The next episode for Jamison’s Battlefields. Here are the previous episodes in order. Like any story you will get the most out of it by reading it in sequence.
The first battlefield was The Battle for the Mind. Zilkas Asteroid Belt, Jamison’s Rescue, Dinner with an Alien, Dibolocos Attack, Departure Orders, Homecoming, Into the Darkness, The Family Business, Jewel’s Place, Shanghaied, First Mark, The Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash Down, The Lake House, Dancing with Egopods, Lunch with Aliens and Kilkian Alignment.
The second battlefield is The Battle of the Hands, Here are the previous episodes in this battlefield Learning to See, Maintaining Common Sense, Meeting Compagno, Unseating Dibolocos, The Journey Homeward, Ambush on Platinum 9, Refit, Retrain and Rethink, Saved by Rodent Weed, Convoys and Propaganda, Changing the Moon, Expanding Horizons, Running the Blockade, Dueling Politicians, Legislation, Delegation, and Deliberation, Failed Tyranny and Political Parties. Today we get Episode 37.
Visiting the City
The next step taken by the fledgling government was to seek to replenish its own membership. Through the work of the military, and largely through the successes of Chambers, the majority of the colonies were under peaceful control and successfully participating in commerce. The communications systems which allowed for news, entertainment and more to pass between the colonies was also restored and reached to all but a couple of the most remote colonies.
Based on a new standard adopted in the congress it was determined they needed 40 new representatives. Some of these were new positions formed by the more fair division of political districts. Others were to replace those who died during the tumultuous early stages. Since their activities had been reported on widely to the colonies, and since order had been restored to most areas, the delegates that came were better suited for leadership, rather than people seeking their own benefits.
Another week’s worth of work and they had a constitution ready for the people, this then undergirded with the ten law system, was presented for a final vote before the newly elected body. The discussion was lively but much more civil than with the previous group. Once it was passed the measure was put out for a public vote in the colonies. For this portion of the process the measure was communicated to the colonies by the media. They were given a full month to consider it, before a popular vote would be held to ratify it.
During this time Jamison spent a lot of time communicating with the leaders he left behind on Platinum 9. He found they had been very successful in furthering the economic recovery of the area. The resort would be finished soon, and visitors from other areas had already began coming in there to see the well-publicized green belts. They were bringing in workers from neighboring colonies to fill the employment and positions necessary to run the resort community. The majority of the miners who had been there during the revolt chose to stay in mining. They were producing platinum now fast enough to make them an economic leader among the colonies. All these things were great, but it made him feel unneeded.
He also spent time with Chambers when she was in port. They would often be seen dining together or laughing in the common areas. Since order had been restored they were both treated like celebrities and it was common for the media to speculate on the nature of their relationship and to predict an impending wedding. Jamison and Chambers largely ignored this gossip and just enjoyed their time together. They never spoke of progressing their relationship at this point, believing instead they would know from their king when they should move forward. Both of them knew they would, one day.
Many of the representatives had begun traveling off the military base for recreation and entertainment. They often went in groups, and the military provided security for them on these occasions. One afternoon Commodore Galvez invited Jamison to go into the heart of the city with him and a group of delegates. They rode in style, not taking the train, but instead riding in a vehicle that was something like an armored limousine, crossed with a tank.
They had a nice meal at a restaurant in one of the less restricted community buildings. It was a new facility and was right across the street from where Jamison had stayed with Johnson. He wondered if he was still registered in the security system and could enter through the automated entries. Excusing himself he decided to walk over and try it. He crossed the street watching carefully for dangers. Approaching the door he was pleased to see it recognized him, but when he attempted to enter he was blocked. He asked the computerized system for an explanation, and was informed the tenant he was cleared to visit was diseased, therefore he was no longer allowed entrance.
The news hit him hard. He thought about the brash young soldier who had gone so far out of his way to help him. Then he began to think of everything else he had seen on that first trip home. He returned to the group, but his spirits remained dampened for the rest of the evening. When he got home he did some research on his old neighborhood. Jewel’s place was now a registered business there. That side of town had become openly seedy.
The next night he arranged to travel into town without any of the other delegates, taking only the protective detail which was used for these occasions. He took them through Murphy’s territory and then pulled up in front of the strip joint run by his sister, which had previously been a furniture store. The ground level had been cleaned up, and the business that had been hidden below ground, now was operated in the open. He thought about it and assumed worse things were being done in the basement.
He walked through but didn’t see his sister. He was about to leave when an elevator dinged and she stepped out, along with a cadre of armed guards. His military escort immediately gathered around him, guns drawn, in the ready position.
“What do you want?” She asked without greeting.
“I wanted to know if you were still alive.” He didn’t feel any threat, so he ignored the guards.
“Get out of here. Don’t come back.”
He studied her face. She appeared confident and in charge, but a closer look revealed bruising on her face and arms where she had been mistreated.
“I thought I might be able to help you.”
“My Lobokidos is the only one who can help me. If you want to help me, bring him back to me.”
Jamison thought of the Dibolocos pirate that Chambers had skillfully scattered into a million pieces back on the planet with the lake house. The alien was probably still trying to pull himself together. He would have loved to tell her about the battle, but he knew she would hate him for fighting on the other side.
He left and went back to the base. His mood continued its downward spiral.