COG Chapter 17

CogCoverSquare

#ContinuityOfGovernment, #WW3, #Deep State

Buried a thousand feet beneath Ohio, the ten trillion dollar, UN-constructed SuperBunker can shelter a million members of the global elite indefinitely, with all the comforts of the surface including simulated blue skies, boutique shopping, and three golf courses. The President of the United States, Arman “Our Man” Manfred, regains consciousness in one of the bunker’s six hospitals. Surrounded by his trusted advisors and his official hagiographer, his office becomes ensnared in the Machiavellian underworld of SuperBunker geo-politics. The situation worsens when the president’s Russian and Chinese counterparts execute Protocol 4, sealing the blast doors and severing all contact with the surface, relegating the world’s leaders to governing a mere computer simulation of the world above. An attempt to blackmail the POTUS with a salacious video taken by his own security agency forces President Manfred into seclusion. With his office infiltrated by a traitor and hobbled by incompetence, he attempts one final ‘Hail Mary’ that might just save the office of the president… even if it destroys the world in the process.

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Chapter 17

Buckminster found President Manfred on the golf course. He was playing alone. Fricke stood nearby clasping the Nuclear Football. Tibbles was reading something on his cell. Haberdash was serving as his caddy. Buckminster’s driver pulled their golf cart next to them on the 10th tee.

“Mr. President?”

“Bucky!” The president responded without making eye contact. He took three practice swings then hit. The ball shot out with a ping, low but true. “Come, walk with me Bucky.”

Buckminster exited his cart and marched up to the POTUS. The president motioned for Fricke and Tibbles to hang back.

“Bucky,” the POTUS started, let’s have a little chat.” The duo started down the turf fairway towards the president’s ball. “Isn’t it good to get out and get some fresh air?”

“I suppose. But we’re a thousand feet underground, sir.”

“Oh, Bucky….”

“What can I do for you, sir.”

“Bucky…”

“Yes?”

“I want you to be the first person to know about my decision.”

“Which decision, sir?”

“I want you to know I’ve been laboring long and hard about this. Last night, I got down on my knees and prayed to the good Lord for a sign. Well Bucky, I think I got that sign earlier this morning.”

“Really, sir?”

“Yep. You see, I got myself into a little trouble back on hole three. My tee shot hooked– you know that nasty slap hook I have. Well, it hit in the middle of the fairway but… but then it just rolled left, and rolled, and rolled…”

“Sorry to hear that, sir.”

“It rolled left, clean off the fairway and into the bunker.”

“Oh no,” Buckminster feigned concern.

“Yep. Right down into the middle of the trap.”

“That’s terrible, sir.”

“Yes, it is. Oh, you should have heard me cussing, Bucky. I was so angry. You know my bunker play is not my strong suit.”

“I thought it was coming along, sir.”

“Bucky, what have I said a thousand times about my theory of golf?”

“You always say to ‘attack the green,’ sir.”

“That’s right. Attack, attack, attack! You can’t ever give your opponent breathing room. If you lay up, you give your enemy time to take the initiative.”

“I believe the putting green is an inanimate object, sir, but I think I get your point.”

“Play golf like Patton would, Bucky. Sitting in a bunker is like god damn trench warfare. It doesn’t suit his or my style.”

“No, it doesn’t, sir.”

“So, after breaking my three iron in half, I took my sand wedge from Hab and walked up to that evil, godless, Nazi bunker to face my peril alone. I was in a dark place, Bucky. How was I going to get out of that quagmire?”

“I don’t know sir.”

“It was very bleak, very bleak. But I just kept thinking about General George S. Patton Jr. What would he do in my place, Bucky?”

“I don’t know, sir. Maybe he would have slapped his caddy?”

“I took a deep breath and I drew into my backswing…” the president’s eyes closed so that he could immerse himself in the memory. “…and a great sense of calm came over me.”

“Then what, sir?”

“I let go and swung. I brought my wedge down into the trap just an inch behind the ball, launching a perfect little dollop of sand along with my ball up into the air. That little white projectile hung in space and time and, for a moment, I was transported.”

“Transported, sir?”

“Yes. I was transported back to June 1945. To that beach in France. I saw, for instant, Patton storming the shores of Normandy… I was there with him.”

“Patton wasn’t at Normandy, sir. I believe he was stationed in…”

“He was there, Bucky, and so was I. We were there together on Omaha beach, directing artillery fire at the Nazi positions.”

“Artillery, sir? From the middle of the English Channel?”

“We were dialing it right in on those commie Hun bastards.”

“Then what?”

“Then I transported back here and watched as my ball descended, like shell, no, like an ICBM on re-entry, perfectly on target. It bounced once… twice… then rolled… curving along the slope of the green… closer… closer… until it fell directly into the hole, vanquishing that son of a bitch Nazi green!”

“Wow, sir. An eagle. Nice job.”

“And then, at the very moment the ball went in the hole, I got the text message from the speaker. The Monfasco bill passed.”

“Wow!”

“Yep. It was right then and there that I knew what my decision was going to be, Bucky.”

“Which is?”

“I’ve decided I am going to go public and announce my campaign for re-election.”

Buckminster froze for a moment while the announcement sunk in, then he congratulated the POTUS. The POTUS waived to Haberdash and the others. They reached the president’s ball where they stopped and waited for the entourage to catch up. The president walked over to Haberdash and unzipped one of the pouches in his golf bag. He took out his gold-plated .44 magnum and walked back to Bucky whose face was filling with concern.

“Bucky…”

“Yes sir?”

“It is going to be very hard for me to win re-election if the first lady releases that secret video. Do you understand?”

“I do sir. I am doing everything I can to find her. The Russians have her well-hidden.”

“I don’t want excuses, Bucky. Excuses are what people use when they flub three shots out of the sand trap and end up taking a triple bogie. Excuses are what the Germans made when they lost Berlin to Eisenhower. I want results, Bucky.” The president waived his gun for emphasis. “You have to neutralize that situation; you have to neutralize that situation before we open those blast doors again. Because about a minute after they open, Huli and Timmy are gonna know what we pulled and there won’t be any turning back at that point.”

“Why don’t we just call it off, sir? Just leave things as they are… in Protocol 4.”

“Because there’s no upside in that. If we don’t rescind it, the Sino-Russian axis will know something’s up. At least by opening the doors we can buy some goodwill with whom we’re allowing in. But if you don’t get that bitch neutralized beforehand, then we’ll have to go with my Plan B.”

“Plan B?”

“Just do your job, Bucky. If not, it will all be over, and it will all be your fault.” The president pointed the magnum at Buckminster, right between the eyes.

“But sir, I…”

“Shh, shh, shh,” the POTUS shushed. “No more excuses. Take care of it or it’ll be all your fault.”

 


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COG Chapter 16

CogCoverSquare

#ContinuityOfGovernment, #WW3, #Deep State

Buried a thousand feet beneath Ohio, the ten trillion dollar, UN-constructed SuperBunker can shelter a million members of the global elite indefinitely, with all the comforts of the surface including simulated blue skies, boutique shopping, and three golf courses. The President of the United States, Arman “Our Man” Manfred, regains consciousness in one of the bunker’s six hospitals. Surrounded by his trusted advisors and his official hagiographer, his office becomes ensnared in the Machiavellian underworld of SuperBunker geo-politics. The situation worsens when the president’s Russian and Chinese counterparts execute Protocol 4, sealing the blast doors and severing all contact with the surface, relegating the world’s leaders to governing a mere computer simulation of the world above. An attempt to blackmail the POTUS with a salacious video taken by his own security agency forces President Manfred into seclusion. With his office infiltrated by a traitor and hobbled by incompetence, he attempts one final ‘Hail Mary’ that might just save the office of the president… even if it destroys the world in the process.

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Chapter 16

Sitting at his subterranean Oval Office desk, in front of the gold curtains, parted to allow the artificial light to permeate the room and illuminate the traditional furnishings, with his gold-plated .44 within arm’s reach, President Arman Manfred signed Executive Order 98745 with a flourish of pen stroke.

“We are in total support of this, Mr. President,” affirmed the wrinkled House Speaker whose false eyelashes fluttered and false teeth flashed as she spoke.

“Those republicans were running interference, again,” the president cursed. “They left me no choice.”

“This is for the greater good,” the speaker assured.

“We all know damn well that if I was a republican, they’d support my bill one hundred percent.”

“Oh, for certain. But the critical thing to remember is that the indispensable task of federal governance must continue. This order will strengthen democracy.”

What the speaker was referring to was the intent of the executive order just signed which instructed the acting attorney general to address the SuperBunker FISA court to request a warrant to access all the online data kept on everyone. Every email. Every voicemail. Every social media post… every purchase made… every website visited. Why the request? Simple. The data collection was necessary so that the SuperBunker supercomputer algorithms might be applied to the most recent backup of every American’s data in order to model the population’s behavior into the future. This was necessary due to the implementation of Protocol 4, where real world observations were no longer possible.

“I don’t see how the FISA court will interpret this request as constitutional,” Fricke commented.

“Why not?” asked Buckminster.

“Because it’s very broad. It sounds like a general warrant on everyone,” Fricke explained. “It seems it would fail the 4th Amendment test.”

“That’s exactly why the lawyers think it will be approved,” the speaker of the house replied, kicking up a fog of stale perfume. “Because it’s so broad, and because it applies to everyone, we think the court will interpret the request as not a violation of anyone’s specific rights.”

Haberdash groaned.

“We’re in a state of national emergency!” Buckminster barked. “They’d better rule favorably… or else they’re traitors.”

“They’ll approve it,” the POTUS said. “Hell, I appointed two thirds of them.” The POTUS continued, “hey, do we have the votes on the Monfasco legislation?”

“We are close, Mr. President,” answered the speaker.

“We’ve got to get it through. This is my signature legislation. It’s what I campaigned on. My re-election hinges on it.”

“I understand, Mr. President.”

“How many votes short are we?”

“We’re just a couple short. A few moderates are holding out, but we’ll get them to come around.”

“What about Fransen? She said she was ‘yes’ last week. Is she waffling, now?”

“She’s concerned about the budget projections. She ran as a deficit hawk and she’s in a tight race this year.”

“Budget projections? Who cares about the budget?”

“Sir?”
“Who cares? The whole goddamn surface of the earth is gonna end up a Superfund cleanup site. Get on the phone and ask that b… the congresswoman what she wants. Tell her I’ll expand her Air Force Base. That would create a few thousand jobs in her district.”

“Do you think that’ll work? I’m certain the Chinese and Russians have that base targeted with nukes.”

“It doesn’t matter. We’re dealing with a new reality. If we can’t know the real world, then the algorithms will become the reality. Just get her on board. If not, tell her I’ll have to make a call over to NSA and if they have anything on her. No, don’t tell her that…” He paused to ponder. “No, just casually remind her that any FISA warrant we request is likely to be approved, eventually, regardless of her vote and that will give us access to everything.” The POTUS winked. “I need a win here. This is for my legacy.”

“I believe your legacy is already well-established,” Haberdash chimed.

“What was that?”

“I’ll call Rep Fransen right away,” offered the speaker.

Faucett poked his tow head into the room. “Mr. President…”

“What is it?”

“The Russian president is on the bat line, sir.”

The room darkened. The POTUS glanced at Buckminster who averted his eyes. “Give me a moment,” the POTUS said. “Thank you, Madam Speaker. Go get those votes!” The speaker stood up from her seat, slipped past Faucett and out of the Oval Office.

“What is our plan for Timfimovich?” Fricke asked.

“I advise against speaking to him,” Tibbles remarked.

“Quiet.” The POTUS pondered with eyes still locked on to Faucett whose toothy face remained in the doorway. “Ah hell, we can’t avoid it any longer.”

“Sir I…” Buckminster started.

“Shut up, Bucky. You already failed me. You were supposed to take care of this.”

“It’s only been twenty-four hours, sir.”

“I don’t want to hear any excuses.”

“Should I ask him to hold, sir?” Faucett asked.

“No. Put him through. I know what has to be done.”

“Right away, sir.”

“Mr. President, are you absolutely certain?” asked Tibbles.

“Put him through. Do it!”

Faucett disappeared and the door closed. Within moments, President Timoshenko’s blotchy, balding, perspiring face appeared on screen. “Mr President. How are you?”

“Great, Timmy. What can I do for you?”

Timoshenko grinned. “I called to discuss a recent defection.”

“Veruca. You need to turn her over to us, Timmy. This is outrageous.”

“I’m afraid I can’t do that, Arman.”

The president pondered. “I’m prepared to make you an offer.”

“I’m listening.”

The POTUS glanced at Tibbles whose face was painted with curiosity. “You tell me what you want, Timmy. Let’s start there.”

Timoshenko leaned back with a smirk filling his blotchy, pink face. “You know what I want. I want your missiles out of Bolshevistan.”

The POTUS glanced at Buckminster as he thought. Buckminster shook his head. The POTUS turned back to Timoshenko. “Done!”

“No!” Buckminster protested.

“Shut up, Bucky!”

“Sir, you are compromising NATO! I strongly advise you to…”

“I said shut the fuck up. That’s an order.”

Buckminster fell into a pouty silence.

“So Timmy, how do we do this?”

“You have to give the order, and we have to verify. But that is going to be difficult because Protocol 4 needs to be lifted by all members of the Security Council. The Chinese will want something in exchange for their cooperation.”

“Don’t worry about the Chinese. I’ll deal with them. So when will you hand her over to us?”

“Once it’s been verified that the missiles are removed.”

“All right. It’s a deal. But we have an understanding, right?”

“What do you mean?”

“We understand each other that any information the first lady releases to you is part of this deal.”

“I’m not exactly sure what you mean, Arman.”

“What I mean is: anything she gives you, documents, affidavits, thumb drives, pass codes… it’s all part of this deal. If you try to use it against us, the deal is off.”

“Okay.”

“Excellent. I’ll have council draw up the agreement. We’ll have it over to you today. Timmy, we may have just averted world war 3.”

“That all depends on Hu Li, Arman.”

“Don’t worry about the Chinks. Goodbye.”

“Do svidaniya.”

The screen went dark.

“Faucett!” the president called into his intercom. “Get Huli on the bat line.”

“Yes sir.”

“What are we doing here?” Fricke asked.

“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m saving the office of the president of the United States.”

Within moments, the Chinese president’s wide, round face appeared on screen.

“What is it Mr. Pwesident?”

“It’s time to make a deal, Huli.”

“What kind of a-deal, Arman?”

“A deal for Chung.”

“I’m grad to see you have come to yo senses. What are you pwoposing?”

“I’m not asking for much, Huli. I think you’ll find the terms are in your favor.”

“Let’s hear it, then.”

“Here it goes. I want China to agree to buy two hundred billion in Euro sovereigns. I’ll get Schumpert to agree to buy it all back in twenty-four months.”

“My guess is you just made a deal with the Timoshenko to withdraw from Bolshevistan.”

“It’s tentative, Huli. But if all goes according to plan, you’ll get your reserves back before your term is up. It’s a small price to pay for saving the world.”

“But it’s a heavy pwice to pay for Chung. Too heavy, I’m afwaid.”

“Huli, your return will be guaranteed. China will come out ahead on this.”

“It’s still not enough! I have to convince the ministry of finance. It’s vewy difficult.”

“All right, fine. I’ll sign an agreement to stay out of the East China Sea for the duration of the repo term.”

“Hmm.” Hu Li took off his glasses as he pondered. The removal of the magnifying lenses made him almost unrecognizable. “Still not enough,” he remarked.

“Huli, you’re taking us to the cleaners here.”

A total silence fell over the room. The POTUS glanced at Buckminster and sighed. Haberdash picked at his teeth.

“Okay, fine. How about this: I’ll throw in Taiwan.”

“Taiwan?”

“Sir, no!” Buckminster shouted.

“Shut the fuck up, Bucky!”

“Taiwan? Seriousree?” Hu Li’s jaw dropped. “Now that’s vewy intewesting,” Hu Li remarked. “No boo shit?”

“No bull shit.”

“So now the question become how do we make this a-happen?”

“We have to rescind Protocol 4, obviously.”

“How do I know this isn’t a trick?” Hu Li asked.

“No trick. We’ll open the doors briefly, just long enough to get three couriers out. When they’re out, we’ll immediately go back into Protocol 4. The courier will deliver orders to our vice president to withdraw the missiles from Bolshevistan and pull our navy back beyond the Seven Dash Line. We’ll also have Chung brought back down here. Your courier will instruct your government to make the financial transfer with contingencies in place, of course. The Russian courier will verify our withdrawal from Bolshevistan. At a predetermined time, we’ll re-open the doors to allow Chung back in.”

“But Chung does not have a PIN. Your Fwank Tibbers has the PIN.”

“That’s true.” The POTUS looked at Tibbles whose face was filled with concern. “How about this: the three couriers that leave the SuperBunker will be full time residents with PINs. We’ll get Chung back in on one of their numbers.”

“So you sacrifice your resident PIN for Chung?”

“No, not for Chung. For world peace.” The president looked assuredly at Tibbles, winked, then wagged his finger at Hu Li. “But not our PIN, Huli. You’ll sacrifice your resident’s PIN.”

“I don’t know if we can do a-that. That’s vewy difficult.”

“Then no Taiwan.”

“But the person next in rine for the PIN will be vewy upset.”

“Then choose carefully, Huli. Minimize the blowback. You’re getting everything you want in this deal. You can make that one small concession.”

“I don’t know.”

“Huli, the governments of the world are depending on you.”

“Too hard. You give Chung American PIN.”

“No.” Manfred’s demeanor stiffened. “Chinese PIN for Chung. If not, then no deal.”

Hu Li pondered.

“Make up your mind. I’m hanging up, Huli.”

Hu Li sighed.

“Taiwan is within your grasp. I’m counting to three…”

Hu Li scratched his head.

“One…”

Hu Li glanced left, then right.

“Two…”

The president extended his arm to press the button that would end the conversation.

“Wait! Okay, okay! Dear. We have a dear.”

“Great. We’ll send the paperwork over.”

The screen went dark.

“What just happened here?” Buckminster asked.

“I saved the world, Bucky.”

“By giving away everything? I’m sorry sir but I must tender my resignation, effective immediately.” Bucky stood up and straightened his uniform in a huff.

“Calm down, Bucky. It’s not what you think.”

Buckminster froze, glaring down at the seated POTUS.

“Sit your ass down!” the POTUS ordered.

Fricke and Tibbles watched in wide-eyed anticipation.

“Trust me…”

Buckminster finally relented and retook his seat. The POTUS reached out and pressed the intercom button.

“Faucett, can you come in here please.”

 

The next day, the emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council convened. Arrangements were made to coordinate the temporary rescinding of Protocol 4 thus allowing the three couriers to exit the bunker laden with their diplomatic instructions. When news of the political breakthrough leaked, hopefulness effervesced within the souls of the Greys. Perhaps nuclear annihilation might be averted and they would get the chance to return to their loved ones on the surface.

Forty-eight hours later, a small ceremony was held at the Section 4 auxiliary entry node. The three presidents were introduced and took their positions behind podiums that were meticulously arranged after a six-hour negotiation. They each shook hands in a choreographed sequence, and then each gave a short speech congratulating themselves for their statesmanlike efforts to save the world.

The three couriers were then introduced. The Chinese courier was selected from the officer ranks of the People’s Army. His name was Yao. He stood five-and-a-half feet tall and was of sinewy build. He never smiled, and his narrow, dark eyes were constantly darting from point to point assessing and reassessing the situation.

His father, grandfather, and great grandfather were all ranking members in the party. His great grandfather had counseled Chairman Mao during the first Great Leap Forward to rid the country of the pestilence of sparrows that exploited the labors of the agrarian class by devouring their stores of rice. At his great grandfather’s behest, an army of three million useful idiots was assembled to patrol the countryside and murder and terrorize all the evil little birds of capitalism. But unfortunately, in addition to the rice, the sparrows ate the insects that devoured the crops afield. Once the sparrows were eradicated, a plague of feasting insects triggered a famine that killed millions. Yao’s great grandfather was reassigned to oversee the rapid industrialization of the country by placing a miniature blast furnace in every peasant’s backyard. Peasants were encouraged to melt down their pots and pans and farm implements in order to fulfill their communal steel quotas.

Yao, seeking to live up to the glorious sacrifices and achievements of his communist forebears, was quite honored when presented with the opportunity to surrender his PIN and his place in the bunker so that Taiwan might be returned to the Chinese people.

The Russian courier was an officer in the army. He was tall and fair, and lean, with deep-set eyes and a jutting jawline. His name was Petra. It was rumored that he was a descendant of both the Romanov and Smirnoff dynasties. His great grandfather was turned over to the secret police by his grandfather for maintaining royalist sentiments and reading Hemingway novels. He was sent to a Siberian gulag and never heard from again. His father was also an officer. He devised a plan to win the war in Afghanistan by poisoning the civilian water supply. His service to the Motherland ended when his helicopter ran out of fuel and he ws captured by the Mujahideen who had him dragged behind a donkey until his limbs ripped off. Petra, seeking to live up to the sacrifices and achievements of his forebears was quite honored when presented with the opportunity to surrender his PIN and his place in the bunker so that Bolshevistan might be returned to the bosom of Mother Russia.

Although officers, neither had any combat experience. Neither had even fired a rifle over the course of the previous ten years.

The American courier was somewhat of a surprise. It was none other than the president’s personal administrative assistant, Ford Faucett.

The three couriers approached the podiums and shook hands with the three presidents and each other, then posed for photos. Then, the presidents took their places at their podiums and, on cue, nodded to each other. In unison, they each pressed a red button affixed to their podium. A loud buzz was heard over the PA system. The pistons in the adjacent blast door fired and the wall of steel began to open, rising slowly upwards. Then, to the added sound of a drumroll, the three couriers proceeded abreast, down a red carpet, clutching their diplomatic satchels as they strode. They reached the blast door and waited for it to rise. When it had finally opened fully, they turned once more to their presidents stationed behind at their podiums. Yao and Petrov saluted with prideful, patriotic expressions. Faucett waived and grinned his buck-toothed grin. Then the three turned and marched out of the SuperBunker.

The presidents then gestured graciously to each other to do the honors. Hu Li acquiesced and when he was given the all clear signal, he pressed his red button which re-triggered Protocol 4. The alarms sounded and the blast door descended again.

The three couriers emerged from what resembled a plastic outhouse set in the middle of a Wal Mart parking lot in Akron Ohio. It was sunny. Nearby, a large woman was unloading sundries into her minivan while seated in a motorized mobility scooter. The couriers were greeted by a surprised army reservist who had been posted at the auxiliary entry node. Faucett communicated briefly with him and he darted off to summon a vehicle for their transportation. Faucett gestured towards the entrance of the big box store rising from the sea of asphalt some two-hundred yards away. The three couriers started off in that direction. Faucett lagged slightly behind and when they stopped to allow a rusted Kia to pull out of a parking space in front of them, Faucett withdrew a 9 mm pistol from his shoulder holster and shot Petrov and Yao each in the back of the head.

 


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“For back in our forefathers’ time, the devils ruled this land…”

Hat tip to Bear Bussjaeger…
#DeepState, #ContinuityOfGovernment, #COG

Leslie Fish – The Digwell Carol Lyrics

It is the time of Digwell, now Summer’s gone away.
People come from miles around to meet on Digwell day.
We all come here with mighty stones, with gravel, rocks, and sand,
Bring it here with oxcarts or with buckets in your hand.

Chorus:
Pile high, pile high, the devil’s underground.
Pile high, pile high, keep the devil down.

And bring you all your blighted crops and blighted beasts beside,
And coffins of this season’s dead that of the blight have died.
Bring them to the mountain’s top and fetch the boulders near,
‘Tis fitting that the blighted dead should all be buried here.

So fetch the boulders, sand, and stones, and pile them deeply here.
We bury now the sorrows, sins, and bad luck of the year,
And when the mountain’s higher by the mound we build today,
Then we shall feast and dance and sing this autumn night away.

For back in our forefathers’ time, the devils ruled this land.
They made cruel wars and laws to rule the folks on every hand.
They spoiled the land and water, and they poisoned half the sky.
They cared for nothing but their power, though man and nature die.

In time the danger grew so fierce it threatened them as well,
And so they dug deep in the Earth and hid them safe in Hell.
They hoped to wait in comfort ’till the poisons wore away,
For then they could come out again and rule another day.

They hid themselves below the ground and left the people here,
Amid the blight that they had made and even they must fear,
But still the people stayed alive, and well they promised then
That all the devils hid in Hell would never rule again.

And so our fathers hunted ’til they found the secret gate,
And there they piled the boulders high above where devils wait,
And thus we’ve ever after done these many years and more,
So now our manmade mountain stands above their exit door.

Pile high, pile high, the devil’s underground, oh,
Pile high, pile high, keep the devil down

COG Chapter 15

CogCoverSquare

#ContinuityOfGovernment, #WW3, #Deep State

Buried a thousand feet beneath Ohio, the ten trillion dollar, UN-constructed SuperBunker can shelter a million members of the global elite indefinitely, with all the comforts of the surface including simulated blue skies, boutique shopping, and three golf courses. The President of the United States, Arman “Our Man” Manfred, regains consciousness in one of the bunker’s six hospitals. Surrounded by his trusted advisors and his official hagiographer, his office becomes ensnared in the Machiavellian underworld of SuperBunker geo-politics. The situation worsens when the president’s Russian and Chinese counterparts execute Protocol 4, sealing the blast doors and severing all contact with the surface, relegating the world’s leaders to governing a mere computer simulation of the world above. An attempt to blackmail the POTUS with a salacious video taken by his own security agency forces President Manfred into seclusion. With his office infiltrated by a traitor and hobbled by incompetence, he attempts one final ‘Hail Mary’ that might just save the office of the president… even if it destroys the world in the process.

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Chapter 15

 

President Manfred’s eyes opened. He laid still in his bed, staring up at the ceiling. He always woke precisely thirty seconds before Faucett would knock on his door. He glanced out his false window. The faint glow of simulated dawn was coloring the stretched canvas sky beyond the glass.

Knock knock

“Come in.”

“Good morning Mr. President.”

The POTUS sprung up in bed, surprised by the sound of Tibbles’ voice. “Where’s Faucett? Why are you here?”

Dread filled Tibbles’ face as he started to speak.

“What is it?” asked the POTUS.

“Sir, I’m afraid there has been a development in the matter of the first lady’s disappearance.”

Manfred rubbed the crust from his eyes. “Is she dead?” he sneered hopefully.

Tibbles didn’t immediately answer, being momentarily stunned by the president’s callousness.

“I said, is she dead?”

“No, sir,” Tibbles answered.

The POTUS sighed, then threw his covers off and swung his spindly, veiny, bluish legs out and placed his feet onto the floor.

“What is it, then?”

“We think we know where she is, sir.”

“Great.”

The POTUS got out of bed and walked, unabashedly nude, over to the closet where he retrieved his blue, chief executive’s robe, emblazoned with the presidential seal on the back. He draped it over his pale torso rendering him in the visage of some middle-aged, Irish palooka.

“So, I suppose you want to talk about how we get her back,” he groaned.

Tibbles hung his head.

“You tell me, Frank. What’s our next move?”

Tibbles struggled to speak.

“Spit it out.”

“There’s more to it, sir.”

“What?”

“Sir, she… she…”

“Out with it!”

“We believe she’s defected to the Russians.”

The president’s icy blue eyes flashed with anger, then dissolved into capitulation. He ran his fingers through his matted hair, but it sprung back just as disheveled.

“Sir—”

Manfred raised his hand to silence him. He lumbered over to his bureau and retrieved his karaff of bourbon. He poured two glasses and offered one to Tibbles. Tibbles accepted it after a prod. Manfred clinked Frank’s glass, then shuffled back to his bed and took a seat.

“I expected this.”

Tibbles gulped. “There’s more, sir.”

Manfred sighed. “What is it?”

Frank gulped down the bourbon.

“What is it, Frank?”

“We believe the Russians have a video, sir.”

“A video?”

“Yes.”

“What has she done, Frank?” Manfred took a drink, then studied his flat, boney feet.

“You should probably watch it, sir.”

The glow of the president’s demeanor darkened further as if storm clouds had rolled into his bed chamber. He sat on his bed, bluish, spindly legs splayed, exposed, holding his drink between his knees. “One look at you, Frank, tells me it’s bad.”

“Should I, sir?”

“Play it!”

Tibbles nervously scanned the room, spotted the remote control on the nightstand, grabbed it and turned on the screen. He navigated to the POTUS’ top secret messaging account and opened the message from “Timmy”, which was the contact name President Manfred had given to the Russian president. He pressed play. The visage of the first lady, bleary-eyed and mannequin cold appeared. Her silky, jet black hair was done up in meticulous fashion. Her eyebrows, which tended to grow into convergence when not shorn, had been expertly waxed into the shape of two narrow, angry brush strokes. Her heavy makeup was nevertheless flawless. When she started to speak, only her crystalline-white bottom teeth appeared. The president stared down at his glass.

“Arman, I am sorry it has come to this. I am not sorry for you, I am just sorry in general. I had nowhere else to turn. I just could not stand by and allow you to destroy my people, to destroy the world. The lives of billions of human beings hang in the balance. I know how you regard them, a thousand times you described them to me: ‘A horde of mindless, zombified fucktards’. But they are still human beings, Arman. Nuclear war would result in their deaths… their murders… their genocide. I can’t let you end life as we know it because of some assanine political disagreement. I must stop this insanity. No office, no prince or kingdom is worth the end of the world.”

“I always knew that bitch was a communist. All Jews are commies, Frank. Remember that.” The president took another drink.

“My father is Jewish, sir,” Tibbles mumbled. The president didn’t acknowledge.

The first lady continued: “You were wrong to throw that Chinese boy out. He is just a child, Arman. You threw him out so you could bring in that…” her face scrunched into a bitter scowl, “…that piece of shit Frank Tibbles. He is your undoing, Arman. He is an evil troll of a man. A sycophant bloodsucker. If you are listening to this, Frank, and I know you are, I want you to know that you are a slithering snake, and hardly a man at that. And that’s not because you are a homosexual, Frank, it’s because you just are what you are. You’d suck Satan’s cock if it would advance your career…”

President Manfred glanced up at Tibbles who had moved to the karaff to pour another bourbon.

“And you…” she paused to gather momentum “you are Satan, Arman. I hate you. I hate you because you would incinerate the world over that… that… golem.”

“She’s obviously upset that I didn’t get her entire Jew family PINs to get down here.”

“Obviously, sir,” Frank affirmed.

“What was I gonna do, Frank?” Manfred continued. “If I brought her whole family in it would look bad… like I was taking advantage of my power.”

Frank acknowledged the president with his widened eyes, but grimly turned back to the video. “There’s more, sir.”

“So I want you to know, Arman,” the first lady continued, “I want you to know that I know… that I know what you are. And I know the things you’ve done.”

The POTUS took another drink. Tibbles bowed his head and drifted backwards away from the screen as if increasing heat were being thrown off from it.

She continued: “I’ve seen you and Frank together, Arman.”

Concern strained the president’s face.

“I know exactly why you kidnapped and deported that poor little Chinese boy…”

“What is she talking about, Frank?”

“I know about you and Frank. I’ve seen it, Arman. I’ve seen it on video.”

“What is she talking about?”

“I’ve seen him blowing your tiny little cock, Arman. I’ve seen you on top of him, pounding away in your throes…”

The POTUS’ eyes widened.

“…And don’t think I am making this up. Like I said, I have seen it. It’s on video and I have it. You are so stupid, Arman. You authorized all your spies and surveillance, but it never dawned on you that those same assholes would turn around and spy on you. You are an idiot. My father warned me about you. He said, ‘Princess, you are making a big mistake marrying the dipshit goy.’ And he was right. You’re nothing but an ignorant jackass­—a jackass with his finger on the nuke button.”

Tibbles eyes filled with tears.

“Don’t think I am going to let you get away with genocide, Arman. I have the video, and soon the Russians will have it too…”

The president closed his eyes and shook his head. “She has no idea what she’s done.”

“Now you listen carefully, Arman. You are going to make peace with the president of China. You are going to bring that Chinese boy back into the bunker and you will do it on Frank’s PIN if necessary. We are putting a stop to this insanity before it goes any further. Do you understand me?”

Manfred stared at Tibbles who looked back with his desperate, watering eyes, like a puppy expecting to be beaten.

“Turn the bitch off!”

Tibbles clicked off the monitor and the screen went black.

The president downed his bourbon, set his glass on the nightstand, and braced his hands on his boney thighs.

“Mr. President, if I may make a suggestion…”

“Shut the fuck up, Frank. I know what to do. But first, I am going to have a shit.”

The POTUS pushed himself up, shuffled over to the bathroom and took a seat. A moment later, his phone, that was resting on the nightstand, lit up.

“Get that, please.”

Tibbles grabbed the president’s cell and activated it.

“Who is it?”

Tibbles took the cell into the bathroom and handed over. “It’s Buckminster.”

“Hand it over. What is it Bucky?… What?… What?… Fine.”

The president handed the cell back to Tibbles.

“What is it?”

“The Russians. Timmy wants to meet.”

“He’s going to blackmail you, sir.”

“Do I look like an idiot? Of course he is.”

“I think you should let me advise you.”

“What is your advice, Frank?”

“Don’t meet him.”

“What choice do I have?”

“You don’t have to.”

“Oh, that bitch has made a real mess of things, now.”

“Sir, no good can come of meeting.”

“But a lot of bad can if we don’t.”

“Maybe there’s a way out. Maybe we can spin this to our advantage.”

“What the hell are you talking about, Frank?”

“Hear me out for a second. Perhaps you could pull the pin on this grenade before it blows.”

“Before it blows?”

“I meant before it mushrooms.”

“How and why would I do that?”

“Think about this: You could come out, sir. You could tell the world that you’re gay. It would make you a pioneer. You would be the first gay president.”

The president’s face flushed with anger. “What are you talking about? I’m no homo, Frank. Besides, Lincoln was the first gay president.”

“Sir? But we had sex.”

“That doesn’t make me gay. Being gay is…” the president stopped to ponder.

“Being gay is being attracted to people of the same sex, sir,” Frank said.

“No, no, no. Being gay is not that at all. Gayness is a lifestyle. It’s about being emotive and sensitive and wearing skinny jeans. I’m no queer, Frank.”

“Sir, but you have sex with men,” added Haberdash who had been lounging silently on the sofa the entire time.

“So what? Inmates have sex with each other. That doesn’t make them homos. Would you call one of those inmates at Leavenworth a homo?”

“Well I…”

“You want gay? I’ll give you gay. Gay is like Elton John, and those hosts on those home decorating shows, and Bruce Jenner, and…”

“And Frank,” added Haberdash, smirking at Tibbles.

“And… and… that singer from Queen and every newsman behind a desk on CNN. Now that’s gay. I’m not one of those.”

“But—” Tibbles protested but was cut off.

“Just set up a meeting with my circle of trust. Get them over here immediately. Tell them it’s urgent.”

Tibbles surrendered and began dutifully tapping away at a message on his cell.

 

The president showered and shaved and dressed. When he was ready, Tibbles escorted him to the SuperBunker Oval Office where Fricke and Buckminster were waiting.

“Gentlemen.”

“Mr. President,” they replied as they stood up from the two opposable sofas in the middle of the room.

“Have you briefed them?” the POTUS asked Tibbles.

“No sir.”

“We came right over when we got the message from Frank,” Buckminster answered.

The POTUS ambled over to his desk and took a seat. He opened his top right drawer, reached in, and clicked off the recording device, then he pulled out his gold-plated .44 magnum and set it on the desk. He closed the drawer and gathered himself.

“Gentlemen, we have a situation.”

“What is it?” Buckminster asked.

“Do you want me to explain it, sir?” Tibbles asked.

“Shut the fuck up, Frank. Everyone have a seat.”

Buckminster, Fricke, and Tibbles sat down in the chairs facing the president’s desk. The president looked each of them directly in the eye in succession.

“It seems that the first lady has defected to the Russians.”

“What?” Buckminster asked.

“It’s true. Fricke, you don’t look surprised.”

“I’m not, sir. But at least we know she’s alive. That’s good.”

“Is that good? It seems that she is now working with them.”

“What’s she doing?” Buckminster asked.

“She said, in an encoded message to me, that she has some sensitive information that she will turn over to Timmy if we do not meet their demands.”

“How sensitive?” Buckminster asked.

“Very sensitive,” Tibbles answered. “So sensitive that it could undermine or even destroy the very legitimacy of the U.S. government.”

“Like how we lied about weapons of mass destruction?” Buckminster asked.

“More sensitive than that.”

“Like how we set the drug cartels up as a front for funding the Contras in Nicaragua?”

“Far worse.”

“Like how the CIA had Kennedy assassinated?”

“Even worse than that.”

“Worse? What’s worse than that?” Fricke asked.

“Worse than faking the moon landing?” Buckminster asked.

Silent pause.

“Worse!”

“Holy shit.”

The POTUS grabbed his gold-plated .44 magnum and started waiving it as he spoke. “We can’t allow her to give this compromising information to the Russians. We just can’t do it. The very survival of the office of the president depends on that not happening.”

“What do you propose we do about it?” Fricke asked.

“We have to stop her.”

“What exactly does she have?” Fricke asked.

“It’s so sensitive I can’t even divulge it to you.” The POTUS replied, pointing the barrel of the pistol at Fricke for extra emphasis. “She has to be stopped.”

“How?” Fricke asked, ducking slightly.

The POTUS got up from his desk, turned, and used the barrel of his gun to part the gold curtains and have a peek out the virtual window. There was nothing to see. The window was frosted glass hiding a bank of lights simulating daylight just beyond it. He cleared his throat.

“We have to terminate the first lady,” Buckminster advised, reading the president’s mind.

“Like, assassinate her?” Fricke asked.

The president turned and looked at Buckminster without any expression.

Buckminster stood up. “Mr. President, you need say nothing. I will coordinate this operation without any direct order from you.” He saluted and turned to the other two. “Gentlemen, this mission does not exist, nor will it ever exist. The president did not order it. The president has no knowledge of it.” He saluted the president again and marched out of the Oval Office.

 


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COG Chapter 14

CogCoverSquare

#ContinuityOfGovernment, #WW3, #Deep State

Buried a thousand feet beneath Ohio, the ten trillion dollar, UN-constructed SuperBunker can shelter a million members of the global elite indefinitely, with all the comforts of the surface including simulated blue skies, boutique shopping, and three golf courses. The President of the United States, Arman “Our Man” Manfred, regains consciousness in one of the bunker’s six hospitals. Surrounded by his trusted advisors and his official hagiographer, his office becomes ensnared in the Machiavellian underworld of SuperBunker geo-politics. The situation worsens when the president’s Russian and Chinese counterparts execute Protocol 4, sealing the blast doors and severing all contact with the surface, relegating the world’s leaders to governing a mere computer simulation of the world above. An attempt to blackmail the POTUS with a salacious video taken by his own security agency forces President Manfred into seclusion. With his office infiltrated by a traitor and hobbled by incompetence, he attempts one final ‘Hail Mary’ that might just save the office of the president… even if it destroys the world in the process.

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Chapter 14

Deep within the Hades Level of the UltraBunker, the POTUS sat on his throne-like chair contemplating the situation. He was accompanied by his closest confidants: Fricke, Buckminster, Tibbles and Haberdash. The conference was marked mostly by silence. Tibbles’s eyes rolled back into his head in deep thought. Buckminster stared at Fricke, waiting for him to make a suggestion so that he could immediately shoot it down. Fricke checked the time on his cell. Haberdash doodled a pair of rotund breasts with erect nipples on his notepad.

“What?” Fricke finally burst, sensing Buckminster’s glare.

“Are you ready?” he replied.

“Ready for what?”

“Ready to activate that thing…?” He glanced down at Fricke’s feet where the nuclear football lay.

“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.”

“Let’s hope?” Buckminster mocked. “We don’t have the luxury of hope. We must be prepared to act. The survival of the U.S. federal government hangs in the balance.”

The POTUS sighed. “Knock it off, you two,” he barked. “What have you come up with, Frank?”

Tibbles scratched his head through his wispy hair, removed his glasses, rubbed his doe-eyes, then gulped. “I’m still working things out in my head, sir. If the Chinese have the first lady, why aren’t they using her as leverage to get Chung back? Why are they holding that back? Using her as negotiating leverage would be a vastly better alternative to Protocol 4. I’m essentially convinced that she is not with them. Perhaps the Russians have her. But if they did, I’m certain they would have notified the Chinese of it. Maybe they already have and the Chinese are playing coy. I’m not sure. I believe that—”

Just then, Faucett poked his head into the room.

“What is it?” asked the POTUS.

“You have a call.”

“Is it Huli?”

“No Sir.”

“Who then?”

“It’s the Duke of Watford Gap, sir… the Kingforebear.”

“The who?”

“The grandfather of the future Lord Protector of England,  Prince James Edward William George.”

“Oh, not that old inbred cunt. Tell him to make an appointment.”

“I tried sir, but he’s very insistent.”

“Tell him to bugger off… isn’t that the expression they use? Do it with decorum, though.”

“All right. If you say so, sir.”

Tibbles raised an eyebrow and subtly shook his head at the POTUS.

“No. Wait!” The POTUS sighed, again, sensing Frank’s disapproval. “Go ahead and put him through.” The POTUS glanced at Tibbles who nodded in affirmation.

“Yes sir.”

The Kingforebear’s long and pointy, bushy-eyebrowed face materialized on screen.

“What can I do for you, James Edward? Can I call you Jed for short?” asked the POTUS.

The Kingforebear started right in. “Good evening Mr. President. Thank you for speaking with me under such informal arrangements.”

“Always happy to make time for royalty. What can I do for you?”

“I do realize your time is extremely valuable so I’ll get right to it. I was inquiring as to the present situation and wondering how I could be of service. Perhaps I might be able to help mediate in the dispute with the Chinese.”

“I appreciate the offer Jed, but I don’t see how. There’s nothing to mediate. Those sneaky Chink bastards have exercised Protocol 4. “

“Yes, indeed they have. But perhaps we could enter into negotiations before…” the Kingforebear trailed off.

“Before what?”

“Well, before there is a global catastrophe.” The Kingforebear smiled awkwardly, but he always smiled awkwardly so nothing could be read from it.

Buckminster scowled.

“What is there to negotiate, Jed?”

“What I was thinking is that perhaps, well, perhaps we could at least get together and draw up an agreement to set aside some countryside here and there to protect it from total destruction…” the Kingforebear smiled awkwardly-er. “…so that there might be a place for the future King to go riding once this is all over.”

“What good would that do?” Buckminster chimed. “It will all be irradiated.”

“Perhaps.” Smile. “But my advisors tell me the exponential decay of the individual radionuclides is… is… not a very long time… that after a short while, the surface would have radiation levels that are less than life threatening. Perhaps our progeny could still go topside and enjoy a bit of mother nature now and then, even if wearing protective suits were necessary.” Smile.

“What areas did you have in mind, Jed?”

“Well, nothing much, really, just a million hectares of English countryside…” Smile. “Perhaps a small piece of the Scottish moors as well.” Smile.

“I’ll make a note of it and pass it on to missile command,” answered the POTUS. “Anything else?”

“That’s all, really.” Smile. “If we were to incinerate the greater portion of the world, at least we would be comforted in the knowledge that our descendants might one day enjoy a good fox hunt.” Smile.

“Thank you, Jed.”

“Thank you, Mr. President.” Smile.

Click.

No sooner had The Duke of Watford Gap’s smiling face dissolved from the screen when the face of the president of Japan appeared.

The POTUS grimaced.

“Mr. President? Am I connected? I wasn’t expecting to get through to you so quickly.”

Faucett stuck his face into the room again. “I apologize Mr. President. I seem to have patched the president of Japan through by mistake.

The POTUS shooed Faucett off. “Not now, Ticky Taki!” The president pressed a button. Taki’s face disappeared just as it was about to formulate a sentence. The screen finally went black.

“So what were you saying, Frank?” asked the POTUS.

“Sir, I do have some good news to report.”

“Let’s have it.”

Faucett’s smug face appeared in the door once more. “You have another call, Mr. President.”

“Who is it now?”

“It’s Lucious von Rothschild, sir.”

“Who?”

“You met back him back in August, in Davos,” the page explained.

“He’s the richest person in the world, sir,” Tibbles added. “He donated a hundred million dollars to your campaign… in the form of two thousand separate donations from the individual branch banks he owns.”

“No shit? Put him through.”

A pointy, wart-nosed, balding visage appeared on screen. His skin was patchy gray like worn out athletic socks and the bags under his eyes invoked the droopiness of a sleepy Saint Bernard.

“Good evening Mr. President.”

“Lucious! How the hell are you, old friend?”

“I suppose well, all things considered.”

“What can I do for you?”

“I wanted to let you know that we fully support you and that we stand at the ready to unleash our financial reserves in the event they are needed for postwar reconstruction.”

“That’s good to know, Lucious. I pray it doesn’t come to that but if it does, and it probably will, you will be the first ones we call. Is there anything else?”

“Well, as a matter of fact there is. Although our banks are very well capitalized, we fear that a full-scale nuclear conflagration would severely denigrate global infrastructure and either vaporize or at least isolate a large portion of the global workforce. Reconstruction would be very costly from a labor shortage perspective.”

“That’s true. But why would that bother you? We’d have to borrow even more to cover the rising costs.”

“Yes, yes, that is true. But if the pool of labor were to drop below a certain critical mass, no amount of credit would suffice. You can’t rebuild a bridge without someone swinging a hammer.”

“What are you getting at?” asked the POTUS.

“I’m suggesting a consideration for military strategy to accommodate preserving a pool of labor… for reconstruction.”

“This is total war, Lucious,” remarked the president. “We vaporize everything with scientific efficiency these days. Those barbaric days of antiquity, with armies maneuvering around on a pitch of battle, are long gone.”

“Yes, yes, of course. Those primitive tactics belong to the bygone era.”

“So, what are you proposing?”

“We were wondering if perhaps your military strategists might consider sparing viable pools of labor in Sub Saharan Africa, South America, and Southern Asia. There are billions of them. Billions of uneducated, hungry, and desperate Negroes and Orientals who have very reasonable expectations of living standards… if you know what I mean.”

“You mean cheap labor.”

“Yes, yes, of course. They could comprise a vast workforce which could be mobilized and imported for reconstruction. Once the rebuilding has begun, they would become a large populace from which to extract taxes that you can then use to repay your debts to us.” Lucious Rothschild, whose dead, black eyes reflected no light, grinned in the manner of a jackal baring its teeth.

The POTUS glanced over at Tibbles whose eyebrows raised. “Can we plug that parameter into the doomsday algorithm?”

“I’m sure it’s in there, sir,” Tibbles answered.

“Thanks for calling Lucious. We’ll try to work your proposal into the war plans.”

The screen went dark.

“So,” the president turned to Tibbles, “You were saying?”

“Yes, sir. So, I met with the lawyers earlier and we might have uncovered a possible remediation to this Protocol 4 situation.”

“Which is?”

“Sir…” Faucett’s face appeared in the doorway.

“No more calls!” barked the president.

“It’s not a call, sir. It’s your nurse. She’s come to take your readings and give you your vitamin shot.”

“Now?”

“She says the readings must be done now, sir, in order to get a good baselilne sampling for comparison.”

“Can she do it while we continue our discussion?” asked the POTUS.

“I don’t see why not,” Buckminster answered. “She’s vetted with security clearance level six.”

“Send her in, then.”

“Mr. President,” Tibbles continued, “I…”

The POTUS watched as Nurse Baum entered the room carrying her black medical bag. She walked over to him and placed it down on the floor next to his high back chair. The president redirected his attention to Tibbles.

“Mr. President,” Tibbles continued, “Protocol 4 seriously hampers our ability to govern. But I am happy to tell you that, after meeting with the attorneys, it seems we may still be able to send information to the surface legally.”

Nurse Baum wrapped the blood pressure cuff around the president’s arm and activated the pump.

“Explain…”

Tibbles shuffled through his notes. “It seems that Protocol 4 is quite specific in what it authorizes. It is very clear in wording that no information from the surface and no persons are to be allowed into the bunker for the duration of the situation but…”

Nurse Baum noted the president’s pressure readings on her notepad. Then she rolled up the president’s sleeve.

“But what?”

Nurse Baum wiped a spot on the president’s forearm and withdrew a syringe from her bag.

“But it does not say that all information and persons are precluded from leaving the bunker.”

Nurse Baum flicked the bubbles in the syringe and eyed the dosage.

“Go on…”

“In fact, in the fine print, there is a provision that arranges for persons to actually leave the bunker.”

Fricke’s eyes widened.

“Even so,” said the president, “how would we get someone out? The doors are sealed.”

Tibbles pondered. “We’d have to get the Chinese and the other security council members to agree to open the doors momentarily. But I’m certain they would want someone to be allowed out as well.”

“They’ll never go for it. It defeats the purpose of Protocol 4,” Buckminster argued.

“How would we convince them to go along?” pondered the POTUS.

“Maybe they have someone they want to bring in,” suggested Fricke, looking as if he was suggesting the obvious. “Chung, perhaps?”

“No. Absolutely not!” snapped Buckminster. “No Chung. It’s too risky, anyway. They would never agree to do that unless they could use it to their advantage.”

“What other options are there?” asked the POTUS.

The room fell silent. Fricke Finally looked up and started to speak. “Maybe we could—”

Buckminster rolled his eyes, then pounced. “Chung will not be a part of any deal, Fricke. Don’t even try to bring it up.”

Fricke fell silent.

“Hear me out for a second,” Buckminster continued. “We don’t want to do anything cooperatively with the Chinese. They’ll screw us for sure. But I think there’s a way we can go it alone.”

“How?” asked the POTUS.

“There are thousands of exhaust and air vents tunneled from the surface down into here. If we got the Corps of Engineers together, I’m sure they could devise a way of sending someone up to the surface through one of those, in secret.”

“Is putting a man on the surface of the earth even feasible?” asked Fricke.

Buckminster scowled. “There are grates and traps and fans and other obstacles, but it can’t be as difficult as putting a man on the moon. I’ll put the Corps on it right away. They’ll figure it out.”

“And then what?” asked Haberdash who had been sitting quietly in the corner the whole time, doodling his increasingly lewd cartoons. “What I mean is: So we get someone out, but they certainly won’t be able to get back in. Unless they can rappel back down.”

“That’s correct,” Tibbles added. “Once you leave, you can never return. But if that person or persons carry the president’s orders, the president could at least continue to exercise the powers of the office.”

Fricke interrupted. “I think we should still make the offer to rescind Protocol 4 to the Chinese… even if we know it will be rejected.”

“Why?” asked Buckminster.

“Because it will serve as a diplomatic distraction and buy us some time… and it keeps all our options open. The sticking point will be Chung and we can draw the negotiations out indefinitely.”

“Fine. Write it up and I’ll sign off,” answered the POTUS just as Nurse Baum jabbed the needle into his arm.


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COG Chapter 13

CogCoverSquare

#ContinuityOfGovernment, #WW3, #TEOTWAWKI

Buried a thousand feet beneath Ohio, the ten trillion dollar, UN-constructed SuperBunker can shelter a million members of the global elite indefinitely, with all the comforts of the surface including simulated blue skies, boutique shopping, and three golf courses. The President of the United States, Arman “Our Man” Manfred, regains consciousness in one of the bunker’s six hospitals. Surrounded by his trusted advisors and his official hagiographer, his office becomes ensnared in the Machiavellian underworld of SuperBunker geo-politics. The situation worsens when the president’s Russian and Chinese counterparts execute Protocol 4, sealing the blast doors and severing all contact with the surface, relegating the world’s leaders to governing a mere computer simulation of the world above. An attempt to blackmail the POTUS with a salacious video taken by his own security agency forces President Manfred into seclusion. With his office infiltrated by a traitor and hobbled by incompetence, he attempts one final ‘Hail Mary’ that might just save the office of the president… even if it destroys the world in the process.

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Chapter 13

The workers trapped inside the bunker turned away from the blast doors and staggered silently back toward their workstations. They passed through gauntlets of gawking elites, some smugly sipping their iced coffees, others casting looks of contrived pity, but most just appearing perplexed by the dazed looks on the sulking Greys.

“Why do they look so glum, grandfather?” asked the little toe-headed Prince Edward William Charles Henry, while clasping the aged hand of his great grandfather, James Edward William George, the Duke of Watford Gap, who was also known as the Kingforebear as he was the grandfather of the future King of England, Prince Henry William Edward Philip, who himself was cursed with his maternal grandfather’s hairline and was already balding at thirteen years old. The Duke of Watford Gap patted the little Prince of Northumbria and Strath Clyde atop his blond head, between the boy’s two enormous, satellite-dish-shaped ears, while examining the throngs of stunned Greys shuffling past. The little prince grinned revealing two enormous central incisors separated by a large gap.

“Everybody is saying we must have more people brought down into the bunker,” the Duke pondered, “but the people that are here are looking so ghastly that they’re here.”

 

In Sub-sector 16, the French sector, the glum procession was observed by French President Magimel and his sultry, ivory-skinned mistress, from the balcony of his suite.

“Francoise?” she asked.

“Oui?”

“What is wrong with them?” she asked in French, her upturned, purple nipples visible through her sheer robe.

“Who, my dear?”

“The workers, the Greys.”

President Magimel, who stood draped behind the burgundy silk of his curtains wearing only his silver rolex, took a long drag on his electric cigarette. He exhaled the steam which dissolved into the recycled air. “Madame,” he answered as his eyes rolled up into his bushy Grey eyebrows evoking a state of deep introspection. “It is because hope is the source of all sadness and worry.”

“Hope is the source of sadness?” she asked, innocently. “How can that be? Hope is what carries us through.”

“Non, my child. Hope is the anchor that pulls them down into the abyss of despair.”

“I feel sad for them.”

“Don’t.”

“Why?”

“Because they are the fortunate ones.”

“But they are separated from their families.”

“My dear, this bunker— this soute— will soon be all that is left of the world.”

“But I still feel sad for them.”

“I said no! Their lives have been spared. What else can be done for them? We have done what we can. Without us, they would soon be gone.”

“Still, we must do something to cheer them.” She pondered behind the curtain fluttering in the air-conditioned breeze. “I think that perhaps… perhaps we should let them have a sherbet.”

 

In Section F, which was situated the farthest possible distance from the European and North American sectors, there were hostels of the former African colonies. Sub-sector 178 was the partition carved off by the United Nations for Zimbabwe, which was comprised of a single, baroque suite, floored in marble and fine finishes, constructed for the elites of that country that consisted of two human beings with PINs: one allotted for the Zimbabwe president and one for his special guest. The Greys who worked that section— almost entirely white, bourgeois-leftist, North American coeds— appeared even more sullen than the Greys who worked the other sections. Not knowing if nuclear war had begun but fearing the worst, they worried that there would be no empathy forthcoming from their potentially permanent African masters. They were trapped in a place that was culturally and linguistically and radically foreign to them. And they feared they would be forever separated from their cozy, Silicon Valley and East Coast suburban enclaves, deprived of the most fashionable technical gadgetry, estranged from their parental guardians who were supposed to support them into their mid-thirties, and severed from the trust fund accounts to which they were duly entitled. Their lofty idealism had been shattered by an alarm bell, crushed by a descending steel blast door, and exposed by the regret of signing up for a one-year secular mission to signal their high-minded virtue to potential employers on their otherwise empty resumes.

The president of Zimbabwe, himself nary distinguishable from a murderous gangster, bankrolled into power by Chinese industrialists, poured back his Cristal champagne, snorted a vile of cocaine, and bellowed a derisive, schadenfreude cackle at the caste of pasty-faced Greys lumbering past.

 

“Attention!” came the vaguely sultry voice over the loudspeakers once again. “Attention: all guest worker personnel! Please refer to lodging instructions on the SuperBunker intranet home page. You are required to report to your designated Protocol 4 accommodations within thirty minutes of the end of your shift.”

Nurse Baum walked toward her post, consumed with worry for her daughter and parents, siblings, and friends. She trudged along beneath the canvas sky illuminated in happy, pastel blue. She returned to the infirmary finding it in a state of dysfunction with many posts untended and the lobby filling with elite patients in need of treatment for migraines and sciatica and toenail fungus. The check-in desk was manned by an empty chair.

“Nurse Baum!”

She turned to the sound of the voice. It was Dr. Waters. He was walking a patient into an examination room.

“So glad to see you. What I mean is: I’m sorry you were not able to escape, but I’m glad you are here.”

She stared at him blankly.

“Would you mind running over to pharmacy and filling this prescription for me?”

Baum stood frozen.

“Don’t worry, Emma,” he assured her. “It’ll be all right.”

At that moment, the comfort of escape into routine took hold of her. She took the slip from the doctor and turned to make her way to the pharmacy. She approached the counter and rung the service bell. The station there was also un-manned. She glanced left and right and did not notice anyone. She rang the bell again to no avail. Finally, she reached over the counter and felt under the surface for the switch. She found it and toggled it over which unlocked the door. She walked around the counter and into the dispensary to fill Dr. Waters’ prescription. Aisle J-L… Aisle M-N… Aisle O-P. She turned and started reading the labels on the bins: Patinase… Pavacot… Paxil. She skipped a shelf. Pharmaflur… Phazyme… Phenadoz. She jumped down a few rows. Phernergan… Pheniramine… She stopped at one label. It grabbed her attention, popping out as if it were labeled in giant font. It read “Phenobarbital”.


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COG Chapter 12

CogCoverSquare

Buried a thousand feet beneath Ohio, the ten trillion dollar, UN-constructed SuperBunker can shelter a million members of the global elite indefinitely, with all the comforts of the surface including simulated blue skies, boutique shopping, and three golf courses. The President of the United States, Arman “Our Man” Manfred, regains consciousness in one of the bunker’s six hospitals. Surrounded by his trusted advisors and his official hagiographer, his office becomes ensnared in the Machiavellian underworld of SuperBunker geo-politics. The situation worsens when the president’s Russian and Chinese counterparts execute Protocol 4, sealing the blast doors and severing all contact with the surface, relegating the world’s leaders to governing a mere computer simulation of the world above. An attempt to blackmail the POTUS with a salacious video taken by his own security agency forces President Manfred into seclusion. With his office infiltrated by a traitor and hobbled by incompetence, he attempts one final ‘Hail Mary’ that might just save the office of the president… even if it destroys the world in the process.

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Chapter 12

Protocol 4 is triggered by flipping a toggle switch set within a glass case mounted to the desk of each of the leaders of the nations that are permanent members of the UN Security Council. This switch, intended to be activated as a final failsafe against nuclear destruction, is not entirely dissimilar to the button that activates the launch of nuclear warheads. Each nuclear capable country has their own version of a launch button, but only China, Russia, The United Kingdom, France and the United States can trigger Protocol 4. Within minutes of activation, the exterior primary and secondary blast doors of the SuperBunker are closed and sealed and all forms of communication with the outside world are completely severed. The idea is that no one and no information gets in or out— such as nuclear launch orders, for instance. While in the Protocol 4 state, the blast doors cannot be opened and communications with the surface cannot be re-established until the leaders of all five Security Council nations agree to deactivate.

Moments before the Saxon/Norman football game went dark, the president of China summoned his aide de camp who handed him a miniature, clawless, gold hammer. President Hu Li used the ceremonial hammer to smash a glass cloche enclosing the Protocol 4 toggle switch. Surrounded by his closest advisors who nodded in encouragement, Hu Li carefully extended his index finger, just touching the tip of the metal switch. He took a deep breath and, with mustered resolve, pressed it. Aside from a faint click, the Chinese assembly noticed nothing. They bowed to the president of China and filed silently out of his office.

Elsewhere, in the public spaces of the SuperBunker, a female voice— a voice that was pleasant yet stern, and faintly sensual— emanated from the thousands of emergency loudspeakers positioned strategically around the enormous underground facility. The female voice spoke in the dominant language of the sector… except in the Middle Eastern section where the voice heard was male and grim.

 

“Attention! Protocol 4 has been activated. The bunker doors are closing. Please stand clear of the doors. Attention!  Protocol 4 has been activated. The bunker doors are closing. Please stand clear of the doors. This is not a test.”

 

The hands of the Greys reactively dug into their pockets and purses to retrieve their cell phones to check the news reports and to dial their loved ones. Their phones had no external reception.

 

“Attention! Protocol 4 has been activated. The bunker doors are closing. Please stand clear of the doors…”

 

With surprised looks, the elite inhabitants of the bunker reached for their devices as well, and spilled out of their boutiques and cafes and salons and massage parlors and yoga studios in hopes of getting better signal. But they too had forgotten that they were hundreds of feet underground and that cell phone signals were transmitted by a communication array wired into the very structures of the bunker. Their cell phones had no external reception, either. They could call each other and surf the numerous bunker hosted websites, but no connectivity to the surface could be made and no information from the surface was getting in or out. With a shrug of their shoulders, the elites wandered back into their boutiques and cafes and salons.

 

“Attention! Protocol 4 has been activated. The bunker doors are closing. Please stand clear…”

 

A spontaneous surge of frantic desperation gripped the hordes of the tens of thousands of Greys who simultaneously made a dash for the exit portals. The vast, vast majority did not want to be trapped inside. Their families and houses were on the surface and they would rather be in their own homes with their families if the world was to end.

 

“Attention! Protocol 4 has been activated. The bunker doors are closing. Please stand clear…”

 

With eyes filled with terror, Nurse Baum spilled out of a jammed elevator and sprinted out onto the subterranean avenue, joining a fray of thousands clad in their drab gray worker uniforms. Baum was lucky. The nearest access portal was a mere 100 yards away. Some workers were separated by miles of subway tunnel and had no chance to make it out, but they jammed into the subway cars, nevertheless.

Baum ran for it.

 

“Attention! Protocol 4 has been activated. The bunker doors are closing…”

 

Baum could see the ramp leading up to the secondary blast door. She sprinted with her forearm bracing against the back of the workers running in front of her. The tunnel narrowed. Someone tripped just ahead and Baum pushed to the side to avoid the scrum of tumbling Greys.

 

“Attention! Protocol 4 has been activated. The bunker doors are closing…”

 

Red lights began to flash. An alarm sounded, clanging like a deafening school bell. Baum’s heart raced. Ahead, she could now see the yellow-striped steel blast doors slowly slipping down out of the ceiling like a slow-motion cave-in.

 

“Attention! Protocol 4 has been activated. The bunker doors are closing…”

 

The Greys jammed together, shoulder to shoulder, chest to back, knee to calf, toe to heel, tighter and tighter. The red light flashed and blinded. The ringing alarm deafened. Baum was very close to escape. The yellow striped door cranked relentlessly downward.

 

“Attention! Protocol 4 has been activated…”

 

She raised her hands so that they could be kept free of the constricting, tightening mob of desperate souls. Ahead, bodies extruded through the closing blast door and sprinted up the gangway towards the elevator banks. Frozen, expressionless soldiers bearing rifles and wearing sky-blue helmets flanked the blast door. Baum thought of her daughter. A terror took hold, fomenting her desperation that quickly built and released in a scream for help.

 

“Protocol 4 has been activated…”

 

The door was halfway down, but there was still enough room to hunch through it. She shoved forward as the mob pushed her from behind. The Grey bodies squirted through the closing gap, into the light and space and freedom and certain death beyond.

 

“The bunker doors are closing…”

 

The guards, knowing that the doors had no safety mechanism to prevent them from crushing anyone stuck beneath, were pressed into action. They pushed into the mob with their rifle stocks and started shoving them back.

 

“Please stand clear…”

 

Baum was just feet away from freedom. She ducked down beneath the fray and crawled forward between the jostling legs, feet, and kneecaps, risking being crushed or suffocated, not by the doors but by the mass of flailing humanity. Her tears of desperation blinded her. She could make out the light, thirty inches of space between the door and the floor. She shot herself through, her body halfway under. The steel continued to fall but she was going to make it! Her head and shoulders poked through to the other side. She felt the cool air. But something took hold of her by the ankles and yanked her back.

 

“The bunker…

 

She clawed at the floor, screaming for someone darting up the ramp ahead to turn back and pull her through to safety but no one turned.

 

“Doors…”

 

The leading edge of the door pressed against her back. She clawed frantically, screaming her daughter’s name.

 

“Are…”

 

She felt a powerful tug on her waistband and with a giant heave, she was yanked backwards into the clamoring chaos not a moment before the doors…

 

“Closed.”

 

There was a thunderous, reverberating thud, then complete silence.

 


Comments, likes, edits and suggestions are welcome. They help increase visibility.

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COG Chapter 11

CogCoverSquare

Buried a thousand feet beneath Ohio, the ten trillion dollar, UN-constructed SuperBunker can shelter a million members of the global elite indefinitely, with all the comforts of the surface including simulated blue skies, boutique shopping, and three golf courses. The President of the United States, Arman “Our Man” Manfred, regains consciousness in one of the bunker’s six hospitals. Surrounded by his trusted advisors and his official hagiographer, his office becomes ensnared in the Machiavellian underworld of SuperBunker geo-politics. The situation worsens when the president’s Russian and Chinese counterparts execute Protocol 4, sealing the blast doors and severing all contact with the surface, relegating the world’s leaders to governing a mere computer simulation of the world above. An attempt to blackmail the POTUS with a salacious video taken by his own security agency forces President Manfred into seclusion. With his office infiltrated by a traitor and hobbled by incompetence, he attempts one final ‘Hail Mary’ that might just save the office of the president… even if it destroys the world in the process.

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Chapter 11

Grave concern filled Tibbles’s face. Fricke’s eyes darted between Tibbles and the president and Buckminster. The entire COGCON cabinet had been hastily assembled. They sat around the conference table, eyes now fixed on the POTUS. Haberdash, sitting in a corner, scratched the inside of his ear canal with his little finger, then dislodged the wax from his fingertip with a flick. The president leaned back in his chair and rocked. The squeaking of the chair permeated the silence like the mating croaks of a swamp toad.

Squawk

Squawk

Squawk

Faucett, the POTUS’s Brown House butler, had recently been promoted to administrative assistant. He poked his head into the room. “Sir…”

The president stopped rocking. “Yes?”

“There’s still no answer from the president of China.”

“Fine.”

The president folded his hands and rocked again.

Squawk

Squawk

Squawk

Several minutes later, the Hades Level servants wheeled in carts delivering lunch: turkey clubs with Weinstein pickles and Plochman’s mustard, and tuna fish sandwiches with coleslaw. Side salads and potato chips were also available. The cabinet members ate in the stark UltraBunker while the giant screen projected a rectangular void with only an occasional photon of primordial light flickering within its boundaries of blackness.

After lunch, Faucett poked his face in again. “Mr. President?”

“Yes?”

“There’s still nothing to report, sir.”

“Fine.”

Squawk

Squawk

Squawk

Fricke leaned forward. “Maybe we should contact the Russians. Perhaps they’ve heard something.”

“Good idea. Bring Timmy up.”

Fricke picked up the conference phone and asked the operator to connect the UnderKremlin— which is what the president had dubbed the Russian equivalent of the UltraBunker.

…But the screens remained black.

Fricke held on the line. Tibbles’s eyes darted between Fricke and the president. Haberdash dug the eraser end of his pencil into his sock to scratch his arch.

“Well…?” asked the POTUS.

“No answer yet, sir,” replied Fricke as he held.

“I knew it.”

“Knew what, sir?” asked Tibbles.

“I knew them slav-commie bastards were in it with the Chinks.”

“Actually, I think only the Chinese are communist, sir,” replied the secretary of the interior.

“Who asked you?” the POTUS snapped at her before turning back to Fricke. “Anything yet?”

“Still nothing, sir.”

The POTUS scowled, punishing Fricke for his failure of an idea. Fricke relented and hung up.

“Turn on the game!” ordered the POTUS.

The secretary of transportation grabbed the remote and fumbled with the buttons. The black viewing screens filled with a menu and then gridiron action. It was the game of the week pitting the Saxons against the Normans. This elated the POTUS as he was the biggest fan of the Saxons and a close, personal friend of their coach, Vincent Fangbright. They had played football and roomed together at Yale and once chanted secret rites together with seven other fraternity pledges, each holding candles, buck naked, with a man dressed like Darth Vader walking around and whipping them in the ass with a ping pong paddle while they encircled and slurped jello shots off a stripper named Jennifer who was lying on a coffee table altar, portraying a corpse, totally nude except for a goat’s head mask on her face… which was the culmination of their secret fraternity initiation.

As the cabinet watched, the football game evolved into an intense defensive struggle. The teams mirrored each other’s conservative strategy, and each took turns punting, attempting to gain advantage by flipping the field and pinning their opponent in their end. The clock wound down and the teams withdrew into their lockers at halftime with the score tied at 10.

“Fangbright is the greatest coach of all time,” extolled the president over the din of an ad for testosterone supplements. He pressed the intercom to ping Faucett. “Any word from the Chinks?”

“Nothing yet, sir.”

A server brought more snacks and the members of the COGCON cabinet indulged in nacho chips and guacamole dip, and a giant cheese ball with crackers, and shrimp cocktail, and hot wings, and fudge brownies, and diet sodas to wash it all down.

The second half began and the president watched intently from his chair, snacking occasionally on chilled shrimp slathered in horse radish cocktail sauce. The third quarter action lumbered left and right and right and left on the screen without any scoring. Each team punted thrice. The tension built like a stalemate in a tug of war with neither side gaining advantage and timely defensive plays stifling the other’s posessions.

In the fourth quarter, the Saxons finally managed to sustain a drive taking them across midfield and close to field goal range. On first down, they connected on a short pass that netted seven yards. On second, they ran off tackle for four, gaining another first down, but the play was called back on an illegal formation penalty. On the replay of second down, the Saxon quarterback— the steely, gunslinger-eyed Brock McGuinn— threw a pass that was just knocked away at the last moment by the Norman defender. It was third and eight.

“This is where it will be won or lost,” remarked the POTUS. The Saxons broke the huddle. “C’mon McGuinn! You can do it!”

Brock “The Gun” McGuinn sauntered into position behind the center and called the signals. The short, white, slot receiver went into motion back across the formation. The defenders pointed and shifted their alignments with great urgency. The Saxon crowd went completely silent in anticipation. The center snapped the ball. The front lines collided in a crackle of brain trauma. The snap went dangerously high. McGuinn nonchalantly reached up to snatch it out of the air with one hand. He quickly planted his feet within the halo of blockers that was collapsing at his flanks. He stepped forward with his bow-legged chicken legs, into the salient of desperate, bulging, mud-stained, meshed polyester and neoprene. A receiver broke free in the middle of the field. McGuinn raised the ball to his ear. The pocket of protection was closing in on him like a garotte. The Gun coiled his arm. A defender extended his paw to swat the ball from behind him, just missing. McGuinn snapped his wrist forward. The ball rocketed out from the scrum and down the middle of the field in a brown, spheroid spiral. The receiver reached out his hands to receive it—

“Heh-roh Mr. Pwesident!”

The screen filled with the round, bespectacled face and nubby Grey teeth of the Chinese president.

“What the fuck is going on?” shouted the POTUS.

Faucett stuck his pubescent face into the room. “Mr. President, we have finally gotten through to the president of China.”

“I can see that. Couldn’t this wait five minutes?” The POTUS shooed Faucett away. Faucett withdrew his head and closed the door. Manfred feigned cordiality and greeted the president of China. “Huli!”

“Manfweed,” Hu Li replied. “Have you fine-ree come to yo senses?”

“I don’t know what you mean, Huli. Oh…,” the POTUS continued, snidely, “…do you mean that because of the first lady situation that I have somehow changed my mind and decided to acquiesce to your demands?”

“I don’t a-know anything about yo first ray-dee, Mr. Pwesident.”

“Don’t be coy, Huli.”

“I’m not a-being coy. I do not know anything about her.”

“Cut the crap, Huli. I know what this is. You are trying to maintain plausible denial.”

Tibbles pushed back from his seat, rushed over to the president, and cupped his hand over his ear to speak privately. “Maybe we should consider the possibility that he in fact doesn’t know that she is missing,” Tibbles whispered.

“Huh?”

“Just in case, sir. If he does have the first lady, then we need not remind him of it. But if he doesn’t, he need not know of it.”

“Oh, right.”

Tibbles withdrew.

“So, what do you want, Huli,” asked the POTUS.

“I’m returning yo call, Mr. Pwesident.”

The president glanced at Tibbles who faintly shook his head.

Hu Li Continued: “I thought you were ready to end this a-madness and arrow Master Chung to return to the bunker.”

“Why?”

“Why? Because your dead-rine is a-rapid-ree approaching.”

“And then what?” the POTUS asked.

“Then you will find out.”

“You’ll get nowhere with this, Huli. I am not budging on the Chung situation, regardless of what you threaten to do with the first la—”

Tibbles scowled.

“Er… uh… whatever you intend to do,” the POTUS finished.

“I know nothing of your first a-ray-dee.”

“I’m just putting it out there, Huli. I’m letting you know that whatever you intend to do, it isn’t going work. I’m not changing my position.”

“I fear that this situation may be deteriorating into world war three,” Hu Li observed.

“That’s on you.”

“You leave me no a-choice. We cannot arrow you to kidnap our citizens.”

“You’re one to talk, Huli.”

“I see there is nothing for us to discuss. This is a waste of time.”

“Fine.”

“Fine.”

Click

President Hu Li’s image vanished from the screens and was replaced by a television commercial for Dodge pickup trucks. The football game resumed. The Saxons had scored a touchdown during Hu Li’s interlude, but the Normans had scored as well and the game was tied at 17 with two minutes remaining. The Saxons broke the huddle and approached the line of scrimmage which was at their own twenty. The home crowd quieted once more. The first play was a pass that resulted in an eight-yard gain. The second play connected for ten yards. McGuinn signaled for a timeout. After commercials for lite beer, erection pills, and Chevy pickup trucks, the game returned. McGuinn ran four plays, connecting with his receivers on each, taking the Saxons down to the Norman forty-yard line. There were fifty seconds remaining in the game. The Gun rushed up to the line while the clock ticked away. Forty-nine… forty-eight… forty-seven… He took the snap and spiked the ball into the ground, stopping the clock at forty-four seconds. The camera cut to the pot-bellied Saxon place kicker who kneaded a pigskin, placed it on a tee, and with a look of furrowed seriousness, booted it into a practice net on the sideline. His longest-ever career field goal was fifty-four yards. From where the ball was placed, it would be a fifty-seven yard try. The Saxons knew they had to gain a few more yards to have a decent chance.

Coach Fangbright took off his headset. His lips formed inaudible words on the screen. McGuinn lifted his helmet and his lips started to move. Then Fangbright, noticing that a camera was zooming in on his face from two-hundred yards away, covered his mouth with his laminated play sheet that resembled a Denny’s menu— which was not unlike the nuclear football instructions. McGuinn stopped talking and just nodded every couple of seconds. Then The Gun turned and trotted out onto the field and into the Saxon huddle.

The huddle broke and the players assumed their positions. McGuinn took the snap on first sound and extended the ball to the halfback who cut towards the right side of the line… but it was a play action fake. McGuinn withdrew the ball and rolled in the other direction. The Norman linebacker pursuing from the back side discovered the ruse and cut towards McGuinn preparing to murder him. McGuinn was just able to get the pass off and turn his back before he was pile-driven into the ground, face first. The brown pigskin wobbled out, fluttering downfield about ten yards before it was intercepted by the Norman safety who was charging up fast…

The referee watching this play unfold could easily discern that the interception would be returned for an uncontested touchdown. He glanced at the flattened Brock McGuinn, then over to the charging Norman defender who plucked the fluttering ball out of the air and charged on, without breaking stride, towards the goal line.

Then the referee looked at McGuinn…

And as if he was perhaps overcome by some sense cognitive dissonance at the notion of the underdog Normans actually beating the Saxons…

Or perhaps because he was subtly informed by his supervisor before the game that it would be best for television ratings that Brock McGuinn continue playing in the post season for as long as possible…

Or perhaps because he was of Anglo-Saxon decent and ancient blood rivalries are sub-consciously passed on through genetic inheritance…

Or perhaps it was a legitimate, objective, unbiased assessment of the situation…

The referee reached into his pocket, withdrew his yellow hanker chief weighted by a roll of pennies and…

The Norman safety ran into the end zone and spiked the ball. His teammates followed him and embraced each other and celebrated the miracle play and good fortune virtually ensuring victory. But they soon heard the Saxon crowd begin to cheer and they knew something was amiss. They turned back toward the original line of scrimmage and their fears were realized when they spotted the yellow flag and they spotted the skinny-armed, villainous referee whom they now cursed, and they spotted their arch-nemesis Brock The Gun McGuinn, sitting up on his knees, tufts of mud and grass stuck in his facemask, and a shit-eating grin scrawled across his face.

“Unnecessary roughness!” shouted the president with unrestrained glee. “Fifteen-yard penalty! Fuck you Normans!”

The skinny-armed referee announced the call and the crowd went into a frenzy of approval. The chubby Norman coach protested and spiked his headset to no avail. The ball was moved to the twenty-five yard line. There were thirty-two seconds left in the game.

The Saxons called three halfback dives in succession, forcing the Normans to use their allotted timeouts. With twenty-one seconds left, the pot-bellied Saxon kicker pranced out onto the field in his spotless uniform. The teams took their pre-snap positions. The crowd fell silent, meditating on the field goal that would secure yet another victory. The long snapper snapped the ball. The holder snatched it from the air and set it on the ground, spinning the laces away toward the goal post. The kicker approached, planted his left foot and unleashed his coiled right leg. The ball launched toward the center of the uprights, over the outstretched hands of the desperate defense. The kick started out true. The crowd’s roar built. But then the ball started to fade. The crowd roared louder, as if they might will it through the uprights with their screams. The ball tumbled, hooking toward the left post it…

 

The screen went totally dark…

“What the hell is going on?” screamed the POTUS.

The cabinet members stared at each other and at the blackened screen in confusion. Faucett poked his head into the room.

“Mr. President, you have a call on the bat line.”

“What?”

“The bat line, sir,” answered Tibbles. “It’s a hard-wired communication network that serves the leaders in the SuperBunker.”

“I know what it is. Frank, give me the phone,” ordered the POTUS.

Frank Tibbles calmly stood up. Walked around the table. Carefully grabbed the bat phone with both hands. Walked around the table and set it in front of the president. The president and the members of the cabinet all focused on the red, archaic telephone handset, resting before the leader of the free world. The president reached out and grasped the clunky handset and slowly raised it to his ear.

“Hello?”

“He-roh, Mr. Pwesident,” came the voice of the president of China.

“What do you want now, Huli?”

“I am calling to inform you that yo a-dead-rine has a-passed.”

“What did you do, Huli?” asked the POTUS.

“I’m afwaid you reft us no a-choice.”

“What did you do?”

“Protocol 4 was our onree option,” answered the president of China.

“You didn’t!”

“Yes, we did.”

“Do you know what you’ve done?”

“Yes, we know ver-ree well. Ah communication rines have been severed. The brast doors are crose-ing as we speak. In moments, no one in the bunker can have any contact with the surface. No one can get in or out. We are toe-toe-ree ice-o-rated. Maybe now you will come to your a-senses and negotiate in good faith.”

“This is another act of war!” shouted the president into the red handset.

“No. It is an act of peace. It is onree war if you make it so. If we can work out our differences and make arrangements for the rightfur return of Master Chung to the bunker, we will revert the situation back COGCON 3.”

The POTUS covered the mouthpiece of the receiver. “Can he really do this?”

“I’m afraid he can, Mr. President,” Fricke answered. “It was a pre-condition of bunker construction that any member of the UN Security Council can unilaterally invoke Protocol 4.”

“Tibbles?”

“Sir, we discussed this,” Tibbles answered. “Protocol 4 was designed with the idea that if we have come down into the bunker, that the geopolitical situation on the surface is precariously close to Armageddon. It is a failsafe; if we find ourselves cut off from contact with the surface, we might be compelled to work out our differences before a worst case scenario.”

“Oh, holy hell!” The president plowed his hands up over his face and through his coal and gray hair. “Is there a back door? Tell me we have a back door…”

“Mr. President?”

“Tell me we have a back door!”

Fricke glanced at Tibbles. Tibbles sighed. The president waited for an answer, cupping his hand over the receiver.


Comments, likes, edits and suggestions are welcome. They help increase visibility.

Previous Chapter

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COG Chapter 10

CogCoverSquare

Buried a thousand feet beneath Ohio, the ten trillion dollar, UN-constructed SuperBunker can shelter a million members of the global elite indefinitely, with all the comforts of the surface including simulated blue skies, boutique shopping, and three golf courses. The President of the United States, Arman “Our Man” Manfred, regains consciousness in one of the bunker’s six hospitals. Surrounded by his trusted advisors and his official hagiographer, his office becomes ensnared in the Machiavellian underworld of SuperBunker geo-politics. The situation worsens when the president’s Russian and Chinese counterparts execute Protocol 4, sealing the blast doors and severing all contact with the surface, relegating the world’s leaders to governing a mere computer simulation of the world above. An attempt to blackmail the POTUS with a salacious video taken by his own security agency forces President Manfred into seclusion. With his office infiltrated by a traitor and hobbled by incompetence, he attempts one final ‘Hail Mary’ that might just save the office of the president… even if it destroys the world in the process.

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Chapter 10

“I know what they’re going to do, Mr. President…”

The POTUS, nestled in his burgundy recliner, burrowed deep within the subterranean SuperBunker Oval Office, watched DeForest Reese shepherd a panel of like-minded pundits working in unison to assuage the building public terror of eminent thermo-nuclear destruction. The pundits, without citation or named source, but with confident, easy smiles and affirming nods, parroted each other’s assurances that the benevolent, munificent, brilliant leaders and elites, down in the bunker, would manage to work things out and save the world. One only needed to remain calm and have faith. And if they weren’t able to work things out… well… democracy would at least survive the nuclear holocaust and emerge to rebuild a better world. This was at least something all the people on the surface could be proud of… at least up until the moment they were vaporized by super-heated plasma.

The president was sipping a scotch. It was 8 a.m.

“Who is going to do what?” the POTUS asked, his voice already slowed by the alcohol.

“The Sino-Russian Axis, sir,” Tibbles replied.

“They won’t do anything because of Chung.”

“But they can do something, sir.”

“They can do what?”

“They can do Protocol 4.”

“Protocol what?” the POTUS asked dismissively. “Have you seen the first lady?”

“Her schedule says she is visiting an orphanage today, sir.”

“An orphanage? There aren’t any orphans down here.”

“She’s visiting it virtually, sir.”

“Why wasn’t I told? Sounds like a good opportunity to press the flesh.”

“You were told, sir. But I imagine you have a lot on your mind with President Hu Li’s deadline looming. How are you holding up?”

“I’m fine.”

“No concerns?”

“Nope. None at all.”

“Did you get any sleep last night?”

“I slept like a baby. Only took three Unisoms.”

“Mr. President…”

“Yes, Frank?”

“We need to have a conversation.”

The president scowled at Tibbles. “About what?”

“I think you know what about.”

“Not now, Frank. This is a big day.”

Tibbles tried to hide the disappointment that was dragging at his facial expression.

“We’ll talk later, after the deadline passes.”

Tibbles sighed. “Aren’t you worried about what the Axis will do?”

“I’m looking forward to the deadline. When it passes, my burdens will be transformed.”

“Sir? I’m certain Protocol 4 will be a difficult burden.”

“Don’t care. The fog of uncertainty will be lifted from my mind. My course will become crystal clear. Hey, did you and Fricke get together about the nuclear football?”

“We did.”

“And you have the authentication codes with you?”

“At all times sir.”

“Good. So, we’re all set? You’re ready to go?”

“Yes.”

The president’s buck-toothed butler, Faucett, appeared. “Sir, the motorcade is ready.”

“Terrific. Frank, are you ready for some golf?”

“I’m not much of a golfer, sir.”

“You’ll have a great time. Hab will be your caddy.”

Haberdash, who was seated opposite the POTUS on another recliner, appeared startled as if he was just awakened.

The POTUS got up and walked to the foyer with Tibbles and Hab in tow. There, they met three secret service agents who escorted them out of the Brown House doors and into the hall where they were joined by three additional secret service agents, two of whom were dressed in pastel sweater vests, plaid pants, derby hats, sunglasses, and side arms. They entered the elevator where they were greeted by two more agents bringing the total to eight secret service agents, one chief of staff, one presidential hagiographer, and one POTUS.

“God damn it’s crowded in here,” grumbled the POTUS as the elevator doors closed. “Anyone farts and I’ll have you demoted to riding a Mo-Mo.”

One of the agents dressed in a black suit and black glasses whispered into his lapel. The elevator jolted upwards. Moments later, the doors opened to the lobby. They were greeted by five additional secret service agents in black who surrounded the presidential entourage as they strutted down the roped off red carpet, across the main lobby, through the glass doors and outside—which wasn’t really outside as they were several hundred feet underground. On the avenue they were met by eleven black, bullet-proof, presidential golf carts filled with additional agents and drivers all dressed in black. The president’s phalanx scrambled onto the backs of the executive carts. The president and his entourage boarded theirs and, once the appropriate hand signals were given and observed, and the right whispers were whispered into their collar radios, the giant, black secret service centipede whirled off down the subterranean avenue under the melon glow of a virtual dawn.

Within four minutes, they arrived at the Gerald R. Ford Memorial golf course— one of six underground golf courses of the SuperBunker. The president and his troupe hopped out and strolled into the clubhouse through a gauntlet of a hundred more security agents, several dozen media, and a smattering of perhaps eight or nine curious elite civilians— four of whom were golfers. Inside the clubhouse, the president greeted the prime ministers of Japan, Germany, and Tunisia. They all shook each other’s golf-gloved hands.

The POTUS was the third-best golfer of the lot. Taki Takishima, the prime minister of Japan, was the best— a scratch golfer. He had an exceptional short game, good enough to get him a tour card if he wanted it. Schumpert, the PM of Germany was next. A tall, husky woman with broad shoulders and considerable breasts, she could absolutely crush it off the T box. But the Gerald R. Ford course was, obviously, built indoors and only designed as a par three in lieu of space constraints. Schumpert’s long ball would not help her much. Faisal, the Tunisian, was short and pencil thin, and had never played golf. When his caddy handed him a club to take some practice swings, he clasped it with two spaced-apart hands, ritualistically, like he was being presented a royal scepter.

“Hmm, we have a dilemma,” remarked the POTUS. “We seem to have a five-some instead of a four-some.”

“Oh, that’s okay Mr. President, I will drop out,” Tibbles remarked.

“No, no. Nonsense. You’re my guest. We can fix this. Perhaps we can play with two foursomes. Are there any other prime ministers in the clubhouse?”

The faces of the secret service agents swiveled as they scanned the bar and the pro shop but no other national leaders were spotted. The security detail was, in fact, the only occupants of the clubhouse other than the five-some and their caddies.

“Well, damn.”

“Maybe a five-some is not a big deal?” Taki remarked.

No, no. It’s bad form and rude. Maybe we can play as a two-some and a three-some. We’ll all T-off together. You two can hole out, then Tibbles and Faisal and I will come up after.”

“That defeats the purpose of this golf summit if we are not playing together,” remarked Schumpert.

“Well, I suppose that leaves only one option,” the POTUS turned slowly to the Japanese prime minister. “Taki, would you mind sitting this round out?”

“I will drop out,” offered Faisal. “I’ve never played before and I’m afraid I’ll be making a fool of myself.”

“No. We have important matters to discuss regarding your little trade predicament with Algeria. Ticky-Taki’s just here for show. We’re already working through the East China Sea negotiations. Ain’t that right, Taki?”

The prime minister of Japan, who had just had his spikes sharpened, stared blankly at the POTUS.

“Taki, you okay?”

After a faint nod evoking suppressed contempt, Taki bowed out. The prime minister of Japan stomped back to his golf cart while the remaining caddies, sixty-five security personnel, and four journalists made their way to the T-box.

They stood on the elevated mound of plastic turf, looking out at the plush fairway lined by artificial trees, the swath running down and then up to a patch of lighter plastic green flanked by sand bunkers. They heard songbirds, but didn’t see any as the ambient nature sounds emanated from well-hidden speakers.

“You first, Faisal.”

Faisal’s caddy showed him how to place the ball on the embedded tee. Then he handed him a seven wood and corrected his grip. Then he got down on the ground and set Faisal’s feet. Then he stepped back and demonstrated for Faisal how to swing.

“You might want to lay up… avoid the bunker!” joked the POTUS.

Faisal took a deep breath, reared back, and swung… missing the ball entirely by almost a foot. By some inexplicable physics, one of his shoes had come loose and flew several yards down the fairway.

“We’ll give you a mulligan on that,” the POTUS remarked. “Try again.”

Faisal sighed. His caddy demonstrated once more. Faisal, now wearing one shoe, took another deep breath and swung. He connected, albeit imperfectly, and the ball ripped downhill through the plastic grass some twenty yards, passing his shoe on the way.

Next up was Marjorie Brunhilda Schumpert, chancellor of Germany, affectionately known as “Large Marge” to President Manfred. She approached the tee box with her three wood. She addressed the ball.

“Do you think you have enough club to reach the green?” asked the POTUS.

Marge pretended not to hear him. She cantilevered into her backswing and uncoiled, her downswing cut the air with a woosh, the torque bending the club as it arced downward, splicing the din of songbird chirps with a ting of perfect contact of the club face onto the ball. She followed through with a beastly grunt, giant breasts heaving, eyes locked on to the tiny white bullet rocketing upwards into orbit, dangerously close to the canvas sky. She exhaled as the ball carried out like a tracer round, high above the center of the plastic fairway.

“What a drive…” remarked the POTUS. “Uh oh. Trouble.”

The ball sailed on, and on, over the faux green, over the artificial shrubbery on the far edge, slamming against the backlit blue, concrete wall of the bunker. It ricocheted downward and bounced into the silk foliage.

“I got it I think,” exclaimed the president. “You’ll probably have to drop.”

Schumpert snarled in response.

Tibbles was next. As was his custom, he applied an unassuming, smooth swing with his four iron, laying it up about thirty yards short of the green on the left edge of the fairway.

“Nice safe shot, Frank!” exclaimed the POTUS while patting him on the shoulder. The president gestured to Haberdash who selected a five wood and handed it to him. The POTUS stepped onto the tee. He placed his ball and adjusted his feet. He exhaled and drew his club into his backswing—

“Mr. President!” shouted one of the sixty-five secret service agents standing by.

The POTUS aborted his swing and stepped back from his ball looking perturbed. “Not now!”

“But Mr. President, I have an urgent message for you.”

“I said not now!” President Manfred re-addressed the ball, took a breath, exhaled and swung. His shot was no golfing masterpiece. He hit it hard but not square and it launched out low and fast, in worm-burner fashion. It strafed along a few feet off the ground for a hundred and fifty yards or so, then skidded down the grass and into the rough, stopping in the vicinity of Tibbles’s layup.

“Nice ball, Mr. President!” Tibbles remarked.

“Now, Mr. President?” asked the agent.

“Forward it to Fricke. He’ll handle it.”

“Yes sir.”

The foursome and their caddies and their sixty-five secret service agents started off down the fairway.

“Sir?”

“What is it, Frank?”

“What if it’s the Chinese?”

“I already assume it is. So what?”

“Don’t you want to speak to them?”

“Nope. Not yet, anyway. I’m going to make them sweat a little.”

“Why?”

“It’s called ‘the art of the deal’, Frank. By ignoring them Chink bastards, we are asserting that we are in the superior position. It will make them more amenable to our demands once they capitulate.”

“Are you sure about that, sir?”

“Of course, I am.”

Faisal hit his ball, then hit again, and once more before Tibbles and the POTUS reached the president’s ball.

“What the hell?” snapped the POTUS, stopping cold.

“What is it, Mr. President?”

“Is that a gofer hole?”

“I doubt it, sir. This course is artificial.”

“Yeah, but maybe they burrowed in?”

“We’re a thousand feet below the surface, sir.”

“Maybe some gophers found a ride down here.”

“I doubt it, sir.”

“How am I supposed to hit my ball out of that hole?”

“I assume you will need to take a drop… and a one stroke penalty.”

The president winced at Tibbles. Tibbles turned to the secret service agents and Haberdash who responded by turning their backs to the president. President Manfred then scooped the ball out of the hole with his foot and fluffed it atop the plastic grass. When he looked up, he noticed that the German chancellor was watching him from the far side of the green. She shook her head in contempt.

The president pretended not to notice and chipped on, followed by Tibbles. Faisal was on the green in six and Schumpert was on in three with her penalty stroke. A secret service agent pulled the pin and held it just off the fringe of the green. Faisal putted first leaving it so short he had to putt again, this time sending it well past the hole. The POTUS putted, leaving it about two feet away. Schumpert, still looking disgusted, putted but left it a few inches short.

“Good enough, Marge,” the POTUS remarked. She picked up her ball in a huff. Tibbles put his ball within a foot. He marked it and stepped back. Faisal putted twice more, finally putting it in the hole.

“Now you’re getting the hang of it, Faisal!” encouraged the POTUS. “What is that, a nine?” He turned to Schumpert. “You’re taking a five?”

She rolled her eyes.

The president studied his lie. He turned to Schumpert. “Is this a gimme, Marge?” he asked.

She didn’t respond.

“I’ll say it is,” answered Tibbles.

The POTUS handed his putter back to Haberdash and grabbed his ball. “Par,” he muttered as he scribbled three on his card.

Tibbles, whose ball was only twelve inches from the cup, was hitting for par as well. He re-placed his ball and snapped his marker back onto the backhand of his glove. He aligned his feet and club face. He drew back and in the mechanical manner of a silent pendulum, his putter clicked the ball. It rolled forward to the hole, onto the lip where it bent around the edge and rolled out. His face filled with contrived disappointment.

“Oh, too bad, Frank,” remarked the POTUS.

Tibbles tapped in for bogey.

Just then, a careening golf cart alerted the sixty-five secret service agents. Half scrambled towards it and the other half placed themselves between the cart and the three world leaders.

“It’s the secretary of state!” Tibbles announced. “He just pinged me. Everyone stand down!”

The golf cart rolled to a stop and Fricke got out and scrambled up to the foursome.

“What is it?” asked the president.

“It’s…” Fricke paused to catch his breath, “it’s the First Lady.”

“What happened?” asked the president.

“She’s missing. She disappeared just after her appearance with the orphans.”

“How is that possible?” asked Tibbles.

“Secret Service is still trying to figure that out.”

Tibbles glanced desperately at the POTUS.

The president pondered with pursed his lips. “Those sneaky Chinks,” he muttered.

“We’ll need to get you to the UltraBunker, immediately, sir” barked one of the agents who nudged the president in the direction of his golf cart.

The entourage piled back into their rides and the procession sped back up the plastic fairway to the club house. They circled around and parked and the president’s entourage hopped out of the white country club golf carts and hopped into the black secret service golf carts and sped back to the Brown House. In a matter of minutes, the POTUS was hustled into the Oval Office elevator and taken into the depths of the UltraBunker.


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