The Coin Keeper, episode 7: Comes the Moment

Keep it well, and you will be rewarded on my return.

As Madseu're sat on the end of his bed, the words The Big L had spoken the night before played over in his head. He looked down and turned the coin over in his palm, fingering with his thumb. This was no mere scrap of metal, no trinket, no bauble. This was a symbol, an icon; what it stood for was far more valuable than its economic worth. What he did with it now was not a decision to be made lightly. With the Big L already reaching the outer reached of the solar system and speeding toward a destination many light-years away, Madseu're might reasonably do whatever he desired with this rare, valuable coin. After all, how likely would he be to see the Big L again? What assurance had he that the Big L would ever return again to reclaim his possessions? Could not one assume that he had gone forever, headed for a new world without a thought for those he left behind? The things he left with the men and women on this station were surely just the things that would be of no use on that distant planet to which his ship now sped. In this case, Madseu're might best spend the coin, and be done with it, be rid of the thing, and exchange it for something he could use.

On the other hand, he thought, what reason had he to doubt the word of a man who had already done so much for the mass of humanity who clung to life now only due to his actions? Surely a man of such noble actions would stand by his word; no act of his gave precedent for one to doubt his promises. When his closest confidants, assistants, and crewmen trusted him so fully, how could anyone else fail to believe when he said he would return that his return was a certainty?

Madseu're recalled how at the conclusion of the Big L's farewell address last night, one of those sitting by his side rose and with tearful protest begged him to stay:

"I plead with you, sir, as in the Scriptures, Starbuck, the disciple of Ahab, did beg his lord: 'Oh, my captain, my captain!- noble heart- go not- go not!- see, it's a brave man that weeps; how great the agony of the persuasion then!'"

The Big L had but to place a hand on his shoulder and look him in the eyes to reassure the man that his departure was not forever. From where he sat, Madseu're had seen the look of assurance in the man's eyes as he returned to his seat, and even now, he realized that he knew the Big L would be back again someday; he was certain of it. So the question then was how best to keep this gift until that awaited return.

Madseu're had never known the Big L intimately; he knew him more as an icon, an idea, and never as a person- a touchstone, a symbol, but as an individual, he was an enigma to Madseu're. What kind of man was the Big L? Who was he, really? Yes, his actions had made him a hero, a legend even, but what motivated those acts of nobility? Was his soul a noble one? Were his actions motivated from a noble heart? Surely no man could be as good as the Big L appeared. Madseu're decided that before he did anything with the coin he would have to find out more about the man called the Big L.

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