Wednesday, August 30, 2006
New Beginning 96
"You don’t want this, no more than I do."
"I don't want it." I tried to keep the exasperation out of my voice. Firespark hadn't earned it. "But Terra does. We don’t start wars accidentally."
The Pathchild ambassador twined his fingers, all six hands worth moving in constantly changing patterns. I tried to keep my eyes on his face. Nervous? Confused? Angry? A year after contact, I still couldn't be sure. "Is it war, now?" he said at last. "I thought you called it a 'declaration of intent to annex.'"
"True. And if you accept the annexation, there'll be no war. I have a whole stack of agreements right here." The Interplanetary Relations Council didn't think they'd fight. Even Counselor Avrams, normally a sensible man, thought we might be able to get through this without an exchange of hostilities. I knew there wasn't a chance in hell.
The ambassador's face finally registered an emotion that was simple to parse. Defeat. "I, ah, I will look these over and consult my superiors."
I wanted to scream at the snivelling little pacifist, but I bit my tongue and instead reached nonchalantly into my pocket. Fingered my blaster. Oh, there was going to be an exchange of hostilities all right. Whether Terra wanted it or not.