Sharp Wager

“Roller derby?” The president of the United States asked. A chorus of chuckles filled the U.N. hall. “Ms. Sharp,” the wrinkled, fair-skinned, silver-haired president continued. “With all due respect, that is not how we do things in this universe. The suggestion itself is such a foreign thought. It’s almost impossible for me and I’m sure most, if not all, U.N. representatives to fathom the thought. So much so, that I find myself obligated to ask. Did you honestly expect world leaders to bet our Earth on a roller derby game?”

“A tournament, but yes,” Ms. Sharp glanced around the room slowly, looking at each member in the eyes. “As with any deal, of course, the devil is in the details. The bet itself is just for show; it’s an easy way to convince your citizens they’re all in the same boat.” Ms. Sharp paused and gave the delegates a smile. “The reason I expect you to bet is that you have nothing to lose; but, everything to gain.”

“Nothing to lose?” The president asked. “So why bet the Earth if the bet’s not important?” Ms. Sharp’s smile disappeared, and she let out a nearly imperceptible sigh.

“So, you are only half-listening? As I explained, moments ago, it’s a tactic to unite the citizens of this Earth. But yes, you have nothing to lose. I currently own 15 Earths; each one of them is independent and flourishing under my guidance. I don’t force anything on them that their society doesn’t want. It’s an entire planet. Ask yourself, do you think anyone can enforce that kind of claim?” Ms. Sharp paused and glanced around the room again; almost every member gave a subtle shake of the head. “The tournament will be hosted here, but broadcast to all 15 of my Earths as well as several hundred more.”

“Why roller derby?” Another delegate asked.

“It’s more advanced than the version of roller derby you have on this Earth. Our version is closer to what your Earth calls MMORPGs. Each team is made up of four to six members, and each member has their own class. Things like Knights, Rangers, Wizards and so on.”

“A video game?” the president asked.

“Not to the skaters,” Ms. Sharp smiled. “We virtually simulate all spells and abilities in real time using nano-technology on the track. It makes quite the spectacle.”

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