"You know," he said, as the blade bore deep into the potato's hide. "I've been thinking more about it recently, and I don't see how the Empire was considered evil." A skin shaving fell to the floor.
"How d'ya figure?" His knife also stripping potatoes.
"Well, for one, they didn't do anything technically evil. I mean, sure, they did blow up a few planets, but that was an act of defense. The targets were rebellious and posed a threat. The Empire only had their well-being and security in mind. They never blew things up needlessly."
"Dude, they killed innocent people. Not everyone on those planets were Rebels. If that isn't evil," he brought the back of his hand with the knife across his nose. "Then I dunno, man."
"Maybe those innocents themselves weren't in the front-lines, but they were supporters, confederates. That withstanding, all governments have their share of body bags, it's part of what a government is. Even the tolerable ones."
"But the Empire also commits acts like fear-mongering and condones slavery. What do you make of that?"
"Well, two things with that. If you think way back, Clyde, to your days of history, can you name a power that hadn't used fear as a tool? Why, even our country was guilty, but that doesn't make it wrong. It only means it's something you have to acknowledge as inherent to humanity." He took a hefty bite of the raw vegetable.
"And of slavery, it's a word used with such animosity these days. It was once, in the early days of mankind, commonplace. Besides, it's only slavery so much as you paint it ugly with that word. I'll bet you dollars to donuts that many of the colonies and planets the Empire seized were poor and desolate. How could they make things worse?
Well, they wouldn't. In fact, quite the opposite. With the rise of the Empire we saw an increase in galactic productivity and safety. Mining and industries were introduced to many backwater zones, causing the need for regular feeding and protection of the Empire's assets. If anything, the Empire only enhanced life, providing jobs and reasonable comfort to those loyal to their cause."
"Freedom, Marcus. I'm talking about freedom. What good is livelihood if you can't be free?"
"Explain to me what you think freedom is."
"Well," he bent the wrist of his knife hand down, and crossed his legs. "I suppose I'd say it's being able to do what you want to and enjoy life as it were meant to be."
"That being said, what if I were to cut you right now?" He twirled his knife joyously at the idea.
Clyde stared back at him. "If, you did it?"
"If anyone did. Surely you wouldn't have a problem with as you have no problem with freedom, right? See Clyde, sometimes there are reasons for our actions. Too much freedom, as you have coined it, is a dangerous thing."
"Pssh, I still like the Rebels more."
"Hey boys, look alive." Their commanding officer shouted. "We got ourselves a warm body. Calls himself 'Yuri'. Be sure to give him a proper tour." The officer laughed sarcastically and meandered away. Clyde and Marcus both looked up at him; Clyde returning to his task almost immediately. Marcus took a longer look, and gave a subtle nod.
"Hey guy," Clyde muttered as he looked back up to him. "Welcome to the crew. As you've no doubt have heard, our primary task is to stand watch for this fort. We control nearly all the juice in this sector." He paused. "But it's been kinda slow lately so now we gotta peel supper. Any questions?"
"Yes." Yuri replied, as he smiled every so lightly. "Would you consider yourself a free man?"
Clyde froze. The two others drew blades and lunged towards him.
"Almost too easy." Yuri stated. Marcus looked back unto him.
"Heh, it's not over yet. Try to be careful with this one. It's too big a hit."
"Do not fret." He replied as he licked the blood off his weapon. "I quite enjoy my freedom. We will not fail."