Artist’s impression of Corot-7b

The Thousand Year War

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The trouble began when the Saard ambassador said (through a translator) that Earth was a stupid name for a planet anyway. The translator delivered this embarrassed and stammering, but she was proud of her job and didn’t back down. Nor did she hesitate when one of the Human representatives (a prince from Europa, a fact which in retrospect explains everything) retorted that at least our planet had a name, unlike certain Saard rulers who had recently been stripped of theirs. This upset the Saard, to whom names are very important. The Prince found himself challenged to a duel on behalf of said ruler, which he angrily accepted. The entire Saard delegation then packed up and left immediately, leading a confused but relieved Prince behind.

That night the translator spent her customary hour in study of the Saard language. She was particularly interested in a word the ambassador had used, which was inflected slightly differently than she had heard it before. After running through a few dozen recordings she concluded that “duel” was not the best translation, and that a more accurate meaning would be “total war.”

She added a note to the transcript and drifted off to sleep with a smile on her face. Wasn’t it funny how such a small sound could make such a big difference? She would have to tell the Prince in the morning. He would think it was funny.

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