Ying and yang; risk and reward; stake versus winnings; take the rough with the smooth; every dog has his day. It’s not “survival of the fittest” as popular opinion would have it, but “survival of the most able to adapt”. Change is inevitable. How we manage change sets us apart. Predators improve the breed, cull the weak, allow the best to shine.
Danny thought he had failed and, indeed, by any measure that made sense to him and his peers, he had. He was given Sector Nine to defend. Sector Nine was overrun and lost. Sectors Ten and Eight were lost too, as they did not expect to be outflanked from Nine. Two was only held at ruinous cost. If Two had fallen, One would have been under siege and One was the inner sanctum, the nerve centre, the beating heart.
Folk expected Danny to “do the decent thing”, fall on his sword, or at least to stand aside for someone more able or less tainted with defeat. Behind closed doors, Danny abandoned all hope, presented his shame to Wise Gerraint, and awaited his fate. Gerraint was clearly not pleased, but maintained his calm authority.
“Know what you know. Your enemy has declared his hand. He smells a victory which has yet to be won. His strength will be his weakness. I can easily replace you with one identical to you before your defeat, but that is just replacing weakness with weakness. Your weakness will be your new strength. Do not let me down again. Now go.”
Danny was enthused by Gerraint’s faith in him and found himself running back to the front, fired up and thirsty for revenge. Then his step faltered. He was doing what his enemy would expect him to do: that was weakness. Danny’s forces were severely depleted: only tactical perfection could give victory now. He must think this through.
What had Gerraint said: “He smells a victory which has yet to be won.” Could Danny convince the enemy that he had already won, lull him into complacency, then strike the killer blow? The fighting raged on whilst Danny wrestled with his strategy. How did the enemy measure his victory? What would convince his that his goal was attained? Well, when he had possession of Sector One, of course. The other sectors would fall as a matter of course, once he had Sector One. How would he know he had Sector One? The enemy had never been there. If Danny’s forces retreated through Sector Two, then appeared to make a stand at Sector Three, before finally succumbing, might the enemy think he had One instead of Three? Change a few signs in Three; add some of the trappings of Capital; leave some bogus paperwork lying around; and lots of alcohol for the enemy to celebrate. Give them eight hours to get well stewed, then strike with everything he could throw at them.
The risks were huge, but only if Danny had underestimated the enemy’s intelligence or overestimated his arrogance. He knew he had not.