"Considering that you somehow figured out when I come down here, I'm guessing this isn't something you can learn from your, um, usual methods."
"You're right. It's about a series of video conferences you've been instigating from your father's townhouse."
It took her a few sips to processes the implications. The melange of uncomfortable thoughts abruptly coalesced into a mental image of high-contrast footprints on the beach, and she made a mental note to use cash more often. "Why those? I'd have thought you'd be more interested in my dad's doings than mine. What do they have you looking for, anyway?"
Kelly looked a question at him.
"Possible terror cells. People with overseas contacts."
She peered at him. "Overseas... Oh, I get it. You picked up on the ping fa."
"Ping fa. Peacefare. Those conferences are an exercise in guerilla peacefare."
Kelly sat back. She looked first at Craig, and then at Melissa. "I think you'd better explain. What's peacefare, the opposite of warfare?"
"In a way. Look, everyone knows what warfare looks like. Schools teach history by recounting wars, and glorifying the generals whose armies fought in them. They not only name the wars, they even name the battles. People go to extremes to recreate the darn things with historical accuracy. Businesses not only get rich from the wars themselves, but from selling things about wars. Think of all the books, movies, games, toys, and songs about war. Heck, there are whole colleges devoted to teaching war."
"But not for peace?"
"Exactly. I mean, think about it. What does peace look like? Do they have names? Sure, there are anti-war songs, pacifist books and movies, but it's all really about the absence of war, not the presence of peace. There was this guy named Benjamin Whorf who said that if you don't have words for something, you can't think or talk about it. And we seem to have this gaping hole in our cultural vocabulary. So anyway, one day a few months ago, Derek challenged me to do something about it, to show him what peacefare looks like."
"And your answer," Craig asked, "was a series of video conferences? I don't see the connection."
"This may sound trite, but our line of reasoning started with the aphorism, 'the pen is mightier than the sword'. It struck us that if the sword is emblematic of the tools of war, then the pen ought to represent the tools of peace."
"What kind of analyst are you?" Kelly asked him. "Communication. The pen is symbolic of all forms of communication." She looked at Melissa. "Isn't it?"