"Welcome to the Royal Office for Accelerated Claims. State your username and password now."

"J7T1949. Potw2001XX."

"State your concerns."

"Oh, you can bet I will. Count on it. Listen to this. I have just now learned of expedited plans to put a ThruPass in this system. Now, my understanding when I came here was that this was not eminent. I need a delay and I need it pronto."

Annoyingly, there WAS a delay, thankfully short, then the voice came back on the speaker. "You have a, the reception is not clear. Can you hear me optimally?" There seemed to be minimal concern here as the caller responded immediately and correctly.

"I'm on a primitive world. This is the best they got. Look, my time here is limited. I got a campaign and business to run. I need a Priority Cunctation and I need it now. Pass it on to the Queen and do it now."

After a pause, another voice came on the line. "Lucent J, this is supervisor M8R5454. Be advised that bombast and demagogic clamor will not further your cause here. The reason a Thruway is scheduled through your system is that the neighboring one has become too crowded. A relief is needed."

An exasperated sigh preceded the petitioner's next words, something the human form he had assumed decades ago had gotten good at. "I KNOW that. Look, I've been preparing for this crusade my whole time here. FINALLY the time is right and all I need is a few decades. I'll have moved on by then and maybe, just maybe, I'll have elevated their status by then. If not, I won't care what you do with the place then. Not my problem."

"Are you aware that a survey sent to find intelligent life on that planet was conducted only recently? Did you contribute to that?"

It was 'J's turn to hesitate. "No, but I had heard about some odd missing items. I suspected something, but I am under deep cover here."

"Your attitude seems to have been compromised by your environment, but that is just a casual observation, not my decision to make. Just know that everything said will be passed on."

The supervisor had already offered one opinion and refrained from adding that the demeanor expressed by the plaintiff may not have helped his cause.

This seemed lost on the caller. "What about the survey? Results?"

Again a pause to what was clearly a demand. "No record as yet. We have hundreds of surveyors out and it takes time to get to the Queen. Which is why we have an Accelerated Claims office."

J did not like being talked down to. He had to think a moment to say something positive and slightly snide at the same time.

"So when can I expect an acceleration? I'm not a youngster, you know." For him, this counted as glowing encomium.

Not so much for the Royal Officer. "Within two business cycles. Rest assured that final decisions are not scheduled for this calendar fiscality and will probably be affected by the scouting report. Seven billion indigents, no matter how useless, are a factor."

This was simple fact, not an opinion. It was right there on the super's computer screen.

"And there are plenty of nearby Portals. There is nothing special about this one, although I rather enjoy a sunny day."

"Another factor." The voice was quite conciliatory. "Consider your appeal made. Anything else?"

"No, let me get back to slamming these morons. Out."

Lucent J fumed awhile before meeting with his aides after the lunch break. It irked him that his best campaign slogan was clearly proscribed and would lead to his immediate departure.

Vote for me or die just wouldn't fly.

Neither would the concept embedded in his password. POTUS was one thing, POTW was quite another.

Oh well, one thing at a time.

Back to work suckering these fools.



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