A/N: This piece is set after a pre-Gate Sol war between the EA and the Jovian Coalition, which will be covered in more detail in the remade Inferno: Alliance. (If we ever get that far.)Plaza of Fallen HeroesJohannesburg, Africa, Sol2:11 PM TST, August 4, 2371
“All Sol, we stand proud this day!”
Minister-in-Chief Marcos Ienou swept his arm over the packed Plaza. Twenty-meter-tall statues of soldiers and ships towered over the crowd. Claymores from the Nemesis’s CAP buzzed and wheeled in parade patterns. After sharing a glance with his fellow Ministers standing on the air-conditioned balcony, the rail-thin EA head of state tapped his glasses. 5 billion live views. None of the networks would dare miss this, even the Jovians’.
A grin flickered over the politician’s well-practiced stolid expression. Like it or not, this is our new era.
“Loyal citizens of Earth. Throughout these decades of fratricide in Sol, you have stood with us, as we sought a lasting peace with honor! Of our Navy, what can I say? The Coalition had decades to prepare their stab in the back, but you shattered their outdated hulls and crushed their ambitions! Soldiers of our Army, you fought across the battlefields of a dozen worlds; then you stood your watch on long occupation tours guiding liberated planets toward peace, all the while enduring the slings and arrows of our misguided brethren. Our men and women, rise to your feet!”
Ienou snapped a salute. Ranks of servicepersons in starched dress grays snapped to attention, returning the gesture. Can’t let our boys in gray have all the spotlight, though.
“Retirees who volunteered for war desk jobs. Bureaucrats who worked extra hours to keep our overstrained logistics flowing. Civilians who took shelter as Coalition bombs blasted your homes apart, and who then scrubbed fallout and restored infrastructure. All of you stood proud in our time of need. Stay on your feet – you have earned your pride!”
A picked section of Civilian Medal recipients rose to their feet. But around them in the packed stands, more followed in an uncoordinated surge of rippling emotion. Soon, almost the entire crowd was on their feet. Public Ministry didn’t even script that last part. But who would I be to turn down a spontaneous display of patriotism? After groaning under my war tax regime, they deserve this chance to stand up.
He stifled a dry chuckle.
Ienou gestured to a group of Jovian prisoners-of-war, wearing their own dress reds and cordoned off from the glances and insults of the crowd. The Minister-in-Chief let a note of dignified compassion slip into his oratory. “Our brothers, formerly of the Jovian Coalition, rise to your feet! Though misguided by your leaders, you fought with courage for your majestic planet- now stand hand-in-hand with all eight worlds of Sol.”
After a few moments of nervously glancing and whispering at each other, most of the Jovians rose to their feet. A few defiantly remained seated. No, I won’t dignify your resistance with attention. Your backstabbing government is now consigned to the pages of history; may it stay there!
Hardly missing a beat, he next spread his arms to embrace the crowd. First, the kindly father-figure...
“Now, for the first time in decades, Terrans across Sol can sleep in their beds, without fearing explosive decompressions or tanks rumbling through their streets. Return to your lives. The Interior Ministry is already at work preparing aid packages for the most-affected worlds, and the Economics Ministry is laying the groundwork for inter-Solar economic exchange and shared prosperity.” Half of those tanks were ours, but better ours than the Jovians’.
Ienou's tone turned strident, amplified by the Plaza’s sound system. “But do not let your knees buckle and turn weak! The Shivans still lurk in the great beyond, and we know not what other threats we will face, from outside – or, our heritage forbid, from within. Let us all preserve this lasting peace we have won!”
“We are Sol! We are the Earth Alliance! And WE STAND!”
“WE STAND! WE STAND! WE STAND! WE STAND!”
Ienou wiped his brow again, drinking in the scene before him. As the sound system fell silent, he cut off the other Ministers' congratulations. For now, all Sol speaks with one voice. Just treasure this moment while it lasts.