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Jim Witman sat in his apartment wondering about the latest news.

It'd been twenty-three years since the Peace Agreement and no one expected a war.

Jim called his best friend, Hank Bourne, and said:

"Heard the news?"

"Yep. Good thing the World Federation got its Protective Force trained and ready."

"Think they can rein in both South Africa and Botswana?"

"Well, it is 2138, not 2115---over twenty years to get ready..."

"Yeah, I guess there's not much to worry about..."

"Not unless some other countries decide the Protective Force will be too busy to fight them, too..."

"I think things are too good now for any other countries to start a war."

"Yeah, things are way better without all those stupid tariffs and taxes."

"Wouldn't be if the Economic Committee hadn't made all those trade adjustments---what'd they call it---Fiscal Unity?"

They talked for another half hour and Jim decided he had to go to the Cafe.


He found most of the regulars in attendance and was particularly happy to see Marge Leseine.

He got his cup of Yerba Mate and made his way to her table.


"Hey, you."

"You must've heard about the war...?"

"Absolutely. What a radically stupid thing to do..."

"I suppose the South Africans didn't think it was stupid to defend their country..."

"Well, yeah, but they shouldn't have gone into Botswana, that's the job of the Protective Force. Now they'll both suffer from Federation Intervention."




"Think any other countries will start being stupid?"

"Sure hope not..."


They talked for a few hours and he made sure they had a date for a movie later in the week.


Jim was watching the Federation 'NetCast.

"Troops have surrounded both armies and naval forces have blocked South African ports.

"The uprising should be quelled within forty-eight hours.

"Humanitarian aid is already infiltrating the fringes of the civilian areas."

Jim went to the South African Herald site.

"President Thato Coetzee has declared the incursion into Botswana a 'tragic mistake' and assures us our troops are withdrawing back into home territory."

Jim went to the Botswana Times site.

"South African troops are not yet retreating; but, Federation troops are said to be containing them; though, we have no proof of that.

"General Seretse is threatening to bomb South African outposts on the border."

His mind drifted off the screen and went into wonderment about the insanity of war.

He'd gotten used to clarity and rigorous honesty in the news---violence tainted everything...

The wars of the 2090's had sickened all of humanity---things had rapidly changed---large movements of people pushed for transparency and ethical behavior.

He wondered about God's seeming willingness to let things get out of hand so badly on the Earth; but, he knew, without free will humans would be mere toys that God programed for Lord knows what...

But the massive upheavals of the 80's and 90's, the dislocations and ruptures, the die-offs of so many poor folks...

Jim knew there were few truly valid options for humans.

His studies in philosophy and psychology had convinced him that the human "condition" was, at best, tricky to keep "balanced"; yet, all the effort to unify the world was paying off---very sad it had cost humanity so damned much to get to that balance...

He wasn't sure about religious motivations---the major faiths had "reconciled"---still, even though he believed in some kind of "Creator", he couldn't say he was "religious".

There was that Faith some folks called "rational"---he didn't know...

He did know that unity was the new goal in every area of life.

He did know that human beings really needed peace to prosper.

He wasn't sure if he dared ask Marge to marry him...

He wanted kids but...

Better wait and see what happens after the war's over.........


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