February 27, 2011
Director Lee Ann Ming sits alone in her darkened office. The windows overlooking the Operations floor are polarized and dark. The trickling of the fountain in the corner is the only sound. She sits, her hands clasped before her, eyes blank, thinking.
Insider her head, Ming’s version of “thinking” bears little resemblance to anything human. She is calculating the long-term political repercussions of peace between Israel and Palestine. She is considering the millions of variables that could still derail it, slotting in the careful restoration of each preserved holy site by her Operatives for maximum political benefit. She is playing twenty seven games of chess with various opponents, calculating all possible moves from any given move she could make. She is considering four different interior design schemes for the renovation of her condominium. She is composing seven hundred and eighty five e-mails as well as considering the emotional, tactical, and political impact of each upon their recipients. She is reviewing the files of every Operative under her command from memory to anticipate any shift in psychological readiness or loyalty in light of recent events. She is learning the Tgalic language and putting the finishing touches on her personal reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European.
Most importantly, however, she is reviewing and adjusting her policy for dealing with global events.
She is aware, more than most, that the world is changing. Yama’s Apocalypse was just the beginning. Gods are returning to Earth, and while they have thus far been forestalled, delayed, the reshaping of human society in light of the increasing “mad” Talent phenomenon is inevitable. She had done everything she can to preserve some bastion of secular society against this divine new world:
She permitted “Reverend Carpenter” to move freely after the removal of Albright’s control, provoking “Jesus” McGrath into action. The apocalyptic events that followed shocked an otherwise religious America into a healthy cynicism of false gods, while eliminating hundreds of thousands fanatically-inclined individuals from the population.
She arranged the infection of the global internet by an American mad Talent whose psychological profile bespeaks a fundamental commitment to the secular freedoms upon which the United States and the Internet itself were built.
She repaired relations with the Odal Rune, and cultivated cross-organizational research into the creation of alternate realities.
Most importantly, however, she effectively removed all active Mad Talents from North America save the few she controlled.
Director Ming sits in the dark in her office planning the new shape of the world. Almost idly she moves a white rook on the nearby chessboard and takes a black pawn. The computer automatically transmits the move to her opponent.