From Crawford To Quant Vegas

Chess’s weariness was palpable as his car rolled down the dusty road to Crawford, Texas. The Lehman Brothers bankruptcy was still ringing in his ears, and now this. A summon from former President George W. Bush? It couldn’t be good. His job was a constant parade of messes left behind by the Bush administration, and he expected nothing less now.

As he arrived at the Bush ranch, he found the former President waiting on the porch. His eyes held something Chess couldn’t quite read.

“Chess, glad you could make it,” Bush greeted, extending his hand.

“Mr. President,” Chess nodded, his voice guarded. “What’s this all about?”

Bush motioned for Chess to sit, his demeanor serious. “Let’s not mince words. There are some things you do as President because you owe a debt. That’s what the Iraq war was, plain and simple. Had to pay back my father and his generation. But then there are things you do for the future, things the country needs. Ivanpah is that for Taiwan.”

Chess’s eyes narrowed. “Ivanpah? What’s this got to do with Taiwan?”

Bush’s expression was grave. “It’s our way out, Chess. A hedge against the Chinese takeover of Taiwan. A way to live with abandoning our promise without going to war.”

“I don’t follow,” Chess snapped, his impatience growing.

Bush’s eyes met his, unflinching. “You’ve been trying to untangle the mess, haven’t you? Trillium, DARPA, the IP confusion. What if I told you it’s all part of a plan?”

Chess’s skepticism was clear, but he was listening.

“The U.S. is stuck in Taiwan for chip manufacturing,” Bush explained. “It’s too late to build in America. But we need a way out. The way out is quantum technology. Here. With the Taiwanese in on the ground floor.”

“And Ivanpah is part of this?”

Bush nodded. “Ivanpah, Vernal, DARPA, the Architect, the Taiwanese chip manufacturers. It’s all connected.”

Chess’s mind was racing. “You’re saying this is a plan to migrate Taiwan’s chip dependency into the U.S.?”

“That’s right,” Bush affirmed. “We bring over the best, the brightest. We start migrating all their dependencies here. Heck, there’s only 23 million people in Taiwan. We could fit them all on this ranch.”

Chess’s skepticism was slowly giving way to understanding. “And when China takes Taiwan?”

“We’ve got the next generation of tech here. Quantum technology. With the Taiwanese working with us for decades, setting the stage. We invite the whole damn island to resettle here. A place called Quant Vegas by Ivanpah. Before you get your hackles up, we can let them settle anywhere in the US. There’ll be no restrictions or anything like that, but I want them to have a place they built from the ground up. Something on the map that they can call there own contribution to this country. Maybe it’ll only be symbolic by then, but I want every one who comes over to be able to point at a map and say we did that. That was us. It’ll be good for morale on both sides.”

Chess was silent for a moment, absorbing the enormity of what he’d heard. Finally, he said, “This is audacious. It’s… it’s brilliant. But why now? Why me?”

Bush’s gaze was steady. “Because you’re the one cleaning up the messes, Chess. And because you need to know.”

They talked for hours, Bush laying out every detail, every nuance of the plan. The roles of Vernal, DARPA, the Architect, the need for secrecy, the potential for saving lives, avoiding war, turbocharging the future.

By the time the conversation wound down, Chess’s cynicism had transformed into something else. Respect, admiration, a sense of awe at the masterstroke that had been played.

“Mr. President,” he said quietly, “I must admit, I didn’t expect this from you. But you’ve really got this one right.”

Bush’s smile was small, satisfied. “It’s what we have to do, Chess. For our country. For peace.”

Chess left Crawford that evening with a renewed sense of purpose. The mess he had inherited had become a vision, a path to a future that transcended politics and partisanship. The game of 4D chess had been revealed, and he was now a player in it.

He knew the road ahead would be filled with challenges, but he was ready. Ready to see it through, ready to be part of something bigger, something that could change the world.

The former President had made a play that transcended his administration, and Chess was willing to give him his due. The legacy he had inherited was not a burden, but a promise. A promise of a future that was worth fighting for.