[AC] Bush43 Daily Week Eight

Jason Kenney jasonkenney at gmail.com
Thu Jul 27 14:09:30 PDT 2006

Artifice Comics - http://www.artificecomics.com

BUSH43 #58
By Jason Kenney


"They're pretty insistent, Mister Carter," Commissioner Barry Jordan
said, as he fidgeted in his seat.

"I don't care, Commissioner.  After they ignored our pleas for help
last weekend, I refuse to simply bend over because they want to accuse
one of this city's heroes of a simple breaking and entering where no
one was harmed."

"It wasn't a simple breaking and entering," said Officer Michael Self
from his seat next to Jordan, his hands folded in his lap, as he stared
right at me, cool as ice.  "And, we all know it's not just an
accusation.  Bush43 most certainly broke into the Lawrence and Sun

"Are you willing to return those drugs, Officer Self?" I asked, as I
leaned back in my seat.  "Because that is exactly what they're going to
demand we do if we decide to follow their rules on this."

"There are laws..." Jordan started to say.

"There are obligations, Commissioner Jordan," I said, leaning forward
quick. "And, the federal government failed to follow through on them
for our people.  Bush43 procured items necessary for us to properly
contain the people responsible.  I seriously doubt the Mayor is about
to hand over one of this city's heroes for doing what needed to be

"There are more reasonable ways to go about getting things," Jordan
continued to protest.

"We have tried those more reasonable ways," I said.  "Every attempt we
have made to even begin to engage the government in any sort of
dialogue has been ignored.  We cannot allow them to ignore us into
submission.  The people of this city deserve better than that."

"The problem here is Mayor Romanov," said Self very matter of factly.

"Mayor Romanov is doing everything he can to make sure this city has
what it needs."

"Erlend Romanov's presence as mayor is doing more harm to this city
than anything else," said Self. "And, as long as he remains in office,
this city will continue to suffer."

"There is nothing keeping them here, Officer Self" said a new voice to
the conversation, as we all looked to Erlend Romanov, walking from
where he appeared near the door to my office and toward my desk.  "Nor
is there anything keeping the Australian government from coming down
here and removing me.  They have made no efforts to contact me to even
address their own desires, whether to ask me to leave or start playing
by their rules.

"And, speaking of rules," said Romanov, as he rounded my desk and stood
next to me, crossing his arms and staring right at Officer Self. "Am I
to understand that you are using illicit means to purchase equipment
for the police department?"

Commissioner Jordan nearly fell out of his seat in his effort to
quickly turn to look at Self.

"The police need supplies that you are not willing to give them, your
honor," said Self without batting an eye.

"I am not willing to give them because they are not necessary."

"We needed those drugs..."

"And, you got them, did you not?"

"No thanks to you," Self said.  "And through illicit means as well."

"You will not receive that shipment," said Romanov, then looking to the
Commissioner.  "I expect you to deal with Officer Self on this matter,

Jordan's mouth opened and shut a few times, as he was still trying to
figure get his bearings, so I took the opportunity to speak up.

"The police will get that shipment as ordered," I said, as I stared at
my desk, avoiding everyone's eyes. "Or, I will tell every press outlet
in this city of your blocking it."

"To what end?" asked Romanov with a hint of humor in his voice.

"We have taken the high road over the last couple weeks, Erlend," I
said, as I pushed myself to my feet and turned to Romanov.  "Increased
cooperation with the police, holding the federal government's feet to
the fire for failing to do the bare minimum to meet the people's needs,
and now you want to prevent the police from getting the necessary
equipment in order for them to do their jobs?

"They need guns, they need ammo, they need cuffs, they need the bare
minimum to at least appear to be an effective deterrent to crime.

"There is nothing in that shipment that puts your control over this
city at risk, Erlend."  I looked to Self.  "Am I correct?"

Self hesitated, swallowed hard, and then nodded, staring at me the
whole time like he was trying to figure out my angle.

"So, let it happen," I said as I looked back to Erlend.  "If you don't
let it happen, I can guarantee you will see such a mass exodus out of
this city it won't be funny.  People, businesses, you'll be mayor of a
ghost town, and there's very little you can do to achieve your Utopia
or whatever it is you're trying to do here."

Erlend Romanov stood staring at me for a moment before clearing his

"Are you finished?" he asked.

"That shipment will arrive, and I can guarantee that at least half of
this city's science heroes will be there to make sure that it does so

"And, no moves will be made against Officer Self," I said, turning back
to Jordan.  "Just because he has done more to ensure the stability of
the department than its current leadership does not mean you need to
show him who's boss.  If you do decide to follow through with 'dealing
with' Officer Self, I will make you life a living hell, Commissioner

"Jeffery," said Erlend Romanov.

"What?!" I demanded, as my head whipped around to look at him.

"You're fired."

"Thank fucking God!" I shouted, throwing my hands into the air and
rearing my head back as I did so.  "I thought I was never going to get
off this goddamn train before it wrecked."

I stormed from around my desk and headed for the door.


I stopped and spun around to look to Romanov, as he pulled his hand
from a drawer in my desk.

"You might want to take this with you."

And, he smiled, as he held my mask up for all to see.

I shrugged off my suit coat, as I started back across the office,
letting it fall to the floor as un-did my cuffs and rolled up my

One hand snatched the mask from Romanov's, as the other loosened my tie
and undid the top button of my shirt.

"Is this how you want to do it?" I asked, staring right into his eyes,
as I tugged the mask over my head.

Romanov just kept smiling.

"Fine then."

That goddamn smile was a perfect bulls-eye for my punch that sent him
stumbling back just enough to give me room to charge into him.

The window to my office exploded, as we went through.  I landed one
punch into his face, then another, before he twisted and pushed off,
his hand coming out of his pocket with just what I thought he would,
and wings tore from his back, leaving him hovering, as I tore into the
pavement hard.

I was quick to my feet, ignoring the pain in my body, ignoring the
screech of tires, as cars stopped to avoid me, avoid the hole I had
left in the road, ignoring the people stopping to gawk, looking for

I found Anna Romanova instead.

"What exactly are you trying to prove here, Jeffery?" she said, as she
walked toward me, no wings, no sword, just a cigarette dangling from
her lips, one hand clenched tight around just what I didn't want it to

"I will not just sit back and watch this city die, Anna," I said, as I
planted my feet and balled up my fists.

Then, there was a sword, growing from the scarab, forming, as she
continued to walk toward me.

"You want to kill this place, Anna?" I said, as I noticed a crowd
forming, the press spilling out of City Hall, the world now ready to
watch.  "Fine, but you'll have to kill me first."

I should have expected it.  I should have been ready for it.  But,
after all of these heroic bouts with posturing and monologues, I guess
I thought Romanova would take her time.

But, no, her sword was in my gut quicker than I could say "ouch."

Why must all of my last stands happen on the steps of City Hall?

"You cannot save anyone if you can not save yourself, Jeffery," she
said next to my ear, as my body started to register the fact that it
had been skewered.

She leaned back and pulled the sword out, my body moving forward with
the jerk.  I stumbled, as she turned and walked away, my hands groping
at my stomach, my hands trying to hold me together.

"Is that the best you've got?" I said, as I tried to keep my balance.

She turned around, just as I lost it and fell to my knees, catching
myself with one hand, so I didn't go face first into the street.

Romanova stepped back toward me and brought the sword under my chin and
lifted my head up to look her in the eyes.  To see her smile.

I moved quick, considering I had a hole in my stomach, one arm knocking
the sword out of the way, while I pushed off the ground and into her,
tackling her and ending up on top.  I held down her sword wielding arm
with one hand while I punched in her face with the other.  I got three
hits in before her free hand was around my neck, and I was flung
through the air and into the side of a parked car.

I slid down into a sitting position, starting to laugh, as Anna
Romanova got to her feet.  She looked to me, as she ran the back of her
hand under her nose and came away with blood.

"The world is watching, Anna," I said, as darkness threatened my
vision, threatened my thoughts.

I caught myself, as I started to fall sideways, bracing myself with one
hand while the other held my gut.  It was a struggle, but soon my legs
responded, and I started to get to my feet, while Romanova just stood
there and watched.

"Are you willing to vilify yourself in front of everyone, Anna?" I
asked, as I braced myself against the car.

"The Australian government will look quite favorably on your being
reprimanded," said Romanova with a smile.

Shit.  She was right.

"I'm your best fucking hope, Anna," I said, as I tried to step away
from the car, step toward her.  My legs held briefly.  "You can't beat
the Imperial Magistrate."

"And, you can?"

I fell to my knees and wobbled, held the rest of me upright.

Anna Romanova stepped toward me, sword out, pointing right at my neck.

"Do you fear death, Jeffery?" she asked, her smile gone, eyes narrowed.

I tried to respond, but my body wouldn't let me, my voice a croak, as
pain wracked my body.

Then, the earth shook under my knees, and the air behind Romanova

The Siege Engine had returned to Pacific City.

Romanova tried to spin and bring her sword around, but it was already
moving, bringing the back of its hand across her upper body and tossing
her aside.  She didn't hit the ground, wings suddenly out and keeping
her aloft.  The Engine reached out for me, but I fell back to avoid its
grasp, as Romanova came at it with a yell.

It moved just enough to dodge her sword but not the rest of her, the
two colliding and tumbling into the street.  I tried to move, but a
hand on my shoulder held me still.

"Close your eyes," I heard, and I instinctively listened.

Or, I just passed out.

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