How Are Conscientious Objectors Treated in the Future?
Allan McAllister is a paxist in a world at war, what we today would term a conscientious objector. His uncle Egan Rand is the leader of a movement protesting the current war in which the UTF—the United Terran Federation—is involved, a war the Federation claims results from an Earth settlement being attacked without provocation by the Felidan navy. (Later this assertion will prove ironically false.) Egan Rand wants the UTF to investigate and discover what really happened, perhaps negotiate and avoid war.
The aggressive Federation doesn’t work that way. In most cases, they shoot first, and then much, much later, ask questions.
The Earth in Allan’s century is much different from our current one. The United States as such is no more…now it’s the Federated States of NorAmerica with the capitol in Charleston, South Carolina, moved from Washington, DC, after a second regional civil uprising in which the Southern states were the victors. The official religion of the Fed is Christosian with a Catholic bent. Most “cults,’ such as the Baptists. Methodists, etc., have been outlawed, though secretly people still follow them. Anyone wishing to succeed in the Federation must be a follower of Christos and publicly announce his adherence to the official religion which the UTF subverts to fit its own agenda. Upon winning a war, the second action after sending in occupying troops is to assign missionaries to convert the conquered to Christosianism. Those unlucky enough to lose the war—in fact, unlucky enough to have been in one with the Federation in the first place—are declared “animals,” and maintain this second-class status until being admitted into the Federation. At which time they again become “human” and given first-class citizenship and the privilege of supplying the Fed with resources to replace its nearly-depleted own.
It is this world in which Allan McAllister finds himself. Allan’s a translator for the Federation League of Planets, but that position doesn’t protect him when his uncle is declared a criminal by the very government employing his nephew. Egan’s other relatives have already disappeared, arrested by the UTF and never seen again….and now they’ve come after his last known one…Allan.
Forcibly taken from his apartment and inducted into the Federation navy, Allan undergoes not only boot camp training. Similar to the experiences of the young soldier in Hawkshaw Ridge, his barracks’ mates beat and harass him for his beliefs, encouraged by their sergeant who’s a hawk and a half when it comes to making certain the grubs under his command are ready for combat. Only one man befriends him…Jon Pardee, an Irish criminal who chose enlisting over going to jail. The two becomes friends and Jon encourages Allan, enabling the young man to not only rise above his misfortune but to ironically become a master gunner assigned to the Chairman’s Revenge, the best gunship in the UTF navy.
This is the background of the main character of The Story of a Peace-Loving Man…a man who wanted peace but had war forced upon him, taken from his home and sent to fight in another galaxy. Because of that, he will find the woman he loves on a war-torn world, suffer for that love, and become the father of a man to whom the United Terran Federation itself will one day look to for assistance in a later war.
Irony is often truly enjoyable…if you can survive to see it.
Against the background of an interplanetary war comes the story of Allan McAllister and N’Sagar sh’en Singh.
He’s a Paxist, a believer in peace, forced by the United Terran Federation into military service to punish his treasonous kinsman. She’s the daughter of a Felidan pride chief, one of the enemy, but there’s no hatred in her heart for the lone Terran marooned on her planet.
Thrown together, then torn from each other by the aftermath of a war neither wanted, their love will be a tragedy and a triumph as a man sworn to walk the road of Peace is made to follow the dictates of War and suffer its consequences.
This is their story...
Allan was in the line with all the others, dressed in his Federation-issue fatigues, duffel bag resting at his left ankle. The Sarge was going down the line, comparing names on the screen of his hand unit with the little holographic ID tags hanging around each recruit’s neck.
He stopped when he came to Allan. “Well, well...who do we have here?”
Thinking the man actually expected an answer, Allan replied, “Allan Malcolm McAllister, sir.”
“Did I give you permission to speak?”
“Well, no, sir. But I— ”
“Then keep quiet, recruit!” He turned to the others. “Gentleman... ” Even that word was deliver with a modicum of irony Allan would learn was the Sarge’s normal speaking voice. Odd how Southern accents fitted themselves so well to that mode of delivery. “We have here the relative of a very famous personage, or infamous, I should say. Mr. McAllister is the nephew of… Why don’t you tell us, Mr. McAllister?” When Allan didn’t answer, he leaned forward and went on in a stage whisper, “You may speak now, Mr. McAllister.”
“Egan Rand.” Allan supplied the name very quietly.
“What?” The DI cupped one hand to his ear, “What was that? I didn’t quite catch that.”
“Egad Rand!” Allan answered, louder.
“Egan Rand. That’s right. The traitor who thinks we should love the Felidans instead of killing them. Who wants the Federation to stop the war and welcome those murderous aliens with open arms.”
“I don’t think that’s— ”
“I don’t care what you think, McAllister! Isn’t your uncle a fugitive from Federation justice for preaching sedition by urging our young men not to enlist?”
“Yes, sir, he’s a fugitive, but that’s not exactly—”
“If I could explain, sir.”
“Oh, by all means, please. Explain.”
“No one knows why the Felidans attacked Ferris Alpha. My uncle thinks we should find out the reason. Maybe the Felidans feel they were justified. H-he thinks if we know why they did it, maybe it can be resolved without a war…”
“Well, now, that sounds reasonable enough, doesn’t it?” That slow, deep accent fairly dripped sarcasm. “Love thy neighbor. Now, I know that’s what Christos taught, and it’s what each of you dewey-eyed innocents heard when your Mamas took you to church every Sunday, but in that Bible each of you were issued along with your LX-15, it also says, an eye for an eye and do unto others—”
Spittle flew as the Sarge ranted. Allan blinked to keep from being struck in the eye by a globule. He forced himself not to flinch, didn’t dare dodge or reach up to wipe his face, just stood there, feeling the bit of wet trickle down his cheek.
“Quite frankly, I think that’s what we ought to do. We ought to take a couple of dirty laser bombs and drop ’em on Felida and wipe out all of those murderous bastards…” He broke off to survey the young faces a moment before continuing, his tone now mild in shocking contrast to his previous angry one. “But use of those type of weapons was banned at the Jovian Covention of 2120, so we’re going to do the next best thing. We’re going to use our gunboats to kill as many of ’em as possible. As for you…” He swung back to Allan. “As a little reminder to keep your mouth shut and not spread any of your uncle’s crap, drop and give me fifty!”
“Fifty what, sir?” Allan didn’t move.
“Are you smart-assing me, McAllister?”
“N-no sir. Fifty Credits? I-I don’t have that much cash—”
“Fifty push-ups you idiot! Now!”
While the rest of the company marched off to the barracks, Allan flung himself to the ground and performed the requested callisthenics, calmly counted out by the corporal.
About the Author:
Toni V. Sweeney has lived 30 years in the South, a score in the Middle West, and a decade on the Pacific Coast and now she’s trying for her second 30 on the Great Plains. Since the publication of her first novel in 1989, Toni divides her time between writing SF/Fantasy under her own name and romances under her pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone. Her novels have garnered awards from The National Writers Association, Preditors & Editors, The Maryland Writers Association, and The Paranormal Romance Guild. In March, 2013, she became publicity manager for Class Act Books. She is also on the review staff of the New York Journal of Books and the Paranormal Romance Guild. Recently she was named a professional reader by netgalley.com.
More about Toni at:
Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002BLQBB8
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Publisher’s website: http://www.classactbooks.com/index.php/cat-romance/the-story-of-a-peace-loving-man-detail