Friday, November 29, 2013

From the Writings of Chairwoman Ameena Miran of the Liberated Worlds, 3198AD

Flag of the Liberated Worlds
(In-setting text, written from the perspective of the charismatic and highly popular ruler of the Liberated Worlds, a polity in my Stars Without Number setting, Alkonost Sector).

"I can already hear you, my future critics, sharpening your pens, growing fat in your soft couches of whatever comfortable future you will live in, pouring out tons of bleeding-heart arguments against my work, against my dream, against what I had to do.

But I do not live in that hypothetical prosperous, peaceful future; I live here, in the thirty-second century by the outdated Terran calendar. Imagine yourself for one, my future critics, in these times, in my place.

Have you ever been forced to choose to which cryo-compartment to divert the remaining power of a failing starship, knowing that whatever you do, half of the cryo-passengers would die, and all you could do is choose who lives, and who dies?

Have you ever found yourself ordering your ships to fire on a fleet of large civilian transports carrying refugees from Sicarii, knowing that if you will spare the refugees, you will most likely be infiltrated the deadly AI Core hiding in the transports' computers?

Have you ever faced, as an administrator, a massive, world-wide food shortage? Have you ever faced hoarding, speculation and black-marketeering of the few remaining food supplies, knowing that these hoarders, speculators and black-market men are profiting over the very lifeblood of untold masses? Could you imagine yourself sticking to the usual, long-drawn democratic procedure of investigation and trial of these criminals when the masses starve? I used force; I used what you'd call Draconian methods. But the speculators were dead in short order, and the masses were fed.

Have you ever faced the pressing and urgent military need to eliminate the command centre for one of your bitter enemies when the only thing you had in your disposal was a small raiding force only capable of a single hit-and-run attack, alongside with some foreign support? I used nuclear weapons against  the world of Sicarii, a planet which also had a large civilian population. But otherwise the Machines would have done worse things to my people.

How do you think it feels to fight all your life for the right of the masses to freely elect their leaders, and then suspend the elections because you are fighting a desperate war on at least two fronts, are facing shortages of almost every possible crucial resource, and know for certain that traitors and spies lurk beneath every stone in your territory, and thus your polity simply doesn't have the time and resources for the complex process of world-wide elections?

How do you think it feels to lie in your bed at 5:00 AM local time, after a sleepless night, scared of what the next day will bring, scared of what you will have to do, and then get up because you know that there are so many things that have to be done?

I have killed people. I have used what you can call tyrannical methods. So much blood is on my hands. But the most important thing, my motherworld of Laana, survives as a single flame of hope against the night of decay and barbarism. I did what I did because there was no other choice. The people have voted me into the office of Chairwoman, they have entrusted me with the task of coordinating their fight for survival against the forces of the encroaching night. But I had so little time, so few resources, to do the job with which I have been entrusted. I had no other choice.

Why don't you leave me alone to roll over in my grave in my eternal agony over my own choices, and go instead to investigate the leaders of the late Terran Mandate? Why don't you point your sharpened pens of scholarly criticism at those leaders who had almost unimaginable power at their hands, who ruled over so many sectors of space, who lived in a well-fed era of peace, who had all the potential to peacefully and gently solve the problems of their time, yet trusted their future in machines rather than in people? And for what? To die among the burning ruins of their Imperium?

In 3190, the Assembly tried to put a motion to build statues of me and place them in every major city of Laana and the newly-liberated Sicarii. I used my power of veto to prevent this stupidity from being carried out. As long as the Liberated Worlds exist, it is a living monument for me and for my work, making any statute utterly unnecessary. If the Liberated Worlds will fall, what use would be shattered statutes of a woman who's dreams were all shattered?

When I die, bury me in the radioactive mass-graves of Sicarii along with my victims; do not build any mausoleum or monument for me; do not attempt to preserve my body after my death. Remember me by carrying on my work, by ensuring the survival of the Liberated Worlds, by spreading the light our Liberation further into the night.

And, to all of you who will end up leading your people, know that such leadership will bring you to betray the things you hold most dear, but also know that if you truly belief in these things you will have to take the position of leadership. I only hope for you that in your time the material conditions will allow you to betray your ideals less, to use more truly democratic methods to push your dream forward.

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