Victory hinges not always on the mightiest sword, but often on lowly subterfuge. Here is a classic example, with the Western World as stooge!
s, whistled six notes to the audio-combination, then slipped out the thick steel door as it clicked and came open.
* * * * *
The Red was jeering at him quietly. "Afraid to take off your mask, President? The rabble? Or your self-appointed Stand-ins? Which frightens you, President--"
John Smith plucked at a latch under his chin, and the golden headdress came apart down the sides. He lifted it off and laid it casually aside, revealing a hard, blocky face, slightly in need of a shave, with cool blue eyes and blond brows. His hair was graying slightly at the temples, with a fortyish hairline.
* * * * *
The Red nodded. "Greetings, human. I doubted that you would."
"Why not?" growled Smith.
"Because you fear your Stand-ins, as appointees, not subject to your 'rabble'. Our ruling clique selects its own members, but they are subject to popular approval or recall by referendum. I fear nothing from them."
"Let's not compare our domestic forms, Peoplesfriend."<
I was prepared to call this story dated, based on the opening which set it in the cold war, in the future. Yes, there is an East and West, but they are unrecognizable from the 1950s.
It is a story of two empires in stalemate, with the leaders of each trying to outmaneuver the other. It's tense and surprising. Well-written.
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2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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