Part 12 – The New Capitol
(A serial book excerpt)
Previous installments: After Flight 93 crashes into the White House on 9/11/2001 killing President Bush as was originally planned, Dick Cheney, the Vice President, is made the leader of the country. He begins immediately to make changes.
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Cheney’s Cabinet had suggested that he let Karl Rove do a political ‘make-over’ on him. Although the former VP already had the full backing of every Republican on the playing field and the niggardly and half-hearted support of the Democrats who didn’t know what to do. They wanted Rove to tighten up his image and his message; to make him ironclad in the eyes of the party and in the eyes of the public.
Cheney secretly never cared for Rove. The fat, baby faced man reminded him too much of the kid in grade school who nobody liked. The one who always would do anything to get people to like him, including putting down other unpopular kids. But he had to be nice to him. Rove was able to take down a lot of Democrats who were trouble and he was great at finding dirt in any political opponent or faults with their ideas. He was a useful political tool, one that he needed to have at the ready. So he put up with him, made sure he was comfortable, made sure he always had what he needed. But he never had him around too much. Rove could very easily bring out a real negative side of Cheney; one that despised snitch-like characters. He knew his loyalties were thin. If he had been on the Democratic side of things then Rove would be having plenty of mud to sling at him, so he pretty much ignored him.
Rove came in and smilingly did his best to regal the new President. Cheney put up with him, nodding his head in agreement with everything he said both worthwhile and drivel. As the session wore on Cheney began to realize that the little man did have some real value. He would take care of the superficialities that to Cheney were a pain. As time went on Rove proved himself to be almost as valuable to Cheney as Bush had been.
Rumsfeld was waiting for him when Cheney entered his office to begin the day. A genuine smile broke across his face. He outstretched his hand.
“Well, hello Rummy! I hear you are coming to work for me directly.”
“I hear that too. This will be a new experience. I never thought that it was supposed to work that a boss goes to work for his underling in his old age.”
“Well, old boss, things don’t go the same these days as they used to!”
“I guess not!”
“As you know I would like you to take Hastert’s place as VP. My old job.”
“OK. So I was informed. How are you going to get rid of Hastert?”
“It looks like Hastert just got rid of himself. Seems like he got caught with his hand in a Turkish cookie jar. They found that he had been getting bribes from Turkish businessmen to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
“Yup, that would be enough to sink any small ship around here. Too bad.”
“To tell you the truth, I’m not crying about it. He couldn’t do the job I expect you will be able to. Especially with this crap in the Middle-east going on. Are you game?”
“When am I not?”
Cheney extended his hand to his old boss.”I think we are going to work beautifully together.”
Rumsfeld accepted the hand and shook it.
The newsmen were already forming into cliques. Pro Cheney and anti Cheney camps had been coagulating. The pro Cheney lots were loud and brass about their man. They had nothing bad to say about him. He was their God delivered unto earth. The anti-Cheney lots were quiet and did not let themselves be known as such. It was a dangerous thing to be against the government now or those who led it. We were at war and anything said against it or against those in power was considered traitorous. A liberal was a scary thing to be now. Most Democrats now marched in time to the tune that Cheney and the Republicans piped. Anything counter war was said in whispers in remote corners.
Chemarque and Bartin spoke in whispers.
“Interesting. Why would a professional company like Halliburton have been interested in taking on someone like Cheney who didn’t even have any corporate experience when they hired him?
“What do you think? They wanted his influence and knowledge on Washington. Cheney worked for Tricky Dicky and the Republican administrations after him. Halliburton specializes in no bid government work. What better way to keep a foot in the door than to have someone who already has both feet way inside?”
I am afraid to see what this administration will do.”
“You damn well should be!”
“Remember those old posters for the original ‘1984’ film? The ones of ‘Big Brother Is Watching You!’?
“I do, actually.”
“Big Brother looked a lot like Cheney, didn’t he?”
Bartin stopped at this and thought for a moment. “Indeed he did.” stated the man, intrigued by this thought. “Indeed he did!”
The conference was different than anyone had expected. Cheney had gathered top government officials for a “Future Of Washington” talk. It was notably all Republicans. Few had much of an idea of what it was about.
Cheney rolled the plans out on the table. “This, gentlemen, will be the new White House. We have bought up all property for a two block circumference around it and for three blocks behind it. These buildings will be razed and modern offices and apartments for higher officials built inside. A fifteen foot high wall with pressure sensors and razor wire will be built around the perimeter. There will be large, open park-like spaces between all the buildings to allow for surveillance cameras to have an unencumbered view of all that is going on within the walls circumference. A huge underground complex will be built going down five stories. To keep the public out of touch with what is going on the underground complex people entering will be using passages coming out of the foundations of one of the other buildings being built. A second entrance will be from the underground floors of a government building located a few blocks away. The less the general public knows about this, the better.”
Only select people will be allowed in, and….” he stopped dead cold, looking at the audience with a strong eye, “ONLY, I repeat ONLY at my volition. No one else has any say in the matter.
There will be a constant military presence. There will be a specialized Marine detachment always guarding the perimeter. Sentries will be located at each corner of the fence and will be manning the gate at the entrance.”
Inside of General Tromsa’s head there whirled pictures of another leader of a country who had built extensively at his people’s expense. Shortly before the Romanian people revolted their dictator Nikolai Ceausescu built a replica of the Versailles as his palace that intentionally was larger than the original. Weeks later he was hunted down by his own people and killed. His Versailles now houses the people whose wages he robbed to construct it.
He noted that Cheney had already started construction on the project without anyone else’s consent. It didn’t matter what they would have to say about it. It was going ahead regardless.
Deep inside, he wished this new Ceausescu would meet the same fate as the old one.
TO BE CONTINUED
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The complete book of 9/12/2001 is available from lulu.com under that exact title for $10.00 plus shipping.