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datatime: 2022-12-06 21:25:33 Author:QqrtlaDg

I have no problems with that. And there's no way I was going to offer them MFN anyway, unless they decide to break down and start acting like civilized people.

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

There was amusement around the coffee table at that one.

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.

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.

I have no problems with that. And there's no way I was going to offer them MFN anyway, unless they decide to break down and start acting like civilized people.

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.

Roger that, Arnie, Jackson confirmed.

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.

Yeah, Klingons, Ryan observed tersely. Aliens from outer space. Jesus, Scott, how do we predict what they're going to do?

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.

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

And they're the ones who control the guns, van Damm noted.

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

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.

They can forget MFN, van Damm said. Congress would impeach you if you asked for it, Jack. And you can figure that the Hill will offer Taiwan any weapons system they want to buy next go-round.

Yeah, Rob? Ryan responded, turning. - That's disgusting.

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.

Yeah, Rob? Ryan responded, turning. - That's disgusting.

Nothing new from SORGE today? van Damm asked.

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.

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

There was amusement around the coffee table at that one.

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