The device sat on a brilliant blue pedestal at center stage. The stage itself was minimalist, just a slightly raked dark grey disk jutting out into the audience, with seating to all sides and room for the presenter to move around the pedestal and speak more or less personally to each block of seats.
The top of the pedestal rotated slowly, turning the device to show all sides to everyone.
The subdued lighting cast few shadows on the device, and the perfectly clad and coiffed presenters cast no shadows at all.
All of this conspired to make the brass, wood, leather, and glass of the device stand out, showing off its form to the best possible advantage.
And as is typical of a major product announcement, almost nothing about the presentation managed to convey exactly what the device does.
The chaos was palpable, even though most of the players had departed the stage.
A few large shiny black feathers were a clue to the original sitter. On close inspection, several of them had tiny teeth marks. On even closer inspection, a whisker or two might be found near the feathers.
A lone jawbone hinted that their may have been some props on the table. The rest of the skull, however, was no longer center stage. Feeling that something may be watching, you look away from the empty table and spot the skull off to the side, clearly wishing it has its jawbone from the way it stares wistfully at the table.
There may be a player or two lurking, waiting for a new victim to pounce upon. A rustling noise leads the eye to the top of a tall wardrobe, where a somewhat bedraggled raven sits above its door, feathers in disarray. It is no longer a patient bird, having endured at least one kitten’s attention.
The remaining kitten struts proudly back and forth in front of the wardrobe, then bounds over once it notices that it has an audience.
It is happening again. None of us are really ready. But then, when is someone really ready for a war?
We’ve been taught the needed skills. And yet, here we are again.
And somehow, I predict we will be back here again.
This time, we have warning and weapons of a sort. Not the right weapons for what we will face, but at least we have something. Last time, we had neither warning nor weapons. Our defenses were down. We had no resources to train, no plans, no contingencies. Frankly, it is a miracle that we survived.
Our historians will admit to all of this if pressed. They don’t like to talk about it ordinarily because the subject verges on disrespect for our leaders. But the disrespect is both intended and important.
We were not prepared, directly due to the actions of our leadership.