Thursday, October 09, 2014

Step Back - Part 25

The broadcast of The First Line on that week would be digitally recorded aboard the Eagle and played for the mission commander and his staff. Judith Grant would also be present for the staff meeting.

Doctor Alice Boatman was the first to speak after the end of the program.

“‘Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?’”

“I’m sorry,” said Judith, “I don’t understand.”

“The quote was a reference to a historic conflict between secular and church authority,” said Doctor Boatman, “specifically between King Henry the Second and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket. It was alleged that the King had ordered the murder of Becket to resolve the conflict.”

Judith was speechless.

“Don’t worry,” said Evelyn, “the incident wasn’t covered in secular schools in the United States at this time either.”

“But why did it happen?” Said Judith.

“That is a good question,” said Evelyn, “King Henry saw the English branch of the Church as an asset of the state and had appointed Becket, who up to that point was his friend, to run it as such. But Becket subsequently saw himself as an actual servant of God, and saw himself and the church as being above the state, including King Henry. Thus the conflict and the subsequent outcome. So what happened in Dallas? Here we have William Grant, the Servant of God who was apparently untouchable by the law. He chose to physically block a medical evacuation to this ship and prevent us from saving a life. The act was simply intolerable and the response to it was simply obvious.”

Everyone at the table nodded in agreement.

A thought came to Judith’s mind. Her Uptimer hosts were consistently thinking and speaking in principles. That some of these people were personally involved in the incident simply did not matter to them.

These were clearly the children of Reason, she thought.

Boatman continued.

“Now Burke does declare that a homicide had occurred but presents it as an absolutely depraved act of murder. That he lied about this should not be a surprise. When Atlas Shrugged was published he printed a review in his own Conservative magazine, which was written by a former Communist, had denounced it as a work of propaganda that called for the extermination of Christians.”

“That’s wrong,” said Judith, “I just read Atlas Shrugged and Rand said no such thing!”

“Correct,” said Evelyn, “ the truth is completely irrelevant to them, what does matter is belief in and submission to the witch doctor, thus their twisting of the facts or outright lying. To those who value power above all else nothing matters, not the truth or the life of another person, not even of their own child. And had you died as a result of his actions without an adverse legal consequence it would have demonstrated his power over the secular authorities. ”

Judith nodded.

Boatman continued.

“And now Burke is openly calling for the legal suppression of Atlas Shrugged and other works of Objectivist literature regardless of the truth. And for the seizure of our assets both in space and on the ground.”

“And what happens if they get their wish?” Said Judith.

“We will respond with deadly force.” Said Boatman. “And with nuclear force.”

Everyone else at the table nodded.

It was after the local sunset when the chartered Aeroflot flight landed at Baikonur. A very tired and unshaven Mikhail Gorbachev stepped off the airplane and was met by two men on the ground. The first was clearly a civilian and the second was a senior Air Force officer.

The civilian spoke.

“Comrade Gorbachev, welcome to Baikonur! I’m Administrator Ivan Taganov and this is General Alexi Leonov.”

Gorbachev’s eye widened as he reached out his hand.

“I’m honored.” He said as he shook hands. And then he spoke again.

“So what do I have to do to prepare?”

“Not much,” said General Leonov, “as a passenger you will need to be fitted for a pressure suit and go up in an airplane for simulated zero gravity training, but that’s it.”

“Nothing else?” Said Gorbachev.

“You should have your personal will updated,” said Taganov, “the Proton launcher is not currently man-rated.”


Neither Taganov or Leonov would at this point mention the failure of the first attempted launch of the extremely complex N-1 rocket that was designed by Sergei Korolev for lunar missions.

It was Sunday afternoon in the Bronx when two gentlemen of Sicilian descent would meet with an older gentleman in a bar.

The first of the pair spoke.

“So what do you want, Boss?”

The Mob Captain opened a folder and took out a newspaper photograph.

“Those people from the future are somehow blocking our every effort to get in on their thing. This is clearly unacceptable and we are sending them a message. We got orders from upstairs to take out this bitch, she’s running their office in Washington and it should be a simple job.”

The Mob Captain handed the folder to the two gentlemen

“Okay, Boss.” the first replied and the second nodded.

Evelyn Boatman wasn’t able to sleep, he went outside his cabin for a walk and the think.

It was obvious that things on the ground were getting out of hand. Even though there was no ethical issue with the summary execution of the Teamsters goon, a virtual nest of shrieks had been stirred out.

We went up the Command Deck and spoke to the officer of the watch, Lieutenant Krier.

“Jeff, I’ve decided to recall Commander Keller back to the Eagle for the time being. And want Commander MacDonald to down to take her place.”

Lieutenant Commander Alan MacDonald was the chief engineer. This was to be a temporary assignment until the entire mess was properly cleaned up.

“Yes, sir.” Krier replied.

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