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Intro to Intergalactic Conflicts 101: A Course Summary

Robert Friedman's fiction and humor has appeared in Story Quarterly, The Satirist, Cosmos, Humor Times, The Writing Disorder, The New York Review of Science Fiction, and many other publications. He lives and works in New Jersey.
This course will explore the history, strategy, status, goals, and objectives of the current intergalactic conflict. Each topic is briefly explained in the following course summary.
I. History
Although nobody remembers how this conflict started all those centuries ago, we remain certain that our cause is just. The bravery and commitment of our side in this struggle is legendary. Their side lacks common sense, courage, religion, and access to a decent dry cleaning service. These so-called soldiers in their wrinkled uniforms are an embarrassment to neat, highly trained killing machines throughout the universe. Also, they're green, which is not a skin tone you can easily coordinate with a tie or lipstick. Even a great tailor can't make arms that long look normal. Let's face it, our enemy is already on the run when it comes to fashion sense. Have you seen their cruise wear? Who dresses these people?
II. Strategy
Our core strategy is based on enhancing the many ways to profit from an intergalactic conflict. A companion course, "Intergalactic Conflict Profiteering 102," will explore that goal in greater detail. Strategically speaking, our enemy is brutal and must be met with even greater brutality. Granted, we've had some trouble with our aggressive interrogation methods, which seem to provide inaccurate data. The last piece of information we extracted from the enemy through such means led to our full-scale invasion of a Cheesecake Factory restaurant in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. These things happen. On the plus side, our casualties were low and the desserts excellent.
III. Status
The intergalactic conflict is going well, just as it has been for the past seven hundred years. Military leaders agree that the enemy is weakening. Numerous indicators point to a positive shift in our favor. The signs are all good. In another three or four hundred years, we might just wrap this thing up. Meanwhile, there's nothing like an intergalactic conflict to keep us united here at home. We will examine in this course why all those who disagree with our policies are treacherous swine who should be exiled to the nearest black hole.
IV. Goals
The ultimate goal of the intergalactic conflict is simple. We must win. Do you want to live in a galaxy run by our enemy? They do not share our values or believe in the same things we do, such as summering on the Cape or fusion cuisine. You can imagine what these ruthless bastards charge for cable service. They are opposed to freedom, which is probably why they live in hives. When was the last time you heard a bee quote Thomas Jefferson? Granted, we're a bit unsure of why we're fighting, so winning may be somewhat difficult. All this intergalactic political and diplomatic stuff is kind of complex, which is why it's a good idea to just open fire with our blaster array and hope for the best.
V. Objectives
Ideally, we can win not just the intergalactic conflict, but the hearts and minds of our enemy. This may be a daunting task, because they each have three hearts, but it does explain why it's so easy to find a good cardiologist in enemy territory. Anyway, we would like the enemy to realize that even carbon-based life forms have feelings. Maybe we can get past this intergalactic conflict stuff and just knock back a beer or two together. Our hope is that this course will help broaden your understanding of such issues, or at least keep the professor steadily employed until that tenure offer comes through.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, June 8th, 2020
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