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A note from rook-iv

This was supposed to be the last chapter, but I split the finale again!

Government Outpost 32, Zakabara Prime

Whoever built this outpost was an idiot, Sajark decided.

It was possibly the most tactically indefensible position on the entire continent. Sitting at the bottom of a steep valley where enemies could fire down on them all day, the only reason they hadn't abandoned this compound yet was because its hundred or so defenders have been ordered to hold every inch of ground from the rebels.

This was day two of the assault.

The rebels attacked in waves. They blew a whistle to signify a new wave. It was a primitive way of coordinating, but it boosted morale for their troops and put the government security soldiers on edge.

Whenever the whistle sounded, hundreds of rebels with rifles or even just melee weapons would charge into the valley towards their outpost. Sajark thought he would probably hear that whistle to the day he died.

Which could very well be today.

Sajark had burnt through at least a hundred thousand rounds of ammunition. They were lucky. The resupply trucks had come in the day before yesterday, right before the attack started. If the rebels kept up their attack, they would become less lucky.

The commanders of the base kept reassuring them that the relief reinforcements were coming, but the cavalry was apparently preoccupied elsewhere.

There were a lot of rebels. They were everywhere. And this badly built outpost probably wasn't on Popptaw's list of high priority installations to protect.

Sajark followed his training and the example of the veterans. Shoot, take cover to reload, pop out somewhere else, and keep shooting. When the bird next to you calls out a target, suppress it with volume of fire.

He didn't know how many rebels he killed, but the barrel of his weapon melted and had to be changed, several times. That was not a concern. There were plenty of weapons lying around without their owners.

By the end of the second day, he'd become a veteran too. They all were.

"Medic!" he heard someone yell out in the distance. Two tired but well-disciplined field medics grabbed an improvised stretcher and ran out towards the voice. Two minutes later, Sajark saw them come back with a fellow who had been shot once in his left wing but was still clinging onto life. They'd probably get a medal for this, he mused.

The rebels didn't stop at night. If anything, they tried harder. If they could get into the camp, their melee weapons and otherwise inaccurate old guns could actually do some real damage to the soldiers. The base had to constantly fire off illumination flares into the air to see whether more were coming.

Nobody in the outpost got any sleep. They just waited for the whistles.

On day three, the rebels celebrated dawn with yet another whistle. This time, Sajark saw what must be thousands of determined birds gliding down the hill with nothing but the wings on their back and sharp knives clutched in their beaks.

They didn't need their own weapons, Sajark realized. There were plenty lying around everywhere.

The machine gunners in the fortified buildings spat fire at them, cutting down many on the way down into puffs of feather and flesh.

It was not enough.

A panicked voice came over the radio from the barracks: "Enemies in the wire! They're right next to us! We're being overrun!"

Every internal security soldier still alive in the outpost clutched their rifles in their wings and said a silent prayer for the poor birds still left in the barracks.


Planetary Palace, Zakabara Prime

"Popptaw, there are rumors that troops are beginning to stop patrolling some areas and neighborhoods controlled by The Students due to unacceptable casualties. Some outposts are seeing sustained attacks," reported a Lord of internal security.

Another Lord complained, "our supply routes keep getting cut because they've taken over many roads. Some of them are even taking our weapons and turning them against us."

"It's not all bad news," an intel Lord tried to inject some positivity. "We've been using some of the new weapons we copied from the humans to some positive effect. Especially the ones that fire automatically. The Students are throwing themselves at us and sustaining many casualties. They can't possibly keep up forever. We just need to resupply them."

"We can't let these traitors win! From now on, we will show these mobs what they're truly dealing with," Popptaw ordered, "Canouah! Have your ships work closely with the internal security troops and support them. They aren't doing anything against the Seconders or humans in space anyway!"

"We will let the rebels know what the meaning of high ground is!"


Industrial District 4, Zakabara Prime

The ambush started out so well.

The target was a convoy of trucks carrying ammunition for the regime. The biggest advantage the internal security troops had on the ground were their human-imitation automatic weapons, mass-produced in assembly lines all over Zakabara Prime.

The rebels had managed to take over some of them, but with supply chains nonexistent and the workers needed to operate them scattered, they had a long way to catch up. Most rebels had slow firing rifles, or worse, farm tools. Some units simply set traps for the enemies and ran away before firefights could develop.

This firepower came with drawbacks, one of which was their constant need for resupply and new ammunition. The Students could target those and starve their units and then slowly pick them apart. In theory.

In this case, they managed to stop the trucks. A volley of shots at the front windshield killed the lead driver instantly.

The rebels guessed that this was a minimally staffed convoy, mostly carrying supplies, with little room for infantry. They were wrong.

Dozens of well-trained soldiers poured out of the trucks under fire. These guys had automatic weapons, the rebels realized. It was too late. They had to fall back. One by one, the Prime rebels died or fell back further into the city.

The soldiers didn't chase too hard. After all, that wasn't their job.


Government Outpost 32, Zakabara Prime

Sajark was somehow still alive. He took cover behind a sandbag, taking potshots at what was formerly their barracks. The rebels there had quickly taken out the small token force posted there, and they'd taken their former positions.

Judging from the increased volume of fire coming back from that direction, they've obviously found the guards' automatic rifles more useful than their own.

With the enemy pushing right up to them, things were getting more desperate, if that were possible. Sajark looked over at the ammunition bunker less than ten steps away, and he realized that he was the last line of defense for the entire outpost. Once they took this position, there would be no more ammo for the rest of the troops. The rebels could just wait them out at their leisure.

Sajark took a low position on the sandbag, hoping that he could stall long enough… He wasn't sure what for. The reinforcements weren't coming. They'd given up hope for that hours ago. But he would make the traitors pay for every inch of ground they took. Thousands of them had already died taking this useless outpost, and he was determined to take more of them with him.

He popped out of cover for a second, and sighted in on the barracks windows. He squeezed off a short burst of rounds and was rewarded by a cloud of feathers and a mist of blood as they found his target. Two of his squad mates, wounded in several places already, ran towards him from the medic tent to reinforce his position.

They all knew what would happen if the rebels took this outpost and captured them. Their commanders had told them. The savages would feed them to the humans as food. The humans ate birds. Everyone knew that.

They would rather die fighting.


Industrial District 4, Zakabara Prime

"You guys see anything down there?" Munnifa asked. As the pilot, she only had access to instruments and radar, not the scopes that her commander and gunner were looking through.

"Not much," Rekala the gunner replied. The district had been mostly cleansed of rebels. The soldiers on the ground were taking some casualties, but the leadership found that acceptable and the enemy was getting pushed back.

He felt lucky that he was sitting in a ship in orbit, rather than on the ground with the grunts. Even with the advanced weapons they were now fielding, they sometimes found themselves in ambushes. They still died. After all, they weren't human.

The commander listened intently on her headset for a second, and then relayed her orders. "There's an insurgent cell that retreated from an attack on one of our resupply convoys. We've been ordered to take them out with one of our new ground missiles."

Rekala's eyes lit up with excitement. They hadn't even tested those yet! Supposedly they were based on a human air-to-surface design that a rogue group on Earth had managed to sell to the Zakabarans.

The commander fed input from her orders into the radar. Munnifa fed the radar information to the gunner. And Rekala pulled the trigger.

The only thing they heard was the cargo bay doors opening and closing as the missile ejected out of their ship. They watched as the symbol marking the missile disappeared into the atmosphere on their radar.

"Did we hit anything good?" Munnifa asked, hoping her crew would have some insights she didn't have on her radar.

"Can't tell. I'm not even sure where we fired it at," Rekala replied.

After about five minute, they got another message on their radio: enemy warehouse destroyed, great work space birds!

It was very sterile, Rekala noted. Exactly like in their training. They just hit a button and were told whether they got hits after a while. He hoped that's how it would continue to be.


Spaceport 30, Zakabara Prime

As they came in to land, Munnifa noticed that there were a lot less civilian ships at the spaceport. That made sense. After all, there was a civil war going on. The traders would know to avoid the spaceports that were close to conflict zones.

As she powered down the ship's systems for refueling, she heard some commotion on the ramp.

Munnifa walked over to see what was going on. It was Rekala arguing with another uniformed bird.

"… how are we supposed to do our jobs with half?"

"You'll have to make do like all the other ships! They're all getting the same orders," explained the supply officer. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have other ships to get to!"

Disgusted, Rekala spat on the ground as the bird walked off.

"What's the matter?" Munnifa asked, wondering what that was all about.

"Apparently, there's not enough ammunition for all the ships. The rebels are everywhere, and we have limited stocks of explosives. We don't get missiles. We don't get rail gun ammunition. And they only gave us half our cannon rounds!" he angrily complained.

"Alright, alright," she tried to calm him down. "That means we get to fly easier missions, right?"

"Don't you get it?" Rekala asked in a low voice. "It looks like we're winning the war because we're beating them from the sky, but haven't you noticed? There's more and more of them every time. And we're running lower on ammunition and supplies everywhere."

Munnifa wanted to counter his defeatism, but she didn't know how to reply. Luckily, she didn't have to as she saw the commander jogging back from her short briefing.

"Looks like we drew the fun mission this time, crew," the commander grinned. "Get ready to make room in the back. We're transporting troops into battle this time!"


Industrial District 6, Zakabara Prime

"So, where are we dropping?" Munnifa asked the birds in the back. They were a small squad of 20, crammed in the back seat with their weapons clutched in their wings. It wasn't comfortable, but this was going to be a short ride.

Looking out the small window, one of the troopers asked, "you see that square in between those four new factories?"

She nodded. He said, "it would be nice if you could put us down there, but if that's not possible, somewhere close where we could walk to it would be fine."

Munnifa nodded again. Like most other pilots in the Zakabaran fleet, she did not have a lot of flight experience. After all, fuel and training were expensive. They were spending much of their GDP on the fleet, but that went for development of new ships and equipment, not for training.

However, her species was familiar with the concept of flight, and a lot of these things just came intuitively to them. It was a small square, but she should be able to put the ship down in the center.

As she came in to land, Rekala noticed something on his zoom scope. "There are people on that factory roof, and those don't look like ours!"

Right as he said that, he saw sporadic muzzle flashes coming from the roof.

"They're shooting at us. Permission to fire?" he looked calmly at the commander.

She replied, "fire at will, gunner."

He armed the explosive cannon, targeted the roof where he's seeing the flashes, and squeezed off a shot. It disappeared in a cloud of smoke, and he stopped seeing flashes.

Then, he noticed shapes running up onto the other factory buildings. It was far, but he could see quite a few of them. Not being able to tell whether they were friendly, he didn't want to shoot at them before he could confirm their identity.

A second later, they answered the question by opening fire too. One lucky bullet even managed to hit the moving spacecraft, but it bounced clearly off without even scratching the paint of the hard outer shell.

Rekala bared his beak and targeted each roof. The rebels on each disappeared under the cloud of shrapnel that followed each shell. One factory building wasn't built sturdy enough. A small portion of the roof caved in to the force of the shot, exposing parts of the factory interior as the dust settled.

That's when he noticed a large crowd of fighters through the hole, hiding inside the factory. He felt a chill up his spine. There were so many of them!

"Commander, we can't land in the square. There's too many of them in the buildings. The ship may be fine, but once we open the ramp, all of our infantry will instantly get overrun."

The commander frowned at the development and turned to the troopers. "I thought this area was supposed to be ours."

"It was a couple of days ago," their sergeant said, frowning at his map too. "I think if you take us down to the north side of the district, we could maybe link up with our guys on the ground and see where we're supposed to go."


North Industrial Sector 4, Zakabara Prime

The north side of the district was in tatters. It was clear that a lot of air and space support missions had been here. Many buildings had collapsed, and even the ones that hadn't were not spared. Every building had several holes. Rekala was glad he didn't know anyone in this area. He didn't see how anyone could have survived.

Zooming in on one of the ruins, he saw a series of muzzle flashes coming from two of the buildings. "I see a firefight on the ground," he pointed out on his screen, "should we do something about that?"

The commander nodded and hit the transmit button on her radio, "this is orbital to friendly birds on the ground. Mark your building with green smoke so we can provide you with support!"

Moments later, they saw smoke wafting into the sky from one of the buildings. "Should I fire on the other building?" Rekala asked.

"Demolish it," she ordered emotionlessly.

He complied. The rebels disappeared under a relentless barrage of explosive cannon fire. The building collapsed. Yet another casualty in the great battle over Prime.

"Thanks for the support orbital!" came the reply on the radio, "that was quite a firefight we had going before you arrived."

"No problem," the commander replied. Then remembering what they were here for, she asked, "where's your local headquarters? We have 20 birds that we need to drop off."

"Haha," chuckled the other end of the radio humorlessly, "local headquarters? You're looking right at it. We'll welcome any extra wings we can get."

As Munnifa started landing at a clearing behind their building, Rekala saw them cheer the incoming spaceship. The birds were boarding up holes in the wall, hauling sandbags, and tending to the injured. They smelled horrible, but their morale was high. The air and space support were saving the day and pushing the rebels back everywhere.

Rekala admired their tenacity and strength, but this trip made him glad he wasn't a ground pounder.

The spaceship life was better, he decided. He had a second family here, too. He was glad for Munnifa, who he treated like a sister. Their commander was a bit aloof, but that was okay. She was unflappable in a fight, and made the hard choices for them. They respected her.

The fresh troopers bid their farewell to the crew and ran into the building to find the local commanding officer. The garrison loaded their heavily wounded onto the back of their ship to evacuate for treatment, and they took off.

All in all, a good day's work in the service of Zakabara Prime.


Spaceport 30, Zakabara Prime

Munnifa was having a serious crush on her crewmate. Rekala was handsome, observant, and he always treated her so nicely, even if she knew she didn't have the sharpest beak or the most colorful feathers.

Unfortunately, this was a military ship, and she didn't want that to get in the way of their unit cohesion, so she kept her feelings to herself. Bottled under that outer shell of calm friendliness was a bird desperate for attention.

After the victories of the day and the excitement of flying through it all, she let the adrenaline get into her head. The rules were silly, she decided. They worked together so closely, and what does the brass know about them, huh?

So, she shyly asked him out.

"Sorry, Munnifa, but you know the rules," Rekala rejected her apologetically. He felt bad about saying no, but he just didn't think about her that way. "Besides, I'm sure you can find other birds who would-"

Munnifa stormed off without hearing whatever drivel he was going to spout at her next. As the adrenaline and sad reality came crashing down on her, she realized what a stupid bird she'd been. She stomped her way towards the alcohol vendor.

Officially, alcohol from humans was banned. Officially, this vendor only sold Zakabara Second alcohol. At least that's what it said on the bottle.

"Can I have a glass of whiskey?" she asked. After paying, the vendor pulled out a shot glass and filled it to the brim with Kentucky's finest bourbon.

Before, he used to sell these by the bottle, but after hearing about the human restaurant businesses offworld, he'd put down a few stools in front of his booth and started selling his wares by the glass.

It was much, much more profitable. And that led to yet another business opportunity…

"You must be having a bad day, pilot," he observed to Munnifa.

"Yeah, just got rejected by a bird I like," she replied, looking at him.

Upon closer inspection, he had a disheveled appearance. His feathers were uncombed, and he wore no paint on his beak. On one hand, it was kind of gross. On the other, she was digging the bad bird vibe. Maybe she could take him back to the ship…

The vendor wasn't hitting on her, however, and he replied nodding, "ah, that happens. A lot of my customers are like that. I might have something that may help you though." He winked at her as he grabbed something from the back of his booth.

She saw him fill up an interesting tube contraption with some kind of white powder from a plastic resealable bag. It had some sort of straw-like device at the other end.

"Here," he said, "hold this up to your nose and breath in."

"What is it?" she asked curiously. This didn't look like alcohol to her.

The vendor looked around nervously, and said, "it's an alien product. We just call it Mountaintop-High around here."

"Alien? Is it contraband?" Munnifa asked.

"No, no, this is completely legal," he hurried to explain, "it comes from Second! I even have the receipts for it!"

She didn't bother to ask more, and she let him show her how to hook it up to her nose. Munnifa breathed in the powder, and she coughed at their unexpected intrusion into her lungs.

Then, it hit her.

It felt wonderful. Exhilarating.

The most glorious thing she'd ever experienced. It felt like she was flying fast in her spaceship just inches above the ground, faster than allowed by the laws of physics.

And then, minutes later, as quickly as it came, the good feeling went away.

"Can I have some more of the powder?" she wheezed at the alcohol vendor.

"Sure! I have plenty. But you gotta pay for it. 120 credits a gram."

"What? One twenty!" she whined, "but what about earlier when you just gave me some!"

"Yes, that's our policy. First taste is free, but you gotta pay for anything after that. You can have the feeding device for free if you get two grams today."

Munnifa thought about it for a second. It was very expensive, worth months' of pay, but she had some money in her account from all the pay she'd saved up as a combat pilot.

And she did want to feel the high again.


Government Outpost 32, Zakabara Prime

The third night of the attack was approaching.

Sajark looked at the barracks. There seemed to be a lull in the enemy's firepower from there. Maybe if he could get his squad together, they could attempt to retake it…

Then, he heard the cursed whistle again. This time, the number of enemies screaming down the valley from all directions almost blotted out the sun. How were there so many more of them?!

Sajark fired wildly. Empty magazine, reload-

He felt a bullet puncture his left wing. It wasn't immediately fatal, but he slumped down onto the ground. He felt blood run down his back as he gasped for air. One of his squad mates hurried over to dress his wound.

He was tired. He hadn't slept in three days. Looking into the sky as he waited for the end, he thought he saw three unusual shapes in the sky above.

Then his radio buzzed:

"This is orbital support to the loyal birds at outpost thirty-two. Mark your current positions with green smoke."

Sajark watched as his squad mate complied hurriedly, and green smoke filled his vision.

The ground shook. Fire poured from the sky for minutes. The occupied barracks crumbled into dust. The surrounding valley was bathed in high explosives and littered with the bodies of the dead traitors.

He could no longer hear. He wasn't sure if that was from him losing consciousness due to blood loss or because his eardrums had ruptured from the bombardment.

As his vision faded to black, Sajark thought he saw an emergency evacuation spacecraft coming in to land at the outpost.


Planetary Palace, Zakabara Prime

"The resistance is crumbling," one confident ground Lord reported. "We are driving the enemy back in every sector, and we expect to fully regain control of our planet in a few more weeks!"

Another ground Lord spoke up, "we're having a lot of success with our new strategy. Space Lord Canouah has been a lot of help with his spaceships! And Popptaw, your idea of investing our economy fully into those a couple of years ago has really paid off in spades! And with the fight calming down in some areas, space shipping between Prime and Second is returning to normal."

Popptaw nodded in appreciation and saw Canouah do the same on the viewscreen. He had complained a little about some of their ships using up their supply of ammunition, but Zakabara's factories would soon all be under her control again, and they would be able to produce more.

The intel Lord spoke up, "we've also learned of some new technology that allows us to track the enemies by their radio signals. This has allowed us to find cells effortlessly, and they haven't figured out how we're getting to them." He declined to mention where he found this technology. The same place as usual.

The intel Lord continued, we are seeing worrying signs of discipline in some of our units. Several officers have reported their troops using a highly addictive alien substance called Mountaintop-High that would degrade their mental capabilities. They're asking us for guidance on that."

Popptaw's eyes narrowed, and she asked, "alien goods? From offworld?"

"Yes, we raided a vendor and found that she had receipts for them from Second," the intel Lord reported. "Valid as it is, the substance is still dangerous for our birds to get too dependent on it, as is the case in some units."

Popptaw nodded more. If this was bringing down combat effectiveness…

"Ok, let our birds know that Mountaintop-High is now banned! If we made it illegal for them to use it, they would surely stop!"


Underground Students Safehouse, Zakabara Prime

"We've lost contact with another one of our outpost attack forces. They must have gotten wiped out to the last bird," Shikoba reported sadly but honestly to her cell. "The new combined arms strategy they're employing is too effective. All they have to do when we ambush them is to pin us down with their automatic weapons, and then cannons, railguns, or even missiles from the sky follow."

Morale was low. Many cells were even deserting or just lying low.

"We are not soldiers, and we only have very limited equipment," Pohanadas replied miserably, "maybe there is some kind of ceasefire option we can bring up with the regime for prisoner exchange?"

"We can't just give up!" Shikoba insisted.

Then, she added in a quieter voice, "we're getting some new equipment from offworld that we think may be able to even the odds a little."

"Offworld?" Pohanadas glanced sharply at her, "what are you talking about?"

"I've been talking to some human groups," Shikoba said to some surprised gasps and wide eyes, "they've been talking about sending us some of their weapons for a while, and it seems like they may finally start coming through."

The humans' weapons had mythical status, but like most things they made, they were costly and more importantly banned for civilians on Zakabara Prime. None of them had even seen one yet.

"Even if we get new weapons," Pohanadas said, trying to contain her rising hope, "we'll still lose every battle when the ships get above us."

"We'll see about that. We can hold out at least another month before these tyrants. We just need to keep the faith: the will of the people will prevail!"


Spaceport 14, Zakabara Prime

"It's fertilizer. For crops and farms. It's from Zakabara Second," Zoron said, handing over a slightly crumpled receipt to the suspicious internal security guard, "you guys are really taking the inspections seriously now, eh?"

Ignoring her last comment, the guard handed the document over to another who had only recently learned to read. Literacy was still not that common on Prime. He glanced suspiciously at her; aliens were really only tolerated in Prime ports because there simply weren't enough native traders to ferry the volume of imported goods that they wanted. Any whiff that they were carrying foreign goods without proper documentation, and they were gone.

"It checks out," the other guard said almost reluctantly, handing her back her papers.

The guards poked and prodded her big bags of fertilizer with their batons but didn't ask her to open them. They smelled terrible, and after all, this was just one of hundreds of ships they had to inspect every day.

If they had looked more closely, they might have been even less happy with Zoron. Considerably less.

On her route between Second and Prime, a sleek and angular looking ship painted in black had mysteriously appeared alongside her and called her on the radio by name. Curious about its purpose, she allowed it to dock alongside her.

A well-dressed and polite human named Mark had transferred over several bags of fertilizer into her cargo. He wired her an eye-watering sum of credits and official looking documentation for the bags, and then told her the obviously fake names of the locals to hand it off to.

Zoron didn't ask him many questions, and she didn't bother to report this encounter to any of the authorities on Prime. Happy customers were repeat customers.

And currency had a funny way of making her forget small details like that.

 

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A note from rook-iv

Yes, Operation Galewind is a reference to that other well-known CIA campaign named after a tropical storm.


About the author

rook-iv

Bio: This is my first foray into creative writing since high school. That's... a while ago. So please give me feedback and critique so I can improve. I promise to read all of them and respond the best that I can!

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    ThouWhoShallNotBeNamed ago

    Fertilizer makes for some good land mines and pipe bombs

    edit: quick ps. you need a certain ratio of chemicals to go boom and for most regular types of fertilizer that's impossible

      rook-iv ago

      You, my friend, are thinking way too small. :D

      They already have explosives on Zakabara Prime.

      RobotSamurai ago

      Hmm must be something to fight ships.

      N33 ago

      Banning drugs? That's gonna end in a disaster, the thing with illegal things is that if they're illegal, anything is fair game. It's what happened with probation, and it's gonna happen with drugs. Though drugs are almost always harmful for the most part. Popptaw is gonna get screwed over. She thinks that the people will forget all the thing she's pulled when the war is done. But they aren't, the problem with suppressing rebellions is that even if you win, the people will still find ways to rebel and adapt to new environments in fighting. With those pipe bombs now in tow, the rebels can produce explosives which can act as mines and take out groups of ground troops. The rebellion in all likely good doesn't have to win. By the time the civil war is over and Popptaw is still the leader. The planet will have devastated so much that a recovery period is gonna take a long time. The planet may even never fully recover if the CIA plays it cards to create dozens of still active rebel networks, and with the tool the rebels have. Though one has to wonder if they've learned their lesson about supporting extremists. Support rebels, don't support extremists.

      HalfStarFiveStar ago

      And it's too bad that a bunch of definitely useless civilian-grade "fertilizer" was just illegally, priority delivered from humans to the citizens of Prime instead of anything useful, huh?

      rook-iv ago

      That's what it says on the receipt!

N33 ago

Can't wait for when the rebels receive some lighters and hair spray to create makeshift flamethrowers and fire grenades.

Yimmer ago

Let's see. Military committing mass murder against rebels that just want a fair political system. Introduction of an addictive drug that only gets the user high for a few minutes. But the drug is so intense that an addict spent MONTHS of combat pilot pay the instant they finish the first 'free' sample, for just a couple grams of the stuff. Good thing no one has discovered kinetic orbital bombardment yet, all you do is drop heavy items from space at ground targets.

The grammar and punctuation are still great. But this is not the rodeo I signed up for. I'm out.

Author should add the Tragedy and Traumatizing Content to the story tags.

    rook-iv ago

    The point of view of much of this chapter is specifically from the side of the Zakabara Prime internal security trooper. They're not the good guys fighting for a good cause. I feel like the other points like the cocaine, orbital bombardment, and why people buy stuff have been addressed in previous parts of the story. I'm sorry you feel this way about this chapter, and I will consider making things like this more clear within the story in my future writing/edit.

    I hope you give the rest of my story a chance (if you haven't), and if not, thank you for reading and the feedback anyway!

      HalfStarFiveStar ago

      "War crimes are okay when we do 'em to the baddies" and "Capitalism is good actually" aren't really good or defensible takes. I'm sticking around for now since it's sufficiently amusing, but a world of comic book villains defeated by uplifting native sovereign nations through spreading of Superior Western Ideas isn't... great for the critical reader.

      rook-iv ago

      There's one instance of a possible war crime on the side of the humans so far: in the previous story when a crew of humans may have shot at a surrendered pirate. Dealing coke isn't a war crime, but the things the CIA are doing will have consequences. Everything the humans are doing covertly on Prime aren't just going away quietly... If you want a sneak peek at what this is leading up to, look up what "The Students" is in the Pashto language, and what happens after Operation Cyclone.

      When soldiers of Prime shoot at civilians or demolish civilian buildings, those are war crimes, but again, they're not the good guys. After reading your feedback, I've realized that so far the villains I've written are 1D, and I will try to improve on that for the next arc.

      The ideas the humans are spreading aren't Western. The methods they are using are Western because the hand enforcing it is the CIA. For most of the story, what they're spreading is market economics, which is a universally human invention in that no major nation on Earth, mercantilist, capitalist, socialist, or communist, has ever abandoned.

      I try not to whitewash the bad of market development nor downplay its benefits in the story. The good is that it's great at lifting countries out of extreme poverty, as they have done in East Asia where I came from. The bad are the unintended consequences, symbolized by the Gakrek famine in which many creatures starve or the current world war in Zakabara, which is only possible because of industrialization.

      The next story arc deals with a lot of the issues that are being set up in this one, and will tackle the economics of migration of people, the establishment of inclusive political institutions, and the consequences of instability.

      I think "capitalism good" shouldn't be the message people should take from the story; rather if you were to boil it all down to its essence, I'm hopeful that the idea that should come across is "markets sometimes good, sometimes bad, so be very careful!"

      Thank you for your feedback!

      Jbreezy ago

      I feel like this story's approach isn't what you're saying at all. If anything, it's more realistic than stories that make war out to be always an act of evil, or which make capitalism to be wholy bad.

      The 'lesson', if there is one to take from this story, is not that war crimes are okay, but to give the perspective of someone who fights in a war, or who commits a war crime. In this case, there is a coup going on that fits into all the common points of pretty much every American coup from the 20th century on. American imperialism is something that is bad, and that is being portrayed by this story as a negative thing, you just have to look beyond the narrorators' and their perspectives. Can you really say the author talking about organizing the overthrow a government that kills a huge amounts of people, or talking about selling addicting drugs to an enemy state as an act of war is compatable with "War crimes are okay when we do 'em to the baddies"? It seems like a much more measured aproach where you, as the reader, have to see the issues, rather than the narrorator laying out that the things that are happening are a problem.

      And your perspective on capitalism in this story is even worse. This story is obviously written by someone with either a background in economcs, or a passion for learning about economics in their free time. In many ways, each chapter feels like a lesson in economic theory. Rather than singing the praises of capitalism, it provides the realism of what capitalism looks like, but once again you have to look slightly deeper than just, "narrrorator says its good, so its good." The system obviously helps many people, especially people who are living in a barter economy, to grow rich, and generally inproves quality of life for most people. But it also describes all of the workers being taken advantage of on Gak (if I am remembering the planet's name right), it describes how it caused famine there, not to mention the fact that the main 'positive' changes are McDonalds popping up everywhere and coorporations controlling most of the huge new markets in space.

      I wrote way more than I wanted to here, but this comment really pissed me off, because the two areas you think aren't really good or defensible takes, are the areas which I think give this story the most character.

cyberskull ago

Don't worry too much about the amnesia, a larger infusion of cash will cure it.

CaptainYumYum12 ago

i'm commenting before even reading the chapter but i sincerely hope you continue writing stories in this excellent universe you've created. And if you set up a patreon i'd gladly join or make a donation

Osamaru Ta ago

Kinda feel sorry for Munnifa. Ya, she's a Brainwashed Nazi, but always feels bad to see someone used like that.

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