Mary Soaring Eagle achieves her dream of becoming the first female POTUS.
|Mary Soaring Eagle stepped onto the podium and placed her hand on a Bible. “I do solemnly swear I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Applause rippled across the crowd, and Mary retired to join her inner circle inside the Capitol Building.
Susan, her blonde wife, swooped in for a kiss, enveloping Mary in a floral perfume. “You made history. The first female President. I’m delighted you achieved your dream.” She stepped back. “And you look hot in a pantsuit. Authority suits you.”
Her uncle, Ken Running Wolf, pulled her into a hug. “Your parents would be so proud.”
Champagne corks flew. Mary stepped aside and grinned at her assembled family, friends, and colleagues. “I couldn’t have done it without you. Especially not without my wonderful Uncle Ken, who headed up my presidential campaign, and the National Congress of American Indians, who provided such steadfast support.” She raised her glass. “Here’s to the next four years.”
The cool champagne tickled her throat. She set the glass aside unfinished. She needed a clear head for the endless meetings she faced today. First, she wanted to thank each person here individually.
She shook hands with her old professor from Dartmouth College, Katherine Dobson. Without this inspirational woman, she would have never thought to enter politics. Next, she greeted the CEOs of three global corporations that decided to buck the trend and back her candidacy. Then she approached the six tribal elders representing the National Congress of American Indians.
“I’m delighted to see you all here today.”
A wrinkled elder in a worn suit stepped closer. “Now you are in office, you must seek justice for our people.”
“The Trail of Tears. The tribal lands stolen from our people. Now we have a real American in office, we can regain what was lost.” He gripped her arm. “Three years ago, your uncle promised that if we threw our weight behind your campaign, you would secure compensation for the atrocities suffered by our ancestors.”
Mary blinked. “He said what now?”
A middle-aged lady in a floral dress scowled. “Your uncle made a promise. Now you have achieved your ambition, are you backing out of our deal?”
Mary felt blindsided. As she racked her brain on how to resolve this situation, a Secret Service agent stepped in front of her.
“Madam President, there is a problem. You are needed in the Situation Room.”
He gestured toward the door. “The Secretary of Health will fill you in en route.”
She was ushered into the car park where a limousine awaited. Climbing inside, she found William Schultz, the gray-haired Secretary of Health.
“Good afternoon, Madam President. I'm sorry to cut short your inauguration, but the CDC has declared a Level One emergency. An unprecedented Ebola outbreak.”
She gaped. “Are you serious?”
“Deadly serious, ma’am. We have confirmed cases in NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, and Atlanta.”
She clutched the hand rest. “Why wasn’t I told earlier?”
“Canceling your highly publicized inauguration at short notice could have caused mass panic.”
Ten minutes later, Schultz led her into the Situation Room deep under the West Wing of the White House. The room stank of stale air and desperation. Already seated around the table were the Secretary of State, the National Security Advisor, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a dozen aides.
Mary glanced around at all the uniforms. “Why are there so many military representatives here?”
Tom Brown, the National Security Advisor, leaned forward. “Madam President, the unprecedented spread of Ebola cannot be explained by natural causes. This is a terrorist act.”
Mary dropped into a seat. “Terrorism?”
“Yes,” said Sarah Clinton, the Secretary of Homeland Security. “Not only have people in six cities been infected, but each was strategically important. We’re talking hospital heads, chiefs of police, high-ranking military officers… This cannot be coincidental.”
She looked around the table. “What do we do?”
“That’s for you to decide, ma’am,” answered Schultz.
“We provide information and advice. It’s your duty to make the decisions.”
“Well,” she muttered under her breath, “we can’t just inject them with bleach.” She straightened and asked, “What does the CDC say?”
Schultz gestured to a wall screen, and Dr. Jack Swanson, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, appeared. “Good afternoon, Madam President.”
“I wish,” she moaned. “What can you tell me?”
“Unfortunately, this is only the beginning. As of this moment, there are around two thousand suspected cases that will likely be confirmed before the end of today. These are spread across thirty-three cities.”
“Do they follow the same pattern?”
“Mainly people in key positions? Yes.”
“What can we do?”
The Director leaned closer to the camera. “Under the circumstances, the only action you can take is to isolate the affected cities.”
“Call out the National Guard. Block all transportation in and out. Abandon those cities to themselves.”
“Abandon cities!” Mary stood. “Have you gone mad?”
“Ebola is exceptionally infectious. If you don’t lock those cities down, the whole of the United States is doomed. Possibly the entire world.”
“Can’t we send in medical response teams?”
“We don't have enough people or the necessary specialist equipment to secure every site.”
Schultz gripped her arm. “Madam President, only you have the authority to impose martial law.”
She looked to the screen. “Director, are there no other options?”
“No. Every second you delay increases the possibility an infected person will leave a city and spread this disease.”
She scanned the room. Stony expressions answered her silent pleas for help. Before she could come to a decision, the situation room doors opened, and the stout Foreign Secretary, Barbara Smithson entered together with the Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, General Samantha Warren. “Madam President,” said the general. “I’m sorry to break in on your important meeting, but we have a situation.”
“No,” said General Warren. “Another more urgent situation.” She gestured to the wall screen, and the CDC Director was replaced by a world map. Red arrows flashed across Russia, and dotted lines from these led to locations around the United States.
“W-what is that?”
“Madam President, Russia has launched a full-scale nuclear attack on the United States.”
“I can illuminate the situation,” said the Foreign Secretary. “The Russian President wishes to speak with you.” She gestured to the wall screen.
The familiar face of Maria Vorontsova appeared. “Madam President, I am sorry to contact you under such unfortunate circumstances.”
Mary faced the screen. “Madam President, you have launched an unprovoked attack. Call off your missiles.”
“Sorry, I cannot comply. We have reliable information Ebola is rife across the United States. If it is not contained, it will spread.”
“We are taking action to stop the spread.”
“You don’t have the strength to do what is necessary,” said the Russian president. “What I do now, I do with a heavy heart. To save the world, I must cut away the cancer that is America. Goodbye, Madam President.”
Everyone in the Situation Room gaped at one another.
A marine major entered carrying a black satchel. “Madam President, you will need this.”
“it’s your nuclear football.”
She glared at him. “I would never authorize the use of nuclear weapons.”
“Madam President”—the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff locked eyes with her—“there is a clear and present danger. Our SAMs will take out the first wave, but the Russians will keep firing until they achieve their goal.”
“You’re recommending a retaliatory strike?”
“Yes, Madam President. Demonstrating our resolve is the only viable option.”
The marine major pushed the black satchel toward her.
“B-but millions of innocent Russian civilians will die.”
“With respect, ma’am, you are the President of the United States of America. You took an oath to defend this nation.”
She covered her ears, refusing to listen. Why had she wanted this job? The room lighting dimmed. Red lights flashed. A klaxon sounded.
Mary straightened. “No!” She turned to the technicians. “Cut that noise and get the lights back on.” She turned to the Foreign Secretary. “I need to talk to the Chinese President. Immediately, if possible.” Next, she turned to the Health Secretary. “We need to speak to Jack Swanson again.”
Seconds later, the CDC Director reappeared on the screen. “Dr. Swanson,” said Mary, “I believe the CDC assisted in several serious African Ebola outbreaks?”
He nodded. “Most recently in the Western African epidemic from 2013 to 2016 and the 2017 Uganda Marburg outbreak.”
“That means you have people who had close contact with African doctors who were on the front line.”
Mary turned to General Warren. “Can the Air Force get planes out to Africa to pick up doctors and medical equipment?”
“Yes, ma’am. Though the Navy might be better for extraction.”
“Then liaise with the Navy.” Mary returned her attention to the screen. “Let every African doctor with Ebola experience know we need assistance. We helped them, now they can help us. Tell them we need experienced medical teams and the equipment necessary to fight Ebola.”
She turned her back on the CDC Director and waved over the National Security Advisor. “Tom, I’m going to authorize martial law. However, I refuse to abandon those cities. Have the National Guard install roadblocks, but we will send in medical teams headed by African doctors who are better qualified to deal with this than our own.”
The Foreign Secretary walked over. “Madam President, Wang Xiaohong is ready to speak with you now.”
Mary composed herself and faced the screen. “Mr. President, thank you for agreeing to speak on such short notice.”
The handsome and debonair Chinese President smiled. “My military advisors inform me you may not live long enough to enjoy our usual diplomatic dance.”
“Sadly, true, so let's get to the point. China is heavily invested in the United States. You own two trillion dollars of our national debt, majority shares in many American corporations, and America is your main export market. If we die, so do you. Your country faces immediate economic ruin.”
Wang frowned. “Madam President, are you threatening me?”
“No, sir. Merely stating facts.”
He ran a hand through his hair. “What would you have me do?”
“You have an army twice the size of Russia’s. Threaten war. Remind them a war would be a good way to boost the Chinese economy if the American market is lost.”
The Chinese President chuckled. “You are a devious woman, Mary Soaring Eagle. I hope we get to meet soon.”
“So, you agree to my proposal?”
“Don’t worry. I can get President Vorontsova to see reason. My Russian contacts say her main fear is Chinese aggression and the geographic proximity of China to many of Russia’s most important resources.”
The screen turned black, and Mary glanced around the room. General Warren nodded confidently, as did the National Security Advisor. Maybe they would survive this day. And what then?
Mary picked up a handset. “Please connect me to Professor Katherine Dobson from Dartmouth College.” She didn’t have to wait long.
“Madam President?” asked a familiar voice.
“Hello, Katherine. I need a favor.”
“Your scheme to encourage Native American student applications to Dartmouth College — could that be rolled out nationally?”
“Nationally? It would cost billions.”
“I am confident I can secure both corporate and federal backing.”
“What is your end goal?”
“America originally belonged to its indigenous peoples. The colonists stole their land. It is time for reparations. I dream of an America where every Native American youth not only has the opportunity to attend college but also receives financial assistance throughout their education.”
“Yes.” Mary smiled. “But wasn’t our great nation forged in a revolution?”
WORD COUNT: 2000
Plugged in "Action/Adventure Newsletter (August 5, 2020)"