By John Scalzi.
Previous chapter here.
This is the first even numbered chapter that I've really been into! Go figure!
This one features some characters from The Last Colony/Zoe's Tale. Specifically, General Gau, leader of the Conclave, and his advisor Hafte Sorvalh. Sounds like the Conclave is having similar issues to the CU, what with the missing ships and all. And since the CU took out people from EVERY Conclave planet, hey, let's blame it all on the humans! Let's wipe them all out, even the Earthlings who never did anything to you!....Or at least, that's how one faction is going. General Gau, a good egg, doesn't want things to go quite that far. He's also aware of the widlcat colonies with CDF personnel on them, and secretly passes a list of them to Sorvath. Gau, with the help of John Perry and a few others, manages to hook Sorvalh up with General Abel Rigney--he's the "back channel"-- as a guy who has enough power to get the wildcat colonies out of there before the Conclave has to make an example of them.
Sorvalh and Rigney bond over churros in Washington D.C. and check out a statue of Abraham Lincoln while they're discussing this, which is cute. When Sorvalh shows him the list, Rigney says he can get rid of nine of them easily...but the tenth is a colony of crazy racist bigots who won't go quietly and are probably happy to die for their stupid cause. Sorvalh, on the other hand, has a darned good idea as to how to handle people who are obsessed with their own phenotype. It made me giggle. I like her, she's cheerfully Machiavellian, but not in a bad way.
This one was fun, in its way, what with the churros and the outsmarting of bigots and the like. I also found it interesting how (even though we're humans and we know which racial group these people are probably from) how the racists in question weren't specified. It probably wouldn't make a difference to Sorvalh anyway. I also liked how she (spoiler!) felt sorry for the sacrificial goat. Well, points gotta be made.