Crisis Management


Crisis Management by David Macfie

When he returned from his meeting with Komando-Ka, Jamie called a meeting with his team. He reported back the details he’d been given and informed his colleagues that the commander had asked for their help in solving the crisis. The first reaction from the others was very negative. George was first to venture an opinion.

“I think the commander has unmitigated gall to ask us this,” he growled. “We have been telling him since the start that he needs to have us as allies and we offered to get involved in the recruitment process. An offer that was ignored. And he says he’s been talking to the other commanders. Surely, they realized that there was a problem developing and that this crisis was building. Why leave it until so many abductions have taken place and twenty five ships already have troubles and the rest of the ninety that have turned around have no cooperation? I’ll take a bet that all of them started out just the way we did. I say we should let them sort this out on their own.”

“Calm down George,” soothed Elizabeth, looking fondly at her new husband. “You are looking at this thing the wrong way.”

“Why?” butted in Robert. “I think George has a point or two that suggest we shouldn’t help.”

“I see it like this,” replied Elizabeth, with a smile that calmed down both of the angry men. “All those ships contain human beings who were subjected to the same indignities that we were. They have reacted just as we did in the beginning. We should ask ourselves why we are now, quite enthusiastically, participating in what has become, in our own minds, not only an adventure but also an opportunity that all of us has dreamed of at one time or another.”

“That’s true,” admitted Peter, with a thoughtful frown. “Please go on Elizabeth. You’re making sense to me.”

“Thanks, Peter. I appreciate your support. OK, my next point is that we should ask ourselves what will happen, on those ships, if the crisis is allowed to deepen. Does anybody want to answer that question?”

“I’ll give my opinion, for what it is worth,” offered Amy, with a tremor in her voice. “People are probably going to get killed. That’s what is going to happen. I don’t want to have something like that on my conscience. I say we should help and quickly.”

“I agree with Amy,” said Brian. “And not just because she’s my wife,” he added, with a grin that broke the tension. “I agree with Elizabeth’s points and I think Amy is predicting correctly. Particularly if the other commanders are more militant than ours turned out.”

“That’s certainly one of the reasons for our situation,” commented Laura. “And going back to Elizabeth’s first point for a moment, what are the other reasons why we reached our present alliance?”

Gillian stirred herself. “I think none of us is very excitable to the point of outright rebellion. We got cross but we didn’t get quarrelsome. So that helped us.”

“True,” agreed Robert. “But I think the real reason we are where we are, is Jamie. The very first time we saw the commander and his subordinates, Jamie had just been elected as our leader. I remember that meeting well. The commander got a bit heavy over the resistance to forced breeding among us and Jamie stood up to him in a quiet but forceful way and then took us out of the meeting. I think that moment was the start. And when the commander summoned him, Jamie stood up to him again and had to fight Pantando-Ka. From then on Komando-Ka has listened to us more and more and found that we have real value.”

“You’re right,” agreed Jenny, with a grin of pride. “Jamie has led us well and has won respect from the Taurians. They now look to him just as we do, otherwise the commander wouldn’t have asked for our help. I think we should provide it. Amy’s right. If we don’t there will be trouble and the humans will get the worst of it.”

“I’m persuaded,” conceded George. “I didn’t think it through. I agree that we should help.

“Me too,” said Robert. “I was, also, too quick to object. I agree we should help.”

“Is there anything that any of you would like to add or are we all agreed?” asked Jamie, quietly. He looked at each person in turn and each nodded agreement.

“Good, the hardest part is now over. Let’s move on to deciding how we are going to solve this situation. We have the rest of today to make a plan. The commander wants to meet with us after our exercise session and before dinner.”

The team worked hard for the rest of the day and were ready for the meeting with the Taurians, in good time. They met in the training room that had been arranged with fifteen chairs round a circular table. When the humans arrived, Komando-Ka and the other Taurian leaders were already seated next to each other, in an arc. Jamie took the empty seat next to the commander, with Jenny next to him and the rest of his team sat in couples in the remaining chairs. The commander wasted no time.

“Welcome to all of you. Have you reached a decision?”

“We have,” replied Jamie. “We will help. We have spent the day coming up with a plan, which we would like to table now.”

“Please proceed.”

“We have taken the liberty of assigning tasks to each of you as well as to ourselves. Is this in order?” asked Jamie.

“Of course. We expected that.”

“Good. We have made some assumptions that we would like to verify. The first is that all abductions, to date, were done in the same manner as ours.”

“Correct.”

“Second that the general reactions from the humans were the same as ours.”

“Also correct.”

“Third that the responses from the Taurians were also initially the same as yours.”

“Right again.”

“Now to the crux of the matter. We assume that nobody on the human side nor on the Taurian side was leader enough to work things out the same way we did.”

“Once again, you are right.”

“So now we all understand why things have got out of hand, agreed?”

“Agreed.”

“Finally then, we assume that none of the humans has had sight of the real work to be done or the role that they are intended to play in this whole project.”

“You are all perceptive. Your assessment is completely correct.”

“So to some questions. The first is key to the solution we propose. Commander, will you and your leaders be able to clearly and persuasively explain what has happened, on this ship, in terms of the way that the Taurian behavior patterns were altered from authoritarian to democratic?”

“We have tried, but perhaps we haven’t been clear or persuasive enough. Perhaps we could review what we did with all of you and refine our approach.”

“Then that is the first task we must complete together. That must be done first thing tomorrow – say back here right after breakfast. Agreed?”

“Yes. We will be ready.”

“Our next question is this. May we have access to all the human dossiers for each ship where the situation is at crisis level?”

“Certainly, you will have them on your equipment in your quarters by tomorrow.”

“And can there dossiers be made available in here so that we can work on them as a group – ourselves and your leaders?”

“It will be done in the same timescale.”

“Good. Now another assumption. We assume that no strong human leaders have emerged on the crisis vessels, not conciliatory leaders, at any rate.”

“True. All the leaders have become militant instead of trying to find a solution.”

“Then while you are working on the Taurian leaders, we must work on the human leaders. Will you set up the same video-conferencing capability between this ship and the twenty five that are in trouble? We’d like to work on all these leaders at the same time.”

“That will take a day or two, but it will be done.”

“Good. And the timing works, because that gives us time to study the dossiers. Now to your second task, commander. We’d like you and your team to work with those ships to match the living conditions and the working environments of the humans to match ours. They must have no surveillance; they must be allocated to teams on Androm, just as we were; they must be properly briefed on the work content of their allotted team together with the work schedules as they are now and they must have all the contact details they need to talk to us and the members of their teams. All that must be ready as soon as possible. I will tell you when we will be ready to release everything. Obviously, their workdays will then change to match ours. Finally, you and your team will brief the Taurian leaderships on all aspects of this plan including coaching then on the necessary changes to their behavior patterns towards the humans – allies not prisoners, remember. Is all of that in order?”

“It is in order. I will need your involvement in the discussions with the other Taurian teams. You have a way of cutting through established attitudes and showing a better way. Will you make yourself available?”

“Of course. I am committed to the success of this project and further on to a successful alliance between your civilization and mine.”

“Excellent. Now all of that is out of the way, what’s your plan?”

“Obviously the first step is all the preparation we just discussed. That will take us to the video conference with the twenty-five human leaders on the crisis ships. What we will attempt to do there is, first of all, deflect the aggression and animosity. We must get that group into a rational frame of mind, before we attempt to change their views. If we’re lucky that may happen at the first session, but I doubt it. We will schedule as many daily sessions as it takes to reach a point where we can deal with the issues and educate the leaders in our method of working. It will help greatly if the change in living and working conditions and environment can happen in parallel with those sessions. When the people see these changes they will start to believe what we are saying to their leaders.”

“That sounds good. And afterwards?”

“We will then have one or more video-conferences with all two hundred and fifty humans on those ships. By then their leaders should be working with us and the aim is to field any questions and concerns that any of the humans might have. Once those sessions are done and all the aspects of what we have here are in place, we will create a weekly video-conference to monitor progress and pick up potential issues before they become problems. That conference will include the human and Taurian leaders of each ship only. We can also arrange meetings of all Taurians and humans as and when required.”

“That sounds brilliant as far as it goes, but there are three hundred and fifty ships all told and this only deals with twenty six of them. What about the others?”

“Before I answer that, there is one point that I forgot. You offered us the option of going home if we wished. That was powerful. The same offer must be made to all of the abducted humans. And it must be done, timeously, so that the last few ships on the way to earth can rendezvous with any of the returning ships that have people wanting to go back. These people must be transferred to the earth-bound ships and they must be dropped back as close as possible to where they were abducted from. Cane we agree to this?”

“It might cause some adverse reactions from the crews of the ships.”

“Why? Surely you have the capability to shuttle between ships?”

“We do, but it is time consuming and takes a lot of preparation.”

“Well, we have to ensure that your people understand that this offer is a sign of the concern that needs to be shown by your people to mine. It is fundamental to the concept of allies as opposed to prisoners. By itself it will have a huge impact on all of the human mind-sets.”

“Then we will undertake to ensure it happens.”

“I’m sincerely glad. I don’t think you will regret it and you might be surprised how few take up the offer. Now to your question. Once we have solves the problems of the twenty-five, each of them will be asked to take the responsibility of spreading this whole approach to the other ships. By my calculation twenty four will mentor thirteen ships each and one will deal with the last twelve. We, in the meantime will be available if required, but we will get back to our jobs on the project. Are there any comments or questions?”

“I congratulate you all,” responded Sandaro-Ji, with a grin. “Jamie did the talking but all of you did the planning. Myself, I think it will work very well. I’m impressed with the completeness and the insight into the psychology of the people.”

“I agree,” piped up Romalu-Do, smiling from ear to ear. “I particularly liked the video-conferencing approach. It streamlines the whole thing. Well done.”

Nunamo-Ge and Tipanapo-Zu echoed these sentiments, but offered no additional comments.

“I also agree with my colleagues,” said Komando-Ka, rising and moving to each human to shake their hand and thank them individually. “You have taken a huge weight off our minds. I believe you will succeed and I’d just like to add that the more I see of you all the more impressed I am. Thank you.” Then he smiled a cheeky sort of smile.

“But I do have a question. Jamie how long do you estimate it will take to complete the twenty five and set them loose on the others?”

“I might reply ‘how long is a piece of string’, but I won’t. If all goes well, about two weeks from the first video-conference. If there are snags, it could be much longer, depending on the nature and severity of the snags. Worst case, all your ships will be turning around and heading home empty or heading back to earth to take their passengers home. The middle scenario shouldn’t be more than a month.”

“The downside is not an option I’d like to contemplate, and I would be devastated if it came to that. Both the other scenarios are very acceptable. On that note, I will say ‘enjoy your dinner’ and we will reconvene tomorrow after breakfast. Good night to all of you.”