"I saw you last night out on the edge of town
I wanna read your mind and know just what Ive got in this new thing Ive found
So tell me what I see when I look in your eyes
Is that you Viceroy or just a brilliant disguise"
Something funny is going on inside Viceroy Gerst's head. Perhaps he shared too many pieces of the poison apple with the former Emperor. Perhaps he is tired. Whatever he is, he is not himself.
First he changed the rules wily nily to suit himself on the commercial crew cargo award, enough to inspire a protest. Next he forced words into another procurement to legalize his ability to disregard the grades brought forth by the evaluators. Once again, an agency whose very watchword is "discipline" has arrogantly compromised on principal. And you wonder why the financial system is still chastised by the GAO?
It should be evident to even the uninformed reader at the point, no one is watching the store, no one cares outside the store, and the franchise office has other things on its mind.
No rules, just wrongs.
The Viceroy is now engaged in a quiet battle to move his programs towards 2020 while paying lip service to the up and comer trying to take over his launch pads. And while the Russians conspire to shake apart the only destination we will have for some time to come, the Viceroy was handed a gift from the shuttle gods when a little old valve decided to damage itself some 28 years after its design went into operation. On the surface, it looks like yet another nail in the aging shuttle coffin. Au contraire, mon cher ami.
The little valve has flown many many many times before. It has a small resonance problem which fatigues it, resulting in limited life. One of these little guys was used too many times. We know what the Emperor would have done. Buy, build, or steal one with new parts and limit the number of times it flies. Launch!
So why is the program standing down now?
The Viceroy is playing the sympathy card. A risky, but time tested move that will accomplish a number of things. First, it points to the need for more money to keep our blue suiters flying safely. Second, it pushes out the schedule on handing over assets to its replacement, making it more likely that time will never come. And, third, it kicks the program end date out past the end of 2010. More time to build more tanks out of the stack of aluminum lithium that just happens to be available. If you can fly in 2011, proving everyone wrong about a need to stop in 2010, can 2015 be that far away?
"Tonight our launch pad is cold
Im lost in the darkness of our sky
God have mercy on the man
Who doubts what he's sure of."