Chapter 5 Ė When Presidents Beg (page 9)

My anger was welling within me like a baking soda volcano, and I was nearly foaming at the mouth. "But Mister Vice-President," I said with eyes-a-fiery, "you canít make an omelet of galactic peace without breaking a few billion uninvolved civilian egg planets, every kook knows that."

"Youíre podcasting to the virtual robo-choir," he said. "But thereís a war brewing and only you can stop it."

The President was finally sputtering up the phlegm that had been so successful at choked him out, and another quick stab to the temple caught him up on our conversation.

Coughing, See said, "theyíre demanding we stop attacking them, appropriating their resources, taxing them to starvation and randomly abducting and probing their hill-dwelling civilians."

For an eighth-wit such as he was, I always admired the way he dedicated every available brain cell to talking points, though I never suspected he understood them.

"That doesnít sound so unreasonable to me," I said, with the "me" in this sentence being the actual me, "Tek Jansen".

"Reasonable or not, we donít negotiate with terrorists," said the President. "If they wanted these concessions they should have gone through diplomatic channels, which they did, but the interim councils werenít recognized, so we didnít have to. Frankly itís just easier this way, and we canít give in to them. If we give them an inchworm theyíll steal a mileworm, and we canít permit that even for them and their quasar-inter-intestines."

No civilization worth its weight in rubbing oil could ever negotiate with terrorists, but since no universal definition had ever been permitted to clarify what actually constitutes the difference between a terrorist, insurgent, freedom fighter, rebel or less-recognized civil state, it was a great way to easily label the "them's" from the "we's", and more and more these days, it seemed like every nation was a terrorist.

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