Chapter 5: Peace Be With You
'Information. Knowledge. Effeciency. These are things that are important to us.'
The man in the dark flowing cloak nodded at his companion. The light was very bright in his eyes.
'Information cannot exist within a descriptive consciousness. It cannot be anything less than a whole of what it is. Clarity is a measure of the ability to perceive information and process it into conscious thought. If the information becomes too complex, you will not be able to perceive it.
'Knowledge is a description of the information. Correct knowledge arises from the correct reduction of information. Ideally, useless information is discarded. If all useless information is discarded, then knowledge becomes perfect.
'Effeciency is necessary for the transferral of information to knowledge in a practical timeframe. Effeciency is directly proportional to intelligence. With the best algorithm, all thought is without ineffenciency and instantaneous.
'Did you understand?'
It was now Mor Draemiens turn, once again, to be angry and anxious about the result of the senate enquiry. The first time had been when Molex Reeves had asked about Naccali - and that damned stupid cabinet position. Now, it was whether or not Molex could actually be persecutable for this. It was, as Speaker Revaro had put it 'a real mess.'
He was actually pacing around the room inside the Speaker's office. They had decided to meet, privately. It doesn't they were on his payroll, just that he wanted to know the status of what's going on.
'Excuse me Speaker's, but this is incredibly important to me. Do you realise? Without condemning Molex Reeves in court, the ESF stands so much to lose. The Jihilites or any other party can make alliances just like that...' He snapped his fingers. 'And win. The entire power structure is in danger of being overturned. Surely you can see that.'
Speaker Revaro nodded sagely, and poured himself something to drink.
'Yes yes, but the problem is that, as Molex pointed out...'
'Molex??!' Mor exploded angrily. 'When did Molex stand to gain anything by pointing out he was wrong. You know, get sufficient time to prepare and any argument can be twisted in your favour. It's just ridiculous.'
Speaker Revaro once again, pretended not to hear.
'Ahem, yes, but this enquiry is based on listening to other people's arguments. Now, he pointed out that it's also in the party leader's interest to order thoughts on the next election after this. Now, for Aedal Eshem, as he pointed out, there is a very slim chance of victory. The far-left has suffered a few setbacks and is gaining popularity, but don't have the support of the Corporate Senate. He told us'. Ranted at us more likely, thought Speaker Revaro. His final speech, telling us about the dangers of a bloody military dictatorship, received rapturous applause from his party. 'That because he was leader, he had to vote for Molex Reeves.'
'Aye.' The Cossack leader threw up his hands. 'Yes, he certainly did. And this whole trial is now receiving media coverage, did you know that? The people will look at your indecision in such an obvious case and will not be impressed. This can only lead to bad things.'
'Well, thankyou.' He smiled. 'I'm glad you follow the people so closely. The point is, we cannot make the point stick, as it stands.'
Ylepres arrived at dock with due solemnity granted to a ship that had been injured in the course of duty. There weren't that many people to view it approach however.
Mercenim Moondock was full of damaged and disfigured starships. One of the few ships that was very badly injured, was a carrier the captain of the Ylepres could see. It's back section had been ripped off, bits of metal floated the area around it. A very burned and scarred hull. They're round of pirates had been more difficult, he could wager.
Marselles ordered his ship to dock, and went of to the port section of the bridge. He hugged the wall it clanged to a halt. Then he entered the tube almost the moment it connected.
'Greetings.' The man on the other side said. He was low-rank, Marselles nodded and walked past. His crew were now receiving the message, over the in-ship com, that the ship was now docked. Shoreleave would be granted until the ship was repaired, and then 48 hours. Unless they were on a class-4 emergency.
Now, he walked down the tightly packed beige halls the station designers seemed to like. Oops, wrong turn. He peaked over the rampart to a huge fighter bay below. They were packed together rather tightly, rows of dark colours with the red and gold circle of the Earth-Sol Federation on them. He smiled, then continued his journey.
Now he arrived at the central repository for the elite of the elite. As a captain, he could walk here without attracting security guards or unwanted camera angles. But if he walked into the Admiral's Mess, he was certain to annoy someone.
His friend stopped him. Admiral Raigan, commander of the 29th fleet.
'Hello Marselles, didn't expect to see you here.'
'My ship was damaged.' He said, somewhat defensively.
'Ahh, yes. Mine too, as it happens.'
Marselles wondered which one it had been. His friend commanded a carrier too.
'In fact, my entire group was damaged. Did you know, the pirates had some technical cunning.'
Raigan paused a moment.
'They strapped nukes to the asteroids with proximity sensors. Not neutron missiles - real nukes. Very tough.'
Ah. Marselles nodded appreciatively.
'I'm only glad we got them when we did. In a few years, who could know how powerful they might have become.'
'Oh by the way, we're all on class 2 emergency from now on.'
This piked Marselles interest. A class 1 emergency was indefinate shoreleave, a class 2 emergency was the 96 hours notice. You had to live within 96 hours of your nearest fleetbase. If you didn't, you had to move. Additionally, ship maintenance would be granted a very high priority on the ESF budget.
'Maybe they're planning something.'
'Our Directors of course.'
The enquiry had to be suspended eventually, pended down in meaningless and infinite definitions of 'alliance' 'coalition' and just what the Convention really was and whether the hell it existed or not. The Speaker Revaro was tired of it.
'I propose this court take a vote now for whether or not Molex Reeves is guilty, and if so worthy of impeachment. If the parties do not wish to take a vote now, then Molex Reeves is acquitted of the charge.'
This drew a very visibly angry response from Mor Draemien. He had hoped to continue the trial, garner support. But all he got were stalwart Jihiltes, and stalwart and embarrassed Ragnas. He just threw his hands up, mentally, at the pointlessness of it all.
A double dissolution would fail, in other words. Enough people respected Aedal Eshem to agree with him on this. Besides, it would do terrible damage to the party to vote against the party leader. A double dissolution would only cement the alliance and make Molex more likely to win the next election.
'I oppose the motion.' He said, speaking loudly into the megaphone.
'I oppose it.'
'I oppose it.' Said Aedal Eshem, too quick for the Speaker.
'Molex Reeves,' Said the Speaker standing up majestically, 'You are acquitted of abusing the Convention in the context of this enquiry. Good day.'
They filed out, somewhat peremptorily. The audience just realised that the climax of the trial had just passed, and were not quite sure how to react.
And the ESF watched.
Jarrid leaned back in the shuttle on it's way to Beurasaj, with a videorecorder in his pocket, and a popular tourist destination guide he had picked up at the spaceport. Heck, they might be in a state of non-war (peace was really too strong a word) but atleast they were civilised towards one another. Besides, Beurasaj was a popular tourist destination, as long as you were important enough. The 'Second Earth' they called it. Jarrid couldn't wait to see it.
He had been to 'Earth'. It's population was now around 3 billion, he believed. The Great Holocaust had still left alot of it unpopulated. America, Russia, China were all abandoned, their countries having suffered radioactive poisining down to the very salt basin. Farming was impossible . Currently, Australia was the main superpower. One of the few countries the Jovian Alliance hadn't bothered to nuke.
So, The Second Earth. This was why the Union even existed. Without Beurasaj, they would still have been dependant on Old Sol for supplies and materials. Without Beurasaj, the Border War would never have been possible. Without Beurasaj, there would be no concept of limitation on the ESF's expansion. Perhaps Beurasaj was something the ESF needed. A rallying point where there were so many worlds, with so many cultures, a good deal of them oppressed by an overweight and beuracractic government.
He arrived in the system. He was on a luxury passenger ship. He had foregone even asking for a room. When there was danger of missing sightseeing, he didn't want to even be tempted by sleep.
The Union, strangely enough, didn't have many stargates. Everything, almost, carried a stardrive of some type. So, longer flight times but less vulnerability to invasion. It was sort of worrying, actually.
'People, I'm sorry, but we're going to have a visitor from out-of-town.'
They were situated in the main briefing room on Alpha Base. It was the main starbase for the Union. Or really, a planetbase, since it orbited Beurasaj. If you wanted to be technical that is.
'You betcha. The new Admiral wants us to tone down our performance. Also we're going to be downgrading our engines, weapons, manouevrability all that quite a bit.'
There were groans.
'What the hell?'
'Quiet. The Admiral wants us to do this.'
There was another groan.
'Who is this big-shot Admiral anyway?'
'Some guy called Lockwood. He's just been conditioned.'
'Straight from the Council.'
'Can't we get a clean?' They were no longer talking to the instructor, but amongst themselves.
'Sssh.' The instructor's impervious glance kept them still for a moment. 'We could win a battle right here. If the ESF thinks we've got crap tech and bad pilots, then they'll underestimate us. Our victory will be that much easier.' He winked. There were a few chuckles as the men caught on.