#FridayFlash: Unpaid Furloughs at the TSA


It's been a hell of a week, let me tell you. A hell of a month, actually. The sequester cuts came down about six weeks ago, but it took the administrators a couple of weeks to figure out how to respond, the morons. We'd known since last January that the cuts were coming. Why didn't they make up some plans in advance? The only thing that wasn't certain was the exact percentages the White House would enact.

I guess I can understand the Defense Department or the IRS or one of the little Departments not being sure about what was coming, but us? We're Omega-Level Top Secret AND we've got a goddamned time machine, the only one in this version of reality. How can there possibly be any excuse for the Timeline Security Agency not having some certainty about upcoming budget cuts? Hell, I could do a better job of running this place, and I'm only a PIPCA.

Granted, I'm probably the best PIPCA in the TSA, or at least the only one who isn't afraid to cut through the bull and get the job done. There's lots of Post-Intervention Probability Cascade Analysts who could have sniffed out the data, but I'm the best. I could have worked up a way to get the information and put it in the right hands without causing a Cascade to spin out and create a bunch of new universes to keep track of. That's why they call me the Spin Doctor. Some people do, anyway.

Seriously, though... the guys in HQ looked into the future and decided furloughs are the answer to an 11.2% cut in overall discretionary spending? I'd like to know which PIPCA coded that inquiry. How the hell am I gonna pay off that trip to Bermuda we took last year when I have to suck up unpaid leave for the rest of the fiscal year? They should do another round of early-outs. God knows there's plenty of dead wood in this Agency.

You know the worst thing? I hear that unless they find some more money somewhere, they're gonna zero out all the Class 4 projects. That means no more exploratory placement forays back into Deep Time. Hell, any dumb-ass yahoo could encode a Class 1 insertion into recorded history or a Class 2 into pre-history. Even if you go back twenty thousand years, there's barely seven gigabranchings to have to wade through to find the right Earth to work with. BFD. Even the Class 3 guys have it easier than us Class 4s. Class 3 is all about pre-glacial evolution, and who gives a damn about that? They don't dare make any real changes.

Nah, they've got a budget shortfall and they want to balance it on the backs of the cream of the crop. It's damned short-sighted. There wouldn't be a drop of oil in all of Alaska if it hadn't been for a Class 4 PIPCA reshaping the ocean currents 200,000,000 years ago. And who put all that natural gas under Pennsylvania? And all that gold in California for the 1849 rush? You're damned right, it was the Deep Time Division, that's who. So what if it costs a couple of bucks for each intervention? We make back every trillion dollars at least tenfold. AT LEAST.

And what thanks do we get? Unpaid furloughs, cuts in discretionary spending and no more free coffee. Yeah, thanks a lot.

If I'd known this was how it was going to be, I never would have worked my ass off to enact that silicate isotope infusion on the moon. Oh yeah, that was my idea. I was a young buck back then, but I knew someday we'd need a ready supply of extraorbital energy. You can't haul nuclear reactors up into orbit, you know. So every single gigaton of Helium-3 on the surface of the moon has my fingerprints all over it. Could any of your piss-ant Class 1s or 2s do that? Hell no, nor could any of the Class 3s we've got working here these days. That's a Deep Time project, plain and simple. I had to go back 3.2 billion years to pull that one off. Tricky as hell. I don't deny it was expensive, and I don't deny that Reagan took a lot of heat for the Star Wars-SDI smokescreen program we set up to cover the costs. But again, for every ten trillion we spent on that project, there'll be at least thirty trillion worth of Helium-3 just waiting to be scooped up and popped into a fusion reactor.

And just you wait until you see what we put under the ice out at Europa and Enceladus! Earth's energy resources will get us to the moon, the moon's energy resources will get us to the outer planets, and the spacewarping energy resources we put out there will take us to the stars and back. How else can we ensure the security of humanity's timeline except by facilitating the Galactic Diaspora?

A point which is apparently lost on those short-sighted fools running the TSA who apparently haven't even read the goddamned Agency mission statement!


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16 comments:

  1. There was a round of layoffs at work this week (I'm still employed), so this was both timely and quite funny. Good job!

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    1. Everybody thinks their job is the one that shouldn't be cut, right?

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  2. Clever sods those guys over at Deep Time Division ... Love the completely befuddling bureaucratic reasoning going on.. reminds me of my own work..except we don't do anything as useful as put gold in them thar hills.. good one Tony

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    1. All those mineral riches had to come from somewhere, right? ;-)

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  3. Bureau politics leading to galactic catastrophe? I believe it.

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    1. Short-term budgets driving long-term goals. Happens every day.

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  4. when such bureaucratic jargon 7 acronyms are flying about, you kinda think they deserve to be downsized and have their budgets cut. The one thing about the inexorable progress of time is the arch of inflation, or the decrease in the value of money. I think the americans call them Agencies, in Britain we call them Quangos - "Quasi Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisations" - cut cut cut them all I say! :-)

    marc nash

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    1. I'm pretty sure the "cut them all" mentality is what led to the Snowball Earth ecological catastrophe 1.1 billion years ago.

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  5. No one actually reads the mission statement, do they? Lovely.

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    1. The lifers sometimes care about the mission, sometimes they only care about their own jobs, but they are in it for the long haul. The political appointees at the top come and go.

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  6. I just thank god that time travel doesn't exist because if it did I have absolutely no doubt that the US government would run it this way and end up inadvertently destroying all of existence by suspending a program that no bothered to notice kept things existing.

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  7. Bureaucrats controlling where natural resources will be *found*, not just managing them when they are found. That is a freaking scary concept.

    Great narrative voice. I felt like I'd overheard this guy before on a lunch break.

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  8. Love the idea of a Deep Time Team manipulating geology to create oil fields. Clever idea. What would you put away for the future if you had that power?

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  9. Ah what does the future hold when they don't read the mission statement eh.

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  10. Someone should make the mission statement available in bullet points.

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