Letter 03a, 26 Nov 2522
Text of a letter from Marina Kseniya Sebastien to Christian Edge
Christian Edge, RC
Lucifer’s Landing, Angel
Kalidasa (Xuan Wu) system
Thursday, 26 Nov 2522
2230hrs, ship’s time
I am coming home, dorogoi moi. Thank you for the money. It will get us home and right now, that is all that matters.
We’ve had a run of bad luck of late and in truth I don’t know if it’s just bad luck or bad choices on our part. Or maybe bad politics. That sort of thing is happening all over. I don’t know how much contact you have with your friends in the Core but a lot of things have happened over the last few months. I will be as concise as I can.
The Alliance is tightening its grip on everything, Christian. Back in May we found evidence that the Navy was conducting witch hunts amongst its personnel. I wasn’t able to find out how widespread it is but if the personnel I ran into are correct—and I haven’t any reason to doubt their veracity or their accuracy—it is real. And it wasn’t long after that when the Feds turned from scrutinizing its own to scrutinizing others.
We were on Boros in July and the fleet assigned to Georgia was there. The Feds were a blanket of purple on the ground, stopping people everywhere demanding to see idents and papers and all the rest of it. Joshua and I were caught up in it. And of course, I haven’t carried an ident in years. Not since Wesley Camden snatched us on Aesir, as I’m sure you remember. Luckily, Joshua was able to do some fast talking and we were let go. Needless to say we went straight back to our berth and stayed there. We were lucky. Others on Boros weren’t so lucky, including our fixer. He was ‘invited’—that is exactly how they phrased it, I kid you not—to go to the Core to ‘help’ the Feds indentify ‘insurgents’. They weren’t officially detaining him as a criminal. Oh no. They just appealed to his sense of ‘civic duty’ to help maintain the peace. Peace, my ass. Police state is more like it. He went, Christian. Like a lamb. It was that or face worse. Did I mention that the Feds on the ground were all armed and armored? No? Stupid of me. They were.
Boros isn’t the only world affected in Georgia. An entire settlement was arrested on Shadow. The settlers claim they’d peacefully gathered for a town meeting. The Feds claim they were insurgents plotting insurrection. I haven’t any news as to the settlers’ fate, but I can guess. Athens isn’t too sanguine about the overall climate either and has started stockpiling supplies. I can’t say I blame them. Our ship began her career running food to the starving people of Athens during the war. For all I know, we might end up doing the same thing again.
In Red Sun, Dyton had the Navy orbiting it and sending down ASREVs and fighters for an entire month. I haven’t found out the reason why. Dyton wasn’t the only place to attract military attention. Silverhold has had an entire Fed division planted on the ground and the Navy is maintaining orbital support. Last month, we ran afoul of it on our way to Triumph. You’re going to see some of the damage incurred in our avoidance of the ASREVs they sent after us.
News from the Core seems little better. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the Feds have raided Oolong Abbey. They claim it was harboring Independent agitators. Of course, the Church condemned the action and well they should. The Alliance has to this point kept its hands off the religious communities and the raid on Oolong Abbey is a disturbing precedent. For all I might blaspheme, Christian, I mean God and His followers no harm. Religion gives people strength when they are weak, courage when they are afraid, solace when they grieve, absolution and grace when they need forgiveness. You cannot deprive people of this and still claim to be civilized and just. The Lama on Sihnon has called on Buddhists to leave military service and though the Alliance is saying it is working with Temple leaders to address this concern, I am skeptical of anything civilized or just coming from it. I’m sorry, Christian, but I do not have much hope the Lama will fare any better than Oolong Abbey has in this matter. Closer to home, have you heard anything about the Abbey? I’m sure you know which one I mean. Reports say it is intact with no sign of violence but it’s empty. The reports do not say how it was emptied. I am trying not to imagine the how or dwell on the why. Knowing that it stands empty is distressing enough.
I can see already I’ve failed in my objective to be concise, so I’ll simply stop trying and save the rest for when we’re finally together. Until then, could I beg a favor? I know you’ve done much already but please let me explain.
Family is important to Joshua. He is looking for his even now and I’m pretty sure he wants to invite them to the wedding. I have no problem with that. I am looking forward to meeting them. But when we were on Puck he asked me to promise him something and I couldn’t refuse. He wants me to contact my own family in the Core and let them know I’m alive. In light of the religious community’s recent entanglements with the Feds, I am reluctant to go to the clerics to pass my message on. I don’t dare do it over the Cortex either. And with those options removed from the table, all I have left is you. As a former client of yours, could I possibly beg you to send a note through your fellow Companions? So far, the Feds have kept their hands off the Guild and I pray they continue to do so, but I don’t know how long that situation will last. I will have my message ready for you when we make landfall. If you feel you cannot do this, I might be able to find another way to do it. We will eventually end up going to the Core anyway, if our lead on Joshua’s family is correct and for all we know, they might end up being neighbors to mine.
Stay safe, dorogoi moi. I’m coming home as fast as I can. We’ll talk more then.