"I didn't do anything and people want me dead. It's wrong. Why do people do the wrong thing?"
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Theresa has already done many tremendous actions and this chapter will make references to others she will do.
Here we see Theresa as the "World Empress", the single most powerful person on Earth. Heads of state come to her for favors.
Did I know what I was doing? Hell no! I admit it. I was just an eighteen year old kid who tried to accommodate people’s needs. I didn’t know what it would lead to. Mr. Parker told me you can’t do something right the first time you do it. Any change in routine is sure to cause problems every single time. There are no exceptions. Yeah, well, not doing something can be a mistake too.
Four men sent by Ambassador Fox arrived at the Parker estate. I was amused as they introduced themselves as Bob, Jack, Harry, and Chuck. These were probably all fake names.
“I get it. You guys work on the Thanksgiving Day parade organizing committee.”
“How did you guess?” laughed Bob who was the leader and the jovial diplomat.
Bob did all the talking for this group and he might as well have been talking about the philosophical theories of the Three Stooges for all the lightness of his speech. Did this clown really work for the CIA? He had to be faking his demeanor.
“The first thing we need to know is can you find any particular person you want after you’ve grounded him?”
“Oh yeah. I had to set it up like that. The lawyers might have tried to trick me by saying they needed an ambulance. I’d need to look at the person quickly to see if he really needed an ambulance. Then, if I did turn off the grounding and turned it on again I’d have to look at the person to make sure he wasn’t in an airplane.”
“Hoo boy! What would happen then?”
“HAL would stop the plane instantly. The passengers would be crushed like apple sauce.”
“Ouch! Cancel my reservation!”
Bob would be a little tiring after a while.
“How can you find the person if his grounding has been turned off?”
“Each person has a number. Once I tag him HAL will always keep track of him grounded or not. Why does it matter if I can find a person again?”
“If you can do that you can use one terrorist to find many others.”
“I didn’t think of that. Maybe we shouldn’t ground them right away, just tag them and see where they go.”
“It depends on the place you find them. In the Middle East we want them to lead us to others. In an Afghan training camp we just ground everybody except somebody who looks like he’s visiting. He’ll lead us to others.”
“I get it.”
We got down to work. Bob would show me maps of places where intelligence said there were terrorists. I’d memorize the maps as well as I could, then switch to my black and white vision to find the location. I gave descriptions of what I saw and Bob told me to move left, right, up, or down until I found the target. Sometimes it was a camp in an isolated place. There might be dozens or hundreds of terrorists training there. I’d look at tents to find the ones who looked like the leaders. They were tagged but not grounded right away. They would eventually travel and lead us to other terrorist groups. One strategy was not to ground anybody in the camp for a couple of days. Then when there was a visitor who’d already left for other locations he wouldn’t realize that he had been found at the same time as the rest of the camp. This way the terrorists wouldn’t know what was going on.
Meeting three days a week the team could find and tag, or tag and ground, two or three hundred terrorists a week. In two weeks the press was filing stories that terrorists were being grounded. Everybody knew it was me. The news brought praise from nearly all politicians in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Asia. My name was being mentioned for the Nobel Peace Prize.
The effectiveness of the program was not yet known. Bombings are often planned months or years ahead. Presumably, at some future time bombings would decrease in number.
In the midst of all this I found time to turn my attention back to the sun where I raised huge cylinders of gas for the fractional separation of. This precious metal was a more practical element for coinage as it could be made in small coins of low value for everyday exchange in retail stores. People in undeveloped countries where the national currency was of questionable worth would now have a medium of exchange that was accepted everywhere. President Stinson promised that the U. S. Mint would issue silver coins in twenty cents, one dollar and five dollar denominations with my picture on them in numbers too huge to be absorbed in the American economy. The excess would spill over into the third world in the interest of international prosperity and peace.
I dumped a pile of silver twenty times as large as the Fort Knox gold pile on a British Army base. More would come when needed. The old English trade of silversmith was restored. Tradesmen bought the silver to make silver tea sets, mugs and silverware. Everybody could afford to have a king’s dinner set.
Total sales of my gold and silver reached more than a billion dollars a week and was climbing fast. This might taper off after a while, but in less than a year I would be richer than some small countries. Theresa calling Jack. How are you doing with Ginny?
Now began the most complicated political mess I’d ever get into. Khaled bin Azad was the charismatic and worldly Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, a cartel of oil producing countries that met at its Vienna, Austria headquarters to set policies for the safeguarding of member nation interests and stabilization of oil prices from harmful fluctuations. It had thirteen member nations in the Middle East, Africa, and South America.
There were other countries that exported oil but were not part of OPEC, seeing no reason to have to protect their interests or simply not wanting to be dependent on the Organization’s policies. Secretary General Azad set out to recruit their membership.
Unlike on previous trips abroad, when the handsome forty-two year old pandered to the press, Azad kept a low profile. He traveled without announcements, usually escaping the media, and when he talked to people in the countries he visited it was done behind closed doors. He sometimes slipped in and out of a country without being noticed.
I was aware of all this because the media was talking about it day and night. OPEC had been largely the equivalent of an old ladies’ quilting club for many years. Now they were stirring themselves up. The world didn’t like it. OPEC no longer had the near monopoly of oil it had before very deep ocean drilling came on, but they still controlled enough of the oil supply to cause a lot of mischief. The United States didn’t depend on OPEC much anymore, but Europe and most of the world did. There was only one world price for oil. We all had to pay the same price even if we produced the stuff.
The White House announced the President would make a courtesy visit to London to acknowledge the friendship and value of its longtime ally Great Britain. Nobody was fooled. President Stinson could only be going to London to meet me in the “summit of summits” as it was being called. Why President Stinson didn’t call me ahead of time is still a mystery. Maybe she was afraid I would say no to a meeting on the phone, but couldn’t say no if she showed up in London.
She had come under a lot of criticism for doing nothing when I was trying to get control of HAL and restore the rain. She might have invited me back to the United States, or she might have come to London to help me. She did neither. Supporters said she was preparing the country to cope with the worst possible scenario, which was true, but that’s not how things turned out. I solved the problems under Blair’s wing and critics were slamming her. This visit was partly to repair her image.
She was taking a big risk. If I snubbed her she would be a political lame duck. This was also explained on the news, as if to make sure I understood it. So,……… how loyal was I to my President?
Air Force One, and the identical backup plane, were ready for the President’s boarding. We watched the crowd waiting for Veronica Stinson’s arrival and Air Force One’s departure. With the press having little else to yap about they made a big issue about what kind of reception the President would get from me. Would I be waiting at the airport? Would I snub the President because of what President Martin did?
“What do you think I should do?” I asked Steve.
“Meet her at the airport. I’ll stay here.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. She’s our President.”
“I mean are you sure you want to stay home?”
“I’ll just get in the way. The President’s husband isn’t coming. They’ll have to find ways to entertain me somewhere while you talk with the Prez. It would be embarrassing. Besides, I have a cute French maid waiting for you to leave.”
“I knew it!”
I understood. Steve wasn’t sure what he’d say to Stinson who was part of the administration of President Martin.
To make it short, Prime Minister Blair waited at the airport for President Stinson, Arthur and I showed up just before the President came down the stairs of Air Force One, and we agreed to a meeting in the U.S. Embassy, with Blair present as a representative of the rest of the world at my insistence.
President Stinson asked me, “How much do you know about OPEC?”
“Not much. They used their oil to blackmail us in 1973. Why do they get worked up now after all that time?”
“Power was distributed among many nations. We had some, the British had some, everybody had some. They couldn’t take on the whole world. Now you have all the power. They think they can make you cave in and turn you into a slave. That will give them the power they always wanted.”
“Yeah, well, Steve and I have a plan that will take care of them. The sun has lots of carbon. We’re going to bring trillions of tons of it to Earth. It can be used to generate electricity at very low cost. Everybody will switch to electric cars. Driving will be almost free.”
“Who gets this carbon?”
“Anybody who wants it, even nations that don’t like us. The idea is to reduce the need for oil.”
“How much will you charge for this carbon?”
“Not a penny. It’s free.”
“My goodness! That’s very generous.”
“I’m not going to be anyone’s slave. The hell with them.”
“Of course, we don’t know what they’re planning. It may be nothing, but your plan should limit any damage if they do. I just wonder if you can deliver this carbon quickly in case they turn off the spigots right away?”
“I can have it here in two months. I’m working on it now.”
Blair jumped in. “I understand it would take years to change the transportation system from fuel power to electricity. If there is an embargo there will be hardship.”
“We do have our own limited oil supply” answered the President. “Offshore drilling technology is advancing more and more quickly every day. We’re drilling in two mile deep water. An embargo would accelerate drilling ten times, I think. But you’re right. A severe embargo would cause hardship. But Theresa’s carbon will calm the public nerves.”
“Indeed it will. As always public confidence is the main concern.”
“Why’s that?” I asked.
“The people must believe things will work out well or their fears will make the situation much worse. During the ‘73 embargo there were absurdly long lines at the petrol stations but in reality there was always enough petrol for everyone’s needs. It was public fear that caused the long lines and other problems.”
The President added, “The need for importing oil is far greater today. The problems would be worse.”
“Don’t we have plenty of offshore oil?” I asked.
“Yes but it’s in deep water.”
“I can bring the land up to the surface.”
“Sure. I did it at the South Pole.”
“That would help. How do you raise land?”
“I slip crushed rock under the land I want to lift up. HAL is nothing but a bulldozer but he’s an awful big one. I read we’re drilling ten thousand foot wells in the Caribbean. I could raise the Caribbean floor to the surface. Of course, you understand raising that much ocean floor will take a few months.”
“Good Lord!” exclaimed Peter Blair. “Shall we announce this?”
“And force them to do something? Let’s see what OPEC does first. Let the bastards shoot themselves in the foot.”
No more detailed ideas about the OPEC situation were possible because we didn’t know what OPEC would do if anything. Discussion drifted off into general topics. President Stinson asked many questions about what I could do with HAL. I had to tell her not much. I was still in the early stages of breaking the code to control HAL. I was developing new parameters all the time, but couldn’t predict all future needs.
The meeting eventually ended. I returned to the Parker house, President Stinson went back to the States, she told people in vague terms that I was preparing unspecified actions, the stock market calmed down and everybody waited for OPEC’s move.
OPEC met in secret session. It lasted three days indicating to the outside world that there was difficulty in reaching any kind of agreement. Members understood that taking me on was a high risk gamble. Finally, a public statement was announced.
Secretary General Khaled bin Azad droned on for an hour complaining about alleged insults and attacks his OPEC countries and their people had suffered over the years. Steve pretended to fall asleep on the sofa listening to this harangue and snored. I jabbed my elbow into his rib cage.
Finally, Azad got down to the nitty-gritty.
“We seek justice on the world stage. If it is not given to us we will take it. We demand the operation known as grounding be removed from all freedom fighters.” The phrase ‘freedom fighters’ was his term for the murderous terrorists. “We demand that Theresa Hartley put ten billion dollars every month into a fund for the world’s poor. We demand the land known to the West as Israel be returned to the people who lived there before 1947. If these demands are not met we will sell no oil to the United States or the European Union.”
I was near tears at these outrageous demands.
“I saved their lives, I turned their deserts into gardens, and they do this to me?”
Steve stared at the television with a fierce frown. He was livid.
“This is the world we live in. We’re going to kill the bastards!”
Steve started up the computer and did research. He was looking for offshore oil deposits. Raising the Caribbean floor was an option but came with loads of political questions as to who owned the Caribbean. He wanted a neater solution.
After looking up a list of known or suspected underwater oil reserves he read that there was more oil under the gap between Africa and Madagascar than there was in the Middle East, but not a single oil well had ever been drilled there because the oil companies didn’t trust the leftist Madagascan government. So much for that solution!
He looked up how this oil had been created. It seemed that millions of years ago Madagascar had broken off from the eastern side of Africa. The growing gap between the two land masses was what created the submarine oil deposits. Well, that was interesting. Where else had this happened?
He turned to plate tectonics. Soon, he found something startling. Antarctica was originally connected to Africa right next to Madagascar. Antarctica drifted south and was just beginning to cross the South Pole. The Antarctic coastline on the Atlantic side with the tip of Africa pointed right at the middle was the part of Antarctica that had once been joined to Africa just below where Madagascar had been similarly attached. The coastline of that section of Antarctica still matched the African coastline from which it moved. The two continents were separated by a distance equal to the width of Antarctica which was a lot of room to play in. Except for one tiny, uninhabited, ice covered island called Bouvet Island belonging to Norway, there wasn’t a single square foot of land in this immense expanse of ocean. I could pay off the Norwegians later. Maybe I’d raise another island for them. He printed out a map and drew an elongated ellipse along this coastline. He showed it to me and explained why he thought there was oil. I agreed it was worth trying to raise the ocean floor to the surface. But this presented problems. What to do with all that water that would be displaced? Where was the rock under the island to come from? After two hours I developed a plan.
I drew a rectangle on the map Steve gave me. It was parallel to the Antarctic coastline that had once been connected to Africa. The rectangle began two hundred miles inland from the coast and extended five hundred miles further inland towards the Pole. It was fifteen hundred miles long. This had to be the most useless real estate in the world; nobody would miss it. As an afterthought I drew a thick line from the northwestern corner of the rectangle all the way to the sea. This would be a spillway to bring in water. Steve copied the map and showed it to Arthur.
“Arthur, take this map to the Prime Minister.” He pointed to the rectangle I had drawn. “Tell him if there are any people in this rectangle or this line from the corner they have to evacuate immediately. Theresa will destroy this area in a week and she doesn’t care who’s in the way.”
“Very good, sir.”
“And no planes overhead either. They’ll be destroyed.”
Arthur nodded his understanding.
The next morning Prime Minister Blair called. Arthur handed the phone to me. I assumed it was about Antarctica. It wasn’t
“This is Theresa. What’s up?”
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Scherzer flies to London tomorrow morning. He is very concerned and wishes to meet with you.”
I dropped the phone on the floor and sat on one of the living room sofas.
Steve picked up the phone and told the PM, “Hang on, Mr. Blair. We have a problem.”
He put the phone down and sat next to me.
“What’s the matter?” he asked.
“Everybody wants something from me” I said in shock. “I can’t do everything.”
Steve picked up the phone again. “Mr. Blair, did you hear that?”
“I did. Shall I call later?”
“Might be a good idea, sir.”
He hung up the phone.
“Mr. Parker was right” I said. “I shouldn’t have got involved in politics.”
Parker replied, “I have reconsidered my statement. It was inevitable you would be involved. You have power. Somebody was sure to try to get it from you. Now consider who could do this. Governments couldn’t do it. The only hand they have to play is military. The United States and all Western countries would come to your aid if a government tried to blackmail you with military power. But OPEC had the oil card to play. There is no defense against that. OPEC would have challenged you even without the grounding of the terrorists.”
We were enthralled by Parker’s remarks. He was no fool.
But his assessment didn’t help me and I said, “I read a short story. A Hindu god told a Prince, ‘I will give you all wisdom and immortality if you come up my mountain and live with me forever’. The Prince agreed. People heard about him. For a thousand years they came up the mountain to ask his advice about their problems. Finally, he threw himself off a cliff and killed himself. He left a message behind. It read, ‘Too late I learned the curse of having what others want’.”
Steve and Mr. Parker wore frowns. They couldn’t think of anything to console me. It was Mrs. Parker who saved the day.
“The Prince had nobody who loved him.”
I smiled. Mrs. Parker said the right thing.
I looked at Steve. “What do I do about Israel?”
“I don’t know. We don’t have to come up with something in five minutes. Tell Blair you’ll see the guy. He might have ideas.”
“Arthur, would you get Mr. Blair back?”
“Happily, madam.” He reached Blair.
“Mr. Blair? I don’t know what I can do but I’ll meet with him.”
“He is also at a loss. Perhaps a meeting will inspire us.”
“OK. We’ll work on ideas.”
Arthur drove us into London Wednesday morning so we could have a long leisurely lunch at a first class restaurant. Shortly before one we arrived at Number 10. We were ushered into the PM’s residence where the two Prime Ministers waited in a nearby office. Arthur had to wait in another room. “Sorry, Arthur” I said. “This is very sensitive stuff.”
“I fully understand, madam” he answered with his standard reassuring smile.
We were conducted into the meeting room. Steve carried a briefcase containing the ‘sensitive stuff’. Typical greetings and handshakes were exchanged and we all sat down at a table.
Prime Minister Scherzer’s face was grim. He’d all but given up finding a solution to the crisis. It would take a miracle. I noticed his mood and gave him a big smile to indicate things weren’t so bad. His return smile indicated encouragement.
Blair began the discussion. “Prime Minister Scherzer graduated from your West Point.”
“Really!” said Steve. “I thought it was only for Americans.”
“There are international students. A classmate was a Saudi prince.”
He spoke English like an American.
“Not your roommate, I hope. What can we do for you, sir?”
It was evident to all that Steve was going to do the talking. I stayed out of it to let old warrior Scherzer have a dignified male-to-male bull session with Steve, who was being deliberately deferential.
“We are surrounded by enemies. We fought them off many times but this new embargo looks like it will be a long one. I’m not sure we can depend on our friends to stand by us.”
He stopped. That settled it. Scherzer had no ideas about what to do.
“Well, sir, I think we all agree your friends won’t stay with you long if it means abandoning their cars and walking to work. But we can’t give in to these bastards’ demands.
“As we say in America, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is you can’t stay where you are. Theresa is going to clobber these bastards. When they find out what’s going on they’ll be mad as killer bees. They’ll swarm over you.
“The good news is Theresa can give you a new homeland. She has two plans, A and B. Plan A is moving Israel.”
He pulled a map of Israel out of the brief case. Red lines drawn with a felt marker separated Israel into three parts. The middle part was trapezoid shaped.
“The trapezoid section is moved west into the Mediterranean. That makes it possible to move the northern part of Israel south for a few miles, then west into the Mediterranean. Finally, the southern part is moved north a hundred miles then west into the Mediterranean. The parts are put together again in between Italy and Greece here.” He indicated the place on another map showing the entire Mediterranean Sea. “The problem with this plan is it doesn’t give you anything and fishermen will complain you’re ruining their business.”
“What’s Plan B?”
Steve smiled. “I knew you wouldn’t like A. Plan B is Theresa can raise an island for you out of the ocean floor.”
He pulled out a crude drawing of an island. It was in the shape of the Star of David.
“This island will be five hundred miles wide which is something like twenty times the land area you have now and every square inch will be fertile soil. Each arm of the star has 20,000 foot mountains to catch the rain and give you fresh water. They will also be the greatest ski resorts in the world. Kids like ski slopes more than rocks in the desert. Your tourist trade will explode. The problem with this plan is it will be months before it’s habitable. You may have to put up somewhere. Maybe your friends in New York and Florida can take you in.”
“How can she raise an island?”
Apparently he liked this plan better!
“Very simple. She cuts out two slabs of bedrock, crushes one into gravel and packs it under the other slab. She’s done it before underwater in the South Pacific close to the Pole. We have bets on how long oceanographers will take to find it.”
Blair quietly listened as we explained that. He’d already heard it when President Stinson visited.
Scherzer said, “If OPEC had known of these powers they might not have made their demands.”
Steve and I were shocked. Scherzer had made a good point. A little knowledge shared with the world might have prevented this mess. Were we to blame?
Blair intervened. “Mr. Prime Minister. These young people are not experienced in diplomacy.”
Yeah, well, Blair had already known I could do something with the Earth’s surface. Where was he when this mess started?
“Let’s leave it behind” said Steve. “Where were we?”
“The island” Scherzer resumed. “Where is it?”
“Anywhere you want. I assume you’re not interested in the Indian Ocean. We’re betting you’ll choose the North Atlantic.”
“You’d be right.”
Steve pulled out a map of the North Atlantic showing the lands around it.
“You have to avoid that red line down the center. That’s where the volcanic thermal vents are. You might choose to be close to New York, but then you wouldn’t be a refueling stop and transfer point for planes crossing the Atlantic. That could be a good business.”-
Blair added, “This is amazing, Mr. Prime Minister! A traveler from any city in the New World can go to any city in the Old World with only one stop on your island. The savings are tremendous. Existing airports can’t do this because none is large enough to handle the planes.”
Prime Minister Scherzer was sold. He thought a moment.
“I’m leaning toward Plan B, but I’m not sure my people will give up Israel.”
Steve answered, “They have two choices: stay and be exterminated to the last man woman and child, or leave. I don’t think there’s a third alternative.”
“There isn’t. Can you move Jerusalem to the island?”
We were startled. We never thought of that. What an idea!
“Yeah. Easily. Right, Theresa?”
“It’s a piece of cake.”
Steve offered a felt pen for marking the spot. Before choosing a spot Scherzer asked, “Where will you get soil for all that land?”
“That’s very interesting, sir. The ocean floor is covered with hundreds of feet of mud. It’s millions of years of dust and micrometeorites, full of microbes, the most fertile soil on Earth. When Theresa raises the island she’ll have to scrape most of it back into the sea leaving twenty feet.”
“Are there mountains on the ocean floor?”
Steve smiled. “You don’t miss a thing, do you, sir?”
“It’s my job.“
“There’s tens of thousands of them everywhere. Extinct volcanoes from tectonic plate movement. Theresa will have to push most of them back into the sea.”
Scherzer was satisfied with that. He moved the felt pen over the map and chose a spot near the middle of the Atlantic at a latitude matching New York. That would put it right in the center of many commercial airplane routes between the United States and lower Europe making air transport far more profitable.
“Good choice, sir. Theresa will start working on it today.”
Prime Minister Scherzer was hesitating to respond. He quietly said, “As much as the Star of David warms our hearts it’s not the most practical design. Can we change it?“
“Sure. It was something we threw together overnight.”
Steve turned the map of Israel upside down to the blank side and pulled a handful of writing instruments out of the briefcase.
“It’s all yours, sir.”
Blair was right on the ball with this one! “Hold on. I’ll call for a piece of parchment.” An aide was summoned with a piece of parchment and left. Blair pulled out his expensive fountain pen and said, “Use my pen, Mr. Prime Minister. It has India ink. It will never fade.”
Scherzer took the pen and went to work designing his new country. He started with a circle and added features. He drew thirty projections along the perimeter.
“What are those, sir?”
“Peninsulas. Twenty miles long and five miles wide.”
On the western side of the circle he drew two adjacent peninsulas in the shape of opposing Ls coming into each other out at sea.
“Protected harbor” he explained.
He drew a similar protected harbor on the eastern side. He indicated Jerusalem was to be next to the western harbor. He drew a cluster of mountains in the middle of the island. Using his topographical map knowledge, he indicated elevations in meters. “Elevations in meters” he said. In a large valley in the middle of the mountain cluster he indicated an area with a negative elevation, that is, it was below sea level. “A lake” he said. He drew circular contour lines here and there around the island to indicate hills of fifty meters in height. He drew two circles close to the harbors and noted they were to be flat as a billiard table. “Airports” he said.
He took a final look at the design and turned it around for Steve to look at. Steve didn’t even study it. Instead, he handed it to me for my signature. I signed the map at the bottom using Blair’s pen.
“Your signature to a historic document, sir?” Steve suggested to the Prime Minister.
Scherzer also signed with Blair’s pen.
“You can send us a copy, sir. Keep the original. It’ll be a good piece for a museum of Jewish history.”
At this, the Prime Minister had trouble keeping control of his emotions. “Thank you” he said with a frog in his throat. “And thank you, Mrs. Hartley.”
“You’re welcome!” I said with a proud smile.
Prime Minister Blair jumped in.
“How will you clobber the bastards?”
“Well, sir, technically speaking Theresa won’t do a thing to them. In seven days she will raise a large area of the ocean floor between Antarctica and Africa. We believe this area has trillions of barrels of oil. It will all belong to Theresa. She will sell the oil on the world market for twenty dollars a barrel. No limits. OPEC will still make a little money. They should thank her.”
“I wonder if they will attack Israel at all. Why would they?”
“They may blackmail us with an attack on Israel if Theresa’s oil island brings their profits down. The funny thing is she has to supply oil to frustrate their oil embargo. They’ll be clobbering themselves.”
“Who knows about these plans?”
“Only the four of us in this room. Politicians are hiding under their desks. Theresa has to do it all.”
“Can Mrs. Hartley raise other oil islands?”
“Sure. They’ll all belong to her.”
“Will the oil islands be protected?”
“Theresa is an American citizen. She’ll say the islands are under the laws of the United States. Who’s going to argue?”
“How can Israel be evacuated quickly enough so the Israelis are not attacked?”
“Theresa plans on raising a land bridge from Israel to Crete. They can move to Europe from there at their own pace.”
“Mr. Scherzer will have to make plans to move all their valuable possessions quickly. Decisions must be made ahead of time.”
“Yeah, but keep it secret until the last minute.”
“Agreed. What can Prime Minister Scherzer tell his people?”
Wow! That was a tough one! What could people be told without precipitating an early attack? I watched Steve ponder it a minute.
“Theresa needs time to prepare for the evacuation. Tell them Theresa could destroy the world. Tell them as long as she’s around they’re safe. Tell them the bastards are crazy if they push her too far. There’s no stopping her. Let them sweat for a change.”
Blair asked a question that shook us.
“It will take many days to move millions of Israelis across the bridge. It won’t be possible to keep assassins from infiltrating the crowds. In the darkness of night they will shoot many thousands of Israelis.”
Steve’s face was frozen, but you could tell from his eyes he was stunned. Blair was right. Assassins couldn’t be spotted in the dark. They’d have a field day with the Israelis.
Steve sat there thinking, but this was one problem that seemed really too difficult to solve.
“Are you saying Theresa needs to give the Israelis twenty-four hour daylight?”
“I merely stated the problem.”
I said, “I would have to be God to do that.”
It was a tense moment. The two Prime Ministers’ eyes showed they were worrying I might be being pushed too far. Would I walk out on them?
Scherzer eased the tension. “We’re not asking for more miracles. What you’ve given us is miracle enough.”
Blair tried to further distance everybody from the twenty-four daylight idea. He turned to Scherzer.
“Mr. Prime Minister. Are you satisfied with our meeting?”
“I am. Mrs. Hartley saves my people.”