Chapter Forty Nine - War Begins - Donovan Paulwell
We'd flown the Presidium to Earth. We were quiet, sort of moving back into the Pre-Gennie, Pre-Hawkings style.
We had expected to take a cargo but there was some snafu delay.
We were down for serious shore leave anyway. As Captain, I'd given most of the crew permission to off, just kept a few Seniors to do the checks.
Wasn't much to do, could be done in two hours.
That's when I heard war had begun between Sagir and Dalmar.
Cilla was with me and gave a sneer in a mix of anger and annoyance. I had a feeling we'd be tossed into the mix so ordered everyone take serious shore leave.
We locked up the Presidium and we all offed.
Everyone went where they went and I tried some drinking and moving around, but, knowing there was something happening out there forced me back to the ship.
Ian was already there, doing what a Geek does.
As I entered, Ian didn't look up, started talk;
"What I've gotten is that twelve Dal ships were blown almost synchronised, and the Dals..."
"Blown, where?" I ask.
He brought up a map of the galaxy, zoomed to the most travelled areas, circled
twelve different points.
"What's the connection?" I ask.
"They were alone. For some reason the Dal ships were just flying and the Sags came out of no where, blew them, disappeared."
Ian paused, added;
"Rescue slash search slash revenge squads went to the various locales, found nothing, not even heat trails."
"What kind of ships were blown?" I poke.
"Cruisers, their biggest and best. Like the Sags knew where the Dalmar would be..."
"Or lured them..." I gave.
"Yeah, or lured them there..."
"Then?" I push, trying to get the data in a sensible fashion.
"The Dals raced to Sagir. I'm sure they were anxious to attack the planet. They didn't know the whole area was mined. Who would? Most Dal ships got blown, the ones that didn't and tried to escape were taken out by...Ta Da!"
"The Invictus!" I supply.
"Give that man a cigar!" Ian gestured.
"Now what's playing?" I ask.
"The Dals are arguing among themselves what they should do, the Sags don't talk
much and I don't know what they're saying anyway. The United Planets Bigs are trying to contact Sag, and have been unsuccessful."
That was not surprising.
The Sagirs we'd met in the past years did not communicate. Outside of Gye the first and Priam the Chef, they could go months without recognising our existence.
Sometimes I felt they could read each other's thoughts or were so brain dead that they only had a limited portfolio.
Turning to Ian I ask; "You haven't been able to translate more of the Sag chat?"
"Well a word here and there...but.... they ain't sending messages... at least not over
any channel I can find..." Ian gave.
"How long has the war been going on in real time?" I ask.
"I make it about eighty two hours from the Sags blowing the first Dal ship until the
last message from U.P."
I mused until Ian asked; "What you think the next gambit will be?"
I sat, rolling back in the chair, considering;
"Well, they're using the Invictus for Defence, I don't think that's going to change.
They'll probably hit a few more stray Dalmar ships. But I'm betting on Sags somehow blockading or mining Dalmar and Dalmar space."
"Yeah.. guess that's where 'Dalmar hitting the granaries' thingy came in..."
"Yeah." I replied.
"Y'know, Boss, Sagir has always been blockaded, in a real sense. So, they have to have it all going on down there."
He gave me a few moments to catch the fact that Sagir had to be self supporting, for they hadn't traded or mingled. They had to grow their own food, build their own whatever they needed.
"Dalmar always ruled space," Ian said. "Always got the best the newest, from one corner to the other, they were out there trading. Now? I bet they'll be eating rats..."
And he laughed.