Stories 12 Oct 2017 21:13:04

De-escalation

My 6th sci-fi flash fiction short story. Written around 2016-11-05 (Google Docs).

De-escalation

“You died.”
“Yes, and?”
“And so did all 9 billion inhabitants of the planet in the ensuing orbital strikes, dust clouds, and other side effects.”
“Damn. Really thought I had it that time. I was sure a public intel dump and denunciation from the Assistant Ambassador of the Asia-India Northern Union would garner more of a reaction. But the scraps that the AINU had access to were just not recent enough that the other parties didn’t already know about them. No shock value.”
“Three insertions, three rather spectacular failures. Two more insertions before we’ll have to consult a higher up or mothball everything. Give up yet?”
“Hmm. No…I’ve got the shape of an idea. Roll back the timeline, prep for another go.”

 

“You died. Again. Fourth time.”
“Yes yes, but then what happened?”
“Just a second, it’s still progressing, approaching previous terminus point. And passed terminus, with no apparent global destruction. Warning indicators are high, but within safety limits. Looks like you did it. How did you manage it this time?”
“It was a bit of a wild bet. Ok, so the terminus event was caused by the Unified Americas pre-emptively launching an all-out strike on the RTIA – that’s the Russo-Turkish-Iranian Alliance – right?”
“Having just witnessed the result three times, that part was pretty clear.”
“Right, but you need to get in the mindset of these people. You see, the UA consider themselves the good guys, and historically they broadly could be classified as such, and they and their allies consider the RTIA this world’s bad guys. Fascinating stuff, really. Anyway, the UA finally achieved critical mass of enough high placed warmongers that they figured wiping the RTIA off the planet was a good idea, and the plans were well under way even in our earliest available insertion points. So how does one bottle up a massive scale war that for almost all practical purposes is already happening?”
“Given your previous attempts, you expose that the war is coming and hope the sides de-escalate.”
“Yeah, that worked well against some past terminal incidents, but this time I needed something bigger. Remember what I said about wild bet? Well, this time I went in as high up as permitted in the government of a small, but strategically important, ally of the UA, called Norway. The proud position of Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs. See, Norway and RTIA share a bit of border, so it was natural for me to summon the RTIA Minister of Fishery.”
“Fishing? How can fishing accomplish what a Provost Marshal General, an Archbishop, and an Ambassador could not?”
“I stabbed her.”
“You what? Surely that would just escalate matters?”
“Mindset, remember? Here I am, a staunch ally of the good guys, viciously, and seemingly unprovoked, physically assaulting a cabinet member of the bad guys. Superficial wounds only, of course, but lots of blood and drama. Anyway, that caused the RTIA to immediately start rattling their sabers and scrutinize the UA’s military in Norway, while the UA is caught having to apologize for their ally’s behavior.”
“You shamed them into packing it up.”
“Yup. Can’t very well kowtow to the world then launch an attack soon after. They’d stand to publicly lose face, and they are after all the good guys.”
“So how’d you die?”
“Oh, the UA arranged for me to have an accident on the way to jail. I embarrassed them.”
“Humans. And yet you continue spending rectification credits on them. This is what, the 12th time you’ve had to intervene in their subjective few thousand years?”
“Like I said, they fascinate me.”

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