Chapter 5 – When Presidents Beg (page 7 of 10)

After many more moments of increasing awkwardness and anticipation, the President finally entered the lodge. Burggl and Melo lined up and stood at attention, as well they should, they were in the service for life and could be Aussie-decapitated for failure to do so.

"Tek!" screamed the 26-year-old man atop wobbly, arthritic legs from behind hazy, gargantuglaucomic eyes.

"Yes Mister President!" I shouted in his general, wrongly facing direction as loud as I was able without seeming disrespectful.

He didn't hear me or did not take my meaning, so he repeated his wail, "TEK!"

One of his aides rushed up to him and stabbed him in the temple with a commutimicator, quickly punching in the text of what I'd replied to him, who he was and what he was here for. He calmed down, nodded understandingly and resumed his bellowing shriek.

"Tek, the peace we promised to people isn't real. We did our best, we mission accomplished, we pulled out the troops, but it emboldened the anemone. Now a threat bigger than anything has popped up its ugly head like a prairie dog in a, um, prairie."

I listened intently, nodding all along the way, but about the time he finished his sentence, he suffered a collapse. His Vice-Dictator stepped forward nonchalantly and continued.

"Listen, the whole war was spun all wrong. We dislodged the evil planets, but not their will. Now we've got 36 million hostages of New Terran heritage plus another 62 billion from other planets. They're demanding rights within their cities or the hostages will be atomized, presumably for insufflation."

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