Though human resistance movements all shared the same end goal of universal equity, not many shared the same methods on how to achieve it. Violence or nonviolence, compromise or winner-takes-all, coalitions or a unitary creed, each had its own proponents and detractors with their own groups, leaders, and figureheads. Two of these figures would become the most notable in colonial history, Wong Kyong and Rhett Orkhan.
The only offspring to Wong Jin and Ha Cho, she was born under a now deadname on the ship OARFISH. Her birth occurred shortly before it ran aground on the coast of the continent and former nation Australia, where she and her family lived in a settlement for three years until it was devastated by a typhoon. They became itinerant for six more years, before joining an immigrant caravan migrating to the relative safety and stability of Reservation 6. Benefits on the reservation were marginal at best. Months after arriving, Wong Kyong’s parents hoped she would receive a better chance at life by sending her to live and learn in an AI-operated educational/behavioral institution. Unlike many other accusations against the Apiary, there is proof that these schools were places that practiced forced assimilation experiments on children. Eventually, this drove her and several other students to escape after a couple of years. During her time there, handwritten language was discouraged and punished because it was perceived as a culturally human trait. In its absence, Wong honed her skills in speech and found herself to be a skilled orator. She used her ability before the Great Troubles of Tir-Torzor as a broker, formulating deals between groups of humans throughout the continent.
Rhett Douglass Orkhan’s biological family is unidentified, but he was fifth adopted when he was three years old and raised by couple Barborlaukis “Buddy” Orkhan and Davi PahmaniI. The family of seven moved to Reservation 6 two years after his adoption. To bolster his family’s chances in safety and survival on the reservation, Orkhan joined the Hostiles youth gang when he was ten years of age. Unlike most of the other youth gangs, this one was inspired by a quasi-religious, humanist aid organization named the Order of Red and Black (aka ORB,) before it was chased out by law enforcers at the behest of the Reservation Council. The gang focused on committing actions against more specific targets, like the harassment of cetaceans, or the extortion of stores owned by loyalists. Orkhan left the Hostiles at seventeen, when the gang grew larger, more violent, and indiscriminate in their targets. He then spent time helping any forms of armed resistance against the Apiary he could find as he hopped around the world. His experiences – plus his love of reading books on humanist-centered political philosophies he found – made him a proficient speaker when it came to rallying others to support causes.
Orkhan and Wong met when Wong was visiting sewage laborers trying to form a union with the refuse workers, while Orkhan was trying to convince the group to arm themselves for defensive purposes. Whenever they occasionally ran across one another while helping others, they shared stories and experiences, argued, and even gave advice. Despite having generally different methods in mind for success, they understood each other and became friends. They both quickly became two highly respected figures with the start of the Great Troubles, for their speeches and essays rallied many people to resistance movements overall. Their approaches on how to achieve universal equity – however – came into increased conflict with one another. They would get into impromptu public debates, whether by writings thinly addressed to each other or the more attention-grabbing and popular, sudden face-to-face speaking events.
The latter were a galvanizing source of entertainment for humans, who happened to be around when one broke out. Public speeches of dissenting views against the Apiary did not just inform and boost morale, but they were highly discouraged by the reservation leadership bodies. It brought a sense of thrill to witness something unexpected and presumably unplanned, with the added feeling of risk from law enforcers or loyalists rushing in to end it. Orkhan and Wong were visiting the Tassel Sedge Community Oxygen Bar in Reservation 6, which would become the setting of one of the most important debates – or vadsII, as they were called in that region – to occur in response to the arrival of the first Huwaty immigrants. This would become known as the Tassel Sedge Vad.
I The surname’s ‘P’ was a typo during the reservation’s registration process of new residents.
II In that region’s Rez Speak, ‘vad’ is a shortened form of ‘vaad-vivaad,’ Hindi for ‘debate’.