The fighting here is less widespread than a full-scale civil war, but it’s more serious than a few survivalists seizing some government property. Gastonia is less concerned about the immediate danger it represents and more concerned about the optics: it needs to be quashed quickly to restore confidence in the strength of the nation, because the powers in charge are already aware that a real war is looming over the horizon.

I had completely forgotten that the justification for this uprising was that a number of Gastonians honestly felt that their government and society were not being nearly racist enough against “enemy races” (which, lest we forget, would currently include wood elves). I got a pretty big laugh out of that, though the intervening years since this story came out have changed it from “funny ’cause c’mon, that’s a bit over the top even for us” to “funny ’cause it’s true” (sigh).

One way or another, that detail sure explains why peacenik Syr’Nj is way more responsive to this recruitment pitch than she otherwise might be. At this point in her life, Timon here, who merely grimaces and barely hesitates when he sees her face, is the closest thing she has yet met to a non-racist human. That ain’t saying much, but it is saying something.

[Today’s and tomorrow’s images were anonymous finds from the COD Fanfic Wikia.]