The Woman on Mars


The first time Riana met with Helga, probably on the morning of August 23rd, 2011, the day she left Purcellville to return to Seattle, she was vastly relieved that Helga had arrived, and she felt after the meeting that somehow, they would hold the organization together and continue to fight.

Riana knew that the real motor of the organization, the power that kept the thing moving, was, in reality, the boomer phone teams, who raised all the money. Riana had joined because of the ideas, but without money, there was no food, no housing, no healthcare, no Basement, no Purcellville operation. Without money, however dirty a word that might be, there would quickly be no organization. And Riana was frightened by how little it seemed that other "youth" members seemed to recognize that. Riana also knew that she did not want to be on a phone team, and if anyone were really honest, he or she didn't either. No amount of talking could make that reality disappear.

Riana had long been deeply disturbed by how the phone teams were treated, both by Lyn and by the NCs. Bashing on the boomer generation seemed no solution to her, though she only began to become more vocal about this after her experience with the tweener deployment in 2006. And Riana would never openly criticize Lyn. She could always rationalize his behavior in her mind, at least after an initial adverse reaction. But the problem nagged at her constantly.

So when she met with Helga, the two seemed to be perfectly in accord. They wanted to save the organization. They thought it was long overdue for the "former youth" to take up more responsibility for the fund raising. And they both thought Lyn went far too far in bashing on the "Boomer phone teams".

What they did not discuss that morning, was the other side of the issue. Riana refused to give up the "intellectual work." She believed everyone should participate in it. She was deeply disturbed by what she perceived as a class structure in the organization, where the privileged few, which she admittedly felt included herself, could do, and had access to, wonderful things, while the rest, the troglodytes, hardly had time to do their laundry without feeling guilty for abandoning their post. But her deep abhorrence of this dichotomy did not convince her that she should sacrifice herself on the altar of the "mission." Just the opposite. She felt that the mission demanded that everyone participate in the culture that the movement claimed it was creating, that everyone understand their contribution to the civilization they so adamantly wished to save. Not just through the medium of the organization, but directly.

The idea that the youth locals should report their income on PGM was Riana's idea. She had gotten Bruce to set it up, partially so Seattle could keep track of how they were doing week-to-week, since they had set a goal for themselves, independently of any outside directive, and partially so other locals might see that they could do both: raise money and do intellectual work. 46

Initially, no one really seemed to care about the extra function on PGM, and Seattle was the only local to utilize it. But in the period under discussion, it became a constant monitor of LYM activity, with Bruce sending PGM income reports two or more times a day.

In the face of the major shift in the "youth" organization, aspects of which Riana had long been a proponent of, and aspects of which gave her grave concern, and under the strain of listen ing to more and more NEC meetings where it seemed that Lyn disagreed with Helga's stated objectives, Riana thought she should get back to Purcellville as soon as she was able. Because of a number of discussions she had had with Bruce and Barbara in the months of November and December, through the "Christmas Mobilization," she feared that there was a coup underway, in the face of Lyn's unstable condition, to take the movement back to the organization of the 1970's period, and she and Todd decided that it would be good for her to get back to "The Center," where she had important ideas to contribute, particularly in light of her medical condition, which made her feel that she could contribute little to the local's new, "financially potent," orientation.

Riana returned to Purcellville on January 14th, 2012 as part of a project she organized to revamp the Harmony website with Megan Beets. Riana also organized to have Travis Johnson stay to work with them after a night shift security rotation with Megan, because of his familiarity with the Harmony material and his computer skills. Todd returned to Purcellville Friday, January 20th, 2012,ostensibly to meet with Helga about the financial situation and the $30,000 mobilization in the locals, but also to converse with Sky to create a better plan about how they would, actually, save the organization.

Because Helga was an "expert" on Nicholas of Cusa, and because Lyn had been emphasizing the connection between Cusa and Johannes Kepler, with even more zeal than usual, Riana had arranged a meeting among Helga, Megan, and herself, ostensibly about their Kepler project, but Riana knew, and told Megan, that they must begin by talking to Helga about the fundraising and the perspective from the locals, or they would get nothing about Cusa that day. 47

And they never did get anything about Cusa that day. Instead, what Riana got was an eerie feeling that Helga was operating on a completely different level from herself and that there would be no use in trying to collaborate with her on trying to save the organization.


46 Lyn, by the way, never fully endorsed Seattle's initial thrust to raise money, at one time explicitly saying they were "blocked" for doing so. Todd reported to Helga, when he met with her September 10, 2011, that Lyn said that Seattle worried too much about money. In reply she said that this smelled like "operations" she had experienced before. In this case she said that LYM from the Basement or Purcellville probably wanted to sabotage the Seattle income drive out of fear and anger that their privileged positions could be jeopardized.
47 As they sat down for the meeting in the living room at Windy Hill, Holly, the $2000 Havanese puppy that Helga had recently "purchased for Lyn" ran up to them. Megan and Riana tried to play with it, and the dog took a liking to Megan, biting her hands and growling affectionately. Megan began an attempt to push the dog away. Helga moved forward in her seat, almost yelling, "No Stop!"
Megan was shocked, as was Riana. They both thought Helga had been giving commands to the rambunctious puppy, but it was suddenly clear that Helga had been commanding Megan, not the dog, to 'stop," because "her bones are very soft, you can not play with her so rough."

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