Chapter Four (cont.)
“Mister President, Admiral Chandler is here,” Tom said as he walked into the Oval Office. He grinned as he continued, “And he even agreed to hand his sidearm over to the Secret Service and leave the Praetorians behind.”
Michael sat back in his chair, frowning as he mused over that course he hoped that this meeting would take. The Empire’s deal with Canada was still causing his stomach to churn with acid indigestion. How could Prime Minister Barclay and the Parliament just agree to hand over part of their land like that? And the looming massive infusion of hard currency into their economy, the world’s economy, just made things worse. Already, international banks had established a new credit category, one that held just two countries: Canada and the soon-to-form Imperial Enclave in British Columbia. Even with the sudden tremendous drop in prices for gold on the spot markets, the sheer amount of the precious metal that would soon be entering the world monetary supply was simply staggering. Canada’s government had announced plans to retire their nation’s debt within two years, despite announcing plans to triple the size of their military and begin their own space exploration program, further causing consternation in the financial world.
Didn’t Chandler and his Empress realize what they were doing to the global economy? To the American economy?
“Show him in, Tom, and then pull up a chair,” he finally said as he stood and walked over towards the twin sofas in the center of the Oval Office.
Moments later, the door opened once more and his political strategist and chief of staff ushered in his guest. Michael forced himself to smile and he extended his hand in welcome. Jason nodded and took the hand in a firm grip, shaking it once, and then he sat down with the President, facing him across the low table.
“Care for some coffee or other refreshment, Admiral Chandler?” the President asked as he sat as well.
“No, but thank you anyway, Mister President. I should also thank you for granting me this audience on Her Imperial Majesty’s behalf. My own staff laid odds of 4-to-1 against after that little bout of gunfire in New York.”
Michael and Tom both politely chuckled, and then the President leaned forward.
“Speaking of New York, you do realize there is a warrant out for the arrest of Captain Serrano?”
“Yes,” Jason coldly replied. “But unless the local police grow wings it will be a cold day in Hell before he appears before them.”
The President held up one hand in a calming gesture. “I understand, really I do. But, you must understand, he committed assault and battery on live television. He has to stand trial for that.”
“Bullshit. Issue him a pardon, Mister President; that action is well within your purview.”
“Why would I do that, Admiral?”
Jason mirrored the President, resting his own elbows on his thighs, interlacing his fingers and leaned forward. “Because you and I are about to make a deal, Mister President.”
“What kind of a deal, Admiral?”
“The kind of deal that will have you and yours singing hosannas about the Empire of Humanity. The kind of deal that will let you keep every last one of those campaign promises you made, and will cost you very, very little in the short term.”
“And in the long-term?”
Jason shrugged. “It might bite you on your ass, but not if you deal with us fairly. Do you know how we Imperial subjects and citizens feel about terrorism, Mister President?”
“Not really, no.”
“It is an abomination before God and mankind. Random violence directed at civilians going about their daily lives; none of us like it, and we’ve had a lot of experience combating it. The Age of Terror in which you live is ramping up to get a whole lot worse, Mister President. In the future which I used to live, our history books teach us that in less than four years New York, London, and Paris will be hit by fanatics using nuclear weapons produced in Iran with rebel Pakistani assistance. Los Angeles, Washington, and Berlin will also be targeted, but those weapons will be either intercepted or fail to detonate. Millions will die from the initial blast and the fall-out; and you will be held to account for letting it happen. Twelve days before the next Presidential election you will suffer the greatest tragedy ever to befall this nation, and the voters will blame you for failing to protect them.”
President Gavin sat back heavily against the sofa, his mouth agape. Jason nodded his head. “Yes, your defeat is only a small part of what happens afterwards. Your successor—and no, I will not tell you his or her name—will order two Ohio class missile subs to strike Iran, and then Iran will hit Israel in retaliation. The IDF will respond, so will Egypt and Saudi Arabia; Iraq and Syria and the Gulf will explode in violence, and following the destruction of Jerusalem by another nuclear weapon, a renegade Israeli pilot will get through everything the Saudias can put in his path and Mecca will burn, incensing Muslims around the globe. That is when the real Jihad begins, Mister President. A real honest to God all-up war, on the scale of the two World Wars, will break out. A war that will take twenty-six years for the West to win and will consume nearly half a billion lives. Not to mention the Pan-African Conflict that is scheduled to start and will drown that continent in blood for the next two decades.”
Michael blinked. What the man sitting across from him was describing was nothing less than Armageddon.
“It doesn’t have to happen,” Jason said as he sat back, crossing his arms across his body.
“How can we stop it?” the President whispered.
“You can’t. I can. And my Empress has authorized me to make the following proposal to you; take it or leave it, but it stands as is.”
“We will share any information we have on those who will be responsible for the attacks with your intelligence services, along with those of several other nations that we believe we can trust. Knowing how they smuggle the devices in, you should be able to intercept them and heighten your own security; or failing that,” and Jason shrugged as he continued, “you can just kill the terrorists ahead of time.”
“Of course, that doesn’t mean the attacks will not happen; the time-line is already changed by our very presence. But knowing the hows and whys and whos should let you stop this attack, or other similar attacks, in our present time. Regardless of what you do or do not agree to today, that information is yours; Her Imperial Majesty insisted upon that. Personally, I would have used it as a bargaining chip, but she feels differently.”
As Jason paused, the President and his Chief of Staff exchanged and glance, and then Tom nodded and the President looked back at Jason and motioned for him to continue.
“We are already looking ahead at integrating our technology with your own, but not at the cost of being rendered irrelevant. Once we establish a presence within the Enclave, we will set up facilities to begin producing equipment and weapons for a global defense force, one that we hope the United States will contribute to. Those forces will remain under Imperial control, Mister President, along with several planetary defense complexes we have plans to construct, both on Earth and the Moon. Fragmented as this world is, and with all of the chaos history tells us to expect in the coming years, we will not allow any proliferation of our military technologies. You people do enough damage to yourselves without having our arsenal in your hands as well.”
“But there are other technologies, some which do have minor military applications. Against my better judgment and advice, Caesar Julia has instructed me to offer some of that technology to your nation. We can discuss the full list later, and quite frankly, Mister President, some of the items on that list will take you decades to figure out how to mass produce. But two of them are just barely manageable with your technology of today: fusion power generators and high-capacity superconducting batteries.”
“The fusion plant design plans are some of the earliest working examples ever invented, but they do work. They are bulky, far too bulky to fit in any of your wet-navy ships, but they will provide you with clean and abundant supplies of energy. The batteries will transform your transportation sector completely. Each individual cell has a storage capacity three orders of magnitude greater than any battery that currently exists. Picture an automobile, Mister President, with an electric motor. Now imagine driving that vehicle from New York to Los Angeles and back again on a single charge.”
“The batteries do have military applications, but they are almost obsolete technology in our time, ever since the development of grav-fusion fuel cells. In short, Mister President, we are offering you cheap, virtually unlimited power generation on scale that only your science fiction authors have heretofore dreamed off, along with an opportunity to convert your cars and trucks and trains to electricity. Neither technology produces much in the way of emissions, so you can tell your left-wing in this country that you are doing it for the environment.”
“And as for the pollution that exists now in your air and water and soil? You cannot produce the items included on Her Majesty’s little list that are capable of breaking down the toxins and scrubbing the environment clean, but, but,” and here Jason beamed a smile at the two other men in the room, “we will provide the equipment and training in how to use it. Given the sheer size of your nation, it will probably takes two or three years before all of the poisons are leeched from the air, soil, and water, but you can deal with local problems in a much shorter time frame. For example, the contamination from the pipeline in the Gulf the terrorists blew up two years ago that you are still trying to clean up? Our technology will enable you to remove all of the sludge and tar balls and chemical residue within the next three months, leaving behind only clean water and soil. The greenies will fall in love with your administration, despite your political affiliations, and that alone, Mister President, will alleviate several of your headaches domestically.”
Tom and Michael both slowly nodded their heads in agreement, the President’s jaw hanging slightly loose in shock.
“That is part of what we will provide for you domestically, Mister President. As for your foreign affairs, you do recall that I said we Imperials dislike terrorism, yes?”
“That is what you said,” Michael replied softly.
“Her Imperial Majesty has instructed me, as Warlord of the Empire of Humanity, to offer you our aid and assistance in rooting out this abomination to mankind. In short, Mister President, we intend to stop the terrorists, of any faith, creed, or affiliation; starting, of course, with your little dust-up in Afghanistan and Pakistan. How would like to announce to the American people that your troops are coming home; not in two years, not in six months, but now?”
“We can’t, Admiral Chandler,” the President sighed. “We have an obligation, not just to the people of those countries that want to be free, but to our own dead, and to our allies. I would welcome any additional troops that you want to contribute, but I cannot back away from this fight.”
“I think you under-estimate our capabilities. If you agree and ask for our aid and assistance, than we will commit the 501st to action in that theatre of operations, among others, and will shut down the terror cells and rebels within a few months at the most. However, if we go in, then we are in command. You can pull your own forces back, or keep them in theatre, but keep them out of our way,” Jason said as he sat back and smiled wryly. “We do have substantial experience with counter-insurgency from our on-again off-again war against the Confederation in our own time. Plus, it will give you, and other world leaders, a good chance to see exactly what my boys can do when they take on a task. Not to mention it will give the Legion a chance to shoot something, and with the mood they are in, well, let us say that it would be better to have those troopers over there than cooped up on Vancouver Island with a bunch of civilians.”
“I think I will take that cup of tea, now, Mister President,” his guest said as he crossed his arms and sat back once more.
Tom stood and walked to the door while Michael considered carefully the full extent of what Chandler had just said. The power plants and batteries were one huge carrot, not to mention those devices that would clean the environment. And he was certainly right about the effect such an announcement would have on the left. And the second part! If they could do this, if he could bring the boys home, then his re-election would be almost certain.
The chief of staff returned, bearing a platter holding a teapot and two cups. Setting it on the table, he poured a cup for the President, and then a second one for the Admiral. The Imperial lifted his cup and saucer and took a long sip and sighed.
“Much better than the stuff we have aboard ship, Mister President. Much.”
“Well, Admiral, the White House staff prides itself on stocking the finest teas and coffees grown around the world. Can you Legion really do this; can they do this by themselves, without any assistance? There are only twenty-three thousand of them, after all.”
“We can, Mister President, and we will; if you let us,” Jason said between sips. And then he set the cup down. “But if we do this, we want a free hand. General Tuturola will run operations, including any combined ops between my Legion, your forces, and NATO. And we will do so in our own way. In return, we expect your full support, or at the very least your silence. Not so much as one single e-mail or press conference or confidential source to the media protesting over our methods from inside your government.”
“What do you intend to do?”
“Do you really care? Give us three months and the war will be over in both Afghanistan and Pakistan; and then we can turn our attention to the little problem of Iran and its role in what the future holds—and I don’t think the mullahs and their Revolutionary Council are going to like we are going to demand from them in exchange for allowing them to keep their heads on their own shoulders. On Monday morning of next week, Caesar Julia will be announcing to the entire world our stance on terrorism. We will declare war on those bastards and go after them all, regardless of where they hide, with the both the Fleet Marines and the Legion. If we must, we will stamp out this disease cell-by-cell, and we have the capability to do just that, between the Fleet, the Marines, and the Legion. At this very moment, Captain Serrano is in Moscow, having a similar talk with their President and Prime Minister. If they agree, then we will handle Chechnya for them, the same way we will handle the sandbox for you. Other governments, the Filipinos, Indonesians, and Kenyans among them, will get the same offer as well.”
“Twenty-three thousand men cannot handle all of that!” Tom blurted out.
Jason smiled, but this smile had little warmth. “Tell me that in three months, Mister Heath.”
“And in return for all of this, Admiral, what exactly do you want?” the President asked.
“Diplomatic immunity for all of my people when on US soil. Retroactively from the day we arrived in orbit. No interference with any US citizen or resident that seeks to join the Imperial armed forces. No interference with any US citizen or resident that wishes to emigrate to the Imperial Enclave. You will make no attempt to tax any Imperial subject or citizen, including those who retain US citizenship, nor will you attempt to tax or lay tariffs against any corporation based in the Enclave.”
“The United States will recognize that any current governing body on this planet, or part thereof, which asks to be incorporated into the Empire of Humanity and whose request is accepted, as an integral part of the Empire, and subject solely to our laws and regulations. We will not join your United Nations, nor will be subject to any procedure of your International Courts. Any treaties the Empire enters into, you will respect and acknowledge as valid.”
“And for all of this, we will end the threat of nuclear terrorism, end the Jihad against the West, and hopefully bring some sanity back to you people. Not to mention beginning to work with your defense companies and military to plan operations against the Ordan-Kraal, for they are coming, Mister President. And this planet has to be ready, unless you want to see three or four or five billion dead and the survivors fertility reduced to the point the survival of our entire species is threatened.”
“So tell me, Mister President: deal or no deal?”