The Hundred Equitable Year War
Now for a troublesome fact: the Ikenes and Klogworps have been in contact for 170 years, but one hundred of those have been spent at war. Before any rash judgements are made, try to imagine for a moment the thousands, no millions of details required to integrate two alien cultures. It’s a logistical nightmare. Think about this. One group worships Dirt, the other considers dirt something to be eradicated from one’s home. One group makes its women hide their extra set of arms in public, the other group’s women only have one set of arms, but if they did have two sets, they wouldn’t let a man tell them what to do with the extra set; in fact, they’d uncover them in public just to prove they can.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s back up to the beginning.
Of all those millions of details, what do you think presents the greatest barrier between two alien cultures? Yes. You guessed correctly. It is language. In those precarious moments after first contact, nobody understands anybody; therefore, not only is first contact a bit awkward, it is also a bit dangerous, because no one knows if the other side is going to draw a weapon. Imagine if, based on observational knowledge, you understand yourself to be the only intelligent species known to Dirt, and then suddenly your skies rip apart and an alien ship descends looking nothing like your science fiction writers’ depictions? First you become mute in disbelief and awe, and shortly thereafter you begin pondering the quickest way to maim, destroy, or annihilate the thing descending through the clouds, including the things, beings, persons within. It’s the nature of being a person to want to protect what is yours There’s no need to feel guilty about it.
Thankfully, on that fateful day in 3839, no one drew a weapon. The Klogworps stood by, too numb to move, and the Ikene’s stared back at them with a supermassive case of stage fright. (This was the first time they, too, had attempted to converse with another alien race.) Once everyone had a chance to swallow and shake out their arms and legs, the Ikenes sent a throng of linguists down the ramp who promptly began analyzing Klogworp vowels, fricatives, glottal stops, and dipthongs. (By the way, the Ikenes did learn from their mistake. In the “First Contact, Lessons Learned” document drafted by the secretary that evening, the first item on the list was: To avoid confusion, whenever possible, through clandestine means, learn alien language before first contact is initiated.)
Next down the ramp were the ambassadors, five of them, one to represent each of the five Ikene ruling planets. Because of the language barrier, not much else happened that day beyond the customary, here’s a tour of our ship, here’s a tour of our castle. There was also copious amounts of hand signaling, which resulted in several choice “words” accidently being exchanged, but the Klogworps were forgiving. So much so that they allowed the linguists and a few Ikene ambassadors to stay in their finest hotel until months later, when a degree of fluency had been achieved between the Klogworps and the Ikenes. Truthfully, the Ikene’s, being as they were, galactic elitists, at the time, had little interest in learning the Klogworp language. They only mastered it to avoid being rude. They were mainly concerned with teaching the Klogworps how to speak Dhuf, so that they could write up the Terms of Interstellar Engagement.
Before any write-up could commence, however, the Ikenes had to tell the Klogworps about the obliviated sleeper ship. By that time, the language barrier had been toppled sufficiently for the Klogworps to understand the gravity of the report. They did not understand “obliviated” but “vaporized” seemed to properly inform them of the fate of their lost crew. Here’s what happened next: the four pairs of Klogworp eyes (belonging to the four Klogworps) in the room grew to twice their original size and lifted from their owners’ heads by muscular roots so that they appeared to float. The eyelids, having peeled back to allow the eyes to elevate, were no longer part of the equation.
It’s probably not necessary to state that being stared down by two, large, wet, floating eyes is intimidating to say the least. All the Ikenes could do was fidget, shuffle their feet, and mutter brief apologies. After more explaining, the Klogworps’ eyes retreated into their heads, and they began to understand that they too were complicit, since it was their technology that failed and sent the spacecraft adrift. Nevertheless, we will call this:
As previously mentioned, the Ikenes were once a proud people group, which is an archaic way of saying they were arrogant patriots. They believed in their own greatness and were enamored by their creations. It’s somewhat understandable given that they conquered their own solar system, as well as many other systems, and solved the seemingly impossible riddle of faster than light travel, not once, but twice. That’s not to mention their advances in medicine, quark computing, gastronomy, and zymology. Given the maturity of their technology, one can hardly blame them for thinking of themselves as the “parent” and the Klogworps as the “children”. What do good parents do? They cover up, hide, or disengage household items that could cause a child physical harm or death. And that’s what the Ikenes did, via the Terms of Interstellar Engagement.
Included in the terms:
- The Ikenes shall provide five wave ships which are preprogrammed to travel to each planet within Roundabout (the Klogworp solar system), as well as to moons of interest.
- The Ikenes will fund and build a stream to the nearest habitable solar system, with the help of Klogworp labor.
- The Ikenes will oversee the introduction of trinotechnology into the Klogworp medical system.
- The Ikenes shall allow an agreed upon yearly quota of Klogworps to relocate to Ikene colonies as part of a job placement program.
- The Ikenes shall allow an agreed upon yearly quota of travel Visas for vacation opportunities within the Ikene colonies.
What was not included in the terms: trade secrets and/or dangerous how-to’s. There were no manuals on how to build an oden wave generator or how to build an obliviator or a materializer, or a wave ship, or how to build any number of other proprietary machines. And the Klogworps were okay with this for half a century. For fifty years, the Klogworps had their place. They knew their place. And they were happy with their place. Until they were not.
The reason the Klogworps became dissatisfied is this: the Ikenes had money, lots of it, and they weren’t sharing it. Not enough, anyway. Some historians dispute this, but according to the AUOE Treaty, income inequality was the primary cause of the war.
Let’s break this down.
Firstly, the Ikenes, as part of the Interstellar Terms of Engagement, issued copious travel visas to wealthy, beautiful Ikene colonies. They didn’t grant visas to poor, ugly colonies. In their desire to show off, they gave the Klogworps the impression that all Ikenes are rich, and naturally the Klogworps began to want that wealth for themselves.
Secondly, the job placement program, which was meant to provide economic opportunities, eventually generated dissatisfaction. Klogworps became unhappy with the narrow range of placement options, which included jobs in areas such as, food services, janitorial, hard labor, and taxiing. Even those contracted into the coveted personal assistantship program began to feel irritated, when, instead of learning new skills, they found themselves constantly fetching tea and scheduling appointments.
Thirdly, the Ikenes developed a voracious appetite for Klogworp exports, such as beer, food products, and trinkets, but normal, everyday Klogworps did not profit from this. Through no fault of the Ikenes, most of the profits landed in the hands of Klogworp politicians and corporate chiefs, causing distrust and unrest among regular working Klogworps, so much unrest that a civil war ensued, which further fueled the Anti-kenes as they watched the destruction of their cities and iconic landmarks.
We’ll call this unrest:
And then came Strike 3. This was a literal strike, perpetrated by Captain Marv Iscero, pilot of the cargo ship Provenance, on his way to Dreg to pick up a shipment of muscelae, a multi-tentacled land-faring invertebrate that defies all known laws of Ikene biology, and happens to taste really good too. Captain Iscero had a few too many glasses of sukoo (A Klogworp beer fermented from the native grain, himi) and miscalculated his wave ship’s exit parameters so badly that his wave bubble struck Dreg’s largest ocean causing destruction along the coast, as well as permanently shifting the entire planet’s weather patterns, which caused environmental chaos on top of the fact that half the planet’s population lost two hours of sleep because of the tail end of the space time bend.
Thus began the Hundred Equitable Year War.
Jessica E. Thomas graduated summa cum laude with Academic Honors in Writing from Ball State University, receiving a Bachelor of Science in English and a Minor in Creative Writing. She began her professional career in marketing at a large Indianapolis law firm. Since transitioning to Information Technology in 2001, she has worked in the pharmaceutical, student loan, and finance industries as a computer programmer, systems analyst, Web developer, and technical writer. She has authored two novels, three novellas, a poetry collection, a short story collection, and a children’s book.