Mr. Fnord Goes to Washington

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It's All Fun And Games Until Somebody Gets Sued

Office of the Generalissimo
Korolev Air Force Base
12:00 GMT 13 March 2014

"Federal marshal for you, General."

Mal looked up from his stack of paperwork. "Buzhwha?" he said urbanely.

"There's a federal marshal asking for you in the lobby," said GLaDOS. Mal raised a questioning eyebrow.

"Did we do something illegal?" he asked.

"Not to my encyclopedic knowledge of current operations."

Mal frowned. "This wouldn't happen to be a landshark, would it?"

"General, please," GLaDOS huffed. "I am a highly sophisticated computer system with a spotless administrative record and an infinite capacity for learning. Would such a model of digital perfection truly stoop to something as juvenile as making up visitors just to surprise you with a landshark?"

"In a millisecond." Mal replied with the firm conviction of someone who had already Been There and Done That.

"... Okay, you got me. But there's still a marshal in the lobby. Should I let him up, or are you going down."

Mal looked at the mound of paper and USB sticks on his desk. Faint thoughts of sweet, sweet freedom ran through his mind. He shook his head to break the vision. "Send him up," he said. "This ought to be interesting."

SUBPOENA By Authority of the Congress of the United States of America

To S. Malaclypse Fnord

You are hereby commanded to be and appear before the Joint Committee on Extraterrestrial Security at the place, date and time specified below.

  • to testify touching matters of inquiry committed to said committee or subcommittee; and you are not to depart without leave of said committee or subcommittee.
  • to produce the things identified on the attached schedule touching matters of inquiry committed to said committee or subcommittee; and you are not to depart without leave of said committee or subcommittee.

Place of production: 253 Russell Senate Office Building

Date: March 18, 2014

Time: 8:00 A.M.

Mal blinked bemusedly at the thick packet of paper in front of him. "Okay," he said, "this wasn't what I was expecting at all."

The marshal, a large, slab-sided man in the customary dark suit, shrugged. "Not my department, man."

Mal peered over the paper. "And why are you delivering this?" he asked. "I thought your people were out of the process server job."

The marshal shrugged again. "We're available," he said. "From what I heard, Senator Kellerman didn't want to send one of his aides up and they didn't trust anybody at the consulate to deliver the paper. So they asked for a guy from the Port Luna office to come over. Here I am. Now sir," he added, pulling out a form, "if you could sign this here..."

"Yeah, sure," Mal scribbled something resembling a signature on the form. Something in the marshal's little spiel clicked in his head. "Wait," he said, "did you say Kellerman? As in Alan Kellerman?"

"That was the name I got from my boss. Of course, he might've gotten it wrong - apparently the aide was giggling a lot on the phone."

Cold tendrils of doom wrapped themselves around Mal's forebrain. "Oh, wonderful."

"Something wrong?"

"Ngh.. no. Not really. Nothing I can't handle, anyway." Mal waved it off. "Listen, since Kellerman and his merry band of idiots made you run all the way out here, lemmie give you a little something as a booby prize."

"Sir, are you trying to bribe a US Marshal?"

Mal gave the marshal an odd look. "No, if I was trying to bribe you I'd have done it before you gave me the subpoena." He pulled out a card and handed it to the marshal. "If you missed lunch, take this down to the 250K Saloon in Old Town and order the special on me. I insist."

The marshal pocketed the card, nodded a goodbye and exited the office. "That was uncharacteristically nice of you," GLaDOS noted. "Usually you have me throw process servers out the door."

"Yeah, well most process servers don't come armed. Or bearing Congressional subpoenas for that matter." Mal sighed. "I need, in this order, Kat, Calc, KJ, Zib and Sora. Where are they?"

"One second while I consult Big Brother. Kat is in the editing room, Calc is supposed to be at the Watchtower for a conference, KJ is at his office in Gagarin Crater, Zib is with Kat and Sora is down in the Hole. I've paged them and they'll all be here in an hour plus."

"Okay, good. Next step, this crap." Mal waved the packet attached to the subpoena. "I'll scan this in. You need to track down the documents on the list. If we don't have 'em I'll need a convincing excuse.

"After that, I need tickets from here or Port Luna to D.C. leaving Saturday night or Sunday morning, a hotel room near the Capitol - nothing fancy, but an open reservation - and a dress kit enough to last me a few days just in case."

"Working on it as I anticipate your movements," GLaDOS said. "Are you sure you don't want to take Ptichka?"

Mal nodded. "Ptichka's too valuable to use as an executive transport. Besides," he added darkly, "if something goes wrong I don't want to give the bastards an opportunity to impound her. Commercial transport only, GLaDOS."

"Of course. Any more doomsday scenarios you want to plan for? Should I pack a hardsuit? Perhaps the mini-nukes?"

Mal rolled his eyes. "No, don't be silly." He paused. "But when you get a second, call the Karasukage. I think I want to hire a team for a covert bodyguard mission with the potential for extraction."

Bad News Comes In Waves

12:25 GMT 13 March 2014

"What do you mean, you're in deep kimchee?" Noah was not happy about the call he'd just received from Mal.

"Fine, fine. I know you can't argue with a Congressional subpoena.

"Now wait just a minute. Sora isn't a US citizen. She never was. You'd better check with Consul Walker about the legality of Congress summoning an Australian citizen.

"She already has the extradition request? Damn. Maybe I can get her to stall...

"Oh. Yeah, Sora's a good girl that way. Do I need to find somebody to take your places in the wedding party?

"Thank Belldandy for small favours. You need a lawyer?

"I know Cal's a lawyer. I'll bet Cal's been summoned too, and he's good enough to know he shouldn't represent himself.

"No, he's a friend of mine from our days back at Yale; he's based in Washington and on retainer for Stellvia Corp. I'll send you his number; make up your own mind whether you want him.

"Yeah, I'll keep that in mind. I'll see you tomorrow for the rehearsal."

The Roadhouse, Deimos
13:02 GMT 13 March 2014

"Malaclypse Fnord, please." Bob Roberts had his headset on. His left hand was typing a search string onto the Harvard Law Library search engine. (Cornell was the second tab and was already running the search.) His right hand was jotting notes down on a printout of the information that he'd gotten on the subpoena sent Upstairs, plans of action to investigate the sources of this inquiry. Senator Kellerman was supposed to be a well-meaning, if pig-headed politician, and not under the influence of any Black Hats. However, the World Crime League had already shown it could influence through lobbyists, so Bob was going to have the Institute's hounds take a sniff around. His eyes were directing Linden to take what was left of the baklava' Bob was going to be too busy to finish his lunch. An email to his wife hovered behind the search websites, requiring only a second or three to send it off and let her know that he'd be a few minutes late. He shifted to it with deft Alt-Tab, typed a few final words, and sent it off.

No one could multitask like Bob the Philosopher, especially when he smelled an impending witch hunt.

"General? Philosopher Bob here. From the Institute. Word on the Grapevine says that a senior Senator from the Midwest sent you a letter today. We've got some advance information on that, and Buckaroo said we should share. Something about Ben Franklin and hanging together. Yeah, that's the quote. We can have a team of duly designated advocates at your door in about two hours, if you want the help."

Bob listened for a moment, then nodded, and said, "That sounds like Mr. Hunt. Still, we will be glad to work with his counsel on this one. Consider it an act of solidarity. We Blazers are big on that sort of thing." He scribbled something else on the printout and handed it to Lober, pointing at the circled note that read, "Fax this to Stellvia's Legal Rep. ASAP!!"

"General, if we can't convince Kellerman that he's misinformed, I'm pretty sure we can convince the Congress that this is a waste of time. No sir, I wouldn't want to do it that way, but sometimes the facts have trouble getting past someone's idea of the Truth, if you take my meaning. Consider it a Plan B." He listened again, taking notes on the closest legal pad, before replying, "Right. We'll get with Noah's counsel and Cal. We need to coordinate our defense as well. I'm sure that the Boss and the Cavaliers will be called in as well."

Circle the Wagons and Damn the Torpedoes!

Conference Room 1
Korolev Air Force Base
13 March 2014 15:00 GMT

"Allright, kids," Mal said. "GLaDOS filled you in on what happened this afternoon. Here's some more details. I just got off the phone with Noah, he's offered to lend us a frat buddy as legal counsel. Philosopher Bob from the Institute has also offered us assistance. I told them we'd take it under advisement."

"How'd he take the news?" Sora asked.

Mal shrugged. "About the way he takes any bad news."

"Panic?" KJ said, not quite making it a statement of fact.

"In that understated way of his, yeah. I'm sure he's running through doomsday scenarios as we speak instead of trying to remember his vows." Mal rolled his eyes. "He'll come out of it soon enough, but keep it in mind.

"Now. You lot are my trusted advisors, so advise me. What's our standing on this subpoena?"

"Diplomatically it's a tight spot," Kat noted gloomily. "If we blow this off, that's an international incident. If we show up and tell the truth, that's an international incident. And if we show up and lie, it's an international incident once they figure out they've been had.”

Mal nodded thoughtfully. "So we're screwed in all directions. How are we standing legally?"

"As a faction leader with no other citizenship ties," Calc said, "you're technically granted immunity ratione materiae under the terms of the Kandor treaty as an incumbent Head of State. In fact, that goes for everybody in the room right now except Sora."

"Are there any loopholes?"

"A few, but nothing Kellerman can exploit from where he's standing. In theory he could request the World Court to intervene - and we might end up there before this thing is through - but Kellerman's got enough Bircher in him that that's not on the table. He could try and withdraw from Kandor, but he doesn't have enough pull to make that happen."

"That could change depending on what happens Monday," Zib noted. "If we ruffle the wrong feathers Kellerman's support could go up."

"Right, but even if that happens it won't happen fast," said Kat. "That might mean our best option is just to tell the truth and roll with the punches."

Sora raised her hand. "Question."

"Yes, Lieutenant?"

"What's all this about?"

The Central Committee looked at each other. "Well," said Zib, "it's old business coming home to roost."

"Do you remember how NASA unveiled their refit shuttle fleet over the winter?" Kat asked.

Sora nodded. "I remember reading about it at Delta Pavonis. It was a little odd, since I thought only TSAB was allowed access to handwavium in the US."

"Oh, they are," Zib assured her. "It's just that we helped NASA get their hands on a supply." "Oh."

KJ shrugged. "It was the right thing to do."

"Speaking of the right thing to do," said Mal, "has this hit the public yet?"

Calc shook his head. "Not as far as I know."

"Hm." Mal leaned back in his chair. "How about we make it public? Do a press release in the next hour or so, just in time for the evening news. Something like, ah, 'Soviet Air Force-In-Exile Meets With Congress: Today General Malaclypse Fnord, leader of the Soviet Air Force, agreed to meet with the United States Congress Joint Committee on Extraterrestrial Security in the interest of international cooperation-' he said with just a bit of a chortle '-to discuss the future of America's civil space program and its role in Fenspace.' And on and on, you know what I mean."

The central committee members all snickered. Sora looked a little confused. "I don't get it," she said. "Why put out a press release like that, isn't that drawing attention to the fact that Mal's been subpoenaed?"

"It does," Zib replied, "but that's our opening move. Kellerman's trying to open from a position of strength, so our job is to undermine it."

Calc nodded. "If we start making noise about how we're graciously deigning to let Kellerman waste our head of state's time in an inquiry and that we expect nothing but good things from these 'discussions,' it changes the dynamic."

"Now instead of looking like a naughty schoolboy facing the principal," Zib added, "it's a meeting of equals."

"It's kind of a nasty trick to force a fight in the arena of public opinion," Mal noted, "but I'm not feeling charitable."

Roughriders HQ
36 Atalantae, Main Belt
15:21 GMT 13 March 2014

Benjamin loved working in his office. He intentionally designed it with a balance of comfort and visual appeal that did not distract him from his tasks. That, and the couch was big enough to take a quick nap on.

Ben was not on the couch. He was at his beaten-up, sturdy desk and dutifully conquering the paperwork that had gotten past Jessica and Gina. Fortunately, it wasn't much: just a few things to sign off on after a quick review. Jess did an excellent job making sure that the day-to-day items were taken care of, and Gina excelled at implementing his policies.

So, Benjamin was just wrapping things up when Gina came in. Ben immediately flashed her a smile, but Gina wasn't returning it. In fact, Ben noticed that she looked pretty grim. He felt his smile slip as he saw her followed by the Jessica Ayanami; Commander of his senshi, Anika Springfield; the Commander of his Fezigs, Brownwynne Foulkes; and his Mother, Kaitlyn Jones.

Gina took her regular seat in the large plush chair at the head of the coffee table. Everyone else took seats on the couch across said table from Ben's desk.

Benjamin blinked. "Okay, the last time all of you came in here at once like that, it was because Lilo and Stitch accidentally waved you and everyone else, Mom."

"It's pretty drastic, son," admitted Kaitlyn. Gina nodded towards the briefing monitor mounted on the wall opposite of her. There, a series of documents appeared, easily readable on the handwaved plasma display.

Benjamin read the documents, mumbling the words to himself. Finally, "Ah nuts!"

Gina rolled her eyes. "I don't think invoking McAuliffe is going to make it go away."

"No, but we did win the Battle of the Bulge." Benjamin then scowled, both thoughtful and rueful. "I guess I should say 'They' now."

Benjamin saw his mother giving him a deeply concerned look. He wanted to maintain ties to the good old US of A, but the politics wasn't working in his favor and in the end, and with the help of the Australian Government, he renounced his citizenship for his sake and Gina's. It didn't help that his mother's father was a World War Two veteran - something she took no small amount of pride in.

My Mother and I are… Were patriots, thought Benjamin bitterly.

"This needs to be fought," Ben said quietly, but clearly. "It needs to be fought by whatever means necessary. Even if it means actually going to war against the country we love, because this is evidence that people are forgetting what it means to be Americans. They need to be reminded of what that truly means.

"That said, on to what this means for us. I can think of one primary object that Senator Asshat would come gunning us down for. The Midnight."

Anika's eyes went wide at that. "You mean they're still sore at you for that even though it was the SOS-Dan that did it?"

"So-so," he replied. "Senator Asshat is just throwing gasoline on spent coals. Unfortunately, gasoline only needs a tiny spark. They'll try their damndest to take Midnight back, and me as well."

"But what could they possibly want with the Midnight?" said Anika thoughtfully.

Kaitlyn sighed wearily at that. "They're gonna tear her apart. People like this Senator are the sort that will use this kind of thing to his fullest advantage. Imagine what the United States could do with a fleet of hardtech Blackbirds. And to think that the Russians were right to think of people like him as Imperialists."

"And that's not the half of it," chimed in Jess. "Coming from where I did, I've had my share of dealing with politics. They're going to try and get everyone of us for anything they can imagine from high treason to tax evasion to mail fraud."

"How would they make mail fraud stick?" asked Kaitlyn.

"I'm not a certified postal carrier," answered Ben breezily.

"Oh you're kidding!"

"Would you honestly put it past them, Mom?" Kaitlyn didn't have anything more to say about that. "I'm not saying that the charge actually would stick since I was a private carrier, but they'll definitely try."

"This is OUTRAGEOUS!" shouted Anika all the sudden, jumping to her feet in a near-apoplectic rage. "These people in all their fear and warmongering think they can walk all over us! And after all the things we've done done for them during the War!? For Love and Justice and in the Name of Atalante: I - Will - Punish THEM!"

"Sailor Atalante, dear," said Jessica primly and with a smirk, "your fuku's getting the best of you again." The flaming red-head's cheeks began to burn, matching her hair color within just a couple of shades.

"Oh… Sorry." She then sat down, looking sufficiently mortified.

Ben smiled for the embarrassed senshi. "That's okay, Annie. Now, game plan…" At this, Ben fell silent for a moment and took on a thoughtful appearance. "Okay, Jess, you're our best legal eagle. Your degree was from, what? Stanford?"

"Harvard, Valedictorian." Answered the blue-haired girl with a touch of pride.

"Right," said Ben with a grin. "You just got an extra set of hands. Ruri will be your assistant."

"She never went to law school," said Gina.

"You think that matters to her?" answered Ben.

"Hrm, point," conceded Gina.

"Jess, I also want you to get in touch with the Blue Blazers and ask them to keep us in the loop. If and when these bastards come after us I want to be ready to make them choke on their own rhetoric."

"You got it, Boss," replied Jess with a sly grin.

"Annie, I want you to go to Venus and have an audience with Her Majesty. Get her view on this situation and see how much of her support we can muster up."

"What are you expecting?" asked the named senshi.

"I'm hoping for the charges to be cleared," answered Ben. "But I will also prepare for the worst. War."

Annika gasped at that. "Are you serious!? War with the Mundanes will not go over well!"

"But you heard what he said earlier, right?" said Gina grimly. "This needs to be fought because these people have forgotten what they are."

Jess could only nod and add, "I know this myself for a fact. Even when my family vacationed in places like the Grand Caymans, my Father's only real concern was making more money. He couldn't care less that there were starving people in Ethiopia, ethnic cleansing in Darfur, war in Iraq and Afghanistan, or people going to space at random. All he cared about was how he could make a legitimate profit out of it."

Kaitlyn nodded as well. "Also, there is the fact that all our factions out here exist beyond the control of organizations like the UN and the WTO and the WHO. We don't depend on any of their economies or their trade goods, and that worries all the Mundanes."

"But is war the only solution?" wondered Anika.

"No," said Gina. "It's the last resort. And if worst comes to worse, there's plenty of room out there outside the Sol system. I don't like it myself, but if we have to we'll leave and never come back."

Benjamin didn't like the sound of those words. They almost sounded prophetic, leaving him feel hollow inside so those words could echo and reverberate inside him.

"Anyhow," said Benjamin, shaking off the feeling, "that said, let's start making things happen. At eighteen-thirty I want a full department head meeting. Anything else? Alright then, carry on everyone."

After that, a little red-winged blackbird appeared on Ben's desktop monitor with an inquisitive chirp. She seemed worried. With a sigh, Ben pulled his keyboard up and started typing.

Don't worry, my girl. I won't ever let those bastards clip your wings again.

Thank you. I wish that I could express how much that means to me.

Don't worry over it too much, Midnight. Later we can go for a romp in the Belt. That sound good to you?

Of course! Anytime you're up for it!

Ben grinned. You've become awfully emotive over the last couple years, haven't you?

I have?

Sure. I guess it's only natural though. But trust me, it's a very good thing. Human emotions are a special gift.

Are you saying I'm becoming human?

As close as someone like you can get, yes.

Oh, I see… I think I like it.

At that, Ben chuckled indulgently. That's great. I'll see you later at around twenty-hundred, okay? Sure thing!

fenIRC Chatlog Transcript, 13-3-2014

Ari : Hi Grey, it's been a while since you've been online.

Grey: Hey Aristotle, been kind of busy with clean up after the war. How've you been?

Ari : Not too bad. I've got a couple of interesting projects lined up. I'd go into detail...

Grey: Zzzzz, huh what? :p Yeah, unless it goes boom I don't pay much attention to the deep technical stuff do I?

Ari : Not everyone can. Who would I be able to lord my superiority over otherwise?

Ari : Anything new or interesting going on your end?

Grey: Not too much. Furry's out of his funk and fun to tease again.

Grey: We're still trying to get everything sorted with demobilization. Herself is being a royal pain. Charles the first wouldn't have been as much of a headache.

Ari : Why are you still working for OGJ? I'd thought that after what happened last November it would be the last thing you or F would do.

Grey: The Stelvians are doing a pretty good job of pulling her teeth with everything they're helping to setup, and most of the fractions are pulling back, but someone's got to keep an eye on her.

Ari : You think she's that dangerous?

Grey: If she actually tries to lead, yes. She's not a bad figurehead, if a trifle obnoxious. You just have to keep her distracted by tossing something shiny in front her every time she goes quiet.

Ari : Sol is also a trifle hot.

Ari : And I suppose you would know about being distracted.

Grey: What's that supposed to mean?

Ari : I have a few friends in Crystal Sapporo, and a copy of a video shot when you lot were there. ^-^

Grey: Oooh, can I get a copy? That was a fun week.

Ari : I forgot, you have no shame.

Grey: Furry's got enough for a whole platoon, what would I need any for?

Grey: You heard anything about what's up with the VVS?

Ari : Not too much. Colbert did a Word related them the other night, but I'm short on details.

Ari : The US Congress is doing something silly and knee-jerk at the moment is about it.

Grey: That's about all we've heard too. They're going after Rockhounds too if the rumours are accurate.

Grey: Rumour also has it that there's going to be a war between the VVS and the Roughriders with the Senshi annexing Utopia Planitia as a gift for A.C. Peters.

Grey: Grains of salt should be taken liberally.

Ari : There are times when it's nice to have no national ties to Earth.

Grey: Yeah.

Ari : And an integrated FTL drive. All the crazies aren't down the well.

Grey: You love us anyway.

A Brief Digression At A Wedding

The Wedding Of The Century
16:30 GMT 15 March 2014

A.C. slid into place to the side of Mal as the two of them looked over the reception.

"One for the road, or are you steadying your nerves?"

Mal viciously suppressed the twitch of surprise as the raven-hared cyborg spoke.

"The former." Mal HATED being surprised like that.

"Ah." A.C. took a sip of her drink. "So. How long do you thing you'll last before making Kellerman look like a complete idiot? Lebia thinks four days, but I think sooner. There's fairly good odds on both you know."

Mal drank his drink.

"Honestly? I think he'll make a fool of himself."

"Point." A.C. nodded absently. "The betting's light enough to make it very profitable for that." She downed her drink. "Want another?"

"Nah. Gotta get going."

"I'd give you bubblegum to chew as you kicked ass, but I don't have any to give."

As the two of them parted A.C. surreptitiously caught Lebia's eye.

<Get that?> The cyborg sub-vocalised.

<Yep. I'm adjusting the odds now.>

<Scarlet Angel to Dark Mist, sitrep.>

<Oh My, Sergei agreed to send one of his best teams with the General.> Kasumi replied. <Anyway, Bento for both him and Sora have been delivered to the transport back to Kandor.>

<Too bad they couldn't stay, the food looks great all warmed up.>

Scenes In Transition

SS City of Alamosa
Trans-Luna Lines shuttle flight 1929 (Kandor City-Port Luna)
15 March 2014 19:33 GMT

Mal sighed for what felt like the millionth time that week. "You didn't have to come with me, Sora," said to his traveling companion. "In fact, it's probably better if you stayed the hell away."

"I'm not going to Washington, sir," replied his traveling companion. "We need to have a face-to-face with some of our European suppliers about their quality control. Everybody else was busy, so I get to spend three days in sunny Adelaide arguing with Germans."

"Ah ha," said Mal, "I did wonder." And he had at that; ever since their quick departure from Grover's Corners, Sora had stuck to him like glue. Mal understood it to a certain degree - they had developed a good working relationship over the last few months - but her insistence on staying so close had him thinking.

Mal wasn't entirely comfortable with where that train of thought was leading, but hey.


"Sora, enough with the 'sirs.' You're making me feel like I'm Peppermint Patty and you're Marcie. Worse," he added with a plaintive tone, "you're making me feel old. Please, stop."

"Oh. I'm sorry. Mal, thank you for tolerating my dancing."

Mal shrugged. "I'm no Fred Astaire myself, and you danced well enough to fulfill the traditions."

"Oh, you're a much better dancer than I am," said Sora, with just the right amount of insincerity in her voice.

"Flattery only works on GLaDOS and her cakes, Lieutenant," Mal snorted. "You'll have to sycophant harder than that."

Sora laughed. "Thank you, Mal."

Mal raised an eyebrow. "For?" he asked, not sure where this was going.

"For treating me as an adult."

Mal raised the other eyebrow, having totally failed to predict that answer. "Sora, you are an adult. Why wouldn't I treat you like one?"

She sighed. "Everybody on Stellvia - and most of the people allied with Stellvia - think of me as Noah Scott's little girl. I'm the eldest daughter, his favorite," she added with a note of sarcasm lacing her voice, "and they act like that's all I am. Like I'm just an extension of Stellvia. But you and Ptichka think of me as my own person. You trust me with your lives and nobody's ever done that before." Sora looked at Mal and smiled. "So thank you, General Fnord."

Mal returned her look, dipped his head a fraction of an inch and gave her a half-smile. "I didn't start this crazy outfit to not treat people the way they deserved," he said, "so I can say Lieutenant Hasegawa, you're welcome and it was my pleasure."

Sora's smile shifted, becoming more wistful. "Did you know I promised Yayoi that I'd go back to Stellvia someday?"

"No, I didn't."

"Well, I did. And I kept my promise this week. I went back to Stellvia for the wedding, and then I went home. Now I'm going dirtside for a few days, but I know I'm coming home to Korolev, to Ptichka..." she trailed off, looking away. "And you," she murmured.

Mal cranked an eyebrow again. "Sora?"

"I know what you're going to say. I think." Sora said. "But... would you be willing to dance with me again, sometime?"

Reagan National Airport, Washington D.C.
Main Terminal
15 March 2014 17:16 EDT (23:16 GMT)

Mal Fnord stumbled through the post-flight security checkline (“You're sure you're not a terrorist?” “Pretty damn sure, now will you please let me get my luggage?”), shouldered his carryon bag and tried to make a straight line for the baggage carousels. It had been a long and trying day, with the prospect of an even longer and more trying week ahead. All Mal wanted out of life in that moment of time was to pick up his bags, his security detail and maybe a cheeseburger before heading to the hotel and blissful oblivion.

It didn't help that his fatigue-soaked brain kept swinging back to the conversation he'd had with Sora. After the fiftieth iteration in as many feet, Mal stopped and smacked his head against a handy piece of Art Deco frippery.

Enough, goddammit. You've got more pressing matters to deal with than your engineer's... infatuation, or your response to it. Stop woolgathering you jackass, tell the alligator to get to the back of the line and focus on draining. The. Swamp.

That said, Mal shook his head, pried his forebrain away from thinking about Sora (Damn it, I said stop!) and proceeded down the hall towards his goal, bruised and unenlightened.

When he got to the carousel for his flight, Mal found that his bags were already being taken care of by three teenagers dressed in black suits. "Holy shit, my bags are being stolen by Jehovah's Witnesses!" he said.

"General?" inquired a voice to his right. Mal turned and saw a slim Japanese woman dressed in an identical black suit standing close by, her eyes hidden behind fashionable sunglasses. The woman bowed. "Hyuuga Rumi, General," she said. "We are the team you requested from Karasukage-sama." As she said it, Mal noticed the small platinum comet pin on he lapel, indicating her allegiance to Seijutaigakure.

"Rumi-sensei, we've got everything," called the shortest of the three ninja.

"Very good, Nikolas. Akira, Jenna, take the bags to the car, please. General, if you'll follow me?"

The four ninja and one Soviet leader exited the terminal and entered a waiting limousine. "Where too, miss?" asked the driver.

Rumi looked at Mal. "The Willard Intercontinental, please." Mal said. "And don't spare the horses."

Willard Intercontinental Hotel, Washington D.C.
15 March 2014 17:29 EDT

"Okay, before I go and try to grab some sleep let's cover opsec protocols. Ms. Hyuuga, how do you plan to cover security?"

"We developed a plan of action while you were in transit," Rumi said. "As the only adult member of the team I'll be the visible security, as your aide-de-camp. Akira, Jenna and Nikolas will stay undercover and watch for threats from the crowds."

Mal nodded thoughtfully. "Reasonable. What about weapons?"

"Non-lethal and close range only. Akira is proficient with some ranged weapons-" the named worthy nodded "-but they're difficult to conceal. Karasukage-sama forbade lethal weapons on this mission."

"Nice to see Sergei's thinking ahead. With tensions this high I don't want to have to explain any collateral damage if some nut takes a run at us. That takes care of physical security. As for sigint..." he unzipped the carryon bag. "You can come out now."

Five purple-haired robots poked their heads out of the bag. "Hey boss!" said all five Deebots in unison. "How'd you know I was in here?"

"Because the security guy at Port Luna asked me why I had a weather balloon and a can of swamp gas in my bag," Mal replied dryly.

"Oh. Well, your technological genius is here! Command me, oh mighty leader!"

Mal rolled his eyes. "Since I can't just send you back to Korolev fourth-class post, you can set up the comm station, get a secure link with GLaDOS running and sweep the suite for bugs."

"Righto!" The five Deebots jumped out of the carryon and dashed across the living room floor. Two hurried to the pile of luggage to grab the communications gear while the other three ran into the next room, hunting for surveillance gear. Rumi gave the five robots an uneasy glance.

"General, forgive me for asking," she said, "but is this wise?"

"Nothing involving Dee is really 'wise,'" Mal said philosophically, "but she *is* incredibly handy, so you get used to it. You guys chill out; I'm heading to bed."

Dulles, VA
16 March 2014 14:01 EDT

The Udvar-Hazy Center is the highly popular annex to the National Air and Space Museum, which happens to be one of the most popular museums in the entire world. Home to hundreds of aircraft and spacecraft, the Center has three centerpiece exhibits; the B-29 Enola Gay which dropped the first atomic bomb, one of the last Concorde airliners, and the star attraction, the space shuttle Enterprise.

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, tourists from all over milled through the halls, gawking at the airplanes and making small talk. One tourist, a stocky man dressed in jeans, t-shirt and a battered denim jacket, ambled through the museum and came to rest on a bench right in front of the space shuttle.

He sat there for some time, watching the world go by. Presently, he was joined by a young woman with long black hair. "Mal Fnord?" she asked. "Or whatever you're calling yourself?"

"I s'pose I am," the man drawled. "Of course, I could be Ralph Abernathy, but that's a bit of a stretch."

The woman snorted. "Yeah, you haven't changed a bit. Budge over, asshole, and let me sit down." Mal obligingly scooted over and the woman sat down hard on the bench. They sat there in silence for a while, Mal eying the shuttle while the woman kept glancing at him sidelong.

"You know," she said after enough time had passed, "I don't think it's going to blink first."

"Did I ever mention," Mal said, not taking his eyes off Enterprise, "that this was our Plan B if the deal with Kazakhstan fell through?"

"No way."

"Yep. We'd con our way into the maintenance and security staff, do all the refit work in the middle of the night when the center was closed. Probably would've taken a bit longer, but it was doable on paper."

"Uh huh," she said dubiously. "And what would you do when it was time to launch?"

"Hadn't quite thought that one through," he admitted. "Still, I'm sure we would've worked something out when we needed to."

The woman laughed. "You really are a first class son of a bitch, aren't you?"

"Hey now," replied Mal, "there's no need to talk about Mom like that."

The woman laughed again, pulling Mal into a hug. "Damn, Sam, I've missed you," she said.

Mal returned the hug with equal fervor. "Missed you too, Mary," he said, pulling out of the hug. He smiled. "Or should I say Congresswoman? Congratulations on that, by the way. I don't think you got my fruit basket after the election."

Mary grinned. "Somebody on my staff probably threw it out. Didn't want the black sheep of the family endangering their meal ticket. But yeah! I'm The Man now, and so are you, and that's really kind of terrifying if you think about it for too long. And Mom and Dad wanted me to tell you that you need to call or write more often, you bastard, they shouldn't have to read about your adventures in the paper like ordinary people."

Mal eyed Mary. "This coming from the girl who took 'just a little road trip' up to Alaska and back senior year? And had to be rescued by me when the car died in the middle of nowhere?"

"Pfft. That's just to Alaska, you've been out of the solar system. Big difference."

"I'm not going to win this argument, am I?"

"Not a chance in hell."

"One of these days, though."

"Don't stay up late waiting for it," Mary concluded triumphantly.

Mal shook his head. "Allright, allright," he said. "So what kind of gossip do you have for me?"

Mary sighed. "Your little 'donation' has a lot of people in an uproar. TSAB's flacks have been all over the place looking for support; I think they want to confiscate the shuttles and impose some kind of penalty on Fenspace. Your old buddy Caldwell's already testified twice before the committee, he's the one who really got the wind in Kellerman's sails about you.

"Kellerman's claiming he has evidence of a wider conspiracy and wants 'punitive measures,' unquote, taken. The State Department is claiming jurisdiction, nobody's paying attention to them. Buckaroo Banzai's got one of his guys, what's-his-name, Jack the Sophist-"

"Philosopher Bob," Mal corrected.

"Yeah, him. He's been shoring up support in advance of your arrival. The President hasn't taken sides yet - but you can bet he will before this is over. And that's where we stand," said Mary. She eyed Mal. "When you kick over a hornet's nest, you really kick, don't you?"

"It's a gift, sort of." Mal said.

Mary made a frustrated noise, one Mal remembered hearing often. "You have a plan to deal with this, right? One that doesn't involve leaving everything in smoking ruins?"

"Of course I have a plan," replied Mal, sounding offended. "Don't I always?" Mary gave him a look. "Usually?" he amended. Another glare. "Five times out of ten?"

"You..." Mary trailed off. "Yeah, you haven't changed. you jerk."

Mal smiled. "That's a gift too, sort of." He stood up. "Hey, if you don't think it'll hurt your campaign if you're seen dining with the enemy, how about we go get something to eat? We can head back to the hotel and I can show off my new toys. I have ninja, they're really neat." "Ninja? Really?"

"Yeah, rented a handful for the week. You'd like them, they're all serious and ninja-y. C'mon, if nothing else it'll give the blogs something to yak about."

Things Are Now Set In Motion...


before the
Second Session



Joint Committee on Extraterrestrial Security

Washington, D.C.

The Committee met, pursuant to call, at 8:03 a.m., in the Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building, Hon. Alan Kellerman [chairman of the Committee] presiding.

Chairman Kellerman: This hearing will come to order. Good morning. Let me thank everyone for coming. I know it's early, but we have a lot to get through today.

This is an oversight hearing to review the situation that has arisen with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and their access to the substance known as handwavium. NASA has been at the vanguard of American scientific and technological research for fifty-five years, but they were excluded from handwavium research by the Protecting America's Technological Security Act of 2008. Late last year, NASA revealed that they had in fact refit their three space shuttle orbiters using handwavium in clear violation of the law.

The purpose of this hearing, as I stated is to determine when, how and why NASA engineers got their hands on handwavium. I wish to thank General Fnord for taking the time out of his schedule to meet with us this week in the hopes that we can get to the bottom of this matter. Since we have lots to do but not much time to do it in, I'd like to ask that the other members of the Committee not make any statement until we've first heard from General Fnord.

General Fnord, please go ahead.


General Fnord: Chairman Kellerman, ladies and gentlemen of the Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today and clear the air, so to speak. I am not here to ramble on endlessly from a prepared statement but to answer your questions. As such my statement will be brief.

A wise man of my casual acquaintance once said that the truth is a terrible and beautiful thing, and should therefore be approached with great caution. It's something that I've taken to heart in my life - many of the things that the Soviet Air Force deals with in their daily work are both beautiful and terrible, and only a fool approaches, say, the surface of Mercury incautiously.

The Committee's interest in the NASA affair is part of a longer struggle, one that I and my fellow Fen have been watching with interest for many years now. Some of us have been inclined to meddle. Not for any mean gain, mind you, but for what we consider the greater good of the United States and the human race in general.

We're approaching the truth now, and now we need to be extra careful. Some of what I say will be not what you want to hear, and some of it will be exactly what you want to hear. I can promise that most of you won't like it very much.

So let's get this inquisition started.

Chairman Kellerman: Would you please state your full name for the record, sir.

General Fnord: General Samuel Malaclypse Fnord, commander-in-chief and chairman of the Central Committee of the Soviet Air Force-In-Exile.

Chairman Kellerman: It is alleged by previous testimony before this panel that you played a major part in the cirumvention of United states laws and govenrmental proceudures in and of you or persons under your command are the parties responsible for NASA aquiring a not inconsequential amount of the regulated material commonly known as Handwavium.

General Fnord: Really? That's fascinating.

Chairman Kellerman: So you deny the allegation?

General Fnord: Oh, I didn't say that.

Chairman Kellerman: Is that a confirmation?

General Fnord: Perhaps.

Chairman Kellerman: General, may I remind you that you are here to answer questions?

General Fnord: You're right, and while part of me is tempted to see how long I can drag this out we might as well get to it. Yes, the Soviet Air Force was responsible for delivering handwavium to NASA.

Chairman Kellerman: And you were aware at the time that all use of said substance is controlled by the Protecting America's Technological Security Act of 2008?

General Fnord: Of course. Hard to forget the law responsible for chasing you out of your home.

Chairman Kellerman: And provided them with the Handwavium anyway?

General Fnord: It was, as an acquaintance would say, a question of choosing what is right over what is easy. We chose what was right.

Chairman Kellerman: By that I assume you also mean that not providing them with the Handwavium would have been the 'Easy'. Very well, general... In your own words, would you explain to the committe WHY you felt this was the right choice, as compared to the easy one?

General Fnord: There are a number of reasons that factored into the decision, and I'm sure we'll end up discussing those in greater detail as the day goes on, but the decision was primarily made in accordance with Soviet long-term foreign and domestic policy.

The United States, like it or not, has a role to play in the greater development of the Solar System. A disproportionate number of fen are American in origin. Many if not most of the major power players in Fenspace today are like myself, former Americans who've renounced their citizenship or had it renounced for them de facto by the Technological Security Act. The United States is the third-largest trade partner with Fenspace, coming in just behind Australia and Japan. Greenwood Unlimited, the 800 pound gorilla in the asteroid belt, is an American-owned and American-held company. And on, and on.

Of the connections between Fenspace and the United States, the strongest is the civil space program run by NASA. Every single person in Fenspace grew up with NASA, we all have some positive feelings towards it. Moon shots, the space shuttle, ISS, all these things were part of the inspiration that founded Fenspace. We are all, down deep, fans of NASA.

When the Congress passed the Technological Security Act and handed all future space operations over to the Transrationality Science Assessment Bureau, many fen were concerned. In a moment of what we considered blind panic your government had crippled the civil space program we admired and transferred all operations over to a military organization. Handwavium ending up in the hands of a superpower was inevitable; that the United States immediately turned their research towards the military without any provision for civilian research or application suggested all sorts of things that made us worried. I'd like to think that the Committee is perceptive enough to understand why.

Now, with the benefit of hindsight our concerns were less immediate than we thought in 2009. The U.S. Air Force's grasping and ham-handed control of TSAB kept the organization neutralized through the recent conflict. However the central concern - the Technological Security Act and continued military-only control of Handwavium - remained and remains present.

The easy choice would have been to allow the status quo to continue. TSAB would eventually slide into irrelevance in the greater Solar System, though the damage done would ensure that the United States would be out of any new space race more or less permanently. To let a major part of the terrestrial political and economic engine shoot themselves in the head that way would be bad for Fenspace and Earth.

So the Central Committee, after much deliberation, set out to break the spine of the Technological Security Act, remove TSAB's stranglehold on Handwavium access and restore the American civil space program to its rightful place in the fen hierarchy. We did it with full knowledge and I wouldn't say 'malice' but with a certain amount of amused detachment aforethought. We knew that eventually somebody from our faction would be discussing the matter with your government, and we knew full well that there would be a potential international incident in the making.

We knew all this and we did it anyway because it was the right thing to do, for us and for you. You'll thank us for it later. Much later, probably. Does that answer your question, Senator?

Chairman Kellerman: Indeed it does, General. One last question before I yeild the floor to my committe members. Did you go to NASA, or did they come to you?

General Fnord: Like all good Christmas gifts, this one came as a surprise.


Rep. Bachmann: I'm curious about this 'Yuri's Night' festival you mentioned, Mr. Ford. Perhaps you can tell us exactly why NASA chose to celebrate a Russian holiday instead of something American?

General Fnord: That's Fnord, Congresswoman. I pronounce your name correctly, please have the courtesy to do the same.

Rep. Bachmann: I'm sorry; Mr. F'nord. The question still stands.

General Fnord: Well, I don't know, Congresswoman. Why do Americans celebrate the birth of an Israeli every December? Yuri's Night commemorates the first manned spaceflight, and since the guy was Russian, well. The nationality of the person is unimportant; it's what he did that matters.


Rep. Ferguson: Mr. Fnord, it's my understanding that the handwavium in question was delivered to NASA during a "Yuri's Night" celebration held at the John F. Kennedy Space Center. Considering what I've heard about lax safety procedures in space, especially around the person known as "The Professor", I need to know: Did the people who made this delivery have any concern whatsoever for the health and well-being of the people of central Florida, or did they risk inducing mutations in thousands of people by using slipshod containment procedures?

General Fnord: The hand-off was done with as much care as any other hazardous materials transfer. I dare say that the transfer was more conscientious than the majority of work done with toxic chemicals in central Florida, and that even in the one in a million chance the handwavium had spilled the only effect would have been to clean up the crap left behind by local industry and whatever drugs Disney puts in the water.

Rep. Ferguson: Are you suggesting that central Florida is heavily polluted?

General Fnord: Your words, not mine, Congressman. However, if you're interested in handwavium-based environmental remediation, I know a guy.

Rep. Ferguson: I see. As for the Professor?

General Fnord: The Professor was not involved with the handwavium transfer in any way, and furthermore he was on the far edge of the solar system at the time. While I understand and even occasionally approve of blaming the Professor for all sorts of things, this wasn't one of his. Let it go.

A Brief Digression Into Email

Subject: [smof-politics] Current affairs and overreactions
From: "Yayoi Fujisawa" (mamabear@stellvia.lib)
Reply-To: smof-politics@smofcon.fen
Date: 3/18/2014, 6:11 AM

Folks, I'm not used to speaking for my faction, so please forgive any mistakes I make here.

I just spoke with Queen Serenity in my capacity as Sailor Stellvia. She's speaking with all the Named Sailors about the proposal that Sailor Atalante put forward yesterday. For those who haven't heard about it yet, it's regarding the possibility of armed conflict over the outcome of the hearings between the United States Congress and the Voenno-Vozdushnye Sily that are scheduled to begin today.

First, as of this posting, the hearings haven't even started yet. Let's not fly off the handle; that will only encourage Congress to think the worst of us.

Second, I have standing instructions from Noah that Stellvia is not to initiate military action against any Earthbound political entity. I've relayed that to Queen Serenity, and am now informing everyone else of this standing policy.

While it would be foolish to ignore the possibility, it's extremely unlikely that the US would stage an attack against any political entity in space because of the large number of Australian citizens Up. I believe that a preemptive US attack against known Australians would put the ANZUS Pact in jeopardy, and they can't afford that right now.

Also, we're all tired from fighting a war against the Boskonians. Are we really ready to take up arms again, and watch as more of our friends and comrades die? Especially if it's only over our pride?

Noah will be back from his honeymoon on the 23rd; if he chooses to change this, he'll do so then, but unless and until that happens, this is official Stellvia policy on this matter: We are not preparing to re-arm.

Yayoi Fujisawa, Vice-President, Stellvia Corporation

Subject: Re: [smof-politics] Current affairs and overreactions
From: Kat Stewart (retstak@sovietairforce.fen)
Reply-To: smof-politics@smofcon.fen
Date: 3/18/2014 6:15 AM

Mal's too busy to play right now, but we told him about Atalante's proposal last night in the phone briefing. He wanted me to pass this message on verbatim:

"To the paranoids: The situation is an internal Soviet matter and will be handled by the Soviets. If any of you even think of doing something stupid as a gesture of solidarity there will be consequences.

"In short, everybody chill the fuck out. I got this."

So, yeah.

Col. Kat Stewart

Subject: Re: [smof-politics] Current affairs and overreactions
From: Blackstone (
Reply-To: smof-politics@smofcon.fen
Date: 3/18/2014 7:05 AM

> "In short, everybody chill the fuck out. I got this."

Quite. And to not put too fine a point on this, if anyone thinks they're going to war over this, they'll do it without Blazer support. We just got finished with a shooting war, and the Institute is still recovering. As should everyone. Take a deep breath, let the adrenaline subside, and think about something else. Let the lawyers handle this fight; if they're like Bob, they live for this.

On a related note, if anyone's interested in a boffer bag with Senator Kellerman's face on it, notify Nezumi ( She's putting together an order.

Hong Kong Cavaliers
Banzai Institute for Strategic and Biomedical Research

"Give me the money that has been spent in war and I will clothe every man, woman, and child in an attire of which kings and queens will be proud. I will build a schoolhouse in every valley over the whole earth. I will crown every hillside with a place of worship consecrated to peace." - Charle Sumner

Subject: Re: [smof-politics] Current affairs and overreactions
From: Jeph Antilles (lordandmaster@jmc.fen)
Reply-To: smof-politics@smofcon.fen
Date: 3/18/2014 8:12 AM

>> "In short, everybody chill the fuck out. I got this."

>Quite. And to not put too fine a point on this, if anyone thinks
>they're going to war over this, they'll do it without Blazer
>support. We just got finished with a shooting war, and the
>Institute is still recovering. As should everyone. Take a deep
>breath, let the adrenaline subside, and think about something
>else. Let the lawyers handle this fight; if they're like Bob,
>they live for this.

Seconded from over here. I am talking with my company's hired 'dog' on this one, just to make sure we have our own ducks in a row based on our own legitimate activities, but we certainly have no plans on reacting any more than that until the United States does something more than a bit of McCarthy Courting and drumheading. Then, we'll reconsider.

>On a related note, if anyone's interested in a boffer bag with
>Senator Kellerman's face on it, notify Nezumi
>( She's putting together an order.

Our order has been placed, we're going to give some out to our largest customers as party favors. *eg*

Subject: Re: [smof-politics] Current affairs and overreactions
From: Chris Marsden (
Reply-To: smof-politics@smofcon.fen
Date: 3/18/2014 8:23 AM

You all know how poorly I get along with Mal most days. But I'm with him on this one. In fact, I'm already in Washington (who do you think Kellerman grabbed for /first/, after all?).

Nobody's going to war over this unless we let them provoke us into starting something. And if we do that, we're playing into his hands. This is exactly what he wants us to do: give him the excuse he needs to crack down on all of us, once and for all.

Stand back, be patient, and /wait/.

To borrow a line.... you have nothing to fear but fear itself.

P.S. - Mal, I've got a hotel suite reserved for you right next door to mine, we can double up on security just in case I'm wrong about this.

Subject: [smof-politics] Re: Current affairs and overreactions
From: "Benjamin Rhodes" (blackaeronaut@roughrider.fen)
Reply-To: smof-politics@smofcon.fen
Date: 3/18/2014, 9:34 AM

Okay, folks, I have no idea what the hell went down over at Venus, but here's the facts:

Yes, I did have Atalante ask for HRM's support in the highly unlikely event things went severely south.

Yes, I am just a teensy bit paranoid here.

NO! I am NOT about to deploy ANY forces. What. So. Ever. At the most, I'm just kicking the tires and making sure things on my end will be ready to move at a moment's notice.

All due respect to you, Mal, you're not going to be the last person they'll come after no matter what precedent is set in the hearings to come. In fact, you're hardly alone here - they sent a subpoena to Chris as well. I'm just waiting for mine to get here (I'm the one holding actual USG Property, after all).

I've looked at Senator Kellermans background and he is exactly the kind of person to try and start a witch hunt.

So, don't worry, I'm not going to do anything untoward. I'm not out to start another war - I'm just making sure I got my bases covered. If that looks like war mongering to you... sorry, just the Texan in us. You all know my Mother and even she's been known to take the 'Nuke the bastards' mindset now and then. We are, after all, a mostly military operation. We will always wait until the first shot is fired, though.

Benjamin M. Rhodes
Master and Commander of the Roughriders
Santa Anna: "It now remains for him to be generous to the vanquished."
Sam Houston: "You should have thought of that at the Alamo."

Subject: [smof-politics] Re: Current affairs and overreactions
From: "Bob Schroeck" (rms@ourtown.fen)
Reply-To: smof-politics@smofcon.fen
Date: 3/18/2014, 11:41 AM

You know I'm just a bit confused on one thing -- witch hunt or not, what does Kellerman think he can do? I mean, as has been pointed out, we've just come out of a war footing. We have what amounts to a full gods-be-damned space navy. Our main 'Daneside port of call is in Australia. And hell, aren't we technically a sovereign nation (or federation of same, depending on who you ask)? To the best of my knowledge -- although I will gladly bow to the better-informed -- the US government has managed to field at best a handful of wavecraft. So what if we end up with bad press in the US because Kellerman's grandstanding for purposes of self-aggrandizement?

(Although I still maintain that if they do try to annex us -- excuse me, "repatriate us" -- we need to drop rocks on them. Big ones.)

-- Bob Schroeck, Citizen-at-large and part-time captain,
Grover's Corners, Inc., A Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of the Bavarian Illuminati

Subject: Re: [smof-politics] Current affairs and overreactions
From: Jeph Antilles (lordandmaster@jmc.fen)
Reply-To: smof-politics@smofcon.fen
Date: 3/18/2014 11:44 AM

>You know I'm just a bit confused on one thing -- witch hunt or not,
>what does Kellerman think he can do? I mean, as has been pointed
>out, we've just come out of a war footing. We have what amounts to
>a full gods-be-damned space navy. Our main 'Daneside port of call
>is in Australia. And hell, aren't we technically a sovereign nation
>(or federation of same, depending on who you ask)? To the best of
>my knowledge -- although I will gladly bow to the better-informed --
>the US government has managed to field at best a handful of
>wavecraft. So what if we end up with bad press in the US because
>Kellerman's grandstanding for purposes of self-aggrandizement?

I expect, Bob, that it's the idea of getting enough evidence together that we're Up To No Good that can be used to pressure the United Nations into issuing sanctions and things, and otherwise trying to make our existence difficult.

Obviously, we're not that dumb. :P

Subject: [smof-politics] Re: Current affairs and overreactions
From: "Benjamin Rhodes" (blackaeronaut@roughriders.fen)
Reply-To: smof-politics@smofcon.fen
Date: 3/18/2014, 11:55 AM

I'm glad you see things my way, Bob. Although I wouldn't go as far as dropping rocks (thinking of net casualties - we're not Santa Anna's army here). Instead, I'd make surgical strikes on targets that enable their space ability. Namely places of R&D where we can come in, smash their stuff, and get out with a minimum of bloodshed on both parties. TSAB would be a big target. So's Northrop-Grunman as well as Boeing. And let's not forget Raytheon - the last thing I want to be seeing is interplanetary cruise missiles! And don't you dare think that they aren't working on it. Nobody in the general public knew anything about the Manhattan project until the the first test.

And before someone else jumps in my shit about it, let me remind you about what I'm talking about: it does not hurt to be ready, both mentally and logistically. I'm not talking about moving troops or having 'training exercises'. I'm talking about having plans in place and making sure your equipment is in top shape. In the unlikely event of things going to shit, I want to give these ass-hats as few advantages as possible - I'm not having any more 'Alamo Massacres' like we did before.

Benjamin M. Rhodes
Master and Commander of the Roughriders
Santa Anna: "It now remains for him to be generous to the vanquished."
Sam Houston: "You should have thought of that at the Alamo."

Subj: [smof-politics] waaaugh (Was: Current affairs and overreactions)
From: Gen. Mal Fnord, VVS (fnord@sovietairforce.fen)
Reply-To: smof-politics@smofcon.fen
Date: 3/18/2014 10:39 PM

I can't leave you alone for one fucking day, can I? Jesus Christ.

Rhodes: What part of "chill the fuck out, I got this" were you incapable of understanding? I know you're Texan and therefore of inferior intelligence, but come on. I used words of one syllable!

If you were watching round one today, then you'd know that this is an internal Soviet matter, and it will be dealt with. By us. You are panicking over nothing. And in the vanishingly small chance that this does come to military action, based on your posts my first act will be to shoot you to keep things from escalating out of control.

tl;dr, calm the hell down or I'll tell KJ to send the Angry Marines to Atalante and they'll make you calm.


Roughriders HQ
36 Atalantae
22:45 GMT 18 March 2014

Benjamin blinked at the message on his screen and thought for a moment. He was feeling quite a few emotions at that particular moment in time. Most prominently was anger for having his inteligence and heritage insulted. Another was a mild pang of shame since it was a bit of rumor mongering. Ben could see Mal's point of view, but he just wished that Mal would come around to seeing it from his side of the forest. Part of what made people like Ben and Mal SMOFs was that even before they came up out of the gravity well they paid attention to the political scene. That is part of what seperates the leaders of Fen from the rest.

Benjamin could not help but see the political posturing for what he felt it was: the beginings of a witch hunt. And to be quite honest, he did not understand what in Skuld's name these people thought they were going to get out of it. As far as he could tell, someone just felt that they had to spread some misery around. Well, unfortunately it was starting to work.

For a few minutes, he wondered about how to respond to Mal's last message. Here, the conflicting emotions struck with a vengeance. After fifteen minutes of trying and failing, he simply decided to let it go. With the mindset that Mal had at this time, it'd only lead to more vitriol throwing.

Was Ben paranoid? He would gladly admit to it. He would go on to say that when you got as many precious people to protect as he did, it paid to be a little paranoid. To be honest it stressed him out a bit, though, so he figured he'd take Mal's advice and just chill. However, his mischievous side was not to be denied and, on his own money, Ben hired a reputable massues to pay Mal a house call. No matter how smooth or rough things may go, a Senate hearing is no picnic, and it's only fair that you follow your own advice.

(dun dun dun!)