#ContinuityOfGovernment, #WW3, #DeepState
With his office infiltrated by a traitor and hobbled by incompetence, an increasingly unstable POTUS attempts a ‘Hail Mary’ that might just save the office of the president… even if it destroys the world in the process.
Chapter 29, Epilogue
Blackness. Ominous music. Then a white flash. A ball of white flame floats upward on a column of glowing plasma.
Based on the book
Continuity of Government:
An Insider’s Account from the Depths of the SuperBunker
by H. S. Haberdash
A deep, calm voice— Fricke’s voice— began to speak as the black and white mushroom cloud expanded, fed by the stem of rising fire fueling it from below. Fricke’s tone had grown raspy and even deeper over the ten years that had passed. “No one who was around in those days needs to be reminded of how close we came to ending the world…”
Dexter Fricke and Haberdash sat next to each other in armchairs on a theater stage. The opening scenes of Hab’s documentary film played on a giant screen behind them, fading out to black as the mushroom cloud’s fire cooled.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great pleasure to introduce to you: Former President of the United States, Dexter Fricke, and Pulitzer Prize Winning Author H. S. Haberdash.
A vigorous applause built into a standing ovation that lasted three minutes.
The interviewer, who had receding white hair and wore a blue suit, sat in an armchair opposite them. He asked his first question when the applause finally died. “So, gentlemen, how close did we come, really?”
Hab, who had grown a thick beard and put on seventy pounds glanced at Fricke.
“Well, the order had been given. We had minutes, hours perhaps,” Fricke answered.
“The situation was dire,” Hab added. “The president had to have his chief of staff, Frank Tibbles, euthanized in order to procure the authentication codes required for a nuclear launch. They were embedded in his carotid artery. Most people didn’t know that at the time. I certainly didn’t. It was a failsafe implemented before the bunker was even completed. As we all know, the president and Frank were very close, so it was pretty certain that the president had no intention of changing his mind at that point.”
“But the launch order couldn’t be transmitted?”
“No,” Hab continued. “Protocol 4 made contacting the surface impossible. The president ordered the construction of a escape vehicle to get a courier out with the nuclear football. But it took several weeks to construct.”
“Did the Chinese and the Russians know about it?”
“They did,” Fricke answered. “It was a race to the surface. Had the Chinese or Russians gotten there first, who knows what would have happened.”
“And what were the Chinese and the Russians doing during that period? Were they trying to avert war?”
“Russian President Timoshenko and Chinese President Hu Li, they were every bit as unwavering as Manfred,” Hab said. “It was insanity. There were no good guys.”
“But obviously, the Americans won the race to the surface.”
“Yes,” Fricke answered. “They sent me up with the football.”
“President Manfred trusted you to send the launch order?”
“I had Arman’s complete trust.”
“Tell me something. In your view, why couldn’t these men find compromise?”
“It’s hard for people on the surface to understand,” Hab continued. “It was hard for me to understand and I was right there in the middle of it. But I think it had a lot to do with the inertia of the system. Each leader bore the burden of their entire nation’s ego. They were the human manifestations of it. They were god kings, pharaohs in their mind.”
“Backing out of the war was politically impossible,” Fricke added. “Each side was completely entangled. If the U.S. tried to de-escalate by, let’s say, pulling out of Bulgaria, the banking system would collapse and there would be an economic crisis that would have likely led to government collapse. There was no feasible way out, really, not without destroying the system.”
“So you’re saying they’re not responsible?”
“Let me clarify. I’m saying that they were intertwined with the order as it was. They weren’t willing to let their world dissolve, even if that required destroying ours.”
“They were a product of that order,” Hab added. “And they took that order, that system underground with them. So in their minds, destroying our world wasn’t real to them in any way. It was just a price to pay for maintaining the order. Continuity of government was the core directive. It was the only thing that would never be surrendered. The government had to be preserved at all costs including blowing up the world.”
“Dexter, when you reached the surface, what was the first thing you did?”
“I called the White House operator.”
“From inside the Wal Mart. I actually had to buy a cellphone at the counter.”
“Seriously, though. The ventilator shaft we used for the escape pod vented in a Wal Mart parking lot. Almost all of the SuperBunker ventilator shafts were in Wal Mart parking lots.”
“Why Wal Mart?”
“Their stores just seemed to align with the engineering of the bunker built beneath them. So Wal Mart was able to bid the maintenance contract way below everyone else. Target’s bid came in twice as high.”
“So what happened next, when you called the White House?”
“They put me on hold.”
Laughter. Smattering applause.
“But I finally cleared security. Vice President Yates had disappeared, and with the speaker of the house and the president of the senate down in the bunker, that left me as the acting chief executive.”
“What was your first official act as president?”
“I had the White House put me in touch with the acting leaders of China and Russia.
“So…” continued Reese, “you’re on a phone in a Wal Mart and the first leader you speak to is?”
“First it was a Russian admiral by the name of Serdyukov. He was stationed on a submarine deep in the Atlantic off the coast of Newfoundland.”
“What did you say?”
“I said, ‘hello, my name is Dexter Fricke. I am the secretary of state the United Sates. I have been sent at the behest of President Arman Manfred to order the destruction of the world. But I was hoping we could talk this over first?”
“What did he say?”
“He seemed a little apprehensive. I wasn’t sure if it was the language barrier or just mistrust. Probably both. He’s a career military man, obviously, and I think he believed it was my duty to carry out my orders and that my contacting him was some sort of feint or trick.”
“But he came around?”
“After I explained to him that since the president cannot communicate with the surface and because the vice president’s whereabouts was unknown, I was, by law, the chief executive of the United States. He warmed up after that. We talked for over an hour. He flew in to Akron and met me the next morning.”
“And the Chinese?”
“Similar situation. I spoke to a General Li. He flew in the next evening.”
“And the meeting would come to be known as the Ohio Summit.”
“Yes, and from that the Treaty of Akron.”
“What did you discuss first?”
“It started off like any diplomatic summit. Everyone was holding back. No one wanted to reveal their hand. But we agreed that we could not and would not go to war, even if that meant a permanent state of high tension. That was day one. Day two, things started to loosen up.”
“Admiral Serdyukov received a call informing him that his daughter had given birth. He saw a picture of his newborn granddaughter. He was visibly moved by that picture. We all sat around that table in silence, watching him, not knowing what to say. He shared the picture with us. The tenor of the meeting changed after that. I think we began to come to the realization that everything we were fighting and negotiating and making sacrifices for was being done on the behalf of someone else… someone who, as far as we were concerned, was now completely separated from our reality.”
“You are referring to the people in the bunker?”
“The ones they left behind on the surface to represent their interests weren’t really all that vested in their interests after that. Maybe they had a bonus to look forward to or a career appointment or something. But what would all that matter if we destroyed the world? Who would we collect from? We found ourselves negotiating on the behalf of entities that, for all intents and purposes, no longer existed… on the surface, anyway. Negotiations became flexible. We became like kids swapping trading cards. We sorted the bulk of the mess out in a matter of a week. Whatever couldn’t be horse-traded was to be liquidated and the proceeds distributed to whatever shareholders remained on the surface. The rest went towards debt reduction, with the banks being made to understand that this was the best they were ever going to get.”
“How did you convince them of that? Why wouldn’t they just hold out until Protocol 4 was ended?”
“We had to convince them that Protocol 4 would never be ended. Ever.”
Fricke glanced uncomfortably at Hab who grinned. “We permanently sealed the blast doors.”
“By computer virus. There is only one person in this world that has the code to open them. It’s embedded in her.”
“You’ve got to remember that there were still tens of thousands of guest workers trapped down there,” Hab added. “They had nothing to do with it. Hell, I was still down there!”
“So we put engineers together to figure out a way to start getting them out,” Fricke answered.
“The guest workers?”
“Right. It was difficult. We had to blast our way through layers of stone and steel and concrete shielding. I’m sure they heard the explosions down below. One could only imagine what they thought was happening down there when the detonators went off. It was a desperate, complicated operation, like rescuing trapped miners.”
“When we heard the blasting,” explained Haberdash, “President Manfred… everyone was convinced it was nukes going off on the surface.”
“Thankfully, it worked as designed. It took eighteen months but we got everyone out who wanted out.”
“And you sealed the rest in.”
“Yes. We filled the bore shafts with concrete and capped them with fifty-ton caissons.”
“And those in the bunker haven’t figured it out?”
“We don’t know anymore. We had to sever all communications. If you keep the information channel open, you run the risk that someone, some faction might be sympathetic to their plight. We cannot allow that to happen,” Fricke explained. “There was no indication they believed anything survived up here.”
“And all the missing workers? How do you think they reconcile that?”
“We managed their perceptions before cutting the communication lines. We planted rumors and evidence that the Greys have all been liquidated to preserve the bunker’s resources. We tell the Chinese that the Americans are did it. We tell the Russians that it was the Chinese. No one seemed to have a problem with it. They carried on as if it was done out of practical necessity.”
“Are they in a prison?”
“I suppose so, in reality. Not technically, though. Not legally because they don’t want to leave. You’ve got to understand them. In their minds, they think they’ve survived a nuclear holocaust holed up in an oasis. They think they have it pretty good and we intend to leave them thinking that way.”
“But it’s a prison. For what crime were they sentenced?”
Fricke’s eyes drifted away in thought for a moment. He cleared his throat before answering. “They are thieves. They stole our sovereignty. They stole our lives and wealth. And they attempted to steal our future.”
There was a long silence.
“What do you think life is like down there now?”
“They continue to govern and manipulate a computer simulation of the world,” Fricke summed. “They pretend that we exist and they move our virtual lives around like pieces on a chess board, just as they always have… with a deal here, a treaty there, a vote for this, a bomb for that. Machiavellian plots. Strategic alliances. Betrayals.
“I presume they continue believe we’ve been wiped out— rendered ashes and dust— but in some strange way, this knowledge gives strength to their illusion. They cling to their simulations even tighter. I suppose without their contrived reality, they would have nothing left to live for.”
“Do you think they are happy?”
“I’m convinced they are. When I think about it, I can’t help but come to the conclusion that we all got what we wanted in the end…”
When the interview was concluded, Dexter Fricke and Haberdash shook hands.
“You did well, Hab. You didn’t leave anything out. IT was all the truth.”
It was the last time they would speak to each other.
Dexter flew home to Boise that evening to tend his alpacas and write his memoirs. Haberdash flew direct to Las Vegas, rented the presidential suite and snorted cocaine off the nipples of hookers until dawn, regaling them with tales that began: “This one time, while I was down in the SuperBunker, I saw president Manfred…”
The maids found his body in the morning, lying naked on his bed, with a dusting of powder on his nose. His heart had stopped beating.
On the thirtieth anniversary of the Treaty of Akron, a great gathering was assembled in the parking lot of the Yao-Mart—which had previously been known as Wal-Mart—in Akron, Ohio. It was a festival marking the ending of the old new world order and marking the beginning of the new new world order… The world had managed to get along surprisingly well without aircraft carriers and the international monetary fund. Dexter Fricke was unable to attend the festivities due to a recent hip replacement. He sent a hologram of a short speech reminding everyone in attendance what the world was like before and to remain ever vigilant. When all the speeches were concluded, the crowd gathered around the concrete caisson marking the very spot where Fricke’s capsule had delivered him to the surface. Veruca Weinstein had made the trip. She shrugged off her aid and stepped toward towards the caisson to place a ceremonial burial stone upon it.
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