“The real enemy?” That was our briefing officer. “You’re honestly trying to tell us that this damn war’s been a-”
“Strategy to get you to attack the training facilities,” finished the enemy commander. “We regret the deaths of your people but for a bellicose and warlike race you’re very hard to get engaged in a conflict.”
“We know what we’re like once we get into these things,” commented Holmes, arms crossed over his chest, “so we try not to start.”
“We had not realised you had developed self-restraint to that extent.” If the enemy commander had been human its new facial expression would have involved a raised eyebrow. “Our problem is that the Ajaraka are aware of us and our existence is of sufficient annoyance to them that they wish to exterminate us like vermin. Your advantage is that the Ajaraka are not aware of you. They have not developed weapons that target you specifically.”
“And what’s the big deal about this base?” Murchison’s eyes had narrowed as if she was trying to figure out the angles.
“This is where they launch their attacks on our cities from, where they make the gases that smother us in our sleep and warp our children’s growth and where they take prisoners for experimentation. Its destruction will give us a respite to rebuild and protect ourselves or to flee.”
“In return for this you are going to stop your attacks on our people, aren’t you?” That was Ngana, his arms folded too. “Forever, not just until you want goad us into action again.”
“Well, yes, of course.” The enemy commander looked confused.
“Then our people won’t need to retaliate anymore,” clarified Ngana.
“I understand.” The enemy commander’s face radiated that.
“So show us your information,” I chimed in, “so we can get to work.”
“All on the understanding,” added Han who’s one of those big, northern Chinese men, “that if this is a set up or a trap, our ghosts will come after you.”
The enemy commander looked worried. “You can do that?”
Iwaka grinned evilly. “For betrayal, we’d make an effort.”