Toby sits in on a meeting in which Teddy (who I'm told is Undersecretary of State) and President Lian discuss Chinese monetary policy. A subtitle tells us that it's "Day Two." Grrrrr. Lian suggests that they continue the discussion in the afternoon, and Toby lets out a frustrated "no." He takes a second and then apologizes to the head of state who he just interrupted. But he stresses the need to move along on the agenda. Lian is implacable, however, and repeats that he needs to discuss the issue with the Finance Minister before they can discuss it further.
Charlie finds Annabeth walking briskly through the corridors of the West Wing. He asks her if she's about to brief. Annabeth, with some anxiety in her voice: "I don't brief. I read prepared statements to the press." He points out that she just passed the briefing room (or perhaps, the prepared statements room), and she tells him that she's "doing laps. Not ready to go in yet." Charlie hands her an executive order that Jed just signed, "while juggling a rickshaw and a pagoda." She's thrilled. And at that precise second, Annabeth calmly ducks under an open filing cabinet drawer so that she can continue on her walk. That was a nice bit. Charlie asks her if she's okay, and she tells him that the press has heard rumors about the asteroid. On top of Jed's medical condition, "they're a little overheated." I would hope that rumors of global annihilation would get the press worked up. Charlie asks Annabeth whether she's briefing on the asteroid, and she reminds him again that she does not brief. Her plan is to go into the briefing room and read the executive order to them. So I guess her plan is to bore them into complacency. Charlie points out that she's just walked past the briefing room again. Annabeth: "I just, uh, I'm gonna take another lap." Great scene, and further evidence of why Annabeth is a much better character than Kate: she has actual human flaws and weaknesses, and they are unexpected and therefore completely realistic.
Jed is sitting in his bed with a map of the world spread out in his lap. Curtis is sitting next to the bed, and Jed is explaining that 70 to 80% of the people on the west coast will be killed by the tsunami that would result if the asteroid were to hit the Pacific Ocean. He thinks the optimal result would be if the asteroid just obliterated a single city. Toby and C.J. have entered the room, and Jed tells them that NASA has determined that the asteroid is either larger and further away, or smaller and closer than originally estimated. Jed asks how it's going, and is not pleased to hear that Lian is stalling on the exchange rate issue. He asks them whether they mentioned the former Chinese president, Shang, who three years earlier had told Jed that it would take two years at most to change the valuation of the currency. ("Shang" is totally my own phonetic spelling, by the way. Apologies to any sinophiles in the audience.) Jed wants them to bring up Shang not just because of his earlier comments, but because he still remains a more powerful figure than Lian in Chinese politics: "Lian is threatened by the very notion of Shang." But it's too late to raise his name in connection with the exchange-rate discussion, because Jed insists that they move on with the agenda so that discussion of North Korea does not end up getting put off. Toby thinks they need to revisit the monetary issues because of the impact on U.S. jobs, but Jed is unconvinced: "Job loss is gonna seem like cake in the face of three-dimensional nuclear chess. You can't let 'em walk all over you!" Wait, isn't three-dimensional nuclear chess the game that Kirk and Spock used to play? Jed, frustrated, returns to his map and his discussion with Curtis. He tells Curtis that the real nightmare scenario is that the asteroid would strike the immense Russian forests, setting them ablaze and throwing so much smoke and ash into the atmosphere that the sun would be blocked for weeks: "Impact winter, they call it." Really, is that what they call it? Toby and C.J. realize that they are being dismissed, and they quietly walk out of the room.