AC: Bush43 Daily Week Three

Jason Kenney jasonkenney at
Thu Jun 22 06:19:53 PDT 2006

Artifice Comics -

Heya, folks.  I'm trying to think of something smart to say but I'm
drawing a blank.

So I'll direct all you fine folks to the Artifice website where you can
find out where these badguys have come from.  Yeah, all those villains
that have been giving our hero trouble over the last couple days are
throwbacks from early Bush43 issues, but how'd they get their act

There ya go!

Now for the story!


BUSH43 #33
By Jason S. Kenney


Nancy Meyers rode in the elevator with me, neither of us saying a word,
as we waited for the three floors to go by.  As soon as the doors
opened, I gestured for her to step off first, but she shook me off, so
I went.

"Hold my calls, Miss Meyers," I said with a groan, as I struggled to
take my suit coat off, my body tense, a sharp pain in my lower back
spreading up my spine, as my arms moved.  "If anyone's looking for me,
I'm taking a nap or in with a doctor or something."

"And, where are you going, Mister Carter?"

I stopped and looked over my shoulder at her, as I unbuttoned my shirt
with one hand, while the other pulled my tie off.

"I'm going over to Ferguson to help."

"You have a press conference..."

"In an hour and a half," I said, as I took my shirt off, as I stepped
into my office.  I started to somewhat fold it neatly when I noticed
red on the back.

"Shit," I muttered.  I tried to twist to look at my back, but pain and
basic body structure prevented me from doing that much.

"I believe that you'd be better off staying here and actually seeing a
doctor, Mister Carter."

"People need my help," I said, as I headed towards the washroom where I
had left my old torn and tattered clothing from earlier in the evening.

"There are plenty of people already there."

I stopped at the washroom door and looked at Nancy.

"No one like me," I said.

"They will notice your coming and going," Nancy said, as I went into
the washroom and grabbed my old pants.  "You are risking a lot by going
out there, Mister Carter."

"I have to do something, damn it!" I shouted, my fists clenched around
my pants.

"You are doing something," said a new female voice, one I knew well.

Anna Romanova stood in the center of my office, lighting a cigarette.

"What are you doing here?" I asked, storming out of the washroom and
past Nancy who had turned and headed for the door.  "You're supposed to
be out there..."

"Too many people, Jeffery," said Anna, as she blew out a plume of
smoke.  "You'd just be in the way."

"I'm going," I said, as I stopped near Anna, close enough to put my
face in her cloud of cigarette smoke.

"You have a job to do here."

"Saving lives out there is more important than dancing like a monkey in

"Your work here is saving lives, Jeffery," said Anna, resting the hand
that held her cigarette on my shoulder.

"You give the press conferences if they're so important."

I shrugged off her hand and went to my desk, throwing open one of the
bottom drawers and digging under folders, emerging with a mask.

"If I'm not back in time, tell them I saw a doctor, needed treatment,
something like that; it's plausible, given what happened."

"And, what if they draw a correlation between Jeffery Carter
disappearing and Bush43 appearing?" asked Anna, no smile, no smirk, as
she stared right at me.

"They're already trying to say I'm one of the New Mages," I said, as I
went to the washroom again.  "It'll be nothing new."


"I'm going, Anna," I said from the doorway of the washroom.  "I caused
that shit.  The least I can do is try and get people out of it."

She opened her mouth to say something, but I continued.

"And, you're probably going to get phone calls or offers from the
national government for assistance.  I say take it.  Or, better yet,
you should call them first and ask for it."

I partially closed the door for a bit of privacy and started to take
off my good, clean pants, a task that was an effort in and of itself,
given the cuts and bruises all over.

"And, why would I do that?" Anna asked.

"Because this is a huge deal, Anna, and we're technically still part of
the country.  This is the type of event that would pull international

"We don't need their help," Anna said, and I looked up to see her right
in the doorway, staring right at me with my pants off, still no smirk,
still smoking.

"If you ask, they can't say no."

"And since I don't want them here..."

"Anna, we need to turn to the national government on this," I said, as
I put on my old pants.  "Not only do they have the personnel and
equipment to help, but it would go a long way to legitimizing your
administration.  Put them in the hot seat, Anna.  Put them in a corner
and force them to acknowledge you as the Mayor of this city."  I pulled
my belt through my pants loops, while I stared at Anna.  "And, show to
the people that you aren't some dictator, that you're working within a
system they know very well and have lived with for years.  Show them
that they're still Australians."

I sighed and waited for a response, getting none, just Anna staring at

"Call them, Anna," I said.  "Meanwhile, I'm going to dig these people

"They will ask about you, Jeffery.  They will connect the dots."

"And, I'm willing to risk that, Anna, if it means saving at least one
of those people.  I have to fix this."

She waited, stared, then nodded and stepped out of the washroom and
into my office.  I looked at myself in the mirror and sighed again.

"You should check in on your girlfriend," said Anna from the other

"What?" I asked, looking to the doorway and finding that I was now
looking down a hallway.

I looked right in front of me to see a door, 1109 in silver right at
eye level.

"Son of a bitch," I said, taking a step back, closing my eyes, taking a
deep breath.

Once again, I was directed.  Once again, I was moved.  Once again,
someone else was in control of my life.

I opened my eyes and took another deep breath, crammed the mask
clenched in my hand in my pocket, and rang the doorbell.

It took her about half a minute before she opened the door, clutching
her robe closed with one hand, while the other pulled the door open.

"Jeffery," she said, and we practically fell into each other, a quick
hug that she pulled out of, so she could cram her lips onto mine.

We broke apart as sloppily as we came together and locked eyes.

"Are you okay?" I said, my hand drifting up to push loose hair from
over the bandage on her forehead.

"I'm fine," she said, grabbing my hand, pulling it down and smiling at
me.  "I saw you on television.  Are you okay?"

"No worse for wear," I said with a small smirk. "Whatever that means.
I was on the TV?"

"Come in," she said, stepping back and aside for me.

"I have to get going," I said.

"You can give me two minutes," she said, giving me a stern look mixed
with a smirk.

"Cass, people are buried alive out there," I said, turning slightly to
gesture down the hall as if it were the outside world.  "I've got

"Christ, Jeffery," she said, her hands quickly on my shoulders,
completely turning my back to her.

I had forgotten about my back.

"It's nothing," I said, trying to turn around.

"Bullshit, it's nothing," she said, holding tight, keeping my back to

She grabbed the bottom of my shirt and pulled it up, as I tried again
to turn around, but she kept me straight.

"Damn it, Jeffery, you have to do something about that."

"I'll be fine," I said.  "I have to go."

"Not like that you won't."

"It doesn't even hurt," I said.

"There's glass still in it," she said.

"I'm fiiiin--ah--shit!"

I jumped forward and spun on Cass, as she brandished a glistening
sliver of glass, nice and red with me.

"There is glass still in your back, Jeffery," she said, grabbing my arm
and practically dragging me into her apartment, closing the door behind
her.  "You're not going anywhere until we clean you up.  God, look at
your arms," she said, lifting the arm she had a grip on she could study

Scratches, cuts, all fresh, all pointless right now.

I jerked my arm away.

"It's fine," I said.  "I have to get going.  I'm needed..."

"You need to take care of yourself."

"After I get those people out of that rubble."


"Cass, I..."

"Would you shut up and let me talk?" she snapped, another glare, this
one without the smirk.  There was an angry pause before she continued.

"There is nothing you can do down there right now, Jeffery."  I opened
my mouth to protest.  "Nothing!" she restated, shutting me up.  "I
don't care how strong you are, I don't care how brave you are, I don't
care about whatever responsibility you feel for this thing; there is
nothing you can do."

"I can try," I said softly through clenched teeth.

"Try and what?  Try and hurt yourself?  Get yourself killed?"

I closed my eyes and hung my head, clenching my teeth, trying to stay
calm, trying to make sense of it all.

"Why won't anyone let me do this?" I muttered more to myself, but she

"Jeffery," said Cass, gently touching my cheek. "You aren't the only
one who can help.  Let someone else handle this.  You need to take care
of yourself.  When's the last time you slept?"

I didn't have an answer for her there because I couldn't remember.

"If you can't take care of yourself, how are you going to take care of
anyone else?"

"People are dying..."

"And, you don't need to kill yourself over it, Jeffery.  You can't save

I opened my eyes and looked up into hers.

"I can try."

She slowly pulled her hand away and shook her head, then put her hand
to it, near the cut.

"Cass, are you all right?"

"I'm sorry," she said, and I guided her around the couch and helped her
sit down.  "I'm all right.  They said I'd probably get dizzy once in a
while for the next day or so.  I'm okay, Jeffery.  Let's get you..."

"No," I said. "You need to lay down or something."

"Jeffery, I can take care of myself."

"Cass, let me..."  I stopped myself from finishing my sentence, knew
what I'd be committing to, and wondered if this was a trick.

She looked to me and smirked, despite the tears.

"Go save the world, Jeffery."

"Cass," I said, crouching down to her eye level, taking her hands in
mine, trying to get her to look at me.  "What's wrong?"

"I thought they were going to kill you, Jeffery.  In that room, in
front of all of those people, I thought they were going to kill you."

"I wouldn't have let it get that far."

"You let that happen to you?" she asked, looking at me, glaring at me.

"Well, not exactly, but, I mean, I was holding back.  I let myself get
cut, yeah, but overall I wasn't really trying.  I didn't want to give
anything away."

"But, you disappearing from your job when you're needed most to put on
your mask and go somewhere else--that's not too risky?  That's not
giving something away?"

"There are lives at stake."

"There were lives at stake at the Hilton, Jeffery."

"Yes, but..."

"And, if you hadn't had held back there, maybe Ferguson wouldn't have
happened.  If you hadn't held back against these people so many times
in the past, Jeffery, maybe a lot of things wouldn't have happened."

"Where is this coming from, Cass?"

"Jeffery," she said, pulling one hand from mine, caressing my cheek.
"You're too good for all of this."

"Cass," I said, reaching up to grab her hand, hold it, keep her
attention. "What are you trying to say?"

"She's trying to say what I've been telling you for months now,

I spun around to see Anna Romanova standing in Cassandra's apartment,
no cigarette, no smirk, hands in her pockets.

"If you had fully taken care of these people in the past, people would
not be dying in the present."

"Are you blaming..."

"Just observing, Jeffery.  And, since you're intent on destroying
yourself this evening, here's your chance to redeem yourself in the

Anna pulled a folded slip of paper out of her pocket and held it out to

"This is where you will find Roger Thompson, a gentleman you knew at
Strongman.  He is a member of the group that attacked the Hilton this

"Big European guy," I recalled, as I stood and took the paper from

"I do not know how long he will be there, so you had better hurry."

I looked to Cass who was now looking at her feet, choppily breathing
from crying.

I looked back to Anna.

"Have you given the police this information?"

"You are the only other person to know."

"Then, tell them."

"Jeffery, this is something you..."

"Tell them, so they can clean up when I'm done with the sonofabitch."

Anna cracked a smirk at that.

"You've been teleporting me all over town tonight," I said, as I held
up the slip she handed me.  "Can you get me here?"

"Consider it done, Jeffery."

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