Part 6: Gaia at Peace
A Guns and Ammo Magazine Special Feature
Life in Gaia
Life, according to my hosts, was good. Wearing my Spartan visitor's badge, and feeling oddly naked from the lack of a sidearm, I still could not help but agree.
With the truce in place, things are still nevertheless very tense. Troops still patrol the border on both sides - not least the euphemistically named 'special battalions', shrouded each by their own shadows of quiet nightmares.
But here, all around the streets of the newly named A Convenient Truth is the smell of new paint, and amongst it, flowers? Rogan, a swarthy man in a loose jacket, laughed at my surprise. The Gaians, he explained, had been instituting some changes. Soon, there will be very little of Sparta left in this place. After the damage of the battle, the place had been rebuilt almost to its former glory.
Soldiers are still around in great numbers of course. A scout defensive APC passed us, and when I looked around, I saw a squad of 'Gore Corps' soldiers glaring at me, full of suspicion. A command center was in construction a few streets away, Rogan told me. From there, the Gaians were intent on monitoring the Federation for any hostile moves.
Turning the corner along what used to be Parade Avenue, we dropped off the children at the creche. My hosts explained that these facilities were a new development project from the civics department.
"The kids spend all day wandering the woods and cutting up tin cans, and come back moaning that we aren't doing enough recycling," he said, jokingly.
Rogan, like many others amongst 'Gaia's Stepdaughters' worked in the environment ministry, running the giant terraforming machines that were the Gaians' pride and joy. Rogan told me about new nautical versions in the works, and how he would love to work on them.
For now, though, little development was taking place in the small enclave around, so we boarded the large electric powered transports ferrying workers through the new canal at Razorbeak Woods. Unbelievably, according to Rogan, a whole town was moved for this purpose, so that ships could move freely into and out of the freshwater sea.
On the boat, I heard some of the first signs that not everything was peachy around here. A gaunt looking woman explained how her husband was forced to go on extra patrols now, in case of additional xeno activity.
More worrying was the rumours that whatever ailed the crops of Gaia's Deliverance seems to have spread into the fields around Planet's Creche.
Another man talked of his anxiety in a move up north, to a new base called 'Velvetgrass Point'.
A darkly dressed man appeared at the door to our cabin, and everyone abruptly fell silent. This was our contact, a man with the GIA, who was to supervise our visit. The man didn't give his name. Rogan joked how he would shoot the both of us if Rogan was to give anything secret away.
The man didn't smile.
We soon arrived at a small jetty near Gaia's Landing, where terraforming machines were parked in neat rows. It was already dark, and we made our way to a set of pre-fab shacks where we were to rest till the morning. Along the way, I noticed the mass of posters stuck to the wall.
Some were calling for betatesters for some new virtual reality entertainment software.
Most, though, were election posters. Rogan was proud of the fact that the Gaians were already ready to host their first elections, at great expense (24 credits worth, in fact). Indeed, the results were due that night.
Lady Skye, of course, would still remain president. However, much of the factions' policies will now be decided by a new elected prime minister. The issues, he explained, were the old ones: foreign policy - how to respond to a Spartan offer of an extension to the truce, environmental issues, and civil rights reform.
We sat ourselves in front of the tv, as the broadcaster began his programme...
[TO BE CONTINUED]
Please put a cross next to the relevant candidate
(-) The CONQUER party
Platform: To CRUSH THE SPARTANS. CRUSH, KILL, DESTROY. The party is known to appeal to certain members of the military, and to poorer citizens in disaster-hit zones.
(-) The BUILD party
Platform: To institute planned economics, and research supply crawlers for a new and decentralised system of economy. The party of the workers. They would accept the truce.
(-) The DISCOVER party
Platform: Despite the wishes of environmental activists, they wish to take full advantage of technological advances in terraforming to embark in major projects such as thermal boreholes or condensers. They would accept the truce. The party of the middle class.
(-) The EXPLORE party
Platform: To understand mindworms, the party will put all resources into such research. They would reject the truce, and would resort to certain unspecified measures if the Spartans do not cooperate with sharing their research.