Meanwhile Elsewhere on Rifts Earth
Coalition Life Commemorative VCD presents...
The Crusade for Humanity Address
The sky was bright despite the dark grey clouds pushing through the pale overcast. The ground and everything on it was dark and leaden despite the bright sky. The reds, golds, and browns of the trees stood out almost brightly, offering a third contrast to the mix.
The stage had been freshly painted the day before. The bandstand had been cleaned and polished that morning. The lawns were always trim and neat. In their best finery people from all levels of the Fortress and many of the burbs revolving around it were gathered to hear the speech that was already rumoured to have changed their lives forever. Vid-systems recorded and transmitted live the event for the many more people of Chi-Town and the rest of the Coalition who could not be there in person.
The nearest visible Wall of Honour was the oldest and contained amongst the self-sacrificing the only names of those who had not died in combat. The one name which most belonged on that wall would not ever be carved into the glossy surface. Joseph Prosek the 1st had humbly asked that his name be kept off of the memorial, that the real heroes where those who gave their lives, not their time, to the building of the last bastion of humanity.
In the proverbial shadow of that testament Karl Prosek son of Joseph Prosek I began his speech to the assemblage with the words that would forever after be entangled with his name, "The World is ours for the taking if only we dare to the grasp it. Today we are taking off the gloves and taking that step. Tomorrow it will be ours."
"Dear ladies and gentlemen of the Coalition States, we stand on the threshold of a new era. Today will mark the day that the Coalition unveiled the salvation of humankind on this planet, Earth, in orbit of the Sun. Today I present to you the Crusade for Humanity.
"To embrace the inhuman is to lose our humanity. To accept the alien is to lose our identity. To use magic is to forsake the gifts of God, technology, and honest work. Magic and the acceptance of the monstrous, alien, and inhuman is the poison that eats away at our souls!
"They represent an enemy obsessed with eradicating humanity from this our Earth. We will not succumb! We will not be like the weak fools in Tolkeen, Kingsdale, Lazlo and other domains where men consort with monsters and are seduced by magic. Unlike them, we the people of the Coalition States are proud and strong. We have not forsaken our humanity, we have not given away our souls. Our humanness is precious and pure. We will not allow the destruction of human civilisation without a fight!"
The cloud cover which had been in constant covert movement because of its total coverage of the area began to break up just the slightest. Light began to fall in thin beams to the awaiting earth below. The wind began to blow a little faster and the sky seemed to tremble just perceptibly as if rain would fall any instant.
Karl continued, "We are human! We are the true people of Earth! This is our world! Ours alone!
"I cannot and will not stand by idle and mute while our identity as a people and our very existence is strangled by the hands of demonic invaders. I refuse to let my race be obliterated! I will fight until my dying breath or until man is again master of his fate, and his world! That is my solemn oath. That is my promise to you, humankind.
"I am your salvation! Trust in me! Follow me! See that my words ring with harsh truth and justice. Do not allow the inhuman invaders to tread on you or your neighbour. Together we can push off the heavy foot of oppression that seeks to hold us down and crush our spirit.
"Do not be afraid to stand with me in pursuit of triumph and justice against our inhuman enemies, they who would murder our children, enslave us like cattle, and rape our beloved Earth. Join me for the good of all mankind! I shall lead you to glory and freedom, though it be down the long and painful road of war. Remember, freedom and justice are never easily plucked. They must be earned through hard-fought battles and heroic sacrifice. This I swear in the shadow of those who helped us to where we are, who gave their lives in service to our race."
A shaft of sunlight speared down from the sky as if in answer to Karl's promise and his eyes shone with that light as he spoke with more feeling. "War is what binds us and gives us direction and hope. Hope that we will one day be free of the tyranny of creatures from the Rifts! Free to walk outside our walled cities without fear. Free to let man's genius and creative spirit soar without being beaten and mocked by easy magic and alien powers.
"It is our resolve that makes us strong and unites us as a people. A resolve to reclaim our world from the monsters who seek to enslave us and the madmen who call upon dark magicks.
"I have been called ruthless. I have been called mad. If I am ruthless, it is because I fight without mercy against the enemies of humankind. I will not loosen my fierce grip on my humanity or my identity. If I am mad it is at the demonic hordes who have invaded my world and the weak and pitiful who will follow them and consort with them in their wicked depravity.
"I am human. This is my world, and I lash out at the enemy without hesitation and with brutal force. I conduct a war of annihilation against the alien, the grotesque and unnatural. They are the abominations who seek to usurp humankind's place in the world, and I will not allow it. I sing out to all of the D-bees, mutants, aliens, demons and monsters, this is my world and you cannot have it! My people and I will fight you to our last breath! Go back to your hell pits and abyss of magic. Remain on our Earth and prepare to be destroyed! If not by my hand, then by the multitudes who stand with me and who will not succumb! If this is ruthlessness then I am ruthless! If this is madness, then I am mad!"
The cloud cover broke and the shaft of sunlight turned into a pool that lit upon the entire assemblage and sent a prismatic rainbow heliographing off of the Wall of Honour that stood monument to thing that Karl most wanted to express. "My dream is a dream of peace and prosperity for all humankind. I fight for the generations that will follow after us so that they can walk our Earth without the fear and chaos that we must endure today. If my dream of salvation, freedom, and peace are that of a madman then I welcome my insanity and bid you all to share in my madness!"
The crowd broke into waves of cheering that sent flights of birds into the air from the trees all over Memorial park. Then in waves the people gathered took to their feet and applauded all the louder. On stage Karl Prosek, Emperor of the Coalition, gripped the edges of the podium and smiled, a tear running down his cheek, and when finally he released the podium he spoke and all fell silent immediately.
"My friends, thank you for all of your support and confidence. Now let me tell you some details about the Crusade for Humanity."