Writing. Culture. Politics. Wandering.
If I got a coin every time a politician uses the words “peace in our time” I could picture myself comfortable on some zero tech world’s beach, with women bringing me my wine. Sleeping off a total lack of worries. No really, where do they get these ideas from? There is no such thing as “peace in our time”. Never has been. Never will be. At least not until we finally wipe ourselves out.
Let’s just be honest for a moment. There never is any peace. We’re just better at making shit happen than in dealing with it. We’re junkies, a species coasting in an endless cycle of breaking our toys when the high hits yet another low. We’re hooked on it. Even the best of us really thrive on all the shit, building up on top of what has been broken, tearing down what is in the way. Show me a stage of people living happy lives, and I will show you misery and pain behind the veil.
You know, actually I do know where they get it from, those politicians. They don’t pull it out of uncanny orifices, they steal it. They take it from people in the past, from people on the side, throwing it out as if it were their own. Calculated words to trigger sentiments and the worst of our instincts, never real common sense of our experiences.
It’s always about coin, whichever coin it is. Power, money, information. Stepping stones on stairs built on the backs of others. Going nowhere, other than running circles. Politicians are marketeers, blissfully unaware instruments of others, representing abstract interests, always focused on form as opposed to function. Especially those of ideology or principle.
Starting that course in Patterning is screwing up my brain. Some degree of ignorance can sometimes be a good thing. Once upon a time I was a simple soldier, you know, see the universe. Do stuff. Now I kill with weapons I had never considered. Everything is a potential weapon. From a pincer to a blog. On the bright side, we do get things done. That counts for something.
I have no idea of where we’re going. The Admiral is awesome, seriously sharp woman. The ship, I am still getting to know it. Whoever designed it was not a politician. Function trumps form on every deck. We’ve engaged battle three times now, as far as I can tell. So far nothing for us marines. Just launches and combat maneuvering alerts. Sure, peace in our time.
Yesterday a piece of fresh meat was going on about the history of peace of the polities, during breakfast. Go figure. He’ll learn soon enough. Rambling on about thousands of years of prosperity and advancements. Blabbering about stability and glory. One look at the Chief told me enough, the nut is first in line on the next drop. Survival teaches lessons on its own. Or shit happens.
Got me thinking though, how many people actually believe that kind of crap. We’re all taught the same historic dates, bullshit speeches and unblemished events at school, sure. But even living just a little will quickly wake you up. You don’t have to join the military for that. Just try making a life as a trader. Or hell, a banker or a technologist. Shit out here will cost you, force your thinking.
What a nut. Thousands of years of peace and prosperity. Not on my salary anyway. But let’s see. In the past hundred standard years we have had two major wars between polities. One of those with several world endings. Over sixty system conflicts, 46 of those resulting in interventions. Not to mention that usual dance of spooks and assassinations between the monarchies and established houses, conflicts that in terms of human cost of life may be small but where the consequences rival those of interventions. Such a quiet universe right? Peace in our time.
I guess the crux of it is this divide between life down the gravity well, and beyond it. Ok fine, not so much back home in the Republic or in the territories. But try talking during leave with folks from the old polities down any Orbital Link. Hook, line and sinker, marketing is their life. And they have no idea about it. Worse, those few who actually do, they willingly participate and make it worse. It feeds them. Considering the realities of economic interaction and how such mentalities ultimately hinder growth by means of hollowing out foundations, it’s ironic. In a way it’s cannibalism.
Peace. It is just a word, like so many. It only carries a meaning of purpose to an end. As a concept it does not exist beyond theory and practical instrumentation. Got to admit though, it would be nice if peace was real. You’d think that as a species we would wise up at least a little. Thousands of years right? Seems to me as plenty time to learn a bit of history, not repeat it.
Couple of days ago the Admiral hosted a dinner, not with the command staff but with random folks from rank and file. Didn’t get the pick, but managed to pull a little trade so I got to go. One of the perks of not having family is having plenty Link credits you know. Anyway, I was intruiged. I’d seen her during several briefings prior. And that damn crew introduction, talk about steel under skin. She’s got it. Half my age, yet somehow she strikes me as twice my age or more.
Anyway, serious dinner. Calories galore. Spooky also. She knew each one of us. Even me, not supposed to be there. Knew exactly where we come from. Not as in places, but what we’ve done. Reminds me of grandma sister when I was a kid, wierd. Challenging conversation, pressing hard to open up. Worked though. For a few hours we were just people, not necessarily friends, but folks who shared a little something human.
Funny though. I’m usually one to milk the grapevine harder than most. Now, not so much. I can’t say what it is, but I trust that woman. Pure instinct. No bullshit, no empty talk. No marketeering to manipulate. She says what she can, tells you straight up when she can’t or won’t. Interesting to find out she is a Patterner. Well, schooled in it. You can tell it hasn’t changed her, she uses it as one instrument in an arsenal. And man, hers is formidable. What a heart. Guess I should say what a brain, that too. But seriously, heart. Soul, not so sure of, neither is she. We all sacrifice something.
What I do know is that there will be war. And you know what, it’s fine. At least it’s honest. I fought in the last one. I have the nightmares to prove it. And still I say that when you are true to yourself, there are limits to bending and consequences of breaking. If we as a people, even as a species are to prevail without sacrifing who and what we are, some of us will have to be a shield. A sacrifice. Right out of the textbook. But it is that simple.
I never signed up for that. But I understand. I can’t explain, but I know my part. I make my own decisions on that path. And it’s fine. It works. Not just for me, but for those around me and those we leave behind. I guess it’s a perspective you learn growing older, looking in from the outside and looking around you along the way.
Sure, I get bored. But I think the Admiral is right. If we can take our moments to relax, and our moment to invest in ourselves and those around us, we can keep the insanity at bay. Better even, we can be part of guarding against it for us all. Maybe this Patterning course is not such a bad thing after all. Might look at what else is offered.
– unknown bit less bored Master at Arms
Republic Carrier, Deus.
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