Harlan’s World resident, leader of the uprising known as the Unsettlement, and creator of the populist battle philosophy known as Quellism. She is commonly known simply as “Quell”. She disappeared, and was subsequently presumed dead, following an attempt to escape from an overwhelming Protectorate force. She was last seen fleeing in a small helicopter with her pilot, and was assumed shot down by the orbitals.
Books by Quell
Things I Should Have Learnt by Now, Volume II
- “The personal, as everyone’s so fucking fond of saying, is political. So if some idiot politician, some power player, tries to execute policies that harm you or those you care about, take it personally. Get angry. The Machinery of Justice will not serve you here – it is slow and cold, and it is theirs, hardware and soft-. Only the little people suffer at the hands of Justice; the creatures of power slide out from under with a wink and a grin. If you want justice, you will have to claw it from them. Make it personal. Do as much damage as you can. Get your message across. That way you stand a far better chance of being taken seriously next time. Of being considered dangerous. And make no mistake about this: being taken seriously, being considered dangerous, marks the difference – the only difference in their eyes – between players and little people. Players they will make deals with. Little people they liquidate. And time and again they cream your liquidation, your displacement, your torture and brutal execution with the ultimate insult that it’s just business, it’s politics, it’s the way of the world, it’s a tough life, and that it’s nothing personal. Well, fuck them. Make it personal.”
- “In any agenda, political or otherwise, there is a cost to be borne. Always ask what it is, and who will be paying. If you don’t, then the agenda-makers will pick up the perfume of your silence like swamp panthers on the scent of blood, and the next thing you know, the person expected to bear the cost will be you. And you may not have what it takes to pay.”
- “War is like any other bad relationship. Of course you want out, but at what price? And perhaps more importantly, once you get out, will you be any better off?”
- “I have no excuses, least of all for God. Like all tyrants, he is not worthy of the spit you would waste on negotiations. The deal we have is infinitely simpler – I don’t call him to account, and he extends me the same courtesy.”
- They come to me with
But all I see is change and bodies burnt;
They come to me with
But all I see is blood and chances lost;
They come to me with
Choral fucking approval of every thing I do
But all I see is cost.
Ethics on the Precipice
- “The difference between virtuality and life is very simple. In a construct you know everything is being run by an all-powerful machine. Reality doesn’t offer this assurance, so it’s very easy to develop the mistaken impression that you’re in control.”
Metaphysics for Revolutionaries
- “Anyone who builds satellites we can’t shoot down needs to be taken seriously and, if they ever come back for their hardware, be approached with caution. That’s not religion, it’s common sense.”
Poetry by Quell
- Is it a wolf I hear,
Howling his lonely communion
With the unpiloted stars,
Or merely the self importance and servitude
In the bark of a dog?
How many millennia did it take,
Twisting and torturing
The pride from the one
To make a tool,
And how do we measure the distance from spirit to spirit?
And who do we find to blame?
- How shall I explain the dying that was done?
Shall I say that each one did the math, and wrote
The value of his days
Against the bloody margin, in an understated hand?
They will want to know
How was the audit done?
And I shall say that it was done,
By those who knew the worth
Of what was spent that day.
Stop up your hormones
Or spend them in moans
Of other calibre
(We’ll reassure you – the load is large enough)
Pride in your prowess
Will fail you, fuck you
And everything you touch
(You’ll reassure us – the price was small enough)
Sayings/quotes from Quell
- Rip open the diseased heart of a corporation and what spills out? People.
- The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice.
- If you want to lose a fight, talk about it first.
- Face the facts. Then act on them. It’s the only mantra I know, the only doctrine I have to offer you, and it’s harder than you’d think, because I swear humans seem hardwired to do anything but. Face the facts. Don’t pray, don’t wish, don’t buy into centuries-old dogma and dead rhetoric. Don’t give in to your conditioning or your visions or your fucked-up sense of… whatever. FACE THE FACTS. THEN act.
Speech before the Assault on Millsport
- Kill them along the way, but count your bullets, for there are more worthy targets.
- There are some arenas so corrupt that the only clean acts possible are nihilistic.
- If they want you, sooner or later they’ll scoop you up off the globe, like specks of interesting dust off a Martian artefact. Cross the gulf between the stars, and they’ll come after you. Go into centuries of storage, and they’ll be there waiting for you, clone-new, when you re-sleeve. They are what we once dreamed of as gods, mythical agents of destiny, as inescapable as Death, that poor old peasant labourer, bent over his scythe, no longer is. Poor Death, no match for the mighty altered carbon technologies of data storage and retrieval arrayed against him. Once we lived in terror of his arrival. Now we flirt outrageously with his sombre dignity, and beings like these won’t even let him in the tradesman’s entrance.
- When they ask how I died, tell them: still angry.
- The essential evil of massed humanity.
- The skeletal grip of a corpse’s hand round eggs trying to hatch.
- You’re going to be involved, you might as well have the big guns.