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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When the vast majority of the world’s leaders and elites had made their way into the SuperBunker, it was decided that the leaders of the primary world powers should hold a summit as a last-ditch effort to prevent world war 3. Motorcades of black, bullet proof golf carts brought the leaders of Russia, China, and the United States, along with their assistants, advisors, translators, massage therapists, and security personnel to a rendezvous in the event center of Section L— the Latin American section of the SuperBunker.
After a formal contest of pick-a-number, overseen by forty-seven accountants, six international judges, and the secretary general of the UN, the prestigious advantage of arriving last was awarded to the U.S. delegation. The presidential golf carts ambled up to the curb. Security agents scurried into position. When each of the sixty secret service agents indicated to central command that the situation was safe, the footman of Golf Cart One opened the door and President Arman Manfred stepped stiffly out onto the curb. The POTUS gathered himself up, straightened his navy-blue suit, and peacock-strutted his way down the red carpet which was flanked by stone cauldrons bearing virtual flames. He passed under a technicolor awning and through the glass and bronze doors held ajar by two men adorned as Aztec warriors.
The president passed from the main hall decorated in an Incan, stone-block style, filled with press, security, and mid-level diplomats, and into a large chamber with walls of golden, ceiling-to-floor curtains. The chamber was populated by smug ambassadors and pasty-faced elites with bulbous noses, adorned with bow ties, and ruby rings and receding hairlines. The POTUS carved through the gazing herd, through a parting in the gold drapes at the far end, and into an ante-chamber with a low ceiling and plaster walls. He was greeted there by his emergency Cabinet members Dexter Fricke and Fitzmaurice Buckminster and also Haberdash who looked frumpy even when wearing a suit. Fricke and Buckminster briefed the POTUS then Buckminster opened an inlaid oak door at the opposite end that lead to the destination meeting room. The POTUS passed through the doorway but stopped Buckminster from following him.
“Wait here. No advisors are allowed,” the POTUS advised. “Hab… follow me.”
Haberdash squeezed past the astonished-looking Buckminster and the POTUS shut the door in his gaping face.
The cozy conference room was adorned in the provincial Spanish style of hand-troweled, white plaster walls and ceramic tile flooring. A cold hearth stood on one end and centered within each of the other three walls stood an inlaid oak door. Three upholstered chairs were set facing each other in the middle of the room.
In one high back armchair sat the president of Russia, Dmitry Timfimovich Timoshenko. He wore a navy-blue suit with a sky-blue tie. His thin silver hair was receding, slicked back behind his rubbery ears that stuck out from his head like opened doors on a delivery van. His bushy eyebrows were as black as the smoke from burning tires. His thick glasses were held up by a beakish, pink nose that formed a descending point that descended past his upper lip.
In the other chair sat the president of China, Hu Li Jinkun. He was also dressed in a navy-blue suit but wore a mauve tie. He had an oval face mounted atop a vaguely defined neck. His jet-black hair was also badly receding. He also wore glasses with coke bottle thick lenses that hooked onto a tiny, flat nose vented by two enormous, perfectly round, black portal nostrils.
The POTUS huffed before taking the empty seat. “I was supposed to have the middle chair,” he protested. The president of China and the president of Russia looked at each other befuddled. “This was all decided during the official coin flip,” continued the POTUS.
“Mr. President,” spoke the president of Russia in his Dracula dialect, “these seats are aligned in a circle. There is no middle.”
“Why is he a-here?” asked the president of China in his best attempt at English. He gestured to Haberdash who was lounging in a side chair adjacent to the door that he and the POTUS had entered through.
“This was all agreed to in advance, Huli,” explained the POTUS. “He’s my hagiographer. What are you afraid of? That he might put the details of this meeting up on his blog?”
“Perhaps he might,” answered Timfimvovich in his molasses tenor.
“And I suppose you expect me to believe you aren’t recording this conversation for your own purposes, Timmy?” the POTUS asked. Timoshenko demurred. “Relax, gentlemen. Hab’s sworn to secrecy. He knows I’d have him suicided by the secret service if he betrayed my confidence.”
Hab’s eyebrows raised indicating this was the first he’d heard of this.
Timoshenko and Hu Li exchanged a glance of acquiescence.
“So…” Hu Li began, “why are we a-here?”
A long, tense silence followed.
The president of the United States sighed.
The president of Russia scratched his temple.
The president of China forced a grin.
The president of the United States forced a grin.
The president of Russia tapped his thumb on the arm of his chair.
The president of the United States interlocked his fingers.
The president of China cracked his knuckles.
The president of Russia rubbed his chin.
The president of China stopped smiling.
The president of the U.S. cleared his throat.
The president of Russia adjusted his glasses.
The president of China removed his glasses and cleaned the gigantic lenses with his handkerchief.
The president of the United States rubbed the inside corner of his eye with his index finger. Then he looked around the room, resting his sight on a painting by Goya: Saturn Devouring His Children…
Many of the world’s finest works of art had been hastened into the bunker for safe keeping. Even the curators of the world’s great museums feared the inevitability of nuclear holocaust. Michelangelo’s David, for instance, was flown in, along with other sculptures from antiquity, on a C5 Galaxy transport plane. It had to be sawed into five pieces so that it could be brought down into the bunker safely. It was reassembled in the David L. Rothschild Hall in Section E. Everyone marveled at the excellent job of reassembly. One could hardly notice the linear, diamond saw cuts…
After a few minutes of icy silence, the president of Russia re-crossed his legs.
Then the president of China smiled again, forcibly peeling back his lips and exposing two rows of pill-shaped teeth.
One of the presidents examined his cuticles.
Another licked his lips.
The third rubbed his nose.
Another nearly picked his nose, then, realizing he was in a public setting, settled for a mere brush of the end of it.
Another stuck his finger in his ear.
Another re-crossed his legs.
One of them sniffed.
Another coughed to cover up a belch…
It went on like this for over an hour. None would dare initiate a dialogue. No one wanted to be the first. Being the first to speak was regarded as an expression of weakness and submission. In the realm of geopolitics, a leader must never evoke weakness.
Finally, Timfimovoch relented, albeit off topic. “I noticed that the diesel smell has abated,” he slurred.
“Yes,” answered the POTUS. “The nuclear reactor has been brought online.” The POTUS stood and went to the liquor cabinet to pour himself a scotch. He carried his glass over to the Goya painting to study it. “It’s horrible,” he remarked before taking a gulp.
The other two presidents watched him.
“Huli,” the POTUS said to the president of China.
“I can’t forgive you.”
“Forgive me for a-what?”
“Don’t be coy, Huli.”
“Your aircraft carrier was in our territori-oh water. We were responding to your act of a-war.”
“The Henry Harrison was performing routine naval exercises.”
“It was well within the seven-dash rine and far too crose to Grasshopper Island.”
“…Ah, that pile of rocks from where your hypersonic missile was launched,” commented the POTUS before finishing his scotch.
“It was to crose,” Hu Li reaffirmed.
“You have no right to occupy that island, Huli.”
“It is inside the seven dash rine. Check your a-map.”
“So you want to go to nuclear war over a rock in middle of the East China Sea?”
“I ask you the same a-question, Manfweed.”
“We have no interest in that rock, Huli.”
“Then why was your freet sai-ring around it, huh?”
“Because it’s Ticky-Taki’s rock, Huli, not yours.”
“So let us work it out with Japan’s government.”
“You know very well we have an LSA with Japan. There are severe consequences if we do not honor our alliance.”
“Your a-riance is your prob-rem, not a-mine.” Hu Li grinned, mockingly.
“You know damn well that if I do not respond to your sinking of my aircraft carrier, American prestige will be unacceptably damaged.”
“Not my a-prob-rem.”
“God damnit, Huli. Do you know how much that boat cost?”
“You should have taken better care.”
“It’s Japan’s rock!”
“It’s not Japan’s rock, Manfweed. It be-rongs to the peop-uhr of China!” snapped the Chinese president with emphasis on “China”.
“It’s just a rock, Huli.”
“Tell that to Taki.”
“Gentlemen, we been over and over this countless times,” the President of Russia interrupted. “Manfred, I could easily raise the same concerns regarding Bolshevistan.”
“Oh, good Lord. We’re not getting anywhere.” The POTUS sat down, lowered his face and massaged his temples between his thumb and middle finger in frustration. “Bolshevistan,” he continued, “is a trial member of NATO, Timmy. We are bound by treaty to defend their sovereignty.”
“It’s not even a real country, Manfred. Brezhnev drew it on a map in 1969.”
“It’s a real country if we say it is, Timmy. And UN agrees with us.”
“Not unanimous-uh-ree,” chimed Hu Li.
“You can’t just go around annexing your neighbors, Timmy.”
“What business is it of yours?”
“What business is it? Really? Let me tell you something, Timmy, I know how it feels to be Bolshevistani. Believe me, I know.” The POTUS pointed at himself for added emphasis. “My great, great grandfather was Estonian. I understand the pain he felt in his soul when that bastard Stalin went in and took it over. Now, my great great grandaddy died before I was born, but I still know his pain. I inherited it. It’s in my DNA. For all those years great, great grand dad was a man without a country. And he passed the torch of liberty to my grandfather— because my great grandfather died in a lumberjacking accident. So my grandfather passed it to my father and he passed the torch of liberty to me. And now I carry that torch.” The POTUS placed his hand over his heart. “And now that torch is me.”
“But Estonia is a free nation, now,” Timoshenko rebutted.
“You know the point I’m trying to make. I can’t let you subjugate the Bolshevistani people like Stalin did to people like my great, great grand daddy. I will not allow it!” The POTUS’s eyes began to well up. “It is my sincere belief that deep, deep down inside every Bolshevistani, there is a Slav yearning for full privilege membership in the EU.”
“Sewenty nine percent of Bolshewistani identify as Russian, Manfred.”
The POTUS’s face hardened. Grinding his teeth in frustration he said: “Look, even if I wanted to, I couldn’t turn my back on them. If we allow you to take it over, Romania will demand NATO defense buildup. Who do you think is going to be asked to supply the mechanized infantry for Romania’s defense? Germany? Don’t make me laugh. It will be the U.S., Timmy. Do you really want U.S. forces massing in Romania?”
“Of course not.”
“Well that’s what you’re gonna get.”
“You can choose not to do that, Mr. President.”
“No, I can’t. If NATO doesn’t honor its defense obligations, Romania will default on their debt payments. I don’t have to remind you what that would do to Deutsche bank. It would require a massive bailout from the EU. Do you think the French are going to bail out a German bank, Timmy? No way. They’ll leave the EU. The dominoes start falling and poof, financial Armageddon.”
“Those are Europe’s problems, not ours.” Timoshenko got up and went to the liquor cabinet to pour himself a vodka. “If we withdraw from Bolshewistan, you will have tactical nuclear missiles and mechanized infantries right on our border. We cannot accept that. Bolshewistan cannot be allowed to be member of NATO. It must remain a buffer between Mother Russia and western imperialism.”
“And we cannot allow them not to be in NATO,” answered the POTUS.
“So we are at an impasse.”
“We have to find some way to trust, Timmy. Isn’t that what Gorbachev said?”
Timoshenko spat. “Trust? You tried to have me assassinated.”
“That wasn’t me, Timmy. That was the CIA.”
Timoshenko cursed. “Stay out of Bolshevistan.”
“No. You stay out. And you too, Huli.”
“You first, Mr. President.”
“No, you first.”
“You go, I go.”
“I’m right behind you.”
“No, I’m right behind you.”
The POTUS huffed. “You sunk one of our aircraft carriers, Huli. We’re at least going to need to even the score before we can even begin to consider any formal concession. If I retreat without reprisal, the American people will skewer me as a gutless coward. I’d be another Jimmy Carter or Neville Chamberlain.”
“If we go to fuhr scare war, no one would be reft to skewer you.”
“You are lucky we didn’t retaliate right then and there.”
“Oh prease. You were given twenty-three warning before we fire.”
“The USS William Henry Harrison cost twenty billion dollars, Huli. That’s a lot of coin that we had to borrow from you. It’s only fair that I get to blow up twenty billion of your shit. Then we can talk about peace concessions.”
“Do you a-want another carrier resting on the bottom of the East China Sea? Don’t forget, we gracious-ree arrowed the remainder of your freet to escape.”
The POTUS downed his drink. “Look, neither of you can win a war with the United States. Even without the Henry Harrison, our navy is still twice the size of both of your so-called navies put together.”
The president of Russia and the president of China glanced at each other.
“So are we having a dick measuring contest now?” asked Hu Li.
“Call it what you want,” replied the POTUS, “but ours is the biggest. It ain’t much of a contest.”
“A-maybe your dick is the biggest,” continued Hu Li with a grin, “but two dick a-better than one.”
“What is that supposed to mean?” asked the POTUS.
“Alone, our dick is too small, we a-cannot win,” answered Hu Li.
“But if we use our dicks together, we can ensure that you cannot win, either,” answered Timoshenko.
“What in the hell is that supposed to mean?” asked the POTUS.
“Hu Li and I have a gentleman’s agreement,” answered Timoshenko.
“We have a mu-chu-rer defense a-pact,” answered Hu Li.
“I think he said they have a ‘mutual defense pact’,” answered Haberdash from his seat.
“Oh, splendid. A new axis of evil.”
“We have pejoratives for you and your allies as well,” answered Timoshenko.
“Are you sure you want to do this, Timmy?” asked the POTUS. “Once you go public with it, there is no turning back. An alliance between you two will make it impossible to unwind this situation.”
“No one wants a-war,” answered Hu Li. “But hope-fu-ree our combine a-strength will read you to the understanding that you cannot push us around. You will not be able to knock us off one at a time.”
The POTUS turned back to the painting depicting the wild-eyed Saturn chewing the arm off a headless child. “If we can’t resolve this, think of all the things that will be lost. Think of all the pieces of art and architecture, the great cities, it will be such an historic tragedy.”
“The world as we know it will be destroyed,” added the president of China. “But there will be many investment opportunities for rebuilding.”
“At least we have this bunker,” the POTUS replied, “so that the governments can emerge one day to rebuild it all.”
“Gentlemen, things appear to be in a deadlock,” said the president of Russia. “Let’s at least agree to meet again and keep the lines of communication open. There are still hundreds of flights arri-wing daily, deli-wering VIPs and supplies and artworks.”
The POTUS added: “I agree. Let us try to delay war as long as possible, at least so that we can save what we can.”
 The Seven-Dash Line refers to the undefined, vaguely located, demarcation line used the People’s Republic of China for their territorial claims of the major part of the East China Sea.
 LSA refers to a Leveraged Security Alliance whereby the United States promises military defense of a nation and in return, the partner nation promises not to liquidate their holding of U.S. government debt which would trigger a default.
 Taki Takiyama. The Japanese prime minister. Referred to as Ticky-Taki by President Manfred.
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