Robert Cole laughed because Lieutenant Colonel Eckhart had just asked a stupid fucking question. That question was, “What Blue solutions can Chicago Dynamics offer that are better than the Green ones everyone else is working on now?” That was lingo of course. Military and Corporate types love their lingo. Blue meant Tech. Green meant Bio. Bio was the new wave. Bio-weapons, biotechnology, bio-computers, bio-everything.
“Let me show you something,” Robert said, pulling out a video cassette from his desk. “Buddy of mine ‘procured’ this from our friends over at Viridian Bio-Labs.” He pushed it into the VCR and hit play. The video began with static snow, then a split screen, the left half showing a field with a running track, the right half a bunker in a rocky desert.
“May 22, 1983. Test #405B. Subject Wilson in starting position,” someone said. On the left side of the screen, a man in a red body suit, wearing a helmet and goggles, knelt into a sprinter’s stance on the track and gave a thumbs up. “Remember, take it slow, Ted. On my mark. And… begin test.”
The man disappeared, a sonic boom destroying the audio equipment. Two seconds later, a shower of blood, meat and clothing in front of the bunker on the right side of the screen. Then screaming. Robert stopped the tape.
“There’s your Green solution. You know, I heard the stuff they gave him to improve his bone integrity turned his arms and legs into javelins at the speeds he was going. They’re still digging femur out of the concrete,” Robert said with a gloating smile.
“That video’s a year old. There’ve been substantial improvements with Green systems since then,” said Eckhart.
“Okay what is this?” asked Robert.
“Excuse me?” asked Eckhart.
“Why are you here, Colonel? I meet with heads of state and titans of industry. I don’t do courtesy calls with pencil pushers from Appropriations. So why are you here? Are you trying to sell me stock in Green companies or what?” asked Robert.
“The top brass want everything Green. That’s the phrase of the week, Mr. Cole. There are talks of pulling funding from Blue projects and companies across the board and I’m here to decide if you make the cut,” said Eckhart.
“You fucking ingrates,” said Robert.
“What did you say?”
“You motherfuckers have been skating around me for years. Decades. I developed an entire line of drones in the 70’s. I fucking revolutionized 20th century warfare and none of you gave a shit. I made weapons a tiny fraction of the cost of your shiny planes and tanks and many times more effective and efficient. Not a peep from D.C. Nothing. The Israelis, though, they couldn’t get enough of them. They were bombing the Mid-East to kingdom come before you fuckwits even started paying attention.”
“I’m walking out this door. You have two seconds to change my mind!” Eckhart said, getting up to leave.
“Are you serious?” Robert asked. The Colonel looked confused. “Is this a joke? Do you have any idea who you’re fucking talking to? I’m Robert Cole. The Wizard of Chicago. Mr. Fucking Future. You’d still be playing catch up with the Russians if it weren’t for my work.”
“I’m sure you’ve done a great deal for our country…” Eckhart said.
“Sit down,” said Robert.
“I don’t have to take-”
“Sit. Down. Before I call the Joint Chiefs and have them ship your ass to the Arctic Circle,” said Robert. The Colonel stood dumbfounded. “Yes I have connections too. Come. Sit.” Eckhart did so. “How long you been in? Twenty, twenty five years? I was in NASA before there was a NASA. While you were still licking boots in academy I was working on space suits and orbital weapon platforms.”
“You’re not exactly helping your case,” said Eckhart.
“That right?” asked Robert.
“How is your attitude supposed to be convincing me of extending your contract?”
“What’s the matter? You don’t like Blue anymore? You want to take your business somewhere else? That’s fine. The Soviets and the Chinese are in the market for some new high tech toys, aren’t they? Oh, and Iran and Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. Think they’re shopping around for cutting edge weapons capable of fighting First World militaries?” asked Robert.
“I get it,” Eckhart started to say.
“No you don’t. Not even a little bit. Look out there,” said Robert, pointing to the view outside his window.
“Look at that. I built that. Chicago Dynamics turned this city into what it is today. My Cedar Park facility in California? A Mecca for military contractors and private armies around the world. My Seattle branch? Blowing Boeing and Lockheed Martin out of the water. I’m years ahead of everybody else. I’m a fucking force of nature. That’s what I’m offering, Colonel. That’s what I’ve always offered. But you people kept finding ways to give those juicy contracts to your friends and not me. Well, guess what? Now I’m the hot fucking shit. My drones and killer satellites think so too, as do my future soldier exo-suits,” said Robert.
“I actually think Blue solutions are swell. Like I said, this is just what the top brass wants,” Eckhart said, pulling on his collar.
“I’m sure dismantling half of your military apparatus because it ain’t Green enough was exactly what your superiors had in mind. No, this has dirty politics written all over it,” said Robert.
“What can I do? Green is in. Everyone thinks so. I guess all those ex-hippies managed to leak their tree hugger shit into the minds of our best and brightest,” said the Colonel.
“Finally, some candor. I knew you weren’t so straight laced under all those medals,” said Robert.
“What do I tell my boss? Chicago Dynamics is one of the only contractors that doesn’t have any Green solutions to offer at all. You’re way on the top of my list for a reason,” said Eckhart.
“You have a point. Maybe it’s time I got out of the military game,” said Robert. He walked behind his desk and opened a panel, revealing a glowing blue button.
“What is that?” asked Eckhart.
“The future, Colonel. I’m going to revolutionize global security. There’s a whole untapped market out there just waiting for me to show them the way. Police forces across the country, across the world, will be able to maintain law and order with my new line of security drones and the patented security matrix network I developed. I call it, The Blue Awakening.”
Robert pressed the button and changed the world forever.