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Voyage from Yesteryear
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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 Wellesley’s 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 Lechat’s 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 somebody’s 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 II’s 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 territory.

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 Kalens’s that if something weren’t 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 Wellesley’s side as anybody’s.

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 margin.

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. "It’s 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 we’d 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 Anita’s face inside the bag. It was white, like marble, and waxy. He swallowed and stared woodenly. The Chironian’s eyes flickered briefly across his face. "Someone you knew?"

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 didn’t 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 half—maybe because of what they’d done, or maybe because they wanted to quit too—and at the end of it there were maybe three or four left. We hadn’t done a thing. Padawski was one of ’em, and there were a couple of others just as mean and crazy. Didn’t 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 didn’t watch their children being brought home in body-bags, he reflected; they didn’t 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 people’s obsessions. The Chironians didn’t 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 would—specifically, with economy of effort, and with a surgical precision that had not involved the innocent.

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?

 
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