Kam Diba sipped his beer uncomfortably, considering Ilya’s strange line of questioning. With anyone besides Ilya, he would normally announce that Know The System research information was off limits and forcibly change the subject. But he knew Ilya had a pretty sophisticated view of things, and had given Kam very good advice in the past.
“Yes, content that’s considered propaganda is tagged,” Kam acknowledged. “Most of it anyway. And yes, we sometimes try to keep it away from some individuals, depending on their user profile. Following the regulations...” His eyes flitted over towards a noisy clump of people in the pub. “Like, for example, I don’t know, immigrants are guided towards—“
“Of course, of course,” interrupted Ilya. “Though the rules about counter-propaganda also matter too, eh? Like for example the Epistocratic crap that’s promoted by, especially by the Libertarians?”
“Yes, both kinds are important. All of it is propaganda to us.”
“And so, what I’m suggesting is, it’s finally time to strongly implement the 448 Rule. Those conspiracy theories about Green, and the stuff about mob rule, and pitchforks, and—that needs to be squelched, no? Not because the Amendment is right or wrong, just because that’s what the Rule dictates!”
Now it’s getting over the line, thought Kam. He thought about how to be diplomatic with his friend.
Ilya, though, persisted. “I mean, people have been commenting that it’s gotten out of hand! I’ve seen—have you seen that ad by Dubois, with the picture of Stalin?!”
“Look,” Kam said gravely. He looked Ilya in the eyes. “Part of my job is to make sure there are no political interferences in Know The System. Right?”
Ilya felt an urge to backpedal. “Yes, I know that. I recognize...”
“I don’t usually talk about this stuff with anyone, you understand? I like and trust you, and you’ve been helpful to me in the past. But my covenants must be honored. Revered.”
Ilya subsequently endured a longish speech by Kam about the sanctity of the KTS mission, and the importance of trust, and the department’s tenets concerning outside influence, and the “bible” that the department maintained, and so on and on. Ilya maintained a serious demeanor, asking innocent questions, earnestly assuring Kam that Kam was the best judge of all things.
When Kam appeared to have said all that he needed to say, Ilya managed to steer the conversation to a more relaxed, mundane exchange of information about their families and gossip about professional acquaintances.
Ilya was, though, very mindful of his true purpose here... and mindful of the promotion that had been dangled in front of him by his boss’s boss.
“Oh, I almost forgot!” he casually stated. “You know that I do work for Samuel Joens? Who is very close to Vice President Rhee—yes, of course you know. It appears that Rhee is looking for ways to get more resources for Public Ed, and is especially interested in the Citizen Ed area. I wonder... do you know of someone—possibly yourself, if you were interested—someone who would be available to have a short meeting with Rhee to discuss strategy?”
A meeting with the Vice President of the United States? This interested Kam very, very greatly. Though...