The first Top Secret slide to light the un-photographable overhead screen bore the agency's logo, itself highly classified, of The Agronauts' mighty ship running down the foundering cockleshell of the hapless JASON's.
Below it was the meeting's topic:
War On Terror Budget Earmarks FY 2007
As the Director Of the Defense Agricultural Price Reflation Agency took the podium , he directed his best smile at the knot of Army shoulder board stars in the sea of Navy blue, Space Command aubergine and white lab coats that otherwise filled the room.
"Gentlemen, Lady, we face a daunting task, and have but little time. Yet we do have some earmarked funds and the highest authorization to spend them. Even by the standards of our colleagues at the Defense Advanced Pork Recycling Agency , four hundred and eighty two million dollars ain't hay, and to earn our keep and keep the troops alive all we have to do is figure out how it can send terror packing by advancing the development of four strategic materials. The first, of course is milk solids.
As you know, casein is pretty tough stuff, and after just 31years, our HCI brethren at the Proving Ground have steadily moved the Strategic Hard Cheese Initiative towards its goal of an IED-proof MRE based on domestic Iraqi feta. That's point one."
He beamed at the spectacularly uniformed Deputy Veterinary Surgeon General, and waved an eye searing green laser pointer around the bullet on the screen for emphasis:
• $283 million for Milk Income Loss program
"I'll bet few of you academics knew that when you combine the mandarin characters for 'Oral Examination' and ' Danger' they mean "Citrus Canker", but having testified on the subject on the Hill, I can tell you that the Senate Select Agricultural Subsidy Subcommittee is floored by our ballistic Bio Mimesis work on toughening orange peels into biodegradable tank armor that doesn't smell like Tang."
• $100 million for Citrus Assistance
Now you Sandia pukes have been outstanding, mutating soy beans means higher biofuel octane for the M1A3/4MBT Main Bradley Tow system, and compressing macadamia nuts to thermonuclear densities raises hopes of the DOE Green Fusion plan beating the Iranians to pistachio ignition. But now it's time to turn to defeating heavy artillery --and taking a bite out of:
• $74 million for Peanut Storage costs
Just figure out how to compress the damn things to the density of chunky depleted uranium, and by God, we'll spread the stuff inside every Bremer Wall in Mesopotamia. That'll be the end of truckbombs and warehousing over-runs for once and for all. And don't forget the Navy. You sailors now have Compartmentalized Vegetable Intelligence clearance, so I can tell you those MSM cartoons of Hummers using MRE's as applique body armor were just planted cover. The most strategic materials are human, and a real black side breakout has come from the funding that gave us this--"
A side-armed MP passed a hard case to the Director, and a second later, the shadow of a can trembled on the screen beneath :
• $25 million for Spinach Growers
"While you've been taking the media flack, our DAPRA plantation hands have been working away at the recombinant DNA of this nasty vegetable. They have it expressing enough steroids to scare the golf shoes off the quartermaster corps., and today I'd like you to meet the first Future Seal to benefit from this joint armed services -USDA effort. You'll have to forgive him for being out of uniform, but frankly we couldn't find a Mil Spec digital camo blouse he could get on. Come on up here son--"
The newly breveted Master Chief smiled shyly and shifted the unlit corncob pipe from between his somewhat asymmetrical, but manly jaws into the fist at the end of his forty four inch right forearm.
“ Aw, Sir, yer recombinant spinnick had nuttin to do wit it. I just am what I yam. And that's all what I yam. Now what's all this about Al Kaders, the swabs? I'll gives em yer money’s worth ! "