How to interpret "Maybe knowing your enemy might one day result in saving him and you"?


Ensign, 2nd Class
This is a quote of Harga (Baron Vakka's closest friend and Jukaga's tutor) from Action Stations, CHAPTER FIVE. Context:

Harga smiled. "We've been over that before, my friend. It was all in your ship's computers anyhow, though I dare say no one in the Imperial family gives a good damn about it. But Jukaga, here, might make a difference someday."

"A difference in defeating us?" Abram asked. "Know your friends, but know your enemies better."

"Maybe knowing your enemy might one day result in saving him and you."

"I'll think about that," Abram replied, and without any ceremonial bow the human turned and walked away.

This sentence seems to echo the end of Fleet Action. But is there more to it than that? For example, Melek's "Perhaps the only hope for either of our races is to face the future together" (Heart of the Tiger, CHAPTER XXX)?

And I have some other words. Recently, I finally purchased End Run. After gaining some understanding of all the three books (and paying a weekend spare time to read lots of posts here... wow, some of the posts are almost twenty years old), I have some new insights into the "Baron Jukaga trilogy" and some more questions in the following posts.

P.S. Sorry, I was reading and combing through the clues late, so the writing may have been a bit messy. After all, my knowledge of the series is still very limited, so please criticize and point out the errors in my extrapolation.


Ensign, 2nd Class
First of all, both Harga and Baron Vakka considered Dr. Abram a friend, and Abram also considered them to be friends. And I guess Jukaga felt the same way in his heart, except that due to the traditional K‎ilrathi Imperial values he was influenced by during that period, he was verbally reluctant to acknowledge an alien as a friend. Is this reasonable?

Vakka chuckled. " 'Judge not thy enemy by the strength of his arm, but rather by the cunning of his brain,' so Xag once said. I think my old friend has opened a door for you and what you have seen on the other side troubles you deeply."

According to this portrayal from Action Stations, CHAPTER FIVE, the friendship does not look fake. They did admire each other, not just a strategy for knowing foes. It looks like they were on good terms, and the personal relationship was pretty good.


Ensign, 2nd Class
Secondly, it seems that beneath the ice of Kilrathi's honor value system, there's a set of subterfuge rules that really leads the functioning of their society, right? Whether it was the Emperor, Crown Prince Gilkarg, or Baron Vakka, the grown-up Baron Jukaga, all knew the set well (OK, I think Melek knows this well, too). Both the politics tricks around the safety of the young heirs of the clans in Action Stations, and the Emperor's shifting of the responsibilities in End Run, have depicted subterfuge rules.

Interestingly, Admiral Nargth of the Second Fleet, who was not of royal blood, seemed dismissive of these.
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Ensign, 2nd Class
Thirdly, what are Terrans and Terran civilization to the Vakka family? A politico-military asset that needs to be obtained? One of the resources used to compete with the Emperor Family? A buffer for the confrontation of the darkness of the galactic core, or even an ally--We know in WCP that is it.

We know that in Fleet Action, Baron Jukaga's scheming design could embody the first two points. Maybe, Trying to subdue the Terrans with low violence conquest in a efficient, more civilized way, as distinct from the traditional, Emperor family style, high-sacrifice, barbaric conquest. This form, if successful, would be much better for the preservation of human civilization than purely violent conquest--That is important, since what the admirable, valuable human civilization, is not what a group of human beings who have been oppressed into slavery can present.

"Your senseless barbarism will only arouse them further. You've made your point, now spare the second planet. Show mercy and it still might weaken their will."

This was a concern, but it seems there were more:

Study one's enemy for too long and in the end you might come to admire them. He did not admire the humans, the very essence of his nature prevented that, but he could acknowledge them as something more than mere prey to be slaughtered. His plan, if it had been allowed to be played out, might very well have resulted in a near bloodless victory, a Confederation completely divided, lulled by peace, and then psychologically overwhelmed when the dozen new carriers appeared. It all suddenly became very clear.


"No. This is different He will not only slaughter everyone—man, woman and child, but he will also slaughter the very worlds you live on through the use of high radiation doses. Nothing will be left, nothing. Your home, your Earth, with all its long history, will be dead, uninhabitable, lifeless."

His words trailed off and Geoff was startled to realize that Jukaga's voice was filled with remorse.

"You wanted us destroyed, enslaved, why your concern now?" Geoff asked.

Jukaga smiled and shook his head.

"That is not your concern, Admiral Tolwyn, only my own. I therefore implore you. Surrender. If you do, I will ensure that you and your warriors are treated with honor, that your Earth will continue to live."


"Good-bye, Admiral," Jukaga said quietly and he started to reach over to switch off his screen. He paused and looked back up.

"I'm sorry," and then his image disappeared.


It looks like his regrets and remorse and even apology were real. Is this one of the reasons he finally gave his life to save the Earth and stunned Prince Thrakhath?

And was there a third reason? At this time, because the Baron was already in a precarious position in his struggle with the Crown Prince, if everything had gone according to Crown Prince's plan, then not only the Baron himself would face a tragic fate, his family and even the entire clan would be the next target of the Emperor and Crown Prince--the failed assassination had given the Emperor and the Crown Prince enough reason. So saving the earth not only saved the Terran Civilization Jukaga admired, but also saved Baron Jukaga's family and the Ki'ra clan--maybe more Kilrathi people, according to WCP.

Is it reasonable to speculate like this?
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Ensign, 2nd Class
The 4th issue, what kind of character is Baron Vakka?

Vakka looked about the room for support and saw only blank stares. He knew those clan leaders whose realms bordered in towards the galactic core might see his side, but the promise of war, immediate war, rather than long boring years of preparation for a threat that might never actually come, superseded all other concerns.

He has a long-term vision, not just focus on the immediate interests.

"Let us say they do not complete this weapon in eighty days. Do we then execute the only ones capable of someday producing it?" Vakka asked, the sarcasm in his voice evident.

And yet, it was upon the toil of those not of the blood upon which the Empire rested. If such individuals, even if they were soulless, were not offered some hope, some semblance of life without fear, he knew that they would not work well.


He has understanding of the problem of slavery.

Even though he trusted Nargth, his own contempt for the Crown Prince and the Imperial line could never be revealed.


"If you are to learn to survive my son, learn to hide your feelings before both friend and foe."


Baron Vakka is very good at it, however Baron Jukaga is not.

Vakka stirred from his musings to see old Admiral Nargth standing beside him. Vakka stood up and gave a ceremonial raising of the head to bear his throat as acknowledgment of respect. Though Nargth was not of the royal blood, he was nevertheless one upon whom many honors had been heaped. He had distinguished himself in the war against the Varni, when still not much more than cub, and in his long career had risen through the ranks, a phenomenon rare for those not of the line.


He judges others by what kind of people they are, rather than dividing them by blood line, rank, or species.

He had often argued with himself that it was for just such a pragmatic reason that he wanted to end the constant series of death threats, punishments, and brutally arbitrary executions. And yet there was another side that of late he was forced to admit too…there was something inside of him that pitied the conquered. Some of the races had fought honorably and well, some were obviously more intelligent but had lacked the military prowess to stand against Kilrah. Now they were slaves, and in his heart he wondered if this course was necessarily the right one for long-term survival across the eons.

The questioning rooms…the fact that several eights of eights of the humans he had taken at Fawcett's World were shipped to Kilrah for direct questioning had been troubling.


He even has empathy for other species.

So am I to assume that he is more civilized? In terms of personal preference and emotion, I don't see Baron Vakka as a villain, although as a feudal lord in the invader camp he still has a stance on territorial expansion, but it's not like he's a brutally bloodthirsty evil character, right?

Edit: one more point. Baron Vakka quoted a poem:

Vakka looked away, ". . . and so I saw him first, and killed him in his place."

"What was that?"

"Oh, one of the ravings of old human widows, as you called it."

Is it from The Man He Killed BY THOMAS HARDY?
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Ensign, 2nd Class
Last but not least, all of the above analysis is based on the premise that the descriptions in the chapters of Action Stations are a reflection of the facts of the story.

As a novel in the novel, the FOREWORD seems to send interesting messages.

Recently declassified documents from the Kilrathi Imperial Archives and the kind assistance of Baron Vakka nar Jukaga, the son of the highly controversial Baron Jukaga, have been instrumental in helping us to see, perhaps for the first time, some of the motivations for the Kilrathi decision to seek war. Vakka nar Jukaga’s monumental work, Kilrah Tugaga Jak-Ta Haganaska duka McAuliffe, has provided us on the other side with a remarkable case study of the intrigues within the Imperial Court, the planning for their opening campaign and the first five years of the struggle. This book is worthy of serious consideration in spite of its detractors in the realm of academia and postwar Kilrathi apologists.

Granted, mysteries about the Kilrathi side of the conflict still abound, especially regarding their infamous "lost war orders," an incident which Tolwyn played a part in. I hope that in the near future the truth about the lost orders will finally be revealed, for it is a mystery that has fascinated historians on both sides of the conflict.

I’d like to think that Vakka nar Jukuga's study, and this humble work, will at least be a start towards finding out the truth regarding the origins of a war that claimed more than thirty billion lives on both sides. It will be at least a generation or more before all records from the Kilrathi and Confederation archives are fully declassified, so I am willing to admit that there are many aspects of this study of the early days of the war which are open to debate.

Why does Baron Vakka nar Jukaga, Baron Vakka nar Ki'ra's grandson and Baron Jukaga's son give friendly assistance to the Terran historian Col. Wilhelm Schwarzmont? Are they friends?

Although there seems to be no direct evidence yet, can't they make private speculation that who that incident was most likely related to?

What message does Baron Vakka nar Jukaga want to send to the Terrans through this historical novel? Is that "Even before the Empire was defeated, our clan could sit with you Terrans, drink tea, chat and make friends"?
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