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Out of Nowhere by Patrick LeClerc.
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Code Of Honor

by Harris Tobias


“Can’t this thing go any faster?” an agitated Ambassador Pike paced the flight deck of the Pistorius, the fastest ship in the Terran fleet. You didn’t want to be late for a rendezvous with the Drund. They were sticklers for protocol and punctuality. If he was late or, God forbid, missed the date completely, he would be responsible for the breakdown in negotiations and this stupid, endless war would continue. More lives would be lost and for what? Because he was a day late delivering the formal declaration of the end of hostilities. It was called the treaty to end the war but in truth it amounted to a de facto surrender of all Terran claims to Sector six. It was the fruit of many months of painstaking negotiations due to mistrust and misunderstanding on both sides.

Let them have sector six, thought the Ambassador, there’s nothing there worth dying for. And it is, after all, their home sector. Their security concerns are certainly understandable. But their insistence on a formal ceremony and a physical handing over of the treaty did seem a little over the top. But that was the Drunds for you, sticklers for appearances, ceremony and honor.

The Drund’s home world was 64.4 light years from Earth. Even the Pistorius would take over seven standard weeks to reach sector six. And that was assuming smooth sailing and flawless navigation— both unlikely events on a a faster than light journey through a wormhole. Wormhole travel was hard on electronics and small errors got magnified over such long distances. When the Pistorious emerged thousands of parsecs off course, Ambassador Pike was besides himself with worry. He paced the bridge and harangued the officers. This was one deadline they couldn’t afford to miss.

“We are going as fast as we can, sir,” was the constant reply from the crew. “I expect we’ll make it in time.” These words did not calm the harried ambassador. 

“You know how suspicious the Drunds are. They’ll think this was deliberate. They hardly trust us as it is.” The ambassador muttered to himself. There was every reason to believe that Pike was right. When he tried to explain the problem via a sub space message and begged the Drund to delay the signing ceremony. The Drund, immediately suspected some Terran trickery and refused to re-schedule threatening to scrap the treaty and resume the war. Pike’s insistence that he had the beautifully crafted, hand lettered and leather bound document in his possession did nothing to placate the Drund.

The Drund had every reason to be suspicious of their Terran adversaries. All during the war they were subject to one Terran dirty trick after another. To the Terrans war was war and winning was everything. The Drund did not play by those rules. They adhered to a rigid code of conduct even in wartime. Their dealings were honorable and they held the devious Terran forces in contempt for their dishonorable conduct. This was just one more reason to get there on time and conclude this war with honor and dignity. That, at least, was how Pike and the Drund saw it.

“Stupid, stupid, stupid,” muttered the ambassador under his breath. “Stupid honor code. Stupid wormhole. Stupid aliens. We need more speed.”

The officers on the bridge exchanged knowing glances. Finally the captain said, “Don’t worry Mr ambassador, according to our calculations we will just make it. It’ll be close and you may have to hurry but it looks like you’ll arrive with an hour to spare.” The captain winked to his first officer. They had no intention of surrendering. What they were delivering was enough explosives to destroy half the Drund planet and kill its leadership. All’s fair in love and war they say and the Terrans were about to teach the Drund just how unfair war was.




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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
A Felony of Birds

by Harris Tobias
The Greer Agency

by Harris Tobias
Assisted

by Harris Tobias
Hold The Anchovies

by Harris Tobias
Alien Fruit

by Harris Tobias
Peaceful Intent--Stories of human/Alien Interaction

by Harris Tobias
CHRONON--Time Travel

by Harris Tobias
The Stang

by Harris Tobias


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