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Susanne Beck, T. Novan and Okasha - The Growing...docx
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In the silence of her mind, a wolf howl rises to the floating moon.

* * *

The witness room, four generically off-white walls topped by a yellowing acoustic–tile ceiling, fits only a bit less snugly than a coffin. Three paces long, three paces wide, its furnishings consist of one small table, one spine-cracking folding chair of undetermined but ancient vintage and one 60-watt light bulb further dimmed by a frosted glass globe. It bears a decided resemblance to the classic police interrogation room. According to her watch, Koda has been here for almost an hour, apparently going on all morning.

Good thing I’m not claustrophobic. Yet.

A jury for the trial of the Rapid City jail rapists was seated yesterday, with final selection in the morning and opening statements after lunch. The prosecution has begun its case this morning with accounts of the raid from the participants, to be followed by testimony from the victims in the afternoon. She has reviewed her testimony twice with Alderson, the last time before the opening gavel more than two hours ago. Larke and Martinez have already given their accounts; Andrews is up now, with Koda held back for last. The strategy may be transparent, but its effectiveness is undisputed. As the hero of the Cheyenne, she is the pièce de resistance. She is also mortally bored with the tedium of waiting.

Checking her watch one last time—Damn, he said we’d be out of here by eleven.—Koda sinks crosslegged to the relative comfort of the floor, opens Spengler at her bookmark, and begins to read.

She had snatched this particular book up on her way out her house all those months ago, not sure why then, not really sure why now. Then it had seemed a token of the past, a link to connect her to the spacious library that occupies a third of her home, something to remind her of—and call her back to—the comfortable life she and Tali had built between them. An incomplete farewell.

But now—she lets the book fall open on her knees, propping her chin on her fists. Spengler had been the great heretic of early twentieth century history, a prophet of doom floating loose on the riptide of social and industrial progressivism. History, he had said, moved not in ever-ascending lines but in cycles: birth, rise, maturity, decline and fall. He had fallen in and out of academic fashion, spiking in the late thirties when he had predicted that the Thousand Year Reich would last less than ten and thereafter relegated to the "crank science" midden along with von Daniken and other psuedoscholarly nutjobs.

Come the early 2000’s, Spengler had been rescued from the refuse heap and dusted off by Stan Uribe, then of Baylor. Uribe had argued that the United States at that time was in a phase corresponding to Europe’s Reformation, complete with religious wars—mostly fought in the political arena rather than on the battlefield—and imploding corporate feudalism. His theories had cost him his job, but he had moved on to U Penn’s infinitely more prestigious department. There he had gone on to extrapolate the theory to encompass the rise of American Empire, built like others before it on the three G’s of colonialism and conversion: God, Gold and Glory. He had nearly gotten fired again in 2003, when he published the capstone of his theory, the inevitable fall of the Empire to those it, like Rome two millennia before, had labeled barbarians: women, Muslims, pagans, African Americans, gays and lesbians, Hispanics, the Indigenous Nations.

While battle raged in the boardroom, Koda and Tali had sat in his lectures spellbound. They had spent hours in his office, talking, questioning, then gone on to use their scarce elective hours for his seminars, sitting up until four in the morning with friends arguing the consequences if Uribe were right.

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