The Dohani War
by Martin Kerharo
|Table of Contents|
Chapter 19: Revolution
Some centuries in the future, humanity is locked in an interstellar war with the Dohani, a technologically advanced species of fearsome, reptilian-like appearance. The war has ground to a stalemate that cannot be resolved as long as humans and the Dohani and have no way to communicate.
Lieutenant Dexter Zimski leads a commando squad in a raid on a Dohani base and returns with a bizarre captive, one who looks for all the world like a 16-year old human girl. She is given the name “Jane.” As a prisoner of war, she and Dexter, to whom she is strangely attached, are taken to a research center, where Jane learns a human language — and much more.
Jane shows how formidable the Dohani can be. In a desperate, well-planned escape she kidnaps Dexter, borrows a spaceship and heads for home. Now the end game begins: humans and Dohani have to learn just how complex and alien each race really is. Jane and Dexter have a grander role: they will have to show that Dohani and humans need each other.
The Federation government denied everything. There had never been a secret bureau to study any alien menace. It was a Dohani tactic to divide humans. We should unite against them. Do not be intimidated; truth will triumph.
Such was Federation dogma. Public opinion was not entirely on the same wavelength. On one hand, people feared the Dohani, whose spaceships were still in orbit around the frontier planets. And an enormous battleship had landed near Sydney. People were saying, “You don’t fool around with those guys.” On the other hand, everybody believed there had been a conspiracy. It seemed quite logical.
But the government remained obdurate.
As for the instigators of the conspiracy, we learned they had taken refuge in government buildings as soon as the news about them had begun to circulate on the Net.
The situation remained static for several days until one of the frontier planets, Saltina-2, decided to secede.
As on all the planets at the edge of Federation space, life on Saltina-2 was not easy. The world had been colonized recently, and the infrastructure was relatively undeveloped. Federation aid was minimal, but that did not stand in the way of the tax collectors.
And Alcatraz had set a precedent. The Dohani had treated their prisoners so well that the humans had not wanted to return to the Federation. The Saltinians seized the opportunity to escape from the Federation in their turn. Their official declaration proclaimed:
We, the people of Saltina-2, are revolted by the contemptible attitude of the Federation government. We affirm our innocence in the matter and completely dissociate ourselves from any organization or conspiracy intending harm to the Dohani people. We offer our friendship to the Dohani and declare our independence from Federation tyranny. We humbly beseech the Dohanis’ protection.
Nobody expected that, particularly the Dohani, who did not know what position to take. I told them to jump at the chance and offer the Saltinians all the aid they wanted: ships, equipment... The Federation had just lost a planet, and that greatly diminished the influence of the current administration.
When the other frontier planets saw that Saltina-2 had gone over to the Dohani side and that everything seemed to be proceeding well, they began to do the same, one by one. Almost every day another colony decided to join the Dohani empire. Rumors were spreading that some planets near the center of Federation space were going to secede.
The Dohani increased the number of warships around the secessionist worlds. It was hopeless for humans to try to retake those planets; the blockade was impenetrable. The Federation government protested what it called intolerable Dohani interference in human politics.
Meanwhile, the government was gradually ceasing to function. The legislative branch rebelled and demanded the government’s resignation for a debacle never before equaled in all of history. Demonstrations took place, and they often escalated into riots.
Two weeks after Saltina-2 had gone over to the Dohani side, the Federation government resigned. Elections were held. The group that won had campaigned on a single platform: Give the Dohani what they want. They received three-fourths of the vote, something never before seen in Federation elections. As soon as the new government was in place, it turned the conspirators over to the Dohani.
* * *
It was all over. Peace was restored. The riots ended.
The Dohani withdrew their ships from Federation space except for those protecting the secessionist planets. I thought the secessionists might want to rejoin the Federation, especially since it promised to make more of an effort to support them in the future. However, rancor against the Federation government ran deep.
True, the government had not helped them enough, but any community will reproach a central government for that. Rather, for ten years these planets had been on the front line, and the inhabitants had dreaded the sight of skies from which Dohani ships might emerge at any moment. They had been scarred by war, and that was why so many worlds had decided so easily to go over to the Dohani side once they found out that the Federation government had been behind the initial attacks.
The Dohani provided protection, equipment and food to the secessionist planets without asking anything in return. Their attitude persuaded these worlds to remain in the Dohani empire.
In the following weeks, three other planets on the frontier held referendums and decided to secede. But the attrition stopped there, because the Federation government promised heaven and earth to all the other human worlds. Contrary to the rumors, no central world had intended to secede.
Relations between the Dohani and the new Federation government were very cordial. Greenshire was reinstated in her position and decorated for bravery. The Dohani thanked her, as well: they proclaimed her a national hero and invited her to visit their worlds.
* * *
I found out that Dohani justice was severe but appropriate. There was a trial. Once the facts had been ascertained and it was certain that the conspirators in custody were guilty, the prisoners were sentenced to be confined aboard a small Dohani space station from which the personnel had been removed.
Aboard the station there were provisions for a stay of several months. The prisoners were left alone and told nothing. They probably supposed it was a form of imprisonment.
The Dohani waited for three days. Then they sent a cruiser. Aboard the station, alarms sounded; the prisoners knew a vessel was approaching. They realized what was going to happen to them only when the cruiser launched the first missile.