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Editorial raises questions about war

The Art Gallery - TAG - publishes an editorial with the headline "War?". Grid-access to TAG triples, and the story quickly becomes a hot-button topic.

A TAG Editorial
January 18. 29476

"Call for war, and war will heed your call."
-Henry Radiman

December 19th, 29475: An apartment building in Omni-1's entertainment district is levelled to the ground by an anti-matter explosion. 160 people die; some are above or below insurance age-limits, others simply cannot afford, or have neglected to, insure themselves. Rubi-Ka Headline Services uses the phrase "domestic terrorism" in connection with the incident. Word begins to circulate that the Dust Brigade – a radical clan faction responsible for terrorist acts against civilian and military targets on both sides during the last civil war – has claimed full responsibility. The Omni-Tek Corporation chooses to tread cautiously. They refuse to comment on the terrorist rumours, point the finger at no-one, and launch a large-scale Omni-Pol criminal investigation. Public response is muted; the dead are soon forgotten, and the matter brushed under the proverbial carpet.

It appears that no one really wanted to know the truth. A few Omni-Tek employees cried bloody murder, and clamoured for their superiors to launch all-out war against the clans. But this was a vicious minority, a lynch-mob unconcerned with the human tragedy, interested only in a chance to live out their sadistic fantasies with an official sanction.

On January 15th, the criminal investigation into the blast is completed, and the facts are laid on the table for all to see. This was an act of domestic terrorism, Omni-Pol concludes in their report, an act conducted by a radical splinter group that has assumed the nomenclature "Dust Brigade", and who claims to fight for the clan cause. Whether or not this is the same Dust Brigade that terrorised our planet five years ago is a moot point; a snake by any other name is still a snake. Negotiations between Omni-Tek and the Council of Truth are broken off, and the situation, once again, escalates. And still everyone focuses on the same old tired rhetoric, turning this into a clans-versus-Omni-Tek situation, refusing once again to face reality; that we are faced with a new and potentially deadly threat to our society. This is about a lot more than politics: it's a matter of life and death.

And then Philip Ross decides to use the dreaded W-word in a personal statement to all Rubi-Kans, and suddenly everyone is up in arms. It took one man's opinion to do what callous murderers and terrorists could not; to unite clan-members and OT employees in a common front.

It's not hard to see why. It's been less than six years since the last war ended, and there's not a man, woman, or child on this planet who weren't personally affected by that war, physically or emotionally. We don't like to be reminded of the things that cause us pain, especially when those memories demand that we take action. And, let's face it, it's easier to cry foul than to step in and do what's right. It's easier to attack Philip Ross for his choice of words than to take action against the terrorists.

It's not often that TAG actively and publicly supports Philip Ross – or Henry Radiman – but in this case we have no choice. When Ross calls the Dust Brigade terrorists, it's not an affront to the clans; it’s a warning to criminals who believe that political goals are attained through violence, chaos, and anarchy, and who think that they can hide behind the clan ticket and remain unsullied under the pretence of supporting a "cause". In his statement, Ross makes it very clear that, "If this is a war, it's not a war on the clans, or the Council of Truth. It's a war against terrorism, against radicals and extremists who treat freedom and justice with contempt." You can not get any more specific than that. And while not everyone will approve of Ross' choice to use the word "War", seeing as how the negative connotations are still strong in people's minds and hearts, it is important for him to show Rubi-Kans that terrorism will not be tolerated, that those who oppose peace will never find peace, and that the Omni-Tek Corporation is willing to use any means necessary to eliminate this appalling threat to our world security – even war.

Henry Radiman and the Council of Truth have come out in support of Omni-Tek's hard line against the Dust Brigade. If the Council has done little to assist in the investigations, it would be because of their precarious political position. They are caught between opposing clans – some who clamour for war, others who yearn for peace – and, unlike Omni-Tek, the Council cannot make arbitrary and hasty decisions. The Council answers to its members, to all affiliated clans, and this severely limits its ability to respond as quickly and efficiently as Omni-Tek. Thus the Council may appear to waver and procrastinate, which, to a corporation like Omni-Tek, trying to run a complex investigation, may be interpreted as an unwillingness to cooperate.

The peace-question-mark that we wrote about last year now appears to be in mortal danger. So, appropriately but unfortunately, we've changed that peace-question-mark into a war-question-mark. But the greatest fear right now is that this question-mark becomes an exclamation-mark, setting us right back to where we were fifteen years ago, at the outset of another prolonged and bloody conflict. It's important, therefore, to truly listen to what is being said, no matter who says it, and not what we think has been said. It's important to react appropriately and immediately to events that require our attention, even when those events bring forth uncomfortable memories. And it's important to stand together, not apart, when faced with a threat that could very well lead us – God forbid – into a new civil war.

-Ramos Kawamoto, Editor-in-Chief