#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.
The day after the election, SuperBunker life carried on as it always had. The massage parlors, hemoglobin cafes, and aromatherapy boutiques brimmed with plucked elites just as they had the day before, and the day before that. The monorails ran on time. The virtual sun rose according to its program. The ambient sounds of simulated chirping birds started on cue. At Ten O’clock Bunker Standard Time, the president’s face appeared on every screen in the North American Zone.
“My fellow Americans… The first lady and I have been so touched by all the encouragement we’ve received over the past few weeks. Today, it’s my turn to give thanks. We’ve been through some difficult times together. Whether we have seen eye-to-eye or rarely agreed at all, the conversations I’ve had with you are what have kept me inspired and kept me going. You made me a better president, and you made me a better man.
“After four years as your leader, I still believe in the beating heart of our American ideal— our bold experiment in self-government. It’s the conviction that we are all created equal, endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s the insistence that these rights, while self-evident, have never been self-executing; that we, the people, through the instrument of our democracy, can form a more perfect union.
“This is what we mean when we say America is exceptional. Not that our nation’s been flawless from the start, but that we have shown the capacity to change, and make life better for those who follow. The work of democracy has always been hard; it’s always been contentious. Sometimes it’s been bloody. For every two steps forward, it often feels that we take one step back. But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion.
“Tomorrow, the world will witness a hallmark of our democracy. We will all bear witness to the system of checks and balances, as memorialized in our Constitution. These checks and balances, envisioned and implemented by our founding fathers, have ensured the continued existence of our exceptional nation for a quarter of a thousand years.
“Elections cannot be conducted in an atmosphere of rancor. Nor can they be simulated. Real men and women and transgendered… and the non-binary types must exercise their franchise. A true election involving human beings is good for this country. Anything else is anathema to freedom. The founding fathers were very clear— that true elections are to decide who our representatives shall be. So, let us continue to work together to anticipate the challenges and address those challenges because we have the capacity to do so.
“Therefore, after long deliberation, I have decided that I must continue to serve as your president until we can hold a true presidential election, one to be decided by the actual surviving voters of this nation. As president of the United States, it is my patriotic duty to suspend democracy in order to save democracy… until we can hold real elections.
“Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.”
All of this barely penetrated the consciousness of the elites who were sipping their designer coffees, performing their yoga poses, selecting their specialty bath salts, or engaging in their sessions of hair removal.
The Greys were too busy to take note of the machinations of the executive, either. With so many of them having gone missing from their posts, the work shifts of the remainders had been increased out of sheer necessity. Every day for them was becoming a drudgery. What was happening to their ranks? One grim rumor took root within their minds: that they were being systematically liquidated, disappeared by the gendarme of the elites, one at a time, secretly, so as not to foment a panic, in order to extend the stores of finite provisions. But that couldn’t be true. The Greys simply could not bring themselves to believe in the murderous nature of their masters. To accept that horror meant they would be compelled to take action for their self-preservation. No more than a handful of Greys was prepared to do that, so they instead persuaded themselves it was all just a wild conspiracy and carried on as they had.
Nurse Baum was half-watching the president’s speech on the ubiquitous BNN monitors while in transit between shifts. But she was distracted by the sensation of being stared at from behind. The monorail decelerated into the station and Baum gathered herself to step out onto the platform. Once off, she glanced back over her shoulder, noting a man in a black jogging suit and sunglasses. This was the moment she was anticipating. What will I do? She asked herself. She held eye contact with him for a moment, then walked to an empty bench and took a seat. The man in black looked both directions, then walked over to her and took the seat beside her.
“Miss Baum?” he whispered, while watching the monorail fill with passengers.
“I have someone who would like to speak to you.”
Baum had contemplated this moment many times, trying to imagine what was going to happen. If it were to be something sinister, Mr. Quixote surely wouldn’t have alerted her to it in advance. Her nervousness manifested in her racing heartbeats. She tried to remain calm. “I… I’m ready,” she forced herself to reply.
“Don’t worry,” the man in black explained further. “You are not in any danger.”
“How do I know that for sure?”
“In a moment, a black golf cart with tinted windows will pull up. Please get up and walk over to the cart and get in.”
Baum searched the avenue over her shoulder.
“There’s nothing to worry about.”
“You already said that.”
The cart soon appeared and stopped at the curb just a few paces from their bench.
“Walk casually over and get in.”
Baum got up from the bench and approached the cart. The plastic door opened. She looked inside. There was a driver and a man seated in the back seat who was hidden in the shadow cast by the tinted vinyl windows.
“Please, get in.”
Baum slipped into the back seat. The plastic door clicked shut and the cart whirled off down the avenue.
“Do you know who I am, Miss Baum?”
The voice was not the one she expected to hear. It wasn’t Fricke. She watched as he took off his sunglasses and then she recognized him.
“My name is General Buckminster. Do you know that name?”
“Yes. I’ve seen you with the president many times.”
“You look surprised.”
Baum pondered the situation. Matters had become uncertain. Fricke had exhibited nothing but contempt for Buckminster, so why would he send him in his stead?
“I was expecting someone else. That’s all.”
“Oh… no one in particular. Just someone else. Not you.”
“Do you know why you’re here?”
“I don’t think so. Am I in trouble? Did I do something?”
The cart whizzed along the avenue, passing the boutiques and cafes.
“Are you a patriot, Miss Baum?”
“I… I suppose.”
Buckminster cleared his throat. “Your country is in dire need of patriots, Miss Baum. Are you sure you are a patriot?”
“I… I guess. I don’t know for sure…”
“Excellent. Did you vote in the past election?”
“Yes. Did you vote for president?”
“Actually, no. I had to work a double shift and I’m a nurse so it is difficult to break away.”
“But if you did vote, who would you have voted for?”
She answered carefully. “I don’t share my political views.”
“That’s fine. That’s fine.” Buckminster repositioned himself so that he was facing more towards her in the backseat of the luxury golf cart. He extended his arm on the setback behind her shoulders. “What do you think of the election outcome?”
Wariness filled her. She had felt nothing for the POTUS short of resentment for incinerating the surface of the planet, but Buckminster was the POTUS’ right hand man. She thought it best to play coy. “I don’t know. I saw that Cleveland won.”
“He didn’t just win, he won by a landslide, the biggest margin of victory in electoral college history. 531 to 7.”
“I didn’t realize that.”
“And yet…” Buckminster paused.
“And yet what?” Baum asked.
“And yet, President Elect Tex Cleveland’s victory was stolen from him.”
“Didn’t you watch the presidential address this morning?”
“I’m sorry, I was busy working.”
“The president of the United States suspended the results of the recent election and is refusing to hand over power”
“Wow. That’s…,” she hesitated, “audacious.”
“Audacious is an understatement, Miss Baum.”
“So why am I here?”
“You are here because you are a very special person.”
“Me? How so?”
“You are special because you have access to the president.”
“What do you mean?”
“You are his nurse. You administer his medications and perform his health checks.”
“So?” Baum shrugged.
“Miss Baum, the president is holed up in that UltraBunker, running the government and simulated country with total impunity, flouting the Constitution and rule of law. He intends to continue doing this despite losing the election. It is time for him to go, but none of us can get close enough to make that happen. He’s paranoid and delusional. He’s had my security clearance revoked and we have no one else on the inside who can get to him. We… your country desperately needs your help to get him removed so that we can restore the republic.”
Baum felt a sense of betrayal as if she had been belted in the ribs by it. She had expected something different after speaking with Fricke and Quixote. They seemed genuine. Now she saw that she was just being used.
“Will you do this patriotic duty for us, Miss Baum?”
“Do what?” she asked.
Buckminster reached into his breast pocket and handed her a small black case. He unzipped it revealing a small vial.
“What is it?” she asked, although she already immediately recognized the name scribed on the label.
“It’s a sedative. Once administered, it will put him under for several hours. When he is out, we need you to deactivate the security systems for the UltraBunker. The instructions are on this lanyard. Here, put it on. Once that’s done, we will send in the SEALs to extricate the president from the office of the presidency.”
“Then we’ll install the duly elected President Tex Cleveland as the new president of the United States.”
“Yeah, but then what happens to me?”
Buckminster smiled. “You, my dear, become a hero to the republic.”
“Is that it?”
Buckminster scowled. “What do you mean ‘is that it?’”
“I mean is that all? Do I get anything else?”
“Well, we can give you an honorary PIN and a priority number so you can become a permanent resident of the SuperBunker.”
Baum stared Buckminster in the eyes as a spirit of resistance welled up inside of her. Her gaze hardened. She had something of value that they wanted, access. That was leverage. So few Greys had any leverage. “That’s not what I want.”
“What do you mean?”
“I want something else.”
“I’m sorry Miss Baum, but we are making a very generous offer.”
“Oh, to hell with your offer.”
“You are going to meet my demands or you can find someone else to do your dirty work.”
“Miss Baum, there is no one else. You or going to do this for us or else.”
“Or else what? You’re going to disappear me like you have all those other Greys? I don’t care anymore. Do what you have to do. Do it right now. Get it over with. I won’t do anything for you unless you give me what I want.”
Buckminster huffed. “All right. What is it you want?”
“I want out of this bunker. I want to go home.”
Buckminster laughed. “Why on earth would you want to do that?”
“To find my daughter.”
Buckminster sighed. “Oh, Miss Baum, there’s nothing left up there. This is all that remains of the world.”
“I don’t care. I want to try to find her or die trying. I want you to let me go.”
“I don’t know how that is possible in lieu of Protocol 4. perhaps we could get you a luxury apartment and a job promotion. Would that be enough instead?”
“I said I want out of here! I don’t care if I am poisoned by radiation the moment I step on the surface. I want out of this hell.”
“I don’t see how…”
“That’s what I want or no deal.”
Buckminster bit his clenched fist trying to contain his frustration. “O.k. I’ll see what I can do. Perhaps President Elect Cleveland can make an overture to the Chinese and Russians to address Protocol 4 again ad let you out. That’s all I can promise for now.” Buckminster stuck out his hand. “Do we have a deal?”
“No. I want you to guarantee me passage to the surface, in one of those missiles if necessary. Guarantee it or no deal.”
“Pull over and let me out.”
“All right. All right. Stop the cart.”
Buckminster extended his hand. Emma Baum stared him in the eye, probing his dead expression. She knew he was a liar.
“Tomorrow morning, Miss Baum. It has to happen tomorrow morning.”
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