“I make technical drawings based on precision measurements,” said Mr. Jin. “I am presented with an item, measure it, prepare technical drawings, and then hand them over for fabrication.”

Colonel Li nodded. “Precision measurements of items of foreign manufacture, is that right?”

Mr. Jin bristled slightly. “Yes, but not whole products. My company makes cheap replacement parts. Battery doors, hinges, plastic cases. Things Americans can use to repair their items but that they cannot purchase due to their system’s inefficiency. We fill a need.”

“Of course, of course,” said Colonel Li. “I did not mean to suggest you were behaving inappropriately. Your factory found a need and filled it very skillfully, and your performance reviews have been…stellar.”

“I take pride in my work, Colonel Li.”

“Which is why I am here,” said Li. “But first, please understand that what I am about to tell you is a state secret. Discussing it with others, even your family, can only result in the strictest penalties.”

“I am a loyal citizen,” Mr. Jin said. “Though I wonder what use the state could have for one such as me, beyond my taxes.”

“You come highly recommended,” the colonel said. “And most importantly, your brother is a Party member. The local party secretary, in fact. You have the precise combination of skill, anonymity, and political reliability that we are looking for.”

“To do what, exactly?”

Li leaned forward. “To repair an American stealth bomber, of course.

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