Join Date: Mar 2005
CHAPTER ONE: THE PRESIDENTIAL MOTORCADE
The meeting ran dreadfully late and so all the upper-echelons of the UAF were in a rush to get back to their estates in the countryside outside of Victory City. Only President Sparrow had his home in VC.
Outside, it was a gorgeous day, the sun shining, reflecting off puddles from last night’s thundershower. Up and down the sidewalks, people went about their business, most walking towards a subway entrance, waiting for a bus, or even hailing a cab. Because of the massive population in the capital, private automobiles were in minimal use.
Therefore, the mass of unmarked luxury automobiles in front of the upscale condominium complex in downtown VC would have been most odd, except for the fact that these were the conveyances of Sparrow’s top ranks. There were several Lincolns, a Mercedes limousine used by the Vice President, several Chevy Suburbans, and even a Rolls-Royce saloon used by Fieldmarshal Erwin Schroedinger.
The condominium complex was equally as opulent. It was red brick with numerous colonial-style windows dotting each floor in a strict linear pattern. A small set of marble steps led up to the canopied entrance and behind the entrance, in the ornate and large marble and oak-paneled lobby, numerous Uzi toting bodyguards patrolled the floor. The elevators required a special key for use.
It was these elevators whose doors opened and disgorged a luxuriant set of men in Brooks Brothers and Harrington Hill suits, striding with purpose to the French door entrance.
Once outside, a goodly number of tuxedoed ushers opened the rear doors of the vehicles, letting these great and proud leaders of the UAF board their rides. Of course, President Matthew Sparrow was not among them.
Sparrow, still in his top floor penthouse condo, gazed out the floor-to-ceiling Washingtonian windows, smiling as his lieges left the area. When he had first visited the then US capital some ten years ago, he had been enthralled by the gracefulness and tamed beauty that was then Washington, D. C.
Now, at age 24, Sparrow was the chieftain of this entire area, nay, everything on his side of the Mississippi. This penthouse had been his home ever since marching victoriously into this city and down Pennsylvania Avenue at the head of his armies.
From these windows, he could the Washington Monument, the Capitol, and even the White House, all glorious debris of a now dead America. Oh yes, tours were still given and people still gazed on Washington’s picture, the one saved by Mrs. Madison, in the White House. They still took the manned elevator up to the acme of the Monument and they still traversed the grand halls of Capitol Hill.
Down below, the presidential motorcade pulled up to the steps of the antique, yet still grand, condominium complex. For a president, this convoy was quite simple. At the head were a pair of police motorcycles (their flashers on), behind the cycles was a brand-new Volvo luxury sedan (heavily armored of course), and behind the sedan was a Secret Service Chevrolet Suburban, containing, besides the driver, five heavily armed members of the Presidential Guard, the most elite of the Federal Secret Service, a subsidiary itself of the FSF.
As Sparrow, escorted by his aide de camp, headed downstairs and outside towards the waiting motorcade, he could not have known how drastically the countenance of his day would soon change.
CHAPTER TWO: LE HÉROS FÉMININ
Several blocks along from the presidential condominium, a crowd had gathered, waiting behind metal barrier, waving multi-colored autograph books in the air and vying for a forward position. It was tradition that each afternoon, as the presidential motorcade whisked Sparrow from his condominium to his sundry evening activities, he would stop and sign autographs, shake hands, and kiss babies. Of course, his security forces hated it, for it left him most vulnerable.
Walking up the street, nonchalantly approaching this crowd, the two visitors from Hollywood chatted about their day. Ever since arriving in VC several days earlier, Keira Knightley and Natalie Portman had played tourist. Some days they explored the grand capital together; other times they went their separate paths.
So far, their trip had gone without reproach, except for that one time when Knightley, wearing a T-shirt (exposing her midriff) and mini-shorts had gotten fined 100 dollars by a CMA officer.
Today, Keira wore an informal light blue dress that accentuated her figure without violating the Federation’s national dress code policy. Portman, on the other hand, wore a white button down shirt and gray slacks, looking like a low-level executive for one of these random firms that you didn’t quite know what they actually did.
So far, despite being in the capital, neither young actress had run across any VIPs, unless you consider that damned CMA officer in important person, because he sure acted like it. He spoke haughtily down the Knightley as he wrote the ticket and then shoved it against Knightley and stomped away.
They quickened their pace, smiling slightly at the prospect of meeting Depp’s opposite number. In Hollywood, a lot had been heard about the new president. They joked he had the morals of Bush, the intellect of Kerry, and the sociality of Edwards. Of course, many others just said he was a dick.
The smallish presidential motorcade pulled down the street, stopping in its middle with no care for flow of traffic. In the crowd, the waving became more incessant and several people shouted for attention. The vast majority recognized the decorum of a presidential arrival and just assumed that the screamers were nothing but impudent tourists who thought Sparrow the Federal version of a movie star or a superhero.
The two women pushed their way forward without much hassle. After all, most men were more than willing to allow the extremely hot women to brush against them. Pretty quickly, they were at the front, Keira looking just a bit too happy to be seeing a supposed cold enemy.
By now, the president was out of the Volvo and approaching the crowd calmly. Three bodyguards had climbed out of the Suburban and, as always, Sparrow’s ADC remained at his side.
Analysts in Hollywood had wondered why Sparrow was so popular in his territories. To many ROHers, President Sparrow was a dictator by any other name who used the pursuit of unattainable morality as an excuse to brutalize a good portion of his citizenry, but to Keira Knightley, relatively low on the Hollywood totem pole, Sparrow exuded power, yet he did not appear brutal or mean. In fact, his face had the solemn smile you would expect from a parish priest or your family doctor.
He approached an unseen person several feet to Keira’s left; the crowd parted slightly and she noticed that Sparrow was giving attention to the proverbial blue-haired old lady, either a septa- or octogenarian. The lady appeared frail, leaning forward against a metal walker.
The president, towering over the retiree, shook her hand gently and then signed her brown autograph book. They spoke in small voices for a few seconds and then Sparrow congenially patted her on the shoulder.
He continued down the line, shaking hands and signing the autographs, always writing personalized messages and saying the right thing at the right time, yet he didn’t seem insincere. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, he stood in front of Keira Knightley, who was being jostled slightly by the loyal subjects behind her.
As Sparrow held out his hand, she suddenly realized she had nothing for the president. Everyone else was waving small blank books in his face, nearly begging for his attention.