Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Location: Rangstadt, Allied Europe, Earth, NEC
|Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 2:57 am Post subject: Interregnum Winter 1945 - Part Three
|The noise of arguments died down around Kellerton as Wick cleared his throat and raised his head. She'd been watching him for the past ten minutes - seated as he was on that little stool at the centre of the tent, looking down at the ground, scuffing the rust coloured pebbles with his foot. She had discovered that Wick was a quiet man, mild mannered, but when he spoke he got peoples' attention. This is just what he did now - a slight cough and a raise of his head and everyone grew still. His voice filled the tent.
"I think we've said all we've needed to say. Unless someone has something new." His eyes scanned the room, pausing at the El Hayar faction that was knotted up to the left side of the pavilion before continuing on past the rest. "No, good."
He exhaled and stood, looking weary for a moment. When he drew up to his full height, however, he stood straight and tall, and his eyes met everyone in the crowd. Kellerton could immediately see why they had unequivocally chosen him as their leader. Even the radical Darrik members, who had been shooting the others dirty glances all day, looked on patiently, even expectantly. His presence galvanized them together. Even Detro, beside her, was attentive.
"The Terranovans, and many of you, are right. The Sacrifice would be a waste. The CID is ruthless, and with a madwoman at the head capturing a few of us would only make the Keffs work harder to get us. It worked when the Keffs arrived - they didn't know us or the planet. It won't work again."
Wick stepped forward, head slightly bowed, his words a metronome against the background hum of a physical plant pumping air and heat into the tent. "We can't go to ground, so we need to convince the Earthers that we aren't a target they want to fight. The highlands are ours, and even with their armies and their thousands of ships, and Arclight, they can't easily find us. There is no longer a choice. All of the Liberati are now in the Jund. It's a matter of survival. We fight, and those who can't fight, hide."
His words got people talking again, hushed murmurs - frightened, worried, some angry, but all anxious. Kellerton gripped Detro's arm a little tighter and muttered into his ear, "We can hide in the depression, and in the trench. They won't find us there."
Wick continued after his brief pause. "I don't condone any great violence against the Corporates. They have been an excellent ally for the position that they're in, and current events will only push them further into our camp. We will need their support to survive this, as well." These statements brought more murmurs, hostile ones, especially from the more radical Liberati groups. Wick had once been a Corpserf commander before the Occupation, and there were rumours of his treason. Few believed them, but the rumours persisted.
"The El-Hayar are the most vulnerable right now." He looked up at that tight knot on the left, an apology on his face. "I'm sorry. There's nothing we can do about that. Keep your autofac safe if you can, but keep your people safe first. Abandon your homes if you must - the Keffs will be coming soon, if they aren't there already." Almen Hattenai only nodded in response amongst the knot of his allies.
"We send our families to hide. We've got the facilities to live on our own, we have for a long time now. We keep them hidden, keep our children safe, and make the Earthers pay for coming here. It's two years earlier than we would have liked, but we have no choice." His eyes scanned the room again, fixing each one of them with a sure gaze. Kellerton pushed back into her seat instinctively as he crossed over her.
"The most important thing we can do right now is keep together, keep talking to one another, keep working on what we're doing. I think some of us have forgotten that this is a war - we don't fight with tanks or ships, but it's still as much a war as any, and it's just gotten a lot more serious. Let's treat it as one." Wick picked up the backpack from beside his chair - all of his belongings, ready to go. He pulled it on and affixed the air hose to his collar. "Amirs, get final instructions from your Atabegs. This tent should be down within the hour, and we should be out of here in two. We've been here too long as it is."