Marlow was searching his files for the finishing touch graphics for his Brazilian destroyer piece, when the Commanding Officer’s secretary appeared on his screen. She told him that the boss wanted to go over the piece. He alerted Aenid and they headed for CO’s office.
When they entered, they found the CO slumped over their one-pager with an undisguised look of displeasure in his eyes. “Sit down,” he said, “I have a few suggestions.”
They sat down and made themselves comfortable. They might as well — for in Marlow’s brief experience, a few suggestions usually took at least an hour.
“I’m a little disappointed in this draft,” he began. “I thought opintel analysts understood the need to write simply and clearly. I know Aenid writes well. I’m familiar with her work, and this section on the NORK exercises is very much to the point. Now, Marlow, you’re young and will develop a better feel for the Center’s style in time. Too much gobbledygook in your paragraph. No policymaker is going to understand what’s there. I do, of course, because I’m an older than dirt Cold Warrior,” he was quick to add with a smile, “but they won’t.”
Marlow shifted himself slightly forward as he saw his one chance. He was too young to realize that he was about to risk everything in a single dice roll with what then came out of his mouth.
“Well, sir, how about this. ‘Surprise launch of NORK “Red Death” missile submarine dot dot dot nearly undetectable dot dot dot equipped with unknown cruise and ballistic missiles dot dot dot IOC could destabilize world balance of power’?”
“Aenid, Lt, this has got to run tonight. No more delays or happy-to-glads. Turn this into a brief and get ready to lean forward on this. Write what you think.”
As they walked back to their spaces, Aenid almost passed out from the shock of Marlow’s boldness. Her twins were fully clustered and heaving. He attended to her while keeping it above board.
With the CO’s backing, Marlow told Aenid that tech expert Karen’s negative reactions tomorrow would have no impact. They would address her concerns with standard school taught, weasel words like “according to one source” and “could be.” As he sat in front of his screen in the late afternoon he knew that he was caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Copyright 2017 My Isle Seat