D'tahn leaned against the rail of a livestock pen for a moment before asking, "How long can you put up with it?"
"I don't know." Carlo lowered his head and muttered. "Some of us have given up already. They just don't have the heart to see everything we've lived for taken from us. Others are so eaten up with anger they can't think straight. They're the ones doin' the attacks you talked about."
"What about you, Carlo?" D'tahn opened the stable gate and stepped around. "You've been fighting Lyani for most of your life. It hasn't gotten your land back, hasn't brought your parents back, and you have every reason to believe you'll die before any of that changes."
Light from two of Januwa's three moons streamed through the loft window, bathing him in soft light. Caught in that stream, the bluish fur covering Carlo's face seemed to glow.
"They've been here for what," he began, "twenty-five years? I never thought it'd be easy. Mother used to sit with me during bombing raids and tell me about the time before they came. But she was wrong. I've talked to some of the old timers. They say it wasn't that different. We'd been fightin' each other for most of a thousand years. It's a wonder there was anything for the Lyani to take."
He kicked at a pile of straw and sauntered toward the huge double doors that led out to the main yard. The barn's roof arched upward toward the evening sky. An animal resembling a large rat nosed through a puddle of mud in a pen to his right and water from melting snow on the rooftop provided a steady stream in which the animal played.
"You're startin' to sound like a defeatist, boy." D'tahn followed him outside. The air had turned cold, but his battlesuit was more than enough to keep him warm. "I ever tell you about Tchi-so?"
"The Apita world? No." Carlo turned to face him. "I mean, I know you were there but I always thought it was, you know, taboo."
"Yeah," D'tahn nodded. "I get that a lot."
He wanted Carlo understand hatred for the Lyani wasn't something reserved for his people.
"I was in the service," he glanced skyward, "and married an Apita woman after being stationed on Tchi-so for about eighteen months. It's almost funny. We were there for the better part of two decades. If you didn't know, you'd think things couldn't have been better. There were trade agreements; we had a Governor's house in one of the biggest cities. You couldn't call it a capital, 'cause the Apita didn't really have a government."
"Anyway," he stepped forward and placed a hand on the young man's shoulder. "What I'm gettin' at is that they killed my family; my wife, my two daughters and about five billion other souls. And they didn't give it a second thought. They knew they couldn't keep Tchi-so if the Apita didn't want them there, so they murdered the planet."
"Nothing grows there now," his voice took on a sullen tone, "no trees, no flowers, not even a blade of grass. It's a barren rock circling around their sun."
"So what's the use in trying to fight them?" Carlo shook his head and held up his hands. "If they have that kind of power at their disposal, what's to keep them from using it against us? What's to keep them from wiping out our world?"
Carlo didn't understand.
"I hate them, Carlo," D'tahn said. "I hate them with a passion like you can't imagine. I hate them when I wake every morning and when I lay down at night. I hate them when I'm with friends and when I'm alone. I hate them with every breath I take and I will not... I will not let them do that again. Because no one should be made to suffer like that. No one!"
He realized he'd clinched his fists so tight that the nails of his fingers had pushed through his gloves and drawn blood in the palms of his hands.
"What I'm trying to say is that you never, ever give up. You don't let the hatred rule you, but you can't let it subside, either. Because it's the thing that feeds the fire inside you, feeds your passion, and feeds your desire to do what you must."