The March To …
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EP:60:02 : “The March To …”
ERIA QUINT: Hello and welcome to another episode of Showdown, where we examine the issues of the day as seen through opposing perspectives. My name is Eria Quint. It’s been three months since Admiral Bishop addressed the UEE Senate shortly after his remarkable victory in the defense of Vega II. His speech galvanized the public throughout the Empire. In it, he called for a plan to reclaim systems lost to the Vanduul. Last week, the admiral presented his strategy to the Imperator and High Command for review. While exact details are unknown, sources indicate that military action is not only possible, but likely.
My guests today hold two very different points of view on the road to this point and where the Empire will go from here. I would like to welcome Arthur Warro, an economic strategist and architect of the Polo Initiative, who’s joining us via spectrum.
ARTHUR WARRO: Thank you for having me, Eria.
ERIA QUINT: And from the UEE Navy, Admiral Cedric Cochran.
ADMIRAL CEDRIC COCHRAN: Lovely to see you.
ERIA QUINT: To pose the question to you both, is this truly the time?
ADMIRAL CEDRIC COCHRAN: Well, Eria, since the latest attack, border systems have reported a significant decrease in raids, so it seems that the victory at Vega II was a decisive blow against what had been a previously very determined Vanduul threat. While the Vanduul don’t seem to have any kind of cohesive organization outside of their individual clans, this notable decrease indicates, to me at least, that the destruction of the kingship has sent a message to the other clans. So it feels like an ideal chance to capitalize on the momentum.
ARTHUR WARRO: Unfortunately, we are not in a financial position to justify a war, especially one of the magnitude and ambiguous timeline that a prolonged active conflict with the Vanduul will undoubtedly require.
ADMIRAL CEDRIC COCHRAN: Mr. Warro, the people of the Empire want justice for the lives lost on Vega II.
ARTHUR WARRO: And I respect that, Admiral.
ERIA QUINT: Admiral Bishop, seen here touring the devastation of New Corvo, has made it abundantly clear that he believes the conflict with the Vanduul represents a state of supreme emergency: an us-or-them situation, and that was why a state of war was already in effect. Because of the gravity of this operation and what was at stake, he has requested to be at the front line of this offensive.
ARTHUR WARRO: Admiral Bishop is an exemplary officer, no one is denying that, but say he defeats the Vanduul, how hollow would that victory be if the Empire he saves is in complete financial collapse?
ADMIRAL CEDRIC COCHRAN: As you know, Admiral Bishop is a close personal friend of mine. We speak often, especially when he wants help crafting his battle plans. I can’t think of anyone more qualified to lead this historic charge.
ERIA QUINT: Insiders claim that he’s attempting to resurrect plans to construct a new class of capital ship.
ARTHUR WARRO: Projects like that are what got us here in the first place.
ADMIRAL CEDRIC COCHRAN: I agree.
ARTHUR WARRO: You do?
ADMIRAL CEDRIC COCHRAN: Certainly. Before Vega II, the Empire lacked focus. I’m not personally familiar with this project you mentioned, Eria, but I can assume that it was a probably more of an engineering challenge than anything else. We didn’t need it. Someone started building it because they could. Now, things have changed. If Admiral Bishop has set his sights on this project, then he sees value in it. Now we can spend the credits because it’s something we will use.
ERIA QUINT: We need to take a quick break. When we come back, we’ll take our RapidFire out to the streets to hear from you about the latest developments with the looming Vanduul conflict, then final questions for our guests. Stay tuned.
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ERIA QUINT: We’re reloaded for another round of Showdown, but first, we asked the public how they felt about the increased momentum towards military action in the Vanduul systems. Here’s what you had to say. This is Rapidfire.
MARSHALL JAED (Angeli, Croshaw): I’m all for it. It’s been making me sick how the puppets in office just seem to want to roll over and hope they’ll just go away. ’Duul have been killing us and taking what they want for hundreds of years. It’s about time we started hitting them back.
HENNA KASEY (Prime, Terra): I know everybody’s getting all excited to jump on the ‘let’s blow stuff up’ rail, but anyone stop to think that we’re going to be playing right into their hands? I mean, they want to fight. That’s what they do. My mom had a great quote when I said I was moving to Prime, she said “don’t go looking for crazy, because then you gotta deal with crazy.”
VITIENNE CAVANAUGH (Jata, Cestulus): Whatever it takes. Navy shot down my application, but I don’t care. I’m saving up for a fighter and will go out there on my own. Like I said, whatever it takes.
ERIA QUINT: You can find more RapidFire clips in our archive. Welcome back. I’m your host, Eria Quint, here with our guests: Admiral Cedric Cochran of the UEE Navy and Arthur Warro, economic consultant. The Orion system was the first Human-controlled system to fall to the Vanduul. Lost in 2712, the Battle of Orion signified the first large-scale military defeat the Messers suffered. Tiber, Virgil and Caliban would fall afterwards. Since it’s been almost 250 years since the UEE has occupied these systems, even if Bishop is successful in recapturing these systems, is there still anything there worth saving?
ARTHUR WARRO: I have always heard that there are still settlers living in those systems, so in a perfect universe, yes, I think that means they’re worth saving, but life is too complicated for simple choices. Our way of life is not sustainable, the last three decades have proven that. Unless we’re willing to make sacrifices, we won’t survive… and that has nothing to do with the Vanduul.
ADMIRAL CEDRIC COCHRAN: I’ve served on the Vanduul front several times in my career. I’ve seen horrible things, but I was able to steel myself against those horrors because it was ‘over there.’ That was how I justified it. How I was able to move past it. As I said earlier, I echo Mr. Warro’s concerns about flagrant spending, but as I watched footage of the ruins of Estilia, the horrors I saw weren’t ‘over there’ anymore. I don’t know if we can put a price tag on saving our Citizens’ lives.
ERIA QUINT: Clearly plenty to think about in this incredibly complex issue. I’m certain we’ll be discussing it a lot more in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I’d like to thank my guests for being here today.
ADMIRAL CEDRIC COCHRAN: Thank you, Eria, Arthur.
ARTHUR WARRO: Thank you.
ERIA QUINT: We’ll take another quick break and when we come back, commercial starliners have been steadily increasing their fares over the past few years. With Meridian Transit’s latest press release outlining individual charges for their entertainment system, from the uproar that’s been burning up the Spectrum, it seems the public’s had enough. We’ll load up for another Showdown after these messages.