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.