• Fiction,  TtWA

    Turn the World Around, Part 33

    by Chapter 30 Heart is of the river Body is the mountain Spirit is the sunlight Turn the world around We are of the spirit Truly of the spirit Only can the spirit Turn the world around Paper had significance for everyone.  That was something we all had in common. Electronic copies of the Treaty, and all its codexes, would go forth and multiply.  Aside from spreading across Earth, it would become the mostly widely read document in history on all the worlds settled by the Shalash, the Asoolianne, and the Hoon.  At least, all three ambassadors were quick to say so whenever someone talked about the document in their…

  • Fiction,  TtWA

    Turn the World Around, Part 32

    by Chapter 27 As a kid, I saw every episode of the Muppet Show, most of them more than once, most of them again as a teenager, and a third time as a father with my kids.  It had never occurred to me before just how important a part of my life the Muppets were.  A background part, sure, but still important, and probably millions of people across the globe could say the same thing. But I only ever saw the Harry Belafonte episode once and it might even have been the first time it aired where I lived.  From that one viewing, the song stayed with me, almost intact,…

  • Fiction,  TtWA

    Turn the World Around, Part 31

    by Chapter 26 My heart hammered so hard everyone in the chamber should have been able to hear it beating.  The laptop tucked under my arm weighed twenty kilos, or felt like it, and I felt self-conscious carrying the thing.  Mahyul didn’t mention it during the shuttle ride, didn’t even glance at it, although she had to be curious why I’d bother with a piece of human technology when I had access to far better.  The Shalash were nothing if not curious, but they were ridiculously polite about it.  I didn’t draw attention to the laptop, so she couldn’t.  Very strange.  Manuel and Talya had looked at me oddly when…

  • Fiction,  TtWA

    Turn the World Around, Part 30

    by Chapter 25 Do you know who I am? Do I know who you are? See we one another clearly? Do we know who we are? I bolted upright in bed, out of a sound sleep and a dream that ran away but must have held the epiphany.  “Jim Henson was a genius!”  Epiphany.  Now that I’d had one, I really understood what the word meant.  My subconscious had been so slow to tie things together, but at least it hadn’t waited until the middle of tomorrow’s ambassadorial rumble. Emily wiggled deeper under the covers. Sharon groaned, flinging an arm over her eyes as if I’d turned on a light.  “Is…

  • Fiction,  TtWA

    Turn the World Around, Part 30

    by Chapter 25 Do you know who I am? Do I know who you are? See we one another clearly? Do we know who we are? I bolted upright in bed, out of a sound sleep and a dream that ran away but must have held the epiphany.  “Jim Henson was a genius!”  Epiphany.  Now that I’d had one, I really understood what the word meant.  My subconscious had been so slow to tie things together, but at least it hadn’t waited until the middle of tomorrow’s ambassadorial rumble. Emily wiggled deeper under the covers. Sharon groaned, flinging an arm over her eyes as if I’d turned on a light.  “Is…

  • Fiction,  TtWA

    Turn the World Around, Part 29

    by Chapter 23 It worked for almost three weeks.  Clearing a throat here, offering refreshments there, later on suggesting some time to reflect.  After a while, the three ambassadors started talking about real issues:  root sources of conflict, resources, territory.  But any time one of them started to move toward the idea of surrendering some place or planet gained by blood and destruction, tempers flared, insults flew, and the past came howling down from space.  Gradually, tempers took over and the small human voices of reason couldn’t penetrate the arguments.  Each day saw less time at the triangular table and progress marched backward faster with every sunrise. And we all…

  • Fiction,  TtWA

    Turn the World Around, Part 28

    by Chapter 22 (conclusion) “What can we do?  We’re really only observers at the sessions, aren’t we?”  The way Manuel’s voice trailed off made me wonder what might be going through his head. “I’m not certain.”  Talya reached to her right, her hand disappearing as if it had been chopped off at the wrist then coming back with a thick folder.  She opened it up and riffled through papers until she found the page she wanted.  “We are ‘to assist their respective ambassadors when required and to interpret each session and its results to the human governments and media representatives.’  The section goes on, requiring us to attend every session,…

  • Fiction,  TtWA

    Turn the World Around, Part 27

    by Chapter 22 “Gargltch is unhappy, but he will return tomorrow.”  Manuel didn’t look all that happy himself.  The creases across his forehead seemed a lot deeper than they had that morning at the conference and he looked more his age than I’d ever seen. Talya nodded.  “Riptalektik’fa was difficult to convince.”  It amazed me every time how easily the syllables of the Asoolianne ambassador’s name rolled off her tongue, but then I couldn’t even catch full sound of the ambassador’s name when he said it.  “He believes himself to be the wronged party in this incident, but I think I have convinced him he is taking the moral high…

  • Fiction,  TtWA

    Turn the World Around, Part 26

    by Chapter 21 Sharonstood on the other side of the shuttle’s airlock door when it opened. It had been a quiet trip back with Ambassador Mahyul refusing to speak to or even look at me during the flight.  She stood before I even realized the shuttle had landed and blew past me to get out first, destroying any remaining hope of conversation I might have had.  I got to the hatch in time to see my wife smooth out a frown and turn a smile on me.  She stood there alone, the ambassador’s retreating footsteps still echoing down the corridor. “What happened?”Sharonfolded me into a hug as if I’d been…

  • Fiction,  TtWA

    Turn the World Around, Part 25

    by Chapter 20 (conclusion) “Why did they adjourn early?  Honestly, this peace conference is a huge event.  It may be the biggest thing that’s ever happened on Earth, but remember that these three species are trying to stop an interstellar war, and one that’s been going on for decades.  There’s a lot of bad feeling on all sides and it’s going to take time for them to get comfortable with each other.  As I said, the Ambassadors agreed to take things slow.  The closest human comparison I can make is World War II.  How long did treaty talks between the Allies go on once the fighting stopped?  They’ve been at…