Louden Nelson, Patty Messinger, Admiral Sharona are taking their first morning walk along the perimeter of the flight deck of the Gerald R. Ford, now sailing due West over what used to be Ohio. Over the loudspeaker, someone announces solemnly that the city of Columbus, Ohio is directly under them over a mile below.
The three stop in their tracks for a few minutes, saying nothing. They look over the edge of the carrier and slowly recognize several thousand human bodies along with their pets, thousands of farm animals, flocks of birds, frozen motionless at various levels in the water.
“Can we say a quick prayer for all of those who we lost?” Louden suggests quietly, joining their hands.
They bow their heads and are silent for a long moment. Then, Patty vocalizes her feelings.
“I don’t know what you have in store for us, God, but whatever it is, I hope that it is worth all of the suffering that’s taken place here,” she says, quietly.
“Amen,” Louden mutters.
“Amen,” Admiral Sharona says, louder.
They break apart suddenly.
Patty spots a lone pelican gliding over the surface of the water nearby. The graceful bird raises its head noticing the deck of the carrier. It gains enough altitude to then descend on it landing clumsily a few feet from the three of them.
Exhausted, the large bird takes two steps and collapses in front of them. Patty yells for someone in a group of sailors to come closer and give aid.
“It’s a pelican. The poor thing is probably starving. Someone get him a fish,” she suggests.
Two of the sailors obey and run off toward the center of the ship. Patty squats down and takes the bird’s head in her lap to comfort it.
With big dark eyes staring up directly at her, the bird seems to know he has found a place where he is saved.
In a few moments, the two sailors return with several small fish which they hand feed to the pelican.
The bird slowly gains his energy back and stands up on his own. Patty instructs the sailors to take him into the ship and continue to check him out.
“I don’t want to lose this one,” Patty tells them as they carry the bird away.
“Don’t worry, ma’am,” the sailor carrying the bird reassures her.
They can see the bird struggle to look back at her. It’s apparent to them all that the pelican is expressing its gratitude as best he can.
They watch them disappear into the ship.
“So, what’s the battle plan for the day, Admiral?” Patty queries, wiping away a bead of moisture on her cheek.
“Well, we’ll see. Like that pelican over there, we’re extremely lucky to have found this ship. That’s for sure. It’s a new world out there. But we’re here and we’re safe and secure as anyone else out there, I suppose. So, I think our first order of business should be to sail completely around the world and take an inventory of how many people are left, where they are living and how, what they propose to do and how we can salvage whatever is left and use it to start all over,” the Admiral states emphatically, positively.
“How much fuel do we have? I mean, how far can this thing go on a tank of gas?” Louden Nelson asks.
“Oh, don’t worry about that. The Ford is nuclear powered, they just refueled and so that means we have enough fuel to make it around the world at least a thousand times,” Sharona announces proudly.
“Ok,” Nelson replies, pensively.
“And don’t call her a ‘thing’. She’s a great ship that is our home now, so always refer to the Ford as a lady, if you don’t mind,” Sharona notes.
“But Gerald R. Ford was a man,” Patty interjects playfully.
“Yes, true, but that’s just the Navy’s colloquial connotation of a ship. The personality of the ship you serve on is always that of a lady, got it, now?” Sharona asks, relentless.
“Ok, aye sir,” Patty says and gives him a jaunty salute.
“Thank you, Ms Messinger. I can see you’re going to go a long way in this man’s navy,” Sharona replies, taunting.
“Since the boats are all women, shouldn’t it be ‘this lady’s’ Navy?” she teases back.
“All right, let’s not get lost in the nomenclature and all of that malarkey,” Sharona fires back.
A long pause ensues while their three brains begin to mentally readjust, recalculate and realign their expectations of one another in regards to their new situation.
“What do you think happened to President Romaine?” Nelson finally wonders.
“Hopefully, he’s run out of fuel and he’s floating around in a life raft somewhere,” Sharona says, without emotion.
The image gives them all a slight giggle.
“Yes, and then a huge Great White shark comes up out of the deep and swallows him whole,” Patty adds, laughing out loud.
“And his name is Moby Dick,” Nelson adds, mirthfully.
“Come on, you two. I need to introduce you both to the command center of the ship,” Sharona tells them, and leads them towards the bridge.
“I’m going to assign you as my liaison officers so that if I’m out of commission for any reason, you can direct the good Captain Black over there to do your bidding. He’s a good sailor. He’ll take your orders once I give him the scuttlebutt,” Sharona says, pointing them into the command tower of the carrier.
“That’s a good idea, Admiral,” Nelson says.
“Let’s go and get acquainted, then” Patty suggests.
“Yes, let’s,” Nelson agrees.
The three get in through the door and make their way into the elevator that will take them to the command center level of the 1,106 foot floating city.
# # #
President For Life Romaine is shaken out of a nap by one of his worst recurring nightmares. Startled, he rises up and bumps his head on the ceiling of his cramped bunk bed in the hull of the Nuclear Submarine, U.S.S. Donald J. Trump. He runs his hands around his head and calls out for the First Lady. There’s no reply. He has to get out of the highest bunk bed on his own, but finally makes it down the ladder to the floor of the cramped quarters.
‘If this is the Captain’s quarters,’ he says to himself. ‘I’d hate to see what the kitchen staff get.’
He finds a small sink next to the bunk and splashes some cold water on his face.
The First Lady appears in the doorway in spiked high heels, a formal ball gown, and in full makeup as if they’re on board the Queen Mary.
“When can we get off of this fucking barge, darling?” she pleads, not holding back her real feelings.
“I’m working on that. Don’t worry, it won’t be long,” he replies, looking around for his shoes.
“And if I were you, I wouldn’t talk about home sweet home like that, at least not out loud,” he continues.
“What? They don’t know they’re living on a fucking garbage barge?” she replies, sarcastically.
“Oh, I’m sure they know that, but they sure as Hell don’t need you to remind them. We’re all guests here, sweetheart. Let’s be grateful and make the most of it until we find some place more suitable out there, Ok?” he pleads, shoving his big feet into his plus-sized shoes.
“And where exactly is that going to be? We just flew over the whole fucking planet and it’s all underwater, meat head, thanks to you,” she reminds him.
“Maybe we should just slit our wrists and give up then? Is that what you want? Tell you what, good idea. You go first! I’ll be right after you,” Romaine tells her, showing all of his teeth.
“Maybe I will,” she replies with a pout.
Romaine is about to say something when a sailor steps up to the open hatchway and stares at them blankly.
“Yes?” Romaine shouts at the young man.
“Uh, sorry to interrupt sir, but the Captain would like you to come to the bridge right away,” the sailor says, nervously.
“Tell him, I’ll be right there,” Romaine says, dismissing him.
“I’m telling you, Maureen, you’ve got to hold it together. We’ll find a nice abandoned palace somewhere, complete with servants waiting for someone like you to serve all day long and you’ll live out the rest of your life in the luxury that you have come to expect, Ok?” he says.
She squints her eyes and snorts at him.
‘Ok, so I have to go see the Captain now. Why don’t you go and find the Spa and have a nice mani-pedi,” Romaine tells her, sarcastically.
Squatting to make it through the hatchway, he looks back to see the First Lady falling on the lowest bunk, her head in her hands.
In the past few days, he’s rapidly growing into the idea that she is a much bigger liability now than an asset. It’s like dragging an anchor along the sea floor instead of just breaking the chain off for much easier sailing.
Arriving at the conning tower, he is greeted by several familiar and some new faces, including First Mate Carpenter, Commander Fiedler, Chief of the Deck, Rand McIntyre, and the Captain of the Trump, Sara Daniels who is busy measuring and counting the fleet on a large flat screen display seated on a table in the middle of the small room. The screen displays several hundred small red flashing dots, each indicating the last known position of any ship remaining in the Global Fleet, of which President For Life Romaine is still the Commander-In-Chief.
“All right, Captain. You called me to the Bridge. What’s going on? Where are we?” Romaine asks sauntering up in front of Commander McIntyre.
“This is the Captain over here,” McIntyre says, pointing to a sleek, tall, blond and very female sculpted uniform standing by the map.
“Oh, I see, yes. The woman Submarine Captain. I’ve heard about you, but it didn’t really register with me which ship you’d be assigned to,” Romaine tells her as delicately as he can.
“I had no idea you would care,” Captain Daniels replies boldly, barely recognizing his arrival.
Then, quickly calling herself to an extremely graceful yet powerful presence, she salutes him with a sharp cut of the air that snaps her uniform respectfully.
“Commander-In-Chief on deck!” she calls out to the crew.
They all come to attention suddenly and salute their President, who notes just a touch of insubordination in their eyes perhaps.
“So, how is my fleet deployed?” Romaine asks, stepping closer to the table display in front of her.
“This is the latest data of all known positions as of five minutes ago, sir,” the Captain replies, coldly.
“We’ve alerted the fleet to your presence on board the Trump and they await your command, sir,” she says, looking at him expectantly.
“Very good, Captain. Inform them that they are to arm all of their nuclear weapons and prepare to fire!” President Romaine says calmly.
Showing no emotion, Captain Daniels, turns to face her Commander-In-Chief and shoves herself directly in his face.
“What would they be targeting, sir?” she asks with even greater calm than Romaine has shown.
“They’re to target every single island out there where there is any human habitation,” he says.
There is no response, no movement from anyone in the room, except for Romaine who shoves himself past her body and places himself adjacent to the map of the world.
“Then, they’re all ordered to rendezvous at Pearl Harbor and await further instructions,” he continues.
Sara Daniels takes a second or two to assess every one of her crew before reacting.
“And, we here on board the Trump do what?” Captain Daniels asks.
“When they are all gathered at Pearl Harbor, I will order you to fire on the fleet with all of your nukes and rid ourselves of this bunch so that we can go on without fear of being attacked by any of them,”
the President replies.
“What? You’re looking at me funny. How did you think the end of the world would go, Captain?” Romaine continues.
“You’re ordering the fleet to murder the surviving humans and then to round themselves up in a group so that we can then murder all of them?” Captain Daniels calls for confirmation.
“Captain, the Human race is currently starting all over. Do you want the new version of us to be just a wild random soup of genetics from God knows who? Or would you like to be the next Eve, with everyone in the future, every single person, descending from your own genetic material?” Romaine asks her, smiling brightly.
“And you would be the Adam to my Eve of course,” Captain Daniels contends.
“Does that sound so bad, baby?” President For Life Romaine counters.
The crew, motionless until now, begin to stir.
Sara shows them a subtle gesture to stay at their places.
“And what about the First Lady?” Captain Daniels asks.
“Oh, don’t worry about her,” Romaine says.
“She’s not very happy these days. I’m fairly sure that she will make another attempt to take her own life soon,” he continues, coldly.
“I see,” Captain Daniels says quietly, turns her back to him.
She slowly draws a shiny silver pistol from her hip, returns back around to face the President and points her service pistol very slowly and deliberately at and then firmly touching the President’s head.
She then slowly moves it across his scalp to a spot directly above his nose and between his eyes.
Everyone on the deck watches a tiny speck of moisture growing quickly on his forehead, combining with more moisture nearby, and then a flood streaming down his cheeks and neck.
“You’re under arrest, Mr. President,” she says, barely controlling her fingers who want so badly to pull the trigger.
“Mr. Barrett, Mr. Glover draw your weapons and take the President to the brig where you will lock him up and you will bring the key back here to me,” she says.
The two sailors move quickly to obey their Captain, placing the President’s arms behind his back and then restraining him with zip ties.
“You can’t arrest me! Are you crazy? Need I remind you that I’m your Commander-In-Chief? I’ll have you all court martialed and then hung until you’re dead, dead, dead!” the President yells as Barret and Glover escort him screaming incoherently from the room.
“Not any more, you’re not,” Captain Daniels says as they shove him out through the hatch and down the narrow passage-way.
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