Magestic
Part 16

Plotting and scheming

From our mansion in Goma, we said goodbye to Shelly as she set off on her travels, a kind of student gap year - only with four bodyguards, one nominated as temporary guardian. Helen and I were both a little saddened at our daughter's departure, a little miffed at the cheek of it and the lack of our input, but turned inward and concentrated on young Liz.

Jimmy assured us that Shelly would be fine, but then qualified that by saying that her antics should be ignored, and that we should welcome her back when she was twenty-one. I questioned the 'antics', but just got a lot of shrugging out of Jimmy. I returned to my routine of checking emails in the sun.

Two weeks after Shelly had left us, off to Singapore, Jimmy said that it was time for me to be let in on a few secrets. We boarded a Huey one morning, the Army bird cheekily picking us up in the park at the end of our street, and set off for a mine. We actually set off for the regional airstrip south of New Kinshasa, grabbing a Dash-7 for a two-hour flight to the aforementioned mine.

For half an hour I sat up front, re-acquainting myself with the controls and chatting away to the pilot. It turned out that he was from Canada, and that his grandfather flew Mosquito aircraft for the RAF during the war, which his great uncle had helped to design at de Havilland. His wife was French, and her grandfather had been a member of the French Resistance, and who had escaped a prison in northern France bombed by Mosquito aircraft — something of a paradox worthy of Jimmy himself. Landing at a small airstrip, we were met by three Army Hueys.

After a pleasant ten-minute flight in the Huey, we landed at a mine, fifty Rifles stood waiting for us since the mine was a bit out of the way. Boarding jeeps, we made our way around to the mine shaft itself. Hard hats were issued, lights switched on, and we descended almost six hundred feet into the dark, clanking all the way down.

'No music in the lift?' I asked the lift operator, causing a concerned and puzzled frown. 'You know, elevator music — Girl from Ipanema?'

At the end of our long descent the metal doors clanked open, a group of managers keenly waiting for us and leading us onwards. 'Welcome to Nhebou mine, ' the first man said.

'What do you mine here?' I asked, getting a lung full of warm and pungent air.

They shot Jimmy a look, saying, 'Gold, sir.'

'A secret is for keeping, ' Jimmy told the managers as we progressed along an uneven surface, a pearl-string of lights strung out overhead, pipes running along the walls, one hissing water. We stepped around the puddle it was creating.

A hundred yards in we took a left fork, halting at a seam that was currently being worked on. At least it would have been worked on if they had not downed-tools for us. It also looked like they had all scrubbed-up for our visit, very clean miners stood smiling next to very clean mining equipment.

Without any further assistance from the managers, or Jimmy, I approached the wall and pointed at the shiny yellow seam. 'Gold.'

'Solid gold, sir. Not ore.'

'Not ... ore?' I queried.

'No, sir. It requires little processing. Smelting, yes, but not as much processing as ore that contains little actual gold.'

I scanned the seam, which seemed to be around six feet high and thirty yards long. 'So how much is this bit worth?' I asked, pointing along its length.

'Two thousand dollars an ounce, ' a man informed me. 'And in front of you, perhaps eighty or ninety tonnes.'

'I hope your maths is better than mine, ' I told the man.

'Roughly ... six billion dollars right there, ' the man said.

I took a long moment, putting my hands in my pockets. 'Oh.' I faced Jimmy, and waited.

'They've been mining here for twenty years, ' Jimmy told me. 'And I tucked away the gold for a rainy day. This seam would have been discovered in 2024 with some clever equipment.'

'So you got in here first, ' I noted.

'It's the world's richest gold seam, sir, ' a man volunteered.

Jimmy led me back up to the surface after we thanked the very clean managers, and the very clean miners.

'So why keep it secret?' I asked as we clanked slowly upwards, still no music in the lift. 'People know we have gold mines here.'

'Price, ' Jimmy said.

I took a moment. 'If people know that it's not quite so precious ... it'll lower the value, and if we sell too much ... we'll lower the value ourselves, ' I figured.

'Now that the world economy is suffering, people are switching out of stocks and into gold, so I'm selling more — but discretely.'

'And the total reserve?' I nudged.

'Is a paper figure, because if we tried to sell it ... then it would be worth a hell of a lot less, ' Jimmy told me.

At the surface, we gave back the hard hats and greeted a few more of the mine team, and I could see now the extra security that this place offered; there had to be a couple of hundred Rifles here, pillboxes, machinegun towers, the works. I also noticed armoured personnel carriers and armoured trucks for transporting the gold.

In the Huey, I placed on a headset and asked Jimmy, 'What will you do with it all?'

'The next year or so will see the stock markets down, gold up, so I'll offload what I can and buy dollars for the region, but not from the Fed. We should be able to keep gold prices stable, or even knock them back a bit by selling. And I'll use it to manipulate the US stock markets.'

'There've been many things that we could have used this for in the past. But we sold stuff instead, ' I said through the headsets.

'I had to play the role, and not let on what we really have to play with. Besides, people already accuse me of profiting from my knowledge of the future. At least this is ring-fenced, falling under the region's mining operations.'

'If you use the gold to buy dollars from third parties, you'll prop up the dollar.'

'Yes, that's one aspect. And one that the Chinese and Russians don't need to know about yet.' He held his look on me.

'And if you don't help to prop it up?' I nudged.

'OPEC gets twitchy next year, when Hawaii knocks the markets down.'

'I always figured they would try and drop the dollar because of the surplus of dollars sloshing around.'

'That's a factor, the US economy is another; it's a case of bad timing and coincidence. When things go wrong around the world, people typically buy dollars as a safe haven. But when the thing going wrong is in America itself ... it's a different case.'

Landing at the airstrip, we reclaimed our Dash after an oddly short visit, and returned to New Kinshasa. There, we boarded a Huey, but headed to Forward Base, landing at the huge Congo Rifles camp. A detail met us, jeeps taking us around to a part of the camp that I had not visited before. We passed through several high fences, all well manned, and to a large building that appeared to be just an admin block. Inside, Jimmy led me down a few steps. Then down a few more, security tight at each turn.

We eventually came to a vault door, open ready, bank staff waiting for us. Jimmy greeted them and shook hands, stepping inside. There we found a very long room, the central corridor separated from the blocks of gold by strong metal grills, several forklifts dotted about.

'It's a shit load of gold, ' I said to no one in particular, my words echoing a little.

'And if the British Prime Minister knew about it he might suggest that we aid the UK economy.'

'Why don't we?' I posed.

'Because the UK is not the biggest kid in the classroom, or about to throw a temper tantrum.'

I took in the gold ingots. 'Do we have more money than God?'

'Not far off it; this could make a serious dent into any project we choose. But, as I said, knowledge of it would knock prices down before we could sell.'

'Like the diamonds, ' I noted.

'Yep. And we have a shit load more of those than we declare.'

'Was this the main reason for moving into the Congo?'

'No, but a factor. My move here was to make money to fund the Rifles, and to sustain them.'

'Why show me now?' I asked.

'Because in the months ahead we'll spend more than we seem to have, and you would have asked questions.'

'Will this lot be shipped out and sold?'

'Some will, but most will sit in the main bank vault. The way it works - the gold in that vault is used to get us dollars, so the ownership of it changes hands in a computer, it doesn't actually go anywhere. People then buy oil and ore from us, or land and property, and the ownership comes back to us.'

'Do they check that it was there in the first place?' I teased.

'We get inspections, but they can only verify that the physical gold that they own is there, and that its tagged; the bars have numbers. And if they ask for it, we can ship it out. We also have a declared and monitored reserve that they can inspect, and that's always more than enough to cover the gold that they lodge with us.'

'Is this gold ... in line with what you expected?'

Jimmy took a moment. 'No, it's more, and we can do more with it. I could have helped various markets and economies in recent years, but I didn't on purpose. I want the US to feel the pinch so that I can look good when we help, get the people on our side.'

I lifted my eyebrows. 'Sure you're not running for office?'

'I am ... kind of.'

Back at the mansion, he gave me a figure to spend, so long as it was in the States. I asked for a hint as to what exactly I should buy, to which he just shrugged and went for a swim.

I sat with Helen and grabbed a cold beer. 'Got a slightly bigger budget to buy things with, but from the States only. To both help here, and there.'

Helen considered it. 'Boeing is in Seattle, west coast, and they're bound to be hit by the tsunami. I mean, the region will be hit.'

I raised a finger. 'Good idea.' I called my contact in Boeing, waking him. 'It's Paul Holton. How you doing, mate. Listen, how quickly could you get me another ten 747s?'

'Ten. New?'

'Brand new, yes.'

'They'd have to be slotted in and made. We could find you ten surplus -'

'No, no, I want them new. Consider this a firm order and ... you know, get the slide rule out and lathe working. What about 767s?'

'Could let you have six that were cancelled... '

'I'll take them, send me the paperwork, thanks.' I hung up and faced Helen. 'That'll keep the locals around the lathe for a while. What else does California and the west coast produce?'

'Films.'

'Can't buy those.'

'You can offer film finance, ' she posed.

'Films ... about things that we like; Africa, Rescue Force.' I called Oliver Standish at Pineapple Music, knowing that he lived and worked in Los Angeles now. 'Oliver, did I wake you?'

'Yes!'

'Sorry. Listen, do you know anyone in the movie business, you know, movie funding.'

'We do a little of that ourselves if our artists are involved. Katie Joe just made a movie.'

'She did?'

'She starred in it.'

'If I sent you some money, could you get me a list of films, you know — scripts, and let me choose some to fund through you, to help the local economy over there.'

'Sure.'

'Let people know that we've more money than sense, but are interested in films about Africa, Rescue Force, stuff like that.'

'There's a pile in my office, and some of them are disaster movies; they're popular for writers these days thanks to you.'

Smiling, I said, 'I want summaries, and I'd like them soon. We're going to loan your company a billion dollars to start with. What's a film cost?'

'Anything up to two hundred million with special effects.'

'In that case, make it five billion.'

'You serious?' Oliver asked in a hoarse whisper.

'Very serious. Be a love and help out an old mate, eh?' I hung up. 'What else, babes?'

'Electronics in Silicon Valley, ' she suggested.

I Googled the west coast's exports, but found out that aircraft made up the largest part of its exports. Sat there for an hour, I ordered up sixty small aircraft from a variety of manufacturers, two-dozen helicopters, and ten luxury jets. Hell, there were enough rich people around New Kinshasa to utilize them.

But it still didn't seem to add up to much, not compared with the money I had to play with. Thinking about a recent air crash in Russia, I called the boss of Boeing, pulling him out of a breakfast meeting. 'Listen, if I ordered up some aircraft for countries and airlines other than ours, could you ... well, make it look like they paid for them instead of us.'

'I ... suppose we could if the State department helped. Why?'

'Well, in simple terms — and just between us — we want to help the aircraft industry there, but have enough aircraft for our own airline.'

'That's ... odd, but given that its you, not so odd.'

'So, could we do it?' I asked, puzzling his last statement.

'Send you the bill, sure. Keep it quiet? I'm no secret agent, Paul. The President may be able to help.'

'Is there any way that you can think of to do it?' I pressed.

'Can't you give the other people the money, and ask them to buy from us?'

'That ... may be an idea, actually. Keep this between us.'

'How many aircraft are you figuring on sponsoring, Paul?'

'Don't know yet, we'll see how it goes. Thirty, forty, maybe more.'

'My team will be with you in the morning. You still in Goma?'

'Yep. I'll get the kettle on.' I hung up and dialled Han. 'Han, you awake?'

'First, it is the same time here as Goma. Second, I have been injected, and sleep three hours a night — as do many.'

'Good. Listen, I want you to do me a favour. Ask your government to nudge your state airline to buy ten new 747s from Boeing, and ten 757s. We'll pay you in gold down here.'

'That is ... most generous. And may I assume that you are attempting to fill the order books of Boeing to assist the west coast economy after the tsunami.'

'You're not daft are you. Will you do it?'

'As I heard recently ... I am not seeing the downside.'

I laughed and hung up, calling Yuri. 'Yuri, you awake?'

'I'm down the road. What time do you have in your house?'

'I thought you might have been in Russia. Anyway, need a favour. I want you to buy ten 747s off Boeing, and ten 757s, and somehow donate them to a Russian carrier, and we'll pay you in gold down here.'

'I was thinking of starting my own airline.'

'Do it quickly, you'll have twenty aircraft.'

'And the reason for this very generous offer?' Yuri asked.

'The economy of the American west coast will be hit after the tsunami, so we're doing what we can ... in our own small way.'

'I see.'

'Go start an airline, Yuri. But I want the planes ordered soon.'

I stripped off and took a cool dip, thinking on. Boeing made planes, and the parts came from all around the west coast and the States; there would be a knock on effect to suppliers down the chain.

President Samuels rang at 9pm that evening. 'Paul, you're spending a lot in California, and with Boeing. Is the reason what I think it is?'

'It is. And ... you're welcome.'

'Good of you, Paul. You've been buying dollars as well, so you have deeper pockets that we realised.'

'Something about gift horses comes to mind... '

'Not complaining, just that the folks over here watch you like hawks, and try and figure your every move.'

'Well, we're up to no good as usual ... making money to buy stuff from your west coast, and not just oranges.'

'It was clever of you to have your own region and a friendly government; you can do what you like without a government going through your finances. You know, a lot of folk have tried to get through Kimballa, but the man spouts the bible to them, and mentions what will be on his statue after he's dead.'

'He's thinking about his legacy. What will yours be?'

'I'd hope it will be a good one; we're on top of the disaster planning.'

'And the nice man running against you?' I nudged.

'We don't attack each other in our speeches, too much. I still like Sanchez, and we work well together. He has a passion for helping the poor, and some of it is rubbing off on me.'

'That's an odd admission, from the man who represents all of the American people.'

'I didn't mean it like that. I meant his socialist agenda.'

'And your Republican Senate?'

'Would like to see Sanchez strung up.'

'Then I guess you're a bigger man than your senators. And before you ask, we don't know who'll win, because neither of you were supposed to be in the running. It's all new.'

'Well, its neck and neck at the moment, mostly on Sanchez's strength of personality, ' Samuels admitted.

'We love you both equally, you know that; equal presents at Christmas!'

'Senate is pressuring me to get you to address the new Time Travel committee.'

'They have a Time Travel committee?'

'Yes. You're not obliged to appear... '

'But?'

'But it may help if you answer a few questions.'

'I'll ask the big guy, ' I offered. 'Anyway, off for a meal, and a walk, and a drink in our glorious creation.'

'Have a good evening, and thanks for Boeing.'

That following week, I thought of things to buy from California and Washington State, ordering tens of thousands of copies of Microsoft products; legitimately licensed copies. Africa tended to be five or ten years behind the rest of the world, and in some areas this new fangled Windows Operating System was still an idea. They were looking forward to the delivery of Windows 3.11. On the news I saw that Boeing had announced a full order book, and reassured many workers about their employment for the next few years or so.

I had mentioned the Senate committee hearing to Jimmy, and he just made a face, saying it was too soon. We returned to the UK in September, Lucy off to school, and Liz toddling about quite happily. Liz was talking ahead of her years, and we figured we had another genius in the family, neither of us knowing where it came from.

Brad from The Ark kept me informed of everything he was doing, and I urged him to spend more money. He then received a little help from the American branch of our volunteer group, and the two groups started to merge in places. I gave the volunteers a good budget and sent them off to assist Brad, our own volunteers less worried about wasting my money.

October saw the stock markets fall further, the price of gold rising. Sat behind my screen, I said, 'Fuck it.' I called the bank in Goma and told them to sell more gold and to buy US stocks, figuring it would be a good investment anyway. In just a few days we had knocked gold down sixty dollars and the markets up a few points. I increased the gold sales, and took another fifty dollars off the price of an ounce, firming US stocks.

Jimmy then popped up to my office. This time, I had biscuits.

He sat on the windowsill behind me. 'You know what you're doing?'

It was not so much as question, as a 'Do you realise what your doing, ' type of statement.

'Selling gold and buying stocks when every other fucker is selling stocks and buying gold?'

'You ... we, are helping to prop-up the US stock markets; little old us two. If I had mentioned that in 1986 -'

'I would have thought you crazy. Yes, we have advanced along the road a bit.'

'Quite a bit, ' Jimmy emphasised. 'And one of your abilities is to see complex things in their simple forms, their basic elements.'

'Maybe I'm just thick.'

'You're sarcastic, and that helps.'

'I studied sarcasm in Kingston Polytechnic. It was supposed to have been economics, but I slept in class. So, how much more money can we throw at the US markets?'

'It's not the money, so much as the timing and application. Choose a day when there's bad news and the markets are falling, so that the market makers are short, then buy heavily. It'll catch them out and cause a good upward move as they scramble around to cover their short positions. You know the four banks we don't like, so bust them up. And never forget that America is a free country, and a commercially minded country. Power is in money, not in the government.'

I took receipt of a new bit of trading software from Jimmy, a program written by the brain-trust kids, and it allowed me to place bets across a thousand accounts, all open with the four US banks we didn't like. The money was routed through various offshore tax havens, through Switzerland, and ultimately down to our bank. I transferred five billion dollars and got to work. Since I wanted the stock anyway, for the long term, I couldn't lose.

That following week I watched the screens, buying a few stocks that had tumbled and introducing a hell of a volatility spike to them. The individual stocks would drop three percent before rallying ten percent with my order, only to fall back a few days later.

When Samuels announced additional budget cuts, the tickers turned red, and I was sat waiting. Around 6pm GMT, 2pm EST, I stacked the deck and let rip with a cool three billion dollars worth of small and medium sized orders. At first my trades were being absorbed by the sellers in the market, but the market makers were soon caught short, unable to fill my orders. Tickers started turning blue for no reason other than a shortage of stock held by the market makers, the traders that I was targeting wondering just who the hell was buying. And buying so much.

I left the markets alone the following day, US financial commentators scratching their heads at the previous day's sudden buying. Prices dropped back, and the next day dipped lower, so I again ordered up two billion dollars worth of small and medium sized blocks, guaranteed to annoy the pit traders — as well as keep them busy.

Time Travel Committee

In early October, Jimmy said that it was time, time to face the Senate committee as guests, since our foreign nationality and diplomatic status prevented us being summoned. We flew over to Washington without announcing the committee appearance to the press, but it had leaked on the US side. We left the terminal from a side entrance.

We were soon 'on the hill', being shown to a waiting room till being called, the Secret Service keeping us company. Once in the Senate hearing room, they naturally asked us to swear to tell the truth. We both refused right off, which caused a little head scratching from the chairman. We sat without being invited to.

Jimmy began, 'I do not ... offer to answer all of your questions, and I do intend to keep some things vague, since what I say may have a direct bearing on the stock markets, and on people's lives. If that's a problem, then we can call a halt to this right now.'

'We'd like to proceed, since we may not get another chance at this, Mister Silo, ' the chairman suggested.

'We're not going anywhere, ' I told him. 'We'll still be around next year.'

'We can only hope so, ' the chairman said with a false smile, and I had to wonder what the committee was about. I decided to be bold.

'May I ask you a question, under oath or not, ' I asked.

'Well, that's not normally how these hearings work.'

'Yes or no?' I pressed.

'Ask your question, ' the chairman offered after a glance at his colleagues.

'What's the remit of this committee, its stated function?'

'This committee was set-up to explore and debate all things temporal.'

'Was it set-up to debunk ... all things temporal, like Scully on the X-Files?'

Jimmy gave me a look, a few sniggers coming from behind me.

'We're here to investigate, and then to draw conclusions and make recommendations.'

'Fire away, ' I said, easing back.

'Well, let's start at the beginning. Mister Silo, what was your remit ... in coming back through time?'

'That's an easy question for me to answer, but not so easy for you to grasp the reality of. I came back thinking that you were all doomed, and that anything I did could not make it worse, but could only make things better. If, at any point during the past thirty years, I had made a mistake, it may have been tragic, but it would not have been such a catastrophic loss as you may think from where you're sat ... since I come from a place in time with very little hope.

'My remit, my objective, was to warn the various leaders about what would happen, and then to try as best I could in steering the world away from disaster.'

'And you felt that the best way to do that was in secret?' the chairman asked.

'Most definitely. I considered, most strongly, that if I made my identity clear to any government other than the British, that I would be locked up and used to the sole advantage of that nation, especially you lot.'

'Would you like to ... expand upon that?'

'I firmly believed that the CIA would try and identify me - and to grab me, which they did over a great many years. Fortunately, I had the assistance of the UK Government to stop such attempts. Thirty years ago, the CIA were aware of my ability to predict the future, and made efforts to grab me and to kill me.'

'To kill you?'

'Yes, numerous attempts were made to kill me, as well as attempts to bribe me or to force me to work for the CIA, and to the advantage of individuals — for their own financial gain — or to the sole advantage of the States.'

'You have admitted, publicly, that NASA and our military built the time machine. Would you not have been obliged to debrief with NASA?'

'No, since you could never be trusted, and still can't be trusted.'

That wrangled them a little. 'We ... could not be trusted?'

'Those who built the time machine ... knew that the people here would probably not accept or understand the depth of destruction and despair that led to the time machine being built. Although they wished to warn you, they also knew that such information could be used for the advantage of unscrupulous American politicians. Which I guess covers most of you.'

I hid a smile, badly.

'You don't trust our government?'

'I trust certain individuals, those whose pedigree I know for definite. I trust the good man to your left, and the very good man on your far right. I trust Samuels and Sanchez, and a few others.'

'I see, ' the chairman said, his pride obviously hurt. He passed the questioning to the second man. That man thanked the chairman — at length, and changed tack. 'The American people are being expected to place a great deal of trust in you —'

'They don't have to. They can sit on the beach on the day of the tsunami and tell themselves that I'm wrong.'

'And would you allow people to die like that?'

'Like what? Like fools? I'll help those that want my help, and those that need my help, and those that deserve my help. But I won't stand in the way of a fool that wishes to end his life. Besides, your citizens are your concern. I notify your government, and they handle their own people as they see fit. I'm not a politician.'

'And are there things that you know, that you've not told the President?'

'A great many things.'

'And if they affect us, do we not have a right to know?'

'No, you don't, because you're bunch of children still trying to figure it all out. You care more about your own ratings than saving lives or doing what's right.'

'You see us as children? I've been in the Senate for more than thirty years -'

'And I'm a great deal older than you, a great deal wiser, and a great deal more experienced. And then some.'

'Well, that's your opinion —'

'His approval rating is higher as well!' I put in with a grin.

A third man took over after a nod. 'Mister Silo, we only have your word as to who you really are ... and your real motives, ' one of the panel posed.

'And it's that scepticism that betrays both your youth, and your lack of qualification to be sat there. Your government, and the people of this world, have had thirty years to judge my motives. If you haven't got it all figured out by now then you have a problem, not least in your own lack of abilities. But you're under no obligation to listen to me. Others ... do.'

'You have been accused of favouring the Chinese and Russians.'

'I favour anyone who listens and acts. They listen, and they act - you don't. When I tell your people about the future, they sit back and fold their arms, expecting me to try and prove what I say. Then they see how they could use that information for the benefit of this country.'

'Since they work for this country, and are paid by this country, they should be looking out for its best interests.'

Jimmy slowly nodded. 'And there lies the problem at the heart of this, and there lies the reason why I don't trust you, nor will ever give you a full picture. You are children, and you don't understand, so I'll explain it for you. I'll even go slow.

'There are two concepts, both of which you still fail to understand. First, it matters not to me, or to any truly enlightened person, which country prospers or fails, survives or dies. It matters ... that mankind survives. But you will, I'm sure, find many people in this country, and especially in your government, who are determined to keep America on top — no matter what it takes, even if you decide to fire your nukes at other nations. There are people in this country who consider that America must survive, even if it's to the detriment of all other nations.

'Second, the challenges ahead can only be tackled by everyone pulling together. To give you an analogy, one mentioned recently, we are all in a canoe together. If one nation gets up and rocks the boat we all sink. Only through global cooperation will we succeed.

'You, sir, don't understand either concept, which is why I have nothing but contempt for you, and for some of your colleagues. I've told you before, and I'll state it again: if the countries on this planet fail to work together in the years ahead, they all fail. You've had SARS, quakes, Lagos Fever, and now an economic downturn. But that's nothing compared to what lies ahead; that's a stubbed toe. What lies ahead will be like a house falling on you.

'And the reason I work in secret, and the reason I work around people like you, is that you don't even accept the dangers, let alone try to get the people of America ready for them. Russia and China will fare well because they listen, and they're preparing. You're still deciding if you believe me, when China is ten years ahead in detailed planning. You haven't even got off the drawing board yet. America is so far behind in planning and changing that you'll probably never catch up.

'You're sat there with your stupid questions about my ability to captain the boat, when the boat sailed ten years ago. You're discussing a Sunday afternoon stroll when you should be at home building a shelter and stacking the tins and water. Do you think you represent the American people? We're in the last quarter, and you haven't even found the football field yet.'

They took a moment, the room deathly quiet.

'You're saying that President Samuels has not listened?'

'He's listening, but he can only do so much. The rest is down to businesses, to the institutions, and the people. And it's the people who will ultimately change things. In Africa, in New Kinshasa, we have thousands of American volunteers giving their time for food and board, to work on projects I give them, research to tackle future problems.

'They're prepared to sacrifice their homes and their careers to help me. They're not there to help their native America - their homeland, they're there to help the planet. And the first concept they deal with when arriving ... is that we're all in this together, and that no nation has more of a claim than another.

'Whilst on that topic, we'll be offering some of the people of Hawaii and your west coast a new home and a job in New Kinshasa, to do what we can to help them. People in the abandonment zones can petition us for a place in Africa.'

'In Africa?'

'It's a vibrant and modern city, with plenty of jobs. And if they're not happy they can always return home, ' I said. 'We'll also be spending what money we can on helping the displaced.'

'And that money, it came from your knowledge of the future?'

Jimmy said, 'No, it came from our belief in Africa. But if you're not happy with that then we'll not spend any money to help the displaced people. What would you like us to do, Senator; help them or not?'

'I don't think you should be profiting from your knowledge of the future.'

'If we're profiting from the knowledge, ' I posed. 'Then the knowledge must be true. And if it's true, then why are you still a pain in the backside?'

Jimmy gave me a look as he stood. 'We're done wasting our time with you. Do what you want, and we'll help the displaced of America whether you like it or not.'

We left, being snapped by the photographers. Samuels was on the phone straight away, mad as hell; the hearing had gone out live. We were summoned to the White House like naughty schoolboys.

Samuels and his team were waiting, and all a little sour faced. 'You want to explain some of that attack on us!' Samuels loudly asked.

'It's not so much about you, as ... those that may follow you, ' Jimmy said.

'Follow me?'

'Other Presidents and political leaders. Besides, I need the people on my side to help you, just in a roundabout sort of way, and yes — I move in mysterious ways — and no, I won't explain why all the time.'

'You said we're ten years behind the Chinese!'

'You are. Their electric vehicle usage and coal-oil expansion could push their GDP up twenty percent from the ten its at now. And now that I've worried the people, you can try and enact more austerity measures and get more bills passed, especially if the Democrats take a few seats off you.'

'You gave Sanchez ammunition!'

'If he tries to use it I'll stop him. And he will listen, ' Jimmy insisted.

The Chief of Staff said, 'You showed nothing but contempt for the panel.'

'Did they deserve otherwise?' I asked.

Jimmy explained, 'Today's rant ... puts me in tune with the little guy in small town America, and will strike a chord after the tsunami, because no matter what the federal government does to try and to help people - they'll not be appreciated. After the tsunami, people's trust in the federal government will fall, and there's nothing you can do. But, if I'm seen more as a people's champion, I can give you a good write up.

'Nothing I do ... is accidental, or emotional. There are things that you guys can do, and there are things that require people power - plus a change of attitude in the populace. My aim, was to install a feeling of urgency, and that will help.'

I said, 'And it's still fucking ridiculous that your senators still don't trust us or know what we're about.'

'You've been buying dollars, ' a man noted, directing his comment to me.

'Yes. What's your point?' I curtly asked.

'Just wondering ... why?'

'To prop up the dollar, ' I carefully mouthed.

'And yet you just lambasted our political system on national television.'

'Which you obviously weren't watching closely, or not paying attention, ' Jimmy said. 'It's about saving everyone. You included!'

'You have deeper pockets than we calculated, ' the same man said.

'The GDP of our region is higher than we report, ' I said. 'Much higher. We're buying dollars off Europeans and others and paying the staff in dollars — which helps you lot.'

'And you just ordered enough planes to keep Boeing busy for a decade, ' Samuels noted. 'For which we're grateful, ' he quickly added.

'We're using spare cash to buy anything produced on the west coast, ' I informed them. 'It all helps.'

'Not sure I understood ... about offering our citizens homes and jobs in Africa, ' Samuels began. 'It makes us look ... less powerful in the world.'

'For the next ten years, the name of the game is integration, ' Jimmy told him. 'I'll be pressuring you to accept more Chinese and Russian tourists, and closer ties. Before 2025 you need to be closely linked, because we don't want any nation to say that they're doing more than another. That ... tension, could cause a fatal split. And, in case you bright gentlemen haven't figured it out yet, New Kinshasa is a melting pot for nations. From it, I expect new companies to grow, with directors from many nations on the board, as with CAR.'

'Could we get some warning about shows like that in future?' Samuels asked. 'Maybe some input?'

'No. What I do is beyond your time in office, and beyond the life spans of all of you, ' Jimmy stated, and I had to puzzle the odd remark. So did the others. 'There's still a lot you don't know. And, when you understand ... you'll understand.'

They glanced at each other.

'Might we know how much you intend to spend — as a private individual — on helping after the tsunami?' the Chief asked.

'Why?' I cut in with.

'It may make us look bad.'

'Again, why?' I asked. 'If we help ... you waste less tax payer's money.'

'And that makes you two look good, ' a man noted.

'Which is part of the aim, ' Jimmy pointed out. 'Unless you feel that my task would be easier ... if I were less popular?'

'Should our efforts not be coordinated?' the Chief asked.

'They will be, ' Jimmy insisted. 'But I can't be seen to sit by when people know that I have ... deep pockets.'

'Could you put a figure on it, ' the Chief nudged.

'Approximately fifty billion dollars.'

That had an effect. They exchanged shocked looks.

'And don't you think that may make us look bad?' Samuels asked.

'No. You're trying to spend the appropriate amount, and trying not to waste taxpayer's money, ' Jimmy told them. 'Besides, you're spending a hell of a lot more.'

'Which will be lost in the detail, ' the Chief said.

'Would you like us to spend less?' I asked.

No one answered, they didn't dare. We went around in circles for a while, the ruling elite worried that we were up to something — which we were — they just couldn't figure it out. And, with an election just weeks away, they were all twitchy, seeing our attack on the senate committee as an attack on them.

We reassured the most powerful men in the world, and I felt a bit odd, sat there watching how the most powerful men in the world were reacting to us.

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