“People still seem to make the assumption,” Susie replied. She was enthusiastic, but then, that was her whole job. “Still, in fact. The connection between Skycity and it’s origins. They still don’t connect it to you, Edward Skye.”
“That’s just human nature, Susie. People will always go with the easiest route. It’s like water. Water follows the easiest path. It’s the same with human nature.”
“Interesting way of looking at it.”
Susie tried to hide her awe of the man, but it was just too hard not to stand like a gawking teenager at the man who had shaped a city. Some had gone beyond that to say that he had shaped a nation. Edward cut an almost perfect figure in his collarless, casual suit. The rich green reminded Susie of some of the thick forests she had scene down in the Oriental Quarters. One should have been at awe of the view of the city where the interview was taking place, but it was hard not to take notice of the man.
“From rags to riches,” she remarked, following Edward as he wandered along the observation deck. “It’s almost a cliche.”
“An easy one,” Edward countered, with a slight smile. Susie blushed, almost turning the shade of her short cut red dress suit.
“Yes.” Another smile.
“From that beginning though, and to end up where you are now,” Susie said. She felt out of her depth in so many ways. She realized that she just didn’t have the command of language like Edward, and hell, she was a reporter. One of the top ones in Oceania. “Literally on top of the world.”
“It’s merely a matter of effort, at the end of the day. All one has to do is want to better themselves. All they need is a goal. Any goal. And they can achieve it.”
“Some would say, though, that it would be like changing the course of a river,” she replied, hoping to score a few points with the same allusion. She didn’t get the smile she had been hoping for. “How do you go from South Sector child, to Poster Boy for a new society?”
Edward traced his way easily around a set of chaise lounges that had been set up at this point of the observation deck. The tall ferns had to be real, and worth a fortune alone, Susie thought. Edward didn’t sit, of course. He did as he had done for most of the interview, just lingered at one point before moving to the next.
“I’ll let you in on a secret, Susie. It’s a secret that’s gained me all the accolades and titles that you’re so quick to heap on my shoulders. It’s a secret that a disturbingly small amount of people appear to be aware of, despite its simplicity. Effort.”
Susie faltered a moment, almost waiting for Edward to continue before she realized that he had just let on what that ‘secret’ was. Edward stepped into the gap he had left in the conversation, explaining himself.
“All it really takes to get ones goals, whether it be to raise the money for a grandmothers birthday gift, or to advance ones status in a job. Or even take yourself from poverty to being a productive member of society. All it takes is effort. A willingness to participate as part of the whole.”
Susie noticed the huge blimp out on the cityscape. It was no longer odd seeing her own face, but it was strange seeing herself knowing that she stood here, broadcasting it live. Was this how other people saw her as she spoke?
“It almost sounds too easy. If it were that easy, then how come we still have the troubles of South Sector?”
“Human nature,” Edward remarked, easily. Susie realized she couldn’t really tell Edwards age for sure as he spoke there so passionately. His looks were classic. Timeless. “Humans inherently take the easy path, just like water. They have little want to exercise that one small secret.”
Susie felt her interviewers instinct cut in, as she dared to drive the wedge that Edward had opened up deeper. Even with her awe of the man, she had to make this interview count. The world knew so little of this man.
“You’re saying the people of South Sector as lazy?”
“That’s a simplistic way of putting it, but yes,” Edward said, looking fully aware of what he was saying. He knew full well the interview was carrying over the entire city, and further. “Human nature takes the easy course. One has to want to better themselves.”
“What about the argument of circumstance? Environment?”
“Again, water taking the easy course. It’s further nature of mankind to find external faults and excuses to explain their way. Once you overcome this, once you make the determination to participate, to make the effort, then little can stand in your way.”
Susie let a light smile touch her lips. The concourse had been cleared for them. It was just him and her, and to the onlooker, it might just appear like a casual discussion rather than a prime time expose.
“South Sector people are lazy?” Susie played. Of course Edward wouldn’t be drawn on the fact. He’d already said as much.
“I could have decided it was easier to partake in crime. I could have made an excuse that my family were all criminals, or reliant on the State. Every day, there are excuses and reasons to take the easier way. The fact of the matter is that a large sector of mankind, not just South Sector, but mankind, are lazy.”
Susie could tell the passion in his tone, but his manner was as easy as always. She imagined his voice booming out across the city. Wondered what all those ‘lazy’ people were thinking right now.
“People choose to live unwired as ghosts. They choose to participate in crime, or stay uneducated. It’s not for lack of opportunities. We make our own opportunities through effort, thought the choice to make that effort in the first place.”
Susie nodded. It felt wrong to keep attacking the man, given his status, his mere appearance, but she followed her instinct again, “What about those of your family still in these circumstances? What about them?”
Edward smiled, “What about them?”
“It’s true that you’ve left your roots behind. If you can’t help your own family, one has to ask the question whether you can truly be altruistic and help mankind.”
“I help those through what I’ve built. The city and society I have created is one of an environment where those who choose to make the effort can thrive. It’s a mere matter of participation.”
“You should run for office,” Susie remarked, trying to take the conversation somewhere a little less dense. Edward let his features lighten, pushed a little of his blond fringe out of his face.
“I’d rather stay in an arena less complicated.”
“Society building?” she joked. Edward appeared to appreciate the quip.
“Something like that, yes. I find that it is easy enough to work with the system in place, for a stronger, better outcome for both myself and the City Fathers. I’d rather the political landscape didn’t get muddied with a cult of personality.”
Edward was moving again, and Susie followed. She became rather aware of the irony of the situation. The initial awe, which still now lingered. The fact that the whole time she had met and spoken with the man, she had constantly been following him. She dismissed it and pressed on with the interview.
“So maybe now we can talk about your overseas interests …”