FAO: Hermes – not urgent

[Segment begins: 0907]

“We can’t publish it.”

“Why can’t we publish it?”

“Why can’t we…? For fuck’s sake, are you that stupid? It’s wrong. It’s borderline subversive. It only just avoids covering things we’re legally not allowed to publish — lines that you shouldn’t know we can’t cross. So I’m going to be surprised you were lucky not to cross them. Not suspicious you apparently know exactly where to stop.”

“But, sir — it’s not that bad, is it? It covers all the facts, and then it clearly debunks anything that’s not the official line.”

“Don’t pretend you’re so innocent. If you don’t know that publishing bad ideas means putting bad ideas in people’s heads, I’m not sure how you graduated. Or got hired.”

“Come on, sir. If the readers can’t get their heads round a little moral ambiguity then I don’t know why we bother. It’s not like I left it up to them to work out what was right. I told it like I saw it — heard it — whatever — and maybe I said something new and a little bit challenging. I thought that was my job.”

“Look, Hero — you’re a good journalist. You might just not get fired, and you might get your own column sometime, but not unless you know the rules. And stick to the rules. They’re there to keep you from getting disappeared as much as for making sure the wrong people don’t read the wrong things.”

“You sound like the conspiracy theorists.”

“Zeus. OK. Hero, come here. Look at this.”

“See what I mean?”


“You’re damn right, shit.”

“You shouldn’t have shown me this.”

“You’re not going to say anything about it. You’ve read publishing guidelines that are completely off your security clearance and it took me this long to notice. I reckon I’m safe. I reckon you’re not, so — which is it going to be?”

“If you don’t mind, sir, I’d rather you didn’t have to report me for sedition.”

“Good choice. I meant it when I said you’re a good journalist, Hero. I like you, and I don’t like it when they take away people I like. And if you can play by the rules I could do with someone on the staff with contacts.”

“Thank you, sir.”

“Now get out of here. And if you can, I’d advise not going anywhere remotely unseemly for the next month or so. They are watching you, Hero. Don’t forget it, and try and keep your head above water.”

[Segment ends: 0914]

[Suggested action: Editor no longer trustworthy: increase surveillance, consider replacement. Herodotus dubious: tail. n.b. If can be kept in check, may be asset. Piece referred to attached separately.]