gotti," said Isaac darkly, "in cases in which a Thinkamancer commits a serious crime, they are branded 'Baddies,' and barred from contact with all other Thinkamancers, including other Baddies. They can cast, but they are no longer welcome among us."

The Warlord--who was not in conscious control of his facial expressions, Isaac was reasonably certain--scowled back. "What did she do?" he asked.

"I'm afraid you don't Need to Know that," said the Headmaster.

Maggie, sitting beside Isaac, seemed about to say something, but Chief Gotti tilted his head forward. "Did she help Charlie?" he asked. "Is she on his side?"

"No," said Isaac. "If that were the case, we might have found a more immoderate punishment than finding her Bad. And we would have warned you about her. No, Bunny's transgression was esoteric, meaningful only to the Great Minds. It's irrelevant to you."

Notes

  • ^ Apostasy  is the abandonment or renunciation of a religious or political belief.