Wednesday, March 30, 2005

A Flying Visit

"It's a flying visit" said 086, "literally."
For a moment I thought that at least one Lyran had recognised the concept of irony.
"You only need to spend one night there. You can come back the same day and still get off to Paris next week."
OK, I thought. I give up. But then he gave me my tickets.
"Air Canada? Oh please not. Have you ever suffered their economy class?"
He looked up. "Economy?" I showed him the ticket.
"Nobody" he said firmly, "travels economy when they work for me. I'll get 2546 to sort it out."
I left feeling happier than I have for a while.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Bits of America

We're getting more offers of troops, at least - a battalion from Nicaragua is the latest. But of course people want something for this. In some cases, it's easy - money in the Swiss bank account for the President. But some have more advanced ideas. The Chinese want a source of cheap labour - we can deal with that. But the Canadians have, as you'd expect, much bigger ideas. They have a whole task force in Ottawa working on plans for the compete reconstruction of the bit of America they want - essentially the East and West coast. Now 086 wants me to go to Ottawa and talk to them. Do I get a chance to settle in first?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Money Problems

It was sorted out of course - it always gets sorted out in the end. I asked 148, as patiently as I could, how the Lyrans in Paris managed to live now on one thousand euros a month for accommodation. And if Paris was actually going to be the main planning base for the invasion of America, wouldn't it be worth actually sorting this particular problem out? Setting up a Tiger Team for example? The it all came out - there's an Interim Financial Package on offer, but only if you ask for it. All very embarrassing, because the Cost of Living Survey is years behind schedule, and, if you do it for one you have to do it for all.
"I'm asking for it." I said.
148 groaned.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Somewhere to Live

"Don't get this wrong" said 148. "It's only a temporary problem."
I stared at him.
"No really, the Cost of Living Study for Paris should be done by the end of the year. We're fairly sure about that. I think."
"And in the meantime?"
"I'm sorry, but we'll have to use the 1991 figures."
"And what am I supposed to live on?"
"Oh, come on ... it's not that bad."
I started to look through the forms. Rental 1000 Euros per month. What? How on earth am I going to find an apartment for that much?
I looked up. 148 had scarpered. I'll kill him.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Some Good News About the US Economy

Staggered home tonight with a blinding headache. I suppose you could say it worked - I was mumbling in French all the way home.
Meanwhile, 769 showed me this article about the US deficits. Good news really, the faster ordinary Americans panic, the quicker the economy will fall.
I'm going to bed.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Learning French a Bit Quicker

"We want you to blend in" said 086 yesterday. "You see, somebody has to take charge of liaison, and you're the best French speaker we have."
So it's a week of total immersion, and, when I say total I mean total.
A lot of earthling research into learning has been funded by Lyrans - we want to get back some of the techniques we use at home. Some of the stuff that isn't available yet, or is hidden away in government laboratories, is made by companies we own.
For the rest of this week, I'll be strapped in a chair with goggles over my eyes, in a state of mild hypnosis absorbing the most modern French programs we can find. It had better be worth it.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Learning French

Quite a lot of time has to go on learning French (well re-learning really) at the moment. As I mentioned, Lyrans are very suspicious of learning languages and don't like it. I suppose it's because I quite like languages that I get sent off on all the tricky missions, and I'm never around when the promotions and bonuses are being handed out. Most Lyrans speak English pretty well (three hundred years of practice) but very few of them like French. There's something about the clarity of French that Lyrans really loathe - it's almost impossible to translate literally into French from Lyran as you can with English. Sometimes it doesn't pay to have a skill.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Running America

I'm trying to concentrate on picking up the military side of all of this (Operation Franklin) and leave the political side (Operation Washington) to workstream 67. The problem is (I went to my first planning conference in Paris yesterday) you can't really separate the two. Quite a lot of the workstream 67 entities are arguing that, in the month or so it will take us to move the technology out, there will be so much looting and anarchy that we'll never actually manage to do it. (Like Baghdad only worse, said 1852, and he should know: he helped organise Baghdad). So they're saying we need to set up at least a temporary administration, at least in the big cities. This means, of course, more time, more money and more people, and in particular it means getting more soldiers from somewhere. That's coming along (offer of 5,000 from the Nigerians this week), but nowhere near enough, yet. It's all turning out a bit more complicated than we thought.