Castle Roland

Book II - Global Explorer

by David McLeod


Chapter 17

Published: 27 Jul 15

Global Explorer II

by David McLeod

Political Pushback

_Global Explorer_
Circumnavigating Antarctica
February 26, 2018 @ 0900

Joe's announcement of the Navajo power plant was carried in its entirety by one of the financial news networks whose talking heads then dissected the implications. Already, stock in coal companies had taken a hit, and the stock of The Western Company had tanked. At least three global stock exchanges had halted trading in energy stocks.

&sciencetruthnolies: western company owns nothing but customers and electric meters they are parasites

A little research confirmed the accuracy of the information in that message. As Joe had suggested, the company was big enough to squeeze the remaining generating plants and owners of distribution systems.

"Joe didn't say hydrogen fusion," Nicky said, pointing to a key factor in the press conference.

"Dad decided to rebrand that to simply hydrogen power," I said. "Just like one of Uncle Carlos's predecessors rebranded horse mackerel a hundred or so years ago."

"Horse mackerel?" Nicky said.

"Yeah, now-a-days it's called tuna fish."

"You mean that stuff the Japanese are paying thousands of dollars a pound for is actually horse mackerel?"

"Just another example of what Marshal McLuhan and Gregory Batson said: ‘The name is not the thing named; the map is not the territory.' "

East Wing, the White House
February 26, 2018 @ 8:00 PM

The president stepped to the lectern. The DC press corps had become accustomed to his surprises, and waited quietly for his announcement.

"You probably know that Francisco Anconia and I were college roommates. Before you ask, I knew about the Navajo plans to build a hydrogen power plant, and I congratulate them on their accomplishment.

"I also know that there is a lot of concern about how this will affect the coal, oil, and natural gas industries.

"Our carbon-energy economy has lifted millions from poverty. It will take more cheap energy to make a dent in the remaining billions throughout the world who still live in poverty.

"On the other hand, as you all know, even though some will not admit it, carbon-based power is also poisoning the Earth. And, even though many will not admit it, carbon power—coal, oil gas—is not infinite.

"Anconia Industries and the Navajo have shown us an energy source that is infinite. Well, as infinite as this planet and this solar system are likely to exist.

"This does not mean that there will not be, for some time, a need for coal, oil, and natural gas. There will for many years be a need for high-energy-density fuels for space exploration, for example. Natural gas is already being converted to fertilizer and until the world population gets under control—and we develop better ways to fertilize without the waste that creates ocean dead zones—there will be a need for fertilizer."

Wall Street Journal January 7, 2015, Earth Analogue III: Two counties in Wyoming account for 40% of U.S. coal production. Wyoming [alone] accounts for 40% of US coal exports. The biggest customers are the Netherlands, Britain, and China. Big USA coal companies have bought mines in Australia to mine "higher quality" coal for the steel industry—and for higher profit margin.

Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC
February 26, 2018 @ 8:17 PM

"Rocket fuel, my ass!" Senator Randolph of Kentucky said. He snapped off the television that had carried the president's press conference.

"It already costs $70 per ton to mine coal in Kentucky, but only $10 per ton in Wyoming. Wyoming and the damned Navajo are beating us hands down in the export market. This free hydrogen power will really put the screws to us," Senator McDonald added.

"I really wish you two wouldn't use language like that," Nancy Peligrini said. She had lost her position as Speaker of the House, but was still an important figure in Washington politics.

McDonald snorted. Bitch, he thought. "There's only one thing that our unions and mine owners agree on: we have gone as far as we can go legislating that Kentucky electric plants use Kentucky coal. People are starting to catch on to how much that's adding to their electric bills."

"How much money are we getting out of the unions, anyway?" Senator Zinio said. "Union membership is down. Frankly, my reelection donations and PAC money are drying up. Hell, I may have to get a second job."

That got a bit of a laugh. It was an open secret among these people that their first job was getting re-elected and that their second job was representing the interests of those who made it possible for them to get re-elected: the people who contributed to their campaigns and political action committees, the lobbyists from K Street. In a distant third place were the people of the USA.

"You know that I'm going to announce for the primary for the next presidential election," Senator Randolph said. "And you know that if you hope to be re-elected, you're going to be part of that campaign. It's not too early to get on board."

Randolph's message was clear, even to the most dense . . . he was going to be their party's standard-bearer. He didn't tell them about his ace in the hole, the person he'd placed on board the Global Explorer, and who was reporting back to him every day.

Global Explorer
February 26, 2018 @ 8:17 PM

&sciencetruthnolies: danger will robinson randolph plans coup takeover of right wing many allies

"What does that mean?" I asked. "And where did it come from? There's nothing we've released . . . " I said.

Nicky shook his head. "I have no idea, and it's about nothing we've created or released."

UFC Darknet
February 27, 2018

Francesca's voice bubbled. She was pretty proud of what she'd gleaned from the darknet—even though it had been Jaf who had found the UFC links. It wasn't worth arguing with her about, and I knew that she would—eventually—give Jaf the credit he was due. She was always fair, but sometimes a little slow.

"The UFC darknet link has instructions to forward all information about Anconia activities to their headquarters. That is in Washington, DC. They're especially interested in construction projects."

Tsar Jonathan Romanov's Journal
February 27, 2018

Mr. A had asked Davey and me to keep journals of the things that the press didn't cover. I know that Davey has been more meticulous than I, but I knew I should write about how I felt when my mother arrived in Russia.

Mother was on a new TU-210, a Russian-made aircraft. Albeit one that had spent several weeks in a hanger in Germany being examined and modified by Anconia Industries people. It was a closely held secret that the original Russian engines had been replaced with GE90-115Bs—the most powerful jet engine in the world. Only a hard look at the nacelles would suggest that to anyone.

The TU-210 was a hospital plane. After bringing Mother to St. Pete, it would return with a bunch of sick children going to medical facilities in Minnesota and Canada.

Our reunion was intense. It was also personal, even though it included Davey. I felt his joy at being part of our family, whether formally adopted or not.

There was, however, something serious we needed to talk about.

"Mother? There is something kind of formal that we need to do." I wasn't sure how to proceed. Davey, however, as always, had the words I could not say.

"Mrs. Romanov," he said, "you are technically the Dowager Grand Duchess of the House of Romanov. It is the only title that is lesser than Jonathan's as Tsar. I don't understand all the genealogy and protocol, but I know that Jonathan needs for you to take that title. In part, it legitimizes his position. In part, it closes off those who might challenge him. In part . . . well, Jonathan, like the Anconias, believed that no one is given a cincture, but only earns it. Jonathan is asking you to accept a job, not a title."

Victoria nodded her understanding. "Lydia Anconia and I talked about this," she said. There was a bit of a laugh in her voice. "I understand."

The ceremony at which Victoria was named Dowager Grand Duchess, Her Grace Viktoria Romanov as they insisted on spelling it, was brief and to the point. Jonathan, who had already claimed the throne, acknowledged his mother's position, and added, "I do not know the extent of her duties; however, I have asked Her Grace to take responsibility for the airlift of our children to hospitals throughout the world, for their return, and for the safe care of orphans throughout the country. It is a monumental task. She will approach many people seeking advice and help. Please give her your full support."

Viktoria understood what Jonathan had said, perhaps better than Jonathan, himself.

@sciencetruthnolies: the new tsar has opened pandoras box what will he find?

"What does he mean by that?" Francesca asked her team.

They just shook their heads.

"Pandora's box?" Nicky asked. "What does he mean by that?"

"Hope," Alexander said. "That was what was left in Pandora's box after she let out all the ills into the world. She saved hope for humanity. I think that's what he means. At least, I hope so."

Nicky nodded. "Me, too."

UFC Apostolate
Washington, DC
February 28, 2018

The three men met at a Japanese restaurant that faced the Potomac River just upstream of the Kennedy Center. Once their food had been brought, the door to the tatami room was closed. The restaurant often served as a meeting place for congresspersons and their paymasters—the K Street lobbyists—and maintained a reputation for security, anonymity, and privacy.

"Once again, Anconia Industries finds its way onto our radar. The transformer yard in Nunavut is not there to provide power—it is there to distribute power from a power plant that does not use coal, oil, or natural gas."


"We do not see the cooling towers that would be required, and cannot imagine the eco-freaks that the natives are known to be allowing hot water to be dumped into the ocean. No, it is something different."

"Do we have any ideas?"

"The atheist movement has preached for so long that science and religion are incompatible magisteria that we have few scientists or engineers among our membership. There are some, however. They've been given the information we have and have concluded confidently that Anconia has developed hydrogen fusion."

"The one in Arizona? The Navajo plant? Is it the same?"

"Almost certainly."

"The question becomes, how best can we use this information?"

"First, we make sure it is accurate," the Bishop said.

Jonathan Romanov's Journal
St. Petersburg, Russia
February 28, 2018

Mother had found her center, and with a staff that always seemed to include at least one dryad, took charge of the orphan airlifts. Our planes, as well as those of our allies, landed at St. Petersburg, Moscow, and other cities to collect children—orphans, thrown-away children, and others in need of medical treatment.

News reports following the November 2014 Mid-Term Election in the USA, Earth Analogue III: In the United States Senate, James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) will likely become the chair of the committee tasked with addressing climate change. The problem? Senator Inhofe has said that climate change is a "hoax" because, according to the Book of Genesis, humans aren't "able to change what He [God] is doing in the climate."

"What a freaking idiot."—David McLeod, EA III

_Global Explorer_
Alexander Anconia's Journal
March 3, 2018

Davey was sprawled across two chairs, reading. There's no way he could be comfortable!

"Davey? What are you reading that is so engrossing that you're about to break your spine lying across those chairs?"

"The Red Heifer Project," he said.


"It's a story about a rancher in Nebraska who is trying to bring about the apocalypse and the rapture by breeding pure red cows." Nicky giggled. "It's one of those myths that the Christians adopted from older mythology . . . and then screwed up."

Confirmational bias is the tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs, to interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing position, and to ignore information that challenges their beliefs. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret information in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs.

UFC Cathedral
Washington, DC
March 4, 2018 @ 11:30 AM

There seemed to be some confusion in Falmouth's mind: in a space of five minutes, he managed to call both Francisco Anconia and Jonathan Romanov the antichrist. On the other hand, he seemed pretty sure that Russia was the Whore of Babylon. That was quite a change from his previous position that the whore was Rome and the Catholic Church—or the somewhat anti-Christian Israeli government.

@sciencetruthnolies: god doesn't speak through the foul mouth of foulmouth

"This is the first time he's actually named Fallmuth."

"The first time he's straight-out said . . . "

"Sciencetruth got that right. Unfortunately, the people who need to hear it, won't. And if they do, they won't believe it, because it doesn't fit their preconceptions."

CHAPTER END NOTE: The story of the Red Heifer Project is told in "Thermai Vignettes." Look in for that and other of David McLeod's stories.

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