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Eyes dried, he felt his sadness changing slowly into rage.  He punched savagely at the air swearing until nothing remained to be cursed.  Rage spent, he turned and left the small room.  Touching the model he watched the door slide shut one final time.  He knew only one final step remained – to join his family.


This he dreaded the most, no family member had ever seen him helpless, beaten.  He would not allow his concern and sorrow to be spent on him, but instead he would lavish love upon his family.


For the first time in his life he didn’t know if he would survive or become an epitaph.



In the seventeen months since he fled the contagion, Wubba had once again demonstrated his genius, not only locating in a suitable area (The Deesian System wars had become interplanetary), but seeing his business flourish, enriching again both his pocket and his pride.


Months melted slowly into years and Wubba again found himself on top.  What made his ascendancy all the sweeter was the knowledge that the contagion could never again affect his business.


With the creation of new ordinance and termination systems, his business prospered and expanded even beyond his wildest expectations.  Having reached his one hundred and eighteenth birthday Wubba admitted, grudgingly, that he could no longer maintain the pace or the energy needed to control his conglomerate.  So with a mixture of reluctance and pride he passed the mantle on to his sons and daughters.


Yet it was in the twilight of his life that he gave his greatest advice.


Now one hundred and thirty, it took place one afternoon after a particularly long, hot walk.  Feeling tired and in need of liquid refreshment, Wubba entered his favorite pub and after ordering the usual, walked to his favorite table.  Having started to down the cold, sweet brew, he was interrupted by a brash young businessman, who upon introducing himself, sat down at the table across from him.


“Pardon me, sir, you are the legendary Wubba Gibler, are you not?”


Wubba put down his glass, studied the thin bug-eyed face for a moment “Yes, I’m he”


A wide smile broke across the young man’s face.  “Excellent.  I am Zantan Wiir, from the planet Kalar in the Deesian System.”  He continued to smile.  “I am deeply honored to have made your acquaintance.  You can’t imagine how long I’ve wanted to meet you.”  He extended his left hand.


“No, I can’t,” Wubba mumbled softly.  He looked impassively at the small green hand.


An embarrassed grin replaced Wiir’s smile and he withdrew his hand.  “During my travels, Mr. Gibler, I had asked many people for advice and without fail all replied, ‘Seek out Wubba Gibler’. And so I have.”


Wubba stared at the young man through dour eyes.  “I don’t know if I should be flattered, or not.”  He gestured indifferently with his right hand.  “It matters not.  What do you want of me?”


The young man shifted his position, nervously cleared his throat.  “Though we are in the same line of work,” he said, nodding, “I realize I cannot compete effectively with you.”


Wubba smiled.  “Flattering, but accurate, Mr. Wiir.”


“Exactly.  This is why I need your expertise for locations that can provide an optimum growth for my business.”


“Do you have a specific location in mind, Mr. Wiir?”


“Yes.  I’ve considered strongly the L1-9 Terra Sector.  I’ve had recent conformation that the Hatar System is on the brink of war, placing L1-9 well within acceptable transportation costs for ordinance shipments.”


Wubba’s narrow eyes widened, but he said nothing.


“I’m extremely interested in the abundant labor force found on the system’s seventh planet from the outer margin.”


Wubba banged his fist on the table.  “Stay as far away as possible from that planet and those in league with that accursed system.  It has the contagion that damned near ruined me!”


Startled by the old man’s outburst, Wiir sat back, his face a mask of confused interest.


“Stay away!” Wubba repeated angrily.  “For nearly seventy-five years I had sold the best war machines money could buy: cyberbots, deathdroids, fully automated hunter-killers, stasis generators and more!  You name I had it, and if you didn’t, I’d damn well build it for you better and faster than anyone could!  Then the contagion struck, slowly at first only to spread until the entire planet and those in contact with it were infected!”


“What was the dreadful contagion?” Wiir asked.


“Peace,” snapped Wubba Gibler, “PEACE.”


Author Notes


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