The epic space opera, the Legend of Galactic Heroes, is based on a series of novels and short stories written by Tanaka Yoshiki from 1988 to 2000. The novels have been published in Chinese and English, and there is (at present) no indication of an English-language publisher picking up this fantastic series.
The following English translation is entirely unofficial. The text was originally translated from Chinese to English by Peter Tan, and edited by Jeremy Naidus.
The moment when Galactic Empire’s Captain Siegfried Kircheis stepped onto the bridge, he stopped. The infinite specks of light from the deep universe overwhelmingly surrounded him.
His whole body felt like floating in the boundless night, but this illusionive feeling was gone as quickly as it had come. The shape of the bridge of the flagship Brunhild was like a huge semisphere. The upper half the of the semisphere, the bridge, was all screens that looked like transparent glass, so that one could clearly see the universe outside.
After the momentary feeling subsided, Kircheis looked around again. In this broad room, the lighting system was controlled to produce a slightly darker atmosphere. Countless viewscreens, control panels, calculators, computers, and communication equipment were lined up in a geometric shape. The way that people walked about between them, with motions of their heads, hands, and feet, it was easy to associate them with a group of swimming fish.
A particular smell permeated the air, exciting Kircheis’ nose. In battle situations, the smell of sweat from tension-filled humans mixed with the electronic smells of machines, producing a smell instantly recognized by all military personnel.
The red haired youth walked forward to the center of the bridge. Although a Captain, Kircheis was not yet over 21 years of age. If he took off his uniform, he would be described by female personnel as that “handsome, red haired, tall guy.” Sometimes, he still felt uncomfortable with his age and rank not matched correctly. He couldn’t just act nonchalant and accept it like his superior did.
Count Rheinhard Lohengramm sat in the command chair, his eyes looking at the vast sea of stars in the screens. Kircheis walked closer to him, slightly feeling the air pressure that was used for soundproofing. With Rheinhard at the center, people outside of a diameter of five feet could not hear their conversation.
“Looking at the stars, sir?”
After hearing Kircheis’ remark, Rheinhard moved his line of sight to him, turning the angle of his chair back to horizontal. Although he was seated, his mainly black with silver support military uniform was still neatly and tightly wrapped around his well-shaped body.
Rheinhard was a beautiful young boy with an incomparable beauty. Golden hair coupled with white oval shaped face and his finely placed nose and lips made him look like a masterwork by a famous ancient sculptor.
His cold, blue eyes, sharp like those of an eagle, shot out waves of icy light. The handmaidens of the Imperial court all agreed that those were “beautiful but ambitious eyes.” Menservants, on the other hand, would say they were “dangerous eyes that personified ambition.” No matter which kind they were, the one thing that could be confirmed was that his eyes did not have the kind of lifeless beauty of a sculpture.
“Hmm! The stars are quite beautiful.”
“Yes, compared with these stars …. our war seems so small.”
“Exactly. Compared with the stars we have seen, our war is far too small.”
Rheinhard looked up toward his close and personal subordinate, who happened to be the same age as he was: “Looks like you’ve grown again.”
“Two months ago, I was still 190 centimeters, sir. I think it is too difficult for me to grow any further.”
“You’re seven centimeters taller than I am, so I think you’re tall enough!”
In Rheinhard’s voice, there were traces of youthful competition. Kircheis smiled a little. Six years ago, their height had been about the same. When Kircheis began to grow taller than the golden haired youth, Rheinhard very seriously protested to him: “I don’t care if you’re my friend. It’s not fair that you constantly grow taller than I do.” Kircheis was the only one who understood that Rheinhard still had a childish side.
“That’s right! Anything happening?”
“Yes, it is about the formation. According to reports from three scout ships, they are closing in on our position from three different directions. May I use the command table’s projector?”
The golden haired young Admiral nodded. Kircheis’ hand began to move skillfully. An upper left side projection above the command table began to show four arrows from each direction going straight into the center of the projection. The down positioned arrow was red while the rest were green.
“The red arrow is our fleet. The green arrows are the enemies. Directly in front of our fleet is the enemy’s 4th fleet. According to calculations, the 4th fleet has 12,000 ships. Their distance is 2,200 light seconds away. According to current direction and speed calculations, we will make contact in about six hours.”
Kircheis’ hand continued to point to the projection. “On the left side is the enemy’s 2nd fleet with about 15,000 ships and a distance of 2,400 light seconds away. On the right is the enemy’s 6th fleet with about 13,000 ships and a distance of 2,050 light seconds away.”
Because of various anti-momentum magnetic radar penetrating system,as well as electronic interference technology and constant research and equipment upgrades, and then even later materials that caused radar to be completely ineffective appeared. Radar detection systems were slowly neutralized. Radar detection at this point could only rely on manned surveillance ships, spy satellites, or other traditional ways. From the information obtained in these methods, ships could calculate the time difference, distance, and other elements to determine the enemy’s position. Heat emission detection and material analysis, though imperfect, were other methods commonly used.
“Oh! The enemy has 40,000 ships. They are double our size!” Rheinhard quickly calculated.
“Looks like they are prepared to surround our fleet.”
“Our old generals’ faces perhaps will become green …..”
Rheinhard’s white face flashed a quick smirk. Despite knowing that his fleet was surrounded on three sides, he didn’t appear to be rattled.
“Their faces did become green, actually. The five commanders want me to request sire’s appearance at an emergency meeting!”
“Oh? Didn’t they originally say that they didn’t want to see me?”
“You are not going?”
“No! I must go! Otherwise, how will they learn?”
In front of Rheinhard the five figures appeared: Admiral Merkatz, Vice Admiral Staaden, Vice Admiral Fokker, Rear Admiral Fahrenheit, and Rear Admiral Erlach. This is whom Rheinhard referred to as “old commanders.” This was perhaps a little over the top, since the oldest, Merkatz was not over 60 years of age yet and the youngest, Fahrenheit, was only 31. But of course, to the relatively young Rheinhard and Kircheis, they were indeed old men.
“Commander, please allow us the honor of your presence.”
said the representative of this group, Admiral Merkatz. Before Rheinhard was born, Merkatz was already in the military. He had a vast amount of knowledge and experience in both commanding actual battles and military administration. Besides his medium build, strong body type, and sleepy eyes, he had no distinguishing physical characteristics. However, his fame was far above Rheinhard’s own.
“I know what you want to say.”
Rheinhard formally replied to Merkatz's greeting and decided to strike first: “Everyone wants me to know that our fleet is in a disadvantageous situation, correct?”
Vice Admiral Staaden stepped up and answered. His body was thin and tall with more than 40 years of age. Adept at strategic discussions and debates, he had a reputation for being an intelligent adviser.
“The enemy fleet is twice the size of our fleet, and is surrounding us on three sides. When we are in engaged in battle with them, the enemy fleet will have a strong advantage over us.
Rheinhard’s cold, blue eyes flashed. He coldly stared at the Vice Admiral.
“So you mean our fleet will inevitably lose?”
“I didn’t say that, sir. Right now, our fleet is in a disadvantageous position. Look at the screen, you will understand ….”
Seven pairs of eyes focused on the command table’s projection.
Kircheis pointed out both fleets’ positions to Rheinhard. The screen with graphics appeared. Outside of the soundproofing area, several soldiers curiously looked at the senior commanders. Staaden glared fiercely at them and they hurriedly looked away. Staaden spoke again:
“This formation is the same one as the last time that the Galactic Empire’s Space Fleet tried to crush the Free Planet Alliance rebels but failed!”
“Do you mean the Battle of Dagon Annihilation?”
“Yes! That battle was a disaster!”
The Vice Admiral sighed heavily and continued: “The meaning of war completely depends on mankinds’ true leader – the Galactic Empire’s Kaiser and his loyal subjects, our military personnel. But in that battle, the cunning rebels used sneaky tactics and caused our elite million-man army to be lost in wasted space. In this battle, we must avoid a repeat of our previous failure. Therefore, in my humble opinion, our fleet shouldn’t hastily advance, but should instead rapidly retreat to retain our glory!”
That really is an ignorant view. No ability, tongue-wagging fool! Rheinhard thought to himself, but prudently didn’t say out loud. Instead he said: “You could argue that. But, I don’t agree with your view, because I don’t plan on retreating!”
“….. For what possible reason? I’d be most interested in hearing it!”
Wrath and disbelief warred on Staaden's face. Rheinhard ignored his expression and continued: “Because our fleet has an overwhelming advantage against the enemy!”
“Why would that be?”
Staaden raised his eyebrows, causing. Merkatz to darken his expression. Fokker and Erlach looked astonished at the young commander.
Of the five officers, only the youngest, Fahrenheit, had an expression of enjoyment. His watery eyes shone with interest. It was rumored that his lineage was of the lower aristocracy, and that he had joined the military just to make a living. His style perfect for quick attacks and high mobility, but in defensive battles, he often lacked patience and flexibility.
“Perhaps I have missed your point, since I still don’t understand your rationale. Would you be gracious enough to explain again?” Vice Admiral Staaden screecheddemanded.
Knowing that the Vice Admiral would ultimately be swayed by the truth of his argument later on, Rheinhard answered the question: “The advantage I’m speaking of is twofold: First, because the enemy has spread its forces in three directions, our fleet only needs to focus on one. As to fleet strength, as a whole, the enemy has 40,000 ships and we only have 20,000. In that respect, the enemy does have the advantage. However, if we concentrate on one of their fleets, with a fleet strength of 20,000 ships, our fleet will have more ships than any other enemy’s single fleet. At that point, it will be our fleet who will have the advantage!”
“ The second advantage will depend on the enemy fleet’s advance. When the battle begins, before they combine, we must defeat the enemy’s 4th fleet, then attack either the 2nd or the 6th fleet. Then, due to the continuous moving of battle areas, our fleet in the center will be closer to all of them. Then we can attack one of the remaining fleets while it would be very difficult for the other tocome to its rescue in time. Also, when our two forces don’t attack, the enemy fleet will change its plan and go to other battle areas, thereby taking up much more time and giving us a chance to strike at them. Time and distance will become our fleet’s sharp edges.
“This will mean that our fleet will have the advantages of focusing all our power on one target and controlling battle area movements. If those aren’t optimal conditions for victory, then what is?”
After Rheinhard finished, Kircheis noticed that none of the five commanders had moved. Rheinhard could think with more flexibility and adaptability then all these much more experienced and knowledgeable older soldiers.
Rheinhard’s cold stare swept past the standing Vice Admiral Staadan as he continued to speak: “We are not in danger of getting trapped, but rather this is the moment that we can separately defeat each enemy! You want to abandon this rare opportunity and retreat? That is being too passive! What is our duty? It is to destroy our enemy, the rebels. You said to retreat to retain our glory, but the assignment that Kaiser himself set for us is not completed, so what glory is there? You are not just saying that because you are scared now, are you?”
Once the Kaiser’s name was mentioned, the four commanders other than Fahrenheit felt like they were sitting on a chair of needles, clearly rattled. Rheinhard didn’t care.
“I am well aware that you are the chief commander, but …..” Staadan struggled to protest. “This ‘rare opportunity’ is just your own view. If you look at this with common sense no one would believe what you just said! To use those untried and therefore unproven methods ……”
Rheinhard was sure in his heart that inability was not Staadan’s problem, but that he went by the book too much. Of course tactics that had not previous been tried were unproven, but it was laughable to never do anything in a battle that had not been done before. To prove any method, it must be used in a battle for a first time.
“Tomorrow, you will personally watch this method is proven. Is anyone unclear?”
“Sir, are you really that sure?”
“Yes, if everyone follows my battle plan exactly!”
“Can you tell us more specifically how this will work?”
Staadan asked with his doubts clearly expressed on his face. Rheinhard give Kircheis a slight look of exasperation, then began to describe his battle plan.
Five minutes later, within the soundproof area, Staadan’s voice could be heard: “This is just a paper strategy! It will not work on the battlefield! Sir, if we do this …..”
Rheinhard slapped his hand down on the command table: “All right, you need not, say anything more! His royal majesty the Kaiser made me the expeditionary chief commander. Everyone must obey my orders to prove his loyalty to His Majesty! This is the duty of the Empire’s soldiers, is it not? Do not forget that my rank is above all of yours!”
“I have the authority to make every life and death decision! If you want to be stubborn and disobey His Majesty’s orders, I will relieve you of your command and punish you according to that law! Does everyone understand?”
Rheinhard looked closely at the five officers. Each of them were silent.
The five commanders left. They neither understand Rheinhard’s plan nor were convinced of its usefulness. They did, however, fear the Kaisers displeasure. Only Fahrenheit seemed to agree with Rheinhard’s battle strategy at all. The other four believed more or less that Rheinhard was simply an ignorant child hiding under the Kaiser’s favor. Kircheis felt that he could not ignore this, or it would cause others to criticize Rheinhard’s rapid promotions. In the eyes of the older generals, Rheinhard was just a meager planet, using his sister Annerose’s relationship to hide under the bright light of the Kaiser’s sun.
However, this battle was not Rheinhard’s first. After he joined the military, Rheinhard received many distinctions. But every time he won a battle, other military officers would say “He was lucky this time” or “This enemy was weak.” This added to Rheinhard’s unwillingness to obey their orders if he knew they were wrong, causing them to dislike him more and more. Now, they even privately call him an “arrogant golden haired brat”.
“Is this a good way to handle things?”
The red haired youth uneasily asked Rheinhard. His blue eyes showed his anxiety clearly.
“Don’t worry about it!” Rheinhard replied evenly. “What can they do? Honestly, they are just scared chickens! They wouldn’t have the gall to go against Kaiser’s authority!”
“But they may hate you secretly!”
Rheinhard looked at his aide, softly laughing. “You always like to worry. Don’t let it stress you out! Of course right now they are fussing a great deal about it. After one more day, the situation will change. I’ll let that idiot Staadan see how effective his so-called true method is.”
“Let’s not talk about this anymore.”
Rheinhard stood and wanted Kircheis to go with him to the commander’s lounge to relax.
“Kircheis! Let’s go and drink a cup of wine! I have a very good grape wine! It is from 410.”
“All right, sir.”
“Then let’s go! Oh, and Kircheis ….”
“Sir again? When no one is around, don’t call me sir. Didn’t I tell you that before?”
“I know …..”
“If you know it, don’t do it! After this battle is finished and we return to the Imperial capital, you’ll be called Sir as well!”
“You are going to get promoted to Commodore! We should celebrate!”
After giving the ship’s captain, Commander Rosner, instructions about what to do in his absence, Rheinhard walked toward the rest lounge. Kircheis followed behind and thought about the words Rheinhard had just said to him.
After the battle was finished and they went back to the capital, he would be promoted to Commodore ….. the golden haired young man may not have thought about the chances of being defeated. If he had changed places with someone else, he might have thought Rheinhard was too arrogant. But Kircheis understood clearly that the reason Rheinhard said this was because of their friendship.
Kircheis suddenly remembered that he had been friends with Rheinhard for ten years already …… Meeting Rheinhard and his sister Annerose had been the turning point of his life.
Siegfried Kircheis’ father was a low-level official. Every day, he ran between his boss, documents, and computer for the salary of 40,000 Imperial Marks. He lived in a small compound with orchids from the Belter system. After a meal, he always liked to drink one bottle of black beer. Generally, he was a nice, normal man.
His red haired young son, the pride of the family, was always the school’s top student and good at both sports and studying.
One day, a poor three-person family moved next door.
When his father told him that their neighbor, the weak, middle-aged man was royalty, Kircheis was surprised. But, after his first look at the gold haired brother and sister, he truly liked them.
When their neighbor moved in the first day, he became a good friend to that boy, who was named Rheinhard.Rheinhard When the red haired youth told him his name, the golden haired youngster frowned: “Siegfried ---- what a secular name!” Criticized on his first meeting with Rheinhard, the red haired youth could not even think of a reply. Rheinhard then said: “But Kircheis, this last name sounds very good—like poetry! So from now on, I’ll call you using your last name!”
Annerose called him “Sieg” for short. She was a gorgeous woman with a face so similar to Rheinhard’s that it seemed they came out of the same mold. But her body was thinner than her brother’s, with an elegant, unforgettable smile. After Rheinhard’s had introduced the two of them, they looked at each other. Her face was full of sunshine.
“Sieg! Be a good friend to my brother!”
Even now, Kircheis still could not forget her words.
Later on, Rheinhard and Kircheis both went to the same school. Because Rheinhard’s attitude was very stubborn, he often got bullied and Kircheis always helped him. Once when they both fought off several groups of “enemies”, they feared Annerose would be sad if she discovered their bruises, so they went to the park and washed themselves in the water fountain. And they eagerly awaited the end of every school day to eat Annerose’s cake that she made personally…..
Then something happened. This day, these two chasing each other coming back from school to their homes, discovered a luxury car they had never seen before parking in front of Rheinhard’s house. A middle-aged man, dressed as some sort of high court secretary came out of the house. Just as he was about to get into the car, he looked at Rheinhard. He waved and said: “You are Rheinhard, right? You look very much like your sister! You should be happy, for your sister will serve the Kaiser from now on!”
These words felt like a crashing thunder and paralyzed both Rheinhard and Kircheis. The whole night, Rheinhard cried as he yelled at his father: “You sold my sister!”
The next morning, Kircheis, sleepless the whole night, pretended to call Rheinhard to go to school. Instead Annerose walked out, and on her face seemed to be the remains of the previous night’s tears. She gently touched Kircheis’ hair to comfort him, smiled and said: “My brother will not go to school with you anymore. I’m very glad for your care of him!”
The beautiful young girl kissed his forehead once and gave him a personally made chocolate cake.
That day, red haired young man didn’t go to school that day. He carefully took the cake to the natural park. Because he feared patrolling planes would spot him, he hid under a Mars Evergreen tree with its needle like leaves. He ate the cake for a long time. The sadness of leaving his friends, the brother and siste,r made him cry for a while. He again and again wiped his tears away, making his small face red.
After dark, he returned home thinking that he would be yelled at. But his parents didn’t say anything. The light from next door was also gone.
After one month, dressed in the Youth Imperial School uniform, Rheinhard suddenly visited him. Looking at the surprised and happy Kircheis, the gold haired boy said in a firm tone: “Be in the military! The military can make us become men earlier! We must be independent to rescue my sister, Kircheis! Do you want to go with me? You must go with me to the same school! The Youth school has far too many disgusting people!”
….. Kircheis’ parents were not opposed to the idea. Perhaps they wanted Kircheis to be famous, or they could understand his feelings for the sister and brother he was a neighbor of. In any case, Kircheis, like Rheinhard, had made the decision swiftly in his youth.
The Young school’s students were almost all royalty, but he was just an upper class child. That Kircheis could get into this school at all was no doubt due to Annerose and Rheinhard’s requests.
Rheinhard’s grades were often number one in his class, and Kircheis always stayed near the top as well. It didn’t matter if it was for this pair of sister and brother or for himself, he knew he must get good grades.
Sometimes, parents of the students come to the school to visit. Although their positions were very high, Rheinhard and Kircheis found it hard to respect them. Their bodies had a distinctive air of corrupted arrogance due to their special high positions.
“Look at those guys, Kircheis!”
Every time he looked at these puffed-up royal buffoons, Rheinhard felt a strong sense of loathing and scorn.
“They didn’t gain their position through their efforts ….. only because of their bloodlines and family fortunes. A group of shameful beings! Can any of us have be born just to be controlled by them?”
“That’s right! Kircheis, you and I have no reason to be controlled by them!”
They often talked about these kinds of subjects. Sometimes, the red haired boy could feel strong shock and revulsion at Rheinhard’s words.
Kaiser Rudolf’s grand statue was situated over the capital, and saluting the bronze statue was every Imperial citizens’ holy duty. Because the internal security service wanted to rigorously watch over those who were discontented with the emperor’s rule, they set up spy cameras in the eyes of the statues. After his fake salute to the statue, Rheinhard heatedly said: “Kircheis! Did you think about this before? The Goldenbaum dynasty didn’t exist at the beginnings of mankind. The creator of the Imperial rule is that ruthless Rudolf. If he really is the “creator”, then before he became the creator, he wasn’t royalty, but just a Galactic Federation unimportant commoner. Rudolf just had enough ambition to want to rule. He followed the tide of the situation and used it to crown himself holy Kaiser. That is all!”
What was this person trying to say? – Kircheis felt a strong throb from his heart. Rheinhard then said: “If Rudolf can do this, why can’t I?”
Rheinhard’s icy sapphire eyes looked deeply at Kircheis. The red haired boy’s mind filled with struggling thoughts, and he almost couldn’t breathe. He looked back at Rheinhard. That time it was winter, and just before they joined the military ranks.
“….. From the 20th century to the 21st century A.D., science progressed wildly, especially those that were not restricted because they could dangerously affect themselves. Especially the most important result of DNA research– cloning. The initial effects of these findings were minor, but more importantly, people mistakenly believed that cloning was the way to extend life indefinitely. When science and society merged, this kind of contempt of life will sweep across this planet! Those with bad DNA will not have the right to procreate. The thoughts of getting rid of unqualified DNA to raise human quality spread around more and more. In truth, this way of thinking aided the creation of Rudolf’s ‘Inferior DNA Exclusion Act’…..”
This essay showing on the control table vanished quickly, and other words quickly appeared. “Commodore Yang! Orders from the chief commander! Please go report to him.”
Although he was interrupted after reading only half the book, Commodore Yang Wenli did not seem to mind. He took his flat military cap, fixing his unruly black hair.
He was the Free Planet Alliance 2nd fleet’s second aide to the commander. His position was at a corner of the flagship Patroklus. He privately downloaded the book VTR to the strategic computer’s command console and secretly enjoyed his hobby of reading, so the interruption did not bother him.
Yang’s name style was E. This was a tradition before the establishment of the Galactic Federation, where the last name is put in front of the first name. E was from the alphabet of the Easternwords. Opposite to this, the style of putting last name put after the first name is the W style for Western.
At this time, however, the mixing of blood was very common, and names can only generally reflect a person’s ancestry.
Yang was a black haired, black eyed, 29 years old young man of a normal build. The impression he makes on others is not that of a military man, but of a cool headed scholar. But, to the general population, he was also not a placid man either. When people discovered he was in the army and what his rank was, they would usually be surprised.
“Commodore Yang reporting!”
The fleet commander Vice Admiral Paeta looked at the saluting young officer. Middle-aged Paeta had a serious expression that reflected his career as a military man.
“I’ve looked at your recommended battle plans.”
He said only these words, then examined Yang again. His expression seemed to say: “How did this sloppy soldier ever get his rank to only 2 ranks below mine?”
“I am interested in this plan. But, you don’t think it is a little too careful to the point of being passive?”
Although Yang’s answer was serene, it was not the type of response that should be given to a commanding officer. However, Vice Admiral Paeta took no notice.
“If we follow your plan, we will not lose. But not losing is not the same thing as winning. Our fleets surround the enemy on 3 sides and our forces are twice as strong as well. We already control the main element of victory. Why have you set not being defeated as the only goal?”
“You are right! But, our net isn’t finished closing in yet. Isn’t this a chance for the enemy to take us down one fleet at a time?”
This time, the vice admiral noticed and his face twitched a little with frowns.
Yang on the other hand, was still in a relaxed mood.
Nine years after graduating from the Officer school of the Ministry of Defense, Yang was only a normal new sub-lieutenant. Out of 4840 graduates, his position in the ranking was 1909. However, since then, he had become more than a normal commodore. He was one of only 16 officers in their 20’s.
Vice Admiral Paeta did know something about Yang’s past military experiences. In nine years, Yang had participated in battle more than 100 times. He had not taken part in huge battles such as the coming one, which had more 10,000 ships on each side, but he was no slouch, either. He had especially proved his heroism in “El Facil’s Great Retreat..”
But in Paeta’s mind, he still could not accept that Yang was simultaneously a young, experienced, and skilled fighter.
“In any case, this battle plan is rejected!” The Vice admiral gave the documents back to Yang. “Let me make it clear, this isn’t because of you.”
The Vice admiral’s words did not really need to be spoken out loud.
Within the traders of the Free Planet Alliance, Yang’s father, Yang Tai Long was famous for his hand work. The deep recesses of his hard to resist smile hid both intelligence and commercial wisdom. He had started out as a small commercial ship owner and built it into a commercial company that was always gaining more profits.
“I love money …..” When friends asked him about his way to success, he always answered with that. “Need to use money to make money! Make copper coin into silver coin. Make Silver coin into gold coin! This is the method!”
This might not even be a lie, if one paid attention to his serious tone. Of course, this kind of answer made him known as the “man who use money to make money.” It was not an affectionate nickname, but Yang Tai Long seemed to enjoy it.
Yang Tai Long was also an antiques collector. Paintings, sculptures, and china from the AD periods wer so numerous in his house that they could be piled together to make a small mountain. After he finished work in his office directing star commercial fleet traffics, he would often stay at home, examining and cleaning these antiques.
Rumors also said that when he is selecting his better half, it was also like selecting antiques. After divorcing his greedy first wife, he married a beauty that everyone seemed to like. She was the widow of a military man. Later, their son – Yang Wenli was born.
At the time that someone told him that he had a baby boy, Yang Tai Long was cleaning his antique flower vase in his study. After he heard it, he stopped in his work, and seemed a little disappointed: “After I die, all these works of art will belong to that boy!”
Then he continued to clean.
When Yang Wenli was 5 years old, his mother died. A sudden heart attack took her life, although she had always been healthy before. It was difficult even for Yang Tai Long to believe this news.
At that time, he was cleaning his antiques in the study. When he heard the terrible news, the bronze lion in his hand fell to the floor. He said one sentence as he picked it up. This sentence was spread around later and made his wife’s relatives very angry– “Lucky I was cleaning a sturdy antique …..”
After losing two wives, Yang Tai Long didn’t think of marriage again. He let his maid take care of his son, but since this act had eaten into the maid’s break time, it Wenlicaused an argument. Therefore, he let his son sit beside him and joined in cleaning antiques.
His deceased wife’s relatives came to visit him one day and saw the father and the son silently sitting on the floor of the study cleaning antiques, and were shocked. They all agreed that they must rescue that child from his irresponsible father. When they asked Yang Tai Long whether his son or his antiques were more important to him, he answered: “To collect antiques, one needs to spend money!”
In other words, his son was free.
After hearing this, the relatives became upset and told him that they would argue to a court and let it decide. Yang Tai Long sensed that this was not a good thing, so he took his son to live aboard a commercial starship and vanished from the capital of Heinessen. The shocked relatives didn’t think that they would ever get a chance to accuse the father of kidnapping his son. They would have to track the spaceship to the farthest ends of space now. That Yang Tai Long took his son away from his home by force as well as this incident could also prove he has his own way of thinking and looking at things…..
So because of this, by the time Yang Wenli was 16 years old, he had spent more than half of his life in a space ship.
When he was little, after each encounter with Wapp Space Jump, his body would become so uncomfortable that he would throw up and become feverish. Later on, he slowly got used to it, and to his current situation. His interest gradually shifted from machines to history.
This young boy liked to watch tapes, to read newly republished old books, and also to hear old stories, especially about “history’s most malevolence usurper” – Rudolf. When the Free Planet Alliance mentioned Rudolf, they always used words such as “evil tyrant” to describe him. The youth heard it and wondered – if Rudolf is so evil, why did the people supported him and give him the ultimate authority?
“Rudolf is a rotten man! People can only be angry and fear to talk freely!”
“Why can people only feel angry and fear to talk freely?”
“I told you already! It is because Rudolf is a rotten man!”
This answer could not persuade the boy, but his father’s view is different than others. He gave his answer to him: “It is because the people are too lazy spiritually!”
“Let me say it this way. When normal people encounter a problem, they don’t want to depend on their own energy and spirit to solve it. They want a superman or an icon to appear so that it can assume all the pain, difficulties, and duty. Rudolf used this weakness in mankind and succeeded. You must remember this: those who let a tyrant assume power are responsible even more than tyrant himself! Although silent bystanders didn’t support him actively, by being silent bystanders they supported him, and are guilty just the same ….. but ….., you should put your concentration into other things more worthy of attention …..”
“Worthy of attention?”
“Money and works of arts! Money can satisfy material needs, and works of arts can enhance the soul!”
Yang Tai Long said this, but didn’t force his son to accept his business and interests. So Yang Wenli went slowly into the realm of history.
The day before when he was 16, his father died in a nuclear reactor accident. At that time, his father had just agreed to let him take an entrance exam to the Heinessen University’s History section.
“Hm…. Ok! At this point in time, there is still people who have made a lot of money using history!”
In a relaxed mood, his father let Yang Wenli select his own area of interest.
“Money cannot be ignored! When have money, you don’t have to act nice to those you hate and don’t have to work too hard just to put food on the table. Politicians are the same way, if they know how to use money, they’ll have the authority!”
Yang Tai Long died at 48, leaving behind for his son his trading company and many antiques.
After Yang Wenli took care of his father’s aftereffects, inheritance, taxes, and other things , a surprising turn of events happened. He discovered that his father’s life long collection of antiques and works of arts were almost all fakes!
The government appraiser mercilessly announced this.
Not only this but, the shares in his father’s trading company also had to be sold off to pay off debts. In the end, Yang Wenli and those worthless mountains of metals were all left on the side of the road. In the same kind of situation as when he was forced to live in a space ship as a child, Yang Wenli accepted the current situation amidst sighs and pained smiles. The only thing that he wondered about was how his intelligent and able father didn’t even have the eyes to appraise his favorite works of art?
But then, perhaps his father collected these on purpose! In the beginning, Yang didn’t want to inherit his father’s business, so although his father’s trading company kicked him out, he didn’t care.
The real difficulties were still yet to come – Yang didn’t have the money to go to a high-level school.
Because of the continuous war with the Galactic Empire and the stress of huge military spending, the government cut off any aid and funding to education that wouldn’t help the war. Scholarships were even harder to get. But, Yang thought meticulously, do they have any free historical study schools? ….. Ah! That’s it!
He came across the Ministry of Defense’s war research section. Yang hurriedly applied for this school’s entrance exam before the deadline date. After the result came up, Yang was accepted, albeit with a barely passing score.
So Yang Wenli, following his own interests, went into the military school to study without any pressure. His career had been decided and it had nothing to do with patriotic or warlike attitudes.
The fakes that his father left were thrown away. The rest were placed in a rented warehouse. Then, without any possessions, he began to live in the dorms of the military school.
In the school, Yang carefully studied military history, but only studied very generally about all other subjects. He was especially uninterested in subjects such as shooting, ship driving, mechanics, and others of that type. His grades were always “low flying”, barely passing, and he looked like he didn’t even care.
If he did not pass a grade, he could be subjected to expulsion from the school or would have to waste the time to take the test again. Therefore, he was satisfied every time that he didn’t repeat a grade, no matter how minimal his grades were. His goal was not to be the Alliance’s head of battle operations, space fleet commanders, or chief aide, but just a normal military historic researcher/editor. He didn’t even think about making a name for himself in the military.
His first year test results were: military historic areas were excellent, practical and hands on areas were barely passing. So the combination of these two is a passing grade. But the interesting thing was that Yang’s performance in strategic battle simulation very good as well. When students used their computers to do battle simulations to determine grades, the instructors were too surprised that the student president Victor—called “a student who only came along every 10 years” –was completely defeated by Yang.
Yang focused all his troops in one spot. After cutting of enemy’s supplies line, it was even easier to fight a defensive battle. Although Victor used many strategies and went deep into Yang’s territory, after the supply lines were cut off, he had to retreat. In all the computer judgments and the grades given by the instructors, Yang was the winner.
With hurt pride, Victor yelled: “If we fought according to the standard rules of engagement, I would have beat him badly!”
Yang didn’t argue back. He felt satisfied because this grade could help him make up for the grade in mechanics.
But this satisfaction didn’t last very long.
At the end of the second semester, the instructor wanted Yang to move to the Strategic Research section.
“It is not just you!” the instructor persuaded him. “Because the Military History section has been eliminated from the budget, all of the students in this section must move to another section. In your simulation battle, you defeated Victor. So to unleash your potential, we must move you to that section!”
“I went to this school to learn military history. It’s unfair for the school to eliminate the program after it has already recruited students for it.”
“Student Yang! Although you are not in military service yet, when you enrolled in this school, you became a soldier! And you are treated as a low class military official! If you are a soldier, then you must obey orders!”
“Changing sections will only be good for you. Strategic Research has many able experts. Others have to take a test to get in or change their section when they failed to pass. This means that you have an advantage over them. Think about that!”
“I fear to be praised like this! I’m naturally not that kind of expert.”
“Don’t play games with me! Of course if you don’t agree, you can drop out of the school! The right to choose is yours! But, you must return the two years tuition. You can only study here tuition-free if you intend to become a soldier.”
Yang looked at the sky. He somehow remembered his father’s talk about money. He was a man, but could not live freely.
At twenty, normal grade Yang graduated from Military Research and became ranked sub-lieutenant. One year later, he was promoted to junior lieutenant. But that wasn’t because of Yang’s excellent service. Yang was in the department of Combined Battle Record Planning. He didn’t particularly care about getting promotions, but since they allowed him to keep in contact with historic relevant record, he felt excited.
At the same time as he was promoted to junior lieutenant, he had been ordered to front line duty and became an aide to the El Facil Planetary armed forces.
“If you take one wrong step, you lose the whole thing!”
When the young junior lieutenant went to assume his post, he murmured this.
He really didn’t ever consider becoming a soldier. But now, he wore a designated uniform ---- a black beret with the white five star crest representing the Alliance, a black jacket with a white neck borders, a pair of short black boots with a pair of white pants …..
That year, UC 788, the explosive “Battle of El Facil” occurred and accelerated Junior Lieutenant Yang Wenli’s course.
In this battle, the Free Planet Alliance had lost terribly. In the beginning of the battle, the Alliance and the enemy both mobilized around 1000 ships. After several bouts, both lost around 20%. The battle was then temporarily paused for a while. During the battle, Yang didn’t do anything. He just sat in a chair in the flagship’s bridge observing the battle. At the same time, no one bothered to ask for his opinion.
Then, as the Alliance prepared to return, Imperial army suddenly surprised attacked them from behind. Clearly, the Imperial army was falsely retreating, but suddenly and swiftly they turned back and attacked the defenseless retreating Alliance army.
One could only see the energy, like lances, strip the black space piece by piece. The light of small planets was lost in the brightness. Damaged ships released explosive energy, causing huge shockwaves, like hurricanes turning other ships. Alliance commander Rear Admiral Lynch was flustered. Not only did he not try to calm the chaos that ensued, he was the first one to escape in his flagship back to the El Facil home planet.
Once the Alliance army heard that the commander had escaped, they of course didn’t want to fight anymore. Those who were trapped in the enemy’s formations but were still fighting tried to turn back and escape. Of those in this situation, half of them independently chose to retreat and get out of El Facil star system. The other half followed the flagship and ran back to El Facil’s home planet. Those who couldn’t escape had two choices – be destroyed or surrender. Almost all of them chose surrender.
Those who escaped to El Facil’s Alliance ships were still numbered at 200 ships with 50,000 soldiers. But the Imperial fleet was reinforced to become three times the original number, as if they wanted to liberate El Facil from the “demon’s hand” of the rebels. El Facil’s three million civilians were desperate and scared at the situation. It looked like El Facil wouldn’t escape its fate of being invaded.
The civilians negotiated with the military, hoping they would organize a population escape plan. Then Junior Lieutenant Yang Wenli appeared as the person in charge of an escape plan. Rear Admiral Lynch always looked down upon this young and lazy subordinate. Although Yang was one of his aides, the rear admiral never listened to or requested Yang’s ideas. So why would he let an inexperienced person handle the responsibility of 3 million civilians? The Rear Admiral’s decision even surprised his close confidantes. However, the reasoning behind this was quickly made clear.
This man was too young and his rank was too low! Could the military really be serious, the population wondered? Yang just scratched his head with a look of ambivalence. But However, someone needed to do something. The imperial attack would come very soon, so he had to find some way within all this chaos. He first ordered the population to prepare all commercial or civilian ships and military ships to escape.
He comforted the populace as much as he could, but did not immediately order a retreat, instead biding his time for the right opportunity..
One day, emergency news was broadcast and everyone was shocked to their cores! Commander Lynch and his subordinates had taken all the military supplies and fled out of the El Facil system. After hearing this, a group of people started to lose control. They began to drink, fight, create disturbances, rob stores, and destroy cars. Yang finally ordered a retreat signal to the hopeless civilians, but the direction for escape was the opposite of the direction Commander Lynch had gone.
“Everyone calm down and don’t worry. The commander already caused the Imperials to follow him. We don’t need to use anti-radar equipments and can just sail away with solar winds.”
So the young junior lieutenant used his commander as bait for the enemy fleet.
His guess was correct! The waiting Imperial fleet picked up Rear Admiral Lynch’s tracks and chased after him like hunters. In the end, Rear Admiral Lynch raised the white flag and had to surrender to the imperials as a prisoner.
At the same time, Yang’s ships safely escaped El Facil star system toward the star systems behind the front lines. The imperial detection net did capture them on radar but decided that if they had been escaping space ships, there would have been detection-defense systems. Why would they allow themselves to be detected without interference otherwise? Under this notion, the Imperial fleet mistook the shadows on the radars as asteroids. They were unaware that the ships had escaped underneath their very eyes.
The victorious imperials were celebrating before the news of this escape reached them. Of course, they all became very angry and regretted ever letting them go.
Yang, after his success in protecting 3 million civilians retreating back lined star systems, received thunderous applause. The head of the army also praised Yang for his daring thinking. Being defeated, escaping, leaving civilians behind, not attempting a rescue—these were all images that only military heroes could wash away. However, Yang Wenli had undoubtedly become the Free Planet Alliance’s newest young military hero who spread the ideal of justice and humanity, and would be held up as an example to everyone in the military.
That year on 9 A.M., June 12, Yang became a lieutenant. That same afternoon at 1 P.M., he was promoted to lieutenant commander. Military rules specified that one couldn’t be promoted by two ranks at the same time, so the top brass had made this extraordinary appointment.
Yang didn’t notice all those surprised and envious looks from others. He still just scratched his head with a lax expression, asking himself, “How did this happen?” But with the increase in rank, his salary also was raised. The happiest part to him was that he finally had the money to buy historic books…..
That was the first development in Yang’s interest in military strategies.
“It is simple to say that for three or four thousand years, the contents of war hasn’t changed. The most important thing that determines winning or losing before reaching the battleground is supplies. After reaching the battleground, the thing that determines winning or losing is the ability to command and handle situations.”
He believed this historical analysis of war was correct.
“Under a strong commander, there are no weak soldiers”, “One lion leading 100 goats will win against one goat leading 100 lions” ….. these and other ancient quotations were extremely important to the commander.
The twenty-one year old lieutenant commander understood the reasons for his success much better than anyone else did. It was not just the Imperial army, but the alliance army as well. They were both overconfident in scientific technology, which gave them the belief that what appears on radar cannot be man made, but only asteroids. Utilizing this kind of judgment could produce odd but wonderful results.
The most dangerous thing in the word is stubborn and inflexible ideals. Thinking back to his student years, when Yang defeated Victor in simulation battle, he had also demonstrated a talent for unusual thinking by avoiding an opponent who wanted to fight head to head.
Analyzing the enemy’s psychology is the most important point in warfare. The second point is unleashing all of your potential in battle. Supplies are always important. Really, a fight could be won without an attack on the enemy at all, if all their supplies were cut off.
Yang’s father always talked about the importance of money. If this was used towards battle strategy, then money would become supplies. Now that Yang thought about it, his words made so much sense.
Later, Yang participated in many more battles and had many achievements. He was promoted to commander, then captain and at age 29, to commodore, his current rank. His schoolmate Victor also was promoted to rear admiral, but that was because when he was a captain and participated in a battle, he died after not anticipating that the enemy wouldn’t attack directly, but instead use a surprise attack, (committing againthe same error he made when battling with Yang as a student). The high-ups specially promoted him two ranks after that …..
Now, Yang was with the Alliance’s second fleet stationed at Astate star system.
A shout suddenly screamed out across the bridge! “Unidentified objects detected! Recon ship emergency report!”
“The Imperial fleet didn’t appear in our calculated space region. It is moving swiftly toward our fleet. It will make contact with the 4th fleet!”
“What? That doesn’t make sense!”
Vice Admiral Paeta sat up straight in his chair, not believing what he was hearing.
Yang took up his paper documents on his console. Ever since the ancient Chinese developed paper over 4000 years ago, mankind had been using it to inscribe literature. They had not developed any other kind of replacement and in truth, couldn’t find anything better to use.
This document was Yang’s recommended battle plan that had just been rejected by Vice Admiral Paeta. He began to flip through the pages and read it.
“….. The enemy won’t notice the danger of being surrounded. They will in fact, think that it is their chance for them to destroy our fleets one at a time. At this time, the first target that they will attack would be most likely the 4th fleet, directly ahead of them. The 4th fleet’s strength is weak. The enemy can easily win against it before our two other fleets can rescue it. To cope with the enemy’s strategy, I suggest the following: after the 4th fleet is attacked, it should slowly retreat and let the enemy continue to attack it. Then the 2nd and the 6th fleet attack the enemy head on. Continue to use this strategy repeatedly and it will tire out the enemy. Then we can surround and defeat them in one stroke. The possibility of success using this strategy is very high, but we must be sure of our force’s concentration, tight communication, and other movement adaptations…..”
Yang closed the report and looked up at the glass wall like broad angle detection equipment. Billions of stars were coldly staring back at him.
The young commodore dismissed the idea of whistling and began to work busily on his command console.