Topic Actions

Topic Search

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

Into the Light Snippet #11

Aliens? Invading aliens? What will Earth do? Well...we may have a few more resources than we first thought. Come join a friendly discussion about David Weber's newest Tor series - "Out of the Dark."
Into the Light Snippet #11
Post by runsforcelery   » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:07 am

runsforcelery
First Space Lord

Posts: 2409
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:39 am
Location: South Carolina

.XIII.
Regina, Saskatchewan
Canada


"So, what do you think I should tell him?" Prime Minister Jeremiah Agamabichie asked.

He stood with his hands clasped behind him, looking north through the conference room's windows across Legislative Drive towards the landscaped trees of Queen Elizabeth II Gardens. He could just see the statue of the Queen riding her horse Burmese, and he felt a familiar spasm of grief and regret for what had happened to her and her family when the KEWs hit London. At least King Henry and the Queen Consort had been in South Africa at the time, so there still was a Royal family, although the new King had been without communications while what was left of Canada was trying to decide who ought to be Prime Minister. Agamabichie still wasn't positive how he'd ended up in that office. Despite the next best thing to forty years in politics, he'd never anticipated moving into 24 Sussex Drive.

And now you never will, he thought grimly, his eyes bleak as he looked at the heavy snow covering the Gardens. An icy wind whistled in across Lake Wascana, lifting the powdery flakes in snow devils along the walkways, and a leaden sky promised more snow by late afternoon. It was early in the winter for that . . . and it was going to get a lot worse before it got better.

"I think we should be cautious," Adam LaCree said from behind him after a moment. Which wasn't exactly a surprise. LaCree was the leader of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party, and he'd been quite a bit to the left even for the NDP. He hadn't been particularly fond of the US before the invasion, and he was acutely aware that the entire surviving population of Canada was no greater than — and probably less than — the estimated sixteen million survivors in "President Howell's" current vest pocket slice of the United States.

"I'm forced to agree, in this instance," Jared Timmons said, and Agamabichie allowed the eyebrows none of the others could see to arch slightly. Timmons was Deputy Premier and Cabinet Secretary, and he and LaCree never agreed. It was almost a matter of pride for both men, although when pressed individually, each of them would admit it was . . . counterproductive.

"I know Adam's never liked the Yanks much," Timmons went on now, getting in the obligatory dig at the Opposition Leader, "and I know we've all spent a long time living in their shadow. But let's face it, all of Canada had less citizens than their California alone! From everything we've heard, California's disintegrated into a bunch of miniature warring states after the way it got hammered, and a lot of the rest of the states have done the same thing. In the end, though, they'll still have a hell of a lot more warm bodies than we do, and we're sitting on a lot of stuff they'd like to get their hands on. Athabasca oil sands, anyone? If we sign on with them, and we disappear into their electorate, what's to keep them from exploiting Athabasca — or anything else we own — if they want to?"

Agamabichie snorted quietly. He was far less concerned about the exploitation of known oil reserves than he once might have been. If even a tenth of the little Howell had already shared about the capabilities of the "Hegemony" industrial base which had fallen into his hands was true, there was an entire star system’s worth of "natural resources" out there to be exploited. Yes, and effectively infinite clean energy, given what the "Hegemony" could apparently do with solar power satellites and beamed energy. On the other hand, he suspected Jared was voicing his own concern — the inevitable loss of Canada's identity in any "equal" partnership with its southern neighbor — in comfortable, familiar terms.

"I think Adam and Jared both have valid points," Jansen Moore said. At forty-five, Moore — Speaker of the Legislative Assembly — was the youngest man in the room, although he'd been active in politics for over half his life. The last year or two had put a lot of white into his dark hair, but he was still a vigorous, determined fellow.

"I think they both have points," he reiterated, "but I'm afraid all of them may very well be trumped by a greater imperative: survival." He looked around the room, grimly. "We've kept our heads above water so far, but housing's critical, and despite Athabasca, fuel's in dangerously short supply. Without the help 'President Howell' says he's prepared to provide, we're going to lose a lot of lives this winter." He paused for emphasis, and his tone was slow and measured when he added, "That's simply the way it is, Mr. Prime Minister, and I think every person in this room knows it."

"I agree we need assistance if we can possibly get it," LaCree said. "I just hate the thought of selling our collective soul in the process."

"Belinda?" the Prime Minister asked, never turning away from the window.

"In my opinion, you must at least listen to what they have to say." Belinda Timmerman's British public school accent seemed a bit more pronounced than usual. Aside from that, her tone was calm, dispassionate. One would hardly guess her entire family, aside from her husband, one daughter, and a single grandchild had been wiped out back home in the UK.

"I'm not saying you have to accept whatever they're offering," the Acting Governor continued. "I'm saying that given the current realities, I don't believe you have any option but to at least hear them out."

"And how do you think Whitehall —" the old terminology lingered, even if London was a charred pattern of overlapping KEW impact craters and the city of Bristol had become the new capital of the UK "— will react to 'whatever they're offering'?" Agamabichie half-challenged.

"I haven't the foggiest," Timmerman admitted with a tiny shrug. "But despite our . . . erratic communications, I understand His Majesty has assumed rather greater powers than the Crown possessed prior to the invasion." She gave another shrug. This one was bigger. "I haven't the least notion how that will play out, ultimately, but given what happened to Parliament and all of the Ministries, it's difficult to see what other option he had, once he managed to return to the UK."

"And you mention this because —?" Agamabichie prompted when she paused.

"I mention it because even though I feel confident the King never expected to inherit the crown, I suspect he takes his new responsibilities very seriously and that he has a clear appreciation of the present state of the planet . . . and what needs to be done if we are all to survive. It's obvious that none of us — even, or perhaps especially, you, Mr. Prime Minister — can accept any constitutional modifications without the Crown's consent, but I shouldn't be at all surprised if that consent were forthcoming, so long as the nature of the modifications wasn't especially egregious."

Agamabichie nodded. That was how he read things, as well. And even if King Henry didn't approve, there'd been more than enough upheaval to justify — or allow, at least — what was left of Canada to act as seemed best to it.

He turned away from the window at last, facing the inner circle of his political allies and, in LaCree's case, cooperating opponents, and clasped his hands behind him. He spread his feet slightly, his shoulders squaring as the weight of responsibility pressed down upon them, and his brown eyes were hard.

"Well, whatever we ultimately tell them, we have to at least listen to them first," he said. "And, as Belinda points out, we can't officially accept anything without Crown approval, which will buy us a little wiggle room if we need it."

Timmons looked around the conference room, then back at the Prime Minister.

"All I can say, is that I am unspeakably grateful that you have to do the talking to them, and not me," he said.

* * * * * * * * * *

Dave Dvorak followed Felicity Knight, Prime Minister Agamabichie's chief of staff, into the office. He had no idea if this was the same office Premier Agamabichie had used when he was merely the chief executive officer of a province, but it wasn't huge. Bookshelves filled one wall, another wall of windows looked out into the snowy gloom as the afternoon's flakes swirled ever more densely, and Jeremiah Agamabichie rose behind his desk in greeting.

"Secretary Dvorak," he said, holding out his hand, and Dvorak suppressed a spinal reflex to look over his shoulder and see who the other man was really talking to. He didn't feel like a 'Secretary Dvorak.'

Shut up, he told himself, and gripped the proffered hand firmly.

"Mr. Prime Minister," he replied, bobbing his head above their clasped hands in an abbreviated bow. "Thank you for agreeing to speak to me."

"Oh, I could hardly refuse," Agamabichie said with a tight smile. "Even if your President hadn't contacted me to clear the way, the arrival of an alien shuttle in U.S. Air Force markings would have gotten my attention quite nicely."

Dvorak returned his smile, and the Prime Minister waved at the comfortable armchairs in one corner of the modest office. Dvorak obeyed the silent invitation and studied Agamabichie with frank curiosity as the two of them settled into the facing chairs.

The Prime Minister was sixty-two, with a full beard that was still mostly black, although his head had gone completely white. He was only an inch or two shorter than Dvorak himself, and very broad shouldered, with legs that seemed disproportionately short for someone of his height. He looked weary, with the sort of bone-deep fatigue that only endless months of unremitting responsibility could impart, but those shoulders were square, and the eyes under those bushy white eyebrows were very steady.

Agamabichie took the opportunity to return the other man's regard, and he was cautiously inclined to think he liked what he saw.

His people had altogether too little background information on Judson Howell, and even less on this Dvorak. "Less" as in "virtually none," actually. According to what they did know, he was in his late thirties or early forties, he'd never served in government in his life, and — assuming the more outrageous reports were accurate — he'd run a rifle range in his pre-invasion life. That would scarcely have endeared him to the pre-invasion Ottawa crowd, but Agamabichie had been born and raised in a rural province, where agriculture and hunting lived side by side.

Physically, Dvorak was brown-haired and eyed, with a more closely cropped version of Agamabichie's own beard. He was tall, and he carried one arm in a sling. If their reports were accurate, that was because he'd damned nearly gotten himself killed in a successful shootout with the invaders who'd killed so many billions of human beings.

And that, Jeremiah Agamabichie admitted to himself, was probably the real reason he liked what he saw.

"I hope your communications with Greensboro are better than they were, Sir?" Dvorak began.

"Now that we've received the first of the new model communicators, they're at least as good as they were before the invasion," Agamabichie confirmed. "I wish I could say the same for the rest of the planet. Our link to Bristol is . . . less than reliable, I'm afraid."

"We were aware you were experiencing some difficulties communicating with the King, but we hadn't realized they were still severe," Dvorak said. "Would it help if we deployed a new model com center to Bristol to use the Shongair satellites? We would, of course, instruct your own IT people on methods of encryption."

"That would be very kind," Agamabichie said, although Dvorak sensed a tad less than total confidence in the security of any encryption Howell's people might show the Brits.

"Well, assuming President Howell's more ambitious plans have any hope of success, you'll obviously have to discuss them with the Crown," the new-minted secretary of state said reasonably. "We should've thought of that and gotten into direct contact with the King already, especially given how close the US and the UK have been for so long. But to be honest, we thought you were still communicating using the transatlantic cable."

"I'm afraid not." Agamabichie shook his head. "As I'm sure you're aware, Newfoundland suffered massive damage, and that cost us our cable connection. Oh, the damage to the rest of the country's communications didn't help, but the cable terminals themselves are just gone, and getting anyone in there to restore them is simply beyond our capabilities at this time."

The Prime Minister's expression was grim, and Dvorak understood perfectly.

No one knew exactly what the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador had done to piss off the Puppies, although it was most likely the province had simply been in the wrong place. All three of its genuine cities and an awful lot of its towns had received their own KEWs in the initial bombardment wave, probably because the Puppies had established a major satellite base at Grand Falls-Windsor, in the center of Newfoundland. Which most likely also explained why they'd spent so much time "cleansing" the island and a sizable portion of the rest of Newfoundland and Labrador. There'd never been more than around a half million people in the entire province; there were a hell of a lot less now, and those who remained were in a grim, no-holds-barred struggle to survive as winter closed in. Average temperatures were usually fairly moderate in Newfoundland, ranging between 61° in the summer and 32° in the winter, but this winter was already proving far worse than "usually," and too much of the infrastructure had been ripped to shreds.

"We'd very much like to be able to offer them at least humanitarian assistance," Agamabichie continued, "but we don't have the transport or, frankly, the assistance to spare. And we certainly don't have the capability to establish some sort of enclave and rebuild the cable terminals."

"Understood." Dvorak nodded.


"Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as Piglet came back from the dead.
Top
Re: Into the Light Snippet #11
Post by bigrunt   » Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:35 pm

bigrunt
Lieutenant Commander

Posts: 108
Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:34 pm
Location: St Augustine FL

I cannot wait for this book to be available. It will be interesting to see how a "one world government" shapes up
___________________________________________________________
I am the runt of the litter (Granted it was a litter of really big pups)
Top
Re: Into the Light Snippet #11
Post by DrakBibliophile   » Wed Jul 17, 2019 2:32 pm

DrakBibliophile
Admiral

Posts: 2277
Joined: Sun Sep 06, 2009 2:54 pm
Location: East Central Illinois

More Please! :)
*
Paul Howard (Alias Drak Bibliophile)
*
Sometimes The Dragon Wins! [Polite Dragon Smile]
*
Top
Re: Into the Light Snippet #11
Post by Eagleeye   » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:39 pm

Eagleeye
Captain of the List

Posts: 718
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 3:41 am
Location: Halle/Saale, Germany

DrakBibliophile wrote:More Please! :)

+1
Top
Re: Into the Light Snippet #11
Post by iranuke   » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:57 pm

iranuke
Commander

Posts: 233
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Longview, WA

I just looked and this book still is not listed on Amazon.
Top
Re: Into the Light Snippet #11
Post by phillies   » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:05 am

phillies
Vice Admiral

Posts: 1920
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 8:43 am
Location: Worcester, MA

bigrunt wrote:I cannot wait for this book to be available. It will be interesting to see how a "one world government" shapes up


It will doubtless do even more brilliantly than the European Union. Perhaps the American President will by and by discover this is a case of 'in every man there is a bad idea waiting expectantly to be born'. For starters some agreemnt as to the form of government is needed, unless the Vampire Corps of Observers simply starts massacring non-American politicians in job lots.

Consider such simple questions as "What vote of confidence is needed for an American President to be removed from office and new elections to be called?" or "What do you mean, as party leader if I determine that one of my legilators is going to vote the wrong way, I am not allowed to repalce him as a Member of Parliament?" (for no points, name the western European Country with this interpretation of an independent parliament) or "What do you mean, students at university are not allowed to stage a nonviolent riot and hold professors hostage until everyone passes the course?)
Last edited by phillies on Thu Jul 18, 2019 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
Top
Re: Into the Light Snippet #11
Post by Eagleeye   » Thu Jul 18, 2019 12:27 am

Eagleeye
Captain of the List

Posts: 718
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 3:41 am
Location: Halle/Saale, Germany

iranuke wrote:I just looked and this book still is not listed on Amazon.

According to a tweet from BureauNine, the book will hit the shelfs around January 2021. So, don't hold your breath till then ;)
Top
Re: Into the Light Snippet #11
Post by Randomiser   » Thu Jul 18, 2019 6:17 am

Randomiser
Rear Admiral

Posts: 1411
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:41 pm
Location: Scotland

Eagleeye wrote:
iranuke wrote:I just looked and this book still is not listed on Amazon.

According to a tweet from BureauNine, the book will hit the shelfs around January 2021. So, don't hold your breath till then ;)


"Good Grief!" As I seem to remember Charlie Brown saying. :( :shock: :(
Top
Re: Into the Light Snippet #11
Post by Theemile   » Thu Jul 18, 2019 6:29 am

Theemile
Fleet Admiral

Posts: 3530
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2010 4:50 pm
Location: All over the Place - Now Serving Troy, Mi

Eagleeye wrote:
iranuke wrote:I just looked and this book still is not listed on Amazon.

According to a tweet from BureauNine, the book will hit the shelfs around January 2021. So, don't hold your breath till then ;)


It is a TOR title, after all. Their publication cycles tend to be... Long...

I'm not on the bunine feed. Any word about Honorverse compendium 2?
******
RFC said "refitting a Beowulfan SD to Manticoran standards would be just as difficult as refitting a standard SLN SD to those standards. In other words, it would be cheaper and faster to build new ships."
Top
Re: Into the Light Snippet #11
Post by phillies   » Thu Jul 18, 2019 9:55 am

phillies
Vice Admiral

Posts: 1920
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2010 8:43 am
Location: Worcester, MA

phillies wrote:
bigrunt wrote:I cannot wait for this book to be available. It will be interesting to see how a "one world government" shapes up


It will doubtless do even more brilliantly than the European Union. Perhaps the American President will by and by discover this is a case of 'in every man there is a bad idea waiting expectantly to be born'. For starters some agreemnt as to the form of government is needed, unless the Vampire Corps of Observers simply starts massacring non-American politicians in job lots.

Consider such simple questions as "What vote of confidence is needed for an American President to be removed from office and new elections to be called?" or "What do you mean, as party leader if I determine that one of my legilators is going to vote the wrong way, I am not allowed to replace him as a Member of Parliament?" (for no points, name the western European Country with this interpretation of an independent parliament) or "What do you mean, students at university are not allowed to stage a nonviolent riot and hold professors hostage until everyone passes the course?)


Then: What are the national languages? Answer: Mandarin and Hindi.

What is the legal political party? Communist, under the Command of Great Leader (insert Chinese name).

What is the role of Americans? Cannon fodder.
Top

Return to Out of the Dark