Chapter Four

- Discovered

On board Air Force One, in flight to San Diego, President For Life Jerome Romaine paces back and forth in his office, a reproduction of the famous Oval Office, except that this one is traveling along at 1,550 miles per hour, or just over twice the speed of sound waves. The President is seated at his ‘Resolute Desk’. About a dozen handsome young men and women, with phones at the ready, are milling about at the opposite end of the room.

“How long until we get there?” The President shouts towards one of the couches.

President For Life Romaine is in his middle fifties. His hair is graying but still full on his head and well-designed. He has extremely dark eyes, his main feature that has propelled him up through the political ranks ever since he first entered politics as the Mayor of Los Angeles. He is short in stature and a bit round in the middle from the many courses of steak Chateaubriand that he cannot resist and which makes up part of almost every meal.

He is in conversation with his friend, ‘Lawyer-extraordinaire’ and Chief Advisor for International Affairs, Louden Nelson who appears to be quite comfortable seated on one of the couches.

With a physique that is bulging out of his suit, it’s obvious that he’s also an extreme body-builder. His face is highly recognizable because of his many appearances in Hollywood movies where his character can out-punch, out-gun, out-run and even out-think thousands of malevolent, highly dangerous and extremely crazed ‘bad guys’.

“It’s another seventy or eighty minutes, Mr. President,” Nelson replies, looking at his watch.

“Ok, has anyone heard back from Colonel Sanders yet?” The President barks loud enough to wake up the crowd idling about in the back of the room.

“No, sir”, a voice in the crowd replies timidly.

One of them mumbled, barely audibly, “There’s a bucket of chicken on the way.”

“What was that?” The President shouts.

“I was just saying that the Colonel may be decapitated at present, Mr. President. Maybe they plucked him out of his car and they now have him caged up somewhere,” Communications Director, George 
Cortez, replies.

Cortez is legendary amongst the White House staff for being able to answer questions put forth that are so clever that the President unable to recognize the double entendre, can only display his complete lack of mental acuity more and more fully with every encounter.

Everyone in the White House, except the President, knows that Cortez is out to make a name for himself so that he can pen a tell-all book concerning his brief term as one of the President’s many ill-suited and highly unqualified advisors.

“I see, uhm well, I think you are exactly right, Mr. Cortez,” the President replies, deep in thought, stroking his chin.

“Where is the nearest military base to this ‘Think Tank’?” The President asks.
“There’s the Naval Base, Mr. President. Half the fleet is based there and there’s about fifty different commands you could call on, sir.” Patty Messinger, the President’s Chief Technology Information Officer, replies.

She’s reading information just now gathered for her by her phone, now in ‘listen’ mode.

“Oh yeah, so which one do we call?” The President follows-up.

“The US Fleet, Cyber Command, sir, looks like our best bet at the moment,” Ms Messinger replies, responding to her phone’s suggestion.

Her screen displays the face and form of a very young and attractive person who is actually the fifth generation of ‘Siri’ of former times, the world’s first Artificially Intelligent personal assistant, first introduced by Apple Computer, now renamed as just ‘Apples’.

Siri V is able to listen in on any conversation in the room and give her owner any advice as to how to answer questions or even add pertinent commentary, jokes, news, etc., as if she were actually a living person and authorized by her ‘sponsor’ to participate.

At present Ms Messinger has Siri V set to a private mode where her comments are broadcast up to her via Blue-tooth and into an ear-piece so that she can relay the information to the President that she picks out of the many and almost constant comments made by her assistant.

Siri V is aware of this setting and flaunts it by making wise-cracks that are even better than Cortez’s. She often chuckles at times like this, creating highly awkward moments between her and her boss. Ms Messinger, deep down inside, considers Siri V to be her best friend, as do millions of others.

“Very well. Orwell, get on the phone to this Cyber Command and tell them that I am ordering them to get over to the Think Tank and secure it until we get there. They are to do nothing except secure the facility and all the personnel they find there. Do it now!” The President orders a man in uniform seated across from Louden.

“It’s Orson, sir,” the Admiral has to remind the President of his name again.

“Orwell, Orson, what’s the difference?” the President says, jovially. No one laughs.

Admiral Orson Sharona, seated on the sofa opposite the Chief of Staff, looks down at his phone where the male version of Siri V, Sam V, stares up at him.

“Do it,” he mumbles quietly to his assistant.

Sam V’s face quickly fades away as live images of the US Naval Base quickly fade in to replace it.
Words are scrolling along in the middle of the screen confirming that the President’s orders are being carried out. Officially named the FRCC or Fast Response Cyber Command, the most mobile of all military sections has also become the most notable and most feared force under the President’s command because they can locate a threat from anywhere in the world, via the Internet within seconds, minutes tops, sometimes within hours and then reach out and neutralize the threat if it is seen to be a threat to the President’s stranglehold on the world. In many instances, they have authorization to shoot first and ask questions later.

Sadly, many times, too many times, their aim is off by just a little and they kill or injure millions of innocent people or animals or many thousands of square miles of vibrant, pristine, natural habitat. The administration considers these incidents as simply ‘collateral damage’.

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