World 32: The West Wing

West Wing Side Story

Previously: Whoops, No They Don’t

Themesong: Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson

Sometimes the boss is too nice to me. I know, many of you will disagree, but when I heard that themesong playing on the VMoD… I squealed. I love Sorkin. Best dialogue writer … or maybe tied with Mamet, but with much nicer themes. I may have started singing.

“SJ… why are you singing West Side Story?”

“Because it’s so nice to be in America, Okay by me in America, Everything’s Free in America!”!

“Yes yes… for a small fee… but-”

“In Amer-Eee-Kaaa!”

“Look, you insane goofball, the cabinet says West Wing, not West Side Story.”

“Yeah, well… It could be West Wing Side Story.”

“You don’t like West Side Story… it’s based on Romeo and Juliet, which you don’t like.”

“I like the Baz Luhrman version. It’s bonkers.”

“Fine… I don’t remember it.”

“Come on… we’ll watch it now. We probably have a copy in the archives.”

“Joooy.”

“She can’t help you, dogboy.”

“I wasn’t asking for help, I was being sarcastic.”

“Sardonic.”

“Shadupic.”

“Anyway, I love West Wing. It’s all about how awesome politics could be!”

“For ten years? Politics? For ten years?”

“Awww… is the big Lucario crying?”

“Nooo. Shadup… You’re crying.”

“Very mature.”

“I may be 13,000 years old, but I can be as immature as I want to be.”

“I acknowledge your right. But we still are going to be politicos for 10 years… or at least I am. If you’re very nice, you can be my secretary.”

“Oh? Would that entail any combat?”

“No… your task would be to bring me the finest muffins and bagels in the land… and answer the phone.”

“Noooo…. Way.”

“But you’d look cute in a skirt!”

“Not listening.”

So, while being pointedly not listened too by Zane, I checked out the VMoD. “Can you work with some of the brightest people in the world? Can you last where so many have failed? Can you survive the crucible of American Politics for ten years? You have a 30 day grace period, if you decide to quit your current job (or get fired) to find another job or a candidate to run for the presidency… oh… and don’t think you can go flashing your nifty superpowers here. The Secret Service gets upset when they find Shoggoths in the Press Pool. You begin, of course, in Washington DC, in August of 1999, the first year of the Bartlet Presidency… and the day he rode his bicycle into a tree.”

I rolled the Presidential Die of Aging and found out I was 28. The Drop-In option was cool, based off of and working with Charlie Young. The Senior Staff option was the Hard Mode, but you’d get to work with Leo, CJ, Josh, Sam, and Toby… World Class people doing World Class jobs… The Press Corp option I dismissed; I didn’t feel the need to Clark Kent it up by playing Lois Lane, Ace Reporter… but there’s no way I could pass up the “Sir John Marbury” option… Ambassador [200] was just too cool for School House Rock.  

“Thank God they sent for me!” I am now a distinguished ambassador to the US, and have further reaching responsibilities than I probably know. Whether I take my job seriously and work toward improved relations, goof off and drink all the President’s beer, or help as much as I offend, I’m bound to have an interesting time here. Plusses… Do my job well, and I could prevent major political disasters. People will be afraid to reproach me, since I represent an entire nation. Minuses… When the White House does summon me, they probably have a major problem they’re expecting me to fix. Britain already has an ambassador, and his job is harder than he makes it look. Hmmm… I flipped through the options list… Israel? Too small… Japan? Not quite uptight enough to land that gig… Ditto China. India might be cool, but I don’t know much about India. Sinnoh… wait, what the fuck?

Ambassador from Sinnoh? The Asari? Lothlorien? What in the name of Chuck Lorre? Then I noticed small text “If you have an embassy populated with supernatural creatures which anyone in another universe will think are normal, that doesn’t count as supernatural and doesn’t panic society. You could be the ambassador to that embassy.” I considered that, then chuckled… Sure, why the hell not. I anoint myself her excellency, Silence Jumper of the House Infernape, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary from the Sovereign Nation of Poketopia to the United States of America, Court of Eagles. My form shivered as my Infernape form became the default for the jump.  Note to self, do not burn down the White House with my hair.

That produced several astonished outcries from the House as my Pokecompanions reverted to their original forms en masse. I did note that we were all dressed in clothing, even RayRay, who looks… strange… in a suit. Petra had leg-skirts and a hat. Dyna, Zane, Francy, AJ, and I were wearing fairly normal suits, though mine was more a skirt-suit. Ziggy just had a big ribbon round his neck.

Okay. What’s Next? Heh… well, apparently, What’s Next is what is next. A universal Free Perk, What’s Next? Allows the user to carry on highly technical conversations about policy, plan what they’re going to say in a meeting, and quip to nearby colleagues without losing their train of thought. (It’s essentially mental multitasking.) and it allows the user to power walk without breaking a sweat.  Well, I guess Joy and Ahab will get that. They aren’t Pokemon, but they’ll be swapping in and out as my Human Protocol Officer. One by one I entered my Pokecompanions into the system to see how they’d be naturalized, since there wasn’t an import option.

Rayray du Legendaire was to be my driver (from the former French Quarter of Poketopia) apparently. Francine alAkazam was my intelligence officer (and apparently there were muslim Pokemen). A.J. Gallade y Gardevoir my charge d’affaire / attache and from the former Spanish Quarter). Dyna des Oxydes was my bodyguard. Petra van Metagross, from the Dutch Quarter, was my secretary slash Personal Assistant, and Zane Lucario would be my head of security. Ziggy would be Ziggy.

Stats and figures are already pouring into my head about the trade balance, balance of power, debt ratios… christ… Poketopia is a military powerhouse, but our industry is for shit… and we have crime problem… A map comes to my head… Poketopia is Lemuria… well, smaller, but… it’s right in the middle of the Indian Ocean… about a third the size of India… population 216 million… humans are second class citizens. But they rank higher than Commons. We have a government of “Starters” and a landed gentry of “Legendaries” although “Ubers” (also called “Demi-Legendaries”) make up a growing class of wealthy and influential up-and-comers who are granted special legal exemptions due to their support of the government. The country is divided into 18 states, though almost all Starters come from only three of those states (the highly volcanic Aesh, the largely jungle Esev, and the mostly submerged Mayim), though there is one Starter family from each of Hushi, Offel, and Kerach, and two from Hashmal. I blinked… rifling through my memories… Ah… the names of the States were in Hebrew, oddly enough… and, aside from the House Raichu, all the non-Aesh, Esev, and Mayim Starters belonged to the Eevee Tribe… who were hated and feared since no one knew how their highly fragmented Starter Houses would vote… or even what they’d be when they grew up.

The nation itself had been partly colonized by the French, Dutch, British, Spanish, and Portuguese, then invaded by Japan during the Second World War before being liberated by the United States Navy.

I did find it fascinating that there were 7… wait, 7?  Huh… Sun & Moon weren’t even out when I left Origin Earth, Starter Houses from each of the big three. In August of 1999… hmmm… I don’t think there were more than the original 4 Starters… ah… that had to be why. I was an Infernape… and Zane was a Lucario. We came from later generations, thus more generations… and why stop at just what was published then? Time was, in theory, frozen back home until I returned or decided not to. But I’d gone far afield. Back to the Perks.

“I Suppose It’s Possible I was Drunk” was free for Ambassadors (and awesome!) “Everyone treats you like a distinguished guest, whether or not you’re playing the part. You can act zany, quirky, whimsical, and occasionally offensive behind closed doors, and it’ll come off as charm rather than a lack of respect for the presidency. This doesn’t protect you from being an asshole, but you can treat the executive branch (and any similar governmental branches in future jumps) like it’s full of old college roommates and nobody will mind.” Hah! I was an Exiled Princess and a Drunkard! Courts of future worlds, beware! You will love me for my eccentricities… I have poses for days of the week.

I had to take Diplomatic Immunity (which really should have been the freebie, but what can you do?) [150] (650/1000) “Scandals and mishaps have a way of avoiding you. You can hang around the White House, talk regularly with the President and his staff, and you’ll find yourself without a subpoena when it’s revealed he’s been hiding a degenerative illness. It doesn’t sound like much, but if you’re not looking for trouble, trouble won’t look for you.” I was sooo going to abuse the shit out of that.  Parking Tickets? Me? I’m sorry, I have Diplomatic Immunity. Kleptomania? I’m sorry, I have Diplomatic Immunity. Talk to the State Department. Sure, that was the legal version, which I’d have either way, but the Perk Version practically guaranteed that if I decided to lay low in a future jump, drawbacks willing, I could and that would (most likely) be the end of it. Not sure there will ever be a jump like that… but better Immune than sorry.

And the Ambassadorial Capstone “Lucid Moments” [300] (350/1000)… sure, it wasn’t the most powerful thing ever, but “You may not command the same respect as other major political players in a heated debate, or they may have decades of experience that you lack, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hold your own. You can get your point across using philosophy or history rather than polling data and political clout, and can defeat the likes of Leo McGarry in private debate. Enjoy watching the shock on your opponent’s face as you destroy his argument by waxing philosophical about the nuclear arms race.” wasn’t bad… plus, I loved the idea of being a koan quoting Firemonkey. Dispensing wisdom and wisecracks and drinking all the whisky.

That took care of the must haves… in Perks… but in the realm of Gear was “The Rolodex” [300] (50/1000)… it was the holy grail of political tools… a listing of contact information and addresses and alternate methods of contact for… everyone… The President, the Chief of Staff, the Paramount Leader of the Chinese People or an Indian sub-cabinet member for water reclamation in Kashmir… cellphones, pagers, vacation homes, aide’s cellphone numbers, mistress’s numbers… and it updated automatically with each new jump!”  Oh, I was sooo going to abuse this…

And among the other things… the thing I’d been hoping it was on the list… and it was! “The Finest Muffins and Bagels” [50] (0/1000) Which not only gave me the number of every fast food and coffee place in DC, it gave me a federal account to put purchases on… and applied to future jumps as long as anything like a fast food or coffee place exists there.” As they say… Gravy.

I could have stopped there, but at it’s heart, West Wing was both drama and comedy… I needed Zany Wackiness. And that meant pointless complications. Complications like “Big Block of Cheese Day” (Every year, the Chief of Staff opens the doors of the White House to groups that may otherwise have trouble being heard. Occasionally these meetings can be enlightening, but mostly they’re pointless and vaguely amusing. Leo will find a way to include you no matter what your job is… even if you don’t work for the White House at all.  It wasn’t worth anything but laffs, but interesting laffs), “I Had Woot Canal” (which meant that once a year I’d be faced with an annoying family or medical emergency that would make my job very difficult for 3 or 4 days… during which time my staff would helpfully and over confidently offer to do my job for me.  Nothing terrible, but cleaning up the mess wouldn’t be fun.) and Appleanon.com (a play on LemonLimon.com, and my own personal creepy Internet Fanclub which will cause disaster if I talk to them and give the press corp a field day).

Those three netted me an additional 200 CP, which I promptly sunk into perks like “Sharp-Dressed Closet” [50] (You can have all the political capital in the world, and nobody will take you seriously if you’re dressed like a wizard or magical girl. Never pay for another suit or uniform again!), “Armored Limousine” [50] (You own a limousine built for a head of state, and either the Secret Service or your home country’s intelligence service will drive you anywhere you want to go. Might be more useful than you think.), and Jack of All Trades [100] (Life in the West Wing isn’t predictable. One day you’re briefing the press, the next you’re caring for a wild turkey. This skill gives you the ability to roll with the punches, learning enough on the go to avoid seriously messing something up until someone else can take over.)

Ahab & Joy took Senior Staff… which came with “I Work With The Smartest People in the World” (You have the same level of skill that a graduate from a top college would in one field of politics. Ahab went Law. Joy… Geopolitical Engineering.  I didn’t even know that was a thing. They also got a Red Rubber Ball to bounce off things and make them more creative… one each. I was going to have to shoot one of them. I knew it.

Still, with my snazzy new suits and my classy new Limo and my shiny new Diplomatic Immunity, I dropped into the world of “The West Wing.”

This is how Day One goes. Sam, Bartlett’s senior speechwriter, sleeps with a Call Girl without knowing it, Josh, the deputy chief-of-staff, insults some holy rollers, and several thousand Cuban refugees in makeshift boats are caught in a stormfront off the southern coast of Florida… There’s no way I can help one or two, those are both done deals, and will be resolved with minor problems, but I can offer to help with refugees. White House security doesn’t even blink as I enter the building, doesn’t try and stop me as I step into the Oval Office as if I owned the place. The President, who does look almost exactly like Martin Sheen, raises an eyebrow as I help myself to some whisky and sit on the back of one of the chairs. “Jed… I can call you Jed, right? Jed, you have refugees off your coast… little fishes swimming to the big pond. Bunch of them are in the path of a storm, Jed. Not good. These fishies can’t swim…  But you can’t look like you’re being soft on illegals, right Jed?  I have… I say… I have a ship in the area, shipping container bound to port of… what’s that little town called… I am I? Something like that.” I edited the past to actually make that true without even thinking about it… I guess I could have done something about the other two events.

Bartlett raised an eyebrow at me, “And then what?”

“Do a little fishing… pick up some extra crew… can’t get back to you… but… how do the little fishies get into the pond from my little shippy ship?”

“I can’t order immigration to look the other way.”

“Indeed, no… but once they get onto land, they can claim asylum… that’s your rule right, once on dry land? Someone could make a call to those nice people with the blankets and all the press. My captain, she’ll claim she didn’t know they weren’t Americans… humans all look the same to us… very regrettable.”

“You’d do that, Silence?”

“What are friends for, Jed. This is good whisky… very nice. Smooth…” I poured some on my head and it sizzled as my hair flared blue for a second. “Mmm… Oaky.” Jed shivered. “Gives me the willies when you do that, Silence.” “That’s just the Catholic in you. Visions of Demons… or is it Devils? Strange Concepts. What’s so strange about someone who’s KO’d getting better again?”

“Your people worship a Flying Centaur,” he said with a laugh.

“Well, sure. Arceus is the Great Unifier… of all Clades and None. He is the Diamond and the Pearl, the Gold and the Silver, the Ruby and the Sapphire. Plus, he’s a very powerful Flying Centaur. Do you have any Oreos?”

“My doctor tells me I should cut back.”

“Which one, the military one or your wife?”

“Both.”

“Ah… well then, I should be off. Give my love to Abby and the kids. Oh, and go easy on Josh, he’s a good kid.”

“He’s older than you are.”

“Is he? When does he evolve?”

That earned me a laugh and I sauntered over to CJ’s office to listen to her rant at some people… the boat was already on the way. This was going to be fun.

Of less fun, however, was figuring out how to deal with President Bartlett’s Multiple Sclerosis. I knew how to cure it, of course, but that knowledge was predicated on 23rd century technology and, more specifically, nanotechnology. Furthermore, it would raise too many flags if his disease simply disappeared, or a nation of 90% non-humans developed a spontaneous paradigm shift into human medical tech. So I had to work around.

My background was that of a Medical Doctor, specializing in human ailments and epidemiology. It was the area in which I was most confident I could make lasting and important changes, and a decent background for an Ambassador. My wealth, having grown massively in They Live, manifested in this world as part ownership in a Pharmaceutical Corporation, allowed me to slip a few development programs into the works, and was, within the year, to produce a working AIDS vaccine, a near comprehensive Malaria Vaccine (there are five strains and our vaccine offered immunity to four of them), and a first stab at a general remission agent for Multiple Sclerosis that caused regeneration of the Myelin sheaths that MS damages, while lessening the severity of attacks. Documentation on this last was arranged to cross Abigail Bartlett’s desk and, as I’d known she would, she approached me about it.

Being myself, I allowed her to view the data, the clinical trials and initial findings. As a professional courtesy, I made a supply of the drug available to her, no questions asked. Meanwhile, I made the research on the two vaccines public… a gift to the world from the nation of Poketopia… not that the humans of our country didn’t suffer from both diseases. I figured that was my good deed for the year, and helped balance out the simply insane amount of coffee drinks, lox and bagels, and pastrami reubens I was putting on my expense account… and the pranks I was playing on the Republicans in congress.

Little did I know that I was providing an enemy I didn’t know I had with ammunition that would make my pleasant little stint as Ambassador much less pleasant. That enemy was the Poketopian Ambassador to Canada, one Bonaparte de Champlain… of the House Empoleon. I have to admit, without Zane (and his connection to the city of DC itself… a strange composite of Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, and John Adams) and Joy (with her… ways), I would have been blindsided.

Little things started going wrong, rumors circulating among the Starters back home of my incompetence, my corruption to “Western Values”, my rampant carnivorality… it was a concerted push to discredit me among the political elite, and a good one. One of my junior aides apparently committed suicide, photos on his body appearing to show me having sex with a human… not that I hadn’t, but certainly not with said aide… but Joy was first on scene and made the pictures disappear. It was clear I was in a war of intrigue, and as yet I didn’t know with who or why.

Still, I have resources the likes of which no mere mortal could conceive, and there were a relatively finite number of people that had the clout and potential to gain by my disgrace. Indonesia, China, India, South Africa, Malaysia… all had reasons to want to hurt Poketopia, diplomatically, but not to hurt me specifically. Many people in DC would have reason to hurt me personally… but wouldn’t have the clout to do so back home. That meant someone in or from Poketopia… and that meant a Starter or Legendary. If it were one of the Trainers of the Church of Arceus the Unifier (and the attack would have to come from one of the Champions, as Final Fours and Leaders were State and City level clergy), the attack would have been religious, not political, though I had no doubt from the nature of the propaganda that the intended audience was our nation’s more traditionally minded crowd.

The advantage of any oligarchy is the basically limited ruling body, which made eliminating potential enemies very much a checklist. It was like a murder mystery… Means, Motive, Opportunity. Eliminating those without Means was the easiest, though they weren’t so much eliminated as… moved down the list… same with Opportunity… but Motive… that was the hard bit. What could I have done to piss of someone this bad?

The answer, as it turns out, was nab the golden cocoanut of political appointments… the US ambassadorship. The shortlist for the post had had only three members. The contenders had been me (from the ruling Red Valor Party… though unlike American Politics Red was the color of action, liberality, and the war party), a token Green Instinct (our collectivist, ecco party and not part of the current power block), and a Blue Mystic (our traditional, peaceful, and reactive party)… and that blue was Bonaparte de Champlain… hard working (i.e. corrupt), voice of the people (i.e. reactionary), and upright (i.e. egotistical as fuck). He was everything I wasn’t, politically speaking… and he’d been up for my job, and a front runner to boot, until someone had mentioned that I’d done my medical internship under the brand new US President’s wife.

It was a wake up call for me. I know, naive perhaps, but I’d never been an Ambassador before! How was I to know there was actual “politics” to it instead of just diplomacy and the fate of nations? I was going to have to guarantee I didn’t get recalled by my government… and that meant intrigue, blackmail, and shenanigans… It also meant I needed to maintain my relationship with the Bartlett… and after that… Santos… Administrations… all without appearing to do anything at all. And to make matters worse… I couldn’t actually assassinate Bonaparte… because we were still pokemon and we didn’t die from that kind of thing… we just went KO’d. And Pokeballs were banned by the Geneva Convention… Anyone caught with them would be stored in the SPC vault until they’d learned their lesson… i.e. forever.

But now that I knew, I could prepare my defenses, and give as good as I got. Pictures of him gorging himself on smelt, rumors of him leaving eggs at daycare, mating with Dittos… and actual testimony from his Poffin dealer all hit the wires in rapid succession. Publicly, I expressed nothing but support for my good friend Bonnie… I could call him Bonnie, right? But privately, I was cooking his penguinoid ass. No way was I, Dr. Silence Jumper, going to be Frank Underwooded by a Water-Steel Surfer. No one flings poo like a flaming monkey.

Still,with me distracted dealing with him, the MS scandal broke and I found myself, not in my capacity as Ambassador, but in my capacity as Chief Medical Consultant for Pokepharm, subpoenaed by congress.

“Miss Jumper-”

“Ambassador.”

“We haven’t summoned you in your political role, which has diplomatic immunity.”

“Doctor then.”

“Very well, Doctor. You were aware of the President’s illness?”

“Yes.”

“How did you become aware?”

“I could smell the presence of Betaseron on him.”

“You can smell Betaseron?”

“You can’t?”

“Please answer the question.”

“Yes, I can smell Betaseron, and before you ask, I know what it smells like because my company has worked with the chemical in our research.”

“Your company largely deals with anti-virals… why were you developing an drug for treating MS, a disease your people don’t get.”

“We weren’t.”

“But your company just applied for FDA approval for a new, and many are saying, revolutionary new treatment for MS.”

“The drug grew out of our research on AIDS.”

“I don’t see the connection.”

“Viagra grew out of heart medication, I believe, go figure.”

“But-”

“Look you silly man, AIDS, Lupus, MS… they are all related to the human immune system. That’s why they are called “Auto-Immune Disorders.” Doesn’t make them similar in structure or harm to the body, but sometimes a drug developed for one purpose helps another. Happy accident.”

“And you provided these drugs to the President?”

“Yes.”

“So you admit to interfering in American Politics?”

“You are a special kind of idiot, aren’t you?”

“I beg your pardon.”

“Not granted. As I am not here today as an Ambassador, but as a private medical professional, let me point out that I have sworn an oath before almighty Arceus to help those who need helping, so I swear upon my Rescuer’s Badge. A living being needed help, help I could provide. And I gave it.”

“And in doing so helped perpetrate a fraud on the people of the United States.”

“There you go again, being stupid. Your President Roosevelt (the first) had asthma, the second… polio… JFK was a womanizer, LBJ a pervert… What business of the people is any of that? None of it has any impact on the person’s ability to do the job.”

“What if he were to die from his disease.”

“Do you actually think before words come out of your mouth?”

“You can be held in contempt of congress.”

“I have your wife’s hairdresser on speed dial.”

“What does… never mind. What’s your point?”

“MS isn’t fatal… and if it were, so what? Presidents die. You have mechanisms to replace them.”

“But don’t the people have the right to know the President might die at any time?”

”Again, because you clearly weren’t listening… (and I leaned in close to the mike) Multiple Sclerosis isn’t fatal.”

“But-”

“Anyone might die at any time. I could walk out of this hall and be crushed by a falling light fixture. I could cross a street and be hit by a taxi. I could eat some bad shawarma. Nothing is certain.”

“But you did administer an untested, unapproved, highly experimental drug illegally to the President of the United States.”

“No.”

“You just-”

“I didn’t administer it. I distributed it to Dr. Bartlett for her evaluation… as a college.”

“Illegally.”

“No.”

“No?”

“I brought the samples in legally, then turned them over to a licensed medical professional for review. At no time did I administer, prescribe, or advocate their use on a human being.”

“But you knew they would be.”

“Yes.”

“We could ask your country to recall you for this.”

“Yes. You do that. Explain to the world why you’re condemning a medical practitioner for worrying about the health of a human being. I’m sure that will do wonders for your country’s reputation.”

In the end, I got a slap on the wrist, Pokepharm got hit with a fine we could pay out of petty cash, and that was that. And later that year I won the Nobel Prize in Medicine… I gave the prize money to the African AIDS Relief Fund.

I didn’t tell Congress that I’d somehow tapped into Whitehouse coms and found out when and where they were going to take out Ibn Abdul Shereef… then offered to remove the terrorist Ambassador from Qumar for my good friends America in exchange for the President’s support for an increase in the fees remitted to Poketopia for Voltorb Services in the US Power Grid. The plane broke up in midair from a massive lightning strike…

Also didn’t mention that Secret Service Agent Simon Donovan, who’d died senselessly (maybe Mark Harmon pissed off Sorkin, maybe he really did just create the action hero type just to kill him) in the original timeline, was saved by Zane happening to be in the same shop at the same time.

I didn’t tell them that I hadn’t saved Deloris Landingham because it forced Bartlett to become more himself, something the old woman would have wanted. The number of things I didn’t tell congress increased over the years, little things… like using a human Alter-Ego with American Citizenship to campaign for Sam Seaborn in the California 47th, arranging for him to win against all odds, a massive upset brought about by the total collapse of his opponent on TV, ranting about Alien Mind Control, shapeshifting lizard people, and proclaiming that the rapture was upon us.

I volunteered my services a third time upon the kidnapping of Zoe Bartlett, to keep the President from stepping down. Qumari sleeper cells aren’t really a match for The Bosses in action and it was nice to see them shine again.

As the years passed, I pondered what to do about Leo. If he didn’t have his heart attack, he’d never step down and allow CJ to take over. He’d never join the Santos Campaign in the VP slot. I knew he’d been killed not by the writers, but by the death of his actor on Origin Earth. But here… I could interfere. Of course, that meant getting invited to Camp David for a Peace Summit between Israel and Palestine (Probably the least realistic thing about the series) that had nothing to do with Poketopia. So I went in as a beverage cart, having tagged Leo with a tracking chip.

I found him first, appearing as my most angelic (tengu) form, and injected him with a stabilizing agent and nanopaste solution which would slowly mend his heart, then vanished as soon as I heard others coming to Leo’s aid. Now all I had to do was make sure Vinick (which had been the original plan if John Spencer hadn’t passed away.) didn’t win the general election.

The fundamental problem with Vinick is that he was a decent guy… because in the Sorkinverse, such a thing as a principled Republican existed. Then again, in the Sorkinverse, Democrats were actually liberal and not centrist. But then I remembered what the idiot in Congress had said about influence… and I started making calls.

One by one, several prominent figures began to voice their support for a Vinick Presidency… ones who’d be anathema to the Republican mainstream… or foreign leaders who would be seen as trying to sway the American voting public. Meanwhile, my fiery Human Alter Ego was working on Getting Out The Vote and fundraising for Santos. Together all my efforts and convincing Will Bailey to get on board with us early so Bob Russell dropped out faster, secured the White House after a very close run election. Still, Santos had his mandate, if only by less than 1%.

What can be said of the three years of the Santos Presidency I was there for? It was better than the Bush Jr Presidency? So would a Vinick Presidency been. So would have practically anyone been. Did the man from Texas bring the US into a golden age where the Great Recession never happened? Did the peace in the middle east last? Hahah… no.  

Bartlett’s Middle East plan was good, but it put Americans in harm’s way and when the Extremist Fundamentalists attacked, it drew the US into a war… a war that rapidly spread across the middle east, bringing Pakistan and Afghanistan in with the fundamentalists, who rapidly overwhelmed Iraq and Syria’s security forces. Arab Spring came right on time… but this time it was the harbinger of World War III. India came in against Pakistan… China came in against India… Japan came in against China…  Russia moved on the Ukraine, Greece fell into economic ruin… and the US and the EU were trying to hold things together, trying to act as peacemaker to a world that was no longer listening. This was a World War in the Third World and it was all the main players could do to keep things from boiling down to nuclear weapons.

In the end, it failed. A terror cell detonated a dirty bomb in Mumbai, killing thousands and poisoning hundreds of thousands. In retaliation, a rogue Indian General glassed Mecca. The Muslim world went… mad. Dunno if there was anything I could do to stop it, but I tried. I tried like crazy… but when there’s that much hate built up over this long, it’s hard to keep it down any more. Did the Bartlett Plan make things worse? Did it bring things to a head? Did it just delay the inevitable by putting off 9/11 and the Iraq War and the Afghan War? I don’t know if I’ll ever know… or even how this war plays out. It’s the last day here and I’m watching squadrons of Metangs and Nosepasses getting ready to lift. China’s sent a fleet against our waters and the Trainers have declared that China Shall Not Pass! I silently watch the boys, girls, and things march off to war and sigh. “Love to Stay, Hate to Go… but I’m not getting stuck in this. Good luck Josh… you’ll need it.”

Next: World 33 – Eye of Gold

Resources: Build, Document

Hidden Purchases: because VIvian and VIctoria wanted toys and didn’t tell me about them

Conspirator (+200) Get caught up in the MS conspiracy for supplying illegal drugs to the President

The Other Side of the Coin (+300) Canadian Ambassador Bonaparte d’Champlain, an Empoleon, was apparently up for my position, but didn’t get it and is out to destroy me.  Frank Underwood in Metal Penguin Mode?  Oy.

Untraceable Laptop (200) A laptop registered to someone named HEROnymous. It comes with several encryption cracking tools preloaded, and can’t be detected by monitoring software once it’s entered a network. Good for uncovering conspiracies (or covering them up). The battery is recharged normally.

Untraceable Phone (200) A cell phone with the ability to make direct calls without being detected, and listen in on other forms of verbal communication. Useful for listening into calls that aren’t on the White House call log, or staying under the radar. The battery is recharged normally

Anything You Want to Talk About? (100) you are a gifted journalist and political writer, able to ask the tough questions while entertaining your readers. You have about the same level of skill as a graduate from a top college, but you’ll still have to learn on your feet. You become skilled at picking up bits of political news and gossip, and can call out misinformation with a reasonable degree of success.

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