“What do you mean we ‘broke contract’?” Roman clenched his fists to try and keep calm. The late 50s man with grey hair managed to keep his voice calm. He was raging inside but Ms. Sharp was someone he did not want to risk offending. He knew what she was capable of. “We signed the Earth over to you!”
“I’m not fond of your methods,” Ms. Sharp replied. She sat behind a large wooden desk with her assistant, Melody, standing close behind her. “The intent is to get the world’s citizens to agree, through their leaders, to willingly give me ownership of Earth. Convincing your citizens that this Earth has always belonged to me defeats the entire purpose of what I’m working toward.” Roman relaxed slightly.
“Okay, well, what are you trying to do? Maybe there’s some way to fix it?” he asked.
“There is no way to salvage this situation, Mr. President. What you’ve done is abhorrent and I refuse to conduct business with you any further.”
“WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE!??” Despite his best efforts, Roman could not prevent the outburst. At that point, he decided the best thing to do was to continue the train of thought in a calmer town. “You want to have an unen..,” Roman caught himself and reconsidered using the word, ‘unenforceable’. From what little he saw in their many meetings, if anyone could enforce a claim to Earth, it would be Dana Sharp. He coughed to disguise the hesitation, then continued.
“You want to have a claim to Earth, you have a claim to Earth. Why does it matter how you got it?’
“Do you watch sports, Mr. President?” Ms. Sharp asked suddenly. The question confused him enough to provide an answer.
“Yeah, I like basketball,” he said.
“Oh, I don’t like that one. It’s kind of silly, isn’t it? Dribbling the ball recklessly; why don’t they just carry it to the basket?”
If Roman had been less of a basketball fan, he might have realized the similarity to his own question. But, that particular nitpick was a sore spot for him. He eagerly provided his practiced answer.
“Because it wouldn’t be entertaining. The other teams need a fair chance to make it interesting; otherwise, they’d be carrying the ball back and forth for 48 minutes. It would be a boring version of football without protective gear or tackles.” Ms. Sharp smiled.
“And there you have it,” she said. “Tiny, seemingly arbitrary rules, make quite a difference, don’t they?” she asked. Roman tilted his head and narrowed his eyes.
“Collecting Earths is a game to you?” he asked.
“Life is a game,” Ms. Sharp said. “And consent is the only rule that matters. Please leave my office, Mr. President. Unless you’d prefer to have Melody escort you out.”