Sunday May 26, 2002
Book 2: The Teraport Wars — The Teraport Wars
Note: Both Loxies ( Loxodontus Africanus Sapiens) and Ellies ( Elephas Maximus Sapiens, of which the Deputy Elephant is one) customarily adorn themselves with tatoos. Strictly speaking, they don't do it themselves, since the gene-twaddlers responsible for granting them sapience neglected to provide them with proper fingers, but who's keeping track? Regardless of which poorly-compensated body-artist is holding the needle, the practice is very widespread. Some say that sapient pachyderms adopted the custom as an alternative to wearing clothing, in order to better distinguish themselves from their dumb-as-stumps cousins. Others suggest that it's a concession to humans, most of whom can't tell the difference between a dog and four-point buck (as indicated by what gets shot at during the deer hunt), much less tell individual pachyderms apart.

It's hard to make it out, but the red smudge on the Deputy Elephant's ponderous behind is a stylized representation of a pair of lips. Pucker up, two-legs.


Narrator: Aboard the UNS Carrier Dublin a meeting is in progress.
Deputy Elephant: Hello, gentlemen. I'm ready for your report.
Xinchub: We're behind optimal schedule, but within operational parameters, sir.
Deputy Elephant: Bah! No doublespeak! Give me real information! I'm the Deputy Elephant of the United Nations of Sol!
Xinchub: And you want to retain plausible deniability, right? I mean, it's not as if you can go before the council of chimps in the Ministry of Justice and claim you forgot.
Deputy Elephant: Ah. An elephant joke. That's a new one on me, general.
Xinchub: Fine, here are the details. Captain Megiddo is confident that they will secure Objective Epsilon within a week. He is prepared to then neutralize all non-secure parties at Target Echo, including General Aanders, if need be.
Xinchub: This coalition will surely collapse, and Admiral Breya will prove to be a fine lightning rod when it does. We should be able to pull out with at least fifty percent of our assets intact.
Xinchub: Granted, this coordinated fleet movement shows a level of sophistication we did not expect from her, but it will only forestall the inevitable.
Deputy Elephant: Fifty percent?! That's political suicide!
Xinchub: That's what Admiral Breya is for, sir.
Xinchub: It isn't political suicide when you kill someone else. It's political murder.
Deputy Elephant: I was never aboard. I did not hear any of this.
Xinchub: What, with those ears?
Narrator: And how do you hide the fact that you brought an elephant aboard?