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.
Free Planets Alliance’s Joint Operation building was situated on the planet’s northern deciduous forest climate zone. It had fifty-five levels above ground and eighty levels below ground. Other headquarter buildings such as the Technology & Science, Logistics, Space Defense Control Commander Center, Military Officer Training, Capital Defense Commander Center, etc… tightly surrounding it. Therefore, a circular military junction of a hundred kilometers around the capital city of Heinessen had been formed. At the Joint Operation building and in an underground meeting hall that was four stories high, a ceremony of farewell to those who died in the Battle of Astate was commencing. This was a clear and breezy afternoon and was also three days after the disastrous Battle of Astate in which the participating Alliance fleets had lost 60% of its forces.
The corridors to the meeting hall already filled with a crowd. This crowd included the relatives of the deceased, government and military representatives, and the shadow of Yang Wenli.
Yang Wenli was conversing with people around him and at the same time, looked at the sky outside the building. Although he cannot see the sky in an underground room, he knew that between the several layers of atmosphere above, infinite numbers of military satellites were silently passing by.
These military satellites also included Space Defense Control Command Center’s powerful explosion system, twelve attack satellites – AKA. Jewelries of Goddess. Alliance officers even bragged: “with these twelve attack satellites, the planet Heinessen is impregnable.” Yang couldn’t help but thought about all those impregnable strongholds that were burned to the ground in history. Perhaps pride caused by a mighty military is the cause of defeat?
Yang Wenli’s hands lightly touched his cheeks, feeling perhaps that he still hadn’t woke up yet. He already slept continuously for sixteen hours but still felt like he hadn’t slept in sixty hours.
He didn’t eat anything and his stomach felt like it lost all its activities, and could only drink one bowl of Julian’s vegetable soup. He didn’t do anything in his official residence, only slept. Sometimes he woke up, but felt his head was empty, even forgot to converse with the youth that was under his guardianship.
“Eh! This is a guardian? How embarrassing …..”
As Yang was thinking about this, suddenly someone tapped his shoulder. It was a senior classmate in the Officer Training building, Rear Admiral Alex Cazellnu. He raised his head and smiled: “Looks like you haven’t woke up yet. Hero of Astate!”
“Who is a hero?”
“This person standing of me! Looks like you haven’t read the electronic news. All of the news media are saying this.”
“I’m just a defeated general!”
“Yes, the Alliance lost, but that’s why they need to create a hero! If the battle was won then there’s no need to do this. If lost, then for the sake of shifting people’s focus, of course they need to create a hero to get their applause. Isn’t it the same with The Battle of El Facil?”
Cazellnu always liked to speak ironically. He was of medium, healthy, and muscular build and was the officer aide to the Alliance’s Minister of Logistic, Fleet Admiral Sidney Sitolet. His front line command experience was plentiful and also strong in handling Logistic’s affairs. Many people predicated he would be promoted later to Minister of Logistic.
“How are you recently? Assistant aide is probably very busy with many different affairs?”
After Yang Wenli slightly struck back, this talented officer smiled back: “This farewell ceremony is hosted by the Ceremony Office? They didn’t greet any soldiers or the deads’ relatives here, but only, full heartedly, pleasing the head of the Defense Committee. In truth, this ceremony is just a political act for getting closer to the next political leader of the Alliance.”
At the same time, the face of the Alliance’s Defense Minister Job Truniht appeared in both their minds. Truniht had a big body with a pleasant face at a age of forty-one and a member of the Youth Party. He also was especially tough and radical on issues dealing with the Empire. Half of those who knew him thought of him as a eloquent speaker, while the other half thought of him as a fearful and cunning sophist.
Right now, the head of the Alliance was the High Council’s speaker Lowe Sanford, an old politician who had been chosen from a whirlpool politics as the interim leader. Since he always abided by tradition and couldn’t reform, the people of the Youth Party were more noticeable.
“To be forced to listen to Truniht's long and lame speeches is so much more painful than stay up all night long.”
Cazellnu sarcastically said to him. In the military, Cazellnu belongs to the minority group which numbered much less than those who agree with Truniht’s staunch insistence of expanding military armaments. Yang Wenli is the same as him so they both can be said were members of the “Isolated Party”.
In the meeting hall, Cazellnu and Yang Wenli weren’t placed next to each other. Cazellnu was seated behind the honored guest Minster Taliben while Yang was seated in the first row right next to the podium.
The farewell ceremony had begun with the normal proceedings. After the Council Speaker Sanford emotionlessly read through the prepared official speech, Defense Minster Truniht took the podium. His appearance raised the “temperature” of the atmosphere in the meeting hall and was greeted by greater applause than previously given to the Council Speaker.
Truniht didn’t have any prepared speech papers. He loudly addressed to the 60,000 crowd: “Every dear citizens and soldiers! Today, what is the reason that for us participating in today’s farewell ceremony? The reason is to say goodbye those who had died for protecting the Astate System! They sacrificed their precious lives for their country’s freedom and peace.”
At this point, Yang already wanted to cover his ears. These words were so shameful. Why these kind of hypocritical words could be said in such an undisturbed demeanor? Were these the traditions of mankind?
“I am saying about precious lives! Everyone, their lives were precious, but their sacrifices are saying to us that something more important exists. What is this thing then? This is the freedom of our great country! Their deaths were beautiful because their sacrifice were for the greater good. They were the true gladiators! They were good fathers, sons, lovers and all had the right to live a good life. But they give up this right to fight for our country. I am asking here, why did these one million and fifty thousand soldiers died?”
“Because their leaders’ command capability is so lacking!”
Yang said this. Everyone was speechless as these words were especially loud. People were surprised. A black haired young officer even stole a look at him. Yang immediately looked in the same direction and scared the man enough to looked away from his eyes.
The Defense Minster’s speech still continued. Truniht’s face was red and in his eyes flowed a self-hypnotized look.
“Yes. The answer is what I just said. They died for protecting this country’s freedom! Isn’t it worth to die for a high ideal such as this? Everyone must think about our country then about each individual. Life is precious but I want everyone here remember this in their hearts. Remember this truth. At the same time, I want to proclaim: Nation and freedom is worth to trade with our lives. We are fighting for the right cause. Those who call themselves peace activists who advocated diplomatic talks with the Empire, and those who call themselves idealists who imagined coexisting with a dictatorship, please stop this delusion. Your behavior will lead to only one result and that is the weakening of Alliance’s strength and give advantage to the Empire. The Empire doesn’t allow any anti-war or peaceful solutions in their own country, but we have a free society. Therefore, we do allow those who oppose our national policy to appear. But each of you are growing too lax and the price of high praises of peace is very high!”
Yang Wenli was thinking about one thing: the war advocates were still the mainstream. In any era, instigators always were far from the battlefield and dwelled in safe places while sang high praises to war. He thought again at how the crowd was getting more feverish by the minutes and began to really hate this speech. No matter in what era, there would always be people who supported instigators!
“I can say this: those who oppose fighting a holy war with the totalaristic Empire are pests endangering our nation. They do not qualify to be Alliance’s citizens. To protect this free society and this free nation, those who fight and do not fear death are truly the citizens of Alliance! Those who do not acknowledge this are shameless and unforgivable to the brave souls of our dead! Our ancestors build our nation single-handedly. We all know history and everyone knows our ancestors’ sweat and toils for freedom. This great historical country of ours! You are the only thing we should protect. Can’t we stand up and fight? Stand! Fight for our country! Hurrah to the Alliance! Hurrah to the Republic! Down with the Empire!”
With the heated shouts from the Defense Minster, the crowd also started to lose their senses. Turbulent hot-bloodedness was boiling within the bodies of the 60,000 people in the meeting hall. Everyone stood up and followed Truniht and shouted: “Hurrah to the Alliance! Hurrah to the Republic! Down with the Empire!”
Everyone made a fist and raised their arms while waved their military caps, and shouted.
Within the crowd, only Yang Wenli didn’t stand up from his seat. His black colored pupils looked coldly toward the man standing on the podium. Truniht held both of hands up high and welcomed this crazed reaction from the crowd. Suddenly, his eyes fell upon the first row.
His vision suddenly sharpened and the corner of his mouth frowned. This was because he saw that in the front row, a young officer actually still sitting in the chair and didn’t stand and cheered. If he sat behind, he may not have seen him, but he is sitting the first row. And he even recognized that this is not just someone but the person who just returned from the Astate System and was called “Hero of Astate”, Commodore Yang Wenli! In an atmosphere of patriotic fervor, such an unpatriotic traitor had appeared.
“Young officer, why are you not standing?”
A bloated faced middle-aged officer angrily yelled. He didn’t recognize Yang Wenli who also was decorated with the rank of Commodore like him. Yang looked at him and calmly answered: “This is a free country. When I don’t want to stand, I have the freedom not to stand. I’m just exercising my right of freedom!”
“Then why don’t you want to stand?”
“I have the freedom not to answer.”
Yang Wenli didn’t thought his answer as laughable. Not far away, Rear Admiral Cazellnu saw the whole thing. Although he didn’t know what they were talking about, he still flurried his eyebrows and forced a smile. He thought that Yang’s attitude was not mature. Yang Wenli couldn’t get use to talk smoother. Cazellnu also didn’t want to stand, clap his hands, and shout hurray to the Alliance, but if because he didn’t felt emotional with Truniht’s speech and get accused for being unpatriotic, then the whole thing is not worth it just like the story of “The King’s New Clothes”. Those who shouted the King didn’t wear any clothes were innocent children and not adults.
“What is the true meaning of this?”
When the middle-aged commodore fiercely inquired again, Truniht started to quiet the crowd. Then the voices of the crowed subsided and returned to quietness. Everyone returned to their seat.
The middled-aged commodore couldn’t help but also sat down with a sour look.
The Defense Minster begun to speak again. After his long speech and loud shouts, he felt his throat dry. His voice had changed into a sand-scratching sound.
“Our greatest weapon is our nation’s unified will. We are a free nation with republic as its foundation. Even we have such high goals, we cannot force everyone to serve. Individuals have the right to freedom of a country, but those citizens with a conscience understand clearly. For true freedom, we have to let go of our tiny self and unite to move forward for the goal we share. Everyone …..”
At this point, Truniht suddenly closed his mouth. It wasn’t because he felt thirsty and stopped talking, it was because he was aware a female was walking in toward the podium. This young woman’s had brunette hair. Those men who she had passed all looked at her. She must be very beautiful. Followed her footstep, murmurs had started in the crowd.
….. Who is this woman? What will she do?
Yang Wenli heard from afar someone was talking about this woman but there were too many people around to see her. When she approached closer, he was surprised and almost jumped from his seat.
“Defense Minster …..”
The woman’s voice was low. She walked up the podium and said: “My name is Jessica Edwards. I am the fiancé of the assistant aide Jean Roberts Lapp who died in the Battle of Astate. No ‘was’ his fiancé.”
Even the eloquent speaker and “future leader” Truniht was quieted.
“I am sorry, miss! But …..”
The Defense Minster also couldn’t say anything more. He looked at the huge meeting hall and saw all 60,000 audiences quietly waiting for his answer. Everyone was holding their breath as they looked at this woman who lost her fiancé.
“You don’t have to comfort me, Minister. My fiancé died protecting the high ideal of this country.”
Jessica calmed said as she lessened the awkward moment. The Minster didn’t hide his ease of emotions.
“Really? But, you can be said as a model of women behind the front line. We will compensate you much for your loss.”
Yang Wenli wanted to close his eyes again after hearing these shameless words. For those who didn’t know shame, Yang thought that they could do anything.
Jessica looked very composed.
“I thank you. I just want to ask Minister a question.”
“Oh! What question? I will answer you to the best of my ability!”
“Can you please tell me where were you?”
Truniht winked his eyes for a second as most of the audiences who didn’t understand her question.
“Mm? What did you say?”
“My fiancé died in battle, fighting to protect his country. Minster, please tell me where were you at that time. You who praise death, where were you really?”
Anyone could see the Defense Minister’s wary expression in his eyes.
“Where were your family then?” Jessica pursued mercilessly. “My fiancé died for this country. Didn’t you say that sacrifice is necessary? What did your family do? If your speech is completely correct, why don’t you try it too?”
“Security! Truniht looked around and yelled. “This young lady isn’t feeling normal, take her away. My speech is done! Play the National Anthem!”
The security didn’t move at all, but someone suddenly tightly held Jessica’s wrist. She struggled and looked and discovered that person she knew very well. A pair of warm eyes was looking at her.
“Let’s go!” Yang quietly said. “This isn’t the place you should’ve come.”
Majestic music was permeating the meeting hall now. The Free Planet Alliance’s nation anthem was named “Freedom flag, Free People”.
“Friends, one of these days we will win against the dictator and liberate planets. Raise our freedom flag. Our battle now is for the light of our future. Our battle now is for the hope of our friends. Let us praise the free souls of our friends. Let us show our free souls.”
The audiences began to cooperate with music and started singing. This time was not the same like the unruly shouting from before. Everyone was now uniformly singing this majestic song.
“Let both of our hands spread our freedom to the to that dark dictatorship.”
Yang and Jessica, with their backs toward the podium, walked toward the exit.
When they walked together, side-by-side, people near them looked at them but quickly turned away, then looked at the podium and continued to sing. They open the exit door and ran toward outside where there was no music. When the door closed, the National Anthem’s last segment of music was heard.
“Ah! Free people! We will never be conquered!”
The last light of dusk had disappeared. Beautiful night silently came again. Bright stars began to show their silvery glow. It was the brightest season for spiral belt type star constellations.
It was still busy in Heinessen’s spaceport. In the big public square near the space docks stood many different crowds. Some just back from vacation, some just started their vacation, some came to pick up, some came to drop off, and some were civilians, some were soldiers, some were technical personnel, some were tightly lipped guards, some were fast walking spaceport staffs, and some were energetic children. There were even robotic luggage vehicles moving in and out of the crowds.
“Yang.” Jessica called to the young man by her side.
“Do you feel that a young woman like me is annoying?”
“Why would I?”
“Because the majority of those deceased relatives were silently sorrowful, only I was shouting in front of everyone. Of course this will make people unhappy.”
“No! Not so. Someone should come out to say that.”
Yang Wenli thought that silence couldn’t change the situation. If there weren’t anyone standing out and say contrarily to a leader, then this country would be hopeless.
At this time, both were sitting together on a sofa in the spaceport’s public square.
One hour later, Jessica would take a ship and return to the sister planet of Heinessen, planet Tecumseh. She was a music teacher in a regional middle school. If Jean Roberts Lapp still lived, it was believed he would retire soon and marry Jessica.
“You are an extraordinary person! Yang.”
Jessica said, while watched a father & son group passed by her. Yang was silent.
“I heard you displayed exceptional behavior during the Battle of Astate. Jean Roberts also talked often about your past exploits. He even said it was a honor to be in the same class term as you are!”
Jean Roberts was a good person. Jessica was wise to have chosen him. But now, all it gave Jessica was vast loneliness and memories. She was the daughter of Military Officer School’s public relation officer. Now she was but a music teacher who had lost her fiancé.
“I think the Alliance military’s commanders should ashamed. In one battle they lost over one million people. The morality of it should be exasperating.”
“It is not the same, Jessica. Beside killing innocent civilians or break a cease-fire agreement, there are no standards to judge the commanders are moral or not. From a morality point of view, smart commanders and stupid commanders are the same. The difference is that the stupid commanders killed one million of their fellow comrades while the smart commanders killed one million of their enemies. In the eyes of non-killing peace activist, these two are the same.”
His explanation made Jessica covered her mouth and laughed out a bit. Seeing her smile for the first time today, Yang felt happy in his heart.
“How do you feel?”
“….. The same.”
The speakerphone of the spaceport came on. Jessica stood up from the sofa. Her shipShe had t was about to leave the space dock.
“Yang, thank you for caring. I will probably ….. no, definitely not forget …..”
Their eyes met each other. They still had so much to talk about but couldn’t now.
“Then ….. take good care …..”
Yang forced a smile.
“….. You too ….. Keep up the good effort ………. Goodbye!”
Jessica also managed to smile with difficulty, an indescribable sadness amidst it.
Yang quietly stood there, looked at Jessica’s thin body disappeared in the dock entrance and felt many different emotions in his heart.
Keep up the good effort! Really? This means that you want me to kill more enemies? She probably didn’t realize what she meant either. In this galaxy, probably have many other women who went through the same as she did. Right now, these women are all lamenting for someone while feeling angry?
“Can I ask you if you are Commodore Yang Wenli?”
This was an older woman’s voice. Yang slowed turned around and saw a elegantly dressed woman with a five, six years old boy stood in front of him.
“I am …..”
“Ah! It really is you. Will, this the Hero of Astate! Say hello!”
The little boy shyly hid behind the old woman.
“I am Mrs. Mel. My husband and my son, which is this boy’s father, are all soldiers. They were both lost in battles with the Empire. We saw your exploits in the news and appreciate your efforts. To meet you here out of all the places was a really pleasant surprise!”
Yang didn’t know what to do after he heard her say this.
“This child also wants to become a soldier! He hopes he can kill the imperials and take revenge for his father. Commodore Yang, I have a favor to ask of you. I know it is not polite, but I still hope that you can shake this boy’s hand. Is that all right? It will be a good inspiration for his future!”
Yang couldn’t look straight at her face.
The old woman thought that he didn’t say anything probably meant he agreed, so she dragged the boy in front of the commander. Although the boy’s looked at Yang face, his hands were still tightly grasping his grandmother’s clothes.
“Will! Is this the behavior of a soldier?”
“Mrs. Mel!” Yang felt terrible in his heart as he yelled. “When Will grows up, this world should be peaceful by then. You don’t need to force him to become a soldier ….. Child, take care!”
Yang saluted her and quickly left. He really wanted to quickly leave this kind of situation behind. Yang didn’t thought that this was not an honorable act.
Yang returned to 24 Silver Bridge dormitories in Heinessan at a time of twenty hour. The people that lived in this high ranked military officer area mostly were single or have a small family. It was surrounded by natural sweet smell of green leaves.
The buildings in this area couldn’t be called luxurious. Although there were many green acres, but due to insufficient funds, new buildings or building repairs were not commonly seen.
Yang’s walking speed slowed. He crossed this familiar public grassland and opened the security identification door. The door creaked loudly when opened as if welcoming back this House B, Apartment 6’s host. Yang thought to himself. If he used his own money to fix this door, it would be fixed already. Back then he asked the housing management but still didn’t get an answer as of yet.
“You are back, Commodore.” The youth, Julian Mintz welcomed him. “I was just thinking if you are coming back tonight or not! I even cooked your favorite, Ireland steamed lamb!”
“If that’s the case, then it was correct for me to return hungry. But, why didn’t you think that I might not come back?”
“Rear Admiral Cazellnu just phoned.” The youth said as he took his military cap. “He said that you didn’t wait for the farewell ceremony to finish and ran out with a beautiful woman hand in hand.”
“That guy …..”
Yang forced a smiled.
Julian Mintz was Yang’s guardian child. He was fourteen years of age. His height matched his age exactly with a head of flaxen hair, black brown pupils, and an innocent, but handsome face. Cazellnu and other called him “Yang’s child”.
Julian was given to for Yang to care two years ago under the “Military children wartime special welfare Act”. The person who created this Act was Tobus, therefore this Act was also named the “Tobus Act”.
Free Planets Alliance and the Galactic Empire had been at war with each other for close to one and a half centuries. Many people died or crippled due to the war. The “Tobus Act” was made for those who lost their immediate relatives and to maintain human resources.
These orphans were given to military personnel to be raised. The government loan them a specific amount of alimony. These orphans, before the age of fifteen, could go to normal schools. After the age fifteen, they could go into any schools of their choosing. But, if they went into military school or technical school with ties to the military, then the alimony government loans would be waived.
Although women cannot directly contribute to the military, they were welcomed to careers in supply, management, communication, control, intelligence analysis, maintenance, etc..
“This act was taken from middle-aged era’s student-master system, but it has a weakness. The alimony loans would usually affect the orphans’ future career decision.” At the time, Cazellnu, who were working for Logistic headquarter, sarcastically said to Yang. “Speaking of which, if a person doesn’t have a goal in life, life will be boring. So if this adoption system has a value for existing, then I think perhaps you should try to adopt one!”
“But I’m still not married!”
“Exactly because of this, you should do your community a service! It only has the responsibility of an alimony loan, oh royal bachelor.”
“I don’t know. But, I still like my bachelor style of living.”
“Two people style of living isn’t bad too!”
“One person is enough.”
“Really? But I still want to find a person for you.”
After the fifth day of this conversation, the youth Julian appeared in front of Yang’s home.
After Julian went into Yang’s life, he became Yang family’s diligent and talented member. Julian cleaned all the wasted materials and machines in the house. He decided to take care of this family’s entire material environment. After a few days of work, this home had been arranged in an orderly fashion.
“I already grouped the family computer’s data into six different categories.” At twelve years old, Julian stood rigidly and reported to Yang. “First category, family management; second category, electronic controls; third category, security; fourth category, information storage; fifth category, family learning; sixth category, entertainment. Everyday list includes: 1. Temperature room, cleaning room, and washing machines conditions; 2. maintenance of anti-theft, anti-fire equipments; 3. information gathering of weather and supplies; 4 ….. Captain, please remember these.”
At the time, Yang was a captain. He quietly walked from the bedroom to the dining room’s sofa and sat down. Suddenly, he discovered that all the fruit peels, snacks, cups, cans, etc… surrounded his sofa before had disappeared. He thought to himself: what should I say to this smirking little invader?
“I had cleaned the rooms, washed the bed sheets, and finished arranging the house. If you still not satisfied with something, please tell me. What do you still need?”
“Can you give me a cup of red tea?”
Yang wanted to drink a cup of his favorite red tea to warm his throat and tell him today is good or bad. But when this youth ran into the kitchen, held a new set of beautiful tea set in front of him, and gave him a cup of Auriga tea, Yang’s hands trembled a little.
One taste of the tea, Yang’s heart instantly were conquered by this youth because the taste was so exquisite! Julian’s father was a Lieutenant in the space fleet. Although his rank wasn’t high, he passed his knowledge of tea and teamaking to his son.
After living in Julian’s youthfully operated home for half a month, Cazellnu visited him. He looked around and critiqued: “I went to your home many times before. This is the cleanest time ever. Looks like the saying ‘incompetent father, talented son’ is correct.”
Yang didn’t rebuke his comment.
Two years hurriedly by, Julian’s height also shot up ten inches. He was now a big boy. His studies were not bad either and never had any failed subject. Sometimes, he even brought home some kind of reward or certificate or medals. According to Cazellnu, Julian was definitely among the brightest of kids.
“Today the school asked me about my next year’s career decision.”
Julian said while eating. Yang Wenli’s spoon paused in midair as he looked at him.
“Isn’t the graduation not until next June?”
“If I studied enough credits, I can graduate earlier.”
“Really?” Yang felt himself as an irresponsible guardian.
“You want to be a soldier?”
“Mmph! I am the son of a soldier.”
“Who said a son must follow his father’s occupation? My father was not a soldier, he was a merchant.”
Yang told him if he wanted to choose other careers was also no problem. He suddenly thought about young Will whom he met in the spaceport today.
“But, if I don’t choose a military career, I must return the alimony loan …..”
“I’ll pay for you.”
“You really underestimated me. I still had some money saved up. Also, you don’t need to graduate early. Isn’t it comfortable more to live a few more carefree days?”
The cheeks of the youth reddened.
“You didn’t bring any troubles when you came to my home.”
“I appreciate your words, but …..” Julian suspiciously looked at Yang Wenli. “I heard that you hate soldiers, but …..”
“I do hate them.”
This clear answer confused Julian even more.
“Then why did you became a soldier?”
“That was because I didn’t have the ability. I don’t know what to do beside this.”
Yang finished his meal and used a napkin to wiped his mouth. Julian took away all the tableware and put them in the dishwashing machine. Then turned turn on the switch and let the computer to control the machine while he made tea with his tea set.
“Eh! You should think more about this! No need to hurry.”
“Yes. I will think more. Commodore. News reported Count Lohengramm went in the military service when he was fifteen years old, right?”
“Do you know that he is also a very handsome man?”
Yang Wenli never saw Reinhart von Lohengramm with his own eyes. He only saw a few times in the 3D television. He was without a doubt, the youngest and the most handsome man he had seen. Women soldiers working in the Logistic headquarter often rumored to liked him even more than Alliance officers.
“Do you want to add milk to the tea or brandy?”
Suddenly, the anti-theft red light faded and a warning was sounded. Julian took the TV remote and pressed a button. Using the infred 3D screened television, many human shadows appeared. They all had white scarf tied around their head, only showing their eyes.
“Recently, many clowns often gather around here for family visits?”
“They are the Patriotic Knights.”
“Never heard of this circus.”
“They are a radical nationalistic group. Because they often said: down with those who have anti-government, anti-war sentiments, they really are the focus of attention lately. But curiously, I don’t know why they want to visit our family. Perhaps they want to get praises from the Commodore?”
“How many people are there?”
Yang uninterestedly asked. Julian read the number on the screen. “Forty-two. They are moving toward the yard. Ah! forty-three, no, forty-four.”
The voice, through the microphone, was especially loud. Even the walls equipped with special glass were slightly trembling.
Yang answered, though it wouldn’t be heard from the outside.
“We are the true patriots. We are the Patriotic Knights. We want to protest you! Because of your military success, you are too prideful. You dare to oppose the unifying war in public. Do you still remember what you did in today’s farewell ceremony?”
Yang felt Julian’s surprise.
“Commodore Yang! You had insulted the holy ceremony. When the audiences welcomed the Defense Minister’s promise to defeat the Empire, only you didn’t stand up and had sneered at everyone’s decision. We want to strongly protest you! What is your response? Speak! It is useless to try to call the cops, we will disable your outside communication system.”
Yang understood that it was very likely it was the “peerless patriot”, Truniht secretly controlling the Patriotic Knights. They had common characteristics: loud voice, shameless, and supremely hypocritical views.
“Commodore, did you really behave like that today?” Julian asked.
“Why? Isn’t a clear mockery if only one person didn’t stand up? Even if you felt you oppose, stand up and applaud isn’t going to cost you anything! You can just fake it in front of everyone!”
“You sound like Rear Admiral Cazellnu!”
“This reason even a child can understand. Let alone Rear Admiral Cazellnu!”
“….. Why don’t you come out? You still have any sense of shame? Wake up! Today you will truthfully explain to in front of us of your actions!”
Someone yelled from outside again. Yang angrily stood up. Julian tugged his sleeve.
“Commodore, no matter what, you shouldn’t start a fight!”
“Your reaction is too quick! What? Couldn’t I explain clear to these guys?”
“That’s not it!”
The special glass suddenly creaked like it would break. Then a melon sized metal ball flew into the room and hit the cupboard. The china on the cupboard was crushed to pieces. A loud sound suddenly occurred.
“Careful! Lie Down!”
Yang yelled out.
Julian urgently held the family computer and hid beneath the sofa. A loud bang ranged out and all the furniture and equipments were damaged.
Yang was flabbergasted. The Patriotic Knights’ hand grenades were actually engineer made non-powder small sized high explosives. They seemed to adjust its damage potential to its lowest, if not, then the whole house would be gone by now. But, how can such civilian group have this kind of military weapons?
Yang seemed to have thought of something, slapped his hands, and asked. “Julian. Where is switch for the water hose?”
“At second ‘A’, fourth button. You want to use that against them?”
“They don’t have manners, we need to use …..”
The strong voices outside suddenly turned into shrieks. These white hooded men couldn’t take the high-pressured water columns and dispersed.
“You daddy is angry. How’s that for an answer? You hoodlums!”
Just as Yang began to curse them, police sirens slowly became louder. Perhaps the neighbors had called them.
In truth, this riot had been going on for so long and the police just arrived, made people thought that there was someone high up who was supporting the Patriotic Knights. This guy probably was Truniht.
After the Patriotic Knights dispersed, those policemen who came late still praised how much that group loved their country. It made Yang very unhappy.
“If they really do love this country, why didn’t they volunteer for the military? Can they be called a patriot when they trespass a private home and harass a family with a child? Also, if they really do things fair and square, why did they hide their faces? It doesn’t make any sense!”
As Yang began to argue back, Julian turned off the water hose and began to clean the disturbed room.
“Let me help you!”
Yang, after send away the irresponsible police, said. Julian waived his hands.
“No, it would only make it harder to clean up! You just need to sit on that table.”
“Sit on the table? You …..”
“I’ll clean this up right away.”
“What should I do as I sit on the table?”
“Eh, drink my red tea!”
Yang touted his mouth and sat cross-legged on the table. When he saw Julian was cleaning the pieces of the china, he signed and silently lamented: that china was a Ming Dynasty’s Wan Li red porcelain and the only real antique from my father remnant possessions.
At twenty-two hour, Cazellnu videophoned Yang’s residence. At this time, Julian already finished cleaning everything in the house.
“Child! Is your guardian home?”
Julian pointed at the table. The host of this residence was sitting cross-legged while enjoying a cup of red tea. Cazellnu took five second to acutely observe the situation. Then he slowly said: “Do you also have the habit of sitting on tables?”
“It depends on the day of the week.”
Yang answered him. Cazellnu smiled.
“All right! You have an emergency business to attend to at headquarter of Logistic! A car will pick you up.”
“The order came directly from Minster Sitolet.”
Yang put the teacup on the table heavily.
Julian froze for a second and then he immediate ran and took Yang’s military uniform.
“What does the Minister what from me?”
“He only told me it was very important business. Everything will be explained at the headquarter.”
With the videophone call finished, Yang crossed his arms and seemed to be thinking about something. Julian already was presenting his uniform in front of him. When he was dressing up, the military car escort came. Yang couldn’t imagine what was the big deal that he must report in at this late night hour.
“It will probably be very late when I come back, you go and sleep first.”
“Yes Commodore.” Julian lied.
“Julian, perhaps tonight’s event was just to scare us, but what the enemy will do later is too hard to say. Everyday is getting more and more not peaceful.”
Yang himself didn’t know why he said it at this time. Julian’s eyes were watching him intently.
“Commodore, I just said many unnecessary words. Please disregard them. If you stand and do things upright and open, I believe you are the most upstanding person.”
Yang looked at this youth and wanted to say something but couldn’t. In the end, he just lightly felt his hair then headed toward the waiting car. Julian stood unmoving and watched the car left until its lights disappeared into the darkness.
Free Planets Alliance’s Minster of Logistic was Sydney Sitolet. Fleet Admiral Sitolet was a strong black man about two meters tall. He wasn’t one of those brutish types, but as a military supervisor or strategist, he did have skills. At the same time, he was famous for easy to get close to therefore, was very welcomed by others.
The position, Minster of Logistic, was very high indeed. In battles, he was the highest acting commander of the Alliance. The highest commander was Alliance’s highest council’s speaker. Below the highest chain of command were the military administration system of the Defense Minster and the military command system of the Logistic.
But within Free Planet’s Alliance, these two positions were not easy to fill, as one of them needed to lead the administration while the other needed to execute the commands. If they couldn’t cooperate then it would be very hard to do anything. If their attitudes were not compatible and conflicting, then the military organization and control would be difficult to continue. The relationship between Truniht and Sitolet was in the same kind of situation as the first situation described above, a hostile, but neutral kind.
Just as Yang walked in the office, Fleet Admiral Sitolet immediately stood up and welcomed him. When Yang was in the military academy, the fleet admiral was the principle. He was a difficult man even at that time.
“Please sit, ‘Rear Admiral’ Yang.”
“Rear Admiral …..”
Fleet Admiral Sitolet just begun to say, Yang already sat down. Then the Fleet Admiral went right into the issue. “I have something to tell you. They already decided to promote you to Rear Admiral tomorrow. Do you know why you were promoted?”
“Is it because we lost the battle?”
Fleet Admiral cracked a smile after hear him say this. “You are the same as before, nothing had changed. From the time in the academy, you were a uninspired kid. You looked mild, but full of sharp words.”
“Really? But I think that is the truth, Principle ….. No, Minster.”
“Why do you think so?”
“Ancient strategical texts said that one must be rewarded after losing a battle. This time we lost this badly so we must take care of the morale of the people or else.”
Yang said this with perfect composure. The Fleet Admiral only can forced a smile. He crossed his hands and look at his student. “You are completely correct. Because we lost this battle, the morale of the populace is dropping. If we don’t create a hero at this moment, it would be very bad. This hero is you, Rear Admiral Yang!”
Yang smiled though he wasn’t feeling any happiness.
“I’m thinking that you probably don’t like to be forced to become a hero, but it can also be said as a duty of a soldier! You actually did achieved many war exploits and Defense Ministry committee and Logistic are only doing what it should be doing!”
“Does Defense Minster Truniht express anything?”
“At this point, personal opinions are no long important. The Defense Minister is the same. Everyone needs to do what’s best for the country.”
This is the so-called principle! On the surface it is like that, but didn’t Truniht just ordered his Patriotic Knights cult to harass me?
“On the issues, if we used your original battle plan, perhaps we would have defeated the enemy.”
Yang answered as careful as he can. Fleet Admiral Sitolet felt his chin and was deep in thought.
“If we have the chance, we can give Lohengramm a taste of his medicine!”
“That will have to depend on if he will cooperate or not. Last time he used a smaller force and defeated our big force. He must be feeling mightly confident. If he plans to use the same tactics later, my battle plan will turn the battle around. But …..”
“This kind of event will not likely happen again. Because small force deafeats a big force is not really tactical, but more of a surprised strategy. Count Lohengramm must have known this. The next time he attacks, he will bring a much larger force.”
“I agree. The foremost factor is to have more military strength than the enemy. But, those amateurs still like to hear about the surprised strategy you said before. Even when you have a small force and cannot defeat a larger enemy force, they will think of you as a incapable commander. Besides of which we did lost with superior numbers…..”
Fleet Admiral’s dark face showed distress in his emotion. The government and the populace really didn’t forgive or understand this lost battle.
“Rear Admiral Yang, I think that our Alliance military strategy is erroneous. If not, then why with twice the number of the enemy, we still lost this badly?”
“Because our error lies in the how to use our military.” Yang simply said. “Beside some command methods, the fact that we have more number than the enemy is enough to let our soldiers feel lax. Since we have more, we all feel very safe.”
“In this new radar and electronic era, war had become a button pressing act. At this era of supreme accuracy, using military also have its set of rules. And that is concentration of forces and fast reaction, mobile movement types. One rule that covers all is: we cannot waste any effort. Count Lohengramm is this rule’s practitioner.”
“Look back at our military. When the enemy crushed the fourth fleet, the other two fleets wasted their time and continued their original battle plan. They didn’t have enough information about enemy condition or intelligence. All three fleets were under isolated conditions. Therefore, they can only fight individually. This the result of not concentrating forces and not react quickly.”
This was the longest speech Yang had given in these recent days. He felt somewhat emotional.
“It was just like that. You are very correct.”
Fleet Admiral nodded.
“I have another already decided issue to discuss with you. I am changing fleets’ composition. The ships of the Fourth and Sixth fleet that had survived, plus some new ships will be formed into the Thirteen’s fleet with you as its main commander.”
Yang’s neck suddenly became frozen.
“According to regulations, isn’t a fleet must be commanded by a Vice Admiral or above?”
“This new fleet only has half the size of a regular fleet. It only has 6400 ships and 70,000 personnel. And, the first order of the Thirteen’s fleet is to attack the Iserlohn Fortress.
The minister’s voice was very stern.
Yang almost froze completely. After a while, he finally came back to his senses and very slowly said. “You mean that place in which six times we used three fleets to attack but failed and have a stationary guard of more than 15,000 ships’ Iserlohn Fortress?”
“Half a fleet to attack Iserlohn?”
“You think that is possible?”
“If someone else, I don’t think it has any hope, but if it is you, then I have the utmost confidence!”
“If you have confidence …..” Yang thought that he was just inciting him. How many times in history, did people, just because of this sentence and for their own glory, went to do those impossible things? And those who did all the inciting all got away without any responsibility?”
Yang was quite.
“You don’t have confidence?”
The minister asked Yang, but Yang didn’t answer. If he didn’t have confidence, he would already say so. Yang did believe he could win attacking Iserlohn Fortress and could sweep away the dark clouds of past defeats. The reason why he didn’t answer was because he despised that this was a Minister Truniht’s set up.
“If you can take the new fleet, attack Iserlohn Fortress, and achieve a great victory …..” Sitolet profoundly looked at Yang. “Regardless of what Defense Minster Truniht’s personal opinion of you is, at that time, he will be filled with admiration of your ability.”
Of course this minister’s position also will be raised. This looks like it is not just for a strategical battle, but more so, a political battle! This minister is such a crafty old scoundrel.
“I will do what I can.” Yang said it after thought about it for a long time.
“Ah! You finally agreed?” Minster Sitolet seemed extremely happy. “I will order Cazellnu to actively prepare the new fleet and its equipments. If you need anything, just ask him. Everything will be to your satisfaction.”
Yang thought. When to attack? The minister’s term will end in seventy days. To continue for another term, he must be hoping that the battle of Iserlohn Fortress can be concluded within this term. If the battle requires thirty days, then the attack operation, at the latest, should begin in forty days.
Truniht also seems to not care about his promotion and battle strategy. He must be thinking that using half a fleet to attack Iserlohn will never succeed. Then he will have a reason to publically remove Siolet and Yang Wenli. At this time, perhaps he is already celebrating Yang Wenli’s action of digging his own grave!
Yang thought again. Too bad I will not get a chance to drink anymore of Julian’s red tea in the near future.