Part 10: The Second Sparta-Gaia War - prelude
The end of the beginning
Extract from 'The Fall of Sparta'
Change was in the air in the cities of Gaia. A feeling, subtle in places, brazen in others, pervaded. The official propaganda called it pride. Those unfortunates pulled into dark alleys for quiet beatings thought otherwise.
Nevertheless, the press were kept firmly on message. It was a simple measure to fascinate the public with the shiny new weapons the troops were getting, and not to ask inconvenient questions about what all the guns are for.
Not that no one knows, of course. The only other thing on the TV was the daily denunciations of Sparta, ran by the lobby group Committee for the Military Subduction of Sparta.
When the crops failed when workers were pulled for military training, or raw minerals redirected from terraformers to fighting vehicles, they blamed Sparta.
When protesters took to the streets over the state's apparent loss of interest in civic matters, they blamed Sparta.
When the fungus suddenly grew overnight, they blamed Sparta.
When news broke that the University had taken the lead in developing a large scale 'internet', somehow, they tried to blame Sparta. Not that the firewalls allowed access from within Gaia anymore, of course.
Certainly, there were some, even within the administration, that detested this rush towards confrontation. But Deirdre herself remained silent. Rumours spread of some psychosis, perhaps from the strain of the longevity treatments.
Gaian troops crossed the border in the first days of spring that year. Naval forces had already been blockading Sparta's only major port with access to the freshwater sea.
This time, there was no need for an excuse.
This time, however, the Spartans were ready.
Map of Gaian and Spartan Battle Plans