Life & Island Times: Red Death, Chapter Seven

Ding dong the screen went and up popped the senior experts from the Navy’s Technical Intelligence Center of Excellence. “Oh crap” Marlow muttered. Actually only one expert, who was known as The Iceberg. Marlow felt like the Titanic.

“I’m afraid I don’t understand why operational intelligence authored this piece. This falls within our bailiwick,” she intoned.

Marlow faced S&T Karen respectfully. “I was directed to write it.” Sort of, kind of, true. “What exactly do you have problems with?” he asked.

“Everything,” she stated, and contemptuously let her paper copy of the draft fall into the air in front of her on the large screen. Nice touch. Marlow would remember to use that in the future.

She continued slowly and surely as an icebreaker. “I don’t know what sources you used, but someone has made a serious error. The NORKs do not have this level of technical know how.”

“I’m afraid you’re wrong on that.” Maybe he had a slight advantage at last. “According to this report from ROKN analysts — complete with pictures — the NORKs likely have an operational strategic missile platform in the ‘Red Death.'”

The return salvo was as rapid and as devastating as 50 cal machine gun fire. “The ROKN analysts are wrong. Don’t tell me you believe something just because it appeared in a highly classified message somewhere? You’re too young to remember Curveball, aren’t you?”

Actually, Marlow would have done so, since he was indeed too young to recall the lessons learned from the CIA’s Curveball fiasco. It had never occurred to him before that something in traffic might not be true. “Listen, if the NORKs don’t have a sea going strategic ballistic or cruise missiles, what are those round black circles on the side of the ‘Red Death’?”

“Denial and deception bluff and puff. We have already subjected those photographs to careful deep penetration analyses. The results are wildly inconclusive.”

Marlow was getting red in the face. He felt that the Iceberg was snowballing him with technical mumbo jumbo. He almost played the second set of imagery cards but decided not to. “Well, your comments are very thought-provoking, and we will certainly take them onboard.”

“I expect you to do so.”

As she disappeared from his screen, Marlow sank into a funk. He was sitting on some of the choicest piece of operational intelligence ever to come through the Center since the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was about to be torpedoed by a turf- protecting engineer.

Copyright 2017 My Isle Seat

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