Mikhail and I will not allow our past successes to cloud our judgement, sir. We will do everything in our power to maintain our leadership position in the games.”
Satisfied that his point had been made, Dmitry affirmed, “You and Mikhail are doing a fine job, and there is nothing wrong with acknowledging our dominance. I just want you to realize that the Chinese are formidable adversaries who can be beaten for a while but who learn at accelerated rates. I don’t want them to beat us at our game, even though we invited them in to play.”
Konstantin nodded and firmly replied, “Understood, Dmitry. I will have Evgeniya send the call on through.”
He then marched out of the area to pass the word on to Evgeniya, after which he continued on to take up his position in the data center.
The desk phone rang three times, and Dmitry answered it just before it rolled to voice mail. “Chairman, what a pleasant surprise! My associate indicated that you may be looking for a rematch. Is this true?”
Chairman Chang noted that their conversations usually began with annoying tweaks at each other but almost always ended up with each thoroughly irked at the other. Years of practice in Chinese politics had taught him to mask his irritation and open up with the usual pleasantries, and so he easily responded, “Dmitry, my old friend! Cyber czar of the Russian Ministry and undisputed thug in the sleazy Russian underworld. Ah, but I repeat myself! Yes, I am here to rouse you to another session of our game. I’ve enlisted some trusted gaming enthusiasts that should help even out the odds in our play time. The game rules keep changing with the differing scenarios, and I felt that a little more gaming savvy on my side might help make the, uh, engagement more sporting. What do you say?”
Dmitry now smiled at the backhanded comment from the Chairman and offered, “What, you’re not enjoying the gamesmanship in our playtime? You do understand, we Russians are fabulous gamers! I have but to point to our most favorite game of roulette with one bullet in the revolver to prove my point!
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