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"So you think he'll come in, Captain Terekhov?" Warren Suttles asked.

"I think he will, Mr. President. On the other hand, I'm not the best judge of the way Mr. Westman's, or any other Montanan's, mind works. No offense, Sir."

"None taken," Suttles said with a smile, and looked at Bannister. "Your opinion, Chief Marshal?"

"Oh, he'll come in, Mr. President," Bannister said confidently. "He'll kick, and he'll whine, and he'll bellyache. And come a few more T-years down the road, he'll point at every little thing that goes wrong and tell me how much better it would've been if he'd only kept Manticore out of our system. But that's Steve. He'll always be crossgrained and ornery as a pseudorattler with a broken tooth. But if he gives you his word, he'll keep it. And when he starts bellyaching down the road, he'll know he's just making a fool out of himself, and it won't bother him a bit."

Suttles' smile turned into a chuckle, and he shook his head.

"If he'll just stop blowing up the planet, I can live with all of that," the President said. "I can even live with how pissed off the rest of the Cabinet's going to be when I announce the amnesty!"


* * * | The Shadow of Saganami | Chapter Forty-Nine







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