Marshal Vladimir Ignatov strode stiff-kneed down the long march, the stride of a man for years used to cavalry boots. He was flanked by frozen visaged subordinates, but none so cold of face as he himself.
At the entrance to the conference hall he stopped, turned and waited.
At the end of the corridor of troops a car stopped and several figures emerged, most of them in civilian dress, several bearing brief cases. They in their turn ran the gantlet.
At their fore walked James Warren Donlevy, spritely, his eyes darting here, there, politician-like. A half smile on his face, as though afraid he might forget to greet a voter he knew, or was supposed to know.
His hand was out before that of Vladimir Ignatov's.
"Your Excellency," he said.