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military

Segregated Peacekeeping Agreements Missing

by Richard Lau

If you asked the President of the United States, it was Russia’s fault. The Russian Prime Minister would beg to differ. Both leaders would agree that China had some hand in antagonizing the situation.

But things had grown so heated between the two nations that they had officially “ceased talking” and communicated only through impersonal, official e-mails.

The US President sent the following: “Due to the importance and precariousness of the moment, I am sending this message from my official personal account. Please immediately halt your aggressive advances in Eastern Europe, or the United States will be forced to become involved, as a beacon of democracy and freedom. As we Americans are a peace-loving people, we are eager to negotiate to avoid further escalation between our two great countries. With much hope in hearing from you soon, God bless.”

At the same time, the Russian Prime Minister sent a message of his own: “Whether subduing terrorists or enforcing stability with our geographic neighbors, Russia will always seek to protect its borders and its people. Any action by the United States or any other country to interfere will be viewed as an attack on our sovereignty and be addressed with the full might of the Russian military. However, there is still a chance to avoid unnecessary hostility between our countries. Please advise if you are interested in further discussions.”

To the consternation of both leaders, neither received a reply from her and his counterpart. And eventually, after several more iterations of unacknowledged digital olive branches, both sides sent almost duplicate ultimatums: “Respond or else we will let our nuclear warheads and space technology continue and finish the conversation.”

The threat of nuclear war did not go unnoticed by the alien civilizations who had long been monitoring the situation with equal amounts of growing concern and dread.

The Venusians contacted the members of their alliance: “For the sake of the solar system, we must insert ourselves as peacekeepers into the Earthling drama before the conflict gets further out of control.”

The Martians had a different solution: “We must destroy the Earth and its humans now before this madness spreads.”

The Martian approach dismayed the Venusians who asserted, “Mars has been wanting to attack Earth for centuries and is just taking advantage of this unfortunate point in their history as an opportunity to achieve its long-desired and self-serving goal.”

The Martians replied, “Have you seen those movies they constantly make to demean and disparage our race? Now is the right time for the right solution.”

And so, bitterness, resentment, and the threat of a new war enveloped the two planets bordering the Earth. Soon all communication between Venus and Mars had withered down to primitive e-mail as well.

From the Martians: “Any effort to help the humans resolve their conflict will be interpreted as endangering the rest of the Solar System and will be dealt with appropriately. Please let us help you reconsider what will surely be a mistake for all involved.”

From the Venusians: “Any aggressive move to worsen the situation on Earth will be taken as a justification for war. Please, let us meet and discuss a solution that will satisfy all three of our planets.”

Neither Mars nor Venus thought to communicate directly with Earth, upholding a long-held policy of keeping their junior solar-system siblings ignorant of the other lifeforms around them. And neither Venus nor Mars received a reply from the other, even though calmer multiple blue heads and oversized green heads tried to prevail with entreaties for peace.

The people of Jupiter, who naturally believed “size matters,” instructed both Mars and Venus to stay out of Earth’s conflict or face the wrath of the Jovian Empire. Neptune sided with Venus. Mercury sided with Mars. And Uranus just acted like an a-hole.

Interplanetary e-mail was the common communication platform between all of the civilizations. It was the easiest for algorithms to parse and translate. And the technology was easily developed and shared freely.

As the mushroom clouds sprouted across Earth’s surface like fungi after a damp winter, and the flaming tails of rockets arced back and forth between the second and fourth planet from the sun, pleadings for an end to the violence from the other members of the solar system fell upon blind eyes.

The rest of the Milky Way galaxy wondered, “What are they drinking in that star system?” These “outsiders” sent polite inquiries through the established e-mail system, and their missives for peaceful negotiations were ignored.

Slowly, galaxy after galaxy fell into battle, sometimes taking sides in what was termed “The Earth Conflict,” but more often avenging their own grudges. Long-festering wounds re-opened and newly perceived injuries were inflicted.

Over time, most of the older civilizations had managed to survive by tempering their aggressions, healing their pain, and developing a nonviolent method to settle disputes. But suddenly, the leaders of these peoples could not understand why no one seemed interested in being neighborly anymore.

And so, they, too, launched their weapons, which were not only capable of mass physical destruction but also able to tear and rend the very fabric of time and space.

The end of the universe had arrived. And all because no one checked their Spam Folder.

~

Bio:

Richard Lau has been published in newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and the high-tech industry.

How to Check if Your Peacekeeper-2000 Is Loaded

by David F. Shultz

Congratulations on your purchase of a fully-licensed Peacekeeper-2000 from Interplanetary Defense Innovations, LLC. The PK2Ktactical squad assault machinegun features fully automatic plasma discharge effective to 800 meters, built-in grenade launcher compatible with the full line of IDI minicell cartridges (please see attached ordering form 2A for tactical grenade options), and the artificial intelligence SmartKill(TM) system. The PK2K is your total peacekeeping solution.

Loyalty, duty, honor, purpose. IDI understands what it means to be a soldier. For more than three-hundred years IDI has provided peacekeeping solutions, combining cutting-edge developments in military science and technology from across the galaxy. We stood with the Terrans on Ceta-Gamma. We were there for the uprising on Ares-6. We are the leading supplier of armaments for the Alpha-Quadrant Allegiance, the only manufacturer approved by both the Cerulean Empire and the Legion of the Fallen, and the official sponsor of Captain Kelly Donovan and the Freedom Brigade. We are now proud to offer the PK2K assault model as our flagship assault weapon for close quarters combat.

You need a weapon that’s as reliable as you are, that’s as much a part of you as you are a part of your people (or faction). Whether you are a brave freedom fighter defending your homeworld of Yll’Risa from villainous imperial tyrants, or a noble soldier of the empire pacifying the terrorist rebel scum of Yll’Risa, IDI has solutions for your peacekeeping needs.

The PK2K is equipped with biometric fingerprinting to ensure that your trusted weapon does not fall into enemy hands. This is your weapon—it’s a part of you. If the PK2K does not recognize its user, it will discharge the fusion cartridge through our patented KILLoWATT system, neutralizing all threats within a radius of five meters. Upon initial activation, please follow calibration procedures to ensure the PK2K syncs with your identity. In accordance with standard assault weapon good practices, please ensure that your weapon is safely secured when not in your possession. IDI is not liable for any injuries and/or deaths to owner, family, squad members, or others as a result of accidental activations of the KILLoWATT system due to negligence of the owner or failure to follow weapon protocol as outlined in the full terms of your license.

Thanks to our AI SmartKill(TM) system, you don’t even need to pull the trigger — in Kill Assist mode, the weapon will discharge automatically during sweeps to maximize tactical advantage and lethality when directed towards legitimate combatants. The AI recognizes targets, accepts strategic orders from command, coordinates activity across squads, and maximizes the effectiveness of your unit, firing when you’ve got the perfect shot. The SmartKill system automatically tracks confirmed kills, facilitating strategic planning and promotion decisions. To reduce friendly fire incidents, your PK2K comes packaged with four IDI Friendly Forces ID chips (please see attached ordering form 2C for additional squad tag options).

Owing to our state-of-the-art power system, you never need to check if your PK2K is loaded! IDI‘s microfusion cartridge revolutionizes the industry, ensuring your weapon is always ready to serve — the ideal firearm for the ideal fighter. The cartridge is to a weapon what a warrior is to their country: indispensable. That’s why we’ve designed the PK2K cartridge with a microfusion reactor for maximum reliability, providing a usage of 20+ years under proper conditions, and a life-time replacement guarantee. If at any time your fusion cartridge is operating below performance specifications, simply return the damaged or malfunctioning unit for safe disposal and IDI will provide a replacement. You never need to worry about spent cartridges again.

As a licensed PK2K owner, you are eligible for our Galaxy Hero rewards program, which awards free equipment and supplies based on individual and squad standings in the SmartKill performance ladder. Simply activate the SmartKill system, and your confirmed kills will automatically place you and your squad in the competitive ladder. IDI is proud to recognize soldiers and squads for outstanding performance in the field. Don’t just be a hero—be a Galaxy Hero!

The PK2K model is affiliated with the Trans-Galactic Bounty Program. As a licensed owner, you may opt-in to the TGBP in order to earn galactic credits and bonus rewards. Your weapon will be updated with bounty data, including locations, targets, and credit values. If the SmartKill system is active, your PK2K’s legitimate target list will include active bounties, so you can begin supplementing your income with freelance work and improve your ranking in the Galaxy Hero ladder. IDI is here to help you do what you do best.

Thanks to myriad industry and government partnerships, IDI is able to offer extended support to licensed veteran users of any series-1 IDI ground-level product, including the PK2K. If you have been afflicted during the course of your service by PTSD, loss of limbs, death, or any approved ailment specified in form 17-D, you may be eligible for credit assistance. Simply submit forms 16 A-through-D to their respective organizations’ appropriate channels or representatives. Void where prohibited by law. Additional limitations and restrictions may apply. Consult your organization’s relevant information services or human resources representative for locally applicable rules and regulations.

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Bio:

David F. Shultz writes speculative fiction from Toronto, Canada, where he manages the 600-member Toronto Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers group, and is lead editor at TDotSpec. His over-fifty published works are featured or forthcoming through publishers such as Diabolical Plots and Third Flatiron. David holds degrees in cognitive science, philosophy, law, and education. Author webpage: davidfshultz.com/about