Level 4The Great Debate
By Thane Barnier

Frank Morrow: Good evening and thank you for tuning in to this historic event. I'm Frank Morrow with MercNews, and I'll be your moderator for tonight's debate. We have with us, the leaders of the six largest nations of the galaxy, live via satellite from their respective capitals. From the United Terran Federation, Supreme Councilor William Breckinridge. From the Rach Empire, Emperor Mongkach. From the Templar Nation, First Knight Vax Spiro. From the Empire of Malvernis, Grand Inquisitor Xarax VI. We have Representative Yaudro Thal'ixen, of the Galactic Union Party, here representing the Adon Economic Community, and last but not least, from the Ritterlich Confederacy, Chancellor Ulan Albrecht. Welcome gentlemen, and thank you again for agreeing to participate this evening.

As agreed to by all the parties involved, the format is as follows. All leaders will be presented with a question which was submitted by our viewers. Each leader will have two minutes to respond. I may ask further follow up questions, directed to all or at a specific leader, so long as those follow-up questions are on the same topic. At no time will participants pose questions of each other, as we endeavor to stay on track and on point. These are the rules as agreed to by the leaders involved. And let's begin.

Our first question is as follows: Critics have said that petty jealousies and your expansionistic attitudes are the root causes of the conflicts we are seeing now. How do you each respond to those accusations? Supreme Councilor Breckinridge, if you would care to start...

Breckinridge: Thank you Frank, and thanks to MercNews for providing this forum for us to come together and discuss our differences. Whenever you have differing ethos you are going to have conflict, not necessarily armed conflict, but conflict in some manner or other. When you add the additional component of different races with different ways of thinking, the issues become even more difficult to comprehend and resolve. There are things which we as differing peoples place different values upon. We of the United Terran Federation for example, value free will and freedom of choice above all else. However, when diplomacy fails, when a nation's security is threatened, when the safety of one's people is at stake, then force is sometimes a regrettable necessity. I have never, nor will I ever, send soldiers into combat lightly. The reasons why a nation may venture into armed conflict with another are complex and sometimes not readily apparent to the average person, but to call them petty is to devalue the sacrifice that these young men and women make for the people of their nation.

Morrow: Emperor Mongkach?

Emperor Mongkach: The Rach have no jealousy or pettiness. The universe teaches, "Take what you can, protect it at all costs." Terrans say "Might does not make right." The weak talk like that. The Rach are warriors. We live to bring honor to our tribes, our nation and ourselves. The strongest and most cunning survive in this universe. The warrior tests his strength against his enemies. Life is battle, fighting is living.

Morrow: First Knight Spiro, you seem amused by the Emperor's response.

First Knight Vax Spiro: I am indeed Mr. Morrow, and again, thank you for hosting us this evening. I am amused, as I always am, by the Emperor's attitude on life in this "grand universe." The Rach are so simple in their view of things. They take what they please and stare at you as if to say, "What are you going to do about it?" Can such a blatant challenge go unanswered? Of course not, because that would be to show weakness, and a predator sensing weakness is encouraged to attack.

Morrow: Thank you First Knight Spiro, but would you care to answer the question?

Spiro: I thought I had.

Morrow: Well then, could you clarify your position perhaps a bit?

Spiro: Certainly. The simple fact is that we live in a universe in which there are predators, and I speak not only of the Rach. Some predators desire power, some wealth, others simply desire to keep others from gaining such things as they themselves cannot have. In such an environment, one must build strong fences. On a galactic scale that means creating a buffer against hostile nations; effectively creating a fence with which to protect our people.

Morrow: One more follow up if I may. While I see the logic in the doctrine you profess, there is an intrinsic flaw. With every world you add to your sphere of control, that also adds yet another world you must protect, does it not? Does this not mean you must then once more expand your buffer zone? It seems like a never-ending cycle.

Spiro: Not at all. With each new member of the Templar Nation, we grow stronger and more diverse as a people. This strength makes it easier to protect those worlds, and eventually a state of equilibrium will be reached. Once we've reached a point where we are strong enough to defend our worlds against all would be usurpers, we will no longer need that buffer zone.

Morrow: Thank you First Knight. Now to the Grand Inquisitor Xarax VI.

Grand Inquisitor Xarax: There is nothing petty in following the edicts of one's faith, and there is nothing jealous in protecting one's way of life. The Church of Khardullis has faced constant resistance every since the days we first took our message to the stars, but today the stakes are higher. Our Empire, our citizens, and our very way of life are under threat of attack by bigots and hate mongers. Nihilistic murderers such as the organization known as MPS kill indiscriminately, hating us for no other reason than our Faith. They fear the word of Khardullis, so they kill his devoted followers. And MPS is far from the only threat to our Empire. What of the nations who lift not a finger to stop such violations of our sovereignty? What of those who go so far as to publicly condone such actions? There comes a point when diplomacy and patience are no longer enough, and one must use force to ensure one's survival.

The Malvernians did not choose to carry the Word of Khardullis to the peoples of the galaxy; it is he who chose us for this task. This is who we are; it is what we were made for. To deny us our right to fulfill the purpose for which we were created is a slight which we cannot allow. To do otherwise would be a sin for which there can be no atonement.

Morrow: Next we will hear from Representative Thal'ixen of the Adonese Economic Community.

Thal'ixen: Thank you Mr. Morrow. As Mr. Breckinridge stated, we all view our galaxy differently. What some races see as jealousy, others see as ambition. Desiring what others have already attained can be a motivator; it can drive a person or nation to excel. It is only when you allow it to consume you and force you into negative and unproductive actions that it becomes what many term as jealousy. The Adonese take a longer view of our universe than some of the younger beings of this galaxy. We know what in this galaxy truly belongs to whom, and we have watched these races grow and mature before our very eyes. That is why it is always the Adonese that is called in to mediate these disputes or correct errant behavior. But that is our role in the universe; it is that path we have been destined to walk. When one has walked the same path for so long, it is hard for one to change their ways.

Morrow: So you are saying that as the Elder Race, you feel your government knows what's best for the galaxy and the other nations?

Thal'ixen: It is more than that; we understand the complex history of our galaxy. When two nations claim a planet as their ancestral territory, it is helpful to be able to point out that neither race was there first; with the exception of Avalorr. However, there the younger culture has at last moved on to where they can grow and mature more fully. It's a natural stage of the development of all living beings. When the life form is old enough, it leaves the den of the parents and learns to fend for itself. Sometimes the youth refuses to go, in which case, it must be helped out of the den.

Morrow: Thank you Mr. Representative. Finally, Chancellor Ulan Albrecht.

Albrecht: Thank you Mr. Morrow. I must applaud the Adonese representative on his brilliant performance. As always, he's proven that the AEC overestimates their own importance, looking down on the rest of us from their self-proclaimed, enlightened position. I feel it only proper to remind him that the Ritterlich people were traveling among The Stars while his race was still living in caves.

As for being petty or jealous, the Ritterlich Confederacy protects its own, plain and simple. We are fortunate that our race has the ability to sense the motives of those who would style themselves as friends, even while they prepare to slide a dagger into your back. Fortunately our "feelings" are considerably more accurate than those of the Adonese. When we assemble the Grand Fleet, it is never for petty reasons.

Morrow: OK, moving on to our next question: Are there any intentions to find a diplomatic solution to the current hostilities? Chancellor Albrecht?

Albrecht: It depends upon the wills of our rivals. We did not seek out our current conflicts, but neither will we back down. Should an amenable and equitable agreement be reached, of course we would be open to a diplomatic solution.

Morrow: Representative Thal'ixen?

Thal'ixen: We are of course actively seeking diplomatic resolutions to all conflicts, even those in which we are not directly involved. Warfare is generally wasteful and counterproductive, even when completely justified. That is just a part of who we as Adonese are, that we recognize such realities. However with children, as well as nation-states, sometimes punishment is required to allow for further growth in the proper direction. Maturity comes from experience and pain.

Morrow: Grand Inquisitor?

Xarax: It is a difficult question, that which you ask. The answer for any sane and civilized race would in most circumstances be yes. Our situation, however, is a bit different than most. We've tried diplomacy, only to have it thrown back in our face. We've shown patience, only to be attacked for our graciousness. Our current conflicts are with those who hate and fear us for our religion, but fail to see that unlike any other race in the galaxy, our faith is truly who we are. As I said before, we were created for one purpose alone: to bring the light of Khardullis to the galaxy. There can be no separation of religion from any aspect of Malvernian life. Thus, until our enemies change their attitudes toward who we are as a people and a race, how can we possibly take any promises of diplomacy from them seriously? Perhaps once we have proof that attitudes have changed, then we will consider their promises of friendship. Until then, we will stay on our guard and do what is necessary to ensure our survival, so that we may in time fulfill the sacred task which our Lord has laid upon our shoulders.

Morrow: Even if that means pacifying your aggressors by force?

Xarax: If that is the only path that allows us to ensure our survival, then Khardullis's will be done.

Morrow: OK, now we'll hear from First Knight Spiro.

Spiro: It is just such attitudes as the Grand Inquisitor's that make it difficult for us to keep our nation strong without the use of force. Still, of course we will pursue diplomatic solutions; we are always pursuing diplomatic solutions. I would point out that nearly all of the independent worlds who have joined the Templar Nation have done so willingly, through our diplomatic channels under no threat or use of force. As my counterpart from the AEC commented, war is a tremendous waste of resources better spent on other endeavors.

Morrow: So you agree with his assessment that war is counterproductive.

Spiro: I didn't say that.

Morrow: So you don't think war is counterproductive.

Spiro: Not if the prosecution of that war strengthens one's nation.

Morrow: Would you care to give an example of where warfare might strengthen your nation?

Spiro: In front of those who may be on the receiving end of such warfare? Not particularly, Mr. Morrow.

Morrow: Okay. Emperor Mongkach?

Mongkach: Once a challenge has been issued, there is only victory or capitulation.

Morrow: Supreme Councilor Breckinridge?

Breckinridge: Some nations respond to diplomacy, some only to a show of force. The trick is knowing which is which. One can not reason with a wild animal.

Mongkach: Does the human speak to me?

Breckinridge: The reputation of the Rach precedes you, Emperor.

Mongkach: That is an insult only to the pathetically weak. I can smell your fear.

Morrow: Gentlemen! Gentlemen, please! If we can proceed to the next question? Grand Inquisitor Xarax, we'll start with you. Are there any of the current conflicts between your nations that are not likely to be resolved by negotiation, or in the worst case scenario, by armed conflict?

Xarax: As I stated in the previous question, until attitudes change, we can not afford to let down our guard. Until all nations recognize the truth of the Word of Khardullis, we will never be able to live in peace with them.

Morrow: Grand Inquisitor, are you saying that until all beings in the galaxy have converted to the Khardullist religion that you will not stop your Crusade?

Xarax: No Mr. Morrow, for that is not the Will of Khardullis. It is not that everyone in the galaxy must worship Khardullis, but they must at least be allowed the opportunity to feel his gentle touch. Our enemies not only seek to destroy us at our core, but they seek to deprive other beings in the galaxy the opportunity to open themselves to Khardullis and to accept his Word. That does not mean that all will follow him, for one can see the truth of what we speak, yet still turn away from our Lord. We have many citizens who do not fully follow the edicts of our Faith. True they are denied certain aspects of our society which can only come through full communion with our Church, but unless they are actively disruptive to the community as a whole, they are loved and accepted along with the rest.

A perfect example is his Excellency, Chancellor Albrecht. The Ritterlich people have always recognized the depth of our Faith, even though they almost as a whole have rejected Khardullis. Perhaps it is in fact He that rejects them, who can know for sure, but the fact is they respond to this disconnection not with scorn, but with respect. They honor our passion and our devotion, perhaps because they have the ability to reach out and feel the strength of our emotions, and recognize the truth of our commitment. Whatever their reasons, this recognition of our Faith has allowed us to have a longstanding friendship with the Ritterlich people. Should other nations follow their lead and show such understanding and acceptance as they, we would no longer consider them a threat.

Morrow: Thank you for that clarification, Grand Inquisitor.

Xarax: Of course, Mr. Morrow. Anytime you would like to explore the depths of Khardullis's Word, I would be more than happy to instruct you myself.

Morrow: I shall keep that in mind. Now, moving on, Representative Thal'ixen?

Thal'ixen: We Adonese have watched these races for centuries, and I think I can say with some authority that many of their conflicts will not be resolved by these current confrontations. Whether by talk or by warfare, they may find temporary resolution, but many of these disagreements are simply a part of whom these races are at this stage of their evolution. It is a part of their current cultural makeup and those attitudes will be slow to change. In cultures such as these, parents instill in their children a disregard for anything alien and foreign just as their parents did for them. It is natural in young cultures to think "That which is not like us is bad and must be purged." We Adonese take a much more inclusive view; all of creation exists for our shared enjoyment as sentient beings. We have tried teaching and leading by example. Those lessons were received with differing levels of success. Now it is time for some firm guidance and corrective action.

Morrow: Chancellor Albrecht?

Albrecht: So all-knowing, so superior, and as always, so smug. You are right Mr. Representative: some races will never change and they will always grate upon their neighbors' nerves. I will say this Mr. Morrow: some conflicts will not see a resolution for many generations to come. Others will see a resolution very, very soon.

Morrow: Would you care to elaborate further, Chancellor?

Albrecht: There is no need. We will let our actions speak for themselves.

Morrow: Um, Supreme Councilor Breckinridge?

Breckinridge: Any conflict can be resolved. Some are as simple as beating your opponent into submission, some are as complex as compromising both sides' point of view. The security of my nation will always take precedence over any idealistic disagreement or racial tensions. Compromises can be made, but only compromises that do not weaken the security of the United Terran Federation.

Morrow: And finally, Emperor Mongkach.

Mongkach: The Rach will have resolution, the challenges have been issued.

Morrow: And what of the conflicts amongst other nations?

Mongkach: They talk too much. We Rach settle our conflicts by trial of arms. Afterwards, the winner dictates to the loser or the loser is dead. You call this efficient purity "barbaric" and "uncivilized." Our approach is honest. We fight short and brutal wars, and they are over. These wars that span generations are absurd.

Morrow: And on that note we have come to the end of our time tonight. I want to thank all of our viewers who submitted their questions and our esteemed leaders who so graciously agreed to answer these questions this evening. Finally to all of you who tuned in this evening, thank you for sharing your time with us. Good night and good luck.


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