For Wong Kyong, no one seemed to know what happed to her since the beginning of Tir-Torzor’s Prelude to Escalation. The spread of hearsay about her fate afterwards was wide, rapid, and continued for almost thirty days until a particularly strong rumor emerged that she would make a sudden appearance to make a public speech. Details were scarce but it would be at an undisclosed public location around one of the reservations within seven days’ time.
After the Prelude, all reservations were under Cetacean occupation and enforced stricter curfews. Unassimilated humans were not allowed to do anything other than go to work or shop for essentials, then go back home when finished for the day until the next. The only time the unassimilated could move about freely now was during their select region’s general lunch schedule. To search for this alleged location, make sure no one misses lunch, and decrease the chances of being harassed by cetaceans for an illegal assembly, they would take their breaks in unison and eat as they all walked together in massive crowds. When break was over and they had to head back to work or home. To everyone across the colony, these quasi-silent demonstrations would become known as the Lunch Time Marches.
It would be on the sixth day when Wong finally made her appearance, standing on the base of a toppled statue in front of a government building in Reservation 4, where a crowd of close to 20,000 people were marching by the location. The cetaceans in the immediate area did not interfere due to the sheer numbers compared to their own at the scene, and something started blocking long-range communication right when she publicly revealed herself. It was here, Wong gave a speechI that would be widely considered as the climax point of the Great Troubles. It would be dubbed the ‘Reclamation or Extinction’ speech.
This is what she said:
I remember while growing up with a group of runaways, we watched copies of old popular movies, where humans interacted with fictional extraterrestrials. In the end, one way or another, humanity would always end up on top. They were fun to watch and gave us hope in one day taking back the planet from the Apiary. However, I noticed the unrealistic expectations as I grew up. It fed us a naïve view of how to achieve victory; perfect breakthroughs in finding a miracle during the third act, which instantly wipes the floor with the menace and leads to a tidy resolution. Not once during any of my viewings, did humankind even entertain the possibility of being slowly frog marched into being forced to choose between acceptance or oblivion, with no escape from those two choices.
Don’t mistake this predicament as something completely foreign to our history. It’s not hard to learn that before the arrival of the Minare, human beings did this to themselves without a second thought. Readily available historical records may not be as prevalent as they may have been in the past, but if you happen upon any, scan it over. You’ll see we started with a planet that was quite beautiful, usually comfortable, and with plenty of space and sustenance to spare most of the time. We took our home and each other for granted and did reprehensible things. Things that forced nature and natives alike into all too familiar inescapable situations, not too different from what we have been and are still facing under occupying nonhuman dominance. What’s sadder, is that not all of what the Apiary did to us was out of racial antipathy. They looked back on how our ancestors ran things, took various elements that deserved to be obsolete, and then implemented them with the genuine thought in mind that it would keep us content. It’s not hard to see why the sentiments of humanity being self-sabotaging, heartless, immoral, shiftless, treacherous, and hopelessly incompetent, because it is very easy to find our historic misdeeds recorded. For a people to be so destructive and directionless, we mustn’t be trusted with managing our own survival…if you believe the Apiary in its entirety.
Look at our history again, but deeper this time. Sure, there are our more disgraceful acts on display, but humanity has made it this far for a reason. Even now, if you truly saw your own kind so negatively, why would you all go walking together around this reservation, shoulder to shoulder, despite the risks to your freedom and safety, for the past several days?
The worst humanity has to offer, like the collaborators, unscrupulous gangsters, and petty individuals, have always been in the minority. These same people have popped in throughout our history and found ways to manipulate others into getting what they want. Manipulation that wasn’t just for the love of needless drama, or demagoguery against the less fortunate, but to convince others that humanity is incapable of anything better. When someone claims humanity is mostly the sum of its worst parts, it is an illusion where the negative appears as a naturally common feature among our kind. It tricks others into being less disciplined and less likely to challenge any villainy, since it’s hard to challenge what’s wrong if you believe it is always an inevitability to character. It is a smoke screen for the manipulative to blend into; a toxic carcinogen that corrodes the morale and morals alike of the manipulated, so they become near indistinguishable from their manipulators. The worms are more than happy to bolster the claim that it’s the fault of all humans being human. The daily hammering of this message into our minds would lead us to depreciate ourselves into thinking we’re an almost uniformly terrible race. We’ve become so cynical about our own species, we adopt pseudo-nihilistic reasoning to shrug off problems, to excuse ourselves to keep quiet, obey, react selfishly, disapprove passively, and accept mistreatment. The worst of humanity is not a burden to the Apiary, but a boon.
When we work together in our struggles and repudiate others who unabashedly rollick in their worst qualities, it disproves the Apiary’s narrative. It doesn’t serve their narrative of humanity being ordinarily too savage to run our own lives. It doesn’t serve their narrative of humanity being fine living under unsuitable conditions, or that it’s only a small number of rabblerousers challenging their supremacy. In history, the portion of our race that arrogantly declared itself civilized, screwed things up in a far greater extent, than our ancient indigenous cultures pushed to the margins, ever could have. We have no right to compare humanity today to our ancient indigenous cultures, but that doesn’t mean we deserve only unfair and unjust treatment for our mistakes. Prove to ourselves that we can be better than our past selves, rectify and make things better for humankind and Earth. To do that we must regain full control of our planet from the Apiary.
I know you fear very real and severe punishments by the Apiary if we dare subverting the regime to gain complete independence from their institutions, because I too fear it. I fear the possibility of our extinction if we push too hard in challenging them, but what I recently realized is that I fear more of what will happen if we don’t. Instead of the possibility of extinction, it will be the assurance of extinction, after untold generations needlessly suffer under conditions we could’ve fought back against. It would be a slow and painful existence, rooted in the shame that we refused to use what was left of our torturous lives to try anything beyond what minimum was deemed acceptable. If you are still holding out, we can’t afford to wait for a slim, off-hand chance for the system to finally start working in our favor any longer. It’s been long gone if it ever did exist, and any denial we falsely claim to be hope, only serves to blind us to that reality. We must become so ungovernable to the Apiary that we force them to make one of two choices to stop us. They either hand dominion of Earth back to humans, or they waste resources fighting us and then try to make up for the massive drop off in production resulting from our annihilation. Remember, they’ve been keeping us around for a reason.
Don’t give them the satisfaction in our exploitation any longer. I’m speaking to you all out in the open public right now, to illustrate that it doesn’t matter if they outnumber or outgun us, the human spirit is stronger. One way or another, this will end with us, and we will finally be free from the Apiary’s tyranny.
I Unlike with Orkhan, Wong spoke using the universal translator, since the universal translators within the reservation were still operational for the workday. The speech was still written in a single plain language so it can be translated as easily as possible outside of the reservation.