"Alliance Command makes that decision," Grissom said. "All I can do is advise them. That's why I'm here."
"I'm afraid I don't understand, Admiral."
"Every military engagement has only three options, Lieutenant: engage, retreat, or surrender."
"We can't just turn our backs on Shanxi! We have to engage!" Anderson exclaimed. "With all due respect, sir," he added a second later, remembering who he was talking to.
"It's not that simple," Grissom explained. "This is completely unprecedented; we've never faced an enemy like this before. We know nothing about them.
"If we escalate this into a war against an alien species, we have no way to predict how it will end. They could have a fleet a thousand times the size of ours."
"We could be on the verge of starting a war that will culminate in the total annihilation of the human race." Grissom paused for emphasis, letting his words sink in. "Do you honestly think we should take that risk, Lieutenant Anderson?"
"You're asking me, sir?"
"Alliance Command wants my advice before they make their decision. But I'm not going to be on the front lines fighting the war, Lieutenant. You were a squad leader during your N7 training. I want to know what you think. Do you believe our troops are ready for this?"
Anderson frowned, thinking long and hard before he offered his answer.
"Sir, I don't think we have any other choice," he said, choosing his words carefully. "Retreat isn't an option. Now that the aliens know about us they aren't just going to sit at Shanxi and do nothing. Eventually we'll have to either engage or surrender."
"And you don't think surrender is an option?"
"I don't think humanity could survive being subjugated under alien rule," Anderson replied. "Freedom is worth fighting for."
"Even if we lose?" Grissom pressed. "This isn't just about what you're willing to sacrifice, soldier. We provoke them and this war could make its way to Earth. Think about your wife. Are you willing to risk her life for the sake of freedom?"
"I don't know, sir" was Anderson's solemn reply. "Are you willing to condemn your daughter to the life of a slave?"
"That's the answer I was looking for," Grissom said with a sharp nod. "With enough soldiers like you, Anderson, humanity just might be ready for this after all."