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One Good Soldier: Chapter Eleven

       Last updated: Tuesday, December 8, 2009 19:33 EST



July 1, 2394 A.D.
Sol System, Earth, Washington D.C.
Saturday, 12:31 PM, Earth Eastern Standard Time

    “Ambassador Spellman, welcome to Washington D.C. I appreciate your joining us today,” Alexander Moore stood from behind the Resolute Desk and made his way across the Oval Office to meet the Ambassador from Arcadia. The Ross 128 Governor should have made the trip himself, but President Moore saw this as power posturing by the leader of that colony.

    “Mr. President. It is an honor, sir. Please, call me Alonzo.” The Ambassador looked nervous to Moore. That is just the way that the President wanted him. Moore knew he had to convince the colonists to back down on this revolt against the tariffs. Without the money from those tariffs there was just no way Congress would continue to fund the large military build up and presence being planned for the U.S. colonies and territories. Without protection, they would be sitting ducks for the Separatists to move in and take them.

    “Well, Alonzo, I know it is a damned hot July day, but why don’t we take a walk through the Rose Garden and chat man to man before the press gets a hold to us, huh?” Moore clapped the man on his shoulder with his right hand and pointed him toward the door with his left.

    “Certainly, Mr. President. Whatever you would like.”

    “Thomas,” Moore turned to his ever-present shadowing Secret Service agent. “We’re gonna go for a little walk.” The Secret Service man just nodded and followed.

    Abigail, he thought to his AIC.

    Yes, sir?

    Is Sehera waiting for me out in the Garden?

    Yes, Mr. President.

    Good. We’ll good-cop/bad-Marine this flunky.


    My sentiments exactly, Abby.



    Alexander and Sehera did their best to take turns charming and then threatening the Ambassador at the same time. It was a first family effort for the history books that applied both soft-spoken diplomacy as well as big stick. Alexander thought at times that they were getting through to the thick-headed and dull-witted politician, but he wasn’t sure.

    “Alonzo my good man, if the Separatists decide to bring their terrorism into your star system there is very little that Governor Brown could do about it. The Arcadian Naval Guard is little more than a rescue service. You would be at their mercy,” Alexander argued his point. “It takes a lot of resources to keep a defense force there and how do you expect we’ll pay for that?”

    “Nevertheless, Mr. President, we have a major ground force. Do not forget that our planet has been inhabited for over a century and we have a million-man Armored Guard fully equipped with M3A16 Transfigurable tank squadrons. Granted they are not the more modern version used by the U.S. Army but they are still a considerable force. Governor Brown feels, and I concur, that we can take care of ourselves, sir.”

    “Even if you are blockaded from space?” Sehera asked. “We only have your protection and best interest in mind, Alonzo.”

    “Much appreciated, madam, but I’m not certain it is necessary. The Governor would like to take steps to insure us that no Seppy attack from space would occur though.” The ambassador seemed to be talking out of both sides of his mouth or in circles and Alexander couldn’t tell which. What the hell did he mean by that?

    “What steps? The only steps on the table are to accept the tax structure as it is, at least temporarily.” Sehera sounded puzzled and for damned good reason. Alexander was beginning to believe that the Arcadians had made a deal with somebody in Congress to hold over the President. But for what gain? He had yet to put her finger on it but there was most definitely a rotten apple somewhere in this deal and Alexander was afraid he was going to end up with it.

    “Alonzo, Alonzo, my friend, you have got to make Governor Brown see reason on this issue. What little intel we are able to get from the Separatists is that they are conducting a major build up. I’m not a war monger. Hell, I’ve been there and I hate, with a capital H, war of any type. But, I fear it is coming and we’d better be ready for it, all of us.   And we’d better figure which side we’re on before it is too damned late!” Alexander emphasized his concerns, though he had very little intel from Tau Ceti to tell them anything. He hadn’t spoken to Ahmi in over six years. That was the last they had gotten intel from the CIA also. Moore was partly bluffing and partly going on a gut feel. He wasn’t sure which one he was going on the most.

    “You must acknowledge the importance of protecting yourselves from space, Alonzo,” Sehera added. “If the Separatists manage to jaunt or QMT in to Ross 128 the first thing they would do is bombard the technology centers and bases across the system. Millions could be killed from space before there was ever an enemy foot set on Arcadian soil.”

    “Perhaps, but that is all speculation that there is something at Arcadia the Separatists want. We have no reason to believe this. To the Arcadian people it sounds fabricated to impose improper taxation upon us.” Alonzo was incredulous. For some reason, the big stick of the U.S. Fleet didn’t seem to have as much impact on the man as it should have. Either he truly didn’t believe that the Seppies were a threat, in which case he was an idiot, or he didn’t think the U.S. Fleet would do anything about it, in which case he was an idiot. But Alexander had a hard time believing the solution was that simple. Alonzo’s visit seemed more calculated, more strategic, and a hell of a lot more obfuscated than it would have been if the man were simply the idiot bureaucrat he first appeared to be.  

    The three of them talked and talked for the next hour or so and seemed to keep going in circles and couldn’t reach a conclusion. After tea in the Rose Garden and a tour of the White House led by the President and First Lady and the occasional stop for press photo opps enough of their time had been wasted. It finally felt to the three that there could possibly be some conclusion and resolution between Earth and the Ross 128 system, but the President was going to have make good on promises to have a continued Navy supercarrier presence in the system and cut the tariffs. And, larger contracts would have to be let to the manufacturing base of Arcadia from the Sol system, and cut the tariffs. The larger contracts part only made sense after the secession of the Tau Ceti system anyway. Tau Ceti and the Martian Reservation had been the primary manufacturing base for humanity. After the Exodus all that had changed. Moore couldn’t understand why the Arcadians weren’t jumping for joy because of the prosperity this new arrangement was going to bring them. Again, Alexander couldn’t figure out why, but they weren’t celebrating and instead they were incessantly complaining.

    The talks bogged completely down somewhere near the Kennedy Room and that was when Moore finally called them to an end. He thought they had reached a logical stopping point for now anyway and the dead horse had been beaten, re-beaten, and then beaten again just for good measure. Also, they were slated for a public press conference on the outcome of the meeting sometime around two in the afternoon, which was drawing pretty close.

    “Next discussion, Alonzo, I want Governor Brown to be present. You should make that quite clear to him upon your return,” Moore told him.

    “Well, sir, I will take your proposal back to the Governor, but he will not be happy with the tariffs still being in place. After all, my primary mission for this long trip was to have them at least temporarily suspended to enable our economy to catch up with the demands that the U.S. military build up is putting on it. We are having to reinvest into our infrastructure at too great of a pace to afford these taxes, Mr. President.”

    “Just tell Donnie to hang in there and maybe we can get Congress to sway on them in the next session,” Moore promised.

    “I see, sir,” is all the response the poker-playing Ambassador would say. Moore and Sehera led the ambassador back to the Oval Office for some final discussions and preparations for the press conference. They decided to tell the press that discussions were positive and ongoing. Or at least that is what Alonzo had led Moore to believe.



    “Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, of the country, good afternoon,” President Moore said as he looked into the camera and then at Ambassador Spellman. “Our friends from the colony at Ross 128 have been patient in their understanding of the current need to post tariffs on the imports of goods and services into the Sol system in order to maintain our strong national resolve in protecting this colony as well as all other colonies and territories of the United States of America from outside attack by the Separatist rogue system at Tau Ceti. I have assured Ambassador Spellman that although Tau Ceti citizens may feel that they are no longer part of the United States that they are merely being misled by a few mad people who are fueling the Separatist sentiments and the entire movement. At no time in the past twelve years, now, or in the future, will the United States government accept the secession of Tau Ceti. And hopefully, with the resolve of all of the colonies, territories, and states of the Union we will soon resolve these difficult times. I have asked the Ambassador to speak to you today on behalf of his people at Governor Brown’s request and approval. Ambassador.”

    Moore held out his arms gesturing to the colonial ambassador at the podium next to his on the lawn of the White House. Photos were snapped continuously and video and holo streams were being fed across the Sol system and out to the stars. President Moore clapped his hands signaling to the press corp to do the same and once the applause settled Ambassador Alonzo Spellman cleared his throat and looked down at the podium briefly as he started to speak.

    “Mr. President, First Lady, I thank you for your most gracious efforts today.” Spellman raised his head, turned, and nodded to the President and offered him a gracious smile. Then he set back into a solid pose behind the podium and looked as if he were waiting for his AIC to post a speech in front of his vision in his mindview. Then he began again.

    “Ladies and gentlemen of the United States, after a long negotiation with President Moore today I must relay the following as the status of the colony at the Ross 128 star system and all citizens there. I’m here for the purpose of announcing to you all, Congress, the Senate, the White House, and to you citizens, that I have satisfactory evidence that the Ross 128 colony and the citizens of Arcadia, by a solemn ordinance of her people in a convention assembled of systemwide representatives, has declared our demand of tariff cessation or separation from the United States.”  Spellman paused briefly for his words to sink in.

    Moore had known that the representatives had granted the governor wide discretion to seek tariff relief, removing virtually all of the usual congressional oversight. But separation? Was the governor overstepping here, or had things really gotten that bad on Ross 128?

    “Under these circumstances, of course, my functions are terminated here as an Ambassador for the Governor of the United States Colony of Ross 128 and appear only as an Ambassador for the Governor of the free star system of Ross 128. It has seemed to Governor Donald Brown of Arcadia and myself only proper to give the President of the United States one last chance at holding our allegiance. After our negotiations today it is clear that this is never going to happen. Therefore, the Governor and I feel it necessary for us to say something on the part of the people I here represent, on an occasion as solemn as this for our colony has been a part of the United States for over a century.

    “Governor Donald Brown and I desire to make certain that it is known to the people of the Sol system that Arcadia has always advocated, as an essential cornerstone of political sovereignty, the right of a state to peacefully secede from the Union. On the other hand, we would be quite naive of history were we to think peaceful secession is usually the end result. Therefore, if I had thought that Arcadia was acting without reason, or without a history of debate with the Sol politicians of the improper taxation of our people and without a history of time and again undue taxation without representation, I might hesitate to be party to this act.   Since history has shown us that this is not the case, under my theory of the government, because of my allegiance to the system, planet, and people of which I am a citizen, Governor Brown and I have been bound by her people to take this action. Action in a clear and concise direction has never been more warranted in history as it is now. We debated long and hard over this decision as we knew, as with the forefathers of the original thirteen colonies and as those who orchestrated secession from the Union before the great Civil War, that our actions would lead us to only one of two paths: success or death in trying. In the historical words of Patrick Henry, “give us liberty or give us death.”    With this secession, with over one hundred million people following over fifty million people from Tau Ceti and Mars who have already seceded from the Union, each and every one of you should rethink your policies and politics.

    Moore began to feel his anger rise. He wanted to take the microphone and shove it down the ambassador’s throat. But he had to let the man finish. Then Spellman would go to prison and Moore would have his turn to speak.

    “There was a time, in the beginning of America, where people believed that secession was both legal within the Constitution and purposeful within the needs of a state governing entity. Secession belongs in the Constitution as a peaceful solution to grandiose scale predicaments. Our current predicament is, indeed, grandiose. It should be justified following the basis that all of the states, territories, and colonies of humanity are sovereign and of sovereign people. There was a time when none denied it. But this was before the great Civil War set precedent against this theory of government. I hope the time may come again, come again in fact today, when a better comprehension of the theory of our government exists than it did just twelve short years ago, and the inalienable rights of all of the people of humanity will prevent any one from denying that each state of many is sovereign, and has a peaceful means to that end. Thus, any sovereign should be able to reclaim the grants of freedom from any government entity which it has made allegiance, again, peacefully.

    “Arcadia must therefore concur in the action of the people of the Martian Reservation and of Tau Ceti, believing their actions were indeed necessary, legal, and proper.   And that the military response of the United States was not legal within the Constitution as it was no longer the laws of the Separatist people. In fact, the acts of the United States were none other than those of waging war against a separate sovereign country.

    “We must recall the very nature, design and birth of the United States of America and to the historical pact, if you will, which binds us all together, and has for so many centuries, even as mankind stepped out to the planets and now to the stars. The principles upon which our government was founded were that all men are created equal and that liberty above all is of utmost priority. This, I dare say, is what led the forefathers to rebel against King George III. I say then to the United States, would you deny your brethren in other star systems the right to the liberty of which they choose? Would you deny them of the same rights held so dear by our historical forefathers?

    “By the very act of denying us the right to withdraw from a government, which has become perverted and unsympathetic to the needs of the colonies disconnected by light years of the coldness of space, you ignore and remove those rights of the colonists.

     As Jefferson Davis said, ‘We but tread in the path of our fathers when we proclaim our independence, and take the hazard. This is done not in hostility to others, not to injure any section of the country, not even for our own pecuniary benefit; but from the high and solemn motive of defending and protecting the rights we inherited, and which it is our sacred duty to transmit unshorn to our children.’

    “People of the Sol system, we are at an impasse in history. We are at that proverbial rock and hard place where I fear David must stand tall against a Goliath. Please recall that the United States was once that David against the British Goliath, and it stood fast and succeeded against complicated and unnerving odds. You must understand that we citizens of Arcadia and the Martian Separatists and the citizens of Tau Ceti have not been in league other than to say that we share a type of the general feeling of ‘us against you.’ This doesn’t have to be hostility toward you but rather a sense of adventure and competition. Choices made today by you will determine if that competition is in friendly business or in the ugly business of conflict. I hope not the latter as you are our brethren and we are yours. I therefore must express our desire for peaceful future relations with the United States even though the time has come for us to part political ways.

    “In the event that you feel we cannot coexist peacefully and that you must bring disaster on us then note that every portion of Arcadia, every man, woman, child, and artificial intelligence will stand up to you to the very last drop of blood and the very last electron if that is what it takes to defend our sovereign rights. Unlike Jefferson Davis who threatened to, and I quote, ‘invoke the God of our fathers, who delivered them from the power of the lion, to protect us from the ravages of the bear; and thus, putting our trust in God, and in our own firm hearts and strong arms, we will vindicate the right as best we may,’ we, the citizens of the star system known as Ross 128 of the governing body of the free people of Arcadia, will instead invoke the trust and friendship of President Elle Ahmi of Tau Ceti and the might of the United Separatist Republic. May God forgive us all. And may all humanity live in freedom, liberty, and happiness.”

    Once it was clear that Spellman had finished speaking, Moore nodded to his Secret Service team to take the man into custody. The press corp was both dumbfounded and teeming with questions and shouts of, “Mr. Spellman, Mr. Spellman!” But none of the questions were answered. And the secret service didn’t manage to get him into custody.

    Spellman tapped at his wristwatch and then Moore could feel, hear, and see a very familiar buzzing, hissing, crackling, electric wave of light forming around the man and then he vanished into thin air.

    Sehera immediately rushed to Alexander’s side, even as Secret Service agents surrounded them, trying to whisk them inside the White House.

    “Alexander, we must stop Dee!” Sehera said urgently.

    “Thomas, get Air Force One ready now!” he told his head bodyguard and friend.

    Abigail, get the Sienna Madira CO on the horn now!

    Yes, Mr. President. I’m already trying. The AIC replied.

    “We’re on it,” he said to his wife, nodding for her to go with the Secret Service. But he shrugged off the hands trying to guide him, and stepped up to the microphone where moments before the ambassador had delivered his bombshell and disappeared. President Moore raised his hands to silence the crowd, then waited for the clamor to die down. Even after the crowd quieted, he paused, reflecting upon the gravity of the moment.

    “My fellow citizens of the United States, including those in Ross 128, I wish I could say this came out of left field, but these seeds of sedition were planted years ago. The fact that the former ambassador not only deceived this administration as to the nature of our talks today but then hijacked this press conference for his own Separatist purposes—well, that was a bit of a shock. But we’ve come to expect this kind of underhanded behavior from the adherents of the terrorist Elle Ahmi. When it comes to Ahmi, we must expect the unexpected.

    “I may just be a simple Marine from Mississippi, but I can tell you this much—as much as Mr. Brown from Ross 128 and Ahmi in Tau Ceti would like to portray themselves as the good guys, they aren’t. They aren’t the revolutionary colonists who were grossly taxed by a tyrannous England without representation. And they sure as heck aren’t after state’s rights like Jefferson Davis, no matter how many times they quote him.

    “No, my friends, my fellow Americans, if they want to compare themselves to rebels of years long past, they are not Americans, they are the French. They use the rhetoric of the American freedom to disguise a return to tyranny, tyranny headed by a terrorist, Elle Ahmi. By their actions, shall ye know them.

    “Do we target civilians? No, but the Seperatists were willing to destroy an entire city on Mars just to cover their escape. And they were willing to kill tens of millions of citizens in Lunar City.

    “Do we put their people in concentration camps? No, but they do. I know, because I escaped from one of their death camps. I was the only survivor of that camp. The victims died at the hands of Elle Ahmi, literally by her hands.

    “As Abraham Lincoln said, ‘Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.’

    “You might be worried: can we fight this war Elle Ahmi has brought to us? The Separatists and their pawns seem to have all this wonderful new technology. How can we possibly match them? Wouldn’t it be easier all around just to let them go?

    “And the answer is not just no, but hell no!

    “It was George Washington who said, ‘If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, it must be known that we are at all times ready for War.’ Those words are as true today as they were more than six hundred years ago.

    “For the past two terms, we’ve done everything in our power to cut the size of government and return authority to the local level. We’ve sought to shrink government intrusion into individual’s lives and decrease the outrageous regulatory burden Americans had fallen under, while striving to keep our borders safe and our military strong and well-trained.

    “How does this prepare us for war, you ask? It means that not only do we have the most professional, intelligent and prepared military in the galaxy, we have the economic strength, public vitality and flexibility of manufacture to support a war.

    “And I can promise you one thing—with the new jump technologies, that war will be prosecuted so fast it will make those Seppies’ head spin. They may think they sprang a surprise on us here today, but they haven’t.

    “My friends, the forces of the Sienna Madira and the rest of our fighting men and women are even now taking the fight to the Separatists. And this is a fight we will win. For the sake of all humanity.

    “Again, it was the very first Republican president, the great Abraham Lincoln, who said, ‘Those who won our independence believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty.’ All I ask for, my fellow citizens, is your courage, and your belief in liberty. God bless you all, and God bless these United States.”

    Alexander took a deep breath and checked to make certain Abigail was already giving the orders to put the vast American military machine in gear.

    Then he said, “As you can guess, I have important things to do today, so please forgive me for taking no questions at this time.” Moore turned to his Secret Service contingent and his wife and motioned for them to move out.

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