To Err

Joeyray's Bar
[Recovered Log] - Entry 74
[Security Encryption Level] - Fleet Commander
[Genetic ID] - Commander Graius Rall
[Decoding Process] - Active
[Decoding] - Completed
[Log] - Start

We came to this world to start the end of something. To start the end of a fued. We made planetfall, and thought we had won, for we were mighty. As your forces crashed against our resolute walls, we cheered, for it seemed that was the end. We watched you break yourselves upon our shields and tremble. We watched the ground quake beneath your feet, and laughed. For we thought we had won. Your bases aflame, and your soldiers fleeing, we thought we knew victory. Our tanks roared with fury, and our guns chattered away with delight. You bled as you fell, and we thought we had won. [Momentary silence] We thought wrong. I remember the cry of delight and pride as my men watched your planet burn away to glass from the incendiary rage of my fleet's orbital bombardment, and we thought we had won. As your last building crumbled away to nothing, we thought we knew success.

And then you struck, with all the rage of a race denied revenge.
And then you attacked, with all the fury of a people long oppressed.
And then you repelled with all the anger and hate and desperation of a civilization on the edge of destruction.

And it was our turn to tremble. It was our turn to quake. It was our turn to know true fear. You fought like a force unknown, for every foot of ground, we bled ten-fold, and you earned it. I take pride in knowing that my men did not break ranks, did not flee, even as they were being slaughtered like worthless dogs. I take pride in knowing that my tanks did not stop their relentless assault until the press of bodies and blades grew so much that it would be a hazard to fire any longer. I take pride in the fact that my fleet in low orbit maintained their calm, stormless posture even as their ships burned around them, falling to the ground below like great hulking meteors of some past-glory unknown.

Yet it pains me so to remember the yells. My men held their composure until their last breath, and with that last breath they screamed. Your blades fell and they screamed. Your cannons bellowed, and they screamed.

If war is hell, then where the !@#$ were we?
If our cruisers rained fire on you, then molten lava monsooned upon us.
The skies wept tears in the form of blood red acid rain, and we knew true righteous fury. Who were we to attack the home of God's chosen? Who were we to doubt your divinity? Who were we to stand against the true Sons of the Almighty and question their lineage?

We were human, and for that I do not ask forgiveness. For it is only human to err.
I looked to the skies, and through the stinging tears of your planet, I witnessed my fleet fall from the stars in disgrace. I looked to the heavens for comfort, for some sort of reaffirmation that my purpose was true, and saw only disappointment. We were wrong to come here.

I was wrong.

Yet I do not ask forgiveness, for it is only human to err.
My gaze fell to the battlefield before me, and the only thing I could see was failure. I did not notice the smoldering hulls of our tanks, nor did I take in the mutilated bodies of our warriors. I did not see the craters left from crashed gunships, or the blackened scars of land from bases long destroyed.

I saw only failure.

We landed upon a world wreathed in gold and holy relics. We sundered your cities, and defiled your land, and we thought we had won. We made an error.
But I do not ask forgiveness. For it is only human to err.

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