Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer

“If the human ambassador moves, kill him,” ordered the Torellian captain. His two security guards instantly leveled their phasers at Ambassador Dorn.

Dorn smiled, and said to his security escort, “Men, if the Torellian guards shoot me, you are to kill the two guards, and captain T’Noroi, before my body hits the deck. Understood?”

“Aye, sir,” was the simultaneous reply.

Then, Dorn defiantly marched across the bridge of the Torelian flagship, and stopped inches in front of the Torellian captain. The Torrellian guards twitched, but never fired. “Well, Captain, back on Earth, this is what we’d call a ‘Mexican standoff’. Will we die together, or talk?”

T’Noroi’s expression had changed three times during Dorn’s approach; from shock that the earthman had ignored his threat, to anger that his guards didn’t carry out his orders, and finally to a thin smile at the ambassador’s imperiousness. After a few seconds, his smile evolved into a chuckle that culminated in a hardy laugh. “Ambassador,” he said, “I do believe Earth has sent the right negotiator. Guards, holster your weapons.”

Dorn turned toward his men, and winked. They acknowledged, and also stowed their phasers. Dorn returned his attention to T’Noroi. “Surely Captain, the Torrelians don’t want to start an interstellar war over this worthless asteroid,” he pointed toward the five mile wide asteroid that was visible on the bridge’s main viewscreen.

“You have no claim on that asteroid, Ambassador. It’s clearly in our space.”

“That may be true, Captain, but when the treaty was signed, the asteroid was in our space, and hence, it’s our property.” Localized conflicts between Earth forces and the Torrelians had been escalating for years. All out war was considered inevitable. Dorn’s mission was to convince the Torrelians that a war with Earth would not be in their best interest.

“Well, I say it belongs to the Torellian Empire,” argued Captain T’Noroi. But, Ambassador, I can be reasonable. I’ll make you a proposal. If you can push the asteroid back into Earth space, you can keep it.” Again, he laughed.

Undaunted, Dorn replied, “I’ll make you a counter proposal, Captain. How about we destroy the asteroid, and you can keep the debris.”

Amused, T’Noroi decided to call the earthman’s bluff. “Be my guest, Ambassador. It will be interesting to see such an audacious attempt. That asteroid’s mass is a billion times larger than your ship. I’ll be sure to send the recorded images of your futility back to the homeworld. It will be great fair for the late night talk shows.”

Dorn opened his communicator and said “Commander, destroy the asteroid.”

As the ambassador and captain watched, a beam of light streaked from the earth ship toward the asteroid. Almost instantly, the asteroid exploded into a billion fiery fragments. T’Noroi’s pompous grin disappeared. He was clearly awed by the display of firepower. He became weak, and collapsed into his command chair, speechless.

“Well, I guess I’ll be heading back to my ship now, Captain. Sorry about the mess.”


Dorn didn’t start laughing until he returned to his own bridge. “Nice shot, Commander. Perfect timing on the detonation. You thoroughly impressed the Torelians.”

“I can imagine. I wish I was there to see T’Noroi’s face. The two tons of antimatter that we buried in the asteroid last year was nearly one half of Earth’s total supply.”

“Worth every ounce, Commander. I don’t think the Torellians will be itching for a fight with Earth anytime soon.”

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