From the personal journal of Perez LeMonde, ensign aboard the SFS Destroyer "Lancaster"
March 14th, 24xx
It's just after 1900 hours. I tried calling Mama and Gran'pere during the weekly open band. They wouldn't accept the call. Again. I shouldn't bother anymore, but I'll keep at it.
I know why they don't want to hear from me. Nobody back home wants to hear from me. The traitor, the deserter, the warmonger, the soldier. That's always the worst. I remember when I first told Mama that I wanted to go into Sol Academy out of secondary. She said it like it was a foul word, not just a slur or a cuss word. Like it left a literal bad taste in her mouth. “You want to be a soldier,” she said, and every syllable just dripped with bitter disgust. She told Gran'pere, and the next day my inheritance was wiped. My name was taken off the will. Cousin Jorge and his wife took me off their Christmas card list. “Nobody wants a murderer in their family,” is what Gran'pere said.
I used to think that way too. That anybody who used a weapon was a murderer, that if you killed you were a monster. There was no way spreading death could be for the Greater Good. I even wanted to open my own way station, just like dad had done. I thought I knew everything about how the world worked. You can break or build, you can laugh or cry. Real simple.
That was before Avalon. Before the Rippers.
Benny was my best friend. His parents had been SolForce, but they were low-level. The kind of shit jobs that only U-Ts get. They had wanted a chance at something new, maybe a chance to get away from war. They shipped out for Avalon with farming equipment, a geo-therm kit and prayers. I got a letter from Benny every two weeks on the open band. “The Boredom of Out-World Life, Day 620.” Benny was always funny. And then...nothing. For a year nothing.
Avalon had been a backwater, wasn't even on the map. Now it's up there with Nova Maria and the Battle of Outback as one of the greatest indignities in human history. We were at war again, and the enemy was monstrous.
The feeds were all over the place, every telescreen in the human universe beaming out stories of the Zuul threat. They'd come to take our homes, our lives, our very souls. They were ruthless and ravenous and wouldn't stop until we were all dead. Nobody was immune, nobody was safe, except for the sacrifice of our brave vac-forces. “Support SolForce, support humanity.” The usual fascist propaganda, Gran'pere would say. The Hiver War was finished and SolForce had to find a new enemy to justify their bloated budget and stranglehold on the Consortia. We all nodded our heads and agreed and that was it. At least, everyone else did.
I had always been good with feed-sneaking. Computers are just kinda my thing. It wasn't too hard to find low-level SF files, not much more than soldiers swapping stories or filing standard reports. (I know I might get in trouble for saying all this, but if the Recruit Office didn't find me out then, it's their own fault.) They talked about the Zuul like they were nightmare monsters. The kinds of things that little kids dream live under the bed, in every dark place of the world. Reaching into your brain and making you see the things you feared most, the worst screaming horrors of your subconscious. This was different than the seething hate you'd hear from the old bug vets. This was terror.
And it wasn't just us. Tarka, Hiver, even the Liir we U-Ts love so damn much were fighting tooth and nail against the Zuul. They were out for all of us, to swallow everything whole. It was universal war. It was different. When you saw a picture of a Zuul rider, even when it was dead, you just...Greatgrand-Mere was an old voodoo lady, from the Amazonian Consortium back on Earth. She was crotchety and crazy, but she knew things. She'd talk about the Sight or the Touch to us little kids, how she said some of us had it and could see things. I'm still not sure if that's true, but when I saw the Zuul even on telescreen I remembered that stuff. It felt like they were looking at you, you. Into you. Looking for something sweet to eat. Deciding how they were going to drag you down to hell.
I couldn't explain it to Gran'pere. To anybody really, but I needed him to understand. After Papa died he was father for me. I thought I couldn't bear his shame, his disapproval. Turns out it was easy. We U-Ts act like we're so much more enlightened than the other churches, but there are still zealots. Gran'pere couldn't envision a world where everybody wasn't a nice fluffy bunny at heart. That there were such things as monsters. That there might be something outside the Greater Good. Something worse than war.
I don't have those delusions anymore. I can't. I've...seen things now. I've seen what's out there in the dark, and I won't let it eat us. Not me, not my family, not my worlds, not anything. I still keep my tertium though, even if I've gotta hide it. Can't let the officers know I'm still a Utilitarian. But I am. I still believe in peace and love and doing no harm...but now I believe there are exceptions.
So I destroy. I break. I cry. I kill.
All for the Greater Good.
Searchers after fiction haunt strange, far places.
3 posts • Page 1 of 1
I've been working for a while now on a vignette series about the Utilitarian Church from the POV of various members during it's history. Today I finished up my first installment, of a SolForce soldier during the Zuul War period of SotS. Others might jump around the time-line, but there will be more forthcoming. Hope everyone enjoys!
Last edited by aidan on Sun Nov 23, 2008 8:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I'll see peace back on Earth if I gotta murder every one of these animals with my bare hands!
"I aim to misbehave."
- Capt. Mal Reynolds
"I aim to misbehave."
- Capt. Mal Reynolds
Very nice indeed.
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