Visiting the King

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 BusinessJewel’s Place, ShanghaiedFirst MarkThe Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash DownThe Lake HouseDancing 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 SeeMaintaining Common SenseMeeting CompagnoUnseating DibolocosThe Journey HomewardAmbush on Platinum 9, Refit, Retrain and Rethink, Saved by Rodent Weed, Convoys and Propaganda,  Changing the Moon, Expanding HorizonsRunning the Blockade, Dueling Politicians, Legislation, Delegation, and DeliberationFailed Tyranny,  Political Parties, Visiting the City, Passing the Constitution, Tried for Treason and Necessary Failure.

The third battlefield is The Battle for the Heart, The previous episodes were Living Under Curse and Into the Shadows.

Today we get the third episode.

They attempted to formulate a plan, but were uncertain what to do. After about an hour of uncertainty, they again approached the king. The call for help seemed to fall flat and when they were done they had no impression of what to do next. They didn’t see any hint from the station that it knew they were there. But it was likely just a matter of time before someone figured it out.

They were both relieved when they felt a familiar presence. Colopher and Colophen had joined them on the ship, they felt them before they saw them. Turning back to the main cabin they saw the purple mist form into shapes and then welcomed their friends and helpers.

“Greetings from the king.” Colopher said.

“Welcome, friends.”

“Your ship will be here for a couple of days. Judasson had become annoyed at your testimony about the king. This was all he needed to justify turning you over to bounty hunters. They will kill him when he reveals that you got away. But you will still not be able to leave, until you sneak out underneath the next freighter to depart.”

“How long will that be? There are not any in port right now and they don’t come in regular schedules.”

“It will be in 9 days. During this time the king would like to prepare you for what is going to happen in the future.”

“So we will go through a period of training with you guys?”

“No. This time you will go and see the king.”

“What? How?”

“We will take you there in a moment.”

They were both surprised—excited and scared. What would they do in front of the king? What should they wear and so on.

“How?” Jamison started to ask but realizing the Kilkians had abilities beyond his he let the question fall.

“What should we wear?” Chambers asked. She was aware they had not packed formal attire.

“We will take care of the details.”

A moment later they were transported out of their ship. Jamison wondered what kind of a ship they would be transported on. To his surprise he didn’t land on a ship at all, but a moment later felt himself hurling through space. It was a pleasant experience, and after another moment he realized the other three were traveling with him. After another couple of moments of getting used to the mode of travel they were breathing normally, even though there was no air, and regained the ability to talk.

“This is amazing.”

“Yes, you are the first humans to travel like Kilkians.”

Jamison remembered that despite people having seen Kilkians, no one had seen a Kilkian ship. Everyone assumed it was because they were stealthy, now Jamison realized it was because they didn’t need ships. Nothing was visible around them, but a short few more moments and they heard Colopher announcing their approach to the Kilkian city. A voice answered booming through the open space.

“Welcome to eternity, Jamison and Chambers.”

Jamison answered aloud, hesitantly and uncertain whether he would be heard. “Thank you.”

“You are very welcome Colopher will serve as your host. He will allow you to get oriented before our first audience.”

Jamison wondered what was meant by our first audience. He thought it might be the case that the speaker would be a part of the meeting. This didn’t seem right though. Instead he suspected the voice somehow was the voice of the king.

“The city is called eternity?”

“No the city has another name. Eternity is a description of the region where the city exists.”

Colopher’s answer made their heads spin for a minute. But they didn’t have time to sort it out before the next surprise hit them. Despite the sensation of flying through space together at impossible speeds, they did not approach the city through space but rather just materialized in it.

They were surrounded by Kilkians and when they landed the crowd broke out in cheers and applause. Jamison gave a little embarrassed wave, which was responded to with ripples of laughter. This caused him to glance down toward his feet and for a second he was overwhelmed with the realization they were not standing on anything. They were about 100 feet above a courtyard, full of wonderful vegetation. The leaves of trees were in all different colors and the manicured lawn was similar. Each blade was a different hue and seemingly glowed with light. The overall effect of every color glowing together was of a warm white light.

The next thing that caught Jamison’s attention was his own clothing. His piloting outfit that he habitually wore was gone. It was replaced with a simple white seamless robe. The material was perfectly comfortable. Looking at Chambers he realized how beautiful she was, in her own robe of similar material.

Colopher interrupted his discoveries. “Let me teach you how you will move around here. I am putting a map of the city in your mind.”

Suddenly he was aware of the layout of many places and their exact location. We will go to your quarters next. Simply think of that location with determination and you will go there. Jamison waited to go, but nothing happened.

“I will not take you. You must take yourself by an intentional act of volition.”

This time Jamison put his mind on the spot, thinking I want to be there. Then suddenly he was with Colopher by his side. Only a moment later, Chambers and Colopher joined them. The room was smallish, but left the impression of being large. He thought to himself that it was odd. Just a square box, with no place to sit. But the moment he thought that four chairs and a table appeared.

He walked up to them and touched the table. The material was solid, cool to the touch and beautiful. The chairs were of a similar material but soft instead of solid. He wondered how the same material could be both, then he realized the walls were similar material. He walked over and touched one. It was very comfortable. He thought to himself it was odd that there were no windows or doors. And as he thought it a window appeared in front of him. Looking out on a number of similar domiciles.

He couldn’t see into any of these since none of them had windows, but he knew what they were from the map in his mind. Turning around to point it out to Chambers, he noticed the whole room was surrounded by windows. Chambers had thought of food and immediately a meal for the four of them appeared on the table.

They sat down together and shared the meal. The Kilkian city was going to be very different, but it was also easy to get used to.

Chambers asked about the section of the city they were in with so many vacant apartments.

Colophen responded, “This portion of the city has been built for human habitation. You will learn more as you spend time with the king. Until then just know this, one day every apartment here will be filled with humans aligned with the king.”

Curse’s People

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 BusinessJewel’s Place, ShanghaiedFirst MarkThe Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash DownThe Lake HouseDancing 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 SeeMaintaining Common SenseMeeting CompagnoUnseating DibolocosThe Journey HomewardAmbush on Platinum 9, Refit, Retrain and Rethink, Saved by Rodent Weed, Convoys and Propaganda,  Changing the Moon, Expanding HorizonsRunning the Blockade, Dueling Politicians, Legislation, Delegation, and DeliberationFailed Tyranny,  Political Parties, Visiting the City, Passing the Constitution, Tried for Treason and Necessary Failure.

The third and final battlefield is The Battle of the Heart. Here is the previous episode : Living Under Curse.

Today we get the second episode of this final battlefield, which is episode 42 overall.

Curse’s People

Over the next couple of weeks they did their best to blend in on the base. Jamison and Chambers made themselves useful by repairing and upgrading the stations defenses. Judasson balked at the repairs, but Jamison noticed he soon assigned crew to man the weapons and put training drills into operation so that they would be well acquainted with using the weaponry if the need ever arose. Jamison asked him about it, and he said the station had to be defended, their lives might depend on it.

His discussions with the crew seemed to carry a similar theme. They were all too busy working to survive to make any real profit off their labors. Yet in the times they were not on shift they had every distraction available to them in the form of alcohol, drugs, gambling, and sex industries. These businesses operated somewhat independently inside the station. They paid no rent or tax to the station, but everyone thought of them as essential to its operation. Jamison and Chambers could tell they were guided by Dibolocos. This combined with their knowledge that bounty hunters would be hanging out there, caused them to stay clear. They also knew all the profit the people might make was swallowed up there.

The workers were always too busy to talk about aligning with the Kilkian King, but they always had time to go spend their little bit of income on these vices. In fact, when they would bring up the king, and alignment people did things like change the subject, walk away, or perhaps just stare at them like they didn’t understand.

The young steward came by every morning to check on them, and to chat about meaningless things, at least they were meaningless to him. He always knew if any bounty hunters were visiting the station and who they were looking for. He knew what traders were from which crime syndicate. It seemed as if none of the traders to the base were legitimate freighters, or perhaps legal operations were not worth gossiping over.

The only thing he didn’t mention was who else was hiding on the base. The steward had once mentioned that as long as they contributed to the welfare of the facility, everyone would ignore them, but that it was those who did nothing to aid in their survival that the crew betrayed. From this they surmised the youth was aware of other exiles on the station. Jamison figured this was a good detail for him to leave out of his reports, and he hoped he left it out of his discussions with everyone else too. He had no doubt the steward was conversing many other people, and therefore they were careful how much they told him.

Once the stations defenses were in good shape, Chambers and Jamison began making themselves useful by putting out communication satellites. These devices allowed the station to receive some news and entertainment from the main colony. But they didn’t allow direct feed, instead all news went through them so they could redact out any mention or pictures which revealed their identities. In addition to this the satellites could be used to communicate with the nearest worlds, and thereby link to all others. Finally Jamison was able to use them to detect approaching ships and if necessary to triangulate exact firing equations for the stations defenses. The guns were quite outdated, but with this secret ability to aim precisely they were more than adequate to defeat most enemies.

Within a few days of making the system operational, the automatic alarm that rang in their quarters went off in the middle of their sleep cycle. They both jumped up and sprang into action. The satellites showed three ships spread out around the dust trail of curse. They were hailing the base, demanding all the bases rare materials, under threat of destruction. Judasson had made a short attempt at negotiation, but then had promised payment in trade for everyone’s lives.

As Chambers and Jamison watched the situation unfold, they were aware of dangers Judasson was not. There was a Dibolocos on the lead ship influencing the pirate captain and he planned to have the station destroyed after even after payment was made. Jamison set the main missile launcher to fire on all three ships simultaneously. He also set one of the satellites to jam their sensors for long enough that the missiles could find their mark.

He set a timer for all these things to begin two minutes later and then took off running to the station command center. He hoped to be there before the fireworks started. But he got stopped by a crowd outside of one of the seedier bars. It seemed as if the majority of the crew were there, unknowingly reveling away their last few minutes of life.

When he did arrive at the command center, the place was in celebratory pandemonium. A very confused gunner was being hoisted up on everyone’s shoulders and hailed as a hero. The man kept saying he didn’t do it, and he was confused. But the crew would not be dissuaded, they had seen the three shots and the spectacular marksmanship. They related the fact the ships did nothing to harm the station, but instead turned their guns on a satellite destroying it seconds before being destroyed themselves.

From these bits of information Jamison pieced together that the attackers figured out they were being jammed. They shot the satellite doing it, but not quickly enough to warn them of the incoming rounds. Judasson, seeing Jamison, called everyone to hail him as a hero too. It had been his work to steady the defenses which had allowed their victory.

When the celebration began to wane, both men were invited to speak. The gunner was almost apologetic rather than celebratory. He still didn’t know what had happened, but was sure it hadn’t been him. When it was Jamison’s turn he took the opportunity to speak of the difference between Kilkians and Dibolocos and the fact Dibolocos were willing to destroy them, while Kilkians wanted them to survive and do well.

The reaction of the audience though was not what he expected at all. The people laughed like he was jesting, making some great joke. Finally Judasson said, “Jamison my friend, enough of these fairy tales. The people on this ship are too sophisticated to believe in such things.”

“Judasson, these things I tell you are not fairy tales, they are real. I have seen both Kilkians and Dibolocos with my own eyes.” He intended to go on, but the uproar of laughter from the command crew drowned out any effort.

Living Under Curse

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 BusinessJewel’s Place, ShanghaiedFirst MarkThe Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash DownThe Lake HouseDancing 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 SeeMaintaining Common SenseMeeting CompagnoUnseating DibolocosThe Journey HomewardAmbush on Platinum 9, Refit, Retrain and Rethink, Saved by Rodent Weed, Convoys and Propaganda,  Changing the Moon, Expanding HorizonsRunning the Blockade, Dueling Politicians, Legislation, Delegation, and DeliberationFailed Tyranny,  Political Parties, Visiting the City, Passing the Constitution, Tried for Treason and Necessary Failure.

Today we begin the third battlefield.

The Battle of the Heart

Living Under Curse

Jamison and Chambers had a bunch of questions about the battle of the heart, but Colopher and Colophen refused to answer any of them at this point in time.

“All your questions will be answered at the appropriate time. But first we need to talk about a plan for surviving the next few weeks.”

They spent the next couple of hours going over what they would do. Colopher informed them the CDF forces had developed a secret way of tracking ships. They would soon find the trail and follow them as long as they were in open space. The trail however would be confused if they were in an area where a lot of solar wind occurred, too much gravitational pull, or where other ships have left a similar engine trail. It was this last detail they planned to exploit to escape the CDF.

First they could not go to the planet originally planned because the trail up to this point was like an arrow pointing the CDF to that intention. Instead they would go to a well-traveled freight route and see if they could confuse their trail among a multitude of others. The main trade route between the colonies primary galaxies was the most obvious place to go, but of course this was heavily patrolled by the CDF.

Using the stealth capabilities of their ship they were able to sneak behind a line of freighters, when different ones found their destination they would peel off and head to their destination. Jamison followed one of these freighters when it was heading to a suitably remote location. But instead of following the ship into dock it headed around the other side of the planet and then headed away passing by the sun. He then arced to open space. Once out in clear space he dropped a proximity locator and set it up to send a signal if any other ships come that way. If one did, it would mean he had not lost the CDF.

“So where to now?” Jamison asked.

“Might I suggest a location?” Colopher asked, “Somewhere not on many maps yet.”

“Certainly.”

“Nazaret Hydrogen is a new mining facility just within the boundaries of the colonies. It is new, so it is still quite uncivilized. It is considered unimportant enough that even the CDF doesn’t protect it.”

“Nazaret Hydrogen? Okay, where is it?”

Colopher called up a 3D holographic chart, and pointed to a region of empty space. “It’s about here. But we will have to find it when we get closer. At the moment its location is known only to outlaws, bounty hunters, and a few of the CDF upper commanders.”

“I don’t see a galaxy there, much less a planet?” Chambers was speaking in surprise.

“There is neither. This place is a free standing space station mining space gasses from a slow moving comet.”

Jamison’s eyebrows went up. It was rare for anyone to build a free standing base because that meant air and water had to be constantly hauled in. And the further out it was the more expensive and impractical that would be. So how exactly did this station in the middle of empty space survive?

He figured if he asked his questions they would only answer, he would find out when the time was right. So he laid in a course and continued to drop beacons which would warn him, if he was followed.

After a week and a half of travel they were further out than either of them had ever been before. As they approached the area where Colopher had said they would find a station, she and Colophen left on other business. Jamison and Chambers began a search pattern looking to detect either a station or a comet. Soon they found a massive slow moving comet, but failed to see a station.

When all else failed they circled the comet and as soon as they came around behind, they were hailed. The station was tucked right in the middle of the dust trail of the comet, making it almost impossible to detect.

They spoke with a station administrator named Judasson. For a nominal fee, which had to be paid in non-trackable currencies, he would allow them to dock. Three cases of platinum sweet moss later they were on board the space station. Judasson met them upon disembarking.

“Welcome to Nazaret H.” he said with a lisp that made him sound a bit like a snake. “You will like it here. Very little interference, lots of freedom. But on the other hand, life is cheap and absolutely anything can be acquired by trade.” He was staring at Chambers as he said this.

Her hand instinctively dropped to her side arm, her fingers checking the settings in well-rehearsed patterns. The motion was noticed by Judasson who took a step back and bowed his head slightly in deference.

Jamison didn’t miss any of these details, but also didn’t want to cause any trouble. “Sounds perfect for us. At least for now. So what housing is available on this station, we thought we might stay for a while.”

“Of course, for a couple like your selves, used to the finer things in life, you can rent suites from the station administrator.”

Jamison was sure this man would eat up every available resource he had if he let him. Instead of a presidential suite he negotiated for an apartment among the workmen. He paid well for such mean quarters and paid much better for an assurance the man would tell no one. Then Judasson had a steward show them the way to their new home. Jamison used the opportunity to make a friend and learn about the location.

“How does this station get air and water?” he asked.

“We mine them from the comet.” The young man answered with enthusiasm.

“Oh? How is that possible?”

“The station is equipped with a device Judasson invented. It takes frozen oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen off the comet and process them to make air and water. It also makes hydrogen crystals, Nitrogen dust and a bunch of other things we can sell.”

As they entered the apartment, Jamison asked, “So this station is wealthy?”

“Well no, it’s a part of the curse. Curse, that is the name of the comet. We spend everything we get keeping the equipment running. We have to or we will perish. We can’t slow down the works, or else we will run out of air.”

After they settled in, they wondered how long and what it will be like living under this curse.

Necessary Failure

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 BusinessJewel’s Place, ShanghaiedFirst MarkThe Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash DownThe Lake HouseDancing 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 SeeMaintaining Common SenseMeeting CompagnoUnseating DibolocosThe Journey HomewardAmbush on Platinum 9, Refit, Retrain and Rethink, Saved by Rodent Weed, Convoys and Propaganda,  Changing the Moon, Expanding HorizonsRunning the Blockade, Dueling Politicians, Legislation, Delegation, and DeliberationFailed Tyranny,  Political Parties, Visiting the City, Passing the Constitution and Tried for Treason.  Today we get Episode 40 which is the conclusion of the second battlefield.

 

Losing the Battle

They arrived and spent a week there relaxing in the comfortable location. They couldn’t help but become immersed in the memories of that location. Chambers had brought back a communications satellite, which they carefully deployed from Jamison’s private craft. This allowed them to receive the news from the colonies. If they had special reason to risk it then, they would be able to communicate with people off-world.

The broadcasts they watched included a lot of discussion about the two individuals who had previously been media darlings. Some people speculated they had run off together, but most people figured Jamison had been kidnapped by a Dibolocos and killed. The theories about Chambers were that either she was on a secret assignment, or that she went into seclusion, grieving over the loss of Jamison.

The two quickly decided that watching broadcasters tell lies about them was not entertaining. They felt offended at much of the tone taken by the media. It was mostly for this reason that they quit checking the news after just a few days.

Two weeks later, their honeymoon was interrupted. It began with Colopher approaching Jamison while he was sitting on the back deck, fishing. She materialized beside him, and with her head slightly bowed, asked, “May I address you?”

“Of course, Colopher. You have no idea how much I have missed you. I am not really sure if I remember when it was that we stopped walking together, but those were good days.”

Colopher began speaking directly into his mind again, saying, “It was when you chose to do what the king was instructing you not to do that you chose for me to not walk with you. But we must talk about that later. Right now it is important that you leave this place.”

“Leave?”

“Yes, and right now.”

Jamison thought of asking for an explanation. But he heard the urgency and instead stepped into the cabin to fetch Chambers. She was already on her way out with instructions from Colophen that they must depart in haste. They gathered only their most basic possessions and started out of the cabin at a dead run to reach Jamison’s ship. The closest hiding place for the vessel had been a couple of miles away.

Jamison heard Colopher say, “Hang on, I will take you there.”

In the next second he felt himself being transported, then he was working hard to stop before running into the side of his craft. They boarded and took off. They noticed a small military convoy pulling up to orbit their planet. They used the stealth of the private ship to slip away from the opposing side of the planet.

Then Jamison set an automated course for a colony named Cinnamon Alpha and settled back to speak with the Chambers, Colophe,r and Colophen. First thing Jamison did was ask what Colopher had meant when she said he had chosen to break off their communication.

The response landed on Jamison like a crushing weight. “It is the commitment made by those who align themselves with the king to do right. I was appointed as your helper to guide you to know what to do. But when you choose to do things wrong, when you do things your own way instead of listening to the king, you are choosing to break fellowship with him. At those times I can no longer help you.”

“When did I stop listening to you?” Jamison asked, although he had a pretty good idea.

“It began with going to look for Johnson. From there it only got worse as you allowed your anger and sadness to begin guiding your decisions instead of your relationship with the king. It wasn’t long before the king instructed me to withdraw until the proper time.”

Jamison found tears rolling down his face as he realized how he had allowed his emotions to control his negative choices and behavior. If he had maintained his relationship with the king, he would not have taken the actions which led to his arrest. He confessed his guilt, but also admitted he had no idea how to restore the breach.

“Speak to the king, extend to him your confession and apology and he will welcome you back.”

Jamison did exactly that and almost immediately felt a sense of relief. When he was done Chambers took similar action to repent of her decisions to release Jamison and to drop out of the military where the King had placed her to do his work. Following this they had another conversation.

“When you won the Battle of the Mind, it was because you made a choice to believe the truth about the king and his good intentions for humanity. Then you entered a second battle, the Battle of the Hands. How do you feel this went?”

Jamison spoke first. “I think that battle is complete and that we won it as well.”

When she didn’t respond right away he continued. “The ten law system is in place so that the people of the colonies will know right from wrong. In addition to that, the work of driving back the pirates and reestablishing trade was successfully completed by Chambers.”

Chambers added, “Compagno had a lot to do with that accomplishment.”

They waited again and yet Colopher did not say anything. After another moment Jamison found himself speculating aloud, “Of course, it didn’t work out so well for me.”

“Go on.” Colopher encouraged.

“I was found guilty of violating the laws, which I myself had put into place. It’s great that the population has a better understanding of what the king desires. But what kind of good does it do when I am unable to keep law after it is given?”

Colopher answered, “You are right, and you are now beginning to see the problem with the Battle of the Hands. Since you cannot keep the law, you automatically have lost this battle.”

Jamison was shocked. “We lost the battle? Even though we successfully did everything you asked?”

“Yes,” she answered, “You lost the Battle of the Hands. It was necessary to lose this battle in order to move forward. It was an unwinnable battle, but it was necessary to fight the Battle of the Hands. Only after humanity has lost this battle are they ready for the last great battle. Next you will face the Battle of the Heart.”

There was again a long period of silence. After a suitable time, Colopher said aloud, “Go on and ask your question?”

Jamison didn’t realize at first she was talking to him. He didn’t fully understand yet that he still had a question. But eventually it formed solid in his mind. “Is there any hope for my sister?”

“There will be, when we fight the Battle of the Heart.

Tried for Treason

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 BusinessJewel’s Place, ShanghaiedFirst MarkThe Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash DownThe Lake HouseDancing 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 SeeMaintaining Common SenseMeeting CompagnoUnseating DibolocosThe Journey HomewardAmbush on Platinum 9, Refit, Retrain and Rethink, Saved by Rodent Weed, Convoys and Propaganda,  Changing the Moon, Expanding HorizonsRunning the Blockade, Dueling Politicians, Legislation, Delegation, and DeliberationFailed Tyranny,  Political Parties, Visiting the City, and Passing the Constitution.  Today we get Episode 39.

Tried for Treason

Jamison’s change of attitude and demeanor was noticed by everyone, but especially by Chambers. She tried to reason with him and cheer him. Jamison found her attempts irritating and began to desire distance from her with almost as much emotion as he had previously desired closeness.

During this time his sullen attitude and at times, outward anger, made him the target of negative press. The colonies that had previously hailed him as a hero now began to see him as a part of the problem. He was depicted as like a trigger happy gunslinger who would kill anyone who might get in his way.

Documentaries on his past were pieced together and eventually someone was found who could identify him as having been a pirate with Lobokidos. The news brought shockwaves to his reputation and quickly there were calls for him to be removed from government. He was allowed to speak on his own behalf, but not being required to he stood stubbornly and refused to say a word. In these proceedings he genuinely missed the advice of Colopher. She remained silent and for all he knew, he thought he would never see her again.

When the vote was taken the congress voted to remove him from office. An hour later he was sent into town on the train, as if he was an unknown personage. He wasn’t unknown though and everywhere he tried to find shelter or temporary provision he was turned away. Finally he just slept in an alley, feeling the situation couldn’t possibly get any worse.

He woke up to find himself surrounded by a small group of soldiers. They demanded that he surrender his weapon and submit to arrest. He considered defending himself, stunning as many as he could before being overwhelmed by the others, but what would be the point? So he let himself be arrested. The list of charges was too long to read on the street, but the highlights were murder, piracy, treason, and theft.

He found his cell in the jail to be considerably nicer than the alley. It was safer, had better food and the rain didn’t soak into him. It was confining but he mused that it was actually a little larger than the sniper’s camp he had called home for four years. The cell also allowed him to research and respond to his charges. This was a part of the processing. For many people it was the whole process. If they would admit guilt they might be given more lenient sentencing. Most would, because in the colonies, technology recorded most every crime that took place, therefore few cases needed a trial.

However, there was no record of Jamison’s crimes. Probably some of the ships had recorded him boarding their vessels, but none of them had survived to present the evidence. Furthermore there was a lot of room to discuss if he was guilty since he was held there as a slave, or whether the laws passed after, could be used to convict a crime committed beforehand. Chambers was granted a leave of absence to attend the trials. It was largely expected that she would be called on to testify, but that never happened.

All but one of the charges were dropped because the laws had not been created yet. The last charge remaining on Jamison was treason, or specifically interfering with alignment. This charge was not dropped. It turns out he was seen leaving a jar of a jelly like substance on a moon. On further investigation this was found to be part of Lobokidos. Those who found it, gathered all the pieces so Lobokidos could be whole again.

Jamison admitted his actions against the Dibolocos, and even admitted his reasons. He however disagreed with the assertions of his opponents that his actions constituted interfering with alignment. They then brought Jenny into court to testify against him, which she did with great hatred. Jenny’s presence shocked Jamison into submission, and her anger just made him withdraw further into himself.

When he stopped defending himself, the negative verdict was guaranteed. He was found guilty, and since the case had been so high profile, his sentence was intentionally severe. He was assigned to a penal colony on Jinkon to do hard labor for ten years. Jamison took the news silently.

The next day a military transport was set to take him and a couple of other passengers to the prison. When he climbed on board, Chambers was in the pilot’s seat. She had a plan to prevent his imprisonment. She would drop off the prisoners at Jinkon, then the two of them could go away together. All he had to do was to hide himself in a secret compartment she had prepared for the purpose.

When they arrived at Jinkon the receiving personnel noticed the count was wrong. They failed to question Chambers though since she was of such higher rank. Then she returned, dropping Jamison back at his private vessel. Twenty four hours later she was withdrawn from the military and the two of them traveled to Platinum 9. Friends there allowed them to hide in the resort. Enjoying the luxury and considering their next move.

They chose to get married in a private ceremony, attended by many of the leaders of the colony. These individuals risked their status with the new government to help the two. Then Jamison and Chambers traveled out, not telling anyone, but planning to make the lake house their permanent home. They were relatively happy. But both of them missed the close friendship they had previously enjoyed with their Kilkian friends.

Passing the Constitution

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 BusinessJewel’s Place, ShanghaiedFirst MarkThe Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash DownThe Lake HouseDancing 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 SeeMaintaining Common SenseMeeting CompagnoUnseating DibolocosThe Journey HomewardAmbush on Platinum 9, Refit, Retrain and Rethink, Saved by Rodent Weed, Convoys and Propaganda,  Changing the Moon, Expanding HorizonsRunning the Blockade, Dueling Politicians, Legislation, Delegation, and DeliberationFailed Tyranny,  Political Parties and Visiting the City.  Today we get Episode 38.

Passing the Constitution

The vote to pass the constitution was held with minimal issues. Two of the most remote colonies were still in disorder, resulting in the election being marred by violence at those locations. It was actually less problems than the military had hoped for and it stood as a marker to the progress that had been made.

At this point the government set about more normal tasks of leadership. They established limits on what local laws could do, established a collection of laws to flesh out how the 10 law foundation of their society would be made functional. They also established committees to help areas that were recovering less quickly.

Jamison tried to be happy with the progress but inside he felt increasingly depressed. He was accomplishing everything the king had asked him to do in terms of bringing law to the colonies. But what good would that do for Jenny, his sister that had unwisely aligned with the Dibolocos and was now trapped in the perpetual abuse of the sexual entertainment industry. He thought it was great for those who chose to accept the will of the Kilkian king, but what of those who were already trapped under the control of the Dibolocos?

He knew from his military background and training that a measure of emotional letdown was common even after a successful campaign. But this knowledge did not stop him from feeling the grief and failure associated with his sister’s enslavement. He thought he could shake the feeling by throwing himself into his work, but instead he began to feel increasingly that his work in the congress was finished. Because of this feeling, he divided the work of his committee up to a handful of other leaders and stepped back.

When the congress took a recess a couple of weeks later he decided to take a short break instead of returning home to campaign and govern on Platinum 9. He acquired an expensive personal craft, partially through his military back pay, partially through the privileges of being in the congress, but also largely through the generosity of his friends, Compagno and Galvez.

He took this vehicle out to the lake house. A long trip alone for a poorly armed vehicle, but it was fast and very stealthy. He spent the time fishing, thinking, praying to the king, and pouting. He even visited the site where Lobokidos had been unseated. He could vaguely sense the presence of the Dibolocos even though he was largely shattered into small pieces which had settled all over the planet’s surface. They were slowly beginning to reform into the blobs of grape jelly that would eventually take shape as the full sized alien pirate.

Jamison began to develop a plan for this pirate that had caused his sister so much pain. Despite his intentions to keep these ideas to himself and away from Colopher, she quickly recognized what he was up to and warned him against seeking vengeance on his own.

Jamison chose to ignore these warnings, and as he did Colopher spoke to him less and less often. He didn’t notice her distance though as he was busy working out a plan.  He spent every day gathering bits and pieces of the jelly that should have composed Lobokidos. When he had about a jar full he would load it up and take it to a nearby moon, planet or asteroid and leave it there.

When the time came to head back to the capital for the next session of the government he had spread Lobokidos parts so far and wide that it was likely he would not be able to return to form for a century or longer.

But as he headed back he went alone. He didn’t notice that Colopher was no longer traveling with him, and his anger had so overtaken him that he didn’t easily recognize the presence of aliens, situations of danger or the leadership of the king in his life. Even after he returned he failed to seek out the fellowship of others who were aligned with the Kilkians. He no longer felt the value of spending time with these individuals who had previously been his friends.

Visiting the City

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 BusinessJewel’s Place, ShanghaiedFirst MarkThe Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash DownThe Lake HouseDancing 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 SeeMaintaining Common SenseMeeting CompagnoUnseating DibolocosThe Journey HomewardAmbush on Platinum 9, Refit, Retrain and Rethink, Saved by Rodent Weed, Convoys and Propaganda,  Changing the Moon, Expanding HorizonsRunning the Blockade, Dueling Politicians, Legislation, Delegation, and DeliberationFailed 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.

Failed Tyranny

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 BusinessJewel’s Place, ShanghaiedFirst MarkThe Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash DownThe Lake HouseDancing 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 SeeMaintaining Common SenseMeeting CompagnoUnseating DibolocosThe Journey HomewardAmbush on Platinum 9, Refit, Retrain and Rethink, Saved by Rodent Weed, Convoys and Propaganda,  Changing the Moon, Expanding HorizonsRunning the Blockade, Dueling Politicians and Legislation, Delegation, and Deliberation  Today we get Episode 35.

For the next few mornings they began to deal with the issues brought forward by the different committees. A couple of the delegates were not interested in the process. They skipped meetings, and generally only attended whatever meetings were mandatory. These same delegates were the ones who took the most advantage of the privileges afforded them. They demanded the best of everything and lots of it.

In the afternoons, Jamison led his group to specify their recommendations. Regarding the family, they established parents as responsible for their children until they reach the age of twenty. Children were required to be under their parents authority until this age. The taking of another’s life was made illegal except when commanded to do so in a military action or in the course of defending yourself or another person, For sexual ethics there were some who wanted all sexual activity outside of marriage to be punishable by law. Others felt this was too invasive. Ultimately rape was made illegal, but other sexual activity, although they agreed it was wrong they did not make illegal. Theft of course was made illegal. Lying for reasons of deceiving people in the areas of financial gain, political manipulation and similar cases were made punishable by law, but most forms of lying were not. In the area of social justice they seemed to have an impasse as to whether individuals should be entitled to the same standard of living they saw in their neighbors. But in the long run no way to codify the idea into law was discovered.

Eventually their recommendations for the moral code then was ready, but then they had to decide what to do about the loyalty code. It was determined that a person would be free to choose to align. However it was also determined that once aligned a person could not change their mind, nor would any future alignments other than with these two be allowed. No one could force another person to align with either the Kilkians or the Dibolocos. Opportunities for people of similar alignment to gather were discussed at length. Eventually the fourth loyalty code was determined to prohibit any regulation of such gatherings.

Jamison felt a great deal of hesitation about the loyalty code. It seemed to fit with everything he had learned about alignment from Colopher, but it also didn’t quite set right. It was as if something in the back of his mind was nagging him. But since his committee as a whole felt settled, he had to take the next step which was presenting the report to the congress. They organized their idea into a list of ten, putting the four loyalty laws first, and then the six moral laws following. Then presented them to the group for the greater discussion.

As he expected the report was met with a large amount of resistance from those who had gained their power through immoral dealings and businesses. Jamison took note that these individuals were also the ones who were taking the welfare of the nation lightly and as secondary to their own privileges.

He was however surprised that even those who agreed with the code in the general sense often did not agree as to where best to draw the line between what was legally allowable and what was not. During the course of the first days discussion almost nothing was agreed upon and it seemed to him the congress was getting divided into three different groups. First were those aligned with the Kilkians who favored the proposal. Then there were the unaligned who favored the morality but were confused as to why a loyalty code was included. Then there were those aligned with the Dibolocos, who favored the loyalty code but argued with the moral code.

They argued the first day without making any headway. Then they argued the points for an entire second day. Jamison became aware that the last group had began calling everyone else terrorists. They accused them of wanting to use force to coerce everyone else into accepting their viewpoint. This title got turned back on them though when shortly into the third day of deliberation a group of them drew their weapons in what appeared to be an orchestrated plan to murder certain opposing delegates. When the leader of the group called out what appeared to be a command they spread out and drew their weapons. The leader pointed his weapon at Commodore and Vice-Chancellor Galvez and pulled the trigger.  In his haste, he had forgotten to turn off the safety. Cursing he fumbled for the button and the instant the weapon was activated a bolt of laser light shot out of the large chandelier on the ceiling and instantly killed him.  It had been so strong a shot that it practically cremated him in the one shot.

His co-conspirators, saw him fall but most were confused aiming their weapons at different delegates, including all of Jamison’s committee. But like their leader as soon as the weapon was armed the laser struck them dead. The room rang out with shrieks of terror. The room had gotten many degrees hotter through the short battle, and the smell of burning flesh was overwhelming the room. A few of the aggressors realized what was happening and quickly surrendered to soldiers who were rushing in.

Chancellor Johnston was pounding his gavel on the podium, but appeared shell shocked. Commodore Galvez, who didn’t seem shocked at all, eventually reached over stilled his hand and began addressing the group.

“Gentlemen, those of you who are still alive, please be still. These men who have attempted to take control of the government through violence are largely dead. The ones who are alive are being arrested and will be executed as soon as the judiciary completes processing them.

“The events you weapon that killed them was put into place in order to protect you delegates from any outside attack. Many of you wondered why we never required you to check your weapons before entering, the reason is the sensors and weaponry over your head will kill anyone holding an armed weapon making the restriction unnecessary. This weapon, and these defenses were not intended to protect you from each other. We designed this arena as a place of law and order, never did we think the delegates of these colonies would try to solve their differences by violence wrought against one another.”

He went on for over an hour. It was the kind of lecture only a military man knew how to bring and when he was done most everyone in the room felt they had been dragged into actions which were below their dignity. At first Jamison thought the whole situation had pretty much ruined their intentions and progress. But as the lecture dragged on, he realized the Vice-Chancellor was priming the remaining delegates to think of their positions as one for honorable people, who behaved with decorum and who respect the law, each other and their colonies.

 

Political Parties

They were eventually dismissed, and since Jamison’s committee had no immediate work to do he took a leisurely lunch and spent his time in the library and other common areas. While it might appear to the outside that this would have been relaxing, Jamison found it to be anything but comfortable. The unaligned opponents to his committee’s recommendations approached him in a steady stream. They would ask for clarification, discuss disagreements and either begin to change their minds or agree to disagree. Then another would show up to take his place and it would start all over again.

Jamison was often tempted to dismiss the politicians or worse to upbraid them for their failure to understand. But he didn’t. In fact, as the process continued he began to see value in it. He suspected that by the time the next morning session began he might have a majority in favor of the 10 laws his committee had proposed. He continued this schmoozing with the other delegates up to dinner, and then through dinner he continued to be approached by others. During this time he saw Commodore Galvez watching him from across the dining hall.

His motions were very similar to those he had seen all day long. It was the action taken by a man waiting for the previous man to finish so that he could be next to start a spontaneous conversation. But Galvez didn’t hang around and wait. He disappeared and Jamison assumed he had been mistaken.

Three different delegates bought him a different dessert, not realizing perhaps how full he had become, before he headed back to his quarters. He let himself into the apartment and immediately knew he was not alone. He didn’t feel threatened so he walked into the main room without taking any guard for his safety. Galvez was seated there.

“I was beginning to think you were planning on staying out all night.”

“Nah, just had a lot of people who wanted to talk to me today.”

“I suppose they wanted to discuss the army having weapons of mass destruction hidden in the walls around them.”

Jamison thought about it, and said, “Actually not a single person brought that up. Although now that you mention it, I want to thank you for having them there. If you didn’t I would likely be dead.”

“As would I.”

A moment of silence settled on them and Jamison settled into the other chair in his sitting room.

“Your comments after the event were well spoken. It was exactly the kind of words we all needed to hear.”

“Thank you. Speeches are the prerogative of rank in this man’s fighting force.”

Again the silence settled around them. Not the silence of two friends totally comfortable and well acquainted with each other’s company. This was the pregnant silence of a man who knows he needs to say something, but dreads beginning the conversation.

“Would you like something to drink, I have sweet plankton tea?”

“No. But thank you. I actually wanted to talk with you about your alignment. Why do you want to include this silly loyalty code? Other than that you will have almost a unanimous approval for the moral code.”

Jamison knew he would have to answer carefully. He knew he wanted the loyalty code because it complemented the will of the Kilkian king. At least, it did to the best of his understanding. The king wanted people to be free to choose to align with him, rather than being coerced by the circumstances of culture and law.

“In short I am trying to work with the new realities we have now that we are interacting with Kilkians and Dibolocos on a regular basis. We need a way to form one society despite the fact that our citizens have chosen to very different paths of who to serve.”

“Are the two really all that different?” The question was ludicrous knowing everything Jamison knew, but for people like Galvez it was the key question. They saw all forms of alignment as an unnecessary subservience of the citizens. They saw remaining unaligned as the way to preserve their freedom.

“The two are very different, but even more importantly, the one who stays unaligned is actually serving the Dibolocos, whether they admit it or not. Can I tell you about my story? Would you mind hearing what has happened to me in the last year?”

Galvez ascented and the two talked all night long. They drank all the sweet plankton tea and then switched to strong coffee. Finally as the sun peaked over the hills. Galvez was making the choice to align with the Kilkians. They celebrated over breakfast and as they entered the chambers together laughing and talking as if they were the oldest of friends, everyone else in the room took note of the new alliance.

Jamison was given the floor again in order to further discussion of the laws he had proposed. This time he saw only two groups come out of the discussion. These two groups would form the first two political parties for the colonies. Those who were whole heartedly in agreement came to be called Advocates because they advocated working with the aliens. The other group which was actually a little larger and stronger were called Isolationists because they wanted to live without any connection to the aliens.

It took another two days, but the ten law standard eventually passed. The isolationists allowing its passage not because they agree with the loyalty code but because they began to realize it also protected them from being forced to align against their wills.

Legislation, Delegation, and Deliberation

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 BusinessJewel’s Place, ShanghaiedFirst MarkThe Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash DownThe Lake HouseDancing 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 SeeMaintaining Common SenseMeeting CompagnoUnseating DibolocosThe Journey HomewardAmbush on Platinum 9, Refit, Retrain and Rethink, Saved by Rodent Weed, Convoys and Propaganda,  Changing the Moon, Expanding HorizonsRunning the Blockade and Dueling Politicians.  Today we get Episode 34.

 

Legislation, Delegation and Deliberation

The next day when Jamison entered the governing chamber he noticed that most of the delegates treated him differently. They hushed as he approached. They side stepped to let him pass. Others made sure to approach him and greet him prior to the day’s work. The change made Jamison nervous. He didn’t know exactly how to respond to the insincere brown nosing from a few of them. But he also didn’t trust the new respect being given by the others. His days as a pirate had taught him that if people feared you they are more likely to stick a knife in your back.

That morning Commodore Galvez announced their first step toward self-government would be to determine what style of leadership to use. For the next couple of hours different styles were discussed. Then each delegate’s console allowed them to vote from among several of the possibilities. The two possibilities which got the most votes were similar to each other. The first allowed for a president who presided over a legislative house, a small judicial committee and a military wing. The other possibility was a Chancellor who presided over a legislative house, with two Vice-Chancellors representing the military and the judiciary.

These two options were then considered in depth, and eventually the second was chosen. The next day they would select their Chancellor, and Vice Chancellors. But they also would have to select a basic set of sub-committees to take on various tasks. They would decide those groups once they had their own Chancellor in charge of the congress.

The next morning they were allowed to make nominations, via their consoles. They started with the position of Chancellor. After the first round of nominations there were 37 candidates. But after most declined the position there were 13. Jamison was glad to see he was on the list and he made the assumption he would be the first Chancellor. He remembered that his calling from the king had been to be the law giver. It was his role to bring law and order to the colonies.

He was greatly perplexed when in the next round of voting he only got two votes. There were three candidates whose vote totals stood well above all the others, so these three were put forward and allowed to each speak for a half hour about what they would do if selected as chancellor. A final round of voting then was held in which the first Chancellor was selected to be the man Jamison had saved from Richards and his gang of thugs. His name was Robert Johnston.

Then Jamison began to consider that perhaps being the Vice-Chancellor in charge of the judiciary would best allow him to fulfill his calling. This position was the next one to be taken up and the same process was used. After the first round of nominations there were seven candidates, and Jamison was not one of them. He was now certain that something had gone terribly wrong.

Shortly one of the representatives from the capital was placed in charge of the Judiciary. He would have authority over all of the courts, including those which manage law enforcement and those handling civil matters. It was noted that this second category would include any grievances against the government brought be citizens.

Jamison briefly wondered if he might be the Vice Chancellor in charge of the military, but this did not seem to fit with his calling at all. And when Commodore Galvez, asked for an exception, that this position would be held by a ranking officer, he was quickly appointed to that role.

The group adjourned for the day with these three key positions in place. The next day they sought to divide up the most urgent tasks they needed to do next. A committee was formed to establish districts and election protocols. Another was shaped to form law enforcement for every colony. Another was formed to place courts in each. Another was formed to consider how to fund the government. Chancellor Johnston was given quite a bit of leeway for appointing the Chairmen and members of these committees. The only time voting took place was when someone objected or asked for a formal count.

Jamison was almost to the point of despair and beginning to lose focus on the progress of the group. He had expected because of the promises of the Kilkian king and Colopher that he would be one of the key leaders. However all the key positions seemed to have already been passed and now he was stuck with nothing left to do but grunt-work. While distracted in this way he startled to realize Chancellor Johnston was addressing him.

After a moment or two of embarrassment he realized he was being appointed as chairman of a committee on Laws. In order for the colonies to be united they would need to share their most basic legal code. So the formation of laws regarding the most elemental aspects of right and wrong would fall to this committee. Suddenly it was obvious that he had not been chosen for any of those other positions because this committee fit his calling very specifically.

By noon that day they had their committees selected, and it was determined that each morning they would meet in congress, but each afternoon they would adjourn to committees. The committee recommendations had to pass a vote of the whole congress, but by allowing committees to do the bulk of the work simultaneously they would be able to cover more ground each day.

So after lunch Jamison headed into his first meeting of the Committee on Basic Law. He immediately noticed the other four men in the room had all also aligned with the Kilkians. This brought him a deep sense of relief. He would not have to fight for common decency within the committee, but he knew when the recommendations went before the congress they would meet resistance.

The five began to brainstorm a list and from this list began to prioritize what they felt was important enough to codify. Jamison was surprised to notice that even though they were all aligned, and seemingly should be unified, the men did not have agreement in everything that should be illegal. There easily agreed as to what was right and wrong, but differed often as to what was wrong enough to be punished by law.

At the end of the first day a little progress had been made, but they were not ready to report. They had two short lists. One list was moral in nature: it included protecting the family, murder, sexual behavior, stealing, lying and social justice. While this list was generally agreed upon the details of how to flesh it out were far from settled. A second list was about alignment: Kilkian alignment, no aligning with new aliens, not speaking against the Kilkian king, and celebrations of alignment. They all wanted these items because of their own loyalty to the Kilkian king. However they were not at all certain it would be the right thing to do to legislate these issues rather than to leave them in the realm of personal conscience.

This summarized much of the problem. The King wanted people to know right from wrong, but also wanted them to have the freedom to choose right. Those areas where doing wrong caused harm to others must carry a penalty. This serves to protect the public from the anarchy, piracy and their own moral weaknesses.

Dueling Politicians

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 BusinessJewel’s Place, ShanghaiedFirst MarkThe Pirate’s Life, Defensive Position, Adrift, Self Sacrifice, Crash DownThe Lake HouseDancing 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 SeeMaintaining Common SenseMeeting CompagnoUnseating DibolocosThe Journey HomewardAmbush on Platinum 9, Refit, Retrain and Rethink, Saved by Rodent Weed, Convoys and Propaganda,  Changing the Moon, Expanding Horizons, and Running the Blockade.  Today we get Episode 32.

 

Dueling Politicians

They arrived at the capital city, and the delegates were shuttled to the planet’s surface. They were assigned luxury housing in the downtown area. The compound had been built just for them. It had elaborate security systems and a contingent of troops assigned to protect them. They settled in and planned to meet together the next morning to begin the process of designing what system of government they would choose.

To everyone’s surprise the CDF commanders informed them they would be giving them an orientation for the next couple of days that would acquaint them with the history of the colonies, the past styles of government, the resources and economy of the different planets and the basics of political theory. It made sense when you realized that most of the representatives were completely new to politics. But on the other side of the coin, it also made sense that the military leaders wanted to have as much input into the new government as possible.

Jamison felt a certain amount of suspicion about the arrangement. He saw the distinct possibility that the CDF would ultimately not turn control back to their elected government. But no matter what fears he had, there was no real choice, except to go along with the program.

The first day they were escorted into a meeting room. It was arranged with lots of small desks, all facing a stage. Up on the stage were larger desks for three leaders to sit, between these leaders and the delegates desks, was a podium for whichever delegate had the floor. They were all assigned desks, and for now at least, a CDF officer named Commodore Galvez moderated the delegation.

Jamison was seated on the third row and a little to the right of center. He looked around the room and realized every single desk had a delegate at it. He settled in for the first day of instruction, presented by the CDF. He found it to be a lot more helpful than he had expected. He took extensive notes, on a console provided for the purpose. It was set up with some impressive tools he found genuinely useful.

When it came time to return the second day he was surprised to discover he was looking forward to further education. He noticed one of the desks was empty. He asked several others about the politician who had been there and he either got someone who didn’t know or else someone who seemed to know, but still answered vaguely. He then sent a message to Chambers and asked her if she knew anything about it. She didn’t, but promised to look into it.

By the time the first break came around a message was waiting, explaining what had happened. During the previous evening delegates were gathered informally and discussing what they hoped would be the policy and shape of the new government. Two of them had a heated disagreement about the best direction, and it ended with the two of them stepping out back, with their weapons. A little while later the CDF was quietly disposing of a body and only one delegate returned.

After lunch another delegate was missing. A few questions later and Jamison realized there had been another duel. By the third day they had eight fewer delegates than they started with. Those who were unaligned or aligned with the Dibolocos were fighting for who would be in control. This was a cruel way to sort out a new government. Jamison took note of how little the Dibolocos cared if their minions killed each other off. He also noted that the winner of the duels was gaining greater respect among the representatives. His name was Richards, and Jamison figured he would cross paths with him sooner or later.

That evening he saw Richards looking for his next victim. He challenged one of the unaligned men to a duel. The man refused to step out back for the fight, he said he would settle his battles through debate. Jamison thought he was being wise.

Then Richards smiled broadly and said, “Have it your way, but no one will listen to a coward.”

Jamison thought about that statement. The group was working out a pecking order. With the CDF not allowing them to begin active debate, they were finding other ways to wrestle for control. When Richards walked away from the first victim he started straight towards Jamison.

“How about you, sniper, or are you chicken too?”

“Gunplay won’t determine who’s right, only who is left.” Jamison responded.

Richards cackled out a laugh. “How do they expect us to rule the colonies with a bunch of cowards? We’ll see you in the slaughterhouse yet, boy.” And with that he walked away.

The other man Richards had challenged was visibly shaken, so Jamison walked back with him to his suite. But along the way they found themselves surrounded by hostile delegates who pushed and prodded the two of them out to the back alley where the duels were taking place. Jamison immediately felt the danger of people trying to kill him. He felt the presence of a Dibolocos nearby. Colopher spoke to his mind telling him to focus on the men and Kilkians would remove the Dibolocos. A moment later he no longer felt the Dibolocos presence.

Richards stepped out to the middle of the alley on the far end, and asked which of the two victims would go first. Jamison knew the other man stood no chance, so he stepped up. As he surveyed the situation he sensed there was a shooter on the roof too. The second shooter nearly guaranteed Richards the win.

“So how do you go about this?” Jamison asked.

Richards laughed, “We will use a timer, one of the spectators will set it for 1 minute, and when it beeps we both draw our weapons and shoot. Should be easy for a big shot sniper like you.”

“Okay. Mind if I take a practice shot first, to range in my weapon?”

“Knock yourself out. It won’t help.”

Jamison drew his weapon, set it on small explosion and blew a hole in the wall just below where the man was hiding on the roof, the blast killed the man who was thrown up into the air. When the body landed the eaves of the building were shattered, allowing the body to fall into the street beside Richards.

Jamison watched as Richards began trembling and sweating. Jamison asked, “Maybe you changed your mind about dueling?”

Jamison thought for a minute he was going to back down, but after a second he called out. “Start the timer.”

The men on the side did as he asked and after a long minute the timer beeped. Jamison ignored it and watched for Richards to reach for his gun. But he didn’t. The men on the side started yelling at Richards. They called him names and commanded him to finish what he had started.

Then he tried. Jamison shot him before his gun was clear of the holster. He had forgotten to reset it to the appropriate setting. So the man was blown to bits with most of the audience being splattered by the bloodsport they had been encouraging.

Jamison spoke to the group. “Are you satisfied now? Or does anyone else want to try their luck?”

The men found their way to their suites. Jamison walked his friend back to his suite, before returning to his own and vomiting.