My name is Dranitor. Yes, Im a Dranta and as to why Im here, Im here to make sure you understand what has happened.

You are so used to obeying orders, but you don know why. Im here to tell you why you need to stop believing everything you have ever known.

Ill be relating my tale to you. Im sure there are assumptions in there, but this is what I know is the truth.

Ive been told what started the war from one side but not the other. Thats odd, because I should know both reasons. You don know any reason? Do you? You are the government of the Dranta and you don know whats kept us at war for the last six generations? That really should be something that concerns you. It didn concern me, but I was just a soldier. You are meant to be more.

You don need to worry. They don blame us. They will if you continue fighting. If you do, well, I will leave. I know which side Ive chosen. I hope you don , because now you have the chance to build the future. You have the chance to truly guide the Dranta towards the future.

The Bright Ones promised us wed advance, that we would grow to be like them. They have held us stagnant. The Wymic haven changed for 1000 years. How is that growth? Like them, we got given toys and trinkets. We gave up too much.

Youll understand that soon enough.

This is a Galactic War. Its fought mostly on planets, for the resources the systems represent. There are very few great space battles. Yes, I know we are told stories of great heroism and daring, of ships destroyed. To use a Black, my apologies, a Commonwealth expression – thats bullshit. Neither side could sustain such losses. There is a lot of ground combat. There has been a lot of ground combat. Decades of it. Generations worth.

When I was born, the Dranta had been embroiled in the war for five generations. Thats all we knew. Its all we know. Thats why its important for you to know my story. So that you know it can change. So that you know we can change. But to change you have to wake up. You have to realise the chains and be willing to break them.

I won ask that yet. I will, after you know my story. After you know what it will mean.

So for me, it started when I was chosen for a special task force. No, not one of the Wymic Intel forces, they don fare well in the Commonwealth. This was something else. Something more specific. Something Im ashamed of, now.

But that came later, and I have to start at the beginning.


”All right, listen up, you hatchlings, ” the Sergeant growled. ”You
e here because you are the best your species can offer. Its the Alliances intention to create an interspecies task force, ” the Sergeant continued, his voice still gravelly but not beyond the norm of his species. ”Yes, its new, I know. The Alliance generally fields units comprised of the same species because that works out the best. But there are advantages of mixed units.

”You lot are in the classroom now so that you can learn. Well run you into the ground in training later but its no good you Opar charging forward to the enemy lines, only to find out that your Zarthan support has ducked for cover.

”Yeah… snigger now, but it happened, ” the Sergeant spat.

That made me freeze. You always heard rumours about that. I trusted the Sergeant not to joke. The situation on the front lines was tense. It was always tense. If I was honest, I knew we were losing but, here, I could relax a little. It was one of the few places I could relax.

The Sergeant wasn . His announcement brought any wandering attention back to the present. I knew what the enemy was like. Uncompromising was about the nicest way of putting it. ”And the **ing Blacks still laugh about it. ”

”So… you are here to learn, so that you can properly anticipate each other. None of you are stupid. You wouldn be here if you were but you
e all grunts so perhaps thats the better measure of intelligence. Either way, you will learn. You will adapt. And you will fight better for this training. ” The Sergeant seemed to meet the eyes of every soldier there.

”First off, we
e going to touch on evolutionary decision making, because the smarts think that will build the foundation to work together. ” There was a derogatory noise. ”At the very least, youll understand why the Blacks are eviscerating you while your squad is 100 paces back watching. ” He paused for the nervous laughter to die.

”Im not explaining this stuff. Intel has sent a Major to explain. If you give her so much as one moment of impertinence, remember she outranks you, so in addition to punishments the Major bestows, you will give me 100 laps of the facility. ” It was an empty threat. No one could run that far. ”So, Major, ” the Sergeant stepped back, allowing the Wymic Officer to step forward.

She looked around, her face expressionless. ”Right! ” the Major began, without bothering to introduce herself.

As I understood it, she was here for this one lecture, then she was heading back to the Intel Division. I couldn read her well, she was Wymic and Im Dranta, but I could tell she didn believe we had been selected for this job. No doubt she wanted to use one of Intels Special Forces Squads. Im told the Bright Ones denied that request. They had insisted it would fail, that this, combining species into one unit, was the only way to succeed. I wondered about that. I wasn sure how we could succeed.

Most of the front lines were just bodies. I could tell the Major thought thats all we were. Something to slow the Enemy down. No doubt she hoped that if we slowed them down enough, theyd lose interest. After six generations at war, I doubted that. What we needed was a solution. Im sure the Bright Ones were working on one. But that took time. We had to give them time.

”No sapient species evolved on anything less than a Class 4 world. Yes, its grandiose to designate our homeworlds that and most of us deemed our homeworlds normal until the Bright Ones came. Then, almost without exception every Alliance species adjusted our scales. I don care what your species came up with, Im using the Bright Ones galactic standard. You may look up further information should you require it.

”So without exception all of our species were uplifted, and our species all saw other worlds. What every Alliance species discovered then, was that species on anything less than a Class 4 world are rather foolish. The accepted theory is that the planets are too nice. Planets designated less than a Class 4 are too nice. There are no predators or challenges. Microbes are tame so the best theory is that there is no push to develop sapience. The rest of the details aren necessary for your purposes. Every Alliance species evolved on harsher worlds. Every species had to use the tools we were gifted with. We developed to use them efficiently. So what are some of the Alliance species survival adaptations? Mine are pretty obvious, ” the Major said, flaring her gills and widening her eyes.

The Wymic had some of the best distance vision of any Alliance species. Thats why most of her people were in Intel. They liked to pretend they could see the future. Sometimes they guess right. Still, most of us thought the Wymic were cowards, they stayed behind the lines. They were the first species the Bright Ones had uplifted. They should have been leading.

The rest of the Alliance know they want to dominate when the war was over. They would be in for a surprise.

”What are other adaptations? ” She indicated that we should answer. Alliance teaching theory is that interaction results in better information retention, even in grunts.

”Claws, ” one replied, holding up his long, curved appendages.

”Yes, good. What else? ”

The Gryna flared its brightly coloured hood. ”Poison. ” The hiss was sibilant.

”Armour, ” the Brydon at the back of the room rumbled. His mass took up most of the area.

”Fangs, ” a slender Opar snapped, displaying the rather incongruous sight of row upon row of teeth.

”Yes, ” the Major nodded. ”All good answers. Those things are what gave our species an advantage on our homeworlds. For the carnivores, claws and fangs usually allowed easier kills. For the herbivores, armour and claws provided protection. It was enough to tip the balance, since most of the Alliances herbivorous species have to carefully control the populations of their former predators to prevent their extinction.

”There is a similarity with the adaptations listed. They are easy. They are natural. They don require anything to use because each species is born with their inbuilt adaptation.

”And that is what this lecture is about. Evolutionary decision making because the truth is that those species born with good defenses, tend to make defensive decisions. Generally, carnivores attack and herbivores defend. Hunters with claws are generally aggressive. Its just in their nature, because thats how they are genetically wired, reinforced by evolutionary tendencies.

”So, you can see how each adaptation leads to predictable results. Ill generalise a little. ” She was laying it on thick. That was the other problem with Wymic. They thought the rest of us were stupid. I could understand it in the Bright Ones. They were so much more advanced. To them, we were children. For the Wymic, it was an affectation. ”Claws, aggression. Fangs, aggression. Poison depends on the delivery system for the determination of predic

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