Win Some, Lose Some. by David Macfie
The day after the group video conference, work started early. The two groups consisting of the fifteen leaders who had agreed to go to the next step, began by planning the way forward. As agreed one group was facilitated by Amy and Gillian and the other by Jenny, Elizabeth and Laura. They all agreed that the first step was to fully brief the humans back on their respective ships. All of Jamie’s material was shared with the leaders, who practiced presenting it in front of the others in their groups. Everyone was willing and excited, now that they were committed, so the work went extremely well and it was agreed that the next step was to brief the other humans on all fifteen ships at the same time. Towards lunch time all fifteen were ready for the mass video conference involving their ships so the early afternoon was taken up ensuring that the technology infrastructure in place for the leaders’ conference could cope with all humans on all ships. By the time they broke for their exercise sessions, everything was ready and the mass video conference was on for the following day.
Meanwhile Jamie and the other men had a torrid day. Their group of ten all began the session in an extremely negative frame of mind and there was no progress at all by lunch time. The discussions all broke down on the anger felt by these leaders at the abductions. None of them felt that they could work with people who had thought that was OK under the circumstances. Rory MacDonald and two other leaders named Donald Brewster from ship twelve and Stewart Robertson from ship twenty one were the worst, closely followed by Margaret Hobson from ship twenty four.
After lunch Jamie took a new tack. He separated the opposing ten into one group of the four most difficult that he would work with, and the other six that would now work with Brian, George, Robert and Peter. He began his afternoon session aggressively himself.
“I’m tired of wasting time,” he said, sternly. “If you four are determined to hold your position, I am going to deal directly with the other humans on your ships. I will arrange for you four to be separated and quarantined, while this is happening, so that you cannot influence the rest of the people on your ships.”
“That really would be a waste of time,” was the instant rejoinder from Rory. “We all discussed yesterday’s session with our people and they unanimously agreed that we should continue to oppose this whole thing.”
“OK. Then am I to assume that all of you wish, with the support of your people, to go home?”
“Yes,” replied Rory, tersely, with a deep scowl on his face.
“And you others?”
“Yes,” replied Donald immediately. Stewart and Margaret didn’t say anything for many moments. Jamie didn’t press. He waited quietly, letting the two think it through for themselves. Finally, Stewart shook himself.
“Yes,” he said. Margaret took still longer. She seemed to be internally arguing with herself, judging by the rapidly changing expressions that flitted over her face. She took her time and eventually, when the other three leaders began to fidget, she sighed hugely and grinned a lop-sided grin.
“Sorry for the delay,” she said, not looking at all sorry. “But this decision could not be rushed.” Rory bridled.
“Are you suggesting that we rushed our decisions?” he growled, aggressively, the blood rushing to his face.
“Not at all,” replied Margaret, in a quiet but firm voice. “But I might be suggesting that the reasons for your decisions might be more personal than in the interests of your people.”
“How dare you,” blustered Stewart, echoed by the other two.
“You see,” commented Margaret. “Instant aggression. Not good when rational decisions are required.” The men huffed and puffed, but controlled themselves in the face of this quietly valid criticism. Jamie watched the interaction and decided to see where it went, so he stayed quiet.
“OK, Miz Smarty Pants,” growled Rory, rudely. “Perhaps you’d favor us with your mighty wisdom.”
“Rudeness and insults, Mr MacDonald?” smiled Margaret, sweetly. “Why am I not surprised? But I will tell you what’s in my mind.”
Jamie smiled to himself, thinking “This lady is well worth watching. She’s tough and smart.”
“When I refused to opt in when the question was first asked, I wanted to wait and see if all the promises Jamie made would be executed as he’d outlined. I was pleasantly surprised when all of them happened just as he said. I refused the second time because I still wasn’t sure I could work with the Taurians. That brought me to this meeting today. I have listened and watched Jamie trying to explain how his team went from pretty much the same scenario as all of us are experiencing to a position where all of the humans on ship one are fully and happily committed to this project. It has also become clear that they not only respect the Taurians, but have come to see them as friends. Jamie has been patient and positive and has delivered on all his fine words. I find that I like and trust him so I started to think more about his background. He is a soldier, and a leader of soldiers. He has fought in wars and killed people during these wars. I’m told that he has fought and defeated the best Taurian warrior on ship one and now the two of them are good friends, who are giving martial arts training to both the humans and the Taurians on ship one.”
“What’s all this got to do with the decision?” interrupted Rory, even more rudely.
“Simply that I’ve watched and listened to him and to you and these other two and I find that he has persuaded me and you haven’t. So my decision is that my ship will commit to this project.”
Jamie looked pleased and simply replied. “Thank you, Margaret. I’m sure you won’t regret it.”
Rory, Donald and Stewart looked dumbfounded and obviously the shock robbed them of speech because they were silent, mouths hanging open, for many minutes. Finally, Rory gathered himself and behaved as nonchalantly as he could.
“Well, I’m not changing my mind. It’s home for us, and that’s final.”
The other two agreed with him.
Jamie looked sad.
“I hope you won’t regret your decision, but I accept it. Thank you all for attending these meetings. It was good of you to agree. Now, I’ll go and arrange for Margaret to link up with those in the group of six who have agreed to move forward and for you Rory, Donald and Stewart to head for home. I’ll let you know later today, whether your ships will just turn around and go back to earth or whether you will make a rendezvous with a ship that’s still on the way. We’ll close down now so that I can get busy.”
Jamie signed to the technicians who switched off the links to, and between, these four ships. Then he went to visit the other men in his team. He quickly verified that they’d had more success than he had, and all six had determined to go forward – the decisions, only just having been finalized. The group were taking a short break before reconvening to discuss the next steps. Jamie spoke to his team about Margaret and arranged for her to be included.
“I’ll be back as soon as I’ve arranged a ‘homeward bound’ for the odd three out,” he explained.
Moments later, he met with Komando-Ka and reported the outcome.
“I think it is better if the three ships just turn round and return to earth, because I’m sure the thirty involved will need to be replaced,” he said.
“I agree,” replied the commander. “And I must say that only three out of twenty five is better than I expected, considering the going in position. So well done to you and your team. And so quickly too. It’s impressive. Please pass on my congratulations.”
“I will, thank you. Now, there is one other thing we need to discuss, other than to say that this last group will now follow the others into briefing followed by starting to engage with the other ships that have turned already, ninety six as of today, less our twenty six of course. The thing we have to discuss is that I believe all other ships that haven’t arrived at earth yet must go into a holding pattern until we decide how to avoid the abduction process that got us into this mess in the first place.”
The commander sat thinking deeply, Jamie waited….and waited. After nearly ten minutes the commander shook himself.
“I agree with you and I think I should have thought this through before and made this decision already. After all, this is not the first time you or your people have warned that we need to woo our targets not kidnap them. Do you fully believe that will allow us to avoid the difficulties experienced already?”
“Yes I do. If the conditions on this ship are replicated on all others and if the people are wooed, as you put it then I believe they will be willing, even eager, participants from the beginning.”
“Then get back to your groups and continue the good work and I will stop the armada. But just to add a little to your workload, I’d like your suggestions on how the wooing can happen.”
“May I communicate with the leaders on the three returning ships?”
“Yes, of course. I’ll order that before I stem the tide.”
Jamie grinned. “You’re getting really cute with your English, I must say,” he quipped as he left the bridge.
Reporting back to Rory, Donald and Stewart was quick so before long he joined up with his guys and their group. He greeted each of the seven leaders by name and joined the session.
“You’re just in time,” smiled Brian. “We were just about to discuss where to from here.”
“Before we do,” piped up Margaret, with a smile. “Might I ask what is happening with the humans led by Rory, Donald and Stewart? For the benefit of those who don’t know, they’re the leaders of the three ships that opted to go home.”
“Hello again, Margaret,” smiled Jamie. “Of course you may ask. Whether I answer is, of course, the real question.” He paused for a moment and watched Margaret’s face until a small frown appeared.
“Just kidding, we promised that those who wanted to go home would go home. The three ships have been instructed to turn around and return the thirty humans to exactly where they were picked up. Also for your information, all ships that have not yet reached earth have been put into a holding pattern until a better way of recruiting the necessary skills, aptitudes and attitudes has been worked out. The three that returned will join that pattern. Any ideas on the better recruitment will be gratefully received.”
“So where does all that leave us in the greater scheme of things?” asked, a man Jamie recognized as Mitchell Bennet from ship seven.”
“Thanks for that question, Mitchell. Let me try to be as brief as possible. As of now, ninety six ships reached earth. Of those, three are on the way home again and twenty three have been involved in the conferences of the past few days and agreed to work with the Taurians. Fifteen of the twenty three have today been working with their own ships to make sure all the wrinkles have been ironed out. This group will begin that same process tomorrow. That leaves seventy of the ninety six that are still having issues. So the plan is that my team will still be available for consultation by any of the twenty two leaders, who are going forward, but we will also be working on a better recruitment approach to ensure the remaining two hundred and fifty seven ships will not have problems. While we are busy with that, each of the twenty two ships will work with three of the seventy, and the four quickest will take the last four. You will follow the same process that you have just been through and, hopefully you will be able to sort out all seventy. Are there any more questions.”
“And while we are busy with all of that, we will start working on our Androm activities, yes?” asked Margaret,
“If you have time, yes,” replied Jamie. “But the first priority is to sort out the seventy.”
“I have no more questions,” said Margaret, and the remaining leaders agreed.
Jamie closed the session by thanking everyone and wishing them all an exciting and fulfilling project.” The meeting broke up with everyone in good spirits.
The following day the seven completed the briefing of their own ships and the fifteen began working with their allocated ships from the seventy. The day after all twenty two were working with other ships.