Starship Troopers Fanfic Idea

I’ve got an idea for Starship Troopers fan fiction. I’m giving it away, for free! You can have it!

Convincing the Skinnies to side with the Terrans

Starship Troopers only describes 3 intelligent species, Humans, Bugs and Skinnies, although Heinlein does vaguely imply more exist. At the start of the book, which admittedly doesn’t unfold in chronological order, the Skinnies are allied with the Bugs, and Rico’s outfit is raiding a city on a Skinny colony world.

By the end of the book, Skinnies (whatever their internal organization is) have switched sides and are now allied with the Terran Federation.

This is all well and good for Rico’s story arc, and sounds interesting for the Terrans at least. It gives the readers faith that humanity triumphs over the Bugs in the end.

But in the Starship Troopers universe, humans, at least, have discovered something akin to mathematical morality. Mr Dubois, Johnny Rico’s high school “History and Moral Philosophy” teacher, says this:

We have such a theory now; we can solve any moral problem, on any level. Self-interest, love of family, duty to country, responsibility toward the human race - we are even developing an exact ethic for extra-human relations.

What if the Terran Federation finished developing this exact ethic for dealing with non-humans? Maybe they did so by the end of Starship Troopers. Perhaps this exact ethic is what convinced the Skinnies to switch allegiance! After all, there were some Game Theory experts in the Mobile Infantry, and the Terran Federation had mastered negative feedback.

Parenthetically, I have to wonder what about non-humans would make developing an exact ethic more work or harder or something? I suppose that’s fanfic for another day…

This fanfic should cover the mathematicians’ discovering the exact ethic. The Sky Marshall, or someone in his staff has to realize the Skinnies can be swayed if this ethic is communicated. The general ambiance should be “cigarettes, coffee, black boards and slide rules”, given Starship Troopers distinct refighting World War II subtext.

The travails of interstellar wartime diplomacy necessary to convey this math to the Skinnies could be a subplot. Maybe the Skinnies language gets in the way, like Darmok and Jalad. Maybe the Skinnies political organization causes problems.

There’s room for some sly philosophy of math education. For this exact ethic to sway the Skinnies, both humans and Skinnies have to be convinced that math is Platonic. The mathematicians have to discover the ethic, not invent it. Otherwise, why wouldn’t the Bugs propose a different set of axioms, or add/subtract a primitive to mathematical morality, yielding a different result?