I apologize for another lengthy post. Hope everyone is enjoying the story.
Planet of Jirth, Part 15
The next few months wore on me. I spoke to frightened people all over my world. People I didn’t even know existed. I tried to soothe them. I recorded how they lived, the technology they developed, and scanned any documents. Every time I finished my work they were taken away from their lives and put to work. My heart screamed at me telling me I betrayed them. I should have worked harder and longer to save them. My mind knew the truth, but my heart ached.
Some of people stayed on the planet building settlements in the strange round Jirth design. Most went into space to build a sprawling spaceport the Jirth planned. Only the young and very old were spared from labor. The Jirth appointment me to teach the children, grudgingly. They blocked any attempt for me to teach them about their people. Priest of Jirth only response to the matter was, “They are Jirth.” They even named our planet Einnidas for us.
I extended my power outward. I kept my friends, At and Viirra, informed about what happened. I read book after book on Intergalactic Law, and read about its history. The years rolled on as I worked. All the Einlari I knew died, I still lived. Only At and Viirra survived my long life.
I stood in a room with twelve cameras trained on me. Tre was no decoration only bland metallic walls. The council would see my every expression, and motion.
“The Einlari of Einnidas have been enslaved to the Jirth for nearly six hundred and fifty standard years. This exceeds any previous attempt to control a lesser race by nearly a hundred years. In addition, our race was too young for the true consequences to be explained to us.” It took a long time to stand before the council and say those words. Politics on such a grand scale were even more of a mess than ones at home.
A computerized voice filled the air, “And, why should we reverse what has been ongoing for such a long period?” One the councillors asked, and I wasn’t allowed to know who asked. Some advantages I could not gain.
“A wrong shouldn’t be righted if discovered? I won’t believe in such a thing. My people are stifled, held down, unable to grow. The Jirth have put them in the lowest caste. They can’t be educated, they can’t make art, and they can’t grow. Would you condemn them for another six hundred years? I have tried to show the Jirth the Einlari can be more than base larborers, the Jirth ignore my pleas, and arguments. If you don’t desire to free them, which would be the moral choice, then at least give them the freedom to educate their own lives.” As much as it pained me, I needed to appear flexible.
A few minutes went by before another question barked at me. “Do you want to remove all ties to the Jirth?”
A yes almost slipped past my lips. I knew a yes would condemn them. “No. The Jirth raised from a people who had very basic technology and limited understanding of their universe. However, now they are inhibiting our ability to evolve. I have transmitted research, and documents showing how adaptable my people are. Only a few generations would have passed before we could accept our new reality.” The Jirth allowed the Go On Don to conduct the experiments, I never mentioned they were my idea.
“And, what will you give the Jirth for losing a valuable monetary asset as your world has become? They use your spaceport as a very profitable venture.” Only an ally of the Jirth would ask such a question. I expected it as much as it irritated me. My peoples’ freedom shouldn’t be broken down to simple commerce.
“Most of my people run the spaceport, and do most of the duties associated with it and the Jirth take the profit. I acknowledge the cost for the Jirth to set up the planet and train our people. I complied a financial document for the profit they made so far weighed against their cost. We have already paid the debt. I do agree to provide, for next three hundred and fifty years, ten percent of our profit to Jirth. Most of investment models went out to a thousand years we can compensate them up to then.” A thousand years of slavery penned into the Jirth’s government spending. I spent a moment to calm myself.
A screen turned on as an alien I’d never seen before appeared before me a featureless face with slits in the middle. “I’m a Daie. I wish to look at you while I ask a few questions.” Fear caused my heart to stutter. Daie stood as one of the two ancient races, the only one comparable were the Runnil, but the Daie had mentored them. “Why do you care if your people are free? You have worked hard to gain this meeting, it likely took you hundred of years to be a minority in a race who themselves are minor. The Jirth are not well regarded as I’m sure you realize. You are a Go On Don you could have left Einndias to struggle on without you. A life of freedom is open to you.”
A quiet voice told me I must be honest. I learned from Go On Don instincts always meant something and time taught me how to understand them. “Daie, I must. My mind told me to leave them. I might be an Einlari, but not really anymore. I never fit in, always the outcast. Among the Go On Don I found love and acceptance.” I let out a breath. “My heart is not so easily swayed. It remembers my mother telling me folk tales about monsters, and magical creatures. The smell of wood shavings from the local joiner who made all my furniture from scratch. The delighted eyes of children as I taught them. The taste of home made dishes from the locals who felt I wouldn’t have time to cook for myself. Time has blurred them, but they never left. They are individuals some horrible, some wonderful. They deserve to be free.”
The Daie’s head tilted a bit. “You aren’t free, why should they be?”
“These are chains of my own making. I resent them at times, but who would I be without them?” I shook my head. “Everyone is chained to something. They didn’t choose to be Jirth. They don’t even get to choose their jobs, or mates. Let them be free. Six hundred years is long enough.” I believed it with all my heart. Jirth used us long enough.
“And who should rule them? They no longer have a government it would be difficult to set one up.” I wish I could read the Daie expression. If it had been standing near me I could feel its emotions.
“I planned on using a structure similar to what the Jirth used. It would be more comfortable. They don’t remember how things used to be, only I do.” I winced as my tone dropped and I could feel the emotion well up. Be strong, I told myself.
Daie gave a tip of its head. “Understood. Thank you.” The face faded from the screen.
The digital voice returned. “Intergalactic Council will look over the proposal you submitted. It may be some time before we can give you any conclusions. Return to Einndias and you’ll be informed when we come to decision.”
I left with anxiety lacing in every vein. The Intergalactic Council moved slowly. I knew it, but I wanted an answer now. My head told me heart we did all we could, my heart said ‘not nearly enough’.