Monday, November 10, 2008

javascript:flink On The Range

Two convoys of Black SUVs arrived at the old rifle range about thirty minutes north of Langley. It had been a training facility back in World War II, and had been government property ever since, but had been bounced between departments without anyone finding any great use for it, and so it had become overgrown for many years. Now the CIA had claimed it for themselves and had restored it to its former glory as a rifle range, albeit one with large patches of burnt grass and trees all over the place.

The President and Vice-President got out of their respective SUVs and walked over to a group of men from the CIA.

"Mr President, Mr Vice-President, welcome to Tasty Fowl range," Bill Torum said. "I'm Bill Torum, agent in charge of this project. Let me introduce my team to you. This is Chris Rudd, Dave Donaldson, John Nakamura, our shooter, and Tony Sparrow," Bill said as he pointed to each man in turn.

"Good morning gentlemen," the President said to them. "What have you got to show me this morning?"

"If you'll come this way, Sir, we'll give you our demonstration," Bill said.

The group walked over towards the shelter at the end of the range. They stood behind a firing stall and Agent Nakamura stood in front of the group.

"Are you ready for this, Mr President?" Agent Nakamura asked.

"Ready when you are," the President replied.

Agent Nakamura turned to face downrange. "Itadekimasu" he shouted and a ball of fire about the size of a basketball appeared in front of him and moved down the range rapidly.

"The directon of the fire can be controlled with a pointing gesture, as can the fireballs speed," Bill explained, as Agent Nakamura demonstrated with a series of fireballs aimed at targets spread across the range. "The louder you say the word the larger the fireball. They can be as small as a baseball or up to about two feet across," Bill continued.

"How hard is it to do?" the President asked.

"The only tricky part is getting the pronunciation just right. If you're a little off it won't work," Bill answered. "Would you like to give it a try?"

"Is it safe?" the President asked, a little nervous at the prospect of doing this himself.

"The fireball always heads away from you in the direction you point, so the thrower is always safe," Agent Nakamura explained. "Just come up here and face down range."

The President did as he was instructed and aked "Now what?"

"Just point and say the word. Like this," he said, then pointed and called out "Itadekimasu".

"All right then," the President said, and steeled himself for what he was about to do.

"Eat-a-duck-I-must" he shouted and pointed emphatically down the range. Nothing happened.

"You need to say it a little bit quicker, Mr President, the middle section sounds more like 'deck-ee', not 'duck-eye', and there's no 't' at the end," Nakamura told the unsuccessful President. "It usually takes a few tries to get the pronunciation right," he reassured the statesman.

"Eat-a-deck-ee-mast" the President shouted, again with no effect.

"Try it one more time, like this 'ee-ta-dek-ki-mas'," Nakamura said, enunciating the magic word syllable by syllable.

"Itadekimasu" the President yelled, and a large fireball flew down the range.

"Jumping Jesus on a pogo-stick," the President exclaimed. "I did it," he continued disbelievingly. He was silent for a few moments while it sank in. "What do you guys need to keep working on this?"

"We need more agents to investigate reports of other supernatural activities. We need scientists and engineers to work out why magic is working now, when it hasn't for the last six thousand years, and how it works. We need facilities to work in, we need to be able to travel to where things happen and we need all of this quickly," Bill Torum replied in a smooth manner that only comes from lots of preparation.

"You've got it," the President told him.

"There's one other thing, Sir. We're going to have to go public with this pretty soon," Bill told him.

"Why on Earth would we do that?" The Vice-President asked incredulously. "If we do it will open up a gigantic can of worms. Not to mention it could start a new cold war, with magic instead of missiles."

"For a start, how else are we going to convice the Japanese to stop saying this word. It's their tradition. Second, other countries will probably have done exactly what we've done. You would know better than I if there have been any similar incidents at our foreign counterparts. And finally, the public will work this out soon enough anyway, and if we've been hiding, it will look like we're behind the curve. If we come out soon and announce it, we'll be ahead of the curve instead," Bill explained.

"That will get decided by people above your paygrade Bill, but we will definitely take those arguments under advisement," The President said. "Are we done here?"

"That was all we wanted to demonstrate today, Sir," Bill told him.

"Right then. Thank you gentleman, it's been a very interesting morning," the President said. He turned to his principal Secret Service Officer "Let's get back to Washington."

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