November 5, 2006: 2:47 pm: UMC

On board Air Force One, President Chong sat bewildered, discussing the events with President Torres.
“It doesn’t make any sense. Why would Ford warn Narang, then shoot him.”
“He’s a bloody man.  Narang will recover, he wasn’t mortally wounded.  Ford’s just making his point.”
“Did you ever think he might have meant us to take your ship? That we’re in danger right now.
“Of course we are, nut even so, the security on AF1 is the best in the world.
“Sir?” A woman interrupted them. Chong lost his breath.
“Oh hello Samantha. This is President Chong of the United Moon Colonies. Rich, this is Samantha Malinao, Speaker of the House.”
“Pleasure to meet you President Chong. This concerns you too. Sir, we just received news the Paris Elevator has been damaged. A unit of UMC troops was descending to assist at Versailles. An explosion took out the stabilizers. There are 2 fatalities, 12 injured and the elevator is damaged.”
Chong stared at Malinao. She had long black hair, and deep chocolate brown eyes. She wasn’t a bombshell in the classic sense, but she had quite an affect on Chong’s attention. He had never married or even dated much, leading to all kinds of speculation on his love life and sexual tendencies.  The truth was he was bisexual but so concerned with his job he didn’t have time to pursue sexual relationships much. He had once though he and Lawrence would hook up, but realized he probably wasn’t Lawrence’s type, and besides they worked too closely.
“Chong?  Do you need to contact your staff?”
Chong shook himself out of it. “Yes, yes of course. I’ll be right back.”
“We have to return to Serenity sir. It’s not just about your safety at this point,” Lawrence said when he found him at the back of the ship.
“You’re right Lawrence. We’ll take the New York elevator. But we’re coming right back down.”
“Very good sir. I’ll make the arrangements.”
“Don’t smirk Lawrence.”
“Of course not, sir.  I never smirk.”
Chong returned to his seat to find Speaker Malinao in it.
“Oh I’m sorry President Chong…”
“Call me Richard, or just Chong like Rudy here.”
Malinao raised an eyebrow.
“It’s just more efficient.”
“Of course, Chong. Would you like your seat back.”
“That’s fine.  I’ll sit here, and took the empty seat next to Torres.”
“So what’s the scoop Rich.  YOu need to head back I expect.”
“Yes, Lawrence is arranging it now.  I’ll take the New York elevator back up but I’m coming right back down. I intend to be in Omaha tomorrow.”
“That’s what happened,” Malinao interjected. “That’s why they shot Minister Narang.  He was headed to Omaha as well. They want you there alone.”
“Well they would have known all our itiniraries, that’s true,” said Torres. “I can’t go to Omaha. I have a conference on Naval redeployment for the next three days. It’s not like you’ll be undefended, but the fewer dignitaries the fewer troops.”
“Not just that,” said Malinao with a smile that melted Chong. “It’s also to have you isolated.  No friends around.  Terranists like to play mind games.”
“Well, I’m going anyway. I can beef up the guards but I feel with a man like Ford it matters little.”
“Ford?” Malinao looked suprise.
“Uh, she hadn’t been briefed,” explained Torres.
“John ford is the man after me.  It’s not just the Terranists against the UMC. It’s somehow personal.  Ford lost his family in Omaha.”
“And you’re going there on purpose,” Malinao had a look of respect, which Chong hoped included a little admiration. “That seems really stupid.” So much for admiration.
“I want to beat Ford and beta him quick.  The problem with all people like him is letting them rule the debate.  Trying to go after them, trying to eliminate them or comat them.  They don’t plan for direct confrontation, they plan for games and strategy. I’m attempting to foil his plans by doing exactly what he doesn’t think I’ll do. Unfortunately he forced my hand with the elevator. So he’s ahead. I wish there was a way I could go directly to Omaha from Serenity, but I’m limited to the elevators, at least from space.”
“Why not have a UMC ship take you direct from Luna?” Malinao asked.
“Because Chong thinks the military efforts are too important to waste time carting his ass around,” Torres butted in.
“But surely    this is an exception, no?”
Chong shifted uneasily. “I suppose it could be. If there’s a mission headed that way anyway, but there’s probably not. ”
“What if I pick you up?” Malinao offered.
“What?  From Luna?” Chong asked shocked.
“I was thinking from ISS 5.”
ISS 5 was the UN orbital station. Chong would need special permission to fly there, but Torres could get him that. However he could only leave from there if he was traveling back to Luna, unless someone else gave him a ride.
“You can do that?”
“I’m not such a masochist as you, Chong. I have a ship at the speaker’s command and I intend to use it.”
Chong laughed at the insult. He would have laughed if she slapped him, he thought. “OK. So why aren’t you in your personal carriage right now?”
“I said I’m not a masochist.  I’m also not wasteful.  No need to take two ships where one works.”
“Then I accept.  Rudy, can you get me landing..”
“Yaah, yeah, you two have fun. I’ll get you ISS privilegs. Just do me a favor and don’t get our SPeaker killed, all right.  She might be the next President.
Malinao looked a bit embarrassed for the first time.
In New York, Chong had little time to say goodbye before he was whisked out to Jamaica Bay to the elevator.
“I think Speaker Malinao’s plan is sound,” Offered Lawrence during the ride up to platform 70. That was unlike Lawrence, who rarely offered any kind of unsolicited advice.
“You’re starting to get downright pushy Lawrence,” said Chong.
“Pardon me sir, but if it saves your butt, I’ll do it. I hope you don’t mind.”
“I always thought you were a bit too deferential anyway.”
Lawrence chuckled slightly.
“What?” Chong turned to see his aide struggling to keep a straight face.
“Sorry sir.”
“No out with it, what?”
Lawrence sighed and lost all compsure as he put on a dead-on imitation of Chong’s voice. “Lawrence, I know we’ve been friends for a long time but now I’m the President.  This doesn’t change our friendship but we have to act like professionals.”
“Which you agreed to!” Chong was starting to get a little angry.
“And which you’re now telling me I can ease off of. I guess it’s natural when we’ve been at it for seven years. Still sir, it just struck me funny.  I apologize.”
There was nobody else in the car to hear the conversation, but they both new it would be observed and recorded for security purposes.
“Fine,” Chong sighed. “I hereby give you a Presidential order to lighten up a bit.”
“Very good Rich.  Sorry, can’t do it sir. We have a staff meeting at the capitol, then we need to head to Armstrong, to the Floy Center for a UMC business council address, the Clavius this evening for a University meeting, then New Canaveral for your shuttle flight to ISS 5.”
“You certainly know how to pack an agenda Lawrence.  Any way of skipping the University?”
“Well they’ve been waiting for you to attend for months and the shuttle can’t leave until late anyway. So it wouldn’t hurt.  You don’t have to speak or do anything but eat their dinner and smile.”
“I’d rather be alone, but all right. It’s important. Thanks Lawrence.”
The elevator arrived at platform 70 and UMC guards escorted the President and his chief aide to the waiting shuttle to take them to the Serenity colony on the Moon.

November 4, 2006: 4:32 pm: UMC

While the Worlds War engaged every single nation on Earth and the Moon, some were the primary movers.  Her are described the main national members of the sides of the war.

Fundamental Union of Nations (Fundys)
The Fundys believed they were inspired directly by guide to wipe the Earth of sinners and sinful ways.  They held no value for either their own lives or the lives of others. They had been considered terrorists or extremists in their areas of operation until they formed a worldwide union to set aside their differences and coordinate their efforts. What had been Islamic, Christian, or Jewish militaristic movements sometimes at each others throats, were brough together under one anner by Abraham G. Touareg at the council of Caracas. Touareg’s Fundamental Union party won control of the Venezuelan government then expanded his party’s control quickly around the world.

Venezuela – One of the brightest economic lights of the southern hemisphere before Fundy control, Venezuela became the central base of operations for Touareg and his party. Where Caracas had once been the financial capitol of South America, Touareg dismantled its economy and fed on its strength to make the Fundys strong. It is said that the economic success of Venezuela came to quickly for the country to cope, opening the way for Touareg to take control by appearing to bring the country back to basics. At its height, Venezuela controlled two-thirds of South America and claimed most of Central America as satellite states.

African Confederacy – Venezuela formed alliances quickly with more fundamentalist governemnts in Africa, and sooned formed a continent-wide confederacy to meet and discuss matters of world importance.  The African COnfederacy became a counterpoint to the UN where in Touareg’s words, “the moral nations of the world can meet unmolested by sinful ideas, in order to discuss how to bring God’s plan into being.” Odwale Mbeko rose to prominence as leadr of the Confederacy and Touareg’s puppet and right-hand man.

United Arabia – The tumultuous history of Arabia had seemed to finally be resolved with the formation of the United Arabian Government. However, Touareg’s funding caused the Fundys to take power there and start rolling back the clock, reinstituting fundamentalist laws and programs.

Israel – The shining example of the power of diplomacy fell when the Jewish arm of the Fundys took control and dismissed the Gnesset. Israel became partners with Touareg and United Arabia in a policy of repatriation and appropriate occupation, now known as The Purgings.

Fundamental States of America
An uprising in the midwest of Fundys secured several state governments and attempted to take over the Federal Governemnt of the US as well. The states were kicked out and a second civil war erupted.

Fundamental European Union
Scattered provincial governemtns fell to the Fundys throughout Europe, starting one of the most complicated theatres of war ever as two European Unions existed at once over essentially one territory with millions of fronts between many different sects and populations.  Europe was the scene of the bloodiest battlegrounds in the war. The F.E.U. based itself in Vatican City, holding the Pope as a hostage and mouthpiece for their work.

Alliance of Nations (Later Alliance of Worlds)
The Alliance grew slowly as Venezuela marched south into South America, and slowly converted Africa to their cause. American countries foremed the first Alliance begun by Mexico. Europe joined next, led by France and Russia. The entry of China was felt to be the key to turning the tide, but only the entry of the UMC put the Alliance on the road to victory.

As Venezuela began taking over its South American neighbors, Mexico declared war and attempted to free Brazil and other of its allies.

When Venezuela caused several Central American countries to invade southern Mexico, Canada joined the war.

United States of America
The rebellion of the midwestern states, moved the US into the war on Venezuela.  Mexico, Canada, and the US formed the first Alliance of Nations against the Fundys.

France, Britain, Russia (European Union)
The non-linear attacks and victories acrossed Europe caused some individual conuntries like Germany and Italy to become non-functional. France Britain and Russia are created with keeping the EU governemtn going during the war.

Touareg originally signed a peace treaty with China and kept them out of the war, until the African Confederacy began to move into southeast Asia. China declared war on Africa, and Venezuela declared this a violation of their treaty and sent tropps into China.

United Moon Colonies
The last nation to enter the war, along with the tiny independent Moon colony, Cana.  The UMC held a distinct tactical advantage, able to deploy troops from space anywhere they were needed.  The UMC forces were also fresh and easily supplied as the Fundys had little experience with space-based defense.  They knew enough to block Earth access but could not cope with UMC attacks from above. The great space elevators were expanded  and used to shuttle troops and supplies between key points on Earth and the Moon. The UMC involvement turned the tide of the war and led to Touareg’s death and the fall of the Fundys.

: 3:55 pm: UMC

This is part of a story being written for National Novel Writing Month. 

Lawrence made for the door but Ford was quickly over with a gun next to Chong’s head.
“No, Mr. Lawrence.  I don’t wish to be disturbed. Besides. I’m not going to kill Mr.  Damn.  Pardon me.  PRESIDENT Chong.  Not yet. They probably have warned you baout me.  I am dangerous now.  I’m aware of that.  But I’d rather not kill you.  That’s why I’ve risked my own life.  So you understand Mr. President?  My own life is at risk right now.  I’m risking my life to save you.”
Ford kept the gun at Chong’s head, moving it around slowly as he circled the President. He was almost massaging Chong’s head with the barrell. All the time keeping an eye on Lawrence who still stood next to the door.
“Mr. lawrence, please.  You’ll be more comfortable sitting down.” He moved the gun off Chong momentarily and waved it toward a couch. “Please.  Have a seat.”
Lawrence moved over to the couch, keeping his eyes on Chong for any kind of sign as to what he should do.
“So you see, Mr. President.” Ford spat out the words this time. “I’m paying you back.  You risked your life, and the lives of your so-called countrymen to defate the Fundys. I respect that action.  I truly do. And so I return the favor.  But you’re madmen.  You indiscriminately kill in order to get your result. As you have seen, I can respect that too.  Though I narrowed my bombs focus a little.  I didnt wish to kill.  So I’m not quite up to par with the United Moon Colony fforces, am I?
“But I’m a follower of yours President Chong.  An acolyte, if you will.  I follow your example.  Even if I’m learning and didn’t get it quite right today.  I didn’t kill anyone see?  Didnt rob anyone of their wife and children.  But I noted you came down the elevator alone. A good symbol.  So I folloed it.” Ford smiled widely and waved the gun out away from Chong to gesture. “I came here alone too. In order to deliver you…”
Lawrence had his arm in a tight grip.  He’d dropped his guard briefly and neither of the other men had missed it. Chong was around Ford in a split second and the gun was on the floor. But Ford was not to be trifled with.  He swung both arms forward and knocked both men to the floor. He was almost back to the gun when Lawrence leaped toward it too. Chong had started shouting from the moment they had jumped Ford and the guards had come running into the room.
Ford looked up and smiled.
“Oh Mr. President Chong. I guess you’ll have to hear my message in a different way.  If you hear it at all. Remove your troops now.  Thayt’s really the short version.”
As if anticipating the firing, Ford was out the window and gone before the guards could stop him.”
“He can’t have gone far,” said Lawrence, but when they looked out the window, there was nothing.  One of the guards ha dalready run to alert security, but Ford wasn’t found.
The guards insisted on remaining in the room and Chong had to presuade them not to stay in his bedroom.  It’s not that he couldn’t have slept with them there, he just felt it was ovverreacting, and overreaction is exactly what Ford wanted.

The next morning Minister Narang met Chong in the hallway on his way to breakfast.
“Good Morning Mr. President. So I see you didn’t take President Torres’ advice, at least not yet.”
“No Minister.  I’m certain it’s good advice, but I’m not ready to run.  In fact I made a decision on my next action this morning in the shower.”
The Minister raised an eyebrow. “Oh really? Do tell.  If you don’t mind my knowing.”
“Not at all.  I intend to have Lawrence set up a press conference today. I’m going to Omaha.”
“Is that right?”
“You don’t seem as surprised as I would have expected, Minister.  I’m disappointed.”
Narang gave a sly smile. “I won’t go so far as to say I have you figured out, President Chong. But I daresay I expect you to surprise at this point.  I couldn’t have predicted you’d go to Omaha next, but it is the kind of thing that seems to fit.  Do you know what I’m getting at?”
“Yes.  I guess so.”
“Besides, it is also where I’m headed after the peace conference.  So I’m pleased that I may get the pleasure of your company again.”
“Do you always talk like this?”
“Like what?”
“Like a storybook.”
“Well it’s damned odd.  Why are you going to Omaha?”
“To appear in front of the troops. The small European aid contingent that’s there is largely British. They won’t be needed for much longer, but we need to boost morale to get them over the hump until the end.”
“What a coincidence.”
“Are you satying for the rest of the conference I hope?”
“And then you hope to draw out Ford.”
“I hope to kill him.”
This stopped the Minister. “Now that. Was unexpected.”
“I’m glad I could finally surprise you.”
They had arrived in the Great Hall and Chong sought out Lawrence to inform him of the plans.
Lawrence was no easily persuaded this was th ebest way to go about things, but in the end, Chong was President.
The media had been largely absent because of the tight security controls, but they had been allowed in to view the signing today.  Most of them were pestering the poor Security Chief and taking video of the bomb site, now covered in canvas on one end of the hall.
The meeting was long and boring with many speeches from the different leaders and the great moment of the official signing of the peace treaty with the former Fundy nation’s representatives. Chong’s speech was scheduled immediately after the signing.  It was explained to him that the first words in an era of peace should come from the UMC. Lawrence had explained to him that nobody would bother listening once the treaty was signed.  And it was true.  About two thirds of the cameras and reporters left the hall immediately after the signing. They had published their video.  Now on to other work.
As the national leaders took their seats again, Chong approached the podium. Applause rippled through the crowd. Of those left, most all recognized the great contribution of the UMC. While some still belittled the upstart nation, and others worried about the larger role they now held on Earth, none of them were ungrateful for the support they gave.  If he would ever have the world’s ear it would be now. The remaining press corps would report his words and if he did it right, would end up with a scoop.
“Thank you assembled leaders and distinguished guests. 100 years ago, my Grandfather was a member of a similar conference as this. Peace was the goal, but there was no moral high ground for either side. An uneasy peace was reached that has festered ever since.  This day is different for many reasons. The Fundamental Union of Nations was a scourge unseen on this world for a long time. They rose out of Earth’s failings, and for a time, I’m embarrassed to say, some in my governemtn were symptahetic to their complaints.  But their policies were abhorrent. Their methods unacceptable, adn in the end they became not just a problem for the entire Earth, but for all of humanity.
“It was not popular to enter what was essentially a five front war. Especially on a planet that had an uneasy relationship with us. Many said to leave Earth to itself and stay out of it. But we could not. In the end we won more than just peace by joining this war.  We won understanding. In a sense we’re declaring peace in two wars here. Not only the end of the Fundamental Union’s war on humanity, but the final healing peace between Luna and Terra.  The Moon and Earth.
“But our work and responsibility is not done.  The UMC forces could just leave, and many would like us too. But we must leave things better than we found them. History has shown that wars fought with no end, end in other wars.  We will not let that happen. I will leave form here and personally inspect the conditions in every UMC occupied area, and then consult with the Alliance Countries on an exact plan for rebuilding and withdrawal.
“I will visit Caracas, and ensure that the vibrant economy that once flourished there, retruns. I will visit our administrative region in Gabon and see to it that the Anthropological INstitute can resume it’s work. In United Arabia, i will personally investigate how to get energy systems back up and running in responsible hands. In Europe I’ll speak with unit administartors in the Vatican.
“But my first trip will be to America. To Omaha. To the site of the bombing and our military police in the midwest. A man named John Ford recently threatened my life if the UMC did not leave this world.  He’s upset with what happened in the war. Well so am I.  But I will not do people the disservice of leaving before we’ve put things right.  And I will not let confusion rise over what the Fundys did and what we did.  And we will tak responsibility for what we did.
“A song became popular during this war.  Its words referred to the Looneys coming and thank god the looneys are here. I’ll take the backhanded, light-hearted compliment of that song. The Looneys as some call us have a way of doing things that has led to the creation of a strong band of united colonies. When we find adversity, we defeat it and make things better. We will do that, depart, and leave you to do the rest.  Thank you.”
“A mixture of reaction met the ned of Chong’s address. Some leaders showed obvious shock at the revelation of John Ford’s agenda, that they had worked hard to keep secret. Others clapped lightly and politely at what they considered a self-serving and pompous sermon. But the majority of the press, aides and lower level guests cheered heartily.  They were the ones till glad the Looneys had ocme to save them.  They valued the straight talking of Chong. ‘Moon men play straight’ was another saying that had grown up during the war.
Chong hadn’t planned to announce the visit to Omaha or speak of John Ford directly when he started the speech.  he could already see the frustration in Lawrence’s eyes.
“We’ll figure it out, Lawrence, don’t look at me like that.”
Venezuela, The African Confederacy, United Arabia, and Israel, North America, and Europe.
“You’ll be the death of me, Mr. President.”
“I got here by trusting my instincts. We beat the Fundys by trusting my instincts.  I don’t mean to be too full of myself, but I figure my good luck may run a little longer.”
“As you say, Mr. President. Gravity doesn’t make a man, it’s the way he jumps.”
“I never say that.”
“But you sure act the part of the old-time Moon Man quite well.”
“Point taken.”
The press conference was scheduled in an alcove off from the elevator banks. After speaking to the press, Chong would ride back up to Serenity in the UMC, take care of some business, then take another elevator back down to New York and fly a UMC transit ship to Omaha.
The Press Conference went off without a hitch.  The questions were almost entirely about the trip to Omaha and the revelation about John Ford, but nothing Chong couldn’t handle. At the very end, Lawrence had a habit of taking a few questions from the unofficial press.  These were upstarts with no real press credentials trying to build a name or business. The final question came from a recently popular political intrigue writer named only Bex. She was faddish hit who liked sensational material and had been eating up the John Ford story.
“Mr. President.  Are you aware of the connection between John Ford and the British Minister Narang?”
“I’m aware that Mr. Ford used to be a key negotiator and has connections to almost every leader on Earth, and even me.”
“I’m speaking of their relationship as brothers.  Did you know Mr. Narang is the half-brother of Mr. Ford?”
The rest of the press corps groaned.  This was the ype of sensational rumour Bex thrived on.  It needed no basis in fact.
“No.  I’m not aware that that is true.”
“But it is true Mr. Presidet.  I have hear documentation…”
Lawrence attempted to cut her off. “That will be all for now.  The President will be holding his next confernce after his landing in New York tomorrow…”
Suddenly the doors to the room burst open and Minister Narang came in holding his belly and breathing heavily.  He stumbled up the aisle to Chong barely able to breathe or speak. “Don’t take the elevator.  Ford has it. My brother will get you.” He passed out.

November 3, 2006: 9:32 pm: UMC

Chong couldn’t help it. He laughed.

“I’m sorry Mr. President, but your presentation strikes me as melodramtic. Ther is someone named John Ford who wants to kill me to encourage the withdrawal of UMC troops from Earth. I understand. So what do we do?

The American President arrived at that moment and joined the conversation.

“You need to go home, Chong. The business of this conference can finish behind closed doors without you. Your man Lawrence seems very capable. The only point of contention can be worked out here this evening.” The American President tried to look like a commander. You could tell he was used to being doubted but still used to getting his way. The Fundys in the United States had been the most vicous and the US repsonse had been the most criticized in the early stages of the war. However, the US had also held out the strongest of any Fundy occupied territory and held out the longest before the UMC entered the war. You could see every line of that experience in his face.

Chong had communicated quite often with the American President, Rodrigo Torres, through the course of the war.

“Thank you for your concern Rudy. I mean it. And I may take your advice. But let’s get down to business first and worry about that later.”

The leaders were drawn into two camps. One camp led by the China and the European countries argued for a long-term occupation with a strong rebuilding plan directed by the occupying forces with a 10-year plan for elections and resunption of local control.

The American leaders and the UMC preferred a very short term military occupation with a longer term advisory council moving quickly into hybrid local control, while still waiting for a ten-year period before withdrawing entirely.

At one point China insisted that no matter what agreement they reached, their military would tsay in occupied territories for security. This angered even the Europeans and threatened to break down discussion.

“Let’s wait for moment,” said Chong. “If China wishes long-term military occupation so be it. I propose we cede our territory to them immediately to restructure as they will. The UMC forces will withdraw now.” The President got up to leave during the stunned silence.

He made it out the door where Lawrence was waiting for him and seemed surprised.

“So you’ve come to an agreement?”

“Not exactly.”

“President Chong?” It was the British Minister. “Before you leave, the Chinese Premiere would like a word with you.

“Very good. I’ll be right back Lawrence.”

“You’ve made your point Mr. President,” said the Chinese Premiere. We will negotiate the military term.”

The rest of the meeting was awkward and uncomfortable, but ultimately productive. Most of all Chong had bluffed his way into discovering just how much leverage the UMC had. His was the only territory that had not experienced any fighting. His was the only Army with minimal losses. He didn’t have the tactical advantages to rule the territories he occupied but he could certainly get his way.

After the meting President Torres walked him to his room.

“I mean it Rich. You need to get back for your own safety. There’s no reason he couldn’t compromise the elevator. The sooner the better.”
“Thanks Rudy, but I have to see some stuff through and I’m not worried. I’m really not.  Maybe I should be but I’m not.  I think what he really wants is to make me leave and weaken our standing.  I’m not playing into that.”
“He’s willing to kill you if you don’t.”
“How do you know so much about him.”
“Because he used to be a top advisor to all of us before the War.  He was the UN economic liasion.”
“THAT Ford? Well I guess I wouldn’t know him but I certainly remember him.  He wanted a free trade pact with us but nobody would let down their guard.  What happened to him?”
“During the War his family was killed and he led a home guard division voluntarily in Omaha.”
“Was he there when….?”
“Yep. You bet. The UMC terror bombing, he calls it.”
“It was a mistake.”
“He doesn’t care and he wants you dead.”
“This is my room.”
“Think abou it Rich.  Good night.”
Lawrence opened the door and Chong walked into his room to find John Ford lounging on the couch.
“Mr. Chong.  I’m sorry, President Chong. Thank you for coming.  I won’t be long.  I just have some brief business to take care of with you.”

November 2, 2006: 11:30 pm: UMC

After checking into his room, Chong was called to a small meeting of dignitaries prior to dinner. Most of the delegates to the peace meetings had stayed including the representatives of the defeated countries.  The business of the meeting interrupted by the bomb, had been mostly introductory and ceremonial. Tomorrow the treaty would be signed after the remaining few disputes over wording had been hashed out.

Most of the terms of the treaty had been worked out beforehand in diplomatic conferences. Most all the remaining changes were small concessions to the defeated countries, who had not been invited to the diplomatic conferences. Minister Narang of Britain called a few principles to meet before dinner to discuss the one true point of negotiation, the term of the occupation.

“Ah, President Chong, thank you so much for coming on such short notice.  It’s been quite a day hasn’t it.  Please come in.”

Chong was impressed that Narang opened his own door. It was something Chong  would have done and worried that his effort at being modest would be misinterpreted as unsophisticated.

The leaders of France and Russia, China, Mexico, and Canada were in attendance.

“President Adams is on his way. He’s the last one we’re waiting for.  Can I get you a drink?” offered Narang.

Chong asked for a water, and to his great shock, Narang went off to fetch the drink himself.

“We have no servants here tonight Chong. This meeting is supposed to look as if it’s about the treaty but it is not,” said the French President. “While you have proved a great help in the bombing investigation, we already know who set the bomb and why. We’re meeting to determine an immediate course of action tonight.”

Chong tried to look nonplussed. “How can you be so sure?”

“Because the criminal left word with the heads of Europe and America. His name is John Ford.  He’s not a Fundy but he is a Terranist and he beleives the UMC should be removed form Earth at once.  He wants his victim to know everything about why he is dying.  He’s after you Mr. Chong.  He wants you dead.”

: 6:38 pm: UMC

The guards had Chong almost all the way back to the elevator before he collected himself.

“Stop.  We’re not going to run.  I want to find out what happened here.”

“Sir, it’s not safe,” started one of the guards.

“I’m not interested in that right now.  Get me to the security center.”

The guards took the President to the area they had been told to use for security questions where he was referred to the actual security offices.

Outside the office, a functionary attempted to brush him away.

“I’m sorry sir, but we’re busy pursuing leads on this.  If you’ll just remove yourself to a safe location.  We’ll update your ministry as soon as possible.”

“I’m not going anywhere.  I want to talk to the head of security now,” said Chong.

“Sir.  I’m terribly sorry this has happened but it is just not possible for you to speak with the head.  He is dealing with this situation. He has no time.”

“He’ll make time for me.” Chong pushed his way past the outraged man.  He had decided if he was to be viewed as an offworld backwards ruffian, he might as well act the part where it benefited him.

With the functionary on his tail he found the head of security at his office going over a report.

“What is the meaning of this!” cried the security chief, standing up as Chong burst into the room still followed by the functionary and the two UMC guards. Lawrence had chosen to wait outside.

“I am President Richard Chong of the United Moon Colonies. You mkay remember us as one of the reasons you’re not in a compulsory religious internment camp right now.”

“Mr. President, I uh… understand your indignation, howver I am trying..”

“Shut up and listen to me! Your mole planted the bomb using a detrailing device.  I recognise the signature of the blast from mining work at New Canaveral. A detrailing device like that leaves a DNA goldmine in it in skin flakes because of the intricate setting mechanism, if you can find it. They bury themselves after detonation.  I can show you where if you’ll allow me to accompany you to the blast site.”

“Our mole?”

“Yes mole. It’s the only way a detrailing device could get in this place. They’re not unobtrusive unless you bring them in in small pieces over time. Now do you want my help?”

The security chief had less of a look of surprise than the UMC guards, but still showed some.

“Right this way.”

Chong left the guards posted outside the great hall and spent a few minutes investigating the blast site. The French team working on the site showed no small amount of confusion over what he was doing. He crawled around on his knees, seeming to sniff the air over certain patterns of crakcs in the wall and floor.  After about five minutes of this odd behaviour, he called Lawrence over.

“Are you seeing what I’m seeing Lawrence?”

Lawrence looked uncomfortable, shifting his gaze between the staring French workers and his boos, the President of the UMC.

“What is that, sir?”

“Come on Lawrence. Don’t pretend we didn’t spend two summers deep under New Cav recovering these damn things for beer money. It looks like a Terran-made Caterpillar brand and I think it dug and detonated.  Right there.” The President finished pointing to a black indentation in the floor where several cracks seemed to meet in a starburst.

Lawrence lost a bit of his self-consciousness as he looked.

“You know you’re right.  Those are hard to come by.  Seems unlikely, but it sure fits the pattern.”

“Hard to come by on Luna you mean. Not so hard to come by in France when the factory’s in Stuttgart.”

The security chief finally intervened. “I’m sorry but I’m not following what you are saying. Do you mind explaining?”

Chong felt a little glow of pride at this.

“Of course chief, I’m sorry. It looks like your mole used Caterpillar brand self-detonating detrailer device.  A detrailer is a mining machine.  Without getting to much into it, it blasts rock to cover up marks made by other mining equipment. If you want a real smooth overlay, you need a self-detonating detrailer.  One that blows itself up after it’s done.  In a mining situation this leaves a perfect aftermark.  Something you can deal with.  In the halls of Versailles it’s not so pretty but it’s essentially the same thing. The detrailer blew off the wall creating a leveled path here, then buried itself over here and blew itself up.”

“You said something about Stuttgart I believe?” The Chief was starting to think like a security man again.

“The beauty of self-detonating detrailer for a criminal, is that it leaves no trace. If you don’t have someone familiar with these kind of devices, you’ll never find it and never know what did it.  But I recognise the pattern.  It’s the mark of a Caterpillar Detrailer.  They’re made her on Terra at Stuttgart. If I were you,” and here Chong began to assume a more presidential air. “And I wouldn’t presume to give orders to such a highly capable man.  But if I were in your situation, I might try digging down under that black mark and running DNA tests on anything you find.  Some organic material might have survived the blast. I would also call Catterpillar in Stuttgart and find out who has obtained Caterpillar Detrailers in the last few months and if any have gone missing.”

The Security Chief ordered his functionary to do just that, then turned to Chong. “Thank you very much.  I am sorry about the confusion earlier. How may I reach you if I have further questions?  We are lucky to have an expert such as yourself willing to assist.”

“I believe I’m staying here. Unless those arrangements have changed?”

“Well in light of the current situation I hardly think someone such as yourself would want…”

“Oh I want,” Chong smiled. “I want to be as close to this as possible. That detrailer was a prelude, nothing more. I intend to prevent the sequel from occurring.”

November 1, 2006: 11:51 pm: UMC

This is my effort at NanoWriMo 2006.

President Chong entered the great hall and saw the delegates of the ancient countries of Earth milling about and talking as if they were at a school mixer or office party.  Nobody turned to notice the leader of the United Moon Colonies.

A waiter approached with a drink and Chong took it gratefully as a distraction. The diplomat excused himself by saying he would announce Chong’s arrival.  Eventually the leader of the British Isles approached and introduced himself. This was especially insulting, as the two had met twice before. However it was before the war, and Chong got the impression it was meant to be self-deperecating rather than insulting.

“You’ve helped us so much, President Chong, I hope we can show sufficient appreciation. Our worlds have been apart far too long.  Cheers,” said the Minister

The minister held up his glass towards Chong and looked as if he expected him to do something. Chong was not well-versed in these Terran pleasantries and balked for a second.  He felt suddenly like the country simpleton he knew many in this room held him and his countrymen to be.

But rather than make him feel stupid, the Minister saved them both.

“It’s an old British custom, I’m afaraid.  Sort of old, quaint and stupid but I hope you don’t mind my sharing it with you. Nothing to it really.  You just clink the glasses together and say cheers.”

Chong was impressed by the Minister’s ability to save the situation.  He touched his glass to the Minister’s and said cheers. At that moment his advisors entered the room.  The guards waited outside. Chong could tell his chief advisor looked fairly impressed at how he was getting on.

“Learning an old British custom Lawrence.  You should try it. You wish someone well, or say something hopeful, if I’ve got it right Minister.  Then say cheers and touch glasses. Cheers.”

Chong held his glass towards Lawrence who had just taken one from a passing tray.

“Uh… cheers,” replied Lawrence and almost smashed the glasses.  The Minister chuckled but before Chong could reprimand his advisor, the Diplomat who had accompanied him from the elevator announced that it was time for everyone to take their seats.

“I believe you’re over here just by me, Mr. President,” said the Minister cheerily.
There was a large table set int he middle of the room for all the heads of state. Advisors were seated along the walls of the room directly behind their leaders. The UMC was along one side fairly near the middle between Britain and Germany.  France, as the host of the event took the head on one end of the table.  The American President, for an unknown reason, took the head on the other end.

In addition to the alliance countries, representatives from Venezuela, The African Confederacy, United Arabia, and Israel were in attendance. These were the four nations of the Fundys as they were called. Along with uprisings of their supporters in North America and Europe, these nations had started the war and almost won it.

Of course these representatives were not the leaders of the war. Those still living were under UN supervision in Miami awaiting trial by the World Court. These were the recognised representatives of the defeated countries, here to accept the terms of the ending of the war.  It was merely symbolic.  All these nations were occupied.  Each of them was split up into areas controlled by UMC light forces, North American Army, European Union Brigades and Chinese Regulars. The fighting had ended over a month ago. This was meant to bring closure to the bloodiest period of Earth’s history yet and attempt, again, to make sure it never happened again.

The French President rose to speak.

“On behalf of the European Union, and the people of France, I welcome you to Versailles.  A rich and ancient hall that has seen its share of history and is steeped int he business of peace-making. May the efforts made in its….” The unthinkable happened.

An explosion ripped through the south end of the hall, knocking down a quarter of the wall behind the French President.  He was thrown to the ground and the leaders all scurried away from that end of the room as security guards from all the nations rushed into the room.

October 27, 2006: 6:00 pm: UMC

President Chong stepped toward the elevator door and turned quickly before his aides and guards could enter.

“You’ll take the next car.”

The guards obeyeed his command but Lawrence his chief aide protested.

“Mr. President, you must….”

“I must go alone.  It is a powerful symbol.  What we’ve done so far to help has only bought us their ear I must underline it to make the lesson last.”

At that the door closed and he began the descent from Platform 86 down to Earth.

As he watched the wisps of atmosphere form around him and felt the natural gravity move in, Chong thought about what led them to this point. The United Moon Colonies, the UMC, had rebelled from Terran control about a decade before he was born.  They had laboured not only for existence but respect ever since.

When the colonial powers abandoned their “police action” on Luna, they also abandoned everything but the merest pretenses of assistance and even trade.  If the Moon Colonies wanted to go it alone they could. And they did.

Only when the recent threat from the recidivists reared its ugly head was the UMC taken back, not only as a friend, but as an ally. Without UMC technology, manufacturing, and plain old firepower, the alliance would have fallen from within three years ago.

As it was, the UMC had turned the tide of the war and now stood in a position of power over the old countries of the UN. Hence his need to emphasise that point by a solitary ride down to Versailles, France, where the final peace settlement was being dictated.

The doors opened and a UN delegation stood waiting.  They appeared rather startled.

“President Chong, where is the rest of your party?” inquired the European Diplomat sent to fetch him.  A small slight, that it was merely a diplomat.  Small, but a slight nonetheless.

“Coming along in the next car.  They had business to attend and I did not wish to keep you waiting,” said Chong.

“Very well,” said the Diplomat, more shocked than displeased but still trying to appear blaise. “I will escort you to the great room. The remainder of my party will await..uh… the remainder of yours.  Right this way.”

The grandeur and symbolism of Versailles was no lost on Chong as they walked through its ancient halls. He was certain it was chosen to impress, not only on the vanquished recidivists, but also himself, that the old world was unassailable. He had something in mind that would outweigh the symbolism of the structure and in fact quite possibly benefit from it. The arrival alone was only the beginning of his plan. He meant for the UMC to never again want.  For a woman to never again have to starve herself to feed her children.  For the UMC to take its rightful place int he community of nations, not only as a member, but as a leader.

The UMC did things differently, better, than the world below. It was time to make both worlds a better place.

July 2, 2006: 5:56 pm: UMC, writing

The United Moon Colonies are a federation of 12 of the 13 moon colonies plus the two lunar research stations at Tranquility and Houston de la luna. It was founded in M90. Cana is not a member of the UMC but is listed here for completeness. Moon years are expressed as M and then the number of years since the founding of Tranquility. This system is used on the Moon to prevent confusion between Earth and Moon time. The years correspond approximately to a terrestrial year but may have different start and end dates. Also lunar days are 25 hours long.


The first Moon colony founded by an International effort led by NASA. The base was a proof that the concept of a Moon colony could work. It consisted of minimal research facilities and living quarters. It continues today as a museum and tourist attraction. It is considered a settlement rather than a full colony. It used to be goverened by Serenity but transfered to Avalon’s governance in M100. Only museum staff live in the settlement and many staff live in other colonies and commute. The foundation of Tranquility provides the start of Lunar calendar year M1. It is the only colony without a spaceport although if necessary, ships can land in a clearing near the site of the first moon landing in CE1969.

Houston de la luna (M6)

The second Moon colony was founded as a command center and space port. Several space agencies decided further exploration and colonization could only succeed if the Moon had its own version of Earth’s Houston. Houston de la luna was designed to provide that command presence. It still serves as the main space port for ships from Earth. Houston de la luna is also considered a settlement, not a full colony and is goverened by the colony of Armstrong.

Serenity (M13)
The first full-fledged colony on the Moon was built as a university. The University of Luna still operates there and is the major employer in Serenity. It is also the capital of the UMC. Representatives of the 12 colonies signed the Contract of Union here.

Clavius (M15)

The cultural center of the UMC was founded by the European Space Agency as the second full colony on the Moon. While it had been planned alongside Serenity, the success of the University drove many research scientists to Clavius to escape the restrictions of academia. It also provided a path for graduating students. Clavius is now the home of the Union theatre, balllet, opera, and symphony.

New Canaveral (M21)
Canaveral was meant to be a launching off point for Martian missions, and did fly several in its early years. It was the first colony to be planned and built using majority Moon resources. Some raw materials were shipped in from Earth but as much as possible was mined locally. The UMC Air Force is headquartered here rather than in the capital with other armed forces. New Canaveral is also home to the major military academies on the mooon.

Selene (M21)

The Japanese space agency officially founded Selene for additional research capacity.In reality a fight over the colony that became Septendecim led to a colonial race with the ESA that the Japanese won by one year. Selene has grown into the technological heart of the UMC. It is also home to the most-used space port outside of Houston de la luna.

Septendecim (M22)
When Japan left the Imbrium project, The ESA renamed it the latin word for 17. The number was steeped in Celtic mythology and was used for luck as well as to represent the number of countries still participating. Some say Septendecim needs all the luck it can get. The colony has often faced economic difficulties and has recently tried to promote itself as a vacation spot in competition with the very popular Avalon colony. Casinos and entertaining night spots have helped some. Septendecim is the only colony with any significant crime problem. It also has an incredibly vibrant independent music and literature scene.

Trudolubie (M25)
The manufacturing center of the UMC has grown well beyond its Russian roots but still retains a distinctively Russian flavour in architecture. It is often called by its nickname ‘Little Moscow’ which some resident find easier to pronounce than Trudolubie. The colony space port handles almost all direct freight and cargo flights to Earth.

Chang-Ngo (M25)
When China announced plans for Chang-Ngo in M3 they aimed to build the best and most self-sufficient colony on the Moon. They absolutely succeeded in building the most beautiful of the colonies. The colony dome is the only one on the moon that is entirely translucent. The city looks as if it was carved from ivory. Stunning views are around every corner. However, it does not promote itself as a tourist option. The colonial government has instead encouraged business and finance. Chang-Ngo is therfore called the second city as it’s number 2 in business and tourism.

Armstrong (M29)

The final NASA colony seems older than it is as it was originally planned along with
Serenity and New Canaveral. Moon colonization had succeeded far beyond expectations and Armstrong had to play catchup. However it has grown into the economic capital of the UMC. A far-sighted enterpeneur named Sally Floyd volunteered for colonization in the then relatively cheap Armstrong expedition and immediately started a stock exchange. The Floyd Center is now the heart of the UMC financial system and houses the UMC bank.

Ahsaas (M29)

Known as Hollywood on the Moon, Earth tourists make it a point to spend a few days in Ahsaas to see the stars under the stars. Few know that the colony was never expected to succeed. India planned and built it in four years. In addition to hit movies, Ahsaas also provides a remarkable 25 percent of the UMC’s natural foods.

Avalon (M30)

The top UMC vacation hotspot is often decried as shallow and crass, but the numbers say people love it there. Canada founded it with the intention of providing a great place for recreation. They haven’t failed. 9 lakes, 150 hotels, hundreds of restaurants and shops, and more, populate the seemingly endless Avalon complex. The colony’s slogan “You’ll get what you want” isn’t far off the mark.

Tollan (M35)

Mexico originally meant Tollan to be an additional vacation spot but it has since grown into the agriclutural center for the UMC, producing 40 percent of the Moon’s food. It is also acknowledged, logically enough, to be the home of the finest restaurants in the UMC.

Rafiki (M36)

The colonial government calls it the “Animal Colony”. Residents just call it home. The UMC National Zoo is here and it’s also home the highest concentration of pets and vets. But the most striking thing about Rafiki is how comfortable people look and act. Residents of Rafiki take the fewest trips out of town than any other UMC colony.

Cana (M40)

This is the only colony not a member of the UMC. It is however still a member of the MCA (Moon Colony Association) the predecessor of the UMC. Through that membership it maintains integration and coordination and trade with UMC colonies, while retaining its independence. Cana was founded as a religious utopia but has broadened out into a less singularly-focused colony. It still boasts the highest conecntration of churches on the Moon.

Minor settlements

From one day to the next, minor settlements start up and close down on the moon. There are an estimated average of 550 minor settlements in operation at any given time. These settlements engage in water and mineral mining, exploration, research, astronomy, and even some archaeology. Over 90 percent of these settlements are operated by the UMC, though some are operated by Terran nations and a handful are under Cana’s control.

New colonies
No new permanent colonies have been attempted since Ambrosius in both M45 by the ESA and the same site and name again in M100 by the UMC. Both times the colony never got past the temporary stage because of lack of interest. While Armstrong and other colonies complain of overcrowding, some colonies have plenty of space and handle overflow from these crowded colonies quite well. Within 200 years the UMC estimates two more colonies will become an imperative, but as yet demand remains low. Permanency of settlement at the Ambrosius site is considered a prerequiste for attempting new colonies again. While the settlement has experienced longer term settlements over the past few decades, the last run of six years just ended when the site was vacated by the Chicago Water Mining Company. No new tenants have yet been found.

Transit System

Colonies are connected by spaceport or train. Most colonies have a spaceport capable of handling lunar ships and in some cases ships from Earth, though most Terrestrial-originated ships land at Houston de la luna.

Moon Transit Map

The two main transit links are the Moon Metro (MM) and Lunar Link (LL). Most UMC residents refer to them as M and L. The UMC is unusual in allowing two competing public transit systems to operate two independent rail systems.

The L system runs in a cross-hatch between all the colonies with only spur links to Cana and Tranquility. The M system uses a hub and spoke system with long haul direct lines between far points of the system including Tranquility but Cana is only on a spur.

If you ask two different UMC residents how to make sense of the transit system you’ll likely get two different answers. Only UMC natives seem to be able to make any sense out which system to take when and which ride is cheapest, however either one can get you reliably from one place to another.

The Moon Colony Association (MCA)

The MCA was founded to coordinate logistical needs between the different colonies to expedite cooperation between the parent government of the various settlements. Colonies were left to govern themselves accordingly, and the MCA resolved disputes between colonies and organised cooperation for transit, trade, and eventually currency.

MCA members developed a sense of unity in the forum that eventually led to a separation movement after the Armstrong incident.

When the colonies met in M90 to found the UMC they met as the MCA. Cana, Armstrong and Chang-Ngo voted against founding the union, fearing it would be bad for the lunar economy among other things. However Armstrong and Chang-Ngo agreed to honor the decision of the group, while Cana objected on moral grounds and refused to join the UMC. Armstrong, Chang-Ngo, and Cana continued to meet as the MCA, and the two UMC colonies acted as liasion to Cana during those tumultuous times. Eventually the UMC government agreed to send a representative to meet with Cana as the MCA and continue coordination between the lone colony and the united ones. Cana is now an independent colony with its own government, currency, and customs.

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