A minor fracas erupted recently at the Galactovision Song Contest, usually a hotbed of barely suppressed tedium, concerning the Romulan entry.
Our militaristic friends had done it again, entered the latest hit from the Homeworld, Tomorrow the Galaxy.
Neighbouring planets were not amused, and this revived rumours concerning the state of war between Gotha and Romulus, now in its fifth decade, with no sign of weakening on either side.
Well, it depends on who you talk to. According to a Goth spokesperson, the enemy 'is all but annihilated on all fronts, especially in the area of psy-ops'. According to a Romulan spokesdrone, 'those bl****d Goths are trying to pull the wool over your eyes again. They haven't even got an army! There is no war!', followed by incoherent spluttering.
Like I said...
The first problem is basically one of definition. According to the Goths, who have, with typical verve and considerable elan, taken it upon themselves to relieve the rest of us of the chore of dealing with the quadrant's biggest blowhards ("WE invented the wheel! AND we decided what colour it should be!), the Goth-Romulan War is a relentless and all-consuming conflict fraught with perils, deep strategy, and deeds of incredible daring (on the part of the Goths).
According to the Romulans, it is pure bunkum.
The second problem is one of stellar cartography. You see, it is hard, some would say impossible, for the Romulans to launch an attack against an enemy whose home territory lies at right angles to reality. If you can't find it, you can't bomb it. Or invade it.
Which, wiser heads opine, is why the Goths started the whole thing.
Of course, the Goths could easily find Romulus - the Empire is hard to miss, even if you discount their disputed territorial claims, the settlement of which takes up so much of the Galactic Council's time. It's just that the Goths don't actually bother invading the Romulans.
It's much more fun to pretend to invade them. Drives 'em nuts.
And that brings us to the third problem, from the Romulan point of view, that of credibility. And press control.
What the Goths save in ordnance, they spend on propaganda. And they are winning the propaganda war, with a combination of pertinacity, inventiveness, and sheer bloodymindedness that would boggle the mind of a litigious Venusian.
The Pan-Galactic Herald Centurion, a wholly Goth-owned and operated homeopape, regularly announces, in thrilling detail, complete with photos and sidebar interviews, accounts of truly amazing, daredevil raids into Romulan territory that did not take place.
Of course, they will deny this. They have an entire department whose only job it is to deny this. They say that Romulan denials are mere war propaganda from the other side, that lack of evidence simply proves how determined the enemy is to cover up his losses, and that, besides, everybody knows the Romulans are a bunch of joyless spoilsports, so there.
The Romulans, of course, are furious. They are beside themselves. They are frequently rendered speechless by this effrontery.
Speechlessness in a Romulan is a good thing.
In response to the recent Galactovision dustup, the Goths have launched a new assault. This time, they have published an entire book of anti-Romulan war songs, with titles such as We'll Hang Out Our Washing on the Horsehead Line, Praise Odin, and Pass the Ammunition, and, particularly galling, I'm a Frothy Old Goth, in a Sloppy Old Moth, on the Streets of Old Ra'tleifi, with My Auntie and My Nephie, Doing Those Blear-o Blear-o Can't See Too Clear-oh, Zero Gravity Blues.
Which immediately went into the Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster Book of Useless Records as the most ridiculous song title in sidereal history.
Of course, the Goths do attack from time to time, at a spacetime locus of their own choosing. But even this affords their bellicose opponents no comfort, no release. Their latest foray was into the capital itself, where they used strategically placed, and well-cloaked, transporters to simultaneously beam 499,999 teddy bears, all in Goth native costumes, and all terminally cute, to every public building in the city.
The diabolically cunning part was the number of bears. The obsessive-compulsive (and ursophobic) Romulans went crazy trying to find that last bear.
The Romulans continue to gnash their teeth, faced with the horror of an enemy who refuses to take war seriously. In the meantime, a grateful galaxy has now voted the entire Goth nation the Supernobel Prize, in a special category: Peace Through Perpetual Warfare.
May all your conflicts be humorous ones.