Previous Part

1030 Hours
Few KM North of Gonggar PLAAF Base

Qinghai–Tibet railway is one of the biggest marvels of human engineering. This railway was the first one connecting Chinese occupied Tibet to mainland China. Constructed at the cost of nearly $ 4 billion, it traverses one of the most inhospitable and harsh terrains. Total length of track exceeds 2000 Km and highest railway station in world is on this line itself (5000m +). A significant portion of the railway is constructed over semi-permanent perma-frost which poses it’s own challenges during warm conditions. Special measures were taken to solve the problem, which included passive cooling, deep concrete supports and sun shades.

Apart from the engineering challenges faced during the construction, the extreme altitude and cold weather poses serious problems to passengers and daily operations. It’s not possible to operate normal trains at this altitude. So China had to import special trains with built in oxygen supply for passengers and ultra high grade environment control. Even the diesel locomotives are custom built.
Quite a few people thought all of this effort as a waste of money and effort. But the Chinese government thought different and poured all the resources it could spare. The strategic advantages brought about by this line vindicated all the stubbornness displayed by Chinese. Amount of cargo being transported in and out of Tibet increased by nearly 300%. But the most obvious advantage was the strengthening of Chinese stranglehold over Tibet. This railway line provided China with unprecedented ability to deploy forces over most of Tibet much faster and cheaper. Thus they had a significant advantage over India which left most of it’s border routes undeveloped in an extremely counter-productive defensive strategy.

At the moment this fact was quite obvious to the three man special forces operative team as they lay waiting just a few meters away from the famous track. Intelligence reports had indicated that numerous trains loaded with men and weapons were on their way to Tibet from mainland China as PLA rushed to quell the rebellions in Tibet and Xinjiang, while at the same time maintaining enough forces on standby to deter India. The railway track was proving to be invaluable in these conditions. Many of the PLA bases were constructed close to railway lines to take maximum advantage. Although the forces were stretched thin, steady arrival of reinforcements was proving to be life saver for Chinese commanders. It allowed them to keep existing forces directed towards India on station, while still maintaining overwhelming superiority over spirited but less capable rebels.

As of now, mission of the spec-ops team was to cripple this vital cog in Chinese occupation of Tibet and then some more.

The sophisticated Motorola radio handset cackled in to life in hands of the team leader, “ Leopard Alpha, This is Leopard Charlie. We confirm arrival of target in 15 minutes at ambush point 1.”

“Roger that Leopard Charlie.” Leader of Alpha team had to shout in to the radio to make himself heard as icy winds nearly drowned out his voice at normal volume. If he hadn’t spent two weeks acclimatizing to the altitude he’d have serious trouble doing even that. Trekking such long distances carrying heavy loads as he was was simply out of question. Inhaling the cold air deeply, he ordered his companions to get ready. On the leader’s signal, the two men broke away and took positions at a few meters distance from each other.
Trap was almost ready, all they had to do now was to wait for the prey.

Their target, a cargo train of nearly 40 trailers carrying an arsenal worth of Chinese armoured personnel carriers and tanks was within their sights in a few minutes. It’s specially designed diesel engine pulled the load quite effortlessly as it chugged on. Leopard teams waited with bated breaths as the moment of reckoning came closer. The operatives checked their weapons and adjusted the sights one last time. Right on the estimated time, the train reached it’s intended point and it’s engine shook as bunch of small explosives went off under it’s wheels. A small group of soldiers and engineers on-board looked here and there bewildered as wheels of the engine broke away amidst showers of sparks and fire. Their emotion of surprise soon turned to horror as 4 rocket propelled grenades slammed in to the engine and the single passenger compartment behind it from different directions. The soldiers who survived the initial assault jumped out and started to run only to be mowed down by murderous small arms fire. The attackers had ample time to plan the ambush and not a single person on the train was left alive. They emerged from their cover still firing on anything moving and started converging on ill-fated train.
Within next few moments a small army of armed men had collected around the train, working feverishly unstrapping the APCs and tanks. They lacked proper equipment to do the job and thus the going was slow. Leopard Alpha leader noted the fact and shouted instructions in broken Tibetan to hurry up the process. The result was a significantly rougher handling of the vehicles as they left the trailer to land at ground, but the process picked up speed. Time was of essence . It was only a matter of time before Chinese noted the missing train and sent somebody to investigate. Whoever did this better be a long distance away from the site when Chinese came with reinforcements.
It took nearly 20 minutes for men working at breakneck speeds to unload required vehicles and fill their fuel tanks. Once finished, a large number of men got in to the vehicles and started to drive them away towards the road nearby. One Tibetan man came jogging towards Leopard Alpha and smiled. “Thanks for the help. Will see you soon.”

The leader saluted and smiled back, “ Take care Wangdak. There is still a lot of work to be done.”

Wangdak grinned and saluted back. Both men shook hands and he turned to climb in to one of the two Chinese Type-96 tanks that had been unloaded from train. Leopard team went on to it’s work immediately. Working separately, they attached more explosives to the stricken train and then melted away in to the terrain. A few minutes after their departure, a series of explosions shook the area as the explosives did their work, destroying the train along with it’s cargo and damaging a large portion of railway track along with it. Leopards felt rather than saw the explosions, but didn’t turn to see the result of their work. They still had more missions to complete. One of them was another sabotage mission that’ll put the Qinghai–Tibet railway out of commission for months by destruction of one of numerous bridges on the line.

The convoy of stolen vehicles soon came across a road that led to their destination, Lhasa-Gonggar Forward Air Base, nearly 50 Km south-west of Lhasa. Owing to highly tense conditions, lots of PLA convoys were traveling from one location to another and they moved fast without raising any suspicion. Just another convoy on it’s way to deployment somewhere.
In spite of that, every man in convoy was nervous. It was only a matter of time before news of the attack and theft of vehicles was reported and an alert sounded all over the region for the rebels. They needed to act really fast if they wanted to have any reasonable chance of their mission succeeding. They soon reached Galashan tunnel, one of the longest tunnels in Asia at nearly 2.4 Km. Beyond it a 3.8km long bridge lead to a small town named Jiazhulinzhen. Lhasa-Gonggar base was just on it’s outskirts. Normally a civilian airport which served tourists and Tibet residents, it was a hotbed of activity. But at that time, a significant part of the air traffic was military. Numerous Chinese military transport planes were present on the base, loading and unloading men and supplies. According to rumours a detachment of J10s was scheduled to land at the base within next 12 hours to fly CAP missions. But as with most rumours, it was not confirmed yet. But the security seemed to be beefed up and every vehicle was undergoing stringent security checks.

The convoy lead by rumbled to a halt just outside the main gate of base. Two security guards with confused expressions on their faces walked hesitatingly towards the slightly unusual visitors. Four rebels in PLA uniforms with their fingers ready on triggers of their AK56s jumped out from trailing Type-92 APCs and flanked Wangdak’s tank as he opened it’s hatch. Chinese guards halted ad saluted on seeing the leading officer. Although they had no information of arrival of any convoy, they knew better than to challenge a PLA Colonel. Wangdak’s confident orders in flawless Mandarin removed any hesitation that they had in their minds. Clearing the first security hurdle, the convoy drove in to the airbase and spread out, taking up strategic positions around it’s premises.

For Chinese, first indication of the fact that something was wrong came when nearly a dozen armed men walked in to the air traffic control building and tied up all the guards after disarming them. Once finished, four men stayed back in the control room with loaded guns pointed at the profusely sweating traffic controllers who were ordered to refuse all requests for landings and take offs. All the passengers were shunted into the airport lobby. This was not hard to do as there were little passengers owing to escalating tensions with India. Their number were further reduced with military aircraft forming bulk of traffic

In the meanwhile both Type99 tanks followed by 2 APCs drove up to the military hangar area. A small guard detail was cut down in a hail of bullets before it had any chance to react. A small group of armed rebels then jumped out of APCs and
swarmed in to the area, searching for weapons and supplies and killing anybody who resisted. They found a IL76 and two Y8 transport planes, both of which were promptly set on fire.

Another group of APCs drove around the premises finding and destroying any anti-air defense asset they could find. The maps they had were not very reliable but their job was made easy as encountered very little resistance. The men were about to finish the last of the KS-1A SAM launchers when warning of arrival of Chinese reinforcements came in.

They were coming in from a small Chinese military base few Km south of Lhasa. Tibetan spotters positioned near Galashan tunnel noticed their arrival and went to work. They waited as first of the vehicles crossed the tunnel and reached the bridge. A soon as it was there, the bridge was rocked by a massive explosion which blew apart a large portion cutting off all the reinforcements. One truck and an APC were destroyed as the powerful explosion tossed them in to cold river water below. Another explosion inside the tunnel a few minutes later destroyed any remaining chance of retaking the base from rebels anytime soon.
But the two Mi-17s armed with machine guns and rocket pods which followed the convoy minutes later had no need of any road. Unfortunately for Chinese. they too proved to be of little use. Two shoulder fired SAMs took care of both, as the first chopper crashed even before it had spotted any rebel. Seeing the fiery fate of it’s companion, second immediately turned tail and raced back.

Wangdak ordered his men to gather up and load all the military supplies that could be carried away and move out. Their work there was done. His men followed the orders with clockwork precision and started moving out within minutes. Their departure was marked by a series of explosions which first blew up the ATC building followed by fuel storage facility. Last of the explosions made dozens of crates on the runway putting the air base out of operational readiness for days at least.
Whole thing happened in front of a few hundred civilians, many of them foreigners all of them with phones and cameras. Only a miracle could censor news of such an event.

Previous Part

0650 Hours
PPC World News

In a somewhat expected event, a senior member of Chinese ruling party, Admiral (Retd) Zlin Xedong was suspended and placed under arrest on charges of misuse of his authority. It was declared in a statement issued by a senior spokesperson of CPC. According to statement, Chinese President was forced to issue orders to this affect after government’s investigators uncovered solid proof of his involvement in a plot to spoil developing mutually beneficial relationships between China and India. In a well planned conspiracy that involved many senior and middle level officers of Pakistani military, Admiral Xedong plotted clandestine attack on India in complete violation of official Chinese policy of peaceful and prosperous co-existence. Involvement of some other senior Chinese PLA officers is also under investigation. Exact motive of conspirators is not clear at the moment,

After the investigative team intimated President Peng of it’s findings, he immediately ordered Adm Xedong to be placed under arrest awaiting further trial while investigations against other officers get completed. According to many analysts, this step is probably aimed to mollify India smarting after a surprise nuke attack which it alleges was planned and financed by Chinese military. Just hours after a devastating retaliatory nuclear attack on it’s arch enemy Pakistan, from where the rogue missile was launched, Indian Navy had captured a crippled Chinese submarine. Along with it’s full crew, Indian Navy had also captured rebel Pakistani General Asgar. From him, they had recovered recorded conversations between Admiral Xedong and a low ranking Chinese liaison officer. According to the recordings, Admiral Xedong was heard planning more attacks on India. Chinese spokesperson while sympathizing with India expressed hope that the steps taken by China in it’s mission to punish the miscreants will generate goodwill amongst Indians and world community. When asked by a reporter whether international agencies or India will be allowed to interrogate Admiral Xedong and his co-conspirators, the spokesperson declined to answer.

Responding to the statement, a senior official from Indian government praised the action taken by Chinese government as a positive one but also said that much needs to be done in order to punish the guilty. In an answer to a question regarding further role of Indian forces in Pak Occupied Kashmir, he said that the area is now formally under Indian control as another part of erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. Refuting the allegations of land grab, the spokesperson went on to say that part of J&K; under Chinese control should be handed over back to India as it was ceded illegally by Pakistan to China. There has been no reaction from Chinese on this as yet.

Reactions from other countries have been mixed. Although most of them except for notable exception of Israel and Russia have condemned the overwhelming nuclear attack on Pakistan, all of them unilaterally urged Indian government to be more pragmatic with China. In a televised interview, General Secretary UN Behn Ki urged both India and China to tread cautiously while billions of lives are in grave danger. He also urged China to find a peaceful solution to ongoing civil unrest in Tibet and Xinjiang. Although Chinese government has imposed strict curbs on news related to these provinces, sources indicate that the situation is getting worse by the day with escalating violence from all all sides.

0720 Hours
India

“What do you think of it Angad ? “ DM asked NIA chief who seemed to be lost in deep thought. It took a few seconds for him to realize that DM was addressing him. He had been thinking about the new development and was just dying to let it out. After a bit of start he answered, “They are lying. I’ll bet my last rupee that Xedong is just a straw man. It cannot be a lone wolf or rogue mission. Support of a lot of people, right up to their higher ranking CPC people is necessary to pull off anything like this. We are talking about Chinese nukes being launched by Chinese personnel . Now they arrest some random ass and make him a sacrificial goat. We are not sure that even he would be punished at all. ”

“And you base this upon ?” DM asked.

“ Base upon ? “ Angad exclaimed with wide open eyes and gestured with his hands. “ You saw all the proof yourself, right from the missile plant to it’s transport to Pakistan. Then had the testimony of those captured Pakis and Chinese submarine crew. There is no chance that Xedong is the only mastermind behind all this. I’ll eat my shoes if somebody proves me wrong. “

“But what’s their motive then ? In spite of all their bravado and saber rattling previously, they haven’t even expressed any official outrage over loss of 3 of their submarines and the men and missiles that we captured from Gilgit..” DM seemed puzzled and amused at the same time.

Angad allowed himself a wicked smile, “It was your decision to pay back the Pakis in kind that’s led to the current situation. By firing the nuke from the shoulder of Pakis, they thought that they could humiliate us and tank our economy and self esteem. They thought that we’ll be too afraid to retaliate and thus lose face, become weak and more prone to their bullying. Then they could strengthen their claim on occupied and disputed territories and prance around on world stage as the undisputed champion. But our retaliatory strikes poured cold water on all of their dreams. Capturing that Chinese submarine was our wildest dream come true. The intelligence that we gathered is invaluable.
They now know that we are privy to most of their plans and are more than willing to give them a bloody nose. They probably thought that in worst case scenario for them, we’ll engage Pakis in a conventional war and they could come to the aid of their deeper than ocean fliends and make it hell for us. But we preempted their trump card with our own.”

General Zoravar Singh, who had been listening to the conversation quietly interrupted Angad, “All that’s fine, but that still doesn’t answer the question. What should be our response ?”

DM sopke up before Angad could answer, “What do you think General ? Can we take on Chinese right now ?”

General Singh glanced on his companions from Air Force and Navy before answering, “We’ve been preparing for such a situation for some time. Although we are not as strong and well equipped as we’d like, but still we can hold our ground as long as it takes. Our Navy has already given them a bloody nose in two sectors. Army and Air Force are already mobilized and just awaiting orders. Our SF are already operating inside Tibet. They’ll take it a few notches up as soon as we give the signal.”

DM sighed, “Pitched battles with Chinese. I’m 100% sure that this thought will give another heart attack to our PM. “

Angad grinned and shrugged. DM glanced at him before continuing, “But realistically, what are our options ? China isn’t going to be a push over like Pakistan. What can we hope to achieve in terms of a military or political victory over them. By victory, I don’t mean any kind of lame brain “moral” thing. I want something that I can use to bargain something useful from them later. Aksai Chin, Tibet anything like that.”

General Singh replied, “I’ll be honest with you sir. If Chinese attack us, we will give them a real beating that they will ever forget. It’s not 1962.
In case we attack them, they’ll put up as fierce resistance as well. I cannot guarantee any territorial gains that we can use as bargaining chips later on. “

DM observed, “Typical zero sum game , eh . What’s your opinion about Chinese? Do they think in similar way ?”

“Based on whatever I know about Chinese, I’d say yes. Now that they realize that we’ve crossed nuclear threshold much earlier they expected, I believe that they’ll think a lot before committing to a direct fight. At least that’s what I could deduce from Chinese president’s statement and their actions till now.” He finished the sentence glancing in Angad’s direction who silently nodded in agreement. “

DM spoke with some anger “ Hmm. But that’s not a satisfactory conclusion to this mess. We suffered a nuclear strike and the people who actually plotted it all will likely go scot free.”

Angad who seemed to be lost in his own world again replied, “As General said, we do have our men inside their territory. We can inflict considerable amount of pain on them and blame it all on non-state actors, much like their beloved Pakis.”
He paused for a moment as if lost in thought again, then resumed, “ Apart from all that, Lin said that he’ll order his forces to stand down and strangely it’s been like that only. Their formations are on high alert but there is absolutely no indication that they are mobilizing in a war like mode against us as yet. “

Navy chief spoke up, “That’s not entirely correct. We downed one of there nuclear submarines just yesterday along with another that was taken down by Americans. Two other attack submarines are still there just outside our waters. We’re tracking one but other is hiding somewhere.”

DM’s ears perked up, “Yes, I’ve been wondering about this too. What do we make up of American involvement in this ? And what about that incident in Spartly Islands. Any further news on that ?”

“Well, except for TV clips from Malaysian channels, we don’t have any information on that. Those Chinese personnel were found drifting hundreds of Kms from their base. From whatever we could make of it, it’s 100% sure that it was a well planned spec-ops mission. Very few countries except can pull it off there. US of course is one.
As far as that submarine incident is concerned, we’re not entirely sure of their motives even now. In my opinion, they were trying to play cop when Chinese submarine decided to act Paki forcing Americans to sink it. But as I said before, it’s just an educated guess.”

DM nodded in approval,”Your guess is quite accurate. I had received a call from their Secretary Of Defence just a few minutes before this meeting started. He made an offer of mediating between us and Chinese just to stop the war before it turns worse.”

Suddenly perked up, Angad asked, “What did you say ?”

“Haven’t promised anything yet. They also said two of their aircraft carrier groups are steaming full speed in to South China sea and Japan, Chinese also know this.”

Angad smiled, “I don’t think that Chinese will swallow it so easily.”

DM looked him in the eye, “We’re not going to let that attack go unpunished either.”

This is part two of one of my previous posts, Kind of funny conversations.

 

 

This one happened in my office. I was sitting in my cabin (not working :D), trawling the net for a good camera. I’m smitten by cameras with fancy features (about which I don’t know a thing), big lenses ( which I don’t know how to use) etc., the cheapest one of which will cost at least Rs 21000. Anyhow there I was, drooling over the specifications and sighing on reading the prices when one guy came in for chit chat. He used to be a tour guide before he joined this company. After taking a look at my screen, he goes like :

Him: So, you’re going to buy a camera ?

 

Me: Yeah. If I can find someone to buy my kidney or liver.

 

Him: Uh ?

 

Me: Never mind.

 

Him: You know, I have a really good ipod lying around at home. Never ever used it. A German tourist gave it to me when he was going back. He thought that he had too much luggage.

 

Me: Nice. Why don’t I meet such generous people ? [[sigh]]

 

Him: You know, you can use that ipod with your camera. I don’t have any use for it.

 

Me: Uh ? Ipod with camera ? How does that work ?

 

Him: You are thinking of buying that camera worth 22000 and still don’t know about that ?

 

Me: Seems like that.

 

Him: Hah. You just put your camera on that ipod and take pictures when you need it really steady.

I stare blankly for a while and then it hits me.

Me: Are you talking about an tripod ?

 

Him: yes yes,. wahi tripod.

 

Me: Hmmm.

/p

Previous Part

0830 Hours IST
30 October 2010
PPC World News Broadcast

In a surprising development in Pakistan, General Beg a few minutes ago appeared on Pakistan TV and radio claiming that he had quelled the rebellion by some of his subordinates that had threatened to shove his nuclear armed nation in to a bloody and very dangerous civil war. Reading from a prepared statement he said that most of the rebel officers led by General Asgar have either been killed or arrested facing further trial. He assured everybody that things are under his complete control and urged everybody to get on with their lives as usual.

But international observers are far from convinced. Pointing out to the still raging battles inside major Pakistani cities, they say that General Beg’s claims of quelling the revolt are far from true. His opponent, General Asgar has powerful allies both within and outside Pakistan and forces loyal to him still control coastal city of Karachi and parts of disputed region of Jammu & Kashmir. Further, many influential Islamist groups based in Pakistan have come out openly in support of General Asgar, mainly to show their disapproval of what they say General Beg’s sucking up to USA for money. Two of these groups have taken over the the controls of civil administration in Peshawar, Malakand and Quetta
General Beg not only has to control his nation’s armed forces but also these powerful Islamist groups that threaten his grip on power more than anything. These group hold just more than significant influence on Pakistani civilians as well as serving and retired defence personnel. Therefore earning their support is going to be vital if he wants to consolidate his position.
How he manages to gather their support without antagonising his western allies is a matter of debate itself. Regarding this matter, no less importance should be attached to Indian reaction. It becomes still more important right now as it suffered 3 deadly terrorist attacks in a single day killing nearly 300 people, allegedly by Islamic terrorists supported by the very same groups that Beg needs to appease.

This news broadcast is brought to you by PPC International. Please stay tuned for more

Previous Part

0900 Hours
29 October 2012
LMU News Broadcast

A bearded news reader was reading the news report, “Already strained relations between India and Pakistan worsened after Pakistani army started unprovoked firing on Indian positions on LoC in J&K; yesterday. Additionally, Pakistani soldiers also attempted to wrest control of three Indian posts in Poonch and Kargil. Although they were beaten back with heavy losses, Indian army too suffered some causalities. Although officials declined to specify the exact number, according to sources Pakistan suffered 97 dead or seriously wounded while 17 Indian soldiers lost their lives. These skirmishes between the two nuclear armed neighbours couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Pakistan is on verge of breakdown after a senior army general attempted a coup against serving army chief General Beg minutes after he had assumed Presidential powers. This came after a series of bombings all over Pakistan, one of which injured Pakistani President Naqvi and killed his son.

Ruling PPP to which Mr. Naqvi belongs however strongly protested General Beg’s attempt to dismiss the civilian government. In a press conference, senior leaders strongly condemned General Beg’s actions and vowed to launch a country wide protests against any move to undermine civilian rule. Former Prime Minister Wasim Akhtar, a bitter rival of Mr. Naqvi vowed to support PPP in it’s campaign against General Beg, much to surprise of political pundits. Though most people seem to think that he is doing it to avoid anybody linking him to attack on Mr. Naqvi. General Beg on the other hand, has not appeared in public after a near fatal kidnapping attempt. All attempts to contact him have proved futile, although sources close to him assure that he is alive and well.

Governments from all over the world have urged both nuclear armed neighbours to act with restraint but their pleas seem to be falling on deaf ears, at least in Pakistan where nobody is clear about who is calling the shots. There seems to be a power vacuum at the present with too many people fighting amongst themselves to decide who wears the crown. To make matters even worse, various Islamist organisations, many of them linked to Al Qaida and Taliban have taken over control of numerous places including areas near Durand line and even small towns adjoining Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi. An alliance of Baloch nationalist parties and militia has declared a virtual war by laying siege to 2 army bases in Balochistan province and taking more than 900 Pakistani soldiers hostage. Lines outside airports and embassies of western countries like Canada, US are much longer and crowded than usual as more and more people are looking for a visa and the way out of this mess. At such a time these unprovoked attacks on India by Pakistani army seem nothing more than a ploy to distract the attention from real issues plaguing the country.

A press release from Pakistan home ministry however claimed that everything is in control and blamed India for adding oil to the fire of Pakistani troubles by first supporting insurgent movements inside Pakistan and then trying to grab Pakistani territory. Issuing a strong statement Pakistani officials claimed that the Pakistani citizens will defend the sovereignty of their country to the last of their breaths and will not bend over due to external pressure. They also appealed to concerned countries to help Pakistan in it’s hour of need.
The release further added that all of Pakistani nuclear weapons and delivery platforms are in safe custody and accounted for. But many analysts fear that jihadis might already have taken control of a few nukes.

Indian defence minister in a press conference held last evening expressed the same apprehension and called for concerned people in Pakistan to find a peaceful way out of their predicament. He claimed that India will offer any amount of help in order to help Pakistan extricate out of this messy situation. He also denied that India was trying to take advantage of turmoil in Pakistan.

Even as we speak scale of firing has come down considerably. But small arms fire is still going on in 2-3 places.
Now we show you a video shot yesterday morning in Uri, Jammu where Pakistani army fired mortar and machine guns on an Indian army team which was trying to repair a breach in the fence. A well known TV journalist was right there shooting a documentary when the firing started. We have obtained the full length tape and will be showing it in entirety.”

He then added with only a slight hint of an ironic smile, “Viewers are warned that this video contains graphic language. Uhh and violence too. Some people might find it disturbing.”

Then they started running uncut video recorded by cameraman Sidhesh last morning at Point 711, Uri. Unlike the edited version shown on UNDE TV, LMU version showed everything starting from Varsha Butt’s confused face as first mortar landed to her tantrums when Sub. Gurung was trying to stop her from killing herself. Lakhs of people saw it on TV and many more on YouTube and other online sources.

The bearded news reader thought with a quite smile, “ Say bye bye to your Pulitzer, Ms. Butt. You won’t have it in this life at least