As they troop off, they talk.....
Some they already know. The queen of Aqualaria had told them about Terra Prime and all that it entailed. Told of her nation belonging to the United Nations. Told of the terrible Alliance/Enemy war that had touched her world. Told of the news that Terra Prime was a probationary member of a United Federation of Planets.
The last causing a nervous look from the vixen Janeway....until it became clear that the Federation that Terra Prime belonged to now was not the Federation of either the Furry Voyager or their human counterparts. This became clear when Astra mentioned one rather famous Star Fleet officer (or infamous in some circles) called Mackenzie Calhoun (a man who played fast and loose with Star Fleet regulations, including the Prime Directive, to such an extent that even gave Captain Kirk pause) was found to be unknown to the Voyager crew (and Calhoun is well known in the Star Fleet of Terra Prim's Federation). Good news, that. Meant that Queen Astra couldn't be taken to task for not arresting the Janeways for circumstances beyond their control....
However, Queen Astra failed to mention in great detail was this Military (aka The United Defense Military Forces for the Alliance of Earths and Humanity, who's foundation had been laid both on the bedrock of the British Royal Marines, U.S. Marine Core, and the Russian Navy). The thing was that at the time questions were more directed in other areas, so it was an oversight on the Nantucketers and Star Fleeters part. Something that Alston for one wanted to rectify.
So Alston found out about the Military from Eric Jones, with interjections from his elven son.
She learned that the technology that the Military had came from a mysterious crashed spaceship in a little place called Rosewell, and the ship (very much mangled and warped from it's ordeals) had been kept at a place in Nevada back in the mid 20th century (Home calendar reckoning) called Area 51. The crew of the ship (with one unknown exception named Odo until recently) had either died in transit before the crash.....or died soon afterwards (what had been left of the unfortunate had been truly sickening....the result so much as getting caught and twisted into different shapes from the malfunctioning warp drive as the jarring crash in the desert). After a scandalous amount of money and materials, the scientist were able, in the late 20th century, able to finally fully exploit the technology left in the ship itself and what was left of it's cargo. The technology was secretly leaked into the American Defense industry (and as a side benefit....to the rest of the industry of the world, eventually) so as to have a great advantage over opponents in any future conflicts (this all came out very early on in declassified documents of the now defunct nation of the United States of America of all of the thirteen Earths that make up Home). Oh, that bit caused a bit of backtracking in explanation by Eric Jones. See, when the Enemy attacked the Alliance, all governments collapsed quickly under the strain it caused on resources. What was left strong enough to fight the Enemy was the Military (what was left of the United Nations Defense Forces and all the surviving military forces of the various nations) and the Company (sometimes still called Earth Mercantile). Anyway, what had saved the day on that dark day the Enemy attacked the Alliance was a immunization process that then had been haled as pan-immunity (also from that ship again), ostensibly as a means to stop a plague called AIDS, but in reality to secretly neutralize any military advantage offered by rogue nations still diddling around with weaponized anthrax and such over America and her Western Allies.
"Of course it had only been a decade or so when the early Alliance between the thirteen Earth I call home," Eric Jones says, "Back then everyone's head was still in a whirl about parallel worlds, brothers and sisters from mirror realities and such, so protests and hysteria against such a mass inoculation process (similar to one that went on over an earlier, more primitive inoculation program in the American military against germ warfare products) were minimal. Old Home Earth 13, my world, was the most resistant to the program, dragged her feet in inoculating it's citizens.....and on the Night of Blood......lost about half of her people due to the Enemy's germ warfare."
Eric sighed sadly, as if seeing the dark night himself. Frank and Alston just stare at him in aghast, seeing in their imagination the horrid results of a germ warfare product who's result mimicked Poe's The Masque of the Red Death, brought on by technology on par with that found in the TV show, Star Trek (and unshackled by any regards to human life, as the Enemy proved in their attack)....
"Of course, we had little to no choice in joining forces with the Company in mutual survival," Eric continues, "The deal was to take care of matters back Home. Put things to right while the Military took the fight to the Enemy. Of course the Company failed in their duties.... that corporation had a bad track record in responsibilities to the public in general even before the Enemy attacked.....but not having much choice...."
The man went on by telling of the wedge driven between Company and Military over Probe, the betrayal done the Military when the Company withheld the secret of warpdrive not powered by Tiberium (also known as tiberian to some and Jethryk to others).
"As things stand now I figure that I'll soon retire from the Military after a five more years," Eric Jones sighs, "Terra Prime is a nice place to live, really. Not like I can take my son back Home....where there is no magic. Figure that fifteen years in service to God and such is enough. Will be nice to be actually be able to vote, really."
Turned out that the Military's founder (lovingly nicknamed "The Old Man" by his troop), one Admiral Naberezhnyi, had been a big fan of Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers. Seeing the possible degeneration coming down the pike in culture and used the book as a model for a possible means of countering it. Frankly, some had called the book fascist, but all that Heinlein says is that public service is expected of all citizens--no public service, no franchise (and, if you read closely, the public service does not need to be military). It seems to me that this is exactly what some modern democratic states, such as Israel, have been doing for a long time: public service is the obligation of all citizens. Frank and Alston know this, so don't object to that. Point in fact, the fact that Eric Jones and those other people in the Military (or some other public service) don't get to vote until after "paying their dues" was reassuring. The fact that it was impossible to not be accepted into the Military (or some other public service) on physical grounds (even most mental grounds......since there were means curing that) was comforting. Indeed, the Military couldn't well afford to be selective (i.e. no turning away a person for sex, creed, color, or even sexual orientation). The last brought a slight smile of approval to Alston's lips. Nor was, in effect, that in it's recruiting practices the Military (and other public services) were setting up as something of a big welfare program (albeit it a harsh one at times...where you'd work to earn your keep). No, those didn't raise an objection.
"Fifteen years?" Alston suddenly asks, looking skeptically at Jones, "That'll make you all of thirty years old by the looks of you. Don't tell me that you were fifteen when you joined the Military....."
"He was," his elfin son chimes in, "The age of recruitment was lowered early on in the Alliance/Enemy War due to a dire need for fighting bodies. Things were dire back then and things back Home, as my father said, are rough. Children must grow up quickly, else the world will crush them."
"Also is part of the reason why such harsh measures are used by the Military to keep order in the ranks," Eric Jones said, nodding, "Keep the young hotheads in line. Also those means are carefully orchestrated to create a culture that lasts a lifetime."
As Eric and his elven troop go into the restaurant that Queen Astra and friends are hanging out at, Frank Marn and Marion Alston hang back a moment to just look at each other in shock.
"Holy shit," Frank says softly, summing it up.
"Amazing how things can develop on other worlds than this," Alston then says in a somewhat ironic voice, glad for the relative sanity she and Nantucket had enjoyed, even with the Event!
Jone's story had shown just how bad it could get.....
They then go inside the restaurant, and see Queen Astra talking to her new friends over certain.....changes done to several various Freds and Astras
5/23/2001 9:15:11 PM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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