Four years I’ve been training for this.
Me, Lindy, and Dax, have all been training.
And now we are here.
We’ve worked for what we’ll get. We deserve it.
But that haughty, little pristine princess doesn’t.
I never had much faith in the government. I guess I’ve never really had much reason to.
But I don’t think I’ve ever been as disappointed in them as I am now.
Her name is Jenna Martin.
And she is an ice princess.
Born and raised in upstate, she oozes money, polish, and safety. Everything a diplomat shouldn’t be.
In our first meeting, she only spoke to say her name. Wouldn’t even deign to speak to us.
“Frigid bitch,” Dax whispers to me. I try to disguise my laugh as a cough. Lindy hits my back to keep up the charade, but she’s smirking.
Jenna just looks forward, oblivious.
Tank Hughes, Diplomacy Director, makes the rest of us introduce ourselves as well. Lindy announces her name, “Lindy Sawyer,” and manages to make her cinnamon haired, brown eyed looks seem dangerous.
Dax is cooler. “Dax Mitchell,” is said with casual nonchalance, befitting of his lax, arm-crossed stance.
I say “Ash DeMarco,” trying only to sound like me.
Tank doesn’t go into specifics today. We are supposed to share about ourselves. He leaves, saying we should be able to handle that ourselves.
Dax cocks an eyebrow and looks at me. Lindy stares down Jenna. She looks back, cautiously, but not afraid.
“We,” Lindy tells her, waving her hand in front of us, “already know each other. Tell us about you.”
Jenna tightens her forehead.
I lean forward and my arms rest on my knees. “I can tell you one thing about her,” I say.
Dax and Lindy both look at me.
“She’s an only child.”
Her reaction tells me she know that was coming.
“Yes.” She looks at me levelly. “I am.”
We don’t say anything; we simply stare instead.
Jenna sighs and rolls her eyes. “And I can see that is all I am to you,” she tells us.
And that’s all she says.
A flicker of humanity, I’ll admit.
But humanity is somewhat diminished when spoken through privileged lips.
“How was it?” Ma asks.
I nod. “Good.”
Even Kama is sitting at the kitchen table, waiting. Carter is bouncing so much that he can hardly remain vertical in his chair.
“Well,” Ma says. She sits down with the rest of the family. “Tell us more than that.”
I sit down next to Carter and lug him onto to my lap.
“Well,” I say. “It’s Dax, Lindy, and I, along with another girl.”
“Who is she?” Marcie wants to know.
“Her name is Jenna Martin. She’s from upstate.”
Even Junie gets an expression on her face.
I quickly backtrack. “But I don’t think she’ll be there tomorrow. She clearly didn’t know what she was getting into.”
And after I say that, I wonder if she does. Jenna. If she really knows what all being a diplomat entails.
If not, Lindy would gladly be sure to fill her in.
When we return the following day, she is there again.
She’s early too, already waiting for us with Tank.
“Good morning,” Tank greets us. “I was just talking to Ms. Martin here. It turns out I know her father.”
Jenna cringes, because she, at least, clearly knows Tank shouldn’t have told us that. I simply raise an eyebrow in feigned shock.
“Today,” Tank says, shifting into teaching mode and rising from his seat. “We are going to have a little quiz.”
Lindy, Dax, and I quickly sit down.
“The United Nations has how many subdivisions?”
“Six,” Jenna calls out.
“And they are?” Tank follows up.
“The General Assembly, The Security Council, The Economic and Social Council, The Trusteeship Council, The Secretariat, and the International Court of Justice.”
“Very good,” he nods. Lindy rolls her eyes, apparently unimpressed.
“Next question: how many permanent members of the UN are there?”
Lindy snags this one. “Five — the US, France, China, Britain, and Russia.”
Tank nods. “How many members are currently in the UN?”
“189,” Dax answers with a smile. “But I can’t name them all.
“What’s the newest?”
“Tuvula,” Jenna says.
Tanks nods again, with a slight smile. “And why am I questioning you about the UN and not American diplomatic history?”
I’ve got this one.
“Because our former diplomacy won’t work anymore. Everyone is far too hostile to wait for treaties and trans-continental phone calls. Decisions are far easier made without taking any other countries into consideration.”
“That’s true,” Tank says. “But not entirely what I was looking for.”
“We’re the new Germany,” Jenna replies without skipping a beat. Everyone looks at her. “After World War One, and World War Two, Germany, well, and Japan, were both the universal bad guys. The Treaty of Paris put restraints on Germany’s power, trying to prevent another global issue. More powerful countries were to keep their eyes on the perpetrators, in order to keep them in line.”
“And,” Tank prompts.
“And,” she says, “this is our fault. The UN has called a meeting, sort of a Geneva Convention redux, in order to put a cap on the US’s power. The trouble is, there isn’t anyone to keep an eye on us. Being a superpower, we’re in the practice of doing what we wan, when we want. So the UN is going to be exercising their power over us.”
Jenna pauses for a moment. “Not to mention that every country in the world is going to be getting a large dose of the United Nations in the coming months. With everyone fighting, the UN is trying to do what it can to staunch it, but in order to do so, they have to re-educate all of us on how to interact with each other.”
Tank stares at her for a moment. “That last bit,” he says, “is what I was looking for. Not that the first part was wrong, I’ve just never heard it before.”
“It just happened this morning.”
Everyone stares at her. How does she know this faster than Tank?
Jenna looks innocent enough. She pulls out her Blackberry and waves it.
“It’s all over the news.”
Lindy’s voice is quiet in my ear. “Fancy, new gadgets.”
She’s not quiet enough though. It’s clear Jenna heard the slight. She frowns and looks almost......guilty.
Tank has caught onto the mood. “Well, that’s......interesting.” I can’t tell if he is more nervous about the vibe or the fact that this piece of knowledge evaded him. “That’s all for today,” he says clasping his hands and leaving his seat.
We all watch after him, expecting him to return once he realizes we have only been there for a matter of minutes.
But he doesn’t come back.
“Really?” Dax asks.
Lindy shrugs and we gather our things.
It looks like Jenna is waiting for us to leave. Lindy and I walk past with out word or glace. Dax, unable to help himself, winks at her as she glides by and we all reconvene in the hall.
“Why do you do things like that?” Lindy hisses at Dax.
“We’re not around Tank anymore, Linds,” I remind her. “You can use a normal volume.
Lindy fixes me with a withering stare and then looks back to Dax, expectantly.
Dax just shrugs. “I can’t help myself.”
Lindy opens her mouth, presumably to suggest Dax start helping himself, when Jenna walks out of the room. She doesn’t look flustered by our group — though she had to be — she simply ducked between Dax and I and headed down the hall.
When she was gone, we all raised our eyebrows and exited the building. As we took the subway home, we scrutinized our foe further, knowing that she was safely tucked away in her palace of steel and ice, while we returned to mere houses of earth and wood.