Diplomatic Immunity

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Post Diplomatic Immunity

#1  Nik 20 Jul 2021 21:28

Four !'thern gaolers hauled Sarah Tenert, Plenipotentiary Terran Ambassador, from the cramped, foetid cell. They bundled her, still laden by heavy chains, into a mobile cage. Wheeling that into an alcove, they turned a hose on her filth. After a few moments to drain, they wheeled the cage to a bare cargo elevator. It slowly rose from the deep, dank sub-levels to a service area, was met by half a dozen traditionally armed guards. They escorted the cage to another cargo elevator. This moved faster, was soon back-stage to a great gathering, pompous alien speechifying punctuated by long bouts of applause. A steward's signal was the cue for the gaolers to wheel out the cage, surrounded by those guards.

Sarah blinked at the glare of lights, peered at the towering tiers upon tiers of seating of the !'thern Empire's awesome Greatest Hall. She turned right, studied the High Podium. The Supreme Leader sat central on his magnificent throne. To his left, the First Minister, the Production Minister, the Truth Minister. To his right, the First Commander, the Land Commander, the Space Commander.

She sighed, shook her head. She re-arranged her rags, the last, loose remnants of a smart pant-suit, settled in a yoga tuck. The cage was supposed to be uncomfortably small, and it was for any !'thern but a juvenile. Full-grown, her guards stood taller than basket-ball stars, were wide as a door, had dark leathery, almost purple hide speckled by osteoderms. Even for a Terran, Sarah was short. She'd been plump, generously curved. Weeks of privation had scoured her to skin and bone. Now, she had ample room. And, as Plenipotentiary Ambassador, she had her duty.

Just to her left, the front ranks of the vast audience studied her with careful disdain. Their groupings matched the podium placements. Behind them, row upon row rose with the best and brightest of the Empire's 'Great & Good'. Beyond clear sight, lesser then still lesser ranks filled every seat of every tier below the soaring dome. The Empire claimed this hall sat a hundred and fifty thousand, and she could believe it. The lower gravity made such construction easier, but the logistics were eye-watering.

She shook her head again, composed herself as the speechifying culminated in a vast roar, a prolonged bout of applause.

As the scripted tumult diminished, a prial of tentacular Prial technicians approached the cage. One set a holo-camera on a slim tripod, aimed it at her. The second waved the third forwards, who warily held a dougalled microphone beyond her snatch range. Despite everything, she felt sorry for them. Long enslaved by the !'thern, they had no name for themselves.

The Supreme Leader spoke, his amplified utterance filling the Greatest Hall. Slowly, carefully, with a near-impenetrable accent, the second Prial clumsily translated, "Terran Ambassador, do you yield the Persell Cluster ?"

"Diplomatic Immunity," she replied, as steadily as she could. More booming utterances followed its translation.

"You are a helpless worm beneath the Empire's great claw ! Yield the Persell Cluster and its few colonists will be spared !"

"Diplomatic Immunity."

"Your pitiful ship and its few guards were the best your poor people could send ! Yield the Persell Cluster or see that taken and a dozen Terran worlds destroyed !"

"Diplomatic Immunity."

The camera operator was fiddling with his controls. Perhaps he thought the focus was drifting. Certainly, the cage surrounds had become slightly hazy. The guards, the gaolers, the front rows seemed increasingly uncomfortable. Had the Hall's aircon glitched ? If so, heads would roll...

"Yield the Persell Cluster in perpetuity before my patience ebbs !"

"Diplomatic Immunity."

"Is that the best you Terrans can offer ?"

"Diplomatic Immunity," she stated. "Apologise. Make reparations. Relinquish claim to the Persell Cluster in perpetuity."

"You yield ? You would even make reparations for your inconvenience to our Empire ?"

"No ! You yield ! Now ! Now !"

The Supreme Leader's reply was more of a stentorian honking than the traditional 'BWA-Ha-Ha-Ha', but did not need translation. Nor did the vast crowd need any prompting to echo his sentiments, on and on and on.

Gradually, silence fell.

"Please," the Ambassador bid. "Apologise. Make reparations. Relinquish claim to the Persell Cluster in perpetuity."

The Supreme Leader stared at her, then said, almost in wonder. "You are a small, helpless Human female. In chains, in a cage, guarded. There is not a Terran ship within ten day-cycles. There is not a stealthed Terran ally to rescue you. You have no weapon or targetting device, yet you..."

He hesitated, waved a bejewelled claw as if to dispel a tiny fly, continued, "You do not yield ?"

"This is your last chance." She spat on the cage lock. "Please do not waste it !"

The Supreme Leader's reply was another stentorian honking, enthusiastically echoed by every !'thern in that great hall. When the last echoes faded, he waved to his right, issued the command, "Send the--"

"So be it," she cried, as if in pain.

Blue blood burst from her guards' and gaolers' eyes and mouths and butts. They staggered. Strong even for !'thern, their last was still falling when the front seats' occupants began vomiting blood, when the first, second, third and fourth tiers were struck likewise.

To his left and right, the Supreme Leader's top people were slumping from their places of honour into stinking pools of their own fluid. As blood streamed from his every orifice, he managed a last cry of, "What have you done ?"

Sarah shook herself, the heavy chains fell open. Barefoot, she kicked the cage door twice before the lock yielded. She rolled out, stood, stretched like a cat.

"Ah, that feels good..." Turning to the three Prial, who seemed unaffected, she said, in accented but fair !'thern, "Come with me. I cannot protect you if near !'thern."

"Yes, Mistress." Obedience ran deep in their heritage, and being commanded in !'thern sealed the deal.

They picked their way around blood pools, heaps of corpses. Sarah collected several power-guns and knives, found an exit. There were some dead !'thern scattered outside, service staff who'd had the wit to flee, albeit fatally late. A few Prial stood, bewildered. They converged when called, gathered around her on a bare terrace.

"Done," she stated after a few moments. "For now. But stay close until I call clear."

"Mistress ?" The translator managed, "What have you done ?"

"There'll be a rescue ship here in two day-cycles, an allied fleet in five." She shook her head, finger-combed a persistent tangle. "None of the !'thern thought to ask how our home-steaders could terraform the Cluster's planets so quickly...

"You think that's bad ?" She tilted a thumb towards the looming hall. "It's limited. It's controlled. Invading the Cluster would have spread our industrial-strength nano-bots across the entire !'thern Empire. And, without constraints, sooner or later, they'd revert to 'Grey Goo', eat everything down to bedrock, start over..."

They looked at her in shock before the translator whispered, "Mistress, you carry weaponised nano-bots within your body ?"

"This ? I repurposed my Medical nano-bots..." She hesitated, added, "Call it 'Diplomatic Immunity'."

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Post Re: Diplomatic Immunity

#2  rico 22 Jul 2021 17:48

Nice short story! Thank you kindly Nik ! I wonder how far into our future such nanotech might be .

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