Never make a threat you don’t intend to carry out.
It had been too long since I’d stood in this dank, dimly lit room, shoulder to shoulder with some of the men and women I trusted most in this war. The briefing had been called by General Angry Fist, one of the most well known men on the battlefield. I looked around at other faces I knew like family: Stoogie, Sasawong, Megan Maynard, and many more.
We were the Fleet Commanders of the Tribal Liberation Force. We were the ones laying out the plans for those pilots that would live and die by our word. We had our directives from Fleet Command, yes, but under the direction of General Fist and General Sasawong, we were given much freedom in how we went about our business.
As it turned out, business had been dire whilst I was away.
- Tararan, lost.
- Arzad, lost.
- Ezzara, lost.
- Kourmonen, lost.
- Lantorn, lost.
The Amarr had advanced their aggressive push much harder during my absence in Evati. Enlistment numbers had declined also, and we were still as of yet unable to capture any enemy systems.
Morale was down. Something needed to be done.
The increase in pirate and mercenary activities within our warzone systems had also been increasing, and with our dwindling discipline, fewer pilots were willing to do anything about that, or much of anything else.
I was updated on the list of known spies within the militia, and was outraged that they were being allowed to continue on, disrupting our initiatives daily. Fleet Command believed the feeding of misinformation was the key to neutralizing their effectiveness. To that, I threw the list of captured systems at General Fist, and asked him with great hostility if he really believed that strategy was effective.
There was also an updated list of trusted allies, just over two hundred names of pilots that could be counted on 100%.
I was starting to feel like I had been gone away too long. So much had changed in only four weeks: systems lost, spies permitted within our ranks, only two hundred trustworthy pilots to fight a war; what the hell had happened to the Republic?
I had left the meeting in a rage, my mind reeling at the latest developments on the Rupublic warfront. The apathy that was present in that room sickened me. It wasn’t that they didn’t want things to change for the better; they had simply given up hoping, accepted that things were what they were.
I would never give up hope.
As I returned to my quarters and sunk heavily into my bunk, I stubbed my toe on that damned stick the strange little man had given me only days before in Evati. I recalled the name of the weapon, a Kandjal, supposedly a traditional weapon from ancient tribal times. I hadn’t had much time since receiving the bizarre gift to really give it any thought, but as I looked at it then and there, it suddenly held a fascination to me. I wish I could’ve explained it, but I felt compelled to hold it, to appreciate its workmanship and heritage. I wanted to know more about it.
I looked around my room for the tutorial vids that had accompanied the gift, and spent the next several hours learning the basics of the Kandjal; its history, how to care for it, what it symbolized, how to use it as a weapon.
I was hungry for more. I felt like a man born in the wrong era. Back then, the Matari knew what the lines were, what was black and white, and if anything crossed those lines, they were dealt with harshly, and severely. This generation needed more people like that. This generation needed to define their lines and not let them be crossed at any price.
This generation needed hope.
I looked down again at the Kandjal, noticing my knuckles had turned white, my grip so intense on the shaft of it. I relaxed my hands, putting the weapon away with care.
Sometimes, to embrace our future, we must embrace our past.