Saturday, December 06, 2014

Step Back - Part 37

A very rare Sunday meeting was being held at the KGB headquarters off of Lubyanka Square. Colonel Andrei Taganov, who was not related to the head of the Baikonur launch center, would speak to Chairman Yuri Andropov about the information gained on the mission to the Eagle.

“Quite simply Comrade Chairman, we are fucked.” Said Taganov..

“Fucked?” Said Andropov. “What do you mean?”

Taganov replied.

“The Soviet State will ultimately fail–there is simply no alternative.”

It was at that point Andropov could only stare blankly into space.

What would he tell the Politburo? He thought. And how would they respond? And then what will happen next?

Andropov spoke again

“So what would you suggest as a course of action, Colonel?”

“Comrade Chairman, we should lay out a plan for the peaceful transition to a non-communist society.”

Andropov blinked.

“Are you mad?” He said. “The Politburo will reject it!”

Taganov replied.

“It doesn’t matter what the Politburo believes, the Soviet state will eventually come to an end. How it will end is still an open question. We can see to it that the transition to another social order is peaceful. Or we could do nothing and have open chaos as a result.”

On a clear Sunday morning in Washington a mass prayer service was being held on the Mall. On the live television broadcast Katherine Grant first denounced the Uptimers as being the tools of Satan because of their peacefully meeting with the Soviet delegation aboard the Eagle and for continuing to hold her daughter on board their ship. And then she openly denounced the Nixon Administration for their continued contact with and support of them. The simple idea that the Uptimers were acting in accordance with simple courtesy and the actual facts of reality simply did not cross what passed for her mind and didn’t enter into her rant.

Alice and Judith aboard the Eagle silently watched the live broadcast of the prayer service.

President Nixon also watched the broadcast from the White House. On the ground the President had discussed the continuing issue of Grant and her followers with Commander Macdonald.

“Mister President,” said MacDonald, “we simply will not submit to their demands, and should the United States Government do so, we will pull out and go elsewhere.”

“Where would you go?” Nixon asked.

Without missing a beat Macdonald simply replied.


Of course they would. Nixon thought.

Across the nation the broadcast was also seen by numerous college students, many of whom were suffering from serious hangovers on this morning. In the living room of a three bedroom apartment in the Dinkytown area adjacent to the main campus of the University of Minnesota seven seriously unkempt and hung over students of both genders and a their guest for breakfast were watching the broadcast as well.

“Can you believe this nonsense?” One of them said with a British accent. “The Uptimers are from the future, of course they’re not going to believe in God, or any other nonsense.”

“They don’t believe in Progress either.” Said another student.

Mark Urquhart, the first student who was a British subject studying Engineering, replied to the second.

“Because it’s not actually a doctrine of Progress, it’s simply a body of excuses to use force on other people.”

And then Mark’s guest for breakfast, his oldest brother, spoke up with a clearly polished Oxford accent.

“Your first president, George Washington, once said something on this point: ‘Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.’”

Francis Urquhart was a junior member of the House of Commons for the Conservative Party. He had come to the United States on party business and decided to drop in on his youngest brother during the trip.

Now everyone in the room waited for his next word.

“The fact is that those who want power will stop at nothing to gain it--even to personally commit the act of murder–so lying for power is not a serious obstacle at all.”

The Americans in the room and his youngest brother all nodded in response.

What Francis Urquhart had not mentioned in the conversation, or even to his own brother, was that there were already two dead bodies buried under his own path to power in Cyprus.

Later in the day Francis would drop in on his sister Mary, who was married to a member of a wealthy American family, Richard Charles March II.

At the ground base in Nevada a letter with an information package that included color photographs was downloaded from the Eagle, printed, and sent by air mail to Diana Spencer, a student presently attending a boarding school in the United Kingdom.

For Francis Urquhart the lunch with his sister and her husband did not go well. The fact was that Richard March, in spite of his inherited wealth, was a true believer in the Progressive cause. In fact the way that Richard consistently looked at Francis gave him the clear impression that he was looked upon as a mortal enemy.

Richard was particularly upset at the Uptimers for their clear rejection of the Progressive cause.

Urquhart replied.

“The thing is Dicky, these people came from the 24th Century. There is no question for them as to what works and what doesn’t. And routinely working in the vacuum of space would very strongly discourage the kind of wishful thinking that you routinely indulge in.”

No one ever addressed march as Dicky, not even his wife. And the truth as stated by Francis was simply too much for him.

For Francis Urquhart the next stop on his visit to America was the Uptimer Base in Nevada on behalf of the Conservative Party.

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