“There is only one way to proceed,” Hermann told the gathered crowd. “One way only and the one true way.” He seemed to be fidgeting up there on the stage. I was not the only person wondering if he was making it all up as he went along. I thought I saw sweat dripping down the side of his face. He had stopped talking and was now pacing back and forth. There were a few hundred of us, called together by emergency phone tree after the latest round of accidental missile testing. Hermann had had some good ideas before, so it was worth a listen. After the fiasco of the bloody blue Firebirds he had been the one to nominate Kassyliev to head the delegation to Monte Sur, and you know how that played out. Then there was the time he’d volunteered to tie up the sacks that held the radioactive silver dollars. Now we expected more from him. We expected the answer, even though this time as far as I could see there had been no local harm caused by the ICBMs erupting over Alaska. I decided to give him another two or three minutes. If he still hadn’t coughed up something inspirational by then, I was going to blow his brains out.