Scene 32: Tondal’s message

Sadana’s mouth hung open.  “But is it right?”

Dr. Calderon gritted his teeth.  “Yes, it’s right.  And it’s within my discretion.  You need to get on board, this is extremely important.”

Sadana, an assistant director at the Tondal Government Institute, was still digesting the new message from Tondal, which was a response to comments sent to Tondal twenty-eight years ago.  The new message had been translated as:

“In our opinion: it may not be best for the United States to enact a Democratic Efficiency Amendment.”

Calderon had prefaced the revelation to Sadana with an assertion, in no uncertain terms, that this message was going to be kept completely hidden for one year.  Sadana immediately recognized the significance for the all-important Nebraska vote:  if this message from Tondal were publicized prior to the vote, the Amendment would almost certainly be rejected.

Sadana and Caleron

Sadana knew Calderon expected obedience and was in no mood for any debate, so he tried to approach it with an air of loyalty.  “I understand—our mission is nonpolitical.  It’s not our – but, won’t it—when it comes out later, couldn’t our—“

Calderon cut him off. “You need to leave that to me.”

Sadana forcibly composed himself.  “Okay.  I will.  Promise.”

Calderon relaxed slightly.  “Thank you.  Sadana, I know it’s complicated.  You’re probably thinking, the voters need to know, have a right to know.  But they don’t know how to put it into context.  And it would establish a very, very bad precedent – we can’t embolden Tondal to start meddling, even in small ways.”

“I see.”

“In fact, Jan and I are working on a return message.  We’re going to ask Tondal to make no future references to this message, and suggest that they exercise more restraint going forward.”

“Except, in the meantime, we could get fourteen more years of suggestions!”

Calderon was momentarily angry, but stopped himself from yelling “No fucking shit, you idiot!!”  He merely sighed.  “Yes. We of course have to factor that in, we can’t influence them overnight.  But for right now, our plan is straightforward.  This message stays hidden from view.  Let’s talk about how to guarantee that.  Ironclad.”