The Significance of Zero
Whether a civilization’s mathematical principles allow for a concept like zero–a numeral or symbol which in itself describes the something that is nothingness–serves as a scientific benchmark for said concerned civilization’s technological aptitude.
This, of course, would not have been something Ambassador Emis Semtur would have been taught in his position. By all means standard insofar as Ambassadors go, Semtur was outclassed in almost every aspect by one or more of his peers: Crulles and Damietta were both more resolute than he. Koen, Laghban, and Saghoen were stronger and faster, and all six other Ambassadors were smarter. Emis Semtur had only his diligence, and not much else, going for him. Or so he thought.
His recovery from the brutality of the 121-1 Riots was swift, but never would be total. He walked with a slight limp, and every so often his vision would warp slightly as the muscles around his gouged, barely functional right eye would fatigue or spasm.
His time spent recovering meant he would not see Ielis in her final moments. Perhaps it was for the better. When the day came to pass that Ielis no longer existed, all six of his fellow Ambassadors would come to his home, wish him well, and declare unanimously their intent to nominate him as the next Ambassador Premiere before the Executive Forum.
Emis was floored, to be sure, and tried his best to decline fervently. But the insistence was more than enthusiastic or polite. There was desperation behind the words that put him on a pedestal. They weren’t asking, though their words were mild and tempered.
They were begging.
They saw what Semtur didn’t. They’d been taught as one of Ielis Raghn’s last parables the Significance of Zero.
If Semtur was Zero, then his significance would be what he would bestow on society, not what history or birthright bestow on him.
After all, Zero is only significant with a system to work in. And even if Semtur didn’t know yet his own resolve, the six Ambassadors walking out his door prayed that he did. Coghan would need it.