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datatime: 2022-09-26 21:04:23 Author:nQqtlXBc

Her smile was downright motherly. Surely, Mr. President. And she headed back to the secretaries' room, closing the curved door behind her.

Ryan shook his head. No, the source doesn't produce something every day.

Roger that, Arnie, Jackson confirmed.

Robby, back when I was in high school, I remember the Cuban Missile Crisis. I remember wondering if the world was going to blow up. But I still had to translate half a page of Caesar's goddamned Gallic Wars, and I saw the President on TV, and I figured things were okay, because he was the President of the United Goddamned States, and he-had to know what was really going on. So, I translated the battle with the Helvetii and slept that night. The President knows, because he's the President, right? Then I become President, and I don't know a damned thing more than I knew the month before, but everybody out there-Ryan waved his arm at the window-thinks I'm fucking omniscient . Ellen he called loudly enough to get through the door.

Okay, I am not omniscient, and I'm not perfect, POTUS admitted crossly after the second puff. Now, back to China.

Not fair, Robby, Ryan told his VP.

Not fair, Robby, Ryan told his VP.

Do they? Robby Jackson asked, just before Arnie van Damm could.

So, what else is going to go wrong over there? Ryan asked.

We don't, really, SecState answered. We have a bunch of good people, but the problem is in getting them all to agree on something when we need an important call. They never do, Adler concluded. He frowned before going on. Look, these guys are kings from a different culture. It was already very different from ours long before Marxism arrived, and the thoughts of our old friend Karl only made things worse. They're kings because they have absolute power. There are some limitations on that power, but we don't fully understand what they are, and therefore it's hard for us to enforce or to exploit them. They are Klingons. So, what we need is a Mr. Spock. Got one handy, anyone?

Nothing new from SORGE today? van Damm asked.

We don't, really, SecState answered. We have a bunch of good people, but the problem is in getting them all to agree on something when we need an important call. They never do, Adler concluded. He frowned before going on. Look, these guys are kings from a different culture. It was already very different from ours long before Marxism arrived, and the thoughts of our old friend Karl only made things worse. They're kings because they have absolute power. There are some limitations on that power, but we don't fully understand what they are, and therefore it's hard for us to enforce or to exploit them. They are Klingons. So, what we need is a Mr. Spock. Got one handy, anyone?

I see trouble, Jackson said, before anyone else could. Ryan figured it was his background as a fighter pilot to be first in things. They're just out of touch with the rest of the world. The only way to get them back in touch will involve some pain. Not to their people, especially, but sure as hell to the guys who make the decisions.

I know, I know. Jackson held up surrendering hands. I just can't forget the motto of the whole intelligence community: 'We bet your life.' It's lonely out there with a fighter plane strapped to your back, risking your life on the basis of a piece of paper with somebody's opinion typed on it, when you never know the guy it's from or the data it's based on. He paused to stir his coffee. You know, out in the fleet we used to think-well, we used to hope-that decisions made in this room here were based on solid data. It's quite a disappointment to learn what things are really like.

Sir, that's not a question with an easy answer. Are they stupid? No, they are not. But do they see things in the same way that we do? No, they do not. That's the fundamental problem dealing with them-

Her smile was downright motherly. Surely, Mr. President. And she headed back to the secretaries' room, closing the curved door behind her.

And that's the problem, Adler reminded them all. They think we're the uncivilized ones.

That's the problem with good intelligence information. It doesn't agree with what your own people think-assuming they really think at all, the Vice President observed.

I know, I know. Jackson held up surrendering hands. I just can't forget the motto of the whole intelligence community: 'We bet your life.' It's lonely out there with a fighter plane strapped to your back, risking your life on the basis of a piece of paper with somebody's opinion typed on it, when you never know the guy it's from or the data it's based on. He paused to stir his coffee. You know, out in the fleet we used to think-well, we used to hope-that decisions made in this room here were based on solid data. It's quite a disappointment to learn what things are really like.

That's the problem with good intelligence information. It doesn't agree with what your own people think-assuming they really think at all, the Vice President observed.

I know, I know. Jackson held up surrendering hands. I just can't forget the motto of the whole intelligence community: 'We bet your life.' It's lonely out there with a fighter plane strapped to your back, risking your life on the basis of a piece of paper with somebody's opinion typed on it, when you never know the guy it's from or the data it's based on. He paused to stir his coffee. You know, out in the fleet we used to think-well, we used to hope-that decisions made in this room here were based on solid data. It's quite a disappointment to learn what things are really like.

Around the coffee table, there were the usual half-humorous snorts that accompany an observation that is neither especially funny nor readily escapable.

Ryan shook his head. No, the source doesn't produce something every day.

Yes, sir. She fished in her pocket and pulled out a fliptop box of Virginia Slims. Ryan took one out, along with the pink butane lighter stashed inside. He lit the smoke and took a long hit. Thanks, Ellen.

Robby, back when I was in high school, I remember the Cuban Missile Crisis. I remember wondering if the world was going to blow up. But I still had to translate half a page of Caesar's goddamned Gallic Wars, and I saw the President on TV, and I figured things were okay, because he was the President of the United Goddamned States, and he-had to know what was really going on. So, I translated the battle with the Helvetii and slept that night. The President knows, because he's the President, right? Then I become President, and I don't know a damned thing more than I knew the month before, but everybody out there-Ryan waved his arm at the window-thinks I'm fucking omniscient . Ellen he called loudly enough to get through the door.

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