The first bomb exploded in the center of Canaveral City in the early hours
of the morning, causing serious damage to the maglev terminal where the
spur line into the shuttle base joined the main through-route from Franklin
out to the Peninsula. Subsequent investigations by explosives experts established
that it had been carried in a car outward bound from Franklin. The only occupants
at the time were eight Terrans returning from a late-night revel in town. They
were killed instantly.
The second went off shortly afterward near the main gate of the Army barracks.
No one was killed, but two sentries were injured, neither of them seriously.
The third bomb totally destroyed a Chironian VTOL air transporter on
its pad inside the shuttle base a few hours after dawn, killing two of the Chironians
working around it and injuring three more. Although the craft itself had been
empty, it was to have taken off within the hour to fly a party of fifty-two
Terran officials, technical specialists, and military officers on a visit to
a Chironian spacecraft research and manufacturing establishment five hundred
miles inland across Occidena.
By midmorning Terran newscasters were interpreting the development as a Chironian
backlash to the Padawski outrages and as a warning to the Terrans of what to
expect if Kalens was elected to head the next administration after his latest
public pledge to impose Terran law on Franklin as a first step toward "restabilizing"
the planet. Interviews in which Chironians denied that they had had anything
to do with the incidents were given scant coverage. Reactions among the Terrans
were mixed. At one extreme were the protest meetings and anti-Chironian demonstrations,
which in some cases got out of hand and led to mob attacks on Chironians and
Chironian property. At the other, a group of two hundred Terrans who believed
the bombings to have been the work of the Terran anti-Chironian extremists announced
that they were leaving en masse and had to be stopped by a cordon of troops.
Before they could disperse they were attacked by an inflamed group of anti-Chironians,
and in the ensuing brawl the Chironians looked on as spectators while Terrans
battled Terrans, and Terran troops in riot gear tried to separate them.
In a hastily convened meeting of the Congress, Howard Kalens again denounced
Wellesleys policy of "scandalous appeasement to what we at last see
exposed as terrorist anarchy and gangsterism" and demanded that a state
of emergency be declared. In a stormy debate Wellesley stood firm by his insistence
that the event, they did not constitute a general threat comparable to the in-flight
hazards that the emergency proviso had been intended to cover;
they did not warrant resorting to such an extreme. But Wellesley had to do something
to satisfy the clamor from all sides for measures to protect the Terrans down
on the surface.
Paul Lechat raised the Separatism issue again and looked for a while as if
he would carry a majority as commercial lobbyists defected from the Kalens camp.
But the timing of the moment was not in Lechats favor, and Borftein scuttled
the motion fresh off the launching ramp with a scathing depiction of them all
allowing themselves to be chased off across the planet like beggars from somebodys
back door. Ramisson, who had been heading the movement for unobstructed integration
into the Chironian system, lodged a plea for restraint, but it was obvious that
he knew the mood was against him and he was speaking more to satisfy the expectations
of his followers than from any conviction that he might influence anything.
The assembly listened dutifully and took no notice.
In the end Kalens rallied everybody to a consensus with a proposal to declare
a Terran enclave within Canaveral City, delimited by a clear boundary inside
which Terran law would be proclaimed and enforced. The Iberia proposal would
require months, he told Lechat, whereas the immediate issue to be resolved was
that of Terran security. In any case, it could hardly be carried out without
an electoral mandate. The enclave would preserve a functioning and internally
consistent community which could be transplanted at some later date if the electoral
results so directed, and therefore represented as much of a step in the direction
that Lechat was advocating as could be realistically expected for the time being.
Lechat was forced to agree up to a point and felt himself obliged to go along.
Kalens had evidently been working on the details for some time. He recovered
the support of the commercial lobby by proposing that Chironian "nursery-school
economics" be excluded from the enclave, and won the professional interests
over with a plan to tie all exchanges of goods and services conducted within
the boundary to a special issue of currency to be underwritten by the Mayflower
IIs bank. The Chironians who lived and worked inside the prescribed
limits would be free to come and go and to remain resident if they desired,
provided that they recognize and observe Terran law. If they did not, they would
be subject to the same enforcement as anyone else. If its integrity was threatened
by disruptive external influences, the enclave would be defended as national
Wellesley was uneasy about giving his assent but found himself in a difficult
position. After backing down and conceding the state-of-emergency issue, Kalens
came across as the voice of reasonable compromise, which Wellesley realized
belatedly was probably exactly what Kalens had intended. Wellesley had no effective
answer to a remark of Kalenss that if something werent done about
the desertions, Wellesley could well end his term of office with the dubious
distinction of presiding over an empty ship; the desertions had been as much
a thorn in Wellesleys side as anybodys.
That touched at what was really at the bottom of it all. The unspoken suggestion,
which Kalens had been implying and to which everybody had been responding though
few would have admitted it openly, was that the entire social edifice upon which
all their interests depended was threatening to fall apart, and the real attraction
of an enclave within a well-defined boundary was more to deter Terrans
from leaving than bomb-carrying Chironians entering. Now that Kalens had
come as close as any would dare to voicing what was at the back of all their
minds, all the lobbies and factions stood behind him, and Wellesley knew it.
If Wellesley opposed, he stood to be voted out of office. So he concurred, and
the resolution was passed all but unanimously.
Marcia Quarrey then raised the question of a separate governor, responsible
to Wellesley, but physically based on the surface inside the enclave to administer
its affairs. Perhaps the division of authority between the members of the Directorate
sitting twenty thousand miles away in the ship had contributed to the difficulties
experienced since planetfall, she suggested, and delegating it to one person
who had the advantages of being on the spot would remedy a lot of defects. Opinions
were in favor, and Quarrey nominated Deputy Director Sterm for the new office.
Sterm, however, declined on the grounds that a large part of the job would involve
policymaking connected with Terran-Chironian relationships, and since a Liaison
Director existed to whom that responsibility was already entrusted, the sensible
way to avoid possible conflicts was to unify the two functions. He therefore
nominated Howard Kalens; Quarrey seconded, and the vote was carried by a wide
And so it was resolved that the first extension of the New Order would be proclaimed
officially on the planet of Chiron, and Howard Kalens would be its minister.
He had gained the first toehold of his empire. "Its the beginning,"
he told Celia later that night. "Ten years from now it will have
become the capital of a whole world. With a whole army behind me, what can a
rabble of ruffians with handguns do to stop me now?"
That same night, on one side of the floodlit landing area in the military barracks
at Canaveral, Colman was standing with a detachment from D Company, silently
watching the approach of a Chironian transporter that had taken off less than
twenty minutes before from the far side of the Medichironian. Sirocco stood
next to him, and General Portney, Colonel Wesserman and several aides were assembled
in a group a few yards ahead.
The aircraft touched down and a pair of double doors slid open halfway along
the side nearest to the reception party. A tall, red-bearded Chironian wearing
a dark parka with a thick belt buckled over it jumped out, followed by another,
similarly clad but more slender and catlike. More figures became visible inside
when the cabin light came on. Laid out along the floor behind them were two
rows of plastic bundles the size of sleeping bags.
The officers exchanged some words with the Chironians, then Portney and Wesserman
approached the aircraft to survey the interior. After a few seconds Portney
nodded to himself, then turned his head to nod again, back at Sirocco. Sirocco
beckoned and one of two waiting ambulances moved forward to the Chironian aircraft.
Two soldiers opened its rear doors. Four others climbed inside the aircraft
and began moving the bodies. As each body bag was brought out, Sirocco turned
the top back briefly while an aide compared the face to pictures on a compack
screen and another checked dogtag numbers against a list he was holding, after
which the corpse was transferred to the ambulance.
Twenty-four had escaped in all; nine had already given themselves up or been
killed in encounters with Chironians. Anita had not been among them. Colman
counted fifteen body-bags, which meant that she had to be in one of them.
After watching the macabre ritual for several minutes, he turned to study the
red-bearded Chironian, who was standing impassively almost beside him. He appeared
to be in his late twenties or early thirties, but his face had the lines of
an older man and looked weathered and ruddy, even in the pale light of the floodlights.
His eyes were alert, but conveyed nothing of his thoughts. "How did it
happen?" Colman murmured in a low voice, moving a pace nearer.
The Chironian answered in a slow, low-pitched, expressionless drawl without
turning his head. "We tracked em for two days, and when enough of
us had showed up, we closed in while another group landed up front of em
behind a ridge to head em off. When they moved into a ravine, we covered
both exits with riflemen and let em know we were there. Gave em
every chance . . . said if they came on out quiet, all wed do was turn
em in." The Chironian inclined his head briefly and sighed. "Guess
some people never learn when to quit."
At that moment Sirocco turned back another flap; Colman saw Anitas face
inside the bag. It was white, like marble, and waxy. He swallowed and stared
woodenly. The Chironians eyes flickered briefly across his face. "Someone
Colman nodded tightly. "A while back now, but . . ."
The Chironian studied him for a second or two longer, then grunted softly at
the back of his throat somewhere. "We didnt do that," he said.
"After we told em they were cooped up, some of em started shooting.
Five of em tried making a break, holding a white shirt up to tell us they
wanted out. We held back, but a couple of the others gunned em down from
behind while they were running. She was one of those five." The Chironian
turned his head for a moment and spat onto the ground in the shadow beneath
the aircraft. "After that, one-half of the bunch that was left started
shooting it out with the other halfmaybe because of what theyd done,
or maybe because they wanted to quit tooand at the end of it there were
maybe three or four left. We hadnt done a thing. Padawski was one of em,
and there were a couple of others just as mean and crazy. Didnt leave
us with too much of a problem."
Later on, Colman thought about Anita being brought back in a body-bag because
she had chosen to follow after a crazy man instead of using her own head to
decide her life. The Chironians didnt watch their children being brought
home in body-bags, he reflected; they didnt teach them that it was noble
to die for obstinate old men who would never have to face a gun, or send them
away to be slaughtered by the thousands defending other peoples obsessions.
The Chironians didnt fight that way.
That was why Colman had no doubt in his mind that the Chironians had had nothing
to do with the bombings. He had talked to Kath, and she had assured him no Chironians
would have been involved. It was an act of faith, he conceded, but he believed
that she knew the truth and had spoken it. The Chironians had reacted to Padawski
in the way that Colman had known instinctively that they wouldspecifically,
with economy of effort, and with a surgical precision that had not involved
For that was how they fought. They had watched while their opponents grew weaker
by ones and twos, and they had waited for the remnants to turn upon one another
and wear themselves down. Then the Chironians had moved.
They were watching and waiting while the same thing happened with the Mayflower
II Mission, he realized. When and how would they move? And, he wondered,
when they did, which side would he be on?