is a 1985 science fiction novella
by Vernor Vinge
, set between his novels The Peace War
and Marooned in Realtime
. It was first published in his collection True Names and Other Dangers
and later published in the omnibus Across Realtime
The framework is the story of the Republic of New Mexico (NMR) invading the peaceful anarcho-capitalist
society in Kansas. The NMR creates a military fiasco by completely failing to understand the cultural differences — including the amount of self protection a lone Kansas farmer may have.
The main protagonist is Wil W. Brierson, a detective/insurance agent, who attempts to disrupt the invasion while trying to minimize the property damage (and thus claims his company might have to pay out) and bridge the cultural gap. Brierson is also the protagonist of Marooned in Realtime.