(Being part four of the memoirs of the Respected Thomas Williams, Imperator and Caesar)
scene: The Governor's Executive Conference Room, deep in the Womb. The "inner circle" meeting after the incoming destroyer brings news of Earth's conquest by the Sa'arm and requests repairs for his ship and sanctuary for his passengers, mostly upper management from DECO...
Kevin was the worst, the bluntest. "Governor, you send your mother a letter every week. Now you are talking about taking in the men whose ego and incompetence just got your mother eaten, while ensuring that we will never again get a shipment of colonists from Earth. You need to think about the effect on your position. The AIs will allow your replacement if the alternative is a civil war here."
"Right. Thank you for telling me I have to do what I've always wanted to do." I turned to the vidlink again.
"Captain, we will of course honor your perfectly reasonable request for repairs and resupply. Um, that will take place immediately after you space every one of your Sponsor-level passengers. We would prefer that you not murder their concubines; any colony would be happy to have them."
"Governor, I can't do that. What possible justification could I use?"
"Captain, those people have been insisting for a decade that we do it their way. 'Their way' led to them presiding over the destruction of our species' home planet. More than six billion humans. Orangutans. Meerkats. Pine Trees. Banana trees. Banana Spiders. They are, by their own admission, mass murderers who want to relocate here so that they can continue to give orders and get the Beer killed, too. They are Genocides. What better excuse do you need? Tell them I ordered it, if you want. Say 'The Governor demanded that the criminals be executed.'"
I took a deep breath. "We are going to enforce that decree. You aren't leaving this system until your repairs are complete. We cannot take any chances with our few remaining ships. We will have structural engineering inspectors onboard within the hour, and you will not be allowed to leave until they have certified your repairs. You don't have to declare Beerat your home if you don't want to, but you will have a certificate of spaceworthiness from us before you leave here, and you won't get that until we have ensured, to our satisfaction, that you are not harboring anyone that will get your ship shot at, at your next port. Williams. Out."
Our conference continued, of course. "Woomie, get a complete list of people on that ship, including crew and concubines. I don't want to order the execution of innocent people, but at the same time I want a statement made. These are the people directly responsible for the greatest tragedy in human history, and the only way to apologize for their crimes is to die. Don't let [Destroyer] pull a switch with some of their people."
Having won that fight, Jack wanted to move on to the next fight on the agenda. "Governor, I want to take Second Fleet home. I have already cancelled our preps for Betio. Now,..."
Operation Betio was our next big show. We didn't even try to land on any of the Sa'arm planets; all we did was clean out the rest of the system and destroy anything that looked like it might be a ship on the ground, then let them eat each other. With control of the system, we could build disposable platforms that duked it out with their planet-based defenses until they had destroyed anything that looked like industrial infrastructure. Not that this really eliminated the threat, the survivors would have to be watched until we came up with a better answer, but it ensured that this system would launch no more conquest fleets. Multiply this by several thousand systems and we would win the war...
Once we had the planet ringed with automated weapons platforms, we could pull the fleet back to Beerat for refit, leaving enough people to deal with any surprises and keep the AIs happy. We were getting good at it; Betio would have been our fourth Sa'arm system "conquest" and the people were beginning to call me Imperator.
Even through the horror of [Destroyer]'s news, I had to smile at his terminology. To most of us, Beerat and the Womb were home. But, Earth was our first 'home'.
" ... I agree that the dreadnaught design still has some bugs, but we may need them to take Sol back. We can man seven of them within a week; more as soon as we finish them. We can have a dozen or so in two more weeks. But, we cannot wait forever. I submit that the sooner we go the more we can save."