The Negotiator’s Parables

Lessons in Planets Diplomacy

Once upon a time in a sector two feet in front of my eyes, I tumbled down a wormhole and found a universe that was flat, the stars bright but still, and cows, worms, and iguanas lived on tiny white dots in the black. To my right, I saw a flock of birds caught in webs and a lizard eating a shoe. On my left there were many soldiers, some nearly human and others part machine. They were caught in an endless war of lies and blood. I averted my eyes.

It was then that I noticed the cricket on a rock near the path. He wore a dress shirt and a tie. As odd as it was, it was stranger still when he asked me to sit. He taught me about Space War and spoke of the Grand Queue. The wisdom of the cricket opened my mind and I decided to pass it on… to you.

The Parable of the False Messenger

He opened his eyes and believed, if only for a moment, he was a young man back in his mother’s house. The room was dark except for cracks of street lights framing the window. He couldn’t make out his brother’s bed yet knew exactly where to throw a shoe to wake him. Part of him wanted to shake off the false reality, and the other half wanted to stay.

A deep vibration from the nightstand tossed his brain amok. He suddenly knew the nostalgic feeling wasn’t real and he let the daydream go. The unforgiving light from his mobile phone burned his eyes while he focused on the numbers. He had four minutes to work.

This night, he was the harbinger of their fall. He found his desk and lightly rested his fingertips on the home row. The monitor flickered and an alabaster light filled the room. His fingers glided over the keys, lines of code blipped across the screen, and back doors opened. He was in. One push of a button and they would pay. Tap.

Lies flooded public domain, their hold on the world crashed, and he smiled. His phone vibrated and headlines read, “Corruption in the Government!”, “Incriminating evidence!”, and “Revolts on the Hill and the Old Regime to be forced out.” He chuckled. They deserved it for what they did to him.

The coffee-stained pot next to the computer was empty. He filled it in the bathroom and set it to boil. Once more, his phone shook: a call from his mother demanded a response.

“Did you hear what happened? With the government?” she was distraught. He thought he should tell her. She needed to know that he fixed it, but she continued, “Why’d this happen? This isn’t right. They rushed the execution. He’s gone. My little boy’s gone…Are you there? Do you hear me? Your brother was supposed to be released today. They were signing his pardon.”

The Parable of the Ungiving Bovinoid

– Mooed to the tune of Aria of the Cud, a song sung in the High Courts of Bovinekind

There once was a Bovinoid who had friends aplenty
And the calves that loved him numbered more than twenty.
He had lots of toys and played the best show.
He had the best ideas and places to go.

One day, the young Bov decided he’d play a trick.
He messaged his friends, “I’ve a space fighter. Come quick!”
When they arrived, he was nowhere to be seen.
They wondered, “Where’s our friend? This trick’s quite mean.”
They were confused and misled, no joy of their own.
They all went home for they felt mad and alone.

The following day, there was a second trick.
He sent word to his friends, “Hey, please come quick!
Found a torpedo in the sand. Let’s play War!”
They rushed to the beach and saw nothing on the shore.
There was no torpedo or adventure to be had.
Again, they returned home and felt very sad.

A third day came and the young cow tried it again,
“Friends, it’s no lie! Fascists pillaging down the lane.
Let’s spy on them all and be heroes to our town!”
When his companions came by, the fib made them frown.
The Bov grinned at his ploy. “Fooled you, you see?
Why do you come? It’s just tricks played by me.”

On the fourth day, the young Bovinoid felt great.
Today hosted his birthday and a party at eight.
He wore his best bell and put on a suit.
There was food and presents and games to boot.
He opened the door to let them all in,
But no one was there, not even his kin.
None had answered his invite and none had known.
He sat on the floor and felt ignored and alone.

The Parable of The Two-Faced Captain

Let me tell you a story about a Privateer captain named Buck. If you don’t know, those thieves have the quickest ships in the Echo Cluster. You blink an eye and you’ll miss them, and Buck’s Blockade Runner was the fastest of all.

One Nu Year, young Buck entered into the Emperor’s Grand Race. In this competition, all the eleven empires contributed pilots and starships. The racers rushed across many sectors to be the first to cross the finish line and claim a million MegaCredits. Buck was certain no one could beat him.

When the day arrived, the racers lined up their ships and awaited the starter’s gun. Three racers approached Buck and asked for his help, “Give us a boost and we’ll share in the dough.” He smirked and mocked them, “You are too slow and alone I’m more fast. If we work together, I’ll surely be passed.”

Minutes later, the blaster fired and the race began. The first leg of the track entered a region blocked by the radiation of a star. If Buck went in, he’d lose all his crew.

While he was contemplating ways for avoiding the danger, a gateway spewed forth a Firecloud. Buck greeted the Cyborg with a smile and a shake, “Hi there, friend! The others are slow and alone we are fast. If we work together, no one gets passed.” A bargain was struck and one quick chunnel brought them to safety, but the Privateer laughed and turned on the speed. He left the poor drone with no fuel at all.

Further into the journey, Buck slowed to pass through the debris of a shattered planet. One wrong move would blow up his ship.

When all looked impossible, Buck spotted a Falcon hiding deep in a cave on a large asteroid. He greeted the Rebel with a smile and a shake, “Hi there, friend! The others are slow and alone we are fast. If we work together, no one gets passed.” A hyperjump later, the two captains were far ahead of the rest, but the Privateer laughed and zipped on ahead. He left the shocked crew marooned on a rock.

The course continued to drag on for many sectors. Buck didn’t consider the distance and the Runner ran low on neutronium. Without fuel, he was stuck in deep space.

He did not wait long. A Cobol warped in and offered to help. Buck greeted the Colonial with a smile and shake, “Hi there, friend! The others are slow and alone we are fast. If we work together, no one gets passed.” The captain agreed and filled up Buck’s tank, but the Privateer turned the crew and towed off the ship. He waved to the stranded captain and left him in the dust.

Many turns later, the Meteor crossed the finish line. Buck stepped down from the cockpit to savour the win. He listened for the cheers, but no one was there; for the race was over and another had won.

The victory went to the three pilots who asked him for help. Buck hurried to the three and demanded to know, “How did you get here? How did you win?” The winners laughed and greeted the Privateer with a smile and shake, “Sorry, friend! We united and found a wormhole to pass. As one we are slow, but together we’re fast.”

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the journey! – TS

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