President Mitchell slowly turned away from the Oval Office window, to see his Chief of Staff, Bill Rojas. Rojas was clearly agitated, but these days, who wasn't?
"Bill, don't be so formal. Come in, sit down. Maybe Laura can get you a coffee."
"No, thanks, Rob. It's just that the Martians..."
"Yes, I know. They are almost here. Richmond just disappeared."
Rojas exhaled. "And Norfolk. And Raleigh-Durham."
President Robert Mitchell paled slightly, but quickly regained his composure. "They aren't invincible, you know. We just have to find out their weakness. And I think I know what we can do to stop them."
"Really, Rob? What is it?"
"Give them Minnesota."
The room was silent for a moment.
"Yes, Minnesota. Look, they clearly want land, right? They aren't conquering us for fun. The Martians have legitimate grievances against us, and it is time we treat them like human beings. We have been disrespectful to them, you know, calling them "bug-eyed" and shooting rockets at their warships - warships which are legal under international law, by the way."
"But Rob..." Bill sputtered. "How do you know they would be happy with Minnesota?"
"Bill, Bill. You've known me for years. I didn't become President because I did things unilaterally. I understand people, Bill! I have crafted compromises in the State Senate, in the US Congress, and I am sure I can compromise with the Martians as well! They aren't that different from you and me, after all. They have two eyes, just like us. They like to eat, just like us...."
"Rob, they eat people!"
"Come on, Bill, have you never heard of cannibals? Or those people from the plane crash who were stuck in the Andes? Seriously, you have to stop being so judgmental."
"But, Mr. President - how do you know they would be happy with Minnesota?"
Robert Mitchell sighed. "It is a nice place - lots of lakes, healthy people to eat, and cold, just like their planet. Besides, Minnesota didn't vote for me," he added with a chuckle. "Seriously, Martians didn't build interplanetary spaceships because they are stupid. If they are that advanced, of course they will compromise with us. Minnesota is just a beginning position to bargain with. Maybe they'll want North Dakota, too...but we'll never know until we start a dialogue with them. And negotiation means compromise, so we have have to offer something in our opening stance."
Bill Rojas, hesitantly, asked, "And if we give them Minnesota - they'll leave us alone?"
President Mitchell straightened up to his full 6'2" height. He never looked so presidential.
"I am sure about it, Bill. They are an advanced people; they will negotiate with us and take only what's fair. They aren't savages, and they have their pride. Everything can be discussed between adults of good will.
"We, as a people, desperately want the fighting to stop. We will have to make painful compromises for peace. But the peace, when it comes, will last forever."
The Guardian's New Country
1 hour ago