Sedition In Guilder

"Tell me again," Lothario said, "why we should try to overthrow our government. There's a lacuna in your argument somewhere, but I just can't find it. If you go over it again, then perhaps I'll find it."

Trung sighed. "Never mind the why of it. You're here, aren't you? Would you have come if you didn't think times were ripe for change? This meeting is a time for how, not for why."

Alphonzo said, "No, Lothario has a good point. I mean, we all agree that there is a need for change. But what we are not yet convinced of is that this kind of seditious activity is necessary to achieve what it is that we desire."

Trung sighed again. This had not happened in the last few countries they had tried. Florin, for instance. The Florinese all agreed that revolution was the only hope for change. But somehow in Guilder there was still hope that the establishment might be reasonable. He tried another tactic. "Look--how long have you been trying to change things within the system? Have you accomplished anything?"

"Oh, we've accomplished scads. We haven't accomplished our main aims, but we have made great strides."

Alphonzo chuckled. "It would help if you didn't keep changing our main aims everytime we take a stride forward. I remember when all we wanted was to change the laws that any Florinese found on Guilder territory was summarily hanged, drawn and quartered. And now we won't stop until Florin and Guilder are completely united."

"And frankly, I don't see how changing the government will accomplish anything," Lothario broke in. "The Florinese have just had a revolution themselves. Is it going to reassure them if we have one right off as well? They've completely slaughtered all their royal family, except for those few that made it over the border, who owe their lives to us, even if they have to work as a performing troupe."

Trung swore. Would these people not listen to reason? Didn't they have any idea how things worked?

"No need to get scatological on us, Mr. Bactrian," Lothario said, offended. "We said we'd come and listen to you, and we have. Just because you haven't sold us like you sold the Florinese..."

Trung sucked in a breath. They were onto him!

Alphonzo smiled. "Oh, yes, Mr. Bactrian--or should I say, Trung Astra? The Prince was very helpful in providing a description of you, and you matched perfectly. No, the beard didn't fool us at all. Our artists are quite capable of adding those. Having committed no crimes in Guilder, you were safe from us for a while, but we knew that if we gave you enough rope you'd hang yourself. And you have. Your previous statements to us gave us enough reason to search the ballast on your ship, and the lead therein was arrange in much too convenient forms for coincidence."

Lothario nodded. "I'm afraid we must book you for sedition, Mr. Astra. No, don't bother to struggle. These gentlemen are quite willing to break your arms if necessary. We can't be held liable for the injuries a prisoner may inflict on himself, you know."

<This one is for John R. Schutz, who gave me the choice words

lacuna, seditious, scatological, ballast

I think I even used them all.>

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