By the time we landed, the Captain was through and I was running over
the main points in my head, for a last-minute check.
Wohlen, settled in the eighty-fifth year of the Explosion, had
established a Parliamentary form of government, set up generally along
the usual model: bicameral, elective and pretty slow. Trade relations
with Earth and with the six other inhabited planets had been set up as
rapidly as possible, and Wohlen had become a full member of the Comity
within thirty years.
Matters had then rolled along with comparative smoothness for some
time. But some sort of explosion was inevitable--it always
happens--and, very recently, that nice Parliamentary government had
blown up in everybody's face.
The setup seemed to be reminiscent of something, but it was a little
while before I got it: the ancient South American states, in the
pre-Space days, before the United Cabinets managed to unify Earth once
and for all. There'd been an election on Wohlen and the loser hadn't
bowed gracefully out of the picture to set up a Loyal Opposition.
Instead, he'd gone back on his hind legs, accused the winner of all
sorts of horrible things--some of which, for all I knew, might even be
true--and had declared Wohlen's independence of the Comity. Which
meant, in effect, independence from all forms of interplanetary law.
Of course, he had no right to make a proclamation of any sort. But
he'd made it, and he was going to get the right to enforce it. That
was how William F. Sergeant's army was formed; Sergeant, still making
proclamations, gathered a good-sized group of men and marched on the
capital, New Didymus. The established government countered with and
army of its own, and for eight months, neither side could gain a
really decisive advantage.
Then the Government forces, rallying after a minor defeat near a place
known as Andrew's Farm, defeated an attacking force, captured Sergeant
and two of his top generals, and just kept going from there. The
treaty was signed within eight days.
Unfortunately, some of Sergeant's supporters had been hunters and
Ordinarily, a guerrilla movement, if it doesn't grind to a halt of
its own accord, can be stopped within a few weeks. Where a world is
mostly cities, small towns, and so forth, and only a little jungle,
the bands can be bottled up and destroyed. And most guerrillas aren't
very experienced in their work; a small band of men lost in the woods
can't do much damage.
But a small group of woodsmen, on a planet that consists mostly of
jungle, is another matter. Those men knew the ground, were capable of
living off the country with a minimum of effort, and knew just where
to strike to tie up roads and transportation, halt essential on-planet
services and, in general, raise merry hell with a planet's economy.
So the Wohlen government called Earth and the United Cabinets startedDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>