High Lord Anarch
It was bound to happen. Given the almost traditional twisted sense of humor near-universally shared by spacers, it was only a matter of time. Really, there were only two questions. Why had it taken nearly twenty-five years for someone to think of it?
H. Reginald Henry set a cup of herbal tea on the edge of his desk, then settled his imposing bulk into the massively cushioned chair. He sipped at his tea, the beverage sickeningly sweet just the way he liked it. Henry sighed contentedly and decided he was ready to start the day. To say the United Nations was in its declining years was truly generous. Events early in the century had sealed its doom, and it was slowly fading away like an old-fashioned color photograph. But for now the office of Secretary-General carried a few perks and luxuries. And he didn't quite need a second part-time job to make ends meet. Yet. Henry sighed, and tapped a button on his intercom, signaling to his administrative aid that he was prepared to face the day.
Said assistant entered Henry's office immediately. The stylishly emaciated woman brought in her datapad and, unusually, a large flat parcel. "Good morning, sir," she said brightly.
"Good morning, Tommi." Henry pointed at her burden. "What in Christ's name do you have there?"
Tommi Kilpatrick grinned and pretended to misunderstand. "Just the usual appointments, Mr. Henry." She glanced at her pad. "A busy day. You have two groups of school kids coming in before lunch. And after lunch we should have the summary of the budget ready for your review." She paused, waiting for his reaction.
"No games please, Tommi," Henry said irritably. "What's the package?" He sipped tea.
"Her grin widened. "Oh, this ol' thing?" She set the parcel on Henry's desk blotter.
The executive carefully examined the Security clearance stamps before touching it. For some reason, the UN had become the target of sophomoric prans like stink bombs in the past couple of years. He grunted as he spied the addressing data. "What in the world? From space?" he wondered. Routing stickers seemed to show that the steroidal envelope had in through the Vesta habitat.
A giggle slipped past Tommi's lips. "Yes, sir. We've reviewed it, of course..." She watched as Henry slid the contents out; a large ornately illuminated scroll. What the...? Parchment?"
Tommi cocked her head to one side. "Vellum, I think. The good stuff." She giggled again as she saw the Secretary's eyes bulge. "Yes, sir. You're holding an application for admission to the United Nations!"
"My god! We haven't had an applicant since..." His voice broke off as he tried to remember that last time someone wanted to join the U.N. Certainly not during his tenure. There were days he idly considered barring the doors to prevent the departure of any more delegates. All the UN had left were a few stubbornly third world nations who occupied their days voting on resolutions demanding handouts from more prosperous nations. They could make the rent on their current building, and Henry's salary, but he missed the old days in the New York building, even if folks did make wisecracks about it resembling a tombstone. He detested urban New Jersey. His musings were interrupted as his aide completed his last vocalization.
"2010," Tommi supplied. "And they changed their minds." She shook her head. "But this... Who knows? It came in by courier three days ago. Security cleared it. A clerk started reading it and bucked it up the chain. I got it yesterday, and started some inquiries."
Henry tore his eyes from the bizarre document. "Is this serious?" he demanded.
Tommi shrugged. "I really don't know." She giggled once more as Henry's eyes drifted back to the garish missive.
"Who in God's name Is Mike the First?" Henry asked in total befuddlement.
Tommi pulled a chair up to Henry's desk and planted herself. "My research people say that he's most likely one..." She glanced at her pad. "Mikhail Fairbanks, registered owner of Mut 2015D, and sole proprietor of Mike's Metals and Hardware."
Henry recognized the astronomical designation style, if not the particular body in question."Spacers.... Why did it have to be spacers?" Henry muttered. Private space access had been the nail in the UN's coffin."Okay, so this is some drunken rock miner's equally drunken joke," he said. "Great. So what else do you have to... What?"
Tommi was shaking her head. "That's the problem, Mr. Henry. He may be serious." She released an exagerrated sigh. "Besides that silly scroll, Mike also sent copies copies of a... Well, a declaration of independence, along with a most remarkable Constitution. And demographics and other assorted stats on his little country."
Henry stared into his herbal tea in dismay. Something stronger, perhaps? "So? Be serious. We aren't going to admit some little rock. I mean, how large is this 'country'?"
"Not terribly large, really," Tommi admitted. "Mut 2015D itself only seems to be about nine miles long..."
Henry snorted. "Cities are bigger than that."
Tommi nodded. "True. And some are smaller. Vatican City, for one. And they're in the U.N. now," she pointed out.
Henry vaguely thought that the Vatican was probably the last UN joiner. At least they provided an entertaining counterpoint to the Arab and Isreali states. "So we should consider every application from any two-bit houseowner?" The fat man shook his head. "Now you're kidding..."
"Sir, maybe you should review that package. Then talk to ol' Mike. He has a a complete astronomical body, that owes no allegiance to any nation. It's self-supporting... Heck, boss. Mut turns a profit. How many of our present members can honestly say that?" Henry rewarded her with a pained expression as she continued. "Mikey even seems to have a Navy; space Navy, that is."
"What?" That was unexpected.
"Fairbanks runs a reasonably large metals extraction facility; lots of titanium, aluminum, fair bit of iron, I gather. And a sideline of lead and reactor grade uranium that brings in more than some of our own member states' gross national product, all by itself. To defend his operation from claim jumpers and such, he also operates at least five... security vessels. Call 'em warships; I would.They're armed with kinetic weapons, lasers, enhanced radiation bursters, and nuclear missiles." As she read off the list, she shuddered in disbelief. "And that doesn't count defensive equipment on his other ships; about ten cargo haulers."
"My God," Henry exclaimed. Goddamned spacer anarchists, and their perverted passion for weapons. "What does he do with all those craft?"
"Hauls and sells metals. He also seems to subcontract shipping for other outfits. Does some security sub-contracting for smaller outfits that can't afford their own war fleets."
Henry shuddered at that thought. Why couldn't they just hire police? "Still..." he began.
"Mr. Henry," Tommi interrupted, "Fairbanks is sitting out here with more money and a better military than half of our piddling members nations. He has a resident population of some twelve hundred folk; more than the Vatican, again." She hesitated. "Maybe we better hope that he isn't kidding. Do you want him against us?" Henry sat mute, with a sick expression spreading across his face. Tommi went on. "If that's all there was to it, I'd say to pass it on to the General Assembly as a joke. And let them dismiss him."
"What do you mean if? What else is there?"
"Take a look at the last page there..." Tommi pointed to sheath of papers from the 'Anarch.' "He wants more than admission." She stopped to let the Secretary read.
Henry's face reddened. "The Security Council!" he screeched. "This... this... Clown! ...wants a seat on the Security Council?"
Tommi nodded ruefully. "Uh huh. A permanent seat with veto power."
"He's mad!" Spacers were all nuts; cosmic rays scrambled their brains.
"Maybe not," Tommi said quietly. Read those lists again. Think about those warships and their arsenals. He's has nukes" She stared into the fat man's eyes intently. Do you realize that even today there are only ten declared nuclear powers?" She snorted. "Sure, we all know there are more, but most pretend otherwise. And the UN overlooks it because we don't want to admit how ineffectual we were in killing nuclear power and weapons."
"Until now," she corrected. "The U.N. should have seen this coming since the NRU fiasco back in '05. And if not then, when Ahacic nuked those pirates in 2015."
"Yep. It may seem like a moot point, given the way the spacers have been working anyway. But we now have an eleventh declared nuclear power. And he wants in." Tommi stood, then walked to the door. As she left, the woman paused before closing the door. She looked back at the dumbfounded executive and added, "Maybe.
"Or maybe he's just poking fun at us. She stared into the Secretary General's eyes. "Either way, can the United Nations -- what's left of it -- survive the media circus?"
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