The Girl Who Saved the World, Part 16 in some arithmetic base

George Phillies phillies at
Fri Dec 11 20:50:01 PST 2015

The American Ambassador continues:

The American position for centuries has been that the Namestone would 
belong to he who took it. I agree that most Americans would also have 
preferred that Miss Eclipse simply joined the extremely long list of 
people who bet their lives against the Namestone and lost. We do not 
wish Miss Eclipse ill for performing her heroic deed, but the Namestone 
was better left in the Tomb in the hands of the Martyr.” Several of 
Buncombe’s colleagues glared in his direction. “Of course, it was two 
Americans who separately entered the Maze and were the only challengers 
ever to survive, quitting while they were ahead.”

Some of Buncombe’s colleagues turned beet red.  Four appeared to be 
struggling to avoid breaking into laughter at his tweaking of the lion’s 
tail. The English and Germans had lost the core of their navies in a 
prior attempt.  The English “world chess champion” had declined to 
emulate the challenger he had dodged, when the challenger had visited 
England to play for the world title,  by entering the Maze.

“In any event, my Republic’s frugal Congress may well take its own good 
time about authorizing any part of our very limited incomes to be spent 
in Eclipse’s pursuit, assuming that our Congress in its wisdom does not 
decide that she is the proper owner. We are a poor but thrifty nation 
and have better uses for our meager resources.”  Buncombe silently 
congratulated himself on saying his final few sentences with a straight 
face. It was hardly a secret that the American Republic was by a very 
considerable margin the wealthiest country in the world.

  “Finally, America is a sovereign nation. Foreign attacks on our 
citizens and residents, including in particular attacks on the 
hypothetical Miss Eclipse if she is an American, would plausibly be acts 
of war and will be treated as such. We have no intent of sending our 
armed forces abroad in pursuits of willow-the-wisps. We will, however, 
consider favorably requests for mutual assistance from countries in the 
Americas that request our assistance. Furthermore, President Daniel 
Oliver Webster has indicated that if the Governors-General of any of the 
Canadian Dominions request emergency aid, then, so long as the 
Queen-Empress and her Ministers do not object, arrangements might 
perhaps be made.  After all, if your neighbor’s house is on fire, you 
break out the hoses first, and consider your minor historical 
disagreements with your neighbor after the fire is extinguished.”

 From the looks on various faces, Buncombe had indeed set several foxes 
loose in neighboring chicken coops.  American foreign policy had for 
centuries been based on total noninvolvement in foreign affairs. 
Protecting southern neighbors from the IncoAztecan Empire was viewed as 
a domestic matter, given the series of wars that had been fought between 
America and the Aztecans. And now, Buncombe thought, he had announced a 
minor change in American foreign policy. Buncombe handed the Speaking 
Stone to Ambassador Featherstonehaugh.

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