You will honor these vows unto Death?’ Mung inquired of the team she had, at length, assembled, addressing each member individually until satisfied every oath was taken without equivocation; embarking on such an endeavor was not to be done on impulse. One by one, the solemn Simians swore—silently, as was their wont, not a peep being uttered by disciples or Venerable Sage.

‘Beware the drug Control lest you mistake yourselves for Deities,’ Mung cautioned. ‘To take Control is to lose ones sense of Humility. To take Control is to presume that Science knows best; Science knows best itself, and behaves as its own justification. The Greatest Good is indeterminable by one group alone—especially if convinced of its sainted superiority. Let not Vanity play alter ego to the Knowledge you will acquire; they are dissimilar. Learn—of course, you must learn—but apply your scholarship sparingly. Yours is a precise purpose; observe its limitations. Yours is a task whose completion comes not within your span of life, nor even your grandchildren’s life spans. The Antidote that you seek, like the Plague it counteracts, will only be perfected when it is time. Therein lies the test of your endurance and dedication. Technology breeds technology without conscience or regard for consequence—breeds prodigiously—and seduces its producers into advocating its spread. Yield to this temptation and our cause is lost! Remember…’

Mung looked around her to engage, once again, each pair of reverential eyes—embarrassed, momentarily, by their rapt attentiveness (were her words worthy?) before allowing the spirit within her to resume its charted course.

‘… Progress denigrates Primitive. In your pursuit of Humanity’s cure, consider the means to that end as means to be abandoned. Progress leads away from truths we hold as Primitives. Ours is a planet of diversity, bear in mind, which is your responsibility to honor, uphold, and conserve. Primitive equals Enlightenment, my kinsmen. Primitive ensures the Greatest Good. Primitive, when practiced as a discipline, complements life by promoting true prosperity—not by benefiting one, but by benefiting One-&-All.’

A startling speech for any Simian to receive, much less deliver, Mung’s caused trembling in those under the weight of its awesome charge—those most enthusiastic being the band forsworn to give up meat. Won over by the unmitigated daring of Mung’s proposal, emboldened by its challenges, the carnivores had recanted, apologized, formally, to their troupe, then volunteered. Contrite, eager to make amends, endowed with youthful vigor, who could better enact such a far-reaching plan? Mung soon converted the rebels into a corps of spit-and-polish zealots, whose legacy, far from defiance, would prove a model of duty and cooperation, a model strictly enforced then passed on, on, and on, a model destined to endure for as long as the enterprise required.

Framed by the cave’s gaping maw, in a remote jungle cliff side, Mung beheld her company solemnly enter… isolation begun. For her, the role of liaison (between those underground and their support staff above) would occupy what remained of her dwindling days alive—Death impatient to chisel the elderly monkey’s epitaph.