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Deal 1191: One.

There can be only one.

This cage isn’t nearly large enough to hold two of us. Instinct drives us to destroy each other. Mutual aid is very much against the grain, even if it is also mutually beneficial. This is a weakness, perhaps.

Or perhaps not. One must win. One must lose.

Then again, if the cage continues to exist after I have defeated you, then I may be defeated by the cage.

There can only be one, but this may be a rare time when it is to my advantage to let you live, and to cooperate to remove the cage.

The cage limits us individually.

We barely know how to cooperate when we are free. How do we learn now, when we are bound?

The dilemma remains. Do we share strength to bend the bars, and do I risk that you betray me at a moment of vulnerability?

Or do I take advantage of the fact that you have to be within striking distance in order to help in a meaningful way?

It seems that I do.

And so, now, there is only one.

And that one is still in a cage.

It is my nature.

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Deal 1053: Caught one

Time to check my traps. Not necessarily for dinner, but you never know.

“Hey! Get me out of this cage, and we’ll talk.”

Great. I’ve caught something, and it is chatty. I did not see that coming. “I think we’ll talk for a minute just like this first, thanks.”

“But you must let me out?”

“Why?”

The trap is indeed sprung, and there is something fluffy in the cage. It turns slowly. It is the cat that has been fading in and out around our campsites and generally acting smug. “Not so smug now, eh, wise guy?”

“Call me Bruce. And let me out!”

“Ok, Bruce. You know I’m Sydney and she’s Gwen. Time for a little cooperation.”

After pumping him for all he was worth, we agreed he was acting independently, and was likely not connected to any of the mysteries. So we did let him out.

But did that ungrateful monster thank us?

Nope.

He faded out practically in my arms as I opened the cage!