Washington Horror Blog

SEMI-FICTIONAL CHRONICLE of the EVIL THAT INFECTS WASHINGTON, D.C. To read Prologue and Character Guide, please see www.washingtonhorrorblog.com, updated 6/6//2017. Follow Washington Water Woman on Twitter @HorrorDC ....

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Envoy

Charles Wu shook the martini ingredients in his portable martini-maker, then poured the contents out into the plastic cups he had brought for the occasion. He raised his cup to Che Gordo and Che Flaco and said, "To di-PLO-macy!" ("To di-PLO-macy!") The three men each took a swig, grabbed some nachos from the steaming plate Che Gordo had brought up from their apartment, took another swig, then gazed out the window at the National Cathedral in the distance (Che Flaco liked to pretend it was Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and the nearby television tower was the Eiffel Tower). They were on the "secret" eighth floor of The Envoy apartment building, in the room that used to be a restaurant back when The Envoy was still functioning as a hotel--back when Che Flaco's father had conducted his own business meetings here, just a few blocks from the Swiss Embassy Cuban Interests Section. The men fell silent. It was not that Wikileaks had directly encroached on any of their own money-making espionage: the problem was that years and years of slowly cultivating relationships of trust were now wiped out. None of the secrets they had gleaned in recent years were on Wikileaks, and no suspicions had been raised against them, but intelligence officials in many sectors and nearly all of the State Department were effectively cut off...at least for the moment. State Department underlings had been warned in no uncertain terms not to share intelligence with the military, so they all suspected their own communications and activities would be monitored for leaks to anybody. Wu had not gotten a message from "C. Coe Phant" in weeks and did not know when he ever would. Scant weeks after expanding Project R.O.D.H.A.M. into Indonesia, Wu was not certain how or when he was going to be able to report back on it to the Secretary of State. It was all very disconcerting.

Che Flaco broke the silence by telling Wu that a Las Vegas pool was underway (minimum bets at $100,000) on who would get to Julian Assange first: Interpol, Mossad, KGB, CIA, Saudi hitmen, or Google informants. There was also a separate Las Vegas pool on where Assange might be offered political asylum--with Iran and Venezuela being the frontrunners, though one mysterious mogul had placed $300,000 on Burkina Faso at 80-1 odds. Wu wasn't interested in placing bets: for once in his espionage career, he felt he could make no prediction. A couple weeks ago, he was on top of the world: sending his slowly reconciling parents and recuperating brother on a cruise to the Caribbean, exploiting the free love philosophy of the "Hair" cast at the Kennedy Center, making a new friend at the FBI after feeding the Bureau information on a planned terrorist attack against the National Children's Museum (a tidbit he had picked up from one of his specially bugged PDAs [Glenn Michael Beckmann's]), and successfully bribing the Federal Reserve Board contractor to replace every square foot of the Fed's carpeting with a special new blend featuring stain-resistant fibers and state-of-the-art, kinetically powered, nanotechnology eavesdropping implants. Now he wasn't sure where his next source of foreign intelligence was coming from, and he doubted the money he could make spying on the Federal Reserve Board was ever going to be worth the tedium of running audio searches on endlessly monotonous wonk conversations. Manipulating monetary policy was really not as rewarding as making his money by delivering Chinese missile intelligence to the British, seducing state secrets out of a North Korean envoy, or peddling the Condor's OPEC intelligence in Washington. And most importantly of all, he had always prided himself on parsing information back and forth, up and down, backwards and sideways--doing his own personal best to level the international playing field with delicacy and foresight. He had long ago stopped thinking of himself as a double agent, or even a triple agent, and more as a free agent, but as highly as Wu thought of himself, he would never in a million years have possessed the arrogant megalomania to believe he could foresee--let alone be pleased with--the international repercussions of unleashing gargantuan amounts of diplomatic and military communications with no restraint of any sort. If no country could trust any other country, what was left for spies...or diplomats? He sighed, and the men continued to eat and drink in silence.

A few miles away, the Heurich Society was holding its third meeting of the week at the Brewmaster's Castle. Even Condoleezza Rice had found the time to phone in all three times this week, and everybody was on edge about the Wikileaks situation. Every fifteen minutes like clockwork, Henry Samuelson would shout out "Saudi Arabia's gonna blow!" no matter what was actually being discussed at the moment. Though nothing the Heurich Society was working on--including Project Prometheus--was directly impacted by Wikileaks, they all feared it was a whole new ballgame out there. The problem was, they could not reach a consensus on what course of action to take next, since every member was now reverting to their earlier loyalties and insisting that operations of influence needed to be centralized into (respectively) the State Department arena, or the CIA arena, or the NSA arena, or the Pentagon arena, or the Wall Street arena. The Heurich Society was in crisis, and the Chair was at a loss as to how to pull it back together. The only thing they had managed to agree on all week was firing Han Li as butler and replacing him with an American-born Marine veteran (who would never have expected to end up in such a menial position except that he had been rendered deaf and mute in his last combat mission, plus they were paying him $90,000/year with six weeks of vacation and letting him live in the basement of the mansion). "I think it's time to launch Project Cinderella," Samuelson suddenly blurted out, and all eyes turned to him. "They say she's ready," he said, with a gleam in his eye. The absurdity of thinking one girl could do anything significant to advance the goals of the Heurich Society in the face of such massive diplomatic earthquakes was enormous enough to make his suggestion seem comical, but nobody was laughing...and nobody else had a better suggestion. "It's settled then," Samuelson continued. "I'll fly out to Kansas to pick her up myself."

"And her mission hasn't changed?" asked Rice over the speakerphone.

"Infiltrating Project R.O.D.H.A.M. is her mission," said Samuelson, who looked around the round table to challenge anybody to contradict him, but nobody did. "She will be our number one envoy," he added, "working directly and only for us."

A few miles to the south, the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Hope was typing furiously on his keyboard, another planned wedding proposal ruined--this time because he had been pulled out of the Cancun climate change delegation to stay in Washington and deal with Wikileaks. Now, instead of showing his girlfriend how he was saving the world--and then proposing to her on the beach at sunset!--he was stuck in Washington poring over released State Department emails and typing up damage assessments while his girlfriend had taken her adopted daughter home for a long holiday stay with her parents. It would be a miracle if he had more than two days to visit his own parents, let alone meet up with his girlfriend again before New Year's. If he didn't propose by New Year's, he had a dreadful feeling she would dump him in 2011. So far the most important thing he had learned this morning was that somebody's code name for Condoleezza Rice was "bloodsucker", but he was not putting that in his report until he verified it was not Clinton herself who was responsible for the moniker. Hmmm. He re-read the email from the embassy in Gabon. Is this about Burkina Faso?

A mile away, the special envoy from the Burkina Faso embassy was meeting privately with President Obama and his chief of staff to make the case for smoothing the way for Julian Assange to get asylum in Burkina Faso. All three men in the room believed this would result in Assange's rapid assassination, but nobody was saying that because they also had three different opinions on why Burkina Faso was making this offer. Bo had already passed out in the corner (right in the middle of chewing up the Sarah Palin bobblehead) because his canine narcolepsy was triggered by the words "security breach", and Obama was stealing glances at the Portuguese water dog and contemplating the bizarre nature of a job that would start with a meeting like this and end with applauding Paul McCartney at the Kennedy Center tonight.

Over in the river, Ardua of the Potomac had always hated the holiday season, but the Wikileaks explosion was the best holiday gift she had ever gotten.

In the weeks ahead: Will the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Hope get his wedding proposal in by New Year's? What are psychiatrist Ermann Esse's fantasy therapy questions? Why will Congressman Herrmark flipflop on hydrofracking? And what bizarre medical treatment will former Senator Evermore Breadman try to cure his chronic colon problems?

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