Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Darkness Falls on a Dark Land, Part 7
If it’s hard enough to know the true facts in the existence of two members within the Alliance of Five itself, imagine trying to disentangle the identity of Myrmidon, the figure who represents the initial opposition to the birth of the Galactic Alliance.
It’s a little like what I find myself doing now. For weeks now I’ve been attempting to prove that Shibal isn’t just a myth. For humans, that’s all we have. For Omoxians, it’s taken as fact, the traditional capital of their home planet, yet it’s been nothing but a name for as long as the Alliance has been around. For humans that’s a little like ancient Troy, which was the subject of Homer’s Iliad, until Schliemann uncovered layer upon layer of ruins that prove it was real. I won’t lie. That’s exactly what I’m trying to do now. I want the name Henri Latour to resonate the same way Heinrich Schliemann does, even if it’s just humans who will remember it. I don’t know that I have any confidence that any of our cosmic friends will care too much. I don’t know if humans will endure, continue to amuse the rest of the universe. It’s a proven fact that even in the Space Corps we’re hard to take seriously. Plenty of us have tried. Maybe I never considered a career in the Corps because it just seems so futile, so pointless. Or maybe it’s because my idea of discipline lies in a different direction, crawling in the dirt on an alien world far from home. I’ve never been too comfortable or at home elsewhere, much less on Earth. As I’ve said, I’m an outsider by trade. I still believe, even if I can’t convince myself, that I’m just like anyone else. The closest I’ve come to any real vindication is Bondquan, and I can’t be sure what she thinks of me. I could just be a passing curiosity. The moment I leave Omox she’ll forget me forever. They live on average a hundred years, some of them quite a bit longer. They see a lot. The Tikanni live longer, but if you ask an Omoxian it’s because they’re comparatively primitive, don’t know when to call it quits. Lord Phan, naturally, is another matter entirely. If you catch an Omoxian talk about him at all, he’s very much a matter of fiction.
I never did learn who they replaced him with in the Alliance of Five stories. Probably just another Omoxian, much the way they made Rejon fairly anonymous, for other reasons entirely. Bondquan isn’t interested in such things, at least not quite to the level I am, or maybe she’s just shy. I would never have thought of an Omoxian as shy until her. I try to think of other things, such as what the Alliance stories really look like on other worlds. To humans they’re just stories. If we had it our way the Alliance story wouldn’t begin until the Danab War, and even then we wouldn’t have too much to say about it. I wonder what the Vitell think of it, if Ureic is elevated above Trey, if Trey is even known as the Conqueror among them. I figure I’ll have to look that up. The Vanadi probably prefer to think of other stories. Theirs was the first rebellion, and they’ve never managed to shake the Cynocs. Who knows how that story will end? It does a disservice to Hayed, is all I can figure, and that’s someone who could use all the help he can get. It’s not just anyone who’s accused of being Trey’s assassin, let alone from within the Alliance itself.
Myrmidon, then, should be simple. He’s the villain of the piece. What could possibly complicate that? Those who claim that he and Trey were in fact one and the same would have you believe Trey was that much less deserving of the role history has assigned him than simply shattering a legend would make possible. Anyone from two thousand years ago could not possibly be known with perfect accuracy, the way you know someone personally, the way I’m starting to know Bondquan. Humans love their records, but no record can capture every nuance. Sometimes you’ll hear stories of the hero also acting the part of the villain, simply because no real villain could perform the necessary acts to achieve the hero’s desired results, and in this instance actually forming the bonds to create a lasting cosmic community, not just bridging the gap between countries or oceans but vast stretches of space. It’s easy to believe that the Omoxians and Tikanni, who got the whole ball rolling, could still be dysfunctional after cooperating long enough to start it, and perhaps that much easier to believe that Trey, who after all ended up being called Conqueror, was not always the purest of individuals. He would have had to be a politician, and like any politician he would be forced into the reality of compromise. Even if he weren’t Myrmidon himself, he would have had to work with him to some extent. Without overcoming that obstacle, none of what we take for granted today could have been possible.
Who was Myrmidon? In the end, a representation of what needed to be done, and if that means he could have been Trey himself, then I don’t find that so hard to believe.