“You make it sound so easy,” the President said. The portly, bearded, bald man sat on the edge of his chair with his back straight. Two men in dark suits and sunglasses stood quietly close behind him. Across from him a pale, lithe woman with dark hair sat behind her desk. She wore a bright, white suit while her own assistant, also stood close behind her wearing a dark suit. “There’s no way the public would go for it, not to mention the rest of the U.N.,” he said with a subtle shake of his head.
“It is easy, Mr. President,” the woman said with a practiced smile. “Trivial in fact.” The President’s eyes widened but the woman kept talking. “To be clear, I don’t actually need your approval to do this. Nor the U.N. But, what can I say?” she asked rhetorically with a shrug. “I have a slight sentimentality for the United States. I like to see it come out ahead when I can. It’s why I’m meeting with you directly instead of addressing the world.”
“Easy?” The President chuckled. “Ms. Sharp, do you really think you can buy Earth?”
“She already -” Ms. Sharp’s dark-suited assistant began to speak out but she was interrupted. Ms. Sharp turned and gave her a look that was enough to quiet the pale aid; then, she turned her focus back to the President. He did not seem to notice the look exchanged by the women and continued his objections.
“Even if you had all the money in the world,…” he cast a glance around the small office. It was smaller than a standard bedroom. Old, frayed, stained carpet lined the floor and the walls were covered with rotting wood paneling. “…which I doubt, there’s no way we’d sell. How would that even work? Assuming your payment could be divided out to every single person on Earth… what would we do with it? If you own all the land there’s no reason why you can’t raise prices everywhere and make all that money back.” Ms. Sharp sighed at the President.
“Money, money, money. You’re far more short-sighted than I expected. Yes, obviously if I offered you money that would be ridiculous. However, I never mentioned money.” The President burst into a deep, bellowing laughter.
“How the hell do you expect to buy anything without money?”
“What would you use that money for?” She asked. “Let’s pretend we came to a financial agreement and everyone on Earth received a fair share. What would they do with it?”
“Buy stuff?” the President shrugged.
“Things they need like food, clothes and so on. Right?” The bald man nodded.
“So why not just give them that and skip the green middleman?”
“Wh.. what? How?”
“By sending them to somewhere they can get anything they need, whenever they need it, free of charge.”
“Sending? Like.. away?” Ms. Sharp nodded.
“Temporarily. Send them away for a couple of years so that my company can get this Earth organized. When your citizens come back it’ll be a cleaner, greener Earth.”
“To where?” the President asked. Ms. Sharp shrugged.
“They’ll have options. I have several Earths available,” she smiled. The President’s eyes narrowed. That alternate universes existed was not common knowledge. The U.S. and several allied nations were secretly researching how to communicate with other universes.
“Let me make sure I understand you, Ms. Sharp,” he said. “You are proposing moving everyone on this Earth to a different one for a time. You want to clean this one while they’re gone and they’ll come back to a better one when they do?” Ms. Sharp nodded. “What’s in it for you?”
“Practice,” she said with a smile. “As you can imagine, the logistics for something like that are obscene. I’d prefer to do something when I’m prepared instead of ending up in a situation where it’s required.”
“And… do you foresee evacuating a lot of Earths?” the President asked with a slight tremor in his voice.
“There are powerful beings out there, Mr. President. I foresee not being able to evacuate enough of them.” He nodded and scratched a nervous itch in his graying beard.
“What does buying the Earth have to do with anything? It sounds like you’re going to give it back anyway,” he shrugged. “What do you need me for?” Ms. Sharp let a heavy, frustrated sigh escape. It sounded like an adult’s patience being worn down by a child.
“As I already said, I don’t. I assumed you would be thrilled to be known as the President that saved the world. The President that established diplomatic ties with alternate universes. The President that saved every person on Earth from a meteor impact thanks to the strength of those ties.”
“M.. meteor?” he asked.
“The rats won’t leave the ship unless it’s sinking. Tomorrow, your space administration will notice a stray meteor about the size of Texas headed for Earth. A week after that you’ll announce it to the public, along with a detailed evacuation plan aided by my company. Everyone will be gone within the year and the meteor will miraculously miss the Earth.”
“Because it never existed!” The President said excitedly. He felt happy to have figured out a piece of the plan. Ms. Sharp nodded and slid open one of the drawers at her side. She pulled out an obsidian clipboard with a red sheet of paper on it. There were several small-print paragraphs in white text on the sheet.
“Or… Tomorrow, your space administration will notice a stray meteor about the size of Texas headed for Earth. The next day that same information will be leaked to the public. A couple of days after that I show up and announce a detailed evacuation plan. Either way, my company’s efforts are recognized. The only question is: will yours?” She slid the clipboard forward on the desk.
“All you have to do is agree to sell me the Earth. In exchange, you go down in history as one of the greatest Presidents on any Earth.” The President grabbed the clipboard and started to read it. Ms. Sharp smiled.
“It’s a meaningless piece of paper really. After all, who would I even make the claim to?”
“Yeah.. you’re right,” The President nodded and pulled a pen from his coat’s inner pocket. He chuckled. “Not even the supreme court would enforce this.” He clicked the pen and lowered it to the sheet, but Ms. Sharp interrupted.
“Oh, not with that,” she said. She placed a thin silver blade on the table. “Use blood, please.”