(Broadcast August 2, 2011)

We now go live to President Archer's speech....

My fellow humans, Vulcans, Andorians, Bolians, and other capitalized races... isn't it about time we came up with a term that encompasses everyone? Feds, maybe?

But that's not what I'm here to discuss today. I know many of you are deeply concerned about the economic dispute our great alliance is currently embroiled in. I am here today to reassure you that everything will be fine, unless my opponents get their way, in which case we're all doomed.

As you know, I have asked the Federation Council to authorize an increase in our currency replication limit. This has traditionally been a routine, sign-it-and-forget-it procedure, like most business conducted by the Council; the representatives usually don't even read it to see what they're agreeing to. But this time, for some reason, I am encountering resistance. Let me be clear: this resistance is misguided, for reasons I will now explain.

First of all, I'm smarter than you and anyone else you may have voted for. Let's just get that out of the way first. I wrote a book.

Second, the main objection my opponents have raised is that over-replication devalues our currency. Need I remind you that we no longer use money? The measures I introduced with former Speaker Travis Mayweather eliminated all commerce in the Federation. Now everything is free, and although it was a bit hard to make it work at first, I remind you that rioting is down by almost 3% this year.

Travis, by the way, could not be here today due to another bout of larynx Ebola. I hope you will all keep him in your non-denominational prayers to a vaguely defined secular entity who probably doesn't exist. If you can't think of one, just choose something big. Personally, I pray to the centre of the galaxy.

At any rate, you may wonder why we need to replicate currency if we no longer use it. The reason is as simple as it is frustrating. We have tried and will continue to try, but the fact is, non-Federation races have consistently refused to give us stuff for free. Barter doesn't seem to cut it either. We need money to give them, so they can then use it to buy things from us, because hell if we're giving away our stuff. In this way, the economy thrives. The stupid, stupid economy.

My opponents argue that this process can't continue forever. I disagree. As long as one is careful not to attach some sort of shame to borrowing exponentially more every year, it never needs to end. There is no largest negative number. Further, I disapprove strongly of my opponents' threatening dialogue about unsustainable inflation and looming disaster. A civilized government has no use for scare tactics.

Now let me be clear: if I don't get this increase passed, your entire family will die. There is a fleet of at least 100 Klingon warships waiting at the edge of Federation space to sweep in and destroy us all if we fail to give them more money this year. Our sensors have not detected this fleet directly, but experts are sure it's there. They probably stole some of that Romulan inviso-ship technology that we're not allowed to call cloaking yet. Or maybe they're hiding in a nebula. That usually works.

I cannot overstate the danger. If the Klingons invade, it will put to shame the Romulan War that may or may not have happened at this point. The Klingons are nuts. They sharpen their teeth before battle. They use impractical two-handed sword things just to show they can still win with them. They once put me on trial purely as an homage to The Undiscovered Country. Let me be clear: you don't want these guys mad at you. They're racially incapable of civilized behaviour -- except the ones on Earth, sophisticated and wise beings whose votes I continue to appreciate.

My opponents see no problem with courting this disaster. They refuse to pass any replication limit increase that doesn't have some sort of pork attached, such as a plan to stop replicating so much in the future. They think they can hold this Federation hostage because I will be unwilling to let it get destroyed. To them I say: Watch me. The record will show that in my years of starship command, I never once lost a game of chicken -- examine the rubble of the NX-03 through 09 if you doubt me.

Let me be clear: the indispensability of augmenting our repository of synthesized numismatic articles cannot be accented too hyperbolically, whether or not the root causes and prospective contingencies have been comprehensively extrapolated with a high confidence interval.

So why are my opponents opposing me? I am afraid it's just their nature. I respect Speaker Soval, but he's always had a contrary side, and now he threatens to drag us all down because of it. I have said many times that the Vulcans were holding me back. My friends, they are holding us all back now, and we must not give in.

Let me be clear: permit me to communicate in a lucid fashion. There is nothing to fear as long as my opponents stop apocalypsing. I hope and trust that they will soon see reason, and this Federation will be able to move on to more important matters, such as my re-election campaign. Thank you and goodnight.

We now go to Ambassador Soval, Speaker of the Federation Council, for his response....

My fellow Vulcans, and other beings who are in no way "my fellow" anything, today the Federation stands at a crossroads. We must decide whether we will begin to deal practically and logically with the real world around us, or continue to ignore it because that makes us happier. In case there is some confusion, I advise the first. Happiness is an emotion.

Before I address the specific points of President Archer's speech, it is incumbent on me to acknowledge that I did not actually watch it, since I was busy rehearsing my own. This should not, however, be a serious problem; humans are extremely predictable. For instance, let me guess: he mentioned the book, right? Mr. President, I have read your book. It is atrocious. The beginning is acceptable, but by the final quarter of the book, you are stretching the truth to place yourself at the centre of every galactic event. I myself am cast as a villain throughout. And announcing a new title halfway through a book is unprofessional at best.

Now to the issue. President Archer has explained the "necessity" of replicating currency for transactions with non-Federation races. What he never mentions is what we use the currency for. It may, therefore, surprise you to learn that the import on which we spend the most replicated currency is replicator fuel. It goes without saying that this is a vicious cycle. Yes, replication will surely be made efficient one day, but we are acting as if it already is.

And what are we doing with the replicators? Some are used for food and clothing, but only a small percentage; Federation worlds already produce those commodities in abundance. The same is true of minerals, ore, and so forth. The obvious strength of replicator technology is reproducing entire objects -- replicating them, if you will -- but even this is not where most of the power consumption takes place.

No, the replicators are being used primarily to create exotic materials en masse for needless projects. Entire starships made of transparent aluminum. Huge quantities of gold to build the new "Screw Money" monument on Wall Street. Something called corbomite that General Reed refuses to disclose any details about. The worst offender is the Holodeck Project, which has a huge replication budget, but is making such slow progress with the tidbits President Archer manages to buy from the Klingons each year that they will take centuries to create a working model. Yes, they estimate only decades, but we have seen what their projections are worth.

Where will this end? Sooner or later, other races will question the value of the money we are replicating. Currency requires something to back it up. Our ambassadors have so far been lucky, but eventually one of our commerce partners will ask to actually see the secret lunar dilithium cave we keep saying we have. We should not find this surprising, partly because surprise is an emotion, but mainly because any intelligent being would doubt the economic credentials of a society that claims not to use money anymore.

What I and my supporters on the Council propose is a compromise. We cannot bring back money without betraying our communist principles, but there would be no harm in pretending. We propose the introduction of a new form of currency that Federation citizens could conspicuously mention, but which would actually mean nothing. By giving this fictional construct a suitably generic name -- "Federation credits", say -- we could appear to be using currency while in fact doing nothing of the sort. Among ourselves, we would speak openly of the great moneyless society, but we would have something to point to when outsiders said, "No, seriously, what do you buy things with?"

As for the replication limit, we propose a compromise here as well. President Archer wants the limit raised, and we want it lowered. Our compromise proposal is to lower it, but then always write it in base 2, making it appear much larger. This should both satisfy my side and fool yours. However, if the president is not prepared to agree to this plan, we are perfectly willing to continue offering it unchanged until Hell freezes over.

Now to the Klingon question. President Archer has been claiming for some time that if we fail to make our usual yearly payment to the Klingons, they will invade the Federation. This is blatant scaremongering. We all know the Klingons are a reasonable people; moreover, they can no longer strike at will now that we have moved their homeworld so much farther away. A fleet of 100 ships could never reach our borders undetected, and that number is in any case a groundless, unscientific guess. According to the Vulcan Science Directorate's far more methodical analyses, the president's experts are overestimating by at least 6.

This debate has made it plain that human thinking is not sufficient for the problems our society currently faces. It was for this reason that I and so many other Vulcans were swept into office in the last election by the so called "V Party" movement. We would express our gratitude if gratitude were not an emotion. Instead, we will simply acknowledge their efforts and trust that they will make them again in the next election, while leaving us alone in the meantime. Really, there's no need at all to keep an eye on us. If anything were going to corrupt us, it would be Trellium-D, not power.

Citizens, the situation is complex, but we will get through it together in spite of our president. Problems like this, demanding logical solutions, are the reason that Vulcan is a core member of the Federation. Rest assured that we are not going anywhere. Saving civilization from the folly of humans is our role to play, and we will be here to play it for millennia to come. Millennia.

Don't test me, Archer. I still haven't forgiven you for making a human-lover out of my daughter.

Ahem. That will be all. Goodnight.

And now, a comment from Subdirector T'Pol of the Vulcan Science Directorate....

I would like to remind the Speaker, again, that I am not his daughter.

This concludes -- WAIT! BREAKING NEWS! An anonymous source has sent us the following top-secret message from Chancellor Klaang of the Klingon Empire to various Klingons in the Federation, intercepted and translated:

I will personally kill the first one of you sorry bastards who tells them you can replicate replicator fuel. We're set for life here.

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Copyright 2011, Zeke. A product of This Just Inc. Actually, T'Pol's father is someone else entirely.