Sleeping Giants Page 55

—Vincent’s back with Kara…Hello, Sleeping Beauty! What do you mean she’s not there?

—Ms. Resnik is gone?

—No, Alyssa is…Are you sure you checked everywhere?…I know it’s a small room. Look, Kara can barely stand, why don’t you guys go sit over there?…

I don’t know what to say, sir. We’ve been pretty much everywhere. She was here twenty minutes ago. Unless she went in one of the guards’ room, we should have run into her. It’s not like she can get out.

—Perhaps she can. She did supervise the construction of that complex.

—I gotta look for her.

—Let the Marines do it. Ms. Resnik may need immediate medical attention. You should let the Marines in now.

—I will in a minute. I gotta tell them about what Alyssa’s doing.

—You will do no such thing. Both of them have been through enough already. You will not add to their ordeal by telling them about a situation they can do nothing about.

—Sir! They could have a child a year from now and not know about it.

—They could have a dozen. You will say nothing to them, Mr. Mitchell. Do you understand?

—Sir! They have a right to know.

—They do. I will tell them when the time comes.

—Do I have your word on that?

—You do. Now open the door and let the Marines in.

—OK. I’m getting on the elevator now. What’ll happen to us when they come in?

—They will cuff you. They will most likely separate you until you all have been debriefed. I suspect it will be a…thorough debriefing. After that, I do not know. At best, you will go back to Fort Carson to finish your sentence. At worst, we will all receive a lethal injection.

—What should I tell them?

—Unfortunately, there is very little the United States government does not know at this point. What you say, or do not say, will be of no consequence. Make this easy on yourself and tell them what they want to hear.

—OK. Thank you, sir, for everything. I’ve unlocked the main door. Here goes nothing…

Hi, guys! Welcome to Puerto Rico! OUCH! Come on! I just secured the whole place for you, shithead! Does it have to be so tight?! Come on, man! That hurts!…

FILE NO. 257

INTERVIEW WITH INES TABIB, ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS

Location: White House, Washington, DC

—Do you have anything to say before I have you arrested and tried for treason?

—I fail to see the point, but I am happy to let you posture for a short while. How are Ms. Resnik and Mr. Couture doing?

—Your pilots are still in Puerto Rico being debriefed. They’re fine. You can all stand trial as a happy family.

—You and I both know I will not stand trial. Justice is usually much swifter for someone in my trade. It comes unannounced, usually from behind, and, as far as I know, it is never prefaced by a meeting at the White House. What happened? Did the president stop you herself, or did someone else intervene when you tried to have me arrested? You are relatively new to this line of work so I would presume that having me killed would not be your first choice.

—She said she would handle it personally. How did you know?

—I did not. It seemed like a logical explanation.

—You find this logical? You use US funds to finance this project, US helicopters, drones, American troops to locate and retrieve all the pieces of this machine from all over the world—illegally, I might add—killing several American citizens and foreign nationals in the process. You assemble it on US soil, use American scientists on the US government payroll to figure out how it works, in an American base, of course, a base that you later destroy, bringing this country to the brink of war.

At your suggestion, the president of the United States then agrees to drop this machine into the ocean, a measure you yourself described as temporary. Then you turn around and give it to Russia and the UAE. Does that about sum it up? What part of this does not constitute treason from your perspective?

—Which question should I answer first?

—Answer whichever you like.

—No.

—No, you don’t want to answer?

—No is the answer to your first question.

—Which was?

—“Does that about sum it up?” It does not.

—What did I miss?

—The first part of your statement, however redundant and melodramatic, was generally accurate. Aside from the individuals who were directly involved in this project, the United States is mostly responsible for its success. As for the latter, you forgot South Korea. Most importantly, I did not “give” anything to anyone. First, it was not mine to give. Second, it was not free, far from it.

—I’m not really interested in hearing anything you have to say.

—You did ask. Your plan, as we have established, was to have me arrested and tried for treason. We now both know that this particular plan will not come to fruition. I am offering you an alternative, one that will greatly benefit the United States. It also does not involve my having a sudden heart attack or a fatal reaction to a bee sting.

—Why, though? Why would the president not want to arrest you?

—You will have to ask her.

—She knew. Didn’t she? She knew all along. Did the former president know?

—I…

—Don’t answer that. I know you won’t tell me. So that’s it, isn’t it? That was the plan all along.

—You just told me not to answer.

—I don’t get it.

—That was not a joke.

—I don’t understand how any of this is good for us.

—Perhaps your feeling of impotence regarding my arrest is clouding your judgment. Let me repeat what I said earlier. I did not give anything to anyone. First, it was not mine to give. It was not yours either. The reason the former president agreed to drop it in the ocean is precisely because for the United States to insist on keeping the device for itself would have precipitated a global conflict. Do you agree?

—Does it matter? Let’s say that I do, for the sake of argument.

—Why would it precipitate a global conflict?

—Because Russia wouldn’t let us keep it.

—Correct. Russia would not have let the balance of power tip so far in your favor. They would not have been alone. It would have left the Middle East in even more turmoil. They know you would eventually use it there. Asia would have been upset as well.

—Your point?

—Having established that the device was not yours to keep, I presume I will not have to convince you that it did not belong to Russia either.

—I thought that was my point.

—Indeed. Moscow is well aware of that. Now that they have had their hand caught in the cookie jar, so to speak, do you believe they are in a position to play the moral card as they did in the past with the robot now in US custody?

—I’m pretty sure you want me to answer no here.

—How about the Middle East? Perhaps if, say, the Emirates had been involved…How about Europe? Asia? Would a German company being part of the consortium be helpful? Japan, Korea…Do you believe any of them, now faced with the likely prospect of losing everything, will try to prevent the United States from participating in this venture?

—OK, it’s clever; I get it. So we share it with Russia, now that they’ll let us…

Prev Next