The Mitasterites–the aggressors in what is thus far known as the Great War–come off as a bit one-sided in the events of “Endgame.” The novel (and its successors) is told from the point of view of Captain June Vereeth, a “normal girl” sniper who, no surprise, has little pity or empathy for her enemies.
Is that entirely fair? Though it works for the novel, that answer would be ‘no.’ Some of the best novels and movies around present villains who are more than cardboard cut-outs. One of Anthony Doerr’s main characters in All the Light We Cannot See is a German soldier during WWII. We mourn for Werner Pfennig as a poor orphan with enormous potential who gets swept up into the madness of war. We sympathize even though he is, unwillingly, part of the aggressor side (and he carries some culpability for his actions).
Would the role of Khan in Star Trek II be as memorable if we couldn’t feel a little pity for Khan’s plight? Despite his madness and sense of hell-bent vengeance, it’s easy to understand why he’s a little pissed-off. In The Empire Strikes Back, we’re meant to feel a little concern for the fate of the newly-promoted Admiral Piet. Being the man in charge under Lord Vader has consequences (and never mind the fact that, in “Jedi”, he gets vaporized by an inbound A-wing). Even in The Silence of the Lambs, the musical score evokes the slightest amount of sympathy for the imprisoned Hannibal Lecter. Yes, that Hannibal Lecter. This was no accident on Director Demme’s part. Feeling something for villains makes them richer, more human.
In this story, Marecik is an Executive Officer who, along with Captain Hargarah, must watch when the Admiral’s grand battle plan for conquering P-75 goes up in flames. There’s no option to disobey. To disagree with a superior officer in the Mitasterite Empire means death via sword. So Marecik and his boss (a man he respects) are stuck. As Tennyson famously wrote, “Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die.”