Intel Update Kilrathi Military\Political Intentions (2634.98)
Report submitted by Rear Admiral Joshua Speedwell, head of Confederation Fleet Intelligence, directly to Admiral of the Fleet Banbridge on 2634.98. The text of the preface follows.
SUBJECT: INTEL UPDATE KILRATHI MILITARY\POLITICAL INTENTIONS
COPY NUMBER ONE OF ONE
FOR EYES OF CICCONFEDFLT ONLY
Admiral, as per your orders 2634-98, I have provided a full update on the current internal political and military situation within the Kilrathi Empire. The report, as requested, is attached along with full evaluations of all known Kilrathi military assets, ships, bases, and industrial capability. You will notice that the report, to say the least, is slim. As I have already reported to you in our last conversation, we are looking at a mystery wrapped inside an enigma. No official of the Confederation has ever been allowed access into the Empire, and those border worlds where individuals living outside the law might come into contact with Kilrathi personnel are beyond our ability to adequately infiltrate. What resources ConFedFlt does have are, as you know, barely adequate to patrol the rapidly expanding frontiers, of which our sector bordering the Kilrathi Empire is but one small part. Though this is outside my realm, I only wish the powers that be to whom we answer would devote more resources to this one sector which, I believe, poses the most serious threat to the Confederation since its creation.
What little data my division has been able to obtain has been through remote sensing, extensive interviews with border world merchants who trade outside the realm of legal intercourse, and one covert op team, which filed a report of less than a thousand words and half a dozen holo images, of what we believe were Kilrathi capital ships, before disappearing.
In the five years since we've first had contact with the Kilrathi Empire, our base of knowledge is, in reality, no greater than what we had already heard from the Varni refugees who fled into our space after their disastrous war with the Empire. The numerous skirmishes on the frontier have yet to result in our acquiring any real, hard information as to their political intentions or their true military assets.
In short, sir, I quite frankly confess that we are in the dark. Those few vessels we've been able to get data on, I suspect are antiquated models that were already in service during their war with the Varni and are now assigned to patrol their side of the border so that we will not know their current capability.
Sir, my attached report will go into greater detail regarding all these aspects, but there is something the report can not present as hard fact. Just call it the gut feeling of an old Intel officer who's been watching the “Cats” ever since we first bumped into them.
. . . There will be War.
They are a predatory society; their definition of existence, both individually and societally, is predicated upon conquest, upon the clear establishment of superior and inferior. The stasis of peace, without the clear resolution of who is superior, is anathema to them. Those who believe otherwise live in a dream world, but this report is not the place to discuss this point.
I believe, as well, that there is a fear that drives them. We have seen the one intel report from Remote Deep Probe Twelve, which was launched in towards the galactic core over thirty years ago. The one report back before its mysterious disappearance five years ago indicates that there is a warlike empire of almost unimagined strength ten thousand light-years inward and heading in our direction. If this report is indeed true, the Kilrathi must make a choice; to confront that greater enemy and leave their flank towards us open, or create a buffer zone in our direction before facing this other enemy. We must realize a fundamental point here, sir. We must learn to stop thinking as humans, and learn to think as “Cats.” Our instinct would be to form an alliance, but the question is, do they think that way? I believe not.
Sir, I hope that the enclosed report is of some help. On a very personal level, sir, I must state here as well that current thinking in both political and military circles, that the Kilrathi are technologically inferior for a sustained fight, is madness. A "merchant," who deals in the gray area of commerce beyond the Landreich, recently told me about an ancient Kilrathi word, that dates to the time when they were predatory hunters. Jak-tu, which roughly means to spring from concealment upon a larger but unsuspecting prey, killing them with one blow. If they come after us, as I am certain they will, it will be a Jak-tu.
Rear Admiral Joshua Speedwell
Confederation Fleet Intelligence
REPORT ENCLOSED―HARD COPY IS TO BE FILED ACCORDING TO CONFEDFLT SECURITY REGULATION 34448A OR DESTROYED IMMEDIATELY AFTER READING.
Behind the Scenes
From Action Stations, by William R. Forstchen, Chapter One, 5-8, Baen Books.