Captainís Space Log: Year 2337, Month 9, Day 30, Swatch .beat 714. We are in orbit above the planet Gamma Itrion IV, trying to negotiate its entry into Spaceleague. But things are not going as well as planned.
FEDERATION DIPLOMAT: We do not trust the Gammaitrionese Alliance!
ALLIANCE DIPLOMAT: And we do not trust the Rebel Federation!
FEDERATION DIPLOMAT: How dare you! We are the the Gammaitrionese Federation and we demand to be referred to as such!
ALLIANCE DIPLOMAT: You have no right to call yourself Gammaitroniese! It is we who are in control of Gamma Itrion IV City!
FEDERATION DIPLOMAT: All residents of Gamma Itrion IV have the right to call themselves Gammaitrionese!
ALLIANCE DIPLOMAT: All except rebel scum!
CAPTAIN: Gentlemen, please. It is imperative that you work together.
FEDERATION DIPLOMAT: Impossible!
ALLIANCE DIPLOMAT: My people do not like to work in general, but if we ever did agree to work it certainly would not be with rebel scum.
CAPTAIN: Then Iím afraid thereís nothing more to say here. The rules of Spaceleague are quite clear. We cannot let any society join that does not have a single united planetary government.
ALLIANCE DIPLOMAT: That seems like an arbitrary requirement.
FEDERATION DIPLOMAT: Yes, what happens if you encounter two or more stable governments peacefully co-existing on a single planet, each one engaged in interstellar trade? Surely it would be in your benefit and theirs to allow them full participation in your diplomatic system.
CAPTAIN: (sigh) Perhaps Gamma Itrion IV is not advanced enough for these negotiations after all. (He gets up and tugs his shirt down dramatically.)
FEDERATION DIPLOMAT: What is the meaning of this? What are you doing?
CAPTAIN: Iím standing. Itís an action my people take when theyíre done sitting. And now that Iím standing Iím going to exit this room, enter another room, and make my report to Spaceleague.
FEDERATION DIPLOMAT: Butó
CAPTAIN: We can reconvene when you decide youíre ready to work youíre ready to work together. (He exits the meeting room)
FEDERATION DIPLOMAT: Oh great, you blew the meeting.
ALLIANCE DIPLOMAT: It is you who blew the meeting, rebel scum!
FEDERATION DIPLOMAT: We will go to war over this!
ALLIANCE DIPLOMAT: Good! We want you to go to war over this!
FEDERATION: Fine! Maybe we will!
ALLIANCE DIPLOMAT: Fine then!
* * *
Captainís Space Log: Supplemental. I am meeting to discuss the Gamma Itrion IV situation with my three key staff members: Lester, a boy genius; Kilobyte, a robot that wants to be human; and Marp, a ferocious alieness from the planet Qírtkík.
MARP: These people are WITHOUT HONOUR! Our only course of action is to DESTROY THE ENTIRE PLANET!
CAPTAIN: (smiling wearily and leaning back in chair) No, Marp. You see, part of being human is suppressing your brutal animalistic instincts. One day youíll learn that.
KILOBYTE: Query, Captain. Would it not be logical to solve this problem with a complex algorithm?
CAPTAIN: (smiling wearily and leaning back in chair) No, Kilobyte. You see, part of being human is putting aside your cold logic and embracing your impulsive emotional side. One day youíll learn that.
LESTER: Maybe we could entice them back to the negotiating table by agreeing to relax the one planet rule. Offer them some kind of joint membership or something.
CAPTAIN: (smiling wearily and leaning back in chair) No, Lester. You see, part of being humanó
LESTER: I am human.
CAPTAIN: óis growing up and not being a child. One day youíll learn that.
LESTER: Iíll learn to grow up?
COMPUTER: RED ALERT. RED ALERT. ALL IMPORTANT CREWMEMBERS PLEASE HEAD IMMEDIATELY TO BRIDGE.
* * *
Captainís Space Log: Supplemental to previous supplement. I am walking onto the bridge in the middle of an emergency.
CAPTAIN: Whatís happening?
KILOBYTE: My sensors indicate that a nuclear war has erupted on Gamma Itrion IV.
MARP: (examining a computer console) The SNIVELING COWARDS from the Federation have launched a nuclear warhead at Gamma Itrion IV City. The pathetic Alliance is responding in kind.
CAPTAIN: Are they firing through the planet or around it?
LESTER: Around it, Captain.
CAPTAIN: Then thereís still time. Kilobyte, can we extend our shields to intercept the missile trajectories?
KILOBYTE: It is possible, Captain. We could divert the baryon flow from the tertiary hyperspace injector and reroute it to the shield generator, but it would require a counterflow of tachyons to balance the negative field distortion. We would also need to shunt power from the lower auxiliary core in order to project the beam out to the proper distance.
CAPTAIN: Is it possible?
KILOBYTE: It is possible, Captain.
CAPTAIN: Then do it.
KILOBYTE: Affirmative. (pushes a single button.)
(The ship shoots a purple glowy thing out into space. Both nuclear warheads collide with it and explode. The lights on the bridge dim and everything shakes a little bit.)
KILOBYTE: Advisory, Captain. We cannot maintain the shield emitters at this level unless we reroute emergency power.
CAPTAIN: The only power that will save us now is the power of an analogy. Lester, Lower the shields and open communication channels with both diplomats.
LESTER: Are you sure you donít want to keep the shields up? Theyíre not like connected to the communications system or anything.
CAPTAIN: Donít worry about it.
(Lester shrugs and lowers the shield.)
CAPTAIN: People of Gamma Itrion IV. Listen to me! I wish to tell you a story.
FEDERATION DIPLOMAT: Well weíre kind of in the middle of a war here but okay.
CAPTAIN: My planet, Earth, was once split between two great powers as well: A country called America ó the home of my ancestors ó and a country called China. Now America and China were as different as could be. They had different cultures, different languages, different political systems, and even different coloured skin. Just like you, they thought they could never work together. Then they went to war with each other. The fight was long and brutal and culminated in a horrible genocide.
FEDERATION DIPLOMAT: Which side was the victim of the genocide?
CAPTAIN: Doesnít matter who. Suffice it to say that 1.1 billion of them were killed. But after that war the two sides united, and the former enemies and went forth into the stars together! Equal participants on the greatest voyage that humanity has ever known. That is the future that could await Gamma Itrion IV if your people start to co-operate.
ALLIANCE DIPLOMAT: So if youíre equal participants how come there are no people from China on your ship?
ALLIANCE DIPLOMAT: You said they had different skin, yes? All the humans on your ship appear to have roughly the same skin colour.
CAPTAIN: Hold on. There must be one around here somewhere. (Looks around.) ...Ah! There we are. You see?
ALLIANCE DIPLOMAT: Where?
CAPTAIN: By that computer over there against the wall. Her backís kind of turned towards the communicator screen.
ALLIANCE DIPLOMAT: (squinting) Are you sure?
CAPTAIN: Gentlemen, I have always said that part of being human is learning to trust. Well now Iím asking you to trust me. Trust, gentlemen. Trust that there is a Chinese person standing behind me.
FEDERATION DIPLOMAT: Captain, we donít want to be human.
ALLIANCE DIPLOMAT: Yes, we are quite happy being Gammaitrionese.
FEDERATION DIPLOMAT: In fact... perhaps that common Gammaitrionese identity is exactly what we need to resolve this dispute.
ALLIANCE DIPLOMAT: You might be onto something, scum! A political union is still out of the question of course, but there may just be way a towards peace if we can recognize our common Gammaitrioneseness.
FEDERATION DIPOMAT: It will be difficult, but we owe it to our people to try.
CAPTAIN: (sigh) Lester, close communication.
LESTER: Aye sir.
CAPTAIN: It appears they just wonít listen to reason. Marp, destroy Gamma Itrion IV City and all of its inhabitants.
MARP: With pleasure, Captain.
LESTER: Wait what?
(The ship fires 800 torpedos at Gamma Itrion IV City. It is completely obliterated.)
LESTER: Jesus Christ.
CAPTAIN: Lester, reopen communications with the remaining diplomat.
LESTER: Uh... okay, I guess? Jeez.
CAPTAIN: Congratulations, gentleman! The Gammaitrionese Federation is now the sole government of Gamma Itrion IV. From this point forward, you shall be a provisional protectorate of Spaceleague. A Spaceleague advisor will be arriving shortly to advise your government and supervise the extraction of natural resources.
FEDERATION DIPLOMAT: I thought you said Spaceleague was a trading alliance.
CAPTAIN: Did I? Huh.
óBrendan Patrick Hennessy, 30 September 2012