Edwer Thissell (ng_moonmoth) wrote,
Edwer Thissell
ng_moonmoth

Demifiction: "The Conscience of the War"

Another piece of demifiction inspired by ysabetwordsmith's Poetry Fishbowl poem, "Too Much Energy". This is an editorial piece that was distributed on Carina InfoGrid about four weeks after the event described in the preceding "News Bulletin".

Warning: This piece is intense and contains some things that might not be to everyone's taste. These include graphic descriptions of war, battle, an event described in "Too Much Energy" (spoiler warning for the event -- highlight to read: the mass casualty event), and its aftermath. Also indoctrination, propaganda, and insincere political posturing. Consider your preferences before reading onward.

As a rescue team arriving in the Pivot Sound area after the devastating attack now known as the Massacre of Cascabel entered the outer suburbs of Windage, they heard the sound of voices in the distance. Hoping to locate survivors who had been unable to leave the area, they followed the sound, soon coming to an active portable InfoGrid display showing coverage of the rescue efforts at the base of a low concrete wall that had survived the carnage.

No people or bodies were found anywhere in the vicinity, but the wall had been mostly covered with writing, applied with spray paint in a style favored by some of the graffiti vandals who frequently defaced objects near Brakeworm Base. The unknown person, who has since become referred to as "The Conscience of the War", had felt compelled to leave evidence of their existence and survival of the Massacre in the form of a poem.

The poem, lacking a title on the wall but now known as "Playing Soldiers", represents a searing condemnation of the cult of war in the face of the conflict that has caused the greatest number of civilian combat casualties from any single event in the long history of humanity. Now, though, almost lost in the incessant drumbeat of the cries of many for what they term "justice", "compensation", and "revenge", one can sometimes hear the voices of others asking who among us has the true courage to defend the principles of respect and community underlying humanity's expansion through the galaxy from the onslaught of forces long thought abandoned to the past.

The governments of our Arm are now meeting to discuss the nature of our response to this outrage against the fabric of our culture, and responsible members of those governments will be seeking out the views of those in whose names they speak and act, in the hopes of being able to make an informed decision. It is in this spirit that we present the text of "Playing Soldiers" to a wider audience than it so far has had. We urge you to read it and make your own informed decision as to where you stand on the matter.

"Playing Soldiers"
by an anonymous survivor of the Massacre of Cascabel

as children, we played soldiers
with toys in our playrooms
and images on displays
and each other in parks and playgrounds

acting out tales
of noble deeds of valor
and heroic acts of courage
and glorious playground death

while our mothers warned us,
"just wait until someone gets hurt --
then how much are you going to like it?"

yet we still went on playing soldiers
with weapons in training camps
and tactical reports on displays
and each other in distant systems
as stark reality replaced youthful dreams

sharing our tales
of commonplace deeds of valor
and necessary acts of courage
and gory battlefield death

while some of our friends warned us,
"just wait until someone gets hurt --
then how much are you going to like it?"

yet we still went on playing soldiers
with our children in the lacuna
and images of combat on displays
and each other in groups large and small
as sanitized lies replaced disturbing truths

deluded by tales
of rare deeds of valor
and selfless acts of courage
and glorious patriotic death

while our consciences warned us,
"just wait until someone gets hurt --
then how much are you going to like it?"

yet we still went on playing soldiers
until our mothers' warnings flared into life

and sprouted ominous wings
and murdering talons
and ravening teeth

and flew home to roost
and feasted amid the smoldering carcass
of a city of a million people

where it glared across the suddenly far too thin and fragile barrier
separating us from the dawn of our starfaring culture,
finding none who would return its gaze.

***

Notes:

The physical and emotional intensity of war has prompted many to write poetry. Some examples can be found here.

Toy soldiers and war play have been found throughout history.

Popular modern toy soldiers range from inch-tall plastic figures sold in quantity to twelve inch tall action figures.

One very popular modern form of war play is video gaming. Games range from individual first-person shooter titles to online shared worlds with millions of players.

Military organizations worldwide have been supporting video gaming since its infancy, for various purposes.

Graffiti dates back as far as written language, and has persisted since then. It has often served as a vehicle for expression by disempowered and disaffected people denied access to officially sanctioned outlets. Examples of graffiti styles and techniques are plentiful on the internet.
Tags: an army of one, demifiction, poetry
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