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  • Mars Date/Time:  Year 001, Sur Two, Thursday, Sol 15 (001.2.15)  05:55 NST
  • Earth Date/Time:  Saturday, 19 March 2016  2:00 PM PDT
  • Distance traveled:  80,208,936 kilometers   Time Delay:  3 mins 30 secs
  • Distance to Mars Rendezvous:  312,200,816 kilometers

“What did you find out about Musk?,” Jenna asked. Ken replied, “We’ve confirmed he is talking to the Russians. He also contacted at least two of our suppliers and tried to work out an exclusive arrangement with them if they dropped our account. He’s actively working to sabotage us, but I think there is more to it than what we’ve found so far.”

Roman had just walked in to Jenna’s quarters for the morning briefing from Megan. He asked, “Who are we talking about?” Jenna said, “Elon Musk. We’re on his enemies list.” Roman replied, “That’s not good. He doesn’t like to play fair.” “What do you know?,” Jenna asked.

Roman replied, “I know he’s smart, and he likes taking advantage of the stupid. He played several states against each other when he was making noise about building his lithium battery plant, but the only place that had an active lithium mine in the North America was in Nevada. Nevada already had no income, corporate, or tax, but he managed to sucker them into over a billion dollars in tax breaks, even though it made no sense to build the factory anywhere in but Nevada. Then he contracted with a minor lithium mine in Mexico to put pressure on the Nevada lithium mine. He bullies people, and he seems to enjoy it.”

Ken added, “He is talking to the Russians about a partnership with SpaceX, and he’s trying to interfere with our suppliers.” Roman replied, “That sounds like Musk. If he follows his pattern, he’ll make a big show of it and try to manipulate people by scaring them.”

Naomi broke in to the conversation, “Director, I have Megan’s briefing ready.” Jenna said to everyone, “Let’s get started.”

Naomi started the recording and Megan’s image came up on the large monitor,

Good morning. The first item today is Elon Musk. We have learned that he is trying to create a private-based, joint space venture with Russia, China, and the United States. He is asking the United States and China to cut off funding to ESEP immediately, even though they have a five-year commitment. He has been working on this for some time, but has been aggressively pursuing his goal since your remarks on the Charlie Rose show. He also has contacted almost half of our suppliers and is offering them eight percent more per contract than what ESEP is offering. He also is posting bail and providing legal assistance to the ESEP engineers that were involved in the management coup. Apparently, he plans to tap them for their knowledge. He also is talking to Donald Trump. We don’t know what that is about, but I suspect ESEP is going to become the target of U.S. conservatives. We’re following the situation and our PR team is coming up with some ideas. I’ll be interested to see what your reaction is to this…

Jenna suddenly interrupted, “Naomi, pause that, please.” Naomi paused the playback, and Jenna continued, “I know what we need to do, but I want to hear everyone’s thoughts. Let’s deal with this now and get ESEP Earthside to start moving on it.

Ken said, “His whole game is to bluff people into doing something. We need to be careful at how we react.” Naomi added, “But we can’t ignore it. That also plays into his game.”

Jenna said, “We’re not going to play his game, we’re going to play ours.”