Yes, this is political. I offer you trigger warnings for language and sexual and racist slurs and comments. Future episodes may also contain rape, abuse, and other unpleasant things.
Chapter 10: Duncan Angelson
“What’s the President doing?” Duncan Angelson shuffled reports as he asked.
“In his room, in front of the screen bank. Same old, same old.” Andy McGuire at in the chair in front of the Chief’s desk and waited for the Chief of Staff to continue.
“How’s that new manager working out for the Twitter operators?”
“Good. She knows the President’s history, his usual hot button topics, and has today’s list of propaganda. No problems since we fired the last manager. It was a good idea, setting up that office. The President’s tweets go to them, they clean them up and then post them. Have you seen some of his raw tweets? They make no sense at all.”
Duncan nodded. “Yeah, they had to be monitored. It was getting out of hand.” He paused, the asked, “Any problem from the old manager?”
“No, sir. He’s sticking to the agreement.”
That drew a snort from Duncan. “Ought to. He’s being paid off enough.” He drew a deep breath. “Here’s what I need. The Party has agreed that select people we’ve picked up can be released.” He tapped his pad. “I’ve sent you the criteria for the releases. Associated family, if any, will also be released.”
Andy’s pad dinged and he opened the document. He scanned it quickly. “What about these people’s homes, jobs, whatever we took?”
Duncan shook his head. “Reparations will not be offered. They’re lucky they will be released.”
Andy thought that was unfair but he kept his mouth shut. “Very well. I’ll set up a committee to look at the internees and start the process. First ones out should be in about three weeks.” He rubbed an eye. “What are we doing about Popov?”
Duncan rubbed the back of his neck. “The guy is insatiable. Wants everything for Mother Russia.” He leaned back in his chair, resting his head back and staring at the ceiling. “He’s trying to take our nukes. We told him we want ours back. He pretends they’ve been lost.”
“Lost!” Andy blurt out. “Are they really?”
“No.” Duncan sat back up. “He’s stalling. Probably has his engineers in a lab, disassembling one or more to find out our guidance systems or something. The Director of National Intelligence is having a stroke, wants those nukes back ASAP.”
“I can hardly blame him,” Andy was shaking his head. “What’s the next step?”
“Sanctions, not that they bother Popov, but we’ll freeze his and his oligarchs’ bank accounts. That will get their attention.”
Andy took a note on his pad. “I’ll get the sanctions process moving.” He looked up. “What about the dissidents? They’re not on the release program, are they?”
“No. They’re in a whole other category.” Duncan leafed through his reports then put them back down. “I am concerned about the creation of dissidents, though.” He drummed his fingers on his desk. “There seem to be more than ever now. We clean up one cell and three more pop up.”
“How does that happen?” Andy looked puzzled. “We don’t televise them or allow demonstrations. So how are the cells being formed?”
“That’s what I’d like to know. Do some research, will you? On the fine art of dissidents or whatever you have to do. Some egghead professor somewhere knows how these things happen. Or maybe even the FBI or CIA will know. They’re communicating somehow. Let’s try to nip this in the bud before it becomes a real problem.”
Andy nodded and made another note. “The doc wants to talk about the President.”
That brought another sigh from Duncan. “What about?”
“He said he’s not liking the President’s health. Wants to review options. Do we need the First Lady?”
Duncan shook his head. “No. She’d divorce him if she could. Make him an appointment to see me. Might as well get the news sooner rather than later.” He picked up his pen, then put it down again. “That brings up the replacement. If the President dies, we need to have someone lined up and ready to plug into place. Start a list of possible candidates. It will all have to be cleared through the party, of course, but we might as well get the ball rolling.”
Andy made another note. “Is that it?”
“Sure. Let me know if there are any hiccups with any of those items. Keep them all on the down low. Usual disclaimers and non-disclosures. You know the drill.”
Andy stood up. “Got it.” He tucked his pad into his suit coat pocket and started for the door. He paused, hand on the knob and turned back to the Chief of Staff. “Just off the top of my head, Chief. Those people we release, we’re not making reparations. Isn’t that going to make them dissidents? I mean, we’re turning them lose with nothing. Their lives were ruined.”
Duncan scratched an eyebrow. “No. They’ll be counselled before release concerning any errors in judgement. They won’t want to go back to the camps, especially not as dissidents.”
“Okay.” Andy nodded. “If you say so.”
Thank you for reading.