Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fault Lines

I've spent most of the day doing my best Mentat impression. For those of you who don't get my pop-culture references, that's from Dune. Human computers hungry for data who take the vast quantities of information presented and predict possible outcomes, reasoning for, and solutions to situations. I've been a huge fan of Frank Herbert since I was in middle school. The first law of the Mentat--I think I've said it before--is that no process can be understood by stopping it.

Our refugees from the UAS clearly didn't get the memo, because they interrupted the process of this war thoroughly.

It isn't just here, either. All over the Union they stepped up when the violence became to much to bear. Not content to sit on the sidelines and wait for a victor to emerge, they braved zombie swarms, bullets, fire, explosives, and rage-blind warriors to stop this from going further. It wouldn't have worked without a good number of men and women, good people, among the enemy who were tired of death. Tired of killing and watching their brothers and sisters fall.

All it took was a gesture profound enough to capture the attention of those most willing to listen. Walking unarmed across a battlefield as a group? That's one hell of a gesture.

We're in free fall right now. The UAS aren't doing anything. They've retreated about twenty miles back from Haven, allowing our folks to go in and assess the damage. No one knows how any of this is going to play out, but the people I've seen and talked to are already discussing terms of a truce. Just regular folks, mind you, having chats about what would be acceptable to them for peace.

That's mind-boggling. In a few days we've gone from all-out annihilation to a cease-fire bordering on an end to this war. It's not universal even if the efforts of the refugees aren't unique to Haven. There are still places where the war continues. But those cracks in the unity of the enemy, wide swaths of people who want to end this, are widening and getting deeper. More people up the chain are coming to the same conclusion. A UAS officer who will remain nameless sent me a message personally, telling me his five hundred soldiers were behind him in wanting peace. It's spreading.

I'm sure the UAS leadership will have something to say about all this, and probably soon. They've got to be shitting themselves, wondering how it all went so wrong. Maybe the fact they're safe in their bunkers while sending good people out to die in a war they didn't choose has something to do with it. When you're out on the ground with riflemen firing at you on one side and the hungry undead on the other, watching your friends die and get devoured or rise again, that changes you. Gives you perspective.

You start to think maybe the higher-ups don't have the context to understand what they're putting you through. Or worse, that they don't give a crap. That's where the doubts form. I've known a lot of soldiers in my time, and even the most loyal of them had questions. Most of the UAS forces are regular folks. They've been lied to and manipulated and pushed forward by the things we did, the actions we took at times. Blame is aplenty, but hearing the news that the enemy is on the verge of quitting the field entirely makes my heart sing.

I can't wait to see where this all goes. I keep couching it in terms of me being here and watching it unfold, but then remember I'll probably be away from Haven by then.

I don't know which idea is more of a relief, to be honest.

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