Op-Ed

Take it or leave it.

  • By: Fumika Sagisawa
    • 2159年8月5日

With rumors of Shogunal involvement with the Edean Resistance against the United Earth Government building I decided to spend some time interviewing Edean ex-patriots living on Aquila and on the Shogunates Acculturation center on the fringe of Aquila space. The common theme was generally positive albeit muted as many I spoke with are second or third generation Aquilan, or in some cases Okami citizens. They have no memory of their ancestral homeworld and are content with the lives they are now living and the adopted home in which they live them. Some however, mainly the younger crowd, the student for example, eager to glom onto a cause larger then themselves are more strident in their views.

Of the younger crowd two main camps exist, the larger and by way of comparison more realistic group has no love for the UEG, is appreciative of the Shogunate and Aquila for their assistance, and would like to return to Edea, even though none have set foot there. To them Edea is a lost world that they are eager to reclaim and for them to make their mark upon. The other camp, far smaller in number and generally shunned by their more pragmatic fellows likewise harbor no love for the UEG and the desire to return to Edea. Where they differ from their compatriots is their view towards the Shogunate and Aquila.

They believe that Aquila, and the Shogunate, purposefully allowed the UEG to occupy their homeworld out of an unwillingness to get ‘their hands dirty’ and the ‘keep the Edean people in economic and social bondage’. What utter rot. It is no wonder their fellows rightfully shun this shortsighted victim attitude and those who hold it. Even a simple net search of history would reveal the tragic yet unmistakable truth.
The UEG push a century ago, quite by design, took Aquila by surprise. Not so much the event, which was predicted as inevitable based on politics of the day, but the timing. Aquila simply believed they had more time. The accelerated invasion plans of the UEG achieved their intended goal which was to annex Edea before neighboring powers were in a position to resist. The secondary goal of paralysis of movement was also successful, in that the Aquilan defense forces, key word ‘defense’, were held in place to protect Aquila.

However, this ignored the fact that Aquilan and Shogunal shipping were in the area of Edea during its fall and were able to assist in what manner they could. Transport ships carried fleeing refugees to safety, while escorts harassed the UEG advance pickets and roving patrols and provided what defense they could to escaping Edean ships. The Shogunate, further away to Edea, by some 3000 light years, was in no position logistically or geographically, to deter the Edean invasion in any meaningful fashion. Aquilan and Shogunal detractors should be mindful of this fact as most level headed thinkers are. History tells us that once notified of the fall of Edea and the impeding invasion of Aquila, that the Shogunate did indeed instruct her warships in the Sol Sector to remain in Aquila orbit while sending all but her home guard to reinforce them. They likewise opened up the Dai Torii to foreign warships for the first, and only time, to allow what ships the Sentinels Confederation were willing to send to cross the void. It was this combined fleet that fought the UEG to a standstill and then threw the UEG back in the Battle of Aquila.

In one of my interviews I had the pleasure of speaking with Narendra Chen, an elderly man who was only a child when his family were evacuated by Shogunal ships from Tai Shan, one of one of the terrestrial moons of Edea. His story is one all but forgotten and one I feel needs to be told. He recalls that his parents took him to the town meeting place because important news was to be passed along. We know now that the UEG had blanketed the area with heavy jamming, so many of the lunar settlements only learned their system was under assault when UEG ships appeared overhead. Records show that the news Narendra’s family was to receive was borne by the Shogunal destroyer Amagi, detached from the Joosten Maru Red Seal flotilla.

The town was told of the invasion, and the Amagi extended the Joostan Maru’s offer to evacuate the settlements population of 4,382 members on its way out of the system. It would only take 10 hours to bring the townsfolk up from the surface using the Joostan’s escorts and small craft. Narendra recounts that the news was greeted with disbelief, denial, fear, and panic. “As a young child, to hear these things, and to see in my parents and my neighbors eyes and hear in their voices these powerful emotions was overwhelming. I recall my mother in disbelief and my father silent, in fear or shock I do not know.”

“The magistrate calmed the crowd and I remember the Okami standing there in their armor looking stoic amidst the rampant emotion surrounding them.” Narendra recalls. "Voices in opposition to evacuation soon entered the dialogue as in some, anger fueled courage boiled to the surface with calls to resist, to fight the invading UEG for each inch of land. Others joined in, not wanting to leave the only home they’d ever known. Some were not willing to abandon their shops, and possessions, and were resolved to remain, even if under UEG rule. As the townsfolk argued amongst themselves the Okami leader stood forward and asked for silence. I remember what he said because his words were recorded and I heard it later when I was older, and old enough to truly understand. He looked at us, and there was no pity or scorn in his eyes, this I do remember noticing at the time. Then he said. ‘Your system has been invaded, and Edea is as we speak locked in combat with the UEG. Tai Shan too, will soon become a battlefield. This is fact. The Joostan Maru has sent us ahead of her to warn and to prepare you. She will reach Tai Shan in five hours. It will take us ten hours to evacuate all of you as she passes your settlement. She carries over 15,000 evacuees from Edea already. She will slow to take you aboard but she will not stop and she will not wait. This is fact.’ These words caused murmurs naturally, but he had more to say. ‘Please remove from your mind any thoughts of us fighting here. While it would be an honorable and worthy death we have many more lives than yours aboard the vessel we are sworn to protect. It would be dishonorable of us to forsake them, and our duty, to fight here. This is fact. For those of you that wish to remain we understand, to those of you that wish to fight we understand, and we pay homage to your bravery. Your deaths will be honorable. We only ask that in your last hours you take time to record your last thoughts so that they may be preserved for all time for others to remember your heroic passing. To those that wish to be evacuated from this place, you have five hours to gather what belongings can be carried on your back and to reach the clearing to the north of your settlement.’ With that he bowed to us and he and his men left us in stunned silence.”

Narendra’s family was one of the 2,890 that chose to evacuate, and in so doing carried the final thoughts of many that stayed behind. No one knows exactly what happened to those that remained, only time will tell. But Narendra credits the Shogunal soldier’s frank and blunt honesty for convincing so many to take the Shogunate’s offer rather than to leave it.

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