Conversely, Janette’s stepping outside (during a mirror image of the cataclysm) into her corner of Dio Qze was met with much less surprise than a subtle reassurance of what the Deew happened to be capable of.
Finally. The botanist in her questioned the sustainability of its tact as there could eventually come a time when the biological weapon would have consumed and exhausted all manner of resources on this planet. Of course, the Carriveaua endgame lay in the creation of uninhabitable Galaxy Bloc worlds which could have political ramifications across the unincorporated planets at a time when stability was most needed and additional strife could only cause knee-jerk reactions to further cede power internally – divided among disagreeable yet burgeoning opposition parties.
Though cognizant of the thin fiber which held Galaxy Bloc together as well as from collapse, Janette did not get all into the political aspects. So, as much as she admired the work that Dominar Verasco had done to get their people to this point, even the thought of the abrasive and yet incendiary Mordo coming to power happened to be irrelevant. In her position, the botanist needed to follow orders despite any differences in policy among those who were charged with giving them. And she had done that in cracking some of the greatest secrets which the Deew had to offer – without a whole lot of casualties, miraculously. But none of this was to say that the chance to use that knowledge and further enrich herself never came into play. How could it not? When did it never?
Humans, just like any other race throughout the universe, were an ambitious species. That ambition was not lost on Janette, even during the nobility of the cause. The biological weapon was not without audacity either. Ironically, it was this need for self-preservation – this shared sensibility which helped her to figure out the Deew, ultimately bonding them together via the simplest of understanding. The Gamma Phase plight offered no upside, but through a bit of cooperation (as represented by that canister which was seemingly glued to the botanist’s hand), survival might very well be achievable for both – among other things.
“General Canoy,” Janette said softly into her Ear-To-Mouth Com, “are you there?”
“Oh, I’m glad to hear your voice,” the General’s elated words responded back in Janette’s ear.
The botanist replied, “As am I…to hear yours,” not wanting to mention too much out in the open. After all, a ruse was only as good as its continued concealment.
General Canoy explained, “You know – your Space Force friend returned to give us an assist the size of a spacestation.”
“The intruder?” Janette sighed.
“Yes. We were able to send some test evacuations up with FRHT escorts,” the General continued, “and the civilians are getting through unimpeded. The Carriveaua appear to have been scared off, so I’ve green-lit a conservative departure schedule just in case something else happens. Needless to say, what was once a frenzied evacuation has turned somewhat smoothly – as long as the biological weapon cooperates and stays away from the last quarter of the planet.”
Adding her take on General Canoy’s last statement, Janette offered, “There’ll be no guarantees of that. Do the best you can.” Although the inhabitants of Dio Qze did not turn out to emerge as the root of the botanist’s ultimate goal, she did not wish anymore harm (than what had already befallen the populace) upon them. Unbeknownst to these people, their fates (as with most things political) had genuinely been predetermined.
The Deew was known about within the highest levels of the Galaxy Bloc government. But knowing about an issue and knowing how to resolve it were two completely separate things. Throughout the unincorporated planets, available space was scarce and extra allocatable resources happened to be at a premium, so where could the inhabitants of the many biological weapon-affected planets (like Dio Qze) escape to? Who would take them in? If one of those unfortunate worlds needed to evacuate, maybe the provision of accommodations would not be so taxing such that the extended kindness might not stretch thin.
But word would get out about what was occurring beneath the surface of the planet – the horrors and the unthinkable. The only thing preventing mass hysteria and the downward spiral into anarchy, including a fragmented chaos, which could (along with the culmination of its economic woes) very well tear Galaxy Bloc apart…was secrecy. Dominar Verasco knew about the Deews and purposely hushed the biological weapons’ existence up in order to buy time for a potential resolution by biding the time of botanists like Janette and humoring the likes of Burdlit. The evacuees would talk, and dependent upon how serious the Dominar planned to be in keeping this entire situation as quiet as possible for the greater good, those people might have just escaped Dio Qze only to wind up being hunted down and silenced for their troubles.
Entire economic decisions – including manipulating the supply in order to meet the he–ish demands of a Deew-affected world, were completely lost on the members of the various councils throughout the unincorporated planets. Those who routinely lost their bids for increasing aid had begun to complain on behalf of their constituents, and a credible challenger to Dominar Verasco’s position arose. His name was Mordo, and he had the momentum of a pained society on his side. Painting the current administration as incompetent while undermining any bit of its effectiveness with embarrassing test votes which were largely symbolic (but not without a whole lot of political fluff) and constant – the only thing that was consistent among the council’s governance, gridlock.
Mordo and his council allies succeeded in stoking the flames of fear with an old strategy which had not been used by Humans since right before the pre-Space Force days back on Earth, decades ago. The goal was not to move society forward in this initial instance but to capture power first and then attempt their hand at progress, hoping that the defeated opposition would be honorable enough to rise above the fray and not try to return the favor. In seceding away from the megapower and thumbing noses while pointing fingers all at the same time, Galaxy Bloc had actually taken a step backward with its precious…independence.
Sure, the cause was just, but the mechanics were not very well thought out. Once the high of an ideal wore off, food still needed to be put on the table. And this had nothing to do with realism. People throughout the unincorporated planets were starving, and that was the truth.
There was no time to wait for another administration to get elected and up to speed on the enormity of the problems facing Galaxy Bloc. This would not even be an orderly transfer of power either. Dominar Verasco was slowly concentrating that power to a select few within the unincorporated planets who received her socioeconomic favoritism – namely people like Janette that happened to be in the know about the biological weapon plus in the best possible position to try and do something about it. The military was built up and well-funded for this specific reason: Elections be da-ned, she was not planning on ceding this power to the ballot box, and Mordo with his sizable war chest from a bevy of undisclosed foreign donors was more than welcome to attempt the wresting of power away from her via coup d’état. Shades of the Space Force were being replicated and employed by the Dominar, and there was nothing gray about it. In plain black-and-white, she selectively limited freedoms or eroded them altogether for the purpose of maintaining her grasp on the legislature.
Looking up with closed eyes as the warm rain pelted her face, Janette used the sensation to help return from the peacefulness of contemplation. This type of weather was either good for that (creativity) or sleeping, and she could not yet rest those weary eyes at this point.
A safe assumption could be made that Dominar Verasco was resourceful and would investigate plus uncover Janette’s part in the planet’s fall – last will and testament which was authored in Chapter 28 aside, those words were simply a diversion. Galaxy Bloc would come looking for her and would not stop until it had the biological proof of the botanist’s demise in its possession. Running to the shrewd Mordo might have seemed like the appropriate course of action, but to accept that offer was to invite even further exploitation. Neither of the divisions within the unincorporated planets were a safe haven, so each would eventually catch on and up to a major, inexplicable deception.
Half-listening to General Canoy while dedicating the other half to listening to some valid and poignant concerns, Janette overheard, “We’re in the middle of taking a quick detour but should be at your position shortly. Stay safe over there.”
“I may not be able to harm you now,” Burdlit conceded while emerging from both the desecrated Power Authority surface facility and his own invisibility before assuring, “but unless you’re planning on living out your final days on this planet, you’ll have to vacate soon – and then there’s no more protection.” His approach was silent as a sign of Carriveaua things to come. He also happened to be close enough to Janette that she could feel the operational general’s breath on the back of her neck but far enough away in (what little) respect (he had) for her personal space that the botanist could only sense the slither of his tail so the Deew would not become incited – ultimately coming to her aid.
But still…. The prospects of a perpetual shadowing were unnerving.
“Please hurry,” Janette whispered.