“Yes,” Maya said. “But, why?”

It was a simple question, and one she’d asked him a million times in the past fifteen years.

“Such a simple question,” he started, tapping the computer he held in his hands. “With such a complex answer.”

“I would hope so,” she said, looking uneasily at the various disturbing images flashing across the wall.

“Our societies have been at each other’s throats since there have been societies,” her father said, changing the images on the wall to something less sensational.

“I was watching that!” she protested.

“I thought you wanted to know why, my dear. The news can only tell you what.”

She paused, smiled slightly, then turned back to face her father.

“I’m sorry, Pops,” she said. “Since the dawn of humanity…?”

“Yes,” he continued, tapping again on the pad in his lap, “humans are a contentious lot. It’s in our nature. We have some of the biggest brains on the planet, but half of it seems to be full of–”


“Maya!” he exclaimed, suppressing a grin. “I was going to say extra parts.”

“Extra parts, hmm?” Maya said, cocking her eyebrow.

“Yes,” he said, pretending not to follow, “and those parts are the leftovers of our ancient heritage. They’re as much a part of us as we are of them, and we can’t simply remove them because they’re problematic.”

“Why not?”

“Well,” he started, thinking a moment. “Do you remember hearing about people performing lobotomies?”

“Yes,” she said with a slight sneer. “That was when they gave people brain damage in order to cure it.”

“Right. But aside from it being barbaric, it was an impossible task. The brain is composed of many distinct parts, but it’s still a single organ. You can’t damage one part without seriously affecting the rest of it.”

“I see,” Maya said. After a moment she said, “But, why this? Why these two nations?”

“War is a funny thing, Maya,” her father said. “It’s hard to say for certain. A lot of things led us to this point.”

“Like what?”

“For one, life had to evolve,” he said with a nod.

“Dad!” she exclaimed, backhanding his arm.

“What?” he asked through an incredulous smirk. “It’s true.”

“I’m talking about India and Pakistan, dad. What does evolution have to do with that?”

“Maya,” he said, lowering the computer to his lap and giving her that slight tilt of the head that unconsciously reassured her. “If you really want to understand why this is happening, you have to go that far back. That’s where it all began.”

“I know how evolution happened, Dad. I have been to school, remember?”

“You wanted to know why, right?”

“Well, yeah.”

“Then hush up and let your padre tell you why,” he said as he started drawing his fingers across the screen.