AC: Bush43 Daily Week Four

Jason Kenney jasonkenney at
Fri Jun 30 08:05:56 PDT 2006

Artifice Comics -

End of month one.  Woo!


BUSH43 #39
By Jason S. Kenney


"Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen," I said after stepping to the
podium.  A few people responded with greetings; others just went about
their business, finding seats, setting up, and the like.

"Well, let's get started then," I said, bracing my hands on the sides
of the podium, clearing my throat, and then letting go, straightening
up, looking the part.

"I'd like to start by asking that everyone please continue to keep the
family and loved ones of those affected by the Ferguson attack in their
prayers.  We are working very hard to ensure that everyone has what
they need and that those who have suffered can properly recover."

"In what ways?" came a quick question, a gentleman from some out of
town paper, his accent American.

"Financial assistance, housing assistance, helping provide for long
term needs as necessary.  Naturally, not everyone is going to have the
same needs, so there is no one set list of specifically what will be
done across the board, but we are working hard to try and create a
system that is efficient and effective in helping these people

"Mister Carter," and Tina Wilson's hand went up. "Will the Mayor be
asking for assistance from the federal government again?"

"I believe that, at this moment, no, there are no plans to try any
further to seek assistance from the Australian government.  Their
silence to our two overtures yesterday spoke volumes.  But, the city is
more than capable of taking care of its own and making sure these
people have what they need."

"Are the police now treating the attacks on Ferguson and the Hilton as
related?"  A woman from one of the twenty-four hour news places, Lisa

"I believe that is a question best answered by the police."

"Do you believe that the Hilton was attacked specifically to get to
you, or was your presence merely a coincidence?"  I couldn't tell who
asked that, a light behind their head making them hard to see.

"I'm afraid I'm not at liberty to speculate as to the exact reasons for
the attack."

"You've got to have some thoughts on it, though."

"I do, but it is not proper of me to voice them nor for them to be
treated as news.  The police are in the midst of an investigation that
will explain the reasons for the attack in due time."

"Mister Carter--" someone from one of the weeklies "--do you have
anything to say to those who are speculating that you are a science
hero or one of the New Mages?"

"Wow, that's new to me," I said with a small chuckle.  "All I can say
is, well, you got me.  I'm surprised it took everyone so long.  It's
quite obvious I'm Mysteria."  A few laughs in the room.  Good.  "I
would say to those people no on both accounts.  But, I doubt that will
end any speculation."

"Are you going to be involved in this evening's American Consulate
visit with the survivors of Ferguson, given your past relationship with
the Consulate?"  I didn't recognize the lady that asked the question,
one of many new people that started showing up after Saturday night.

"The Mayor will be with them, but I will not.  It is my belief and the
belief of many here that the more people that go, the more of a circus
it becomes.  These people need real, tangible help, and handshakes from
every one on the Pacific City Who's Who list don't do much to aid the

And on and on and on.

"Mister Carter, do you believe there is a conflict of interest in your
dating Cassandra Trellis, an editor for the Pacific City Globe?"  I was
wondering when the PC Times was going to try and play that card.

"Mister Twine, there is no conflict of interest, as our personal and
professional lives are kept separate."

"Yet, you both arrived together at the Hilton, a professional event..."

"Mister Twine, your editor-in-chief Peter Boone's wife is the sister of
Thomas Loeb who runs the company which supplies the paper the Times is
printed on, as well as your competition the Globe.  But, Boone has
never once taken advantage of his relationship with Loeb for any gain.
They are professional men who are able to keep their private lives out
of their professional dealings.  I would appreciate some credit as to
my ability to do professional job while living my private life."

There was a bit of silence that didn't seem all that comfortable.

"I think I'll wrap it up with that, folks.  We'll have to do this again
sometime, say, same time tomorrow?"

A few people laughed, most didn't appreciate my sense of humor, which
was understandable; it was a bad joke, but the press conference ended.
And, I couldn't leave the room quick enough.


"The Mayor is in your office," Nancy Meyers said, as I walked by her

"Of course, he is," I said, and I opened my door.

"Tracy Pine walks into City Hall," started Erlend Romanov with his back
to me, as he stood on the other side of the room and stared out the
window. "Walks up to you, walks into your office, and thirty minutes
later walks out of your office and out of City Hall."

He pivoted on his heels, spinning to look at me, as I reached my desk
and sat in on of the guest chairs.

"Does that sound about right?" Romanov asked, glaring at me.

"Roughly," I said, staring right back.

"Does that sound like what should have happened?"

"If she delivers Dean Williams, yes."  His eyes narrowed.  "Trust me on
this, Erlend."

"You let a wanted criminal that was partially responsible for the death
of one hundred and twenty people walk right into your hands and out
again, Jeffery."

"For reason.  It is under control, Erlend.  Trust me."

Silence hung there, as we just stared at each other.

"Have I led you wrong before?" I asked.

"If you had taken your job and my advice more seriously, these people
who not be walking the earth to kill people, Jeffery."

"Have I led you wrong before?" I said again, harsher this time, not
bothering to hide my anger.  Romanov smirked, as he heard it.

"There is a first time for everything, Jeffery.  And, it could very
well cost many more lives."

"Trust me, Erlend.  I know what I'm doing."

He stared at me for a bit longer and then took a deep breath, seemed to
loosen up.

"How was your lunch?" he asked, as he walked from around my desk and
past me.


"It was fine," I said, not bothering to turn to look at him, as he kept
walking and reached my office door.

"Did you and the butler have a nice conversation?"

"It was a hoot," I said.

"I bet," he said, as I heard my door open.  "Be good, Jeffery."

I didn't respond, as he closed the door behind him.

It was quarter after two, and I was praying for five.

I took a deep breath and slouched in my seat, staring out the window
behind my desk, as I fished out my cell phone.

"I didn't know Peter Boone was related to Thomas Loeb," was Cassandra's

"I had a feeling the question might come up, so I did my research."

"When did you have time for that?"

"Okay, I had Nancy do the research."

"You work quick."

"Tina must work quick if you've already heard about that."

"She called me as soon as your briefing was over, thought I'd like to

"Is there something up between you two that I don't know about?" I
asked, as I stood up, walked around my desk, and kept looking out the

"Whatever do you mean?"

"Are you guys best friends or something?"

"So, what do you want?"

"You're dodging the question."

"You do it all the time, so there.  What'd you call for?"

"Wanted to see where you'd like to go for dinner."  I started bouncing
on my heels a little bit, moving, doing something.  Couldn't stand
still for whatever reason.  Joy?  Stress?

"Oh, I hadn't really thought of it."

"Off the top of your head, when you think nice, quiet, romantic dinner
with a sexy charmer like, say, me, what place do you think of?"

"McDonalds," she said quick.

"Consider it done."

"Why don't you just surprise me, Jeffery?"

"Because you might not like my surprise."

"I can feign pleasure very well."

"Good to know."  She laughed a little on that, very easily catching my
meaning.  "Okay, so I'll pick a place."

"You'll pick a place, or Nancy will pick a place?"

"I'll figure something out," I said.  "What time is best for you?"

"I'm getting out of here around four-thirty and will need some time to
get ready."

"I'm not done until five.  Can I pick you up around six?"

"Six would be great."

"Excellent.  Also, so you're aware, I may have something come up for
later, so I might not be able to make it a late night."

"Work related?"

"Work and extra curricular," I said.  "A twofer."

"When might this come up?"

"It'd be late if at all, and I should know by the time I'm off," I
said, a beep in my ear telling me I had another call.  I pulled the
phone away to check who it was.

"Actually," I said back into the phone. "I may know in just a minute.
I've got another call coming in, so I'll let you go."

"Okay," she said. "I'll see you at six?"

"Six o'clock, I'll be there."

"Can't wait."

"Me neither."

And, she hung up.  I answered the other call.


"I have spoken with a couple gentlemen," he said, getting straight to
the point.  "Depending on what is needed and how much, it could take
two to four weeks."

"Shit," I said.  "Any chance of sooner?"

"It all depends on what is ordered.  And, it will not be cheap,

"I didn't expect it to be," I said.  "But, we won't know exactly how
much it'll cost until we know what's needed."

"What you are asking for, Jeffery, is very risky for all involved."

"Some risks are worth it, Alfonse."

"I agree.  But, you must understand what the consequences are if one of
any number of things were to go wrong."

"I think that the benefits outweigh the risks here, Alfonse.  In the
long term, for the sake of everyone.

"How quickly do they need a response?"

"They would like to know by noon tomorrow."

"That's quick," I said.

"That is twenty-two hours to work with.  I had to pull teeth for more
than twelve.  Any longer than that, and the risks increase more than
they are comfortable with."

"Understood," I said.  "I'll do what I can and get back to you."

"Do be careful, Jeffery."

"Be careful yourself."

Alfonse hung up, and I closed my phone, tapping the antenna on my chin,
while I stared out the window and thought.

Two to four weeks.  Maybe.

Two to four weeks.

And, Tracy Pine had promised me Dean Williams within three days.

Three days to take out an exploder.  A man who would wipe out a city
block with just a thought.

Three days.

I hated myself for it, but my mind went back to the same thought I'd
had after my conversation with Self, the same solution that I'd
dismissed then.

Two to three weeks compared to three days.

I couldn't quite dismiss it now.


I dialed.


After another hour or so of reading messages, making calls, doing my
job, I looked at the clock and cursed.

"Miss Meyers," I said, as I stepped out of my office, still pulling on
my suit coat. "I've got a meeting at four, and I'll be gone for the
day.  My cell will be on, though."

"Understood, Mister Carter," she said, as I walked past her desk.

I was halfway to the elevator when I suddenly stopped and turned

"You know what," I said. "Why don't you take off at four? You've been
here all weekend."

"That is very kind of you, Mister Carter," said Meyers, looking from
her computer to me and giving a small smile.  "I will keep it in mind."

"Do it, Nancy," I said, realizing after I said it that I'd just used
her first name with her.  "Everything will be here tomorrow."

"Not if I get it done tonight, Mister Carter."  I opened my mouth to
say something else, but she beat me to it.  "You are going to be late
for your four o'clock."

I looked to my watch and she was right.

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