I’m a little impressed that you’ll grant us an “equally.”
I don’t see you as “evil,” Else. I don’t believe in such a thing to begin with. I also understand why you think it’s necessary, even if I can’t agree with your reading.
Only … with LUMEN, I’m kind of involved on the other side of what you do. Usually I’m up in space, so I don’t have to deal too much with what’s going on on the ground. (I’m not Ali. Even a mid-sized force has specialists and dedicated officers that do everything I can do on a battlefield, better.)
I know people down below, though, including one or two I’m really close to. I hear the reports, I see the images. It’s not like I’m blind to what goes on.
And it’s not like once things get going it’s all or nothing for the rebels and everyone near them, everywhere in the Empire, you know? … Kahah was Khanid space, but Thebeka wasn’t. People who surrendered … there was no reason to harm them.
It should have been short-- a deathglow fever dream, a few riots and skirmishes, then quiet and reconstruction. Only someone decided to pile fuel on the fire. And so, it was horrible.
… really horrible.
If the deathglow attacks had continued at a rapid pace maybe you could have built momentum and brought about your lovely large-scale revolt. Maybe there’d soon have been too many rebellions to supply.
But they didn’t. Whatever the perpetrators have in mind, it’s different from your goals, or maybe they just ran out of deathglow. Either way, the fire lost momentum and burned out … but not before consuming an awful lot of “fuel.”
Mostly people whose lives, it seems like, should be dear to you.
LUMEN’s mission is often mercy, to one degree or another: search and rescue (I’m doing that literally right now, sweeping what’s left of Mr. Nauplius’s archaeological hobby project for survivors), looking after sick and wounded, that kind of thing. That’s what we did on the ground at Thebeka.
The wounds I see, it’s hard not to look for a cause: Why did this happen?
Usually, because of who we usually wind up cleaning up after, the answer is, “Nauplius.” (No new survivors the last two days, by the way.)
At Thebeka, the answer started out with Blood Raiders and deathglow, but as the fighting got more intense instead of less, it soon became, “Electus Matari. Elsebeth Rhiannon.” Lord Avarr was down there treating wounds you caused. And it’s not like the ones who suffered most were the ones who deserved it, even by your own standards.
I don’t regard you as evil, and I even understand where you’re coming from and why. But I can’t forgive you at all. Not at all.
In the end, LUMEN is about peace, and the spread of peace. You? … You’re proudly about war, and the spread of war. And no, I don’t see war as inevitable, or the injustice as unbearable. Your own ancestors bore it, after all. They stood down their fleets and armies and built a society. Was it really only to prepare for a bigger, better war?
If there’s one conviction the past years have left me with, it is this: that those who pray for war deserve to receive what they pray for, that they deserve to experience every misery they’d see inflicted for their cause.
There is no justice in this world, but if there were, you would have to face, yourself, the cost of what you desire.
That’s unlikely. But it’s how I feel, and I don’t care whether the universe agrees-- whether you’re “evil” or not. You have your reasons, but I have mine.
You who pray for misery, may you receive it.