Mayor's Office, Delta Pavonis Colony,
       "War warning?" Selectman Terek-Kohl gasped. "What the heck are we supposed to do about that? Start sharpening sticks? Hammering plowshares into swords? Slicing bed sheets into bandages? We got a general one months ago, and this is the third 'imminent' warning. I say we all go back to work and let the Klingon invasion forces take care of themselves."
       "Star Fleet will protect us," Selectwoman Parl said.
       "Grow up," Selectman Fannin said. "The Klingons, if they come, will come with everything they have. They will push Star Fleet back a long way before the Home Fleet and the reserves get mobilized. We'll be way behind Klingon lines by the time the front stabilizes, and we'll be Klingon subjects for years before Star Fleet liberates us. Look at what happened to the Hydrans and the Kzintis. Did their fleets stop the Klingons on the border? No, they did not. Sure, Star Fleet is better than the Kzintis, but they'll be defending a longer front against Klingon veterans who were victorious in the two wars they just fought."
       "Victorious? Hardly. The Kzintis are still fighting," Select-woman Parl said. "Their capital did not fall. While the Klingons took the Hydran capital, they have not been able to capture all of Hydran space. The Hydrans are still fighting."
       "How do you know that?" Selectman Fannin sneered. "Do the Klingons report on that war to you? Sure, the Federation says that the Hydrans are fighting, but are they?"
       "We certainly cannot fight," Selectman Danton said. "We don't have any defenses against attack from space, and even if we could round up enough militia to defeat the first Klingon landing party, they'll just make a note to land more troops the second time. We need to be making plans to cache food and weapons in the hills, establish resistance groups, distribute the civilians into remote areas. After we see what the occupation looks like, then we can decide if we can mount any kind of campaign against them, but only if we have preparations in place."
       "With all due respect, Selectman," Sheriff Parker said, "the fact that you fought the Kzintis when you were 20 years old does not make you commander of the resistance, nor does that reserve commission you have on your wall. I don't want anybody wandering the streets with a weapon unless he has an approved weapons license. And I expect to be asked permission before you start arming your planetary guards. The last thing we need is a bunch of trigger-happy wannabe marines shooting up the town."
       "Everybody shut up and listen to me for a few minutes," Mayor Perez said, slamming his palm on the desk. "First, let me remind you that we all knew all of that before we came here five years ago. So, what we feared most may actually happen. Just remember that it's nowhere near the worst-case scenario. We never had a plague or a comet impact or even a pirate raid.
       "Second, we're in no position to do much of anything except stay alive and put up with whatever the government does to us, whether it's the Federation government or the Klingon government or the Romulan government." He leaned back and took a deep breath. "Do I need to remind you that Delta Pavonis is an entire planet, with 139 million square kilometers of land area, and a total population of..." he touched a key on his computer "two thousand ... four hundred and ... eleven?" About half of those were in The Town and the rest were at outlying villages, work stations, farms, or the mine. A hundred were at a remote fishing village 4,000 kilometers away, and a dozen or two loners were who knows where, but dutifully checked in by communicator with a passing shuttle every month as required by their "hermit permit." No real need to mention that three of the hermits had in fact not checked in for months.
       "What's your point?" Selectman Danton asked.
       "My point, Alex, is that even if the Klingons show up, it's more than possible that we won't notice much difference. They aren't going to murder us and hunt down the people in the remote stations. It's just too much bother. If they want to colonize the planet, they have entire continents that we have never even explored. If they want something from the planet, they can get it without us being able to stop them."
       "Don't ignore the gadolinium mine," Selectman Terek-Kohl noted. "Its production is what fuels our economy and pays for our imports. The Klingons are hardly going to allow Federation freighters to come in here and pick up those ingots and deliver spare parts for our generator and tune up our weather satellites. More likely, the Klingons will demand that we continue production, even increase it, and pay us nothing for it, other than our lives."
       "Our lives are worth something," Mayor Perez said.
       "Our lives are going to be pretty miserable without imports," Selectman Fannin said. "When that fusion generator stops working, we're back in the 1800s. When the clinic runs out of medicine, we're back in the 1400s."
       "Do you think I don't know that?" Mayor Perez asked. "We are self-sufficient on food. Even if the Klingons steal half of our production, nobody is going to starve. We do have the war reserve stocks of parts and medicine locked in the warehouse. We're good for at least four years, maybe longer. If the Klingons want the gadolinium, they're going to have to keep the generator at the mine running. If they don't bring us at least some basic medical supplies, they're going to have to bring in their own mine workers. Easier for them to use what's here."
       "If they don't steal the parts and medicine to start with," Selectman Fannin said.
       "Ok, here's the plan," Mayor Perez said. "After all, we're here to solve problems, not just complain about them. So far, everything we have said here is going to be repeated over every dinner table on the planet this very night. I go on the radio in 15 minutes, so I need to get this done.
       "First, Selectman Fannin can arrange to have a third of the spare parts and medical supplies hidden somewhere. Keep the location known to only the people actually involved in moving them, and you'd do better to bring in a truck and driver from somewhere that the Klingons won't grab on the first day. While you're at it, start moving some of the stored grain and canned fruit to the outlying stations, and have them hide it in the woods. Then start moving more of it beyond the first ring of hills near town.
       "Second, Selectman Danton can arrange to have half of the weapons in the armory hidden somewhere. Take one of the shuttles and get that done today. Don't tell anyone where you're taking them, but write out the locations and hide the file somewhere that we can find later. Don't forget to delete the records of those weapons."
       "We have always had a plan for that," Selectman Danton said. "Two sets of books, and half of the weapons aren't on the second set. I'll make sure that the computer with the real books gets dropped into the lake, after I melt it."
       "Third," the mayor resumed, "in my radio address in 10 minutes, I will say that if anybody wants to pack up their stuff and go camping, or visit friends at the outer stations, at least until we actually get invaded, they are free to do so. Selectwoman Parl can arrange for trucks and the second shuttle to be used for that.
       "Fourth, Selectman Terek-Kohl is to get me a report on how much product is at the mine, both in raw ore and processed ingots, and on anything else we have anywhere else. We may have to convince the Klingons to treat us as a worthwhile colony.
       "And finally, Sheriff Parker, please try to keep things calm in town. Have one of your deputies find Mister Oregon and ask him if he could come speak to me. Be polite."
       "Damned Klingon spy," Selectman Danton said.
       Mister Oregon was not the real name of the Dunkar shopkeeper, just the easiest way his name could be pronounced in Federation Standard. Mister Oregon had arrived three years ago on a Klingon freighter. Such ships crossed the border with valid visas, buying some fruit and meat from Delta Pavonis and selling some other food, tools, trivideo disks, and some heavy duty tractors that were actually better than the models bought from the Mantorese. Holding a valid visa and work permit, Mister Oregon had politely asked the planetary council for permission to buy a building and set up a store, selling the Klingon goods. A Klingon freighter had appeared, on schedule and with proper documentation, every third month since then. The last visit was a month ago. The same freighter visited a dozen Federation colonies and even some of the military outposts. After all, the Klingons and Federation were not at war, and perhaps peaceful trade could keep it that way.
       Everyone assumed that Mister Oregon was more loyal to the Klingons than to the townspeople. Even if Delta Pavonis were not important enough to merit a first-class spy from the Klingon Galactic Bureau, it could only be assumed that Mister Oregon sent detailed reports back with the freighter as it left.
       "He may be your new mayor by this time next week," Selectman Fannin said. "Try to lighten up on the attitude."
       "Sheriff, maybe you better assign a deputy to Mister Oregon's  house for the time being," Mayor Perez said. "I don't want any lynchings, not on my watch. If you will all excuse me?"

Bridge, CA Hood, Tanga Colony
       "Assume standard orbit," Captain T'Lara ordered.
        "Assume standard orbit, aye, Captain," Lieutenant DeGarcia responded. "Orbit achieved."
       "Do you really think the Klingons have been here?" Commander Wellington asked.
       "Report from the colonists said their satellite scanners had seen something," Captain T'Lara answered. "Put the night shift and Commander Muncie to work doing a scan. See if the cook wants to send somebody to the colony to buy some fresh vegetables and fruit. Maybe some real eggs for breakfast. I've got to get some sleep."
       "Should we maintain alert?" Commander Wellington asked. "There is that war warning."
       "Yellow alert should be adequate," Captain T'Lara said. "Let the day and evening shifts get some rest. We'll all need it."