How NOT to Save the World, S1 E11

Season Content Notes (incomplete): violence, anti-nonhuman bigotry, consensual violence

T minus 1 year 235 days

Ameohne’e welcomed Colonel Cheung and their subordinates into her office and waited until Wu left the room. Colonel Cheung’s eyebrows rose as they realized that Ameohne’e was meeting with them alone. Even with modern security, that was a significant sign of trust.

Cheung introduced their subordinates, and Ameohne’e offered drinks, which were politely declined. Then Ameohne’e got down to business.

“Gentlefolk, I appreciate you being willing to talk. For what it’s worth, Colonel Cheung, I always intended to have this discussion with you. I had simply hoped to build a stronger working relationship first.”

“Very well, Ms Littlesun. For now, I will accept your assurances at face value. Perhaps, however, you might share with me why you felt it necessary to create that specific… special project… in the first place.”

“I’ll do that. But first, I want to say that my goal today is not to convince you to believe me. Or to convince you to do anything other than what you’ve already been doing. If you walk out the door thinking I’m insane but are willing to keep doing your job, I’ll count that a win. I asked you to bring some of your staff partly as an assurance that this meeting wasn’t a setup. But also, on the off chance that you believe me, you’ll need some people you trust on the inside to start making plans with.” She stood up and moved to the small dry bar. “Excuse me. I know it’s rude to drink alone, but I’ve been anticipating this conversation for over eight years. Liquid courage and all that.”

Cheung took a moment to absorb everything Ameohne’e had said — and not said.

“Ms Littlesun, I also hope we will come out of this meeting with a working relationship. And, as I have thought you insane for quite some time now, I doubt anything you say today will change my opinion.

“I would, however, appreciate information. May I suggest you follow the advice of an old Englishman and ‘Begin at the beginning.”

“Continue through the middle, and when you get to the end, stop?” Ameohne’e tossed back the ouzo she had poured and shrugged. “I’ll try. Though we haven’t gotten to the end yet.” She poured himself another shot, then capped the bottle and put it away.

“Do you believe in prophecy, Colonel Cheung? Or in destiny?”

“Magical predictions of the future? Of course. We live in a world powered by magic. Predictions are tricky; many become self-fulfilling. Others never come true because people take action to change them — intentionally or otherwise.

“Destiny, I am suspicious of. This story begins with a foretelling, I take it.”

“My version of the story begins with a vision quest. Oh, there was a prophecy before that, but I thought it was a joke. Random person stopping me on the street, not something I was inclined to take seriously at the time.

“But I was in a bit of a bad way at the time, my divorce from my wife was finalized after several years of separation, I’d just met Wu, was on the outs with my father.” She shrugged. “It’s a familiar story, I’m sure.”

The senior NCO who had come with Cheung snorted. “Very familiar, sir.”

“I decided not to be a complete fool about it and sought out my tribe’s… wise woman, you might call her. She helped me on a vision quest.

“Are you familiar with vision quests, Colonel?”

“Not particularly.”

“They are usually very personal, but sometimes they have a …wider import. Mine warned of a great danger coming. Something with the potential to destroy the world.”

Cheung’s eyes narrowed. “You believed this vision quest. And rather than warn anyone, you decided to set yourself up as dictator and savior.”

“I’m a controlling, power-hungry bastard, colonel. I’ve never denied it.

“But before you ride off on your high horse, you might talk with Deborah or some of the other mystics in my organization. I’m not the only one who received a warning, and others did try to warn the government; for what good it did them.

“There’s a reason such a high percentage of magic workers follow me. Actually, I’m not sure why me and not someone else — unless it’s just that I’m driven and ruthless enough to see it through. But a reason they share my goals and support me. I know damn well why they didn’t follow my predecessors.”

Cheung grimaced. They could have argued, but… not very well.

“At the moment, Ms Littlesun, the greatest danger I see to the world is you. No one else is building a weapon powerful enough to destroy the world. Your pet engineer is doing just that.”

“Three lasers, actually. Collectively powerful enough to destroy the world. We couldn’t manage a single laser of that power.”

Cheung blinked. “Forgive me if that does not reassure me. Or answer my question.”

“You didn’t ask a question, but I know what you meant.

“In approximately 1 year and 8 months, we will be invaded, conquered, and wiped out, unless we can find a way to stop it.”

“Invaded by who? You lead the world government! There is no one else in the… world…”

Ameohne’e nodded as understanding dawned in Cheung’s eyes. “Want that drink now?”

“Please.”

After Ameohne’e poured and passed the drinks, Cheung said, “I see now why you expected me to question your sanity, Ms Littlesun.

“I will need time to think on this.”

Ameohne’e nodded and looked out her windows. “Some of us have done our best to develop… you can’t exactly call it ‘intelligence’… on the threat. Whatever scraps we can piece together. Major Shin at F9 will be available to discuss that with you if you want.

“Questions of my sanity aside, Colonel, do you have any other concerns I can address today?”

Colonel Cheung Bo of the World Space Force shook their head. “No. Though I would appreciate being copied on new weapons development proposals in the future.”

“I’ll see to it.”

“Then, with your permission, I think we’re done here. Ma’am.”

Ameohne’e didn’t even try to hide her relief. “Thank you, Colonel Cheung.” For a moment, her eyes went hard and flat, reminding Cheung of the odd moment in the first meeting. They recognized it now. Fanaticism. For all her casual manner and charm, the world’s new dictator was as great a fanatic as any in history. “Hold the orbitals, Cheung.”

There was only one answer any member of the Space Forces could give to that order. “Yes, Ma’am.” Because that was what Space Forces did.

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How NOT to Save the World, S1 E10

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How NOT to Save the World (S1, Season Finale)

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