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
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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 cafés 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.