General Washington sat down on the beautiful golden throne that was ornately decorated with silver, platinum, and different precious gems, and frowned.
Washington's metal colored skin, which had evolved in the millions of years since Venus had been terraformed and populated to reflect the harsh Venusian sun's blazing light, gleamed brightly.
As he sat down, the sickly institutional green walls changed color to a royal purple. This technology had been obtained from a Martian defector during the last war a hundred years earlier.
The defector was probably the biggest reason the Martian military was so looked down on by the Martian populace; he had been the high ranking officer responsible for the deaths of the hundreds of Martians who had died in that war. He'd given orders to retreat when victory without loss had been assured. The deaths had all been civilians; not a single soldier was the least bit injured.
Angela Picard had been a cowardly traitor, and the wall coloring technology wasn't the only technical knowledge he'd passed to the enemy. Of course, strategic data and other important and dangerous intelligence was passed as well as technology, and the entire Martian army had taken the punishment. It was illogical and unfair, but that's just how it was.
The defector was a well known sports figure as well as being in the military, a basketball player. After the war, basketball's rules and its name were changed, because the sport itself was shunned afterward. Sports in general had lost their appeal and weren't really very popular any more.
Even our Martians descendents in the very far future aren't very logical.
Washington was holding his scepter in his right hand, with the bejeweled ornamental sword on his left leg shining more brightly than his strange skin, and his fully functional microwave pistol on the right. Five golden stars sat gleaming and sparkling on each of his shoulders, contrasting in color with his royal purple garments.
The General ruled an entire world. More, really he owned an entire world. His edicts were law and he answered to no one. It was his to do with whatever he wished, titles be damned.
Right now he wished a lot of Venusians would commit suicide, or murder each other, and spare him the pleasure of killing them himself.
A semicircle of thirteen chairs, with twelve of them occupied by his highest officials, sat in front of him. The thirteenth chair sat empty to remind the officials of how easily they could be removed, and just what removal meant.
As if the crucified skeletons surrounding the palace weren't enough of a hint.
He spoke gravely. Gentlemen, this planet is vastly overpopulated. Five billion is too many of us to sustain. People are going hungry, which isn't the problem. The problem is the unrest it's causing. We, the rulers of this planet, have it good and if it gets screwed up you'll wish you'd been castrated, burned, flogged, crucified, and eaten by the shambler. What do you suggest?
General Ford, Secretary of War and Washington's second in command, spoke first. Your eminence, I suggest we emigrate half the population. Earth is empty, nobody but a couple hundred thousand farmers with no weapons or technology at all. They're ripe for the picking!
Secretary Zak interrupted. Who would want to live there? A planet named after dirt? Disgusting place. I wouldn't even want to visit, let alone live there!
Yes, Ford, said Washington, ignoring Zak. But the Martians would never allow it. You know what happened the last time we tangled with those ugly little chalk-faced bastards, even though they're cowardly wimps and are nothing but nerdy little bookworms. Venus, but I hate those damned chalkies!
Well, sir, perhaps we could have a little warfare of our own? asked Ford. Say, an insurrection in a couple of provinces that we could put down with great loss of life?
Washington smiled an evil grin. I like it, Ford. Actually I'd like to kill all the damned chalkies, too, but the bastards are too damned sneaky and get us every time. The insurrection will only help a little bit, but it's better than nothing and will keep the populace's mind off their hunger. Mister Greenwalls, what does the Department of Justice suggest?
Well, sir, there aren't enough capital crimes. We're way too lenient. Make donating blood to family a capital offense. Give standing orders that any citizen who gets out of line and talks back to authority gets rayed instead of just having his tongue amputated.
I'll consider it, Mister Greenwalls. Zak, what does the Department of Commerce say?
Nothing, sir, said Secretary Zak confidently. We've already acted. An, ahem, accident took down all the power generation in fifteen southern provinces. No power means no water, so most of them will be dead in a week.
Washington stood, and the walls changed from the royal purple to a blood red.
I see, Washington said, circling behind his officials, who knew better than to look back at him. Idiot! You could topple us all!
But, s-sir, it's, it's, uh, sir p-please, he stammered before his head rolled across the floor, blood spraying everywhere from the obscenely flailing corpse it had been detached from.
How about that? said Washington, looking at his bloody sword and the hideous mess it had made. It's not just for ceremony after all!
|2 - Martians||4 - Farmers|