#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.
Next Chapter (Soon)
Due to his declining health, the POTUS began conducting all his briefings and meetings in the UltraBunker. He stopped returning to the Brown House at night and slept in the eight-foot by eight-foot safe room accessible by a reinforced steel door located on the wall directly behind his UltraBunker seat. It had been three days since launching Fricke to the surface. The POTUS appointed Brock McGuinn to a newly created COG cabinet position titled Special Advisor/Presidential Life Coach. The oath of office was administered by Buckminster at the UltraBunker conference table.
“Raise your right hand… No Brock, your other right hand. There you go. Now repeat after me: I, Anheuser Brock McGuinn…”
Brock grinned, eyes glazed.
“Repeat after me, Brock: I, Anheuser Brock McGuinn…”
“I, Anheuser Brock McGuinn.”
“Do solemnly swear…”
“Do solemnly swear.”
“That I will faithfully advise the President of the United States…”
“That I will faithfully advise the POTUS.”
“According to the best of my abilities and my understanding…”
“According to my best capabilities and understandments.”
“Agreeably to the Constitution, and laws of the United States.”
“Agreeing with the Constitution and the United States.”
“So help me God.”
“So help me God. Amen.”
“You can put your hand down now, Brock.”
“I have big plans for you, Brock,” said the POTUS after congratulating him with a pat of his shaky hand. “Come. Have a seat here, next to me.” The POTUS pointed at the cushion of the leather high back chair placed next to his. Brock complied.
“So,” continued the POTUS to his COGCON Council of three plus Haberdash, seated at the conference table with places for twenty. “What’s on the agenda today?”
“World War Three, sir,” Buckminster answered.
The POTUS yawned. “All right. What’s the latest report?”
“Well, we obviously cannot obtain any real information due to Protocol 4, so we have to rely entirely upon computer simulations. Our models are telling us that there is a 97% likelihood of widespread gasoline shortages occurring nationwide.”
“I thought we enacted price controls.”
“We did. But the models say that the price controls only exacerbated the problem.”
“Who programmed these god damn models?”
“The program was written by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, sir.”
“Can I fire them?”
“You could, sir, if we could contact them. But even if we could send the order, there is no guarantee that they are still alive. Either way, it would not be possible for them to re-program them.”
“Well, what am I supposed to do about it, then?”
“I think we need to implement rationing.”
“How would we implement it?”
“We can plug it into the simulation, but we’re going to need to enlist the oil companies, sir. They have the logistical wherewithal to actualize your directive.”
“Is there anyone from Big Oil we can reach out to that’s down here in the bunker?”
“There is, sir. I have just the man. Do you know Brandeis Tex Cleveland?”
“The CEO of CANAMCO? The billionaire who donates to that natural gas PAC?”
“That’s him. He’s waiting outside. Should I bring him in?”
“What do you think, Brock?”
Brock shrugged, eyes still glazed, smirk etched within the frame of his chiseled jaw line.
“Have the new admin send him in.”
“Sorry, sir, she didn’t come in to work today. She emailed saying she was ill. Hab, would you please go and bring in Mr. Cleveland.
Hab stopped doodling and set down his notepad. He pushed back from his seat, straightened his Bermuda shorts, and strode over to the door, opened it. Tex Cleveland, a balding, barrel-chested man in his mid-sixties was seated in a chair in the concrete corridor. He stood. He wore a navy suit with a pinstriped shirt and a belt clasped with a massive silver buckle emblazoned with a five-pointed star surrounded by an outline of the border-shape of Texas. He held a white, ten-gallon hat in his hands. He entered the UltraBunker and the POTUS stood and shook his hand from across the table. They both took their seats opposite each other.
“Thanks for coming, Mr. Cleveland.”
“My pleasure, Mr. President. Please, call me Tex,” he said with a grin that revealed one golden-capped canine tooth.
“You already know Bucky, and I’m not sure if you’ve met my new special advisor, Brock McGuinn.”
“Although I’ve never met Brock in person, I’ve been a big fan of his over the years… so long as he wasn’t playing against Dallas.”
Brock was still smirking.
“To what do I owe this honor?” Tex asked in his beefy drawl.
“Well, we need your help, Tex—”
“Let’s not forget about your beloved Longhorns, either,” Brock interrupted.
“Ah yes,” Tex replied, with a tone of reluctant deference. “You must be referring to your big game against us. That was a few years back. What’s it been, twenty years now? I must admit it took some time to get over that one.”
“Which game are we talking about?” Buckminster asked.
“I’m sure Brock is referring to the Raytheon-Boeing Fiesta Bowl. Michigan certainly got the best of us that day,” Tex demurred.
“I’d say ‘got the best of you’ is a little bit of an understatement,” Brock clarified.
“Yeah, I guess it wasn’t much of a game now, was it.”
“67 to 2, as I recall.”
“Well…” Tex replied, “…at least we scored.”
“Yeah, you only scored because we fumbled the second half kickoff and the ball rolled out the back of our own end zone.”
“I forgot all about that game,” the POTUS remarked. “Brock, how many passing yards did you have?”
“I was 31 of 38 for 534 yards and 7 TDs. And they took me out at halftime.”
“Can we get down to the business at hand, gentlemen?” asked Buckminster.
“Sure. Sure. Go ahead, Bucky. Tell the CEO what we have in mind.”
“So, as we are currently on the verge of global thermal nuclear war, we are encountering special circumstances and situations that will require a shared sacrifice by our corporate partners.”
“Shared sacrifice?” Tex asked.
“We are getting reports of widespread, nationwide fuel shortages.”
Tex winced with skepticism. “How can you know that? No one is supposed to have any contact with the surface. Do you have spies? Special communications equipment? Oh, the CIA must have laid some secret fiber during construction… I knew it.”
“Actually, none of that,” Buckminster explained. “This is what our computer simulations are telling us. They are pretty good at predicting socio-economic behavior. The Bureau of Stats has been using them for years, long before this place was even built. Hell, the BLS and the Treasury Department haven’t published any real data in a decade. Everything they report is simulation based.”
“Hey, coach uses those computers too,” Brock added. “He says he can predict what the other coach will call on every play. Some say that’s how we won the last three Super Bowls.”
“I see,” added Tex. “So what do you want from me?”
“We are asking you to cooperate with FEMA in the allocation of fuel and implementation of price controls.”
“Oh boy. Now that’s a tall order there.”
“Well, for one, I can’t communicate with the surface.”
“We are aware of that,” Buckminster replied. “We are asking you to comply virtually, so we can plug that into our computer models.”
“We just need your signoff.”
Tex just stared, blankly.
“Your signoff so we can proceed,” Buckminster repeated.
“Do you have any questions?”
“What’s this fixin’ to cost me?”
“Nothing, Tex. All your costs and lost income will be reimbursed.”
“Yeah, but at what premium?”
“Reimbursed at what percent margin? Fellas, CANAMCO ain’t in the business of doing your dirty work for nothin.”
“How’s ten percent?” Buckminster answered.
“Okay, fifteen,” declared the POTUS.
“Hmm. So we get fifteen percent plus pocket any enhanced margins.”
The POTUS glared at Buckminster as if to ask, ‘why did you bring this asshole in here?’
“Just to be clear,” Buckminster answered, “you’ll have to implement our regulatory and price controls. That’s part of the deal.”
“Why wouldn’t I just raise our prices. That’s sure enough a means of rationing… and CANMCO keeps the profit.”
“Tex,” Buckminster remarked, “if you were to raise prices to market levels, that would seriously jeopardize the president’s re-election chances in the Midwest. Ohio soccer moms won’t vote for Our Man Manfred if they can’t afford to fill up their minivans.”
“Does Ohio even exist anymore?” Haberdash asked.
“Twenty percent!” the POTUS snapped. “That’s all I can do. It’s more than fair. If you don’t like it, I’ll talk to the boys over at Alabraskalasco.”
Tex pondered in stoic silence for a moment. He scratched his bald head, then rubbed the rim of his hat with his thumbs. Then his face brightened with a southern smile. “Gentlemen, CANAMCO is always happy to help America in her time of dire need. Where and when do we work out the details?” Tex began flipping through the pages of the agreement ling on the table. “The cost of implementing some of these logistical controls could get quite exorbitant. I’ll need to make sure our shareholders are protected.”
“You’ll be reimbursed fully. I guarantee it,” the POTUS affirmed.
“The costs are all outlined in the proposal. Those numbers come from our most detailed and accurate spreadsheet models,” Buckminster explained.
“Well, you have your spreadsheets and we have ours.”
“What else do you need, Tex?” asked the POTUS. “How can we get this done right now?”
“Frankly, I want signoff on my new refinery in Panama City.”
“Impossible. The greens would revolt. I’d lose Oregon and Hawaii in the general.”
“Yeah, but you’d win Florida, sir,” Buckminster advised. “We’ll feed the jobs number statistics to the simulated cable news networks.”
“One Florida is worth way more than Oregon and Hawaii,” Tex added.
“Well, we think we can win Florida even without a jobs bump.”
“I still think it’s a tossup, sir.” Buckminster explained.
The POTUS scowled at Buckminster who was proving to be terrible at negotiation. “Brock, do you have any thoughts?”
Brock, who had had never ceased smirking, replied. “All I know is we crushed Florida in the Lockheed Martin-General Dynamics Cotton Bowl my junior year!”
Tex forced a smile to cover up his building annoyance at McGuinn. “Maybe we could discuss this in greater detail… in private, Mr. President?”
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