Chapter 5779: Astrid the Propagandist

5779 Astrid the Propagandist

"...Original Sin lived up to her notorious title. By betraying her allegiance, her colleagues and whatever friends she had, she absconded into the galaxy with the precious spoils she managed to acquire during this final moment. This is not the end of her tale, as her treachery and her many crimes has turned her into a fugitive. The newly ascendant CFA and MTA sought to capture her along with other dangerous cultivators that have gotten loose. The remnants of the mostly fallen secret organization hunted her down as well, either to punish her for her treachery or retrieve the valuables she had stolen from her former compatriots. Make no mistake. Do not sympathize with their plight. She fully deserved the retribution that she had brought upon herself."

The entirety of red humanity fell into shock as they listened to the descendant of Admiral Amelie Jameson 'expose' all the lurid misdeeds of a powerful cultivator.

Read it on

Though the talespinner did her due diligence by mentioning that the woman who used to bore the title of Original Sin had been a product of an exceptionally cruel environment, that did not soften the blow all that much!

The more the lieutenant-commander shared what information she possessed about the ruthless cultmaster, the more people associated the word 'cultivator' with cruelty, murder, selfishness, treachery and other negative connotations!

Astrid Jameson could have easily painted a more positive first impression for her audience by highlighting the life of a more benign cultivator.

For example, Ves was pretty sure that the Red Two still retained a lot of records or even first-hand testimony of the Progenitors of Mechs.

Thirteen of them existed, so the mechers and the fleeters should at least have a fairly complete biography on at least one of these eminent heroes!

Yet instead of introducing one of these exemplars to red humanity in order to show what good cultivation could do, Astrid instead opted to highlight one of the most evil and undesirable cultivators imaginable!

Ves felt shocked and ashamed that the fleeters would dare to pull such a dirty move. Though he did not exactly have the best impression of his mother, this was clearly a step too far!

He silently turned his gaze towards Captain Zonrad Reze.

The hidden AI was just as surprised as everyone else. Ves reached out and took hold of the RF captain's wrist in order to communicate in private.

[How much of the Red Fleet is behind this plot?!] Ves electronically transmitted his message to the AI.

[Admiral Jameson and The Fifth Fleet are the only drivers pushing this initiative forward, but they are not alone in this. There are many doubters and sympathizers among the other fleets that also support a hardline stance against cultivation. You need to understand that the Red Fleet is the least open-

minded towards metaphysical power. It is rooted in their very ideology. What I can say is that Admiral Jameson couldn't have done this alone. She had other supporters from high places.]

[Do you mean the Red Association?]

The captain subtly nodded. [Declassifying those records is a highly irregular move. Given their sensitivity as well as their context, it requires the permission of multiple tier 1 galactic citizens to unveil even a small portion of the secret history of red humanity. My source cannot tell you who exactly was behind this move, but it is a given that at least a handful of the leaders of the Association were involved as well.]

Ves' expression darkened at that. The prime suspects were the Lord of Thermodynamics and the Web Mistress. One of them wanted to ban living mechs while the other wanted the Red Association to bind them with regulations.

Their motives may not entirely be aligned with Admiral Jameson, but they had all found common cause in wanting to stop Ves' momentum!

[Who is on my side? Why haven't they been able to stop this from happening?]

[I can personally assure you that Fleet Admiral Stanley Argile and Admiral Chelsea Mieli oppose this outrageous action. However, trying to protect the privacy of a mech designer is not a popular stance in the Red Fleet. As for the Red Association, your mecher friends should know more. My analysis of this situation leads me to conclude that your backers are not entirely reliable.]

Ves directed a flat stare towards Sigrund's human form. [Duh. I could have made that conclusion myself.]

[You do not understand my meaning. I am sure that you can still count on your allies to value you, but that does not necessarily mean that they will always act in your best interest. There are many possible motives why this may be the case. For one, they must pick their battles. They may not find it worthwhile to squander their political capital to cover your backside all of the time. They may also want to curb your arrogance and deliberately let you suffer a setback in order to teach you a lesson. I have another theory that most likely applies to this situation.]

[Tell me.] Ves demanded.

[It is very clear to us now that Admiral Amelie Jameson is the principal mastermind behind the opposition's strategy. She considers cultivation to be a menace and wants to stop it at all costs. Since you are so strongly associated with this phenomenon, you have become one of its most famous and high-profile spokespersons. Her life-long mission compels her to stop you at all cost, and what we know of her actions has made it clear that she is not above overstepping her boundaries to achieve her objectives.]

[Where are you going with this, captain?]

[I am just getting to that. While my superiors haven't given me a direct explanation, my analysis indicates that Admiral Jameson may have threatened to break the rules and leak the records on your powerful mother to the public if she did not get her way. Since the many alleged crimes committed by your mother will be released regardless of what the top has decided, the other leaders may have decided to acquiescence and approve of her motion in the interest of maintaining order at the top. The offending admiral may have tried to make amends by offering concessions to the other parties. That should be enough to placate the neutral leaders who held the deciding votes.]

Ves grew even angrier when he received this message!

Admiral Jameson managed to get her way by threatening and bribing the other human leaders!

Far too many bigwigs chose to play along with the head of the Fifth Enforcement Fleet because they did not want to rock the boat and likely profited from his misfortune!

It was that last part that truly highlighted the depravity of this situation!

It indicated that the leaders of red humanity were willing to overlook obvious misdeeds as long as they managed to advance their own selfish interests.

Sigrunt clearly knew that his friend was becoming more incensed by the situation.

[Don't give in to your anger, Ves. Listen to your advisors. You will only be playing in the hands of the opposition if you lose control. Lieutenant-Commander Astrid Jameson is trying to hit multiple birds with a single stone at the moment. First, she seeks to paint cultivators as violent, emotional and unacceptably dangerous individuals. Second, she seeks to tarnish your reputation by trying your mother's infamous deeds to your name as much as possible. Breaking the rules of this public inquiry will advance both of your adversary's goals. You will 'prove' that cultivators such as yourself are tyrants who are far too easily swayed by your emotions, and you will also show that the apple has not fallen far from the tree. Do not fall into their trap!]

Ves silently gritted his teeth. He understood Sigrund's logic. The opposition had definitely proven its capability of weaving multilayered plots and reading several moves ahead.

He was not exactly known for his restraint in public settings like these. Any opponent who conducted serious research in his past public appearances would definitely know that he had a penchant for winning over the audience with his passionate speakers.

Ves could not allow himself to play in the hands of the opposition, but it was so difficult for him to maintain his cool!

It was in his nature to be proactive. A passive stance may be the most rational decision for him to make, but it went against his increasing desire to stand up and defend himself against the unfair insinuations made by the Fifth Enforcement Fleet!

All of the politics, all of the scheming and all of the letdowns by his backers stoked his anger.

He was being unfairly maligned and belittled, and the worst part about that was that he was not allowed to contradict the stupid fleeter woman right away!

"...Though the former cult master's trail has ended just when it had led to the galactic rim, the occasional massacres, missing person cases and outbursts of violence suggests that she has not lost her tyrannical disregard towards human life during her flight. Granted, many of the casualties that she has directly or indirectly inflicted usually amounted to collateral damage in battles where her pursuers caught up to her, but there are other incidents that did not warrant a violent response. This is the nature of cultivators. Their selfishness combined with their extreme propensity towards violence has made them fundamentally incompatible with modern human societies."

Ves shook his head in disagreement. Astrid tried her best to associate cultivation with all of those negative traits. This was clearly a deceptive practice because cultivation was neither good nor evil. It was what people did with this power that determined the consequences.

If Ves was able to speak, he could have mentioned the example of mech pilots and mech designers as cultivation done right, but it was not his turn to speak at the moment!

"Cultmaster Original Sin perfectly embodied these ideals during her lifetime. Her son who stands before me today is on the cusp of reviving them during his own lifetime. Do not let him succeed! His living mechs may seem innocuous on the surface, but they are the equivalent of a gateway drug to cultivation and other horrors. The moment the Devil Tongue has managed to seduce his unwitting customers into embracing cultivation through his inscrutable living mechs, our civilization's ideal relationship with technology will become ruined. Instead of putting our trust in reliable, dependable and understandable human technology, we will instead degenerate into savages who worship alien gods and develop a reliance on magic gibberish to sustain our lives!"

The lieutenant-commander ranted about the perils of cultivation and everything related to it for several more minutes. She made sure to weave Ves' mother and living mechs in her arguments to bind them all together into the collective mind of the public.

By the end of her speech, hardly anyone would be able to separate slaughter, depravity, cultivation, Original Sin and living mechs from each other!

It was a crude but effective means of engaging in propaganda.

Even if this verbal strategy was not ethical due to establishing associations that did not actually exist, it worked because humans were far too prone to believing in sensational falsehoods as opposed to boring facts!

"...And that concluded my tale. I hope that you will learn from the mistakes in the past. You can readily access more detailed records on the life and history of Cultmaster Original Sin by visiting the Red Fleet's public portal. Heed our warning and do not allow our society to degenerate into a jungle where the survival of the fittest becomes the order of the day. Above all else, do not trust living mechs and any other weird inventions made by Professor Larkinson. No one knows how they work. Each of them may be potential carriers of intangible viruses that may distort your personality and brainwash you into pursuing power without any regard for other people's lives. Be vigilant. Be skeptical. Be human."

With that, the cybernetic woman formally ended her incredibly manipulative speech, having made a lasting and unforgettable impression onto red humanity.