A Letter from Mike, Part II

STEC Archives, Print Document Division
Curator signature: Jer
Format: Message, Personal Object
Object: Collection, Personal Correspondences of New Jersey
Location (if known): STEC Archives
Time (if known): Undated

Curator’s note: While I was one of Admiral Yin’s supporters that resulted in his promotion, looking back, I think I can appreciate why he’s the person STEC needed for the task at hand.

Dear Jer,

Thank you.  

Looking back to all the things we’ve accomplished together, thank you. 

I’ll do my best.

No exclamation point, because I honestly didn’t know what I was going to write. What do I say to Jer, who can read my mind (figuratively and literally) at a moment’s notice? What should I tell her on this “momentous occasion,” where the garden she’s carefully cultivated over the years have begun to yield fruit?

Then I thought to myself, I owe it to everyone – myself and her – to write something. When you brought Narwhal and I onboard that day, one thing you mentioned off-hand was that in the end, it is “we” who will get the mission done. That theme of personal responsibility, personal effort, personal excellence, where it’s up to each one of us to do our utmost…

That’s the first and arguably the most important thing you’ve shown us. How you, too, are constantly seeking responsibility and betterment. I daresay that most if not all of us see what you do and admire you for it. The rest of us, well, we want to do our part to do what we can for you.

Responsibility, as you yourself said, is a very difficult concept to absorb. You once told me in private that you are reluctant to share, not because that you are prideful or power-hungry, but rather that you fear human nature. Whatever part of you that may distrust I or anyone else sharing it, doing a job up to par, whatever it may be, is far, far, far small than your own fear about you yourself shirking responsibility. 

I confess, not even five minutes on the job, and I can already hear its siren call. Just before I wrote this I received an enormous packet (which I’m sure you’ve already memorized by now), and the first thing that crossed my mind was that: oh dear, maybe Jer can take care of this.

Then, as fast as that thought appeared, the second thought popped up. Ugh, with all that Jer has to do, I’d rather not her chew through this. Let me take care of it instead.

(Of course as we know, we’ll both go over it in detail. In that way, we honor the station of our responsibilities, and honor the work of our subordinates. Man, see, half of this stuff is quotable enough to be autobiography ready…)

It’s funny, right? My initial motivation was thinking that I can take some of the burden off your shoulders. You warned me that it’s not as easy as I think it’ll be – and you’re right. 

I can’t.

Responsibility is responsibility. It’s something that belongs to each person on an individual to individual basis. No amount of work I do can take away the portion that you’re meant to do, just as you yourself told me on many, many, many occasions that you are here with me to help me in whichever way you can, but you believe that I am the one that can do the job.

Remember that corny joke you made all those years ago? You can’t carry my burdens for me, but you sure can carry me – if I needed it.

The thought of it brings a smile to my face. Not only because it’s true, but also that I am growing into someone that Jer and the other girls can count on to help shoulder the burden. 

Now, maybe, if Jer can’t carry her burdens any longer, I can carry her.

The feeling’s mutual. Maybe some day after when the Abyssals are gone for good, someone’ll dig these letters out and write a book or something about ’em. 

For now, we’ve got a job to do. There’s a long path ahead of us, so I’m glad to have you by my side. I feel really glad, really honored, and really safe. Above all else, I’m hopeful for our future. 

Thank you.