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  • Mars Date/Time:  Year 001, Sur Two, Thursday, Sol 22 (001.2.22)  01:25 NST
  • Earth Date/Time:  Saturday, 26 March 2016  2:00 PM PDT 
  • Distance traveled:  105,443,208 kilometers   Time Delay:  3 mins 54 secs
  • Distance to Mars Rendezvous:  286,966,544 kilometers

François was a very distinguished looking man. He sat in a small restaurant called Casa Sansa in Perpignan, France. It was ten at night and he was eating alone. 

The attractive young woman walked in and sat down across from him. “How was your flight?,” he asked. “It was fine,” she answered, “I don’t like flying during the day.” François asked, “Would you like something to eat. The food is good.” “No, thank you,” she replied, “Claude says you know what is going on in China.”

François noticed that two men and a woman had come inside and took a table near the door. He looked at her and said, “Do you know them?” She glanced over her shoulder at the trio, and looked back at François, “Sorry, they don’t let me go anywhere without my protection. I’m trying to become accustomed to them. I can have them wait outside.” He smiled and said, “No, that won’t be necessary. As long as you know them.”

François continued, “You want to know about Mr. Musk and the Chinese.” Megan said, “Yes. Can you help us.” He signaled to the waiter, who came over. “S’il vous plait apporter du vin pour la dame et lui apporter un apéritif. Surprenez-nous.” As the waiter left, François looked back at Megan and said, “It would be rude for to not have something. If you don’t like what he brings, we will order something else.”

François took another bite and then a drink of wine, then spoke, “There are two things you should know. First, the Chinese have no love for Elon Musk. They have seen through his gift of talk and see him as….what you might call…ah, used car salesman. They’re cautious of his desire to build a car factory in China, and they definitely are not interested in getting into bed with him in a space race with ESEP. They like being on the team that is already going to Mars.”

The waiter came back with an appetizer and a glass for Megan, which he filled with wine. François beckoned Megan to eat as he took another bite. He then continued, “Do you know the saying about rats and a sinking ship?” Megan nodded yes as she took a bite of the appetizer. She suddenly realized she was hungry.

He said, “There is something that happens before the rats leave the sinking ship. The captain chases all the cats off. Once the cats are gone, the rats take over and the ship is eaten full of holes and then it sinks. Mr. Musk has gotten where he is because he had great people around him. A while back, he decided that he no longer needed his cats. In particular, his personal assistant, who was a buffer between Mr. Musk’s despicable personality and everyone else. Others left, and eventually he was left with just the rats.

At the end of this month, Mr. Musk is starting to take orders on his cheaper version of his unprofitable Tesla car. You don’t build a car for $70,000 and not make a profit, and then make a car for half the price without sacrificing half of the quality. It is very likely that his new car will be a failure once people start driving it.” He took another bite, and a sip of wine.

François signaled the waiter for more wine, and then continued, “His employees hate him, his car venture is about to crash, his space program is laughable, and now he’s divorcing his second wife, for a second time. The word on Wall Street is that his Tesla stock is about to take a dive, and that makes perfect sense. He is a desperate man who has fallen off a cliff and is screaming as he is racing toward the ground. You have nothing to worry about from Elon Musk. If anyone should be worried it is Mr. Bolden of NASA. He’s attached himself to a star that is about to implode. Would you like some more wine?”