Nation Shall Rise Against Nation: Peace de Resistance

Helgasdatter manor, north of York
Occupied Norselaw

Helga shook her head defiantly, glaring at her mother. “I won’t. If you want a courier, you can go yourself. I’m not risking five years servicing Japanese officers just so New Bergen can have updated orders of battle.”

Her mother stared, nonplussed. “Beg pardon?”

“You heard.”

“Well yes, but… I don’t think I understand.”

“It’s very simple. I’ve decided – we’ve decided, all the young people on the farm – that we won’t risk our lives for New Bergen anymore. If they want so badly to have the Norse Law back in the Realm, they can do their own work for a change.”

“They are doing their own work!”

“Oh?” Helga sneered; her generous mouth was well shaped for it. “That’s why they sent fifty divisions to bloody Finland in the last war, and tried to hold Scotland with five? Because they didn’t take Norselaw support for granted, and think that we would rise up behind Japanese lines and be slaughtered for their convenience?”

“You were eager enough to fight at the time.”

“Yes, to fight! With the Ynglinga Hird rolling down out of Scotland to our support! Not to mess about delivering footling ‘observations’ of the doings of 81st Kidoubutai. And absent gods help us, certainly not to make up for some planner on the other side of the Atlantic deciding that Scotland is just another expendable border march, just like the Norse Law.”

“Oh.” Gunhild thought for a moment. “Is that it, then, that we’re a border march? New Bergen is not responsible for facts of geography, you know.”

“No, but they’re responsible for their foreign policy! Why should we risk our lives in their wars, when they know perfectly well that if they lose – why, all they have to do is sign over the Norse Law for another twenty years? What do they care if we have Japanese jackboots in our faces half our lives, if the risk of it gives them a chance at Finland? Well, they can stuff it. We’re going on strike.”

“I think…” Gunhild chose her words carefully. “I understand what you are saying. I’m not terribly happy with the way New Bergen plays dice with sovereignty over the Norselaw, either. But I think you have the wrong idea about our relationship with them, when you say you’re going on strike. Because – and yes, I know you’re inclined to be cynical about this, but nonetheless it’s true: Are we not Ynglings? New Bergen is not an employer, a capitalist to be bargained with. We are all Ynglings together; it’s written in our bones, and you can’t get away from it. You’re trying to go on strike against your own heritage! And what’s more, this isn’t just some random place in the Norse Law, it’s Helgasdatter manor. It’s a symbol, and for good reasons. This is where my great-grandmother led the squires when we ended the Breton Occupation. There are 14 generations of my maternal ancestors buried here, going right back to the land-taking. To try to go on strike against all that is… I don’t know, you might as well go on strike against having a vagina. These are just facts of life.”

Helga shook her head. “No, mother. You’ve got it backwards. It’s exactly because am I not an Yngling? that I have to do this. New Bergen has forgotten that, I think. They don’t care about Helgasdatter farm; they don’t give a damn about the sacrifices that returned the Norselaw to their rule last time. But, just as you say, we are Ynglings too. And we have rights as well as duties. A duty to fight, to serve in the Hird, yes. But also a right to its protection. To lose a war is one thing; it happens. But when they prioritise Finland over regaining the Norse Law, that says to me that they have forgotten that they are Ynglings, or that we are. They didn’t even put in enough divisions to make a decent try at holding Scotland, much less launching an offensive! They were expecting us to rise up, to save with our blood what they were too cheap to defend properly. Well, enough’s enough. I too am an Yngling, and I have rights. Until I see that my rights are taken seriously, Helgasdatter manor can be part of the Japanese Law for all I care.”

Gunhild dropped her gaze. “I… well. Almost you convince me. But if you and I think like that; if we go on strike, as you say… last week they arrested Helena. I heard this morning: Three years in the comfort battalions. What are we going to tell her, when she gets back? ‘Sorry about that, but our rights are more important than your sacrifice’? I don’t think so. How could we look her in the eye?”

“Yes. I thought of that. That’s why I came to see you: I know where Helena is being held. If you’ll open the code-locks, break out the rifles and explosives, we can raid the prison, set her free – maybe some of our comrades, too. I know it’s been too risky when we wanted to maintain our intelligence capability. But now that doesn’t apply. Let us get Helena out, and then we’ll be good little subjects of the Emperor, and trouble his officers no more. And we’ll be able to hold our heads high, for we’ll have been true to our mothers.”

Gunhild bowed her head, closing her eyes. It would do no good to point out that raiders faced more immediate dangers than arrest and sentencing for treasonous activity; her daughter had all of the young Yngling’s belief in personal immortality. She was afraid of the comfort camps, as she should be, but not of a bullet to the head – not in the gut, where it counted. Wars had been won by that unthinking courage; but it was hard on a mother. Nonetheless: “Very well,” she whispered. “I will open the armory for you.”

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