Dr. Zuo and his lieutenant Shan were having coffee in Zuo’s sun-drenched corner office. They discussed particulars of their plan to the satisfaction of both, and a pause ensued. Zuo looked at a far-away point on the eastern Beijing horizon.
“I only wish I could do more.”
Shan hesitated, curious, though knowing his place. Cautiously, head bowed, he ventured, “More, sir?”
Zuo distractedly glanced at Shan. “Yes. Our mission is so important. But I am constrained. Not, I mean, by the Party...”
Shan understood completely what old Zuo was talking about. The Party, of course, despised US-style individualism, and secretly approved of Zuo. Shan sensed that Zuo might say more, and so merely nodded, silently hoping Zuo’s tongue would be looser than usual.
A determined look grew on Zuo’s face. “It is an important step in bringing sanity to our world. For too long, the United States has been the largest force of instability on our planet. Not just in military terms, but in cultural derangement.”
“Yes, sir. Their ideological immaturity.”
“Precisely. Their twisted view of humankind, and their resistance to simple math.” Zuo bit his lower lip. “Of course, their change must come from within. The Amendment will help shatter their delusions about equality.”
“No question about that.”
There was another very long pause. Then Zuo furrowed his brow and asked, “Can we not think of any other ways to influence the outcome of the Nebraska vote?”
Shan tightened up inside, but had no choice except to speak plainly. “I don’t believe so, sir. We have analyzed every single scenario. The other plans have too great a risk of discovery and then public backlash. Our most powerful operatives are simply not close enough to Nebraska, and their public position statements already go as far as they dare.
“However,” Shan concluded, “I believe the two tactics we have in place both have excellent potential. The cryo we’ve awakened will galvanize public support for the Amendment. And our operative, Li, will be able to manipulate Know The System to brainwash individual Nebraskans. Both of these things will sway large numbers of votes.”
“And Li – are we certain he can do as we ask?”
“Yes, sir.” Or so Shan hoped – his own future depended upon it.