tagSci-Fi & FantasyOne in Ten Ch. 10

One in Ten Ch. 10

byFinalStand©

Your mind is your arsenal, fortress, and armory. Your words are potential weapons you give to your enemies to assault the citadel of your soul.

To PokingFun and Talenwolf for the editing help. Also, for all those who helped with the creative process of this story. My weary mind cannot put a name to you all. We share a darkness, a confusion with the injustices in society and struggle to make sense of our lives in all of this mess. Keep going. It is all we can do.


*****

To give credit where credit is due, the President's eyes barely flickered off-camera. You had to be looking for it. Off screen, some woman, phone in hand, was starting to run down the information leak I'd just used to urinate on the President's hopes and dreams. The Leading Lady was no slouch in the debate forum.

It took her about a second to unleash her inner attack dogs. The vector was formulaic - destroy your opponent's credibility by exploiting their vulnerabilities. She got high marks for information, education and experience but you don't get to be President because you take risks, or are imaginative. Voters don't like people in charge who have 'new' ideas. That's scary.

My most glaring weakness was my sanity, or lack thereof. An attack on it was obvious and the weapon was my history. Me having been sexually traumatized in the past was maternally endearing if you were a Mother and I was your 20 year old daughter's date she'd brought home. For a man acting as the harbinger of a pandemic, it was most likely fatal for my message.

"Mr. Jensen - Israel, I was afraid this might happen - that the accumulated stress that has been inflicted on you has unhinged your mind. I am so sorry," she played the Great Mother so well, "I am fearful that such a public appeal would be too stressful to your fragile mind. Trust me, I understand. You have been brutalized repeatedly in your life and none of it has been your fault."

"I beg you to find that thread of human decency that reaches back to the boy you once were, and break free of the vengeance-filled, trapped and battered young man you have become. Women have wronged you. The multitude of womankind have not. Find it in your heart to break free from your chains of madness and let us help you."

"Hold on, Madam President," I rallied, "are you implying that I've been raped, lost my mind, or both?" Come get some, Bitch. Make my case for me. By destroying my credibility, she was going to give me credibility. It was simply credibility that no one with political ambitions would want.

"It is too late in the day for evasions, Israel," she sighed. "When you were 16 you were kidnapped, raped and tortured. You went to..."

"Wait," I shouted. I turned to Capri, off camera, "how can she know that?" I wailed. No, I wasn't denying it and I was looking at Capri because, while my voice inflection was good due to my training in public speaking, I was afraid my acting wasn't up to par.

"Israel," the President kept coming.

"There is no record of me being raped," I interjected. "Who are you saying raped me?" I was hoping I sounded like a hysterical person trying not to sound hysterical. Capri later told me I did a good job - probably because I was terrified I would fail at this crucial moment.

"Israel, that's not the issue," she tried again.

"Yes it is," I insisted. "You can't accuse someone of being raped without proof, President Pillyere. That's immoral, and slander, I think." I had to put her on the defensive so she'd have to drop the kid gloves and really come at me. Please, please, please...

"Your tragedy shouldn't be exposed to public scrutiny, Israel," please, please, please; for all the needless cruelty I've suffered, let this once be something that helps me, "but you were kidnapped, raped and tortured by the Aurora Slasher for 87 days. That broke you as a man. With the help of women - some very skilled and devoted women - you recovered."

"Sadly, after you exited therapy, you were the victim of a truly barbaric act. You went to a Sorority Party and were viciously used as a sexual toy by the girls there," she poured on the sympathy. Barbaric was a nice touch...but I wasn't raped, I was used as a sex toy...at a party, according to the President, I'd gone to willingly. Well done.

"Saturday night, you fell into the clutches of a known underworld figure who inflicted all those bruises on your precious body we have all become familiar with. The Arena was a tragedy. You were beaten, lethally threatened yet still managed to save a life even though you were clearly falling to pieces on the inside," she added.

"Bravo!" I clapped. "Well done, Mrs. President. The problem is...Show of hands," I raised my hand. "Who here didn't know I was insane when I showed up today?" I looked over the studio. Virtually everyone, Mirabel included, raised their hands.

"Come on now, after Monday's career implosion and my plea to the police at the hospital last night, I am undoubtedly off my rocker. This doesn't mean my information is bad," I pointed out.

"Sure, I could be deluded, or you could be lying too. This is an easy bit of confusion to clear up. Why don't we contact the GNN affiliate in Shanghai? Or San Francisco? Have their journalists go to the relevant hospitals and observe how lethal this 'flu' outbreak is."

"You are causing needless and irresponsible panic, Mr. Jensen," the President firmly chastised me.

"Irresponsible? Perhaps, but I'm not paid to be responsible, you are and you are sucking at your job," I grinned. "Why? That's the 'needless' part. The people NEED to be told that you are letting a pandemic spread across the country so you can isolate a few key economic centers so that some shell of a country can persist that you can rule."

"That's pathetic if you are a woman, or man, considered vital as you are all going to die off in a few decades anyway, and truly suctacular if you aren't one of the Chosen Few. They are about to catch a disease that kills both men and women in seven days - the last four are really unpleasant, I can assure you," I told them.

"Mr. Jensen," the President snapped.

"Shut up!" I shouted back.

"Madam President, you will have your chance at a rebuttal in a moment," Mirabel jumped in.

"Thank you, Ms. Cartwright," I nodded.

"For everyone else, here is the puzzle of the day: Why am I here? We all know I'm a nut and a troublemaker and if you believe the President 'happened' to show up...well, stick your head back in the sand - you'll be happier, believe me. For the rest of you, please recall what Dr. Vasco said yesterday on GNN."

"My antivirals kill the T1. She proved it which surprised me as much as anyone else. What you probably don't know is that I did not develop these antivirals on my own. As the President just confirmed, I was kidnapped by the Aurora Slasher. She experimented on me with a variety of things. One of them was Carabolix-37."

"It was stored at St. Jerome's hospital, which records will confirm was the place where the Carabolix-37 live trails were performed. Twenty years ago, it killed or caused every man who was given the drug to have their nuts cut off. I am the only survivor and no one knows why, save the Slasher herself. Why don't I know?"

"The Aurora Slasher did many horrible things to me, a sixteen year old virgin boy. They were so bad that the therapist had to suppress many of those memories so that I could be functional in the eighteen month timeline they were given.

Saturday night, along with spending a painful sexual encounter with said mobster and having my sexual liaison with the woman I love used as a marketing tool in the slave auction I was forced to participate in, Dr. Delilah Fremont, creator of Carabolix-37, woke up one of those memories. Yes, it was the torment of those resurfacing nightmares of being trapped in her cellar that broke me."

"There it is. I admit it. I was driven insane when I was sixteen and I'm close to being that shattered husk once again. That doesn't change the fact that I was in that basement, I was experimented on with something that has made me immune to the Gender Plague, and it doesn't change the fact that a new, updated version of that Plague is coming to kill you all."

"The how and why of Carabolix not killing me may be locked up in my head somewhere. With it would be a way to allow men to create antivirals to counteract the Gender Plague and this new horror coming for us all. This is why the President is making her appeal to me now on world-wide video."

"This is not some ego-driven fantasy. Think about it. This 'gift' from the woman who destroyed my childhood is nothing but a curse. Rape survivors don't want the limelight, we want to hide. Last time we were 'noticed' something bad happened to us. I agree I have had an egregiously unlucky life," I was winding down.

"Yet, I have managed to find love and compassion at this late date, and with that, hope. That's all I can really pass on. Spend the next week giving a damn about a total stranger, tell the person you love how you feel and follow your heart. If I'm wrong, you've blown one week of your hopefully long lives. If I'm right - how else would you like to go out?" I finished.

"Madam President," Maribel passed the verbal baton.

"Mr. Jensen, you are a lunatic," the President sounded so full of concern and sympathy. I really had to hand it to her. She was about to screw me royally.

"Agreed," I nodded.

"Wait your turn, Israel," Maribel cautioned me.

"You have turned an unfortunate influenza outbreak into an epidemic only you can cure. How realistic is that?" my current aggressor kept chiseling away at me. "I'm trying to bring men into the pending gender issue and you are jumping off the Cliffs of Reason."

"Mrs. President," the neurologist from Texas interrupted, "we know he has the cure to the TI Gender virus, as he claimed on Monday. Can we at least find out the source of Mr. Jensen's information?"

"It comes from his imagination," the President was getting snappish. No more Christmases!!

"No, it comes from the Ministry of Security, Operations Section, as well as members of JSOC and certain satellite intelligence," I confessed. "The pertinent fact is not that I'm undeniably crazy. It is that your own administration has betrayed you, Madam President." BOOM! Take THAT!! It was no longer about my credibility or confidence - it was about hers.

The logical next step was to mock my access to anyone with their hands on such sensitive information. Except the military had made a grab at me an hour ago, it looked like her Attorney General had bungled the handling of the Jensen Investigation on Monday and her National Security Advisor had talked her into this public appeal fiasco this morning.

"Who told you these things?" she growled. "I want names." Even as those words poured out of her mouth she realized the enormity of her mistake. It was too late now. Her mental turmoil, brought about the disaster at the MAL rally, the on-coming plague, lack of sleep and her anxious efforts to save what she could, had eroded her poise enough to give me a ray of hope.

Whether you wanted to consider it irresponsible journalism, or a matter of the public having the right to choose, it was Maribel that landed the killing blow.

"Madam President," Maribel shot up from one of the elevated stools she, and I, were sitting on, "I have only this moment heard confirmation that there is going to be a quarantine that encompasses the San Francisco Bay Area in four hours. What is going on here?"

What was going on was a matter of human psychology and logistics. No one, not even the President, could simply order the cessation of all land, air and sea travel out of a location and have it happen instantly. You had to marshal forces, seize chokepoints and organize your internal resources for the crisis's to come - disease, hunger, lawlessness, and fear.

The last problem could be the biggest. When told that a horrific disease was breaking in your hometown, your instinct was 'I'm healthy, so I should get out while the getting is good'. It was a very human reaction. If you were trying to contain a contagion, this was very, very bad. This virus had a three day incubation period.

People who felt perfectly healthy could be walking corpses and not know it. Sadly, none of this mattered to San Francisco. The infection had been spreading around the cities of the Bay Area for six days by this time. The path of the initial plague bearer was a nightmare. She'd been at the airport, as well as eating, shopping and clubbing for two days all over San Francisco.

As an act of kindness, the director of GNN San Francisco began informing the Emergency Managers of every city about to be affected that she had spilled the beans. By the time the listening audience made up their minds to tell their buddies before packing up and making for some means of egress, the wheels of the quarantine were rolling.

Rental cars were no longer available, trains and metros stopped running, and the ports, ferries and all airports, great and small, shut down. It was an imperfect containment, but it was something.

"This conversation is over," the President barked. "Who is in charge there?"

"Special Agent in Charge Enola Treyvon, Gender Investigative Unit, Federation Bureau of Investigation, Madam President," Dimples stepped forward, cloaked in an invincible aura of purity. "What are you orders?" Camera's panned to her and she came on-screen for the masses.

"Special Agent Treyvon, arrest that man," the President commanded.

"I can't do that, Madam President. He is not in violation of any Federation Law," Dimples replied.

"His bracelet is malfunctioning," our Fearless Leader pointed out.

"Noted and explained, Ma'am. It was disabled in a police action, by an authorized law enforcement agent striking him accidentally. He has informed the proper authorities and has an appointment to remedy the situation upon leaving this building," Enola answered.

"It happened last night," the slightly exasperated President continued.

"Ma'am, the offices were closed last night and don't open for another thirty minutes. What exactly was Mr. Jensen supposed to do?" Dimples was a cool, sedate calm.

"Just arrest him!" the President's patience was wearing thin.

"Well, Madam President, if you declare a State of National Emergency, I could do that right now," Dimples pointed out.

"So ordered," the President commanded. Clearly the woman was exhausted from a long sleepless night. She was definitely worn down, stressed and not at the top of her game.

"Could you please clarify," Dimples requested monotonously.

"I declare a State of National Emergency - now take him into custody," she barked.

"Thank you Madam President. Madam President, I am placing you under arrest - the charge is Treason," Dimples announced.

"WHAT?!?" the President shouted. "You can't do that."

"Yes Ma'am, I can. Page 37 of the Emergency Powers Act - Section 40 - paragraph 1: 'Any authorized federal law enforcement agent, or armed forces member directed to act in a law enforcement role may arrest and detain any public officer, or employee, deemed to be acting against the public welfare, and interest, for 72 hours without a legal hearing.'

"You really should have read what you just made into law, Madam ex-President," Dimples remained totally neutral and comported herself with astounding gravitas.

"I'm going to call your boss, the Attorney General, and settle this matter right now," the maybe ex-President threatened.

"Mrs. Pillyere (the Quebecois former President's last name)," SAC Treyvon mused, "if the AG takes that call, she will be charged, quite legally, with Conspiracy to Commit Treason. I imagine your popularity is going down the toilet right about now, so please be cooperative. As we speak, Ms. Montanyard, of the 10th Federation Legal District is sending an arrest warrant to the Minister of the Treasury, directing her to order the Secret Service Presidential Detail to take you into custody."

"Aren't you at least going to arrest Mr. Jensen?" the stunned ex-President mumbled.

"Why? He's been totally cooperative and up front with everything we've asked him to do - unlike you," Dimples lectured.

"But - the cure," our former leader pressed.

"He doesn't have access to a global, or even national cure. He never has. Besides, he's not a public officer, or official," Dimples pointed out. "He isn't required to do anything to help anyone. To force him to do so would be unconstitutional - the 14th Amendment says so."

"Wait, he's a member of the staff at City Hall, isn't he?" the ex-Pres. kept trying to tread water.

"The world would be a much tidier place if everyone would simply read the handbooks created for such situations," Dimple sighed. "Mr. Jensen is under a termination notice by the Civil Affairs Review Board which, I quote, 'removes all duties and responsibilities from said individual until the time of their termination review hearing'.

"That is next Tuesday, if you are curious. To pre-empt your next suggestion, only Mr. Jensen can request a speedy hearing. The Civil Affairs department cannot request one because that violates his rights to mount a 'timely' defense," Enola remained outwardly detached. I didn't know this shit and I worked for the city.

A Grand Cosmic Law was being revealed to the world at large: Dimples wins. Dimples always wins. You see, there were only two outcomes possible. The President successfully resisted and the country descended into civil war because if the Chief Executive of the Nation was publically disobeying the law, why would anyone follow her?

Or, the ex-President went to the FBI, squealed like a stuck pig and took down her entire cabinet for their complicity - including the Vice President - and the country was decapitated. By issuing the State of National Emergency, she'd silenced and neutered the Congress for 72 hours as well, so neither the Speaker of the Assembly nor the President Pro Tem of the Senate could legally take over the country.

The Supreme Court was technically still intact, but what in the hell were they going to do? They had no enforcement powers and the government bureaucracy was running on autopilot. In theory, authority devolved down to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. More likely, it was in the hands of the Regional Military Commanders.

On paper, a million women warriors were theirs to command. In reality, the majority of these women were clerks, mechanics, armorers, medics and other support personnel. The minority were combat troops. Very few were actually military policewomen/shore patrol.

The military had three missions: military confrontation, police actions and training the next generation of women to fight effectively. Among other things, this meant a disparity of combat power between installations. South Atlantic Command had a plethora of Coast Guard cutters and frigates, several air bases of mostly reconnaissance planes, a combat air training facility and a dozen battalions of Reserves.

There were two Ranger Regiments in her area plus their training base, but they answered to a separate command, the JSOC.

In comparison, the Mid-Atlantic MC was a Goddess of War. She had two fully functional combat divisions, six combat air wings, the world's third largest naval base, the Naval Academy and roughly two and a half divisions of reserves from various branches of the armed services.

While the commanders of the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic regions were theoretically equals, if South Atlantic did something Mid-Atlantic didn't like, or had something - like that nuclear power plant - that Mid-Atlantic needed, a major ass-whooping was in the offing.

To add to the fun, if a naval or Coast Guard vessel was at sea, it was under their various Naval Fleet commands. If it was in port, it was under the local Military Commander's command. The Chief of Naval Operations was ordering all naval vessels to bolt for the high seas. If you were a civilian in Halifax, Hampton Roads, Veracruz, San Salvador, San Diego or Vancouver, watching all those grey ships running for open water must have been a sight - and not a good one.

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