Lt Jr. Nhaima, supplemental log:
Nhaima exhales. Something thuds dully, like metal on metal.
Today… I don’t know what we did today. I know what I did. I know what was done…. I don’t know what we accomplished. Normally I know exactly what good we accomplished. Even if it was just poking our nose into an unfamiliar sector of space to see what we could find there… But this? I never imagined this. Do we allow Hegemony ships to surrender? Yes. It saves ordinance and charge on the power cores during combat that would otherwise be required to extinguish the more stubborn elements among them. Moreover, surrendered ships are out of action for long stretches of time. Wounded personnel require attention and replacement, even on inactive ships. This requires resources that could otherwise be funneled into useless ships rather than training or front-line duty. We can siphon off their capacity to wage war and drain them of the ability to ever hurt us again. It isn’t a glorious tactic, it won’t win medals and awards but it doesn’t have to. It wins wars.
In my time before…. well, before I joined the TSN… we never would have stood for this. It would have been an easy choice, they would have all been destroyed. Or allowed to leave the sector with their tails between their legs if they had any sense.
Nhaima laughs caustically.
Nor do I think that the Hegemony is a greater threat than the Caltrons. They aren’t. They aren’t at all, but to say we have to choose between them is a false choice. They are the enemy. They are all the enemy. Sure, the Hegemony gave us data they claim would help us with the Caltrons but we could have just as easily gotten the data by securing that station, capturing the staff, and using them as intelligence sources. Using the data stored on that station. We could have gotten the same results, but without leaving them fully able to continue waging their campaign against us. The terms of the ceasefire were to remove the Caltrons from the area. We affected that, the superswarms were burnt to ash. Raven herself had no small part in that. But that’s not the worst of it. I played back the battle chatter recording afterwards. “The Hegemony are requesting help to defend themselves”? “Sorry Viper, we need to help out people in aid”? They aren’t people, they’re the enemy. That wasn’t a civilian transport. It was armored. It was armed. You don’t get to fly around equipped in such a fashion and expect to compel others to fight your battles for you. Certainly if your cargo is going to be military personnel and materiel. We weren’t required to render aid. We weren’t obligated to avoid targeting them, or impounding them. Lt. Quinn said that we would have been violating the ceasefire if we did so and that would be illegal under the Rules of War. I did not argue against him because I had already given my advisement to my superior officers and, short of being ordered to perform an illegal action, I have no room to disobey so I did not protest, but the ceasefire was clearly demarcated along the removal of the immediate Caltron threat and we would have been justified to return to our original footing once it had passed.
Nhaima sighs and stops pacing.
I cannot believe that we referred to them as anything but targets. Though practical, it galled me to see the IFF readout on tactical display them in TSN blue. I did my duty. I never disobeyed an order. Not even it’s intent to follow the mere letter of the order. I did as I was commanded because that is what is legal. That is what is moral. And that is what is right. I remember informing the Fleet Captain and Lt. Sr. Matsiyan, the new XO, when the transports were under attack. I remember slight panic lacing my voice, because that was the objective my commanding officer had put before me to enact. I was upset because I was failing our objective and there was little I could do to change that. I was upset that Hegemony ships were being destroyed. I was. Me. I cared that their ships hung like smoldering wrecks only a few clicks off our starboard bow. In my time before the TSN, I would never have acted in this fashion. We struck the enemy when we could, as hard as we could. We made them pay for every inch of space and every life they stole from us. I cannot forget them. I will not dishonor their memories. I-….
And it’s not like we attacked civilian targets. Nor did we attack civilian transports who were clearly marked as part of humanitarian efforts rather than transporting military goods. We weren’t monsters. I’m still not a monster. But I think we’ve lost something. I think I’ve lost something…. I don’t think I’m the same person anymore. And I don’t know if the person I’ve become now is a better one.