Author : Bob Newbell

Queen Chandrietta VI motioned for her Prime Minister to stop speaking while she gave instructions to the royal hairdresser. Her majesty was only one point nine three meters tall, fairly short by the standards of a native of Earth’s Moon. After thirty six generations, the human beings who inhabited Luna were much taller and thinner than their terrestrial ancestors. It wouldn’t do for the Moon’s monarch to appear too short. The Queen’s hair would need to be styled to aid the vertical lines of her dress and the high heels she wore to give the illusion of greater height.

“Continue,” she said to the nervous Prime Minister.

“Your majesty,” said the anxious man whose features suggested an East Asian ancestry, “the Royal Family, yourself excluded, have escaped. Their craft exited the rail launcher just before it was struck by a missile launched from lunar orbit. The New Zealand consulate on Lagrange V has offered them asylum and they are even now despinning their ring down to simulate lunar gravity.”

The Queen stood and faced the Prime Minister. “Shouldn’t the Combat Minister be handling this inconvenience?” she said with annoyance.

“My Queen, the Combat Minister says preventing Luna from being occupied is no longer an option. His strategy is to lure the enemy into the heart of Armstrong City and then to destroy the city’s supporting structures burying the enemy soldiers under tons of rocks and regolith.”

Chandrietta VI sighed as if she were conversing with a child. “You’re telling me, Mr. Prime Minister, that the man charged with protecting my kingdom plans to do so by annihilating its capital city?”

“Your majesty, the Russian Navy are too powerful. We have no choice but to make their assault so costly that it will force them to the negotiating table at which time we–”

This time the Queen silenced the Prime Minister with a look.

“Prime Minister, if I asked you to put me in communication with the Speaker of the Pan-American Senate and the President of China do you think that might be within your power?”

“Of course, your majesty.”

Three hours later, the Prime Minister of Luna again came before the Queen.

“Your majesty, the enemy have ceased their orbital bombardment and the few troops they’ve landed are lifting off from Luna. The enemy fleet is on a trajectory that will take it back to Earth. How–”

“Helium-3,” said the Queen. “For the next five years, China and Pan-America will get our helium-3 to power their fusion reactors for thirty percent under market price in exchange for their threatening to go to war with Russia on our behalf.”

“My Queen, you have saved–”

But the Queen was already walking away from her Prime Minister. This coiffure looks ridiculous, she thought to herself and sighed. I’ll simply have to get the royal orthopedist to extend my legs.

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