Chapter Seven: The Year Seven Crisis

 

<<<In the trenches>>>

Judy is watching an educational channel again, sociology this time. The professor is pontificating on the meaning of recent events.

The Professor says, "The job of a government is to promote the will of the people.

"But... what if the people have no will? ... or many wills?

"This is the problem faced by the Solar System governments of today, Year Seven since the Mirondian arrival. The many social revolutions started by the access to Mirondian products, technologies, and especially techniques, have left many humans’ head’s spinning.

"What is right? What is OK? What is wrong?

"The people are trying to figure out, and their politicians are trying even harder. The result is a whole lot of confusion. And in such times those with strong opinions tend to win out. Sadly, the rationality of those opinions seems to matter little.

"We are in what I call The Time of Nutcases. Many fanatics are getting voted in and appointed in because they 'know'. The scary part is governments are now starting to do crazy things. This is revisiting the 1930’s governments trying to solve Great Depression."

A student communicates in a question, "Can you give us some examples?"

"Compare the governments of Titan Colony and The Moon. Titan Colony has voted in a 'blip friendly' slate. That legislature then voted to pay for the tuition of any Titan student who could get into MiroU.

"On The Moon, the Moon Boosters have been voted in. And here is an excerpt from Good Time Charley Monson’s inaugural speech."

The view switches to a recording of the speech Monson made to the Moon Parliament.

Monson says, "We kicked those blip-friendly bastards out. Threw them out on their blip-happy kiesters, and told them to go take a ride in space!"

Back to the professor, "The next day Moon Parliament passed a bill establishing a commission to set import and export tariffs based on the 'human content' of the good or service being traded with The Moon.

"This was set up so hastily that bribery matters a lot more than human content. But it persists. It is an example of Time of Nutcases."

The student says, "That’s not even the worst, from what I hear."

The professor says, "Sadly, it’s not. This week the Moon Boosters got even more nutty."

Switch to another world shaking pronouncement with Monson making the news again.

Monson says, "We want our fair share. And we are ready to do what it takes to get it. We are now levying a tax on transit to and from the L-5 point.
It’s in our orbit. That puts it in our jurisdiction. And we are using the military facilities on The Moon to enforce our legislation."

The student says, "Wow! Can they get away with this?"

The professor says, "Not likely. The military on the Moon takes its orders from Earth military command. Monson is spouting pure hot air when he rattles that saber.

"But the media is spreading his words around. We are in The Time of Nutcases.
This is something for you all to think about. This is real-time, real-world sociology in action."

<<<*>>>

Myrtle is right on top of this kind of news. Behind her are news clips of coups and counter coups taking place all over Earth.

Myrtle says, "Times are definitely unsettled here on Earth.

"In the six months since the Moon Boosters announced their takeover on the Moon, there has been a steady stream of coups and counter coups around the Solar System, and each announcement has been with more violence in the process.

"Some humans have called upon the Mirondians for help, and now Miro-Robert has responded."

Miro-Robert is talking on the Mirondian communication channel, "We are distressed at the spreading unrest. But we see this as a passing phase. You will find your way, and we want to be there for you at the end of this painful journey."

<<<*>>>

It is now Year Seven, Month Nine.

Myrtle is on her show while news is on the screen behind her.

She says, "The humans aren’t the only ones feeling pain now. In several locations, human kidnappers have been taking Mirondians hostage. So far, all have been released safely. But Mirondians have responded to this new threat. They are being much more cautious."

<<<The Big Picture>>>

In Year Seven, many parts of the Solar System community plunged into anarchy. The world governments would make pronouncements, but the locals would pay no attention to them. At the local level, incumbent governments were replaced, and being declared "ineffectual" by those who were replacing them. At first the replacements were through legal processes -- elections, recalls, and the like.

But then the coups started.

At first these coups were all rather independent. Each was brought about by its own mix of issues, and there wasn't much coordination between them. But the chaos did bring intrigue, and one logical group to seek alliance with was the Mirondians.

At first the Mirondians steadfastly refused to get involved in local intrigues.

But in month Nine a new ingredient was stirred into the pot: the first kidnapping of Mirondians. Kidnapping has a long tradition on Earth, where wide open spaces, abandoned buildings and hostile clans are common. But it is a rare way to treat people when you spend your entire life in a ship-like environment. The Mirondians had heard of kidnapping from their Earth history studies, but it was just another wacky Earth custom in ten thousand wacky Earth customs... before now.

When Mirondians first came visiting, they were treated like demigods. Likewise, the first MSE's who worked with humans on blip projects were treated with the utmost respect. But familiarity bred contempt, and the chaos that the Earth communities were slipping into brought opportunity....

The first time it happened, the Mirondians complied quickly, and there was no harm done. But, like the Moon Booster Coup did for political groups, the first kidnapping opened eyes for a lot of criminals. There were now ten thousand MSE's scattered around the Solar System... hmm....

And a dozen kidnappings followed in the next three weeks -- Mirondians learned their first lesson about kidnappings very quickly.

Two things fell out of the kidnappings. First, the Mirondians and MSE's showed they could get really cautious. Second, the ransoming and anti-kidnapping business brought the Mirondians into dealing with local politicians in ugly, back-handed ways. They lost their virginity real quickly, and they were now taking sides along with everyone else in the Solar System community.

All-in-all, a year full of changes.