Chapter no 31

Quantum Radio

Two hours after Ty fell asleep, Kato Tanaka was sitting in a conference room one floor above, trying to comprehend what he was being told.

The man in the room was a civilian working at the Department of Defense, but for all intents and purposes he might as well have been speaking another language.

“You’re telling me I’m part of some kind of experiment?” Kato asked. “But it’s not an experiment you have control over?”

The man with the thick glasses cocked his head and peered out with eyes enlarged by the curved glass. “That’s… technically accurate.”

“Dr. Bishop, why am I here? What do you want from me?”

“We just want you to do your job. To safeguard American interests. It may require sacrifices.”

“Sir, what specifically does that mean?” The man leaned back in his chair. “Well…”

The door opened, and another man strode in. He was tall, with a muscular face. He stared at Kato, not breaking eye contact. Military—that was Kato’s first thought.

Still not looking away, the man spoke with a German accent. “I’ll take it from here, Sandy.”

When they were alone, the man placed his hands in his pockets and spoke slowly, almost rhetorically. “You’re an amateur historian, are you not, Lieutenant?”

“Yes, sir, I suppose you could say that.” “Why do you like history?”

“Sir, I believe understanding our past helps us create a better future.”

“Wise words,” the man whispered. “Would you like to know why you’re here?”

“Very much, sir.”

“You’re here to write history.” “Sir?”

“You’re here for the same reason you joined the Navy. The same reason you went to BUD/S school. You’re a student of history because you know there are pivotal moments that have the power to turn the world, to change it forever. You want to be part of those moments. You don’t want credit. You want the responsibility. You want to have the weight of the world upon you when that very world hangs in the balance.”

Kato felt as if the man had just looked into his soul and read it like a private journal, thoughts Kato himself had harbored his entire life but had never seen clearly until that moment.

A long silence stretched out.

“Sir, to whom am I speaking?” “My name is Gerhard Richter.”

“Sir, would you mind telling me your rank and branch?” “I have no rank or branch. Only a role to play.”

“Mr. Richter, what is that role?” “Let’s just say I’m a manager.” “Manager of what, sir?”


Kato opened his mouth to ask a question, but the man spoke first. “What would you like, Lieutenant?”


“If you could leave here right now and go anywhere in the world and do anything you wanted, what would you do?”

Kato’s answer came instantly. “I would go home and see my wife and son.”

“What about your court-martial? Would you like for it to go away? That can be arranged.”

“No, sir. I’d like to stand trial and have my day in court. Sir.”

For the first time, the man smiled. It was barely a smile, the slight tugging at the corners of his mouth, an expression that quickly faded. “You cannot go home, Lieutenant, but you can see your wife and your son, Akito. I will arrange for them to be brought here.”

“Thank you, sir. If I may ask, what are you asking in return?” “Nothing.”

Kato nodded. “With all due respect, sir, I would like a little more clarity on that point.”

“It’s very simple, Lieutenant. I believe that when the time comes, when history hangs in the balance, a man like you won’t have to be asked to do the right thing. I think you only need to be reminded of what you’re fighting for. We all do, every now and then.”

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