Part 37: Look What You Almost Made Me Do
Missile impacts throughout the shipyards, captain. Im reading massive detonations! Your orders, captain!?
It is over, captain. The Alliance fleet is lost. Your ship will be seized and the princess returned to Arcadius. As for you, you will stand trial for your crimes against the people. Cosmos tells me you were responsible for quite a number of civilian deaths on Ongess.
So the great Grey of the Emerald Fleet finally speaks. Have you come to discuss terms of surrender?
You little punk. You think youve won here today? You're still naive.
I've just ordered every Alliance ship to arm their nuclear torpedoes and target Ongess. These are my terms: tell your little pirate friend to turn around and scurry back to the rat hole she crawled out of. And you take your ships back to New Eden and shore up your defenses. You'll need them. And if you dont I'll drop enough nukes on Ongess to make it glow brighter than the sun for the next millennia.
You cannot be serious, admiral. A man of the Alliance would not murder 40 million civilians!
Try me, boy.
You have until the count of three to begin withdrawing your forces. One.
DON'T LISTEN TO HIM! He's too much of a coward to fire!
FONTANA! All their ships are gathered here! We'll never get another chance like this! We can end them all in just fifteen more seconds!
We'll all die if it means the end of the Alliance! INDEPENDENCE OR DEATH! Just give us ten more seconds! We can do this!
Admiral, you cant !
A victory at the cost of Ongess is no victory at all. We have hurt the Combined Fleet enough.
Well never get another opportunity like this!
Enough, Cosmos. If you care for the plight of your people at all, you will order your ships to retreat.
AARGGHHH!!! Fuck you Fontana! As for you, captain, you'll regret ever throwing your lots with the Alliance!
Just you wait ... You think you're winning this war, but the Alliance will stick a knife in your back one day! And then -- and only then -- youll realize what you've done today! All units! Break off and warp away to the fall back point!
The enemy fleets are falling back!
Stand down from battle stations. Have our ryders begin assisting with search and rescue. Do you have an initial damage estimate?
That's nearly 30 percent of our entire fleet.
This attack was grave. But we avoided the worst of it. I will regroup our forces. More reinforcements are due from the core worlds soon. Fear not captain. With this crisis averted, we will be able to push further into the PACT occupied territory as planned. I believe Cera is not that far away now, is it?
No, its not far.
Well then, we best get to work.
What's the response?
Virtually every Progress Party-affiliated news source is calling it a massacre. While each news source varies greatly in the details, 300 to 1500 civilian deaths are commonly being reported. In the latest opinion poll published by All Alliance News, Admiral Grey lost 4 points. Hes now down three points to Progress candidate Frandall. The Progress Party also introduced a new bill in the Solar Congress calling for the withdrawal of all Alliance ships from Ongess. While it is not expected to pass while Alythe is a lame duck president, party leaders have vowed to mount legal challenges in the Solar Court if Grey is elected to the presidency.
Are you feeling alright, captain?
You suppose Cosette's right?
I saw a man nearly glass an entire planet yesterday. We can call ourselves the heroes all we want. We can argue we didn't start this war and that PACT was the aggressor. But after today, I cant help but think that we're hardly any better than Arcadius.
Captain, threatening to use force and the use of force are two very different things. A threat coupled with the ability to carry the threat out is merely a diplomatic tool. Every civilized government in the galaxy recognizes such threats as an acceptable use of diplomacy to achieve policy without bloodshed. Only the actual use of force is regulated by galactic law. Words are not.
A very fine distinction, Ava. But history shows humanity will never appreciate the line between the two. Or else the Holy Ryuvian Empire would never have destroyed itself and cast the galaxy into a dark age.
Neither we nor the Alliance asked for this war.
What else will we be forced to do? And where will we draw the line?
This is war. It's either them or us.
That will be all, commander.
And later still
What do you mean, captain?
He outmaneuvered me. Fontana ... He is a better commander than anyone we've encountered so far. He predicted every one of my moves before the battle began. We got lucky this time ... But what will happen next time?
Next time, you'll be ready. He had the benefit of surprise this time. He won't ever be able to do that again.
Why does war turn good people into monsters? Fontana ... by all accounts he's an honorable man. And Grey is no mass murderer either. And yet ... when the lives of those around us are in danger, we must make decisions which we would ordinarily never make. Decisions to murder millions. Decisions to ignore atrocities. Decisions to condemn innocents to death.
That's what separates leaders from followers, captain. Whatever you decide, I know it will be for the greater good.
Heh, I'm sorry to disappoint.
You never disappoint. No matter what happens, I'll always be here for you.
Thanks, Chigara. This will be over soon. Once Cera is free once more, we'll put our weapons down. Then maybe we'll finally be able to start that bakery of yours.
Eh-heh ... You're making me blush captain
Next time: Whats Past is Prologue