Our FB page noted an odd, apt coincidence: this page originally went up on Memorial Day.

I think most readers understood that Penk is kinda bullshitting here. He’s not wrong about the idea of leaving some forces behind to watch over the settlement, and he’s definitely not wrong about the mountains being difficult terrain for Hammerhead…but both those factors are insignificant next to the fact that he can’t trust Hammerhead. Like, at all.

Penk can’t even be sure Hammerhead wouldn’t try to eat him or Magda on the way to the mountains, just as revenge for the indignity of being imprisoned. Such pettiness seems a bit beneath Hammerhead, but not impossible. Harky would probably understand this concern, but that’s only half the issue. The rest of it is that Hammerhead agrees with Harky that all Peacemakers should be killed immediately, and Penk doesn’t. Penk at least wants the chance to explore other options, and he knows Hammerhead would not allow that to happen.

So I guess that’s two visions of the future Madam Arfa has had in the last few hours. Harky and/or Gondolessa may suspect Penk’s real reasons for leaving Hammerhead behind, but she knows. And therefore she knows what kind of leader he’s becoming, and what that likely means for the Rebellion’s next phase. Her eyes widen in surprise at what she sees in him, and she’s still weighed down by her dream and her people’s sorrows, so she doesn’t smile. But she likes this spark in Penk and tries to kindle it further. She has now told the story of Karmakat to both Harky and Penk, but the same story offers different lessons to different people.