The Mech Touch Chapter 1019


1017 Ethos


After his lengthy conversation with Lord Javier, Ves struggled to make sense of the implications of what he heard. While talking with the Vesian noble opened his mind to the perspective of a future Vesian leader, it also sent him into confusion.

Some of the things that Lord Javier said was too preposterous! Yet the problem was that Ves couldn't quite offer a strong retort!

Shortly after he returned to his cabin, Secretary Lowe knocked on his hatch. As soon as he entered, he made the purpose of his visit clear.

"We're aware that you've met with Lord Javier of House Eneqqin."

"Is he supposed to run around freely on the ship?"

"He is never out of sight and we have assigned guards to shadow him wherever he goes."

"So what prompted this visit?"

"I've come for two reasons, Mr. Larkinson. First, Senator Tovar is aware that you've spoken extensively with Lord Javier. For the duration of the journey, he wishes for you to keep in touch with the noble. It's best if you befriend each other."

"What? Become friends with a Vesian noble? Do you know how pompous he is?" Ves frowned.

"It is exactly because he is a Vesian noble that it is worth it for you to attempt to befriend him. Remember the purpose of this journey. We are on the way to discuss the possibility of achieving an early halt in the war. In order to accomplish such a difficult task, we must charm and befriend our Vesian counterparts. Consider befriending Lord Javier as a practice run. As long as you can tolerate his presence and share something in common with him, you'll do better once the real peace talks begin."

The secretary's words rang true to Ves. He could see the logic in it. If Ves could buddy up with someone as loathsome as Lord Javier, he would probably be able to schmooze with the rest of his kind of people at the site of the peace talks.

Still, Ves felt inherently disgusted at the thought of deepening his association with Lord Javier. As a Brighter, he didn't think he was compatible with someone as unabashedly Vesian as that detestable noble scion!

Secretary Lowe picked up on Ves' struggle to accept the assignment. "You are troubled, aren't you, Mr. Larkinson? Words are words. No matter what Lord Javier says, you must stay true to your Brighter heritage."

"That's easy for you to say, but how am I supposed to deal with it? I feel like I'll go mad if I keep listening to the nonsense that Lord Javier spews on a regular basis."

"This is the other reason why I've come. Can I sit down?"

"Go ahead."

Ves sat on the seat next to the desk terminal while Secretary Lowe sat on the surface of the bed.

After making himself comfortable, the diplomatic aide began to explain. "The topics that Lord Javier brought up all have their roots with the Rubarthan way of thought. The New Rubarth Empire still exerts a marked influence on the Komodo Star Sector despite being separated by tens of thousands of light-years. If you know your history, then you know that the Bright Republic and the Vesia Kingdom are both off-shoots of the imperialistic first-rate superstate. What's the difference, then?"


"The Bright Republic adopted the republic system while the Vesia Kingdom descended into a feudal system."

"That's the simple, textbook answer that ten-year olds learn by heart in school. Think beyond the obvious. What distinguishes our two states despite our common root? Why did we diverge?"

Ves knew that Secretary Lowe tried to guide him towards an answer, but his mind was still a bit too befuddled to think straight. "I think the founders of the Bright Republic tried to seek peace, while the founders of the Vesia Kingdom just wanted to rule over their own private kingdom."

"Good answer, Mr. Larkinson. It's close to the answer in my mind. Let me phrase it in this way. The Bright Republic and the Vesia Kingdom are both distant children descended from the New Rubarth Empire. One is a rebellious child that hates its parent state and rejects their brutal way of life. The other admires its parent state and wants to replicate that glory on their own. Does that make you understand where our two states stand?"

Sometimes, an analogy provided more clarity than a direct explanation. Equating the Bright Republic and Vesia Kingdom as children of the New Rubarth Empire was a refreshingly clear way to describe their relationship between each other. Some of the fog that settled in his mind began to clear.

"I see." Ves said with a thoughtful expression. "So the major differences in the way our states turned out to be is due to how much we diverged from our roots? Does the New Rubarth Empire still matter out here in the galactic rim?"

Secretary Lowe gave him a patronizing smile. "Mr. Larkinson, the entire galaxy has adopted most of Rubarth's core beliefs. The Societal Vitality Theory that the New Rubarth Empire has espoused as the principal reason for their revolution and breakaway from the stagnant Terrans is in vogue among many states throughout the galaxy. There is word that even the aliens have taken note of this theory in an attempt to patch up their shortcomings."

This was a bold claim! Despite the pervasive presence of the MTA and CFA throughout much of the galaxy, Secretary Lowe boldly stated that it was actually the Rubarthan school of thought that became the most dominant ideology across the stars!

The strangest thing about this statement was that Ves felt as if it wasn't wrong!

"What about the Terrans?" He weakly asked.

"The Terrans even they moved into the direction of the dominant beliefs that underpin New Rubarth Empire, although they do their best to deny it. They are far too proud to concede that the Rubarthans have a better point than them, but make no mistake, the Terrans have also moved in the direction of their breakaway rivals, if only hesitantly and half-heartedly. Their continued shuffling and continued unwillingness to embrace the Rubarthan beliefs has given them the reputation that they are weak and in decline. As far as the rest of the galaxy is concerned, the Rubarthan model is the best blueprint that human civilization should follow!"

All of these assertions sounded extremely bold. Yet when Ves thought about his exposure to the Greater Terran United Confederation and the New Rubarth Empire, he did have to admit that the influence of the latter first-rate superstate was much more pervasive across the Bright Republic.

Ves hardly heard anything great about the Terrans. Of course, sheer distance played a major part in why the Terrans never came up in the news, yet this did not explain why Rubarth got mentioned from time to time.

The Terrans represented the old while the Rubarthans represented the new.

The Terrans represented an outdated way of thought while the Rubarthans boldly propagated a newer, stronger way of thought.

The Terrans was past news, a relic of the past that stubbornly clung to life. The Rubarthans on the other hand constantly reached new heights and continued to advance the development of human civilization!

"I feel like we're giving the Terrans an unnecessary bad wrap. They've lost a lot of territory, I admit, but they're still on par with the Rubarthans, right?"

"That's true. The Greater Terran United Confederation is an old but stable polity. As much as the Rubarthans constantly pursue greatness, they are also great risk takers. The Terrans serve as a useful counterpart in that they are as stable as a rock and not prone to chasing after the unknown. Even so, the Rubarthans managed to convince themselves and much of human space that struggling, pushing forward and taking risks is the best way to keep humanity strong and spirited!"

"How does this tie back into the Bright Republic and the Vesia Kingdom?"

"Come now, Mr. Larkinson. After hearing all of this, you should be able to form your own opinion. As a native of the Bright Republic, how would you describe the ethos of your home state?"

Ves furrowed his brows as he summed up his beliefs about his home state. "I would say that the Bright Republic is a state that attempts to be more enlightened to the realities of living in this dangerous galaxy. It tried its hand at peace and failed, but even so we reject the barbarity and backwardness of more despotic states."

At least, that was the ideal the Bright Republic should have pursued and what Ves always believed in. Yet his recent encounters with the upper echelons of power made him question whether the Bright Republic was all that different from the barbaric states it always looked down upon.

If the Bright Republic ate up the Societal Vitality Theory like all the other warmongering states, how could it claim to be any better?

"Well spoken, Mr. Larkinson!" Secretary Lowe appeared to take no notice of Ves' ambivalence. "While there is no way of getting around the fact that the Bright Republic has been forced to become pragmatic in their beliefs, we nonetheless hold to an ideal that we must hold ourselves higher as humans. While Senator Tovar does believe that the Societal Vitality Theory is a necessary guide to keep the Republic strong, it does not mean we have to adopt all the other traits and excesses of Rubarth. We do not adopt theories without proof that they are accurate and we do not adopt the customs that are in fashion before evaluating whether they fit with our ideals."

"As opposed to the Vesia Kingdom which has followed much closer in the footsteps of the New Rubarth Empire?" Ves asked back.

"Exactly. While the Vesia Kingdom is nowhere near as sophisticated as the New Rubarth Empire, you can see the resemblance between the two in how they both foster internal competition. In fact, the Vesians went into further extremes by relying on the Bright-Vesia Wars to test whether the heirs of their noble houses are worthy to take up the mantle of the older generation of rulers. Tell me, Ves, do you think it's pleasant for you to live under such a regime?"

"I wouldn't like to live in such a stratified society where commoners are openly treated like dirt by the nobles." Ves replied honestly.

What he didn't say was that the Bright Republic might not be much better with founder families and a small number of plutocrats holding all the most important levers of power. They just did a better job at hiding their pervasive influence.

Ves couldn't help but grow cynical about the sordid ideologies that drove both states to behave in the way they did. Even so, he also felt as if he gained a greater understanding on how the galaxy and human space really worked.

He should be thankful for that, at least.

"The point I'm trying to make is that it is not wrong to be proud of the Bright Republic. You are a son of the Republic, and on top of that you are part of a family with a long and storied history of service to the state! While the Bright Republic may not be the utopia that everyone was hoping for, it is still a stable society where people get rewarded for their work, where mothers can feed, clothe and raise their children in peace, where servicemen get taken care of by the military, where the rule of law is taken seriously and nobody can harm anyone else with impunity and more. Is this not the kind of state that you are proud to be a citizen of, Mr. Larkinson?"

Ves smiled. Those basic truths mostly rang true. While there were differences in the prosperity and development of the different planets of the Republic, there was no doubt that every citizen were largely able to live a fruitful life by pursuing their opportunities.

"A state where the common man or woman isn't treated like dirt is a state worth fighting for!" He declared.

While his conviction didn't sound very specific, Ves formed a simple enough narrative to guide him forward when he navigated the murky politics of high society in the future. That should be enough!