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The Ambassador, Chapter 20

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  • The Ambassador, Chapter 20

    I sent out a bunch of messages, and pulled several people off of other projects which I thought were a whole lot more important than what I was now having them do. We figured out where to hold the thing fairly quickly. The only good area we had was the back yard/garden/whatever the flop you called something like that in New York. We'd do it out there. It solved a lot of Security issues if we didn't have a whole wad of reporters wandering around the Embassy itself.

    We set it up for 6:30 PM. I spit out a list of about 20 of the bigger media groups to call and announce it, and got with Don about providing press passes for the anointed. There was going to be a lot of whining from everyone that we didn't let in, but I really didn't care. I thought I was being a nice guy by including the New York Times, actually. If Time Magazine or The Village Voice or someone like that got their feelings hurt, I could live with it.

    I went down and got some lunch. For a wonder, we had someone in place to cook. The employment agency had outdone themselves, once I got their attention. They had hired a “Head Cook” away from a Steakhouse. I'd not exchanged ten words with the guy so far, but Scott and Isiah had, and they were quite impressed. All I knew so far was that the man could turn out a seriously good grilled ham and cheese sandwich, and his Onion Rings were good too. We weren't going to have a night shift until tomorrow night, but the end was in sight.

    I spent a while kicking out a brief three page Biography to distribute to the Press when they showed up. We'd limited them to three sets of cameras, and told the folks that were allowed to have them that they would either supply video to everyone else who wanted it or they'd have no cameras there themselves. I'd have preferred supplying the video ourselves, but there were questions about whether we could get our systems compatible with Earth media in the time allotted. Our Engineering people on site were mostly involved with hooking up the power plant, and I wasn't going to ask for them to be taken off of that to play with video cameras.

    Allan was on Earth, and present at the Embassy. Universal Distributing was apparently getting ready to set up some contracts for parts for the Hub, and he wanted to be present and directly involved in some of the negotiations, which were getting pretty ticklish in spots, the way I understood it. These were basic components, and were not complicated to make, but they had to be right, and our contracts specified that we'd do 100% testing on everything, and that we were not paying for anything except usable product. Half the potential suppliers had screamed and run away when they were told that.

    That was all peripheral to my problems, but it was also something that was going to start happening tomorrow. Allan was currently making himself useful by explaining to the Karn cooking staff (and, incidentally, our new human guy) what Earth foods would go over well with the Karn staff. I wandered in on one of those discussions, suggested Chinese Mustard, and drafted Allan to sit in with me for the Press Conference. I could see some questions coming about how the Karn had managed to select me, and I was going to toss those square into Allan's lap. I still didn't really think it made a huge amount of sense, so I'd be hard put to give any rational answers about the process.

    Heather messaged me at about 1500, wondering if I wanted her to collect Miss Rover during the Press Conference. I noted that I had every intention of having the dog with me. Having my dog present was going to humanize me with a lot of folks out there in TV land. I wasn't going to miss a bet that way.

    I also drafted Heather for the Press Conference. I tried to get Don, and he declined, as did Scott, but I did pull Curly and Isiah in. If someone wanted reactions to the Karn from people who had been up to see them, I had folks available. I played with the dog some more in the meantime, reviewed and answered messages, and generally dithered around. I won't go so far as to say that I was nervous, but I didn't want to deal with the Media. They are generally about as dumb as a box of hair, and totally self centered. What I ate for dinner would probably be more important to most of them than what we were trying to do with Earth.

    I really wasn't trying to do it, but I had wound up with a seriously diverse group. I didn't have an Asian-American to put out there, but that was not my fault. I'd done my selections based on competence, as had Don. We had people who could do their jobs, and that was the only thing we were worried about.

    At about 1730, I caught an early and light meal, then got my game face on. The Media had started setting things up at about 1600, so they were mostly ready when I ushered our people out there at precisely 1830, got them seated. Miss Rover wandered along at heel, and flopped behind me when I stopped. I announced that I was ready to do this thing if everyone else was. They were ready, by all evidence. I noted that I didn't feel the need to introduce myself, because they all knew my name, and that we'd proceed directly to them asking whatever they wanted to know.

    We'd made them draw lots for who got to ask questions first when they arrived. I was going to make sure they all got at least one question each, and I figured that the draw would make them think. I was wrong about that part with the first one. I got some ditzy female from somewhere in the British Isles. I wasn't paying enough attention to notice who she represented, but she managed to annoy me right out of the gate.

    She first asked if I was married, and if I had children. I slapped her down a fair amount.

    “You got a written Bio when you came in. (I poked at my tablet computer. That was for show, because I actually got the information from Mike) That was about 45 minutes ago. Can you read?”
    Alle Kunst ist umsunst Wenn ein Engel auf das Zundloch brunzet (All skill is in vain if an angel pisses down the touch-hole of your musket.) Old German Folk Wisdom.

  • #2
    Re: The Ambassador, Chapter 20

    She then wanted to know what my children thought about the situation.

    “You'd have to ask them about that. And, be it noted, I know you have tried. They don't particularly want to talk to you, it would seem. Given the kind of questions you want to ask, I can see where they might not be too cooperative. Do you have any relevant questions, or should I go on to someone else?”

    She went on for a minute or so about how important family was, and how she just wanted to know how my abandoning my Country and being an agent of an Alien race was effecting them. I shut one eye and looked at her through the other one, with a raised eyebrow, and replied. “My children are full grown adults, and are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. They are gainfully employed and all that, and they have their own opinions of most everything. Their old Daddy's idiosyncrasies are his own. I trust that they respect me enough to leave me to my own devices, but the converse of that is that I don't expect them to monitor or condone my choice of jobs, any more than I monitor or condone theirs. They are older than you are. I'm not going to put words into their mouths. Next question?”

    The poor young woman was offended, but since we shut her microphone off, she couldn't do much besides sit down. The next guy, from CBS, wanted to know how and why the Karn had selected me.

    I gave him an overview of my hiring process. I got the telephone call. I went and talked to them, and agreed that I could probably work with them. Then, and only then, did they explain to me that they were actually the Karn, and not some Earth Corporation. I noted that I was just crazy enough that the fact that they were not from Earth didn't bother me too terribly. I then dragged Allan up with me to explain the “why” of why they hired me. I proclaimed utter ignorance, and noted that I still didn't understand their reasoning process.

    Allan was helpful, to the extent that he could be. He gave them five minutes on Boolean searches of the internet, reduction analysis, and some Karn takes on the psychology of all sentient beings. He wound up by noting that the had found three other 97% matches, but that I'd been at the far right of the Bell Curve at a 99% match with their thinking. He explained that what they had been looking for was a mindset that fit in with theirs. I filled that bill, and so they took it upon themselves to hire the person from Earth who thought the same way they did to represent them to the people of Earth. He added that they were so far quite pleased with how things were going. He also added that the Karn as a whole really liked me. They enjoyed my sense of humor, and were finding that to be a huge unexpected bonus.

    Allan wound up and sat down without offering to answer any other questions. I got back up, and noted that the affinity apparently worked both ways, because the more time I spent among the Karn, the more I liked them, individually and as a group. I then asked for the next question.

    I got a couple of more inane questions, and then someone asked about the dog. I had Miss Rover stand up and showed her off for a minute, and spent another minute detailing the facts that she'd come to me and my family when she was just six weeks old, and had been my running buddy from that day to the present. On hearing her name mentioned for about the fifth time she stood up on her hind legs and placed her front paws on my side. I scratched her ears and stroked her head, and noted to everyone that if I was talking about her, she felt that she should remind me that she was there, and I should talk to her, as well as about her. I finished off by announcing that she was my very good dog. She stuck her tongue out of one side of her mouth, wagged her tail a bit, and laid back down.

    The follow up question asked what the dog thought about the Karn. I stifled a laugh and observed that we were really dealing with the hot button issues here. I then added that she seemed to be maintaining a neutral position so far. She didn't try to get them to play with her, but neither did she seem to want to attack them.

    Someone finally got serious, and asked if my dual-citizenship was going to cause me to favor the United States. I was hoping someone would ask about that, but I had to abuse him for not reading the Bio first.

    “I have already told you folks, in print. I do not have dual citizenship. I officially and formally renounced my United States Citizenship last week. I'm not 100% sure that the U.S. Government has connected all of the dots yet, but you should be able to confirm that fact with them fairly soon, if not immediately. I'm not sure how often they compile their lists of such things.”
    Alle Kunst ist umsunst Wenn ein Engel auf das Zundloch brunzet (All skill is in vain if an angel pisses down the touch-hole of your musket.) Old German Folk Wisdom.


    • #3
      Re: The Ambassador, Chapter 20

      I then added “Beyond that, I'm not sure exactly how I could do anything particularly beneficial to the U.S. Government even assuming that I was inclined to. I'm not the Finance guy. I will be fairly heavily involved in the trade agreements, but the actual trade and contracts? That's outside my area, and other folks will be making those decisions. I'm not in a position to be doing a whole lot that would be of any great benefit to any Government, even if you assume that I wanted to do someone favors. The decisions about who we do business with will be made based on prices and quality, and those are not my calls to make.”

      The followup was that they'd heard a lot about us “doing business” with Earth. It was clear that we would have things to sell, but what would we want to buy?

      “Think about what we're going to do out there at the L-5 point. We've said that there are a lot of areas where we need to get your capabilities upgraded to enable you to produce various things. There are also a lot of things that you are quite capable of producing right now. We are going to need some seriously large quantities of some of those things. I'm not going to get a lot of speculation going in the financial markets by naming things off, but let me offer you an analogy. If you were going to build a building here on Earth that would enclose about 10,000 square miles of space, how much roofing would you need? Or flooring? Windows? Doors? We can produce all of it ourselves, but it'd take fifty years at a minimum. If we contract out the things you can already make and train you to make the more complicated stuff, we ought to be able to finish the Hub off in ten years or so. Does that answer your question about doing business with you from the purchasing standpoint? We plan to plow every last coin of the money we make from selling you things right back into your economies by purchasing things from you.”

      Next up, I got some Social Justice Warrior who wanted to know why we were going to do all of these things to make the rich get richer, and what we were going to do to help the poor folks.

      I couldn't help myself. I explained it to him. “Actually, what we are going to do is keep about a billion people from starving to death over the next 25 years or so. We're going to inject enough real business into your economies to keep them from tanking, which is exactly what all of our Economics people see happening in fairly short order absent any interference.”

      He then wanted to know if we were going to introduce a new monetary system.

      “Not only no, but....well, just no. You've already got a monetary system, and we wouldn't subject ours to the various manipulations that seem to be mandatory here on Earth. We don't really care what you use for money. We'll use what you do as long as it's not getting inflated out of proportion. Otherwise, we can manage with a barter system if we have to. Keep in mind that your “money” (I did air quotes around the word money) is not worth anything anywhere else. We can't take it with us, or use it for trade anywhere else, so if we acquire any of it, our sole objective is going to be to spend it again, right here. As long as it works for the purpose of paying for what we need from Earth, we're not going to mess with your system.”

      I then got asked about power supplies. We'd been emphasizing that we could produce power a lot cleaner and cheaper than Earth could at this point. I gave them the short version.

      “We can set up a power plant that will put out a Terawatt, if you need that much from one plant. For most of your uses, though, a little one megawatt setup would probably suffice. Or two or three of them, if you are doing something that's really power intensive. They are small, cheap, clean and quiet. The production and distribution of electricity is one area where I suspect that we're going to disrupt your current system quite a bit.”

      I left it totally unsaid that the Oil and Power companies were going to curse the day we arrived, because they were now living on borrowed time.

      Next, I got the perennial “Why put the Hub here?” question.
      Alle Kunst ist umsunst Wenn ein Engel auf das Zundloch brunzet (All skill is in vain if an angel pisses down the touch-hole of your musket.) Old German Folk Wisdom.


      • #4
        Re: The Ambassador, Chapter 20

        “I'm not an Economist, as I've already noted, but there are advantages to having a compatible planet around. You can put a Hub literally anywhere, Out there in the gaps between galaxies there may be a dozen strung out in the empty spaces, but that takes a lot more work, since you have to haul all your raw materials in. If there's a solar system handy, putting it there saves a lot on transportation costs when you build it, not to mention the advantages of having an available work force that's seriously larger than what one or two ships will have available. It gives us a whole lot more options. It's also nice for the folks running the place, because it gives them somewhere to go and visit on occasion. Once we get all the Diplomatic stuff regularized, I suspect that Disney World and suchlike places are going to see a lot of Karn visiting them. So will many of your other tourist attractions. Scenic tours will be popular. I assure you that the Karn will take vacations here, given the chance.”

        Someone wanted to know why I thought I was an appropriate choice to be doing the job I was doing. I drily noted that Allan had just dealt with that, and was informed that the question he was asking was not why the Karn thought I could do the job, but why I thought I could.

        “Ok. That's fair. It goes like this. When I stopped and thought about it, which I actually have done on several occasions, this is how I worked it out. On the face of the thing, this job should be about as hard as giving away free snowcones on a hot summer afternoon in downtown Houston. The primary object of this exercise is to provide Earth with the skills and knowledge to enable the planet to assist the Karn in building and maintaining the Hub. I don't see that requiring particularly awesome Diplomatic skills. The Karn apparently feel that there are or will be various idiosyncrasies involved in the process that will be more apparent to me that they would be to them. So far, I haven't noticed any evidence that any of the Earth Governments are approaching this as if it is an adversarial process, which makes me think that everyone else thinks this is a good deal. Let me note that it is a good deal for everyone involved. We all get a lot of things we want. Given that, I don't think that it's going to take the Diplomatic skills of Ben Franklin or even Henry Kissinger to get it done.”

        I was betting that most of the media folks would have to do some Googling to figure out why I was flagging Ben Franklin as a great Diplomat, and half of them probably weren't sure who Henry Kissinger was either. They don't teach History any more.

        The next question related to why we were taking the establishment of Diplomatic Relations with the various Nations so slowly. That one was easy.

        “It's because of personnel issues. When I took this job, the entire Diplomatic Corps of the ship consisted of about 40 people, and most of them were doing something else most of the time just to keep busy. There are not a whole lot of Embassies to deal with in most of the situations a ship finds itself in. They knew they'd need more, and were and are training new folks, but my current staff is only somewhere around 300 people, and that count probably includes everyone from me to the secretarial staff. I couldn't appoint 50 Ambassadors right now if I wanted to. It's going to be a couple of years before we get fully up to speed. I'm seriously considering asking someone, probably the Swiss, if we can get them to set up an interest section for us in places we won't be getting to for a while.”

        Things proceeded on for about another hour, and actually improved from the grumpy start I'd gotten off to. I was getting a lot of softball questions, and tossing back fast answers. When the Fox News guy got his oar in, I announced that I wasn't sure I wanted to talk to him. He looked startled and asked “Why?”

        “No offense to you personally, but your operation has a huge number of seriously good looking women working for it. I'm feeling disrespected that they sent you instead of one of them.”

        When the laughing died down, I answered his question and made it clear that I'd just been yanking his chain a little bit. It went over well enough, and things loosened up a good bit after that point. I checked the time and declared that we'd gone on long enough at about a quarter to nine.

        We'd kept the guys with still cameras back behind the reporters during the actual press conference, and several of them begged and pleaded for a couple of minutes to come up front and get some close-up pictures. I conceded them five minutes, and they started moving their tripods up to the front. There were about eight of them in all.

        At first, I thought that the one photographer had just stumbled. He had his tripod about half extended, and suddenly the legs were coming straight at my chest. I grabbed it and pushed it off to the side, and snapped at him “Be careful there, dude.”

        It was the Karn medical treatments again. Among other things, my reflexes were about three times as fast as they'd ever been before the treatment. He stabbed the legs of the tripod at me again, and I again intercepted them and shoved them off to the side. At that point, I wound up with the tripod in my hand, because he'd let go of it when Miss Rover landed on him.

        She'd hit him broadside, which knocked him down, and had him by the right arm just above the elbow. She was giving every indication that she planned on working her way up to his throat. She'd give his arm a shaking, move her bite up about three inches and repeat the process. Isiah and Curly landed on the photographer about then, and I got Miss Rover to disengage.

        She didn't want to let go. I told her to stop. She stopped working her way up his arm, but didn't let go, and gave another head shake that produced some fairly impressive screams of pain from the Photographer. I knew how to deal with that from her also.

        I reached down and grabbed her collar with my left hand, and stuck about three fingers of my right hand into her mouth. She immediately let go. In the course of various other incidents, I'd discovered that she will not bite me. She knew it was my hand, and that means that she has to stop biting so as not to endanger my fingers. She spit the arm she was chewing on out and started making annoyed noises instead.
        Alle Kunst ist umsunst Wenn ein Engel auf das Zundloch brunzet (All skill is in vain if an angel pisses down the touch-hole of your musket.) Old German Folk Wisdom.


        • #5
          Re: The Ambassador, Chapter 20

          Heather came up and hooked a leash onto Miss Rover's collar and led her away. Isiah had the photographer handcuffed. Curly had the tripod and was inspecting the legs with some interest. He pointed at the feet and announced “This sure looks like a hypodermic needle of some sort to me. The other two legs have one each also. I wonder what is in them?”

          I replied “Nothing healthy, I don't imagine.”

          I then remembered that all of this was probably still going out on live TV. I could hear yelling outside the entry gate. The NYPD wanted in, and our Security guys were not letting them in. I briefly considered just carrying the photographer and his tripod out to the gate and handing them out to the Cops, but decided I'd play nice this time and see how it went. I told Curly to get someone to cover the back doors and not let anyone into the Embassy Building itself, and to have the guys let the Cops in to do whatever arresting they felt compelled to do.

          About ten seconds after the word got relayed to let the Cops in, I was regretting the decision to do so. The first four through the gate were waving their handguns around fairly wildly, and at least two of them had their finger on the trigger. I threw a fairly profane fit at them.

          “Safe those handguns and put them back in your holsters right now, you idiots.” Actually, I used about twice as many words, just to add some emphasis. They didn't do it, and one of them had muzzled about ten different people already by my count. The fifth guy through appeared to be some kind of officer, based on my reading of his collar insignia, so I descended on him and abused him for a bit. Apparently, something I said turned a light bulb on in his head, and he instructed his people to put their pistols up.

          Within a minute, we had a dozen cops in there. They were officiously herding everyone away from their “crime scene” and generally acting like they owned the place. Between that and their firearm handling skills, I got annoyed again, and acted accordingly. I glanced over the Cops, and noticed one with two bars on his collar instead of one. I figured he was the ranking guy, and decided to find out the easy way. I yelled. “Hey. Who's in charge here?” About seven of the Cops looked at the guy with the two bars on, so I concluded that I'd gotten that much right. He waived at me and replied “I am, if it matters to you.”

          That did it. “You. Get over here. Now.”

          Allan had wandered over and was standing next to me. The Captain came stomping over demanding to know who I was and what I thought I was doing. I explained it to him.

          “Who I am would be the guy in charge of this Embassy. What I think I'm doing is giving you a free lesson in some Diplomatic Protocol here. I'd gladly toss in some free firearm handling lessons too, but I don't think they'd sink in, based on what I've seen so far. First of all, let's discuss this invasion you are staging.”

          He took a deep breath and started to go off on me, but apparently had second thoughts. “What do you mean, invasion?”

          “Our Security people were told to let your people inside to pick this guy (I pointed at the Photographer, who was lying on the ground handcuffed and still bleeding fairly healthily) and collect up the weapon he was trying to use on me. Nobody asked for an armed invasion. Now, I'd suggest that you might want to get all but about two of your Officers out of here. If you need four of them to handle one guy in handcuffs, I'll go that far, but this many of them is clearly excessive.”

          He was setting out to explain to me that it was up to him to determine how many people he needed to handle a given situation, and got about halfway through it before some guy in a suit with a badge tucked in the suit coat pocked walked up. The Captain came to an abrupt halt, and said “Good Evening, Mr. Commissioner.”

          The Commissioner told him to go away because he wanted to talk to me privately. Privately actually included Allan, but that was as private as it was going to get, so the Commissioner could like it or lump it, as he chose. The Captain left, at any rate.

          The Commissioner wanted to know what exactly was the problem, and what he could do to address it. I was still about 57/64 of the way into being totally hacked off, so I wasn't too polite about explaining it.

          “First off, Mr. Commissioner, do you have any EMT's available? That dude is bleeding fairly seriously, and I'd suggest that someone ought to do something about that, just for starters. Second, let me warn you. This is all being recorded, and probably broadcast live on a dozen or more networks worldwide.” I cut my eyes over to the string of TV and video cameras off to both sides of us, and he followed them. He nodded.
          Alle Kunst ist umsunst Wenn ein Engel auf das Zundloch brunzet (All skill is in vain if an angel pisses down the touch-hole of your musket.) Old German Folk Wisdom.


          • #6
            Re: The Ambassador, Chapter 20

            I went on. “Look. I'm sorry, but I have to ask. Do your people rehearse these Keystone Kop maneuvers before the invade Embassies, or do they just make it up as they go along? And don't bother to tell me that you will investigate. It's all on tape, and the whole world saw it live, I'd suspect. I'm totally surprised that there aren't a few media folks with bullet holes in them. Beyond that, I want everyone except a couple of your people out of here. Now. You don't need twenty people to collect one handcuffed criminal, I hope.”

            He asked if I would excuse him for a moment and I agreed. He went over and talked to the Captain, and all of the NYPD folks except two left. Two EMT's came through the gate with a gurney about the time they all left. They applied some pressure bandages and started an IV right off, so I was apparently right about the bleeding.

            Allan noted that he was annoyed with me. I asked why.

            “You lost me a point. Ian predicted that you would school the local Law Enforcement people at the first opportunity, and I predicted otherwise. He's three points up now.”

            About then something went through my head. I messaged Heather, and asked her to shoot a picture of Miss Rover's rabies vaccination tag and forward it to me. I had the picture in hand on my tablet about a minute later, and went over to the EMT's, who were taking their time about getting the photographer loaded up, and informed them that the dog that had bitten this guy was vaccinated, and that I could supply the data if they needed it. One of them noted that he could die of rabies for all that he cared.

            About then, the Commissioner came back.

            He was fairly apologetic. I let him go on for a while, then stuck an oar in. “I understand that things can happen, but I do have to note that as of right now, I have had two interactions with your people. I was not happy with either of them.”

            I was asked when the other one had happened, and related the story of the Molotov Cocktail thrower. He admitted to having seen the report, so I asked him if he'd seen anything in the report about threats to arrest our Security people. He admitted that he had not. I asked if he'd like video and audio of the whole thing, and he said he would. I messaged one of our Secretarial types, and had that, plus all the video of the latest fiasco, from the time the Photographer came at me until the Commissioner arrived on the scene, transferred to a memory stick. I was assured that I'd have it in hand in about five minutes.

            Allan jumped into the conversation about then, and proved to be a bit more Diplomatic in some respects than I am, and a fair amount less in others. He introduced himself to the Commissioner, who was suitably impressed. I think that he finally realized that he was probably on live TV worldwide with both the Secretary of State of the Karn, and the Secretary of The Treasury for the Karn. He was preening a bit, and Allan stopped him in his tracks with one question.

            “You people on Earth have a saying that I've seen, and I like it. You say that 'Once is coincidence, twice is suspicious, and three times is enemy action.” We have so far had two encounters with your people, both of which have been far less than satisfactory from our view of the situations as they evolved. How do we prevent a third one?”

            If the man had hemorrhoids, he made them go away for at least a while. I could see every orifice and sphincter he had locking up tight. He made a couple of attempts at getting started on some kind of explanation, and Allan broke back in.

            “I would find it truly regrettable if we were to have to start transiting our people in and out on a daily basis to attend their United Nations meetings, but if this sort of thing is to continue, we'll accept the expense as being preferable to the issues that seem to be likely to result if we don't do it that way. We would, of course, also make it known why we had to resort to these measures. Regarding the first incident, I would suspect that your man was soliciting a bribe in his own way, thinking that he was somehow above your law. I'm not sure what this second instance tells me yet, but it suggests that we really should not trust our security to as inept a group as was presented to us this evening.”

            About that time, Don showed up. It turned out that Allan had had him on hold until he got through kicking the Commissioner while he was down, and then called him to come out there. He'd been in the Cafeteria drinking coffee for fifteen minutes while waiting to be summoned.

            Allan introduced Don to the Commissioner. He then made his excuses, claiming urgent business elsewhere. I spoke to Don briefly. “You saw the entrance. Am I out of line?”

            Don replied “I'm surprised that Curly and Isiah didn't shoot at least two of them.”

            I noted that comment, and spent some time with the video of the whole thing a bit later that evening. I'd started to reach for the EAA twice, and stopped both times. Both times were while the Cops were coming in. The idiot with the rigged camera stand didn't make me want a gun in my hand, but the NYPD did. Take that how you will.

            I spent about five more minutes with the Commissioner and Don, then left them to themselves. Don had a better handle on what he needed and wanted, or didn't want, from the NYPD than I did. I went back inside and messaged Heather to bring Miss Rover down to me.

            Being a bit conservative about my new fancy threads, I took my Suit Coat and Tie off before I got down on the floor with the dog. She was still terribly upset over the situation. The poor little dog knew that she normally shouldn't be biting people, and that I'd sent her away after she did it. She was afraid she'd done a bad thing. I cured her of that thought with ten minutes of praise and buddying around. When she saw me sitting in the floor, she lit on my lap, and I scratched and stroked her for a couple of minutes, while explaining that she was the finest of dogs, and was my BFF.

            Once she got loosened up enough to start licking my face, I called a halt to that, and started off in search of a package of dog treats. Heather handed me a carton of Miss Sam's favorite liver treats, and I fed her half of it. It might mean that I get up at 0300 with her tomorrow morning, but some things just deserve a reward, and the consequences can take care of themselves. If the dog is a good dog, we will deal with whatever that good dog has issues with when they come along. Some things just merit a lot of dog treats.
            Alle Kunst ist umsunst Wenn ein Engel auf das Zundloch brunzet (All skill is in vain if an angel pisses down the touch-hole of your musket.) Old German Folk Wisdom.


            • #7
              Re: The Ambassador, Chapter 20

              I actually got to view the video of the whole event at that point. I was in awe of myself for easily deflecting the first attempt to stab me with the camera tripod, and was totally stunned at how fast I reacted to the second attempt. I didn't only deflect it the second time, but had a grip on one leg of the tripod, and was twisting it out of his hands when Miss Rover hit him.

              For that matter, I was impressed with Miss Rover, also. I'd told her to “stay” when I walked off to the side for the photographers, and she had stayed, right up until the one guy approached me and lunged. She came off the ground, dodged three people, and hit him about the same time as I grabbed the tripod the second time. If he'd been about three tenths of a second slower, I wouldn't have been able to reach the tripod before she got there. I reached down and scratched her on the ears again, and told her that she was the finest of dogs.

              I also reviewed the NYPD entrance into the Embassy grounds, and decided that I hadn't been hard enough on them for their firearm handling skills. If any one of them had a negligent discharge, they would have shot fifteen people at least. That was also when I saw evidence of myself starting to reach for the EAA. Twice.

              That was enough to make me decide that I needed a drink. Starting to reach for my handgun once was an event that could be ignored, but twice? If I feel that threatened, someone has a problem, and it's not me.

              Since we had nobody working on the “human” side of the Cafeteria, I calmly proceeded to go back behind the bar and pour myself about a double shot of Makers Mark over one ice cube. I tasted it, and found it to be good. It tasted good enough, in fact, that I tasted it about five more times in the next two minutes. Then I discovered that it was gone. I decided that enough was entirely enough of that, and went back out to my table and my coffee. Miss Rover was happier, but still wanting attention, so I was scratching her ears. Don came back in about then.

              I had to ask. “Did you get it through their heads?”

              He replied. “Yes, I suspect. The video speaks for itself, and there's nobody with a TV who hasn't seen it by now. MSNBC is abusing them over that entrance, just to note.”

              “I'm sorry but it was what it was. Do you know how close I came to drawing down on them?”

              Don laughed. “Isiah did, but he kept it under his Suit Coat. Curly did too, I think, although I can't be sure from the camera angles.”

              “So, we almost massacred a whole wad of the NYPD there, right?”

              “You didn't. That's all that matters.”

              I winced, and stated that “One gunshot. Just one, from one of those idiots, and we'd have wound up with a whole lot of them dead. Maybe some of ours, too, although we have communication they don't, and they mostly can't shoot straight at those ranges. They'd have probably massacred half the media out there by accident.”

              Don agreed. “...oh, and by the way, they are interviewing witnesses out there, and they want a statement from you. I told them I'd ask you about it.”
              It seemed polite to give them a statement, so I figured I'd go out and do so in a few minutes. Before I did, though, I watched the tape of Miss Rover in action one more time. She was somewhere between 10 to 12 yards from me when the guy came at me the first time. I'd told her to stay earlier, and she was minding, right up until she decided I needed some help. She sat up as he approached me initially, and then came off her backside and charged. She'd have been there before I got my hand on the tripod the second time if she hadn't had to dodge about four people along the way. I liked that part enough I watched it three times. Then I went and poured myself about one more shot of Makers Mark, tasted it until it was gone, and went out to give them their statement.

              I got outside and looked around. The Lieutenant I'd been abusing initially saw me and came over. He introduced himself, and then spent about two minutes apologizing for their entrance. I didn't say a thing, because I sincerely hoped they felt bad about how dimwitted they were, and wasn't about to be polite about it.

              He explained that he was supposed to take a statement from me, and asked if he could record it. He fished his 'phone out of his pocket as he asked. I said that he could, and he turned it on. I had to ask, right up front.

              “I guess that this 'taking a statement' thing is formal procedure, but what am I going to tell you that you don't already know? You've got the whole thing on tape from at least three different angles.”

              He didn't comment, other than to ask me when I'd first noticed the guy.

              “I guess it was when he took the first poke at me with the tripod. I thought he'd tripped or something. I just fended the tripod off and let go. Then he tried it again, and my dog got into the act. I did realize there was something strange going on when he tried it the second time, and was planning on taking the tripod away from him, but my furry security detail made that unnecessary.”
              Alle Kunst ist umsunst Wenn ein Engel auf das Zundloch brunzet (All skill is in vain if an angel pisses down the touch-hole of your musket.) Old German Folk Wisdom.


              • #8
                Re: The Ambassador, Chapter 20

                He asked about a dozen other questions, and I answered them all with the same word. “No”. I had never seen the guy before. He hadn't said anything. And so on and so forth. I restated the whole thing one more time. He was trying to poke me with the tripod legs. I was not allowing him to do so, The dog jumped on him and started chewing her way up his arm toward his throat. I had made the dog let go, and Isiah had handcuffed him. That was all there was to it.

                I then asked if they had any information on what it was he was trying to poke me with. It had looked to me like fairly large bore hypodermic needles in the ends of the legs, but I really hadn't studied on it enough to be sure.

                The Lieutenant replied that they'd probably not have anything definitive on that until some time tomorrow.

                I smiled. “Whatever it is, I'm betting it isn't a B-Vitamin shot. Do you have any ID on the guy yet?”

                He noted that he had nothing on that either. I asked him if there was anything else, and he said there wasn't, so I went back inside. I didn't say “Thank You”, or “Good night”, or anything. I was still pretty well ticked off at the NYPD, and if that hurt their feelings I really didn't care.

                The Media was going totally batcrap crazy. They didn't know exactly how to act. They had apparently been circling around me, not sure whether to decide I was a good guy who they should make nice about or a bad guy who should be demonized, and before they got the chance to pick a direction, that nut case had attacked me. Miss Rover was the hit of the evening. Beyond that, I'd fended him off, and nobody other than the dog had actually done him any damage or notably attempted to do him any damage. We were getting points for efficiency and not overreacting. The fact that the guy had gotten in on a Media pass from the AP had them all on edge, too.

                The NYPD was getting slammed fairly hard. The TV shows were pretty much having to bleep out my initial demand that the cops coming in holster their firearms. I think they finally managed to get enough strategic bleeps in place that you could tell which words I was using between bleeps, but it was obvious that I was not happy over the entrance. After some short reflection, most of the media types who were there were not too happy either, and it was starting to show in their reporting.

                NYPD had issued a statement that they had the guy in custody, and that there were some kind of spring loaded syringes built into the legs of the tripod. They were testing to see what the contents were. The perp was still in the Hospital getting his dog bites tended to. They refused to identify him pending confirmation that he was who his media credentials said he was, but his name was already out, because he was a fairly well known AP stringer. His name was Muhammed Bassari, or something like that. Mohammed Bussary, maybe. You can spell Arabic names eleven different ways depending on the mood you are in, not that it mattered. I didn't catch it in print on the screen, so I wasn't sure how they were spelling it.

                The media was announcing that it was a “Major Diplomatic Incident.” That annoyed me enough that I had Mike issue an official statement on it from me, just to put the monkey on the back of the folks who deserved it.

                The statement read: “During a press conference this evening, a demented member of the Media attempted to attack the Karn Director of External Relations on the grounds of the Karn Embassy. Obviously, the Karn regret that this incident occurred, but would note that no blame should be attached to the NYPD over the incident itself, since they were not consulted on Security before the press conference.

                The Karn Embassy regrets it's error in not vetting the personnel accredited by the various Media organizations more closely. Happily, no one was seriously injured by the incident or it's aftermath, and we consider that the issue is effectively closed, with the exception of the appropriate judicial measures against the attacker himself. We have complete confidence in the legal systems of the City and State of New York and the Federal Government of the United States of America to handle that remaining item.”

                I tossed that bit about the USG in there after consulting with Mike and confirming that attempting to murder a Foreign Ambassador was in fact a Federal crime.

                Don saw our official statement a while later and gave me a hard time about it. I noted that I was considering leaking the information that from now on when I did press conferences, I was going to put a chicken wire cage around a lectern like they had on the stage at Bob's Country Bunker when the Blues Brothers played there.

                Scott wanted to know if I'd had my repulsion shield on. “Well, yes. Which has a lot to do with how unexcited and unstressed I am after having some psycho try to stab me full of some toxic substance or other. He couldn't have stuck me with them if I'd stood there and let him try until he tired himself out. I'd just as soon not let the world at large know we have those things yet, if I can avoid it, so it all worked out quite well in that regard also, now didn't it?”

                Don noted that they were going to find out eventually. “I didn't think there was as much woodwork in the world as there seems to be, given all the crazy people who are coming out of it. Someone's going to take a shot at you one of these first days, and hit you, or one of us. Then they will know.”

                I inquired why he thought it would be sooner than later.

                “Given the low levels of Security? I'm almost surprised it hasn't happened already. On the other hand, since we do have the shields, I'm not nearly as paranoid about it as I would be otherwise.”
                Alle Kunst ist umsunst Wenn ein Engel auf das Zundloch brunzet (All skill is in vain if an angel pisses down the touch-hole of your musket.) Old German Folk Wisdom.


                • #9
                  Re: The Ambassador, Chapter 20

                  I noted that “You are assuming that we will remember to turn them on.”

                  He grinned hugely. “I finally got one over on you. I have a detector that tells me if someone is wearing one or not, and if it is or is not turned on.”

                  “Well I'll be switched.” Right then, Mike let me know that I did too, if I'd use the mods that they had done to my eyesight. I went on to Don: “I guess I do too. I just never thought of checking if such a thing existed, so I didn't know I had it.”

                  Considering that led me to another conclusion. We humans who had been through the Karn medical regimen needed to compare notes regarding what we were figuring out about our capabilities. I got to kicking the idea around with Mike, and went and poured myself about another jigger of Bourbon to assist me in the conversation. I went with the Knob Creek this time. After about a half hour of sitting and reviewing, Mike had what amounted to a Bulletin Board set up among the human-resident AI's. Whenever anyone discovered any neat tricks or tips about using the modifications, their AI, with permission, would post it, and everyone would get the chance to review it.

                  That seemed as if it would work to me. I then concluded that they put some kind of sleeping aid in that bottle of Knob Creek. The Makers Mark I'd had earlier had pretty much perked me up, but this one was putting me to sleep on my feet. Miss Rover and I headed off to my room.
                  Alle Kunst ist umsunst Wenn ein Engel auf das Zundloch brunzet (All skill is in vain if an angel pisses down the touch-hole of your musket.) Old German Folk Wisdom.