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There is a lingering moral superiority inherent in having flossed. Suri scans Harez’s mouth as he talks, searching for signs of gingivitis.

“And, er, they’ve achieved a significant number of our tactical goals,” Harez mumbles, trying to keep his lips close together. “So I wanted to let them, well, blow off some steam?”

“Yes, I see, Lieutenant,” says Suri. “And you’re sure we’ve got the surplus munitions?”

“Absolutely,” Harez assures her. “Triple-checked.”

Suri takes a mouthful of cool water and lets it swish through the aching gaps between her teeth. “All right,” she says. “A little genocide never hurt anybody.”

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