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Lunacy: Chinaman's Chance

05/25/12

  06:48:00 am, by Nic Wilson   , 865 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Chinaman's Chance

?The Chinese like their big fucking shows of force,? Ken said, ?like we used to, when we had the budget for it. Or maybe it?s their way of getting back at us for a century?s worth of little dick jokes. Either way, expect a Chinese wall- maybe even thick and throbbing enough to see from space.?

Dr. Pierce didn?t like being separated from his hive-mind; he also didn?t like representing medical. He was even less comfortable when they went through the doors into the conference room. There were thirty men and women crowded onto the opposite side of the table. Most of them had been flown over from China, just to show that they could afford the expense. There were a few seat-fillers from admin on the US side, but he was the only one Ken had specifically asked for in the meeting. Ken sat down, and he sat down in the open seat next to him. Dr. Pierce heard one of the seat-fillers whisper something about an ambassador, and nod at the middle of the Chinese side, in the chair next to Angwuo.

The Ambassador started to speak at a fast clip. Ken had specifically refused an interpreter; he spoke just enough Chinese to mess up his order at the Silver Dragon near his home. ?Listen, you can Ching Dowdy Dodo at me until the moo goo gai pan comes home. But personally, I could care less if you can buy and sell my government. My concerns exist entirely within the realm of my program, my budget, and the safety of my people. And when one of your people is one of my people, that includes them, too.?

?Ang?s condition meant he wasn?t fit for spaceflight, especially not the long-term and possibly interminable. We put someone on the ship with his condition and we artificially put the mission on a ticking clock- your boy doesn?t get back before his insulin supply runs out and he?s dead. That reduces our ability to fine-tune based on conditions to nearly zero, and puts everyone on the crew at risk.?

?I like Ang, personally. I selected him for the team in the first place because he?s competent, skilled, and not the kind of showboating dickwad who puts himself over his crewmates. That?s maybe why I take offense, on his behalf, for you parading him around to win debate team points. I still see him as one of my own.?

?We are pleased to hear this,? the Ambassador said with a smile, and Ken knew he'd stepped in something. ?Because we know there are openings for the Lunar Station. Given his aforementioned skills, and your personal liking of him, we assume you will have no difficulties in securing him a place on the Station.?

?You?re skipping over the vast expanse that was my middle point, between the inflammatory shit I said to start, and the man-hugging that made up the end. He?s got a medical condition that puts him, and those who rely upon him, at risk.?

?Ah, but as I understand it, your Lunar Station was recently made diabetic friendly, by the addition of bacterial reactors capable of synthesizing human proteins. One of them has been successfully batching human insulin with e. Coli for five months straight.?

Ken narrowed his eyes. ?Medical??

Dr. Pierce swallowed. ?Uh, they?re correct. Bacterial reactors were installed on the Lunar Station eight months ago. There were a few kinks to work out, the low fluid shear environment of space, where liquids basically roll off cells without exerting much force, affects molecular genetic regulators, but, uh, the reactors are regularly churning out hormones, including insulin.?

?Well all right, then. Assuming everything sounds like it sounds right now, we ought to be able to clear a seat at the table for him. I?m not making promises; we got to make sure we cross our Is? the other man glared at him; ?I said cross, not slant. We?ve been bouncing this ball back and forth long enough I?ve gotten used to your?

?inscrutable ways?? the other man offered with a smile.

?desire to paint me and my country in a less than favorable light. You are an oxen?s ass.?

?Oxen in my country symbolize patience, tenacity and steadiness. And much of an ox?s strength comes from its haunches.?

?Yeah, well you smell like an oxen?s ass, too.?

?There?s no culture in the world where that?s complimentary.? He swallowed. ?But I didn?t come for platitudes. I want a timeline.?

?Next resupply of the Lunar Station is 8 weeks away. Unless you?re looking to pony up the dough to expedite?

?I?ve procured a sum large enough to cover the cost of the launch and the resupply.?

?We?ll be in touch,? Ken said, standing up, and he walked out of the room. It took Dr. Pierce a moment to realize he was being abandoned, and he scrambled to his feet and out the door. Ken was waiting on the other side for him. ?What was that shit about a ?low fluid shear environment???

?Some diseases are more infectious- and aggressive- in space.?

?Like syphilis??

?I don?t know that we?ve tested syphilis.?

?Not in a lab setting,? Ken said, and smiled.

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