'Yes, from initial design to final polish.'
'Sir! Will these artisans play along? I would imagine they dreamed otherwise for their work.'
'I'd hazard they could be persuaded,' Childan said; the problem, to him, appeared minor.
'Yes,' Paul said. 'I suppose so.'
Something in his tone made Robert Childan take sudden note. A nebulous and peculiar emphasis,
there. And then it swept over Childan. Without a doubt he had split the ambiguity — he saw.
Of course. Whole affair a cruel dismissal of American efforts, taking place before his eyes.
Cynicism, but God forbid, he had swallowed hook, line and sinker. Got me to agree, step by step,
led me along the garden path to this conclusion: products of American hands good for nothing but
to be models for junky good-luck charms.
This was how the Japanese ruled, not crudely but with subtlety, ingenuity, timeless cunning.
Christ! We're barbarians compared to them, Childan realized. We're no more than boobs against
such pitiless reasoning. Paul did not say — did not tell me — that our art was worthless; he got me
to say it for him. And, as a final irony, he regretted my utterance. Faint, civilized gesture of sorrow
as he heard the truth out of me.
He's broken me, Childan almost said aloud — fortunately, however, he managed to keep it only a
thought; as before, he held it in his interior world, apart and secret, for himself alone. Humiliated
me and my race. And I'm helpless. There's no avenging this; we are defeated and our defeats are
like this, so tenuous, so delicate, that we're hardly able to perceive them. In fact, we have to rise a
notch in our evolution to know it ever happened.
What more proof could be presented, as to the Japanese fitness to rule? He felt like laughing,
possibly with appreciation. Yes, he thought, that's what it is, as when one hears a choice anecdote.
I've got to recall it, savor it later on, even relate it. But to whom? Problem, there. Too personal for
In the corner of Paul's office a wastebasket. Into it! Robert Childan said to himself, with this
blob, this wu-ridden piece of jewelry.
Could I do it? Toss it away? End the situation before Paul's eyes?
Can't even toss it away, he discovered as he gripped the piece. Must not — if you anticipate
facing your Japanese fellowman again.
Damn them, I can't free myself of their influence, can't give in to impulse. All spontaneity
crushed . . . Paul scrutinized him, needing to say nothing; the man's very presence enough. Got my
conscience snared, has run an invisible string from this blob in my hands up my arm to my soul.
Guess I've lived around them too long. Too late now to flee, to get back among whites and white
Robert Childan said, 'Paul — ' His voice, he noted, croaked in sickly escape; no control, no
'Paul, I . . . am . . . humiliated.'
The room reeled.
'Why so, Robert?' Tones of concern, but detached. Above involvement.
'Paul. One moment.' He fingered the bit of jewelry; it had become slimy with sweat. 'I — am
proud of this work. There can be no consideration of trashy good-luck charms. I reject.'
Once more he could not make out the young Japanese man's reaction, only the listening ear, the
'Thank you, however,' Robert Childan said.
Robert Childan bowed.
'The men who made this,' Childan said, 'are American proud artists. Myself included. To suggest
trashy good-luck charms therefore insults us and I ask for apology.'
incredible prolonged silence.
Paul surveyed him. One eyebrow lifted slightly and his thin lips twitched. A smile?
'I demand,' Childan said. That was all; he could carry it no further. He now merely waited.
Please, he thought. Help me.
Paul said, 'Forgive my arrogant imposition.' He held out his hand.
'All right,' Robert Childan said.
They shook hands.
Calmness descended in Childan's heart. I have lived through and out, he knew. All over. Grace
of God; it existed at the exact moment for me. Another time — otherwise. Could I ever dare once
more, press my luck? Probably not.
He felt melancholy. Brief instant, as if I rose to the surface and saw unencumbered.
Life is short, he thought. Art, or something not life, is long, stretching out endless, like concrete
worm. Flat, white, unsmoothed by any passage over or across it. Here I stand But no longer. Taking
the small box, he put the Edfrank jewelry piece away in his coat pocket.
Mr. Ramsey said, 'Mr. Tagomi, this is Mr. Yatabe.' He retired to a corner of the office, and the
slender elderly gentleman came forward.
Holding out his hand, Mr. Tagomi said, 'I am glad to meet you in person, sir.' The light, fragile
old hand slipped into his own; he shook without pressing and released at once. Nothing broken I
hope, he thought. He examined the old gentleman's features, finding himself pleased. Such a stern,
coherent spirit there. No fogging of wits. Certainly lucid transmission of all the stable ancient
traditions. Best quality which the old could represent. . . and then he discovered that he was facing
General Tedeki, the former Imperial Chief of Staff.
Mr. Tagomi bowed low.
'General,' he said.
'Where is the third party?' General Tedeki said.
'On the double, he nears,' Mr. Tagomi said. 'Informed by self at hotel room.' His mind utterly
rattled, he retreated several steps in the bowing position, scarcely able to regain an erect posture.
The general seated himself. Mr. Ramsey, no doubt still ignorant of the old man's identity,
assisted with the chair but showed no particular deference. Mr. Tagomi hesitantly took a chair
'We loiter,' the general said. 'Regrettably but unavoidably.'
'True,' Mr. Tagomi said.
Ten minutes passed. Neither man spoke.
'Excuse me, sir,' Mr. Ramsey said at last, fidgeting. 'I will depart unless needed.'
Mr. Tagomi nodded, and Mr. Ramsey departed.
'Tea, General?' Mr. Tagomi said.
'Sir,' Mr. Tagomi said, 'I admit to fear. I sense in this encounter something terrible.'
The general inclined his head.
'Mr. Baynes, whom I have met,' Mr. Tagomisaid, 'and entertained in my home, declares himself
a Swede. Yet perusal persuades one that he is in fact a highly placed German of some sort. I say
this because — '
'Thank you. General, his agitation regarding this meeting causes me to infer a connection with
the political upheavals in the Reich.' Mr. Tagomi did not mention another fact: his awareness of the
general's failure to appear at the time anticipated.
The general said, 'Sir, now you are fishing. Not informing.' His gray eyes twinkled in fatherly
manner. No malice, there.
Mr. Tagomi accepted the rebuke. 'Sir, is my presence in this meeting merely a formality to baffle
the Nazi snoops?'
'Naturally,' the general said, 'we are interested in maintaining a certain fiction. Mr. Baynes is
representative for Tor-Am industries of Stockholm, purely businessman. And I am Shinjiro
Mr. Tagomi thought, And I am Tagomi. That part is so.
'No doubt the Nazis have scrutinized Mr. Baynes' comings and goings,' the general said. He
rested his hands on his knees, sitting bolt upright . . . as if, Mr. Tagomi thought, he were sniffing
far-off beef tea odor. 'But to demolish the fiction they must resort to legalities. That is the genuine
purpose; not to deceive, but to require the formalities in case of exposure. You see for instance that
to apprehend Mr. Baynes they must do more than merely shoot him down . . . which they could do,
were he to travel as — well, travel without this verbal umbrella.'
'I see,' Mr. Tagomi said. Sounds like a game, he decided. But they know the Nazi mentality. So I
suppose it is of use.
The desk intercom buzzed. Mr. Ramsey's voice. 'Sir, Mr. Baynes is here. Shall I send him on in?'
'Yes!' Mr. Tagomi cried.
The door opened and Mr. Baynes, sleekly dressed, his clothes all quite pressed and masterfully
tailored, his features composed, appeared.
General Tedeki rose to face him. Mr. Tagomi also rose. All three men bowed.
'Sir,' Mr. Baynes said to the general, 'I am Captain R. Wegener of the Reichs Naval Counter-
Intelligence. As understood, I represent no one but myself and certain private unnamed individuals,
no departments or bureaus of the Reich Government of any sort.'
The general said, 'Herr Wegener, I understand that you in no way officially allege representation
of any branch of the Reich Government. I am here as an unofficial private party who by virtue of
former position with the Imperial Army can be said to have access to circles in Tokyo who desire to
hear whatever you have to say.'
Weird discourse, Mr. Tagomi thought. But not unpleasant. Certain near-musical quality to it.
Refreshing relief, in fact.
They sat down.
'Without preamble,' Mr. Baynes said, 'I would like to inform you and those you have access to
that there is in advance stage in the Reich a program called Lowenzahn. Dandelion.'
'Yes,' the general said, nodding as if he had heard this before; but, Mr. Tagomi thought, he
seemed quite eager for Mr. Baynes to go on.
'Dandelion,' Mr. Baynes said, 'consists of an incident on the border between the Rocky Mountain
States and the United States.'
The general nodded, smiling slightly.
'U.S. troops will be attacked and will retaliate by crossing the border and engaging the regular
RMS troops stationed nearby. The U.S. troops have detailed maps showing Midwest army
installations. This is step one. Step two consists of a declaration by Germany regarding the conflict.
A volunteer detachment of Wehrmacht paratroopers will be sent to aid the U.S. However, this is
'Yes,' the general said, listening.
'The basic purpose of Operation Dandelion,' Mr. Baynes said, 'is an enormous nuclear attack on
the Home Islands, without advance warning of any kind.' He was silent then.
'With purpose of wiping out Royal Family, Home Defense Army, most of Imperial Navy, civil
population, industries, resources,' General Tedeki said. 'Leaving overseas possessions for
absorption by the Reich.'
Mr. Baynes said nothing.
The general said, 'What else?'
Mr. Baynes seemed at a loss.
'The date, sir,' the general said.
'All changed,' Mr. Baynes said. 'Due to the death of M Bormann. At least, I presume. I am not in
contact with the Abwehr now.'
Presently the general said, 'Go on, Herr Wegener.'
'What we recommend is that the Japanese Government enter into the Reich's domestic situation.
Or at least, that was what I came here to recommend. Certain groups in the Reich favor Operation
Dandelion; certain others do not. It was hoped that those opposing it could come to power upon the
death of Chancellor Bormann.'
'But while you were here,' the general said, 'Herr Bormann died and the political situation took
its own solution. Doctor Goebbels is now Reichs Chancellor. The upheaval is over.' He paused.
'How does that faction view Operation Dandelion?'
Mr. Baynes said, 'Doctor Goebbels is an advocate of Dandelion.'
Unnoticed by them, Mr. Tagomi closed his eyes.
'Who stands opposed?' General Tedeki asked.
Mr. Baynes' voice came to Mr. Tagomi. 'SS General Heydrich.'
'I am taken by surprise,' General Tedeki said. 'I am dubious. Is this legitimate information or only
a viewpoint which you and your colleagues hold?'
Mr. Baynes said, 'Administration of the East — that is, the area now held by Japan — would be
by the Foreign Office. Rosenberg's people, working directly with the Chancery. This was a bitterly
disputed issue in many sessions between the principals last year. I have photostats of notes made.
The police demanded authority but were turned down. They are to manage the space colonization,
Mars, Luna, Venus. That's to be their domain. Once this division of authority was settled, the police
put all their weight behind the space program and against Dandelion.'
'Rivalry,' General Tedeki said. 'One group played against another. By the Leader. So he is never
'True,' Mr. Baynes said. 'That is why I was sent here, to plead for your intervention . It would
still be possible to intervene; the situation is still fluid. It will be months before Doctor Goebbels
can consolidate his position. He will have to break the police, possibly have Heydrich and other top
SS and SD leaders executed. Once that is done — '
'We are to give support to the Sicherheitsdienst?' General Tedeki interrupted. 'The most
malignant portion of German society?'
Mr. Baynes said, 'That is right.'
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