"So, which viewscreen has the more important data?" asked Doc.
"Ishima, though it's not like we can alter either one." replied Darkk.
"They nominated you for the Senate?"
"I do technically live in Omisha."
On the screen to Darkk's left, the battle of Sol was playing out. Behind Jupiter, where the humans couldn't see it, lurked the gateship, dropping fresh carriers right into the thick of battle. It pulsed with energy, calling ships from the orbital yards of Cantharis. Darkk's operators could read the signatures like a neon billboard, and they read off the data. "Now summoning two carriers. Now summing 2 gunships and 3 cruisers. Now summoning an HVD."
Darkk didn't want to hear it anymore, so he activated his implant jack to hear the data from the elections back on Ishima. "Vendetta Cooperative's out-of-nowhere showing is still quite impressive, but it looks like many of their bids might have fallen flat. With 317 of 783 districts reporting in the Presidential race, we believe Gramitzan will win it for the Labor Party after the unexpected bow-out of the Conservative Party's candidate in an obvious bid to beat the VC. Despite carrying every last protectorate district, the VC's efforts at winning the Senate also appear to be stalling out. The core districts haven't given them any victories. Darkk's questionable military record appears to have cost them one of their Omisha seats, despite their making their strongest showing there. Back to Inisha in the newsroom."
"It appears that the fears of a Vendetta Cooperative showing powerful enough to force a reluctant Ishiman people into war have been blunted by the Peace Coalition. This just in, the statisticians have now called it for Gramitzan. We have President-Elect Gramitzan with us to talk about that."
"It is very deeply disturbing the lack of concern for life of so many of our client races. The trauma that they went through with the Cantharans seems to have had a more profound effect than our sociologists initially feared. The fact that 3 districts voted unanimously VC, not one dissenting vote, is disturbing in and of itself. We must show them that revenge is not the answer. The very name of Vendetta Cooperative is truly indicative of the tensions boiling over."
"What about the discovery that 2/3 of military contracting is held by those affiliated with VC?"
"Although that is seriously disturbing with the current political climate, if the underlying issues can be addressed, this would not be so much of a problem. Our purely defensive military has no major role in politics at this moment."
"I'd just like to mention that we still believe we can work out or differences. Although the Vendetta Cooperative and the their Ishiman Ally the Sentient Rights Protection Party have lost their bids for control of the Senate and the Presidency, we look forward to working with them in building the next coalition. The latest Cantharan aggression, happening as we speak, will be addressed, and I do plan on protecting the rights of sentient beings, despite their claims. I just do not countenance the use of military firepower against a nation which has not, despite their claims, attacked us. The Cantharans are merely playground bullies. An economic and political initiative I am working on will allow us to change them without needless bloodshed."
"We go now live to the concession speech of Grithia, the VC candidate for Presidency. She did, however, win her senate bid so I imagine we will see more of her in the future."
Darkk cut off the link. Grithia had been his wife for years now, he didn't want to see the indignity of her defeat. Or the looks on the kids' faces. He'd need something to cheer them up.
"Sir, the humans appear to have retargeted the Apollo's laser system onto the Gateship."
"They finally found it, eh?"
Darkk shrugged. Wouldn't matter. The shield on the Cantharans' was even better than his shield. He'd calculated he could survive a collision with one of those big asteroids from the "death belts" as the miners called them. The ones that blew up and took whole fleets with them.
"Dang that's a lot of solar panels."
"They don't have antimatter or something?"
"What the heck is something like this for, anyways?"
"Who knows, but it sure is having a hard time defending itself. It's just focusing on the Gateship like it can barely turn."
"Wing Leader Somn here. We cut loose the north solar array, proceeding to deploy antimatter charges."
The liquids in the laser's cooling system glowed spectacularly as the charges dispersed them, and the gigantic violet blossom, visible from Earth, marked the death knell of human resistance in that system. The mopping up operation might take awhile, but they no longer had a weapon that could turn the tide.
Darkk leaned back in his chair. It was a battle that could easily be won if the Ishimans would let it be. 15 HVD raid groups could pound flat the Gateship before it knew what hit it, since it was merely hiding from the Humans. Darkk even had 15 raid groups on his "on call" list. The problem wasn't going away on its own, though. It was obvious politics couldn't do it. This had been the political arm's big last chance.
This post has been edited by Fleet Admiral Darkk : 27 September 2004 - 01:57 AM