Bill Clinton lounged back in what he thought of as The Chair. He glanced inquiringly at Hillary. "That's crazy." She stared pointedly at the Director. "There's millions of dollars of sophisticated equipment cleverly hidden in this office, and you think it's a hoax?"
"Ma'am, with all due respect. we've been over this stuff with a fine toothed comb. It all looks quite clever, but it's worthless junk. Oh, most of it turns on..." he looked uncomfortably at the hole in the wall which resulted from a spectacular explosion when a technician had pressed a large red button. "...and it sucks up power with abandon, and it does emit radiation in incredibly tight beams towards the moon, and that radiation is modulated by every motion, sound, or light change in this room. But it's useless, because we never had a base on the moon, and my cryptographers assure me the emissions are actually random noise."
Bill cut off Hillary's furious tirade before it started. "You sound like a man desperate to convince himself. I suggest we use some of the KeyHole satellites to monitor the emissions, and also have them check the moon. I've already asked the military to check the moon visually, in liaison with several of our larger observatories."
"Mr. President, I really..."
Hillary, her voice like dry ice, cut him short. "I think we should demand an explanation from the former President. I also want every intelligence-related agency queried. What else may be hidden in here? What else could explode? What other dangers are you exposing us to?"
Resignedly, the Director agreed and left. Bill mashed a clearly labeled button on the intercom, avoiding the buttons in the presidential desk's recently exposed guts. "Get former President Bush. Get him here immediately. Tell him this is a national emergency."
Spinning The Chair around as he was wont to do in times of stress, Bill continued, musing aloud. "Ha. This is as clear and as present a danger as you ever faced, George, baby." Hillary merely stared out the Oval Office window.
Hillary spoke up. "The problem is all those toys you installed in the Oval Office! We had a technician killed because of you!"
Bush and Quayle looked at each other with shocked expressions. "What toys? What on earth are you talking about? Perhaps you mean some of the Dearly Departed's tape equipment?"
"You know good and well what I mean, George Bush!" Hillary's voice rose above a hiss, and several heads turned.
"Perhaps," suggested Bill, "we should retire to Marine One and discuss this there." All agreed, and they left, paying their final respects to Pat Nixon. As they filed out, Pat nodded surreptitiously to Henry Kissinger, who strolled towards the door, wiggling his fingers where the Secret Service agents nearby could see.
Soon everyone but Henry and Pat had left. The Secret Service agents nodded, left, and locked the door. Pat and Henry helped Richard out of the coffin.
"Who," he wondered aloud, "will get to take my place?" Pat giggled as they all removed their masks. "You'll never guess, dear." Jackie kissed John quickly. "Phew! That dab of embalming fluid behind the ears is too much!"
Lyndon twirled his Henry mask. "We'd better get to work quickly." Opening a closet door, he begin pulling out dead rabbits and tossing them in the coffin. "About time someone took care of these guys!"
The accountant mumbled her thanks and wished yet again they used PCs. She knew nothing about "unix" boxes, which explained why the SEAL had so easily rigged the system to keep posting to the net as if its former user were still alive.
"By the way," she intoned, "we get a lot of complaints about some kind of story called Mortimer. Is that a program of yours, or what?"
Gary looked bemused. "No way. It's probably just a case of mistaken identity. The whole net's been in chaos lately. But y'all need to stay on it, or your database updates won't work between offices."
The accountant sighed. "OK. It was just an idea. We sure catch a lot of flak about that - and nobody seems to know what it is."
Gary shrugged his shoulders, got the accountant to sign a few forms, and left, melting quietly into the crowd on the sidewalk.
Deep in the bowels of a Georgetown condo, in a room that somehow never made it onto the floor plans, the underground leaders of the New World Order next quietly listened as Ras explained from the moon the complex series of steps necessary in the next 24 hours.
Everything hinged on Jackie O's passing herself off as Liz Taylor ("a cake walk"). She would log on Liz's AOL account, lure the net.cop to her home, and he would be terminated. Dozens of other netters would disappear at the same time, while those slated to meet the business end of net.cop's "supercharged, dayglo, cattle prod" would receive post-hypnotic instructions via the World Wide Web multimedia technology. It would be only a matter of hours after that before the USA and several other countries would finally be in the hands of their new leaders.
Lyndon, Jimmy, Dick and John nodded, mentally noting Ras's warped but effective deviations from their original plan. All agreed on the details and timing, and Ras' hologram disappeared.
Suddenly the door burst open. Marilyn Quayle ran in, ripped her mask off, and ran not to Jimmy, but to John. "My God, John, I'm so sorry! I came as soon as I heard!" Weeping, she hugged him tightly to her.
John looked bemused. "About what? That Rasmussen got his way again?"
Rosalyn drew back, a look of horror on her tear-stained cheeks. "How can you joke about such a thing?"
The blank looks of all four men finally got her attention. "Oh, no! You hadn't heard then? Oh, John...I'm so... John, I understood you knew - Jackie... she was... they tried to save her, John, they did all they could."
Rigid and white, John could only mouth his fear. "Jackie?"
"Yes, Jackie. A car hit her in front of Saks as she stepped off the curb. Hit and run, looked like a professional job. She... we had been shopping. She died in my arms, Jack. They tried to, to revive her. Tried everything. It was just like what supposedly happened in Dallas to you, but a car, and for real. Oh, Jack!" She held him as he shook convulsively.
The others looked at each other in moods ranging from shock to fear to fury. Dick was the first to speak. "Do you know what this means? I mean, aside from John's pain?"
"Bill and Hillary could be set for the whole term, and very possibly another four years. And we might not be ready again for that long, anyway." Lyndon looked as if he'd seen Death's face.
"Dear God in heaven." Jimmy slumped back into his chair. "I'd just as soon be eaten by a giant rabbit in the swamp!"
Last updated: 16 Dec 1994
Copyright 1994 Miles O'Neal, Austin, TX. All rights reserved.
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This copyright may be freely used, distributed and modified subject to the conditions noted above in the preceeding paragraph. Miles O'Neal <roadkills.r.us@XYZZY.gmail.com> [remove the "XYZZY." to make things work!] c/o RNN / 1705 Oak Forest Dr / Round Rock, TX / 78681-1514