Diplomatic Space Freeze-Out
by Cliff Dossey

The first sign was the cyrofrigid paint chips
that flaked and peeled from the diplomatic craft
even the honor seal of the Diplomatic Corps
The crew claimed they could hear the faint crackle
of plastic parts splitting in a cryogenic freeze

The cold has woven its web of icy strands
on the weft of the space craft’s vital parts
They knew that it could cool even a nucleonic engine
But why the brave ambassador insisted on still warping
about waiting for an “all clear” to approach is unclear
He’d said to the captain and crew with conviction
“The central Cyrocyborgians will rescue us
they know we are on our way.”
“Captain?” the ambassador suggests, “You should hail.”
“Hail? Hail hell—I’ve already hailed a thousand times.
Each time I do—I have to be dodging
the death-probes they shoot at us.”
“Tell me—why would they exclude us
from the warmer solar region at the center.
The winning side has agreed and signed accepting
a new ambassador—this must be some renegade outlaw
rebel band that’s trying to keep the central government
from concluding a coup in establishing diplomatic
relations with the Federation.”

The ambassador concludes “I just can’t turn tail and go
home, Hey that would not be proper for an ambassador
from the Federation.”
“Maybe being cool is not the proper protocol for dealing
with these Cyrocyborgians,” the Captain
respectfully offered as his view.
He fired a message again
over all subspace clear channels.
“Let us pass—we could die in these frosty plumes.”
The Captain referred to the exuding fingers of cyro
frigid Bose Einstein condensate expelled from
the nearby thermodead planets.
“Tell ‘em there’s such a thing as diplomatic immunity—
Here, hear.” The shivering shaking and shaky ambassador
demanded of the captain, who dutifully demanded
the rights of diplomatic vessels recognized
nearly everywhere in the civilized galaxy.

The captain finally could see them for a few seconds
before the monitor itself froze.
Lurid laughing warriors
making merry over being able to play big politics
and stage a diplomatic freezeout
in these space belts
beyond the control of the central cyrocyborgs
or Federation
Horrors—he shivered—they’re having a good time
watching us shrivel with the cold—his last thought.

His mind could not be warmed by simple will
nor escape hallucinogenic visions
Only an unlikely thaw by their cold opponents
would prevent it shattering into shards
of insensibility.
Why he tried to think were they bearing gifts to the—
such creatures of the remote nether galaxies
The captain of the cyrocyborgian rebels allows himself
but a smile and short, a tittering titter and thinks—
Our enemies should have realized
that we might not take kindly to their self-serving
and uneven-handed recognition
of the central cyroborgians
Do they not know of the ancient proverb from the
frozen time: “Beware of diplomats bearing gifts.”?   

CONTENTS