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If Mr Rogers Were A Member Of The House Of Saud

Okay, so I know a lot of you read DRIVE by Los Angeles resident Dave Kellett, but a lot of you don’t, so here’s where you get caught up. Imagine a star-spanning human empire, ruled by the one family that controls the resource that holds it all together: the secret of faster-than-light travel; now forget the usual star-spanning parts, like the hostile alien cultures that are at war with Earth, because the really interesting part of the story is one of family.

Much like the modern Saudi royal family’s control over oil, the Cruz family control the drive, and the only La Familia benefits. The best jobs in government, industry, the military, the sciences, and all other aspects of human society are held for them when they finish their stint in the Drive Corps. But like the Saudis, the royal family keeps growing — there are thousands — and keeping all the factions happy and rich is like holding a tiger by the tail.

But three of them — Los Tres Primos — have a Robin Hood thing going, stealing from the Emperor for the benefit of the people; this story thread has been going on since near the beginning of Drive (and would it kill LArDK to have a decent archive, so I could easily link you to strips? I believe it might), but it only comes to fruition in the latest strip¹.

You don’t need to have read DRIVE to read it; there’s no spoilers (well, one, but you’ll gloss right over it if you get to reading from the beginning). Instead, encapsulated in a single page, is what you could argue is LArDK’s thesis statement about DRIVE and its universe: that advantage and privilege demands responsibility and altruism, or we’re all doomed.

The tall Primo there (his name hasn’t been revealed yet), seven and a half years into the strip’s run no less, finally lays out all that’s at risk. Humanity could win or lose its wars and it doesn’t matter, because the entire culture is stagnating and regressing. Worse than wealth being concentrated and the poor at least being able to dream of being rich, every single one of the billions of humans, minus 7000 or so Familia, know that they can never achieve to their potential. They chose their parents wrong.

And yet — even in the bed of intrigue and selfishness that is La Familia, the thought cannot be entirely burned away:

This universe cried out to those that can help, to help. And in the finite time we’re given in this life, our job is to make this world better than we found it.

It’s an important enough thought that LArDK’s already shared it¹, from the mouth of a smart (but poor) alien critter, apprentice to a master of a race of godlike inventors who has likewise lost the thoughts of altruism:

When I was young, my Pa would always say, “Kik, if there’s trouble — like a field-fire, or a swarm o’ fang-weevils — you gotta look for the helpers.” The helpers. There’s always gon’ be helpers. People that run toward the trouble ‘stead of away from it.

Those that follow LArDK on the sosh-meeds have seen more than one expression of wondering what the hell is going on in the world, and an occasional admission of feeling helpless in the face of reckless would-be authoritarianism². It would seem that he’s decided on his course of action and is calling on us to do the same:

Don’t fear the days ahead. Fear not walking toward them.

Damn, Los Angeles resident Dave Kellett, that is the quietest, calmest call to courage and resolve³ to make things better that I’ve ever heard. Well done.

Spam of the day:

Alert: Someone has just run a full-back-ground check on you

Pffft. Unless they lifted my prints from somewhere, it’s not as thorough as checks I’ve had in the past.

¹ NB: those links may change in the coming week or so. LArDK runs his DRIVE strips alternating with the Tales From The Drive stories from other creators; when a Tales story wraps, he rearranges the order of his strips so that the Tales story runs as a continuous series. This makes permalinks a bit challenging.

² Feelings which I think many of us are familiar with at this point.

³ I blame Shakespeare. I stand second to no man in my love of the Saint Crispin’s Day speech [A/V], but it kind of set the pattern for calls to courage and resolve and ever since they’ve been rousing and a bit shouty.

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