This is a collection of short in-character fiction pieces about Awakened Industries, a group of capsuleers and their crews living in the enigmatic and dangerous regions of Wormhole Space in EVE Online. None of the protagonists are actual characters or corporations in-game. All similarities with persons fictional or real are possibly coincidental and only sometimes intentional. - Emergent Patroller

For an introduction to this blog refer to this link. You may also want to check out the guide for new readers

Warning
: The stories on this blog contain mature themes involving sexuality and violence and are not suitable for minors or sensitive people.

15 Sep 2013

OOC Entry 96 - The Gallente as Bad Guys



What comes to mind first when you hear Gallente? Democracy? Multiculturalism? Hedonistic lifestyle? Organic-looking green spaceships? Exotic dancers?

Probably a few of those things and then some.

There wont be many people who will think of the Gallente as sinister, duplicitous and self-righteous to a level where they become relentless killers. However, since New Eden is a setting of Grey and Gray Morality there is of course a dark side to this mixture of US-American parliamentary democracy and French culture - in space.

The example that stands out most is the Gallente - Caldari war.

Not only would the Gallente not allow the Caldari to go their own way, they even initiated a massive bombing campaign of Caldari Prime. The reason, and justification, for this indiscriminate bombardment of a planet which the Caldari were trying to evacuate and leave anyway was a terrorist attack on the underwater city Nouvelle Rouvenor which was attributed to Caldari separatists. The whole operation served no actual military purpose. It was pure ideologically motivated retribution.



I am sure New Eden had (and has) it's own brand of "911Truth" conspiracy theorists who would suggest that the Nouvelle Rouvenor attack was a false flag operation to get popular support for the war. After all, the Gallente are not above duplicitous operations where they will even hire capsuleers to kill Federation Navy ships to get rid of a war monument where Caldari come to commemorate.

One of my own favourite examples of just how ruthlessly calculating the Gallente can be when it comes to violence is the Methods of Torture chronicle. Apart from the pretty nasty torture in the story, the implications of what they are doing it for are particularly chilling.


The anatomy of Gallente evil

Apart from providing a basis for enjoyably sinister plots and characters, one might wonder why the Gallente are particularly devious and covert about the bad things they do. I would propose it is exactly because of their otherwise very positive culture and image. A regime like the Amarr Empire would not have a reason to hide it's cruelty. Much of it would be conducted quite publicly as a deterrent against deviation and because the Amarr at least partially base their society on a divine mandate. There would be little reason for a faithful Amarrian to question harsh practices to punish deviants or enemies. Another example, the Caldari, are both highly militaristic and also very darwinistic in their outlook. While they would probably not stand for violent action that hurts the bottom line, they would generally be way too pragmatic to have ethics enter into the equation.

The Gallente, on the other hand, have a reason to uphold their positive image. The citizens of the Federation need to believe that their government - and by extension they themselves - are doing the right thing. Otherwise there would be no coordinated resistance against possible external threats. Also, the government, and the whole powerstructure that exists around it, would find itself without popular support if it were to deviate from it's role too much.

During the first Gallente-Caldari war, there was an extreme-right-wing government in power, but that only existed by the grace of the half-million dead of Nouvelle Rouvenor. Without that cause which supported the righteousness of action against the Caldari, most Gallente would very likely have returned to hanging out in fancy caf├ęs and watching holoreels rather than going to war against their former brothers and sisters. That does show, however, that the Gallente are well prepared to set their high ideals aside for the sake of what they view as a way of defending them.

The carefully maintained positive self-image of the Gallente is exactly what enables them to commit extreme acts of violence against others. They feel justified by the "knowledge" that they are doing it for the "right reasons". They manage to rationalize and externalize any atrocities committed in the name of freedom. In the minds of the citizenship such extreme measures are only a temporary and necessary evil to overcome adversity, not a general state of affairs or part of their identity.

In the meantime the Gallente have been engaged in a second war with the Caldari (this time the Caldari actually shot first), have conducted operations of extreme prejudice against the Amarr, created a secret state agency specialized on black ops and are not even above retributive action against their Minmatar allies when they act with a typical lack of diplomatic finesse.

So things are far from love, peace and holoreels in the Gallente Federation.


Using the material

In my writings I like to play with stereotypes in many ways. Quite obviously Cedrien is the archetypical Good Guy Gallente who would choose exile rather than following orders and go against his ideals (which are after all the ones that the Federation is supposed to be founded on). Sandrielle represents the dark side of the Gallente although she has been shaped by a life among the capsuleers of null-security space which is arguably much harsher than life in the Gallente Federation would be. The way she conducts her dirty business, though, is still very Gallente. She is aware of the evil that she does and therefore tries to hide it as much as possible. In that way she is comparable to The Operative in Serenity (The Alliance in the Firefly world as a whole could actually be compared with the Gallente Federation).

In other works of fan-fiction, writers have used the theme of the dark side of the Gallente, so writers are definitely aware of it and like to play with it. This often makes for particularly interesting stories because it subverts the stereotype and shows an aspect of the world that is not commonplace.

It also serves to create a pleasurably chilling reading experience. After all, what good is there left in the world if even the Gallente who make the most popular softdrink, entertainment and food of New Eden are also evil bastards.

I was long planning to write a story in which the Gallente Federation are the main antagonist. So far the Amarr and the Minmatar were featured [*] Apart from the mercenary leader Commodore Sivaata and the conniving trader Mikkai Aluvetti I left the Caldari out so far, but they make great individual antagonists which - I feel - serves them well because they are a very single-minded lot in general.

One thing I know for sure: A story with Gallente antagonists will have to be sinister and unsettling to work properly. Nothing of the likes of the uncompromisingly self-righteous actions of the Amarr or the desperate measures of Republic Intelligence.

I will have to work hard to come up with a good one for that to make it a story which does the dark side of the Gallente justice.

***

[*]  I really liked deconstructing the stereotype of the Minmatar as straightforward "warrior race" guys by having them use covert assets.

7 comments:

  1. Great article, I really enjoyed it, its about time, the lines are blurred and the "good" Gallente get black mark on them.

    For me the races are more "cultural" and provide the background for personal decisions and activity. Morality is intensely personal and only indirectly linked to one's nation or race. So, I expect very honorable and morally sound Amarr (see next chapters of my little story) as well as evil Gallente.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why, the Amarr are generally very honourable and morally sound. It just so happens that their frame of reference is different than that of other cultures.

      In your own story you had an Amarr doctor save Lydie by making her a slave. That is a course of action which would be unimaginable in our modern society, but for that man, in his position, it was an honourable and morally sound thing to do.

      Even in my own story, which had the Amarr cast in the role of antagonists (or full-on deviants like Keram) for quite some time, I have tried to make it an issue how Sylera becomes a very dedicated member of the group because her moral code tells her to honour the debt she owes the people who rescued her. That is not only a personal decision for her, it is based on her cultural background too. Just like Cedrien is the archetypical Good Guy Gallente, ahe is an archetypical Good Guy Amarrian, and both are exiled from their society because neither can live up to the ideal.

      Something that would _really_ be special would be a Minmatar who rejects solidarity based on ethnicity :)

      Delete
    2. Yes, that was my point. Morality is mostly unbound from societal or genetic background. And whether the doctor really saved Lydie or has other plans shall soon be revealed (next Lydie chapter).

      My view is that genetic and social background may give a canvas for morality but that there is a basic "good" that transcends all artificial borders. What is this "good", that all share? I'd say forgiveness.

      Delete
    3. Well, of course morality has nothing to do with genes, but I think it has a lot to do with the society you grew up in.

      I am not a sociologist (I have a friend who is and I am sure he could write a whole book on this subject) but personal experience has taught me that people often fall back onto a moral code which they have been given by their society.

      Some will develop their own, as you propose they would, but many of them will just stick to what they have been told as right and wrong and try to make their personal decisions within that framework.

      Interesting discussion :)

      Delete
  2. The first word it comes to my mind?
    Hypocrisy... A hell lot of it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Somewhere halfway through this post i wasn't sure whether I was reading something about the last ten years of US foreign and domestic policy or something about a fictional state in a game :D

    ReplyDelete
  4. wow i never knew how evil some of us are.I find these actions deplorable but I know that I may do similar actions to certain people like most Ammar slavers

    ReplyDelete