Save Mars!

Long ago, we named the fourth planet from the sun after the Roman god of War. I fear that if the organization known as 'Cerberus' does not retreat, that is exactly what we will have. War. For those of you not familiar with the situation: Going against a plethora of international treaties, the corporation Cerberus set out on a colonization mission of the red planet. Let me repeat: Without backing by the international community, Cerberus is attempting to seize control of our neighboring planet. This kind of blatant disregard for neutral space has never been infringed in such a way. Even during the height of the space race, the moon was not regarded as 'property'.

Though if it was, the USA would absolutely have had rights to it. But I digress.

I would like to say that the United States in no way condones the actions of Cerberus. Luckily, several of our own Earth agents has deployed against the rogue corporation. I have confirmed sightings of an agent from Anthony Stark's noble operation. I have also heard rumors of the 'Earth guardian' who claims to be a star standing up against the ships.

For the time being, the United States military forces will not get involved, but if a colony is set up, offensive measures will be taken. Several Earth-based heroes from numerous countries (including independent agents from Russia and Israel) have offered their services in exchange for transportation. I am inclined to give them what they ask for if it annihilates the threat to not just our nation...but this PLANET.

Citizens, lend your aid. Offer your help to Anthony Stark, talk to army recruiters. If you want to see other worlds...well, I hate to be cliched, but if you want to travel, go join the Army. You'll end up with a story to tell your great-grandkids if you get deployed.


Assassination Coronation

Orpheus Ziev did not remember walking to the stage. He probably had a slight concussion, the doctors said. Not surprising considering what he'd been through. He didn't want to do this. He felt sick. His veins were full of fire, but ice crackled behind his eyes. This was the first time he would be facing the public since the failed assassination. The PR people had thought long and hard about whether they should conceal or highlight his injuries - should they give the public a show of strength or pluckiness? Eventually they settled on the latter. Orpheus' bruises were picked out with dark makeup, and he had a sling over one arm. When he spoke, he felt his voice was not his own.

"Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated" he croaked, half-smiling. "As you all know, I have been recuperating from a failed assassination attempt against my life. It was very nearly successful, and it would have been if it weren't for the interference of one brave individual: Anthony Stark. He stopped the rogue agent Project Picasso from ending my life." He began to cough violently. When he lifted his head, there was violet paint on his chin. "Project Picasso was part of a bioengineering department that has been shut down for inspection. She appeared through one of the paintings in my office, and attacked me. When Stark arrived, she threw me into the painting, thinking that no one would be able to get me out of the 'Painted World', as it's called. Stark called in the artist Persephone Gray, who was able to access this 'Painted World' and get me out before it was too late." He paused, wiped the paint from his face. "I'm afraid the government has not been entirely honest with you. The trial of 'war criminal' Anthony Stark was fake. He was in fact deep undercover, searching out the rot that festered somewhere in the government. I was extremely lucky he found it when he did, or I would not be standing here." He felt sick.

"So that's the story. I know there are many other things you all were hoping I would address today: The destruction of the Statue of Liberty, how the Registration Act will change in the face of all that's occurred...and that will all come later, I promise. Right now, I'm tired. I'm in a lot of pain. And unless you want a President on heavy painkillers, I can't keep talking right now. Thank you for your time." Slowly, with help from his security, he leaves the stage.


A Nightmare That Never Ends

In his dreams, he died over and over again, re-living the assassination attempt in all its alternate forms. Again (the noose), and again (broken glass), and again (laser), and again and....

He was sprawled over the desk. His spine had broken on impact, and he couldn't move his legs. He could hear Stark's footfalls drawing nearer. Orpheus dug his fingernails into the splintered wood of the desk, tried to drag himself to safety (waiting for salvation that never came). Stark's laughter rang in his ears as he crushed Orpheus' hands underfoot. He lifted Orpheus by his mangled wrists, leaning in close. "I know everything," Stark said. He slammed him down once more, and placed his foot on Orpheus face.

There was a crunch of breaking bone and...

Orpheus woke up. He didn't know where he was. There was carpet under his bare feet. He was cold. How had he gotten here? He had never been a sleepwalker. He was holding a cellphone that was quietly ringing to itself. He dropped it to the floor. He had to find a wall; he had to get his bearings. As he outstretched his arm, pain flared in his side. He collapsed, clutching his bandaged ribs. There, huddled on the floor, he quietly began to cry.

The phone continued ringing.

It was not long before two secret service agents found him there. Security had been increased dramatically since the failed assassination. "What are you doing here Mr. President?" asked one of the agents. They helped Orpheus to his feet, and led him back to his room.

This time, the guards stayed right outside the doors.

Orpheus did not want to sleep again; he could not face the dreams. He sat cross-legged on his bed, thinking. The Vice President had been covering for him during his recuperation, but Orpheus was going to have to face the public very soon. Damage control from the Liberty incident had been handled by other congressmen. Orpheus thought the public would probably cut him some slack considering his near-death, but it was hard to tell with these kinds of things. He'd increase the 'War on Terror', see if he could rally the people without falling into any of the pitfalls of his predecessors. Venezuela had been a mistake, but maybe...

In his dreams he died over and over again.


The President Goes to Disney

“I know this was my idea, but this is the dumbest thing I have ever done.” Orpheus was standing by Air Force One. More accurately, Orpheus was slouching by Air Force One. “Don’t be that way Mr. Z. It will be fun. And you know full well that this is EXACTLY what you need for PR.” The speaker was one William Keller, Orpheus’ personal aide. He was the only person Orpheus trusted unconditionally, and he had proved himself on several occasions. Will had once been a minor vigilante who went by the codename ‘White Noise’. He had almost immediately retired when he realized that he wasn’t really cut out for the excessive brutality lifestyle. So Will entered bureaucracy. His mutant ability to distort sound waves into meaningless static, generate static fields, or destroy recording devices was invaluable to an organization that despised paparazzi.

Now, Will herded the President onto Air Force One. “Now, remember to smile. That’s probably the most important thing today. You signed off on those bills, right?” Orpheus nodded, tapping his fingers against an armrest. “Yes. Nothing significant, but enough so that no one thinks I’m slacking off or avoiding responsibility.” He knew the drill. “Alright then! Let’s get going!” With a muffled roar, the aircraft took to the sky.

Once they were in the air, well past the point when Orpheus could back out, Will walked back in to the cabin. “Hey Mr. Z, I just wanted to introduce you to your security detail. It’s too much work to actually secure the area, so we figured that just one REALLY good agent should do the trick.”

“HELLO MR. PRESIDENT, SIR!” Project Picasso poked her head over the seat behind Orpheus. He started in his seat, hitting his head on the ceiling. “She’s a colorful character, popular with the general population. So that’s security. Oh, and you should go put these on.” Will handed Orpheus a stack of clothes. “Why?” Orpheus frowned. “Because suits and ties don’t really fit in at Disney World.”

A few minutes later, Orpheus emerged from the other compartment. “What am I wearing, and why is it so ITCHY?” he pulled at his t-shirt unhappily, scratching his shin with his foot. Will was looking at a clipboard, organizing itinerary. “Mickey Mouse shirt and jeans. And I’m sorry not EVERYTHING can be Armani.” He rolled his eyes, confident in the knowledge that the President would never know. “Now then, you have a busy day. First you’re going to meet with a bunch of kids. Photos, etc. Then you’re going on the rides. Then more kids. Um…lunch with Mickey Mouse and company. Then-put your shirt back on, you’re not Putin. That’s better - Okay, then you’re going to the America area at Epcot…I think they have a special mascot version of you. Fundraiser dinner (you may or may not have to dress up as a princess), and back on the plane. Sound good?”

No response from Orpheus, who was trying to drown himself in his glass of water. Project Picasso shot the glass. “THREAT NEUTRALIZED! POTUS SECURED!”


Orpheus stood in front of the smiling gates of Hell. The happy screams of children grated on his ears. “Oh my gosh, Mr. President, it’s such an honor!” The woman at the ticket gate grabbed his hand and shook it rapidly. “Can I stamp your hand?” Orpheus was going to tell her exactly where to put her stamp, but Agent Will intervened. “Of course! It wouldn’t be the full Disney World experience without a hand stamp, would it Mr. President?” Orpheus forced his face into a rictus grin. “Of course not!” he held out his hand, and got a stamp (it said Tigger).

“Ooh, and can I have your autograph?” A notebook was pressed into Orpheus’ hands.

“Sure.” He took out his puncher, prepared to quickly sign in Braille. Will took it from his hands, and gave him a pen. Apparently it was less ‘abstract’. Orpheus uncapped it, and clumsily scrawled his name. He wrote with the aptitude of a fourth grader, and it showed. Still, the ticket lady seemed delighted.

After that, things passed in a montage of misery and terror. Shortly after entering the gates, Orpheus was swarmed by a slavering horde of children. They hung on his arms and legs, and were generally sticky, loud, and reminiscent of beasts from the deepest circles of Hell. They were like three of the four horsemen of the apocalypse rolled into one. Not famine though…this was America. Some of these kids were HUGE. A few of them pressed pieces of paper into Orpheus’ hands. He could smell crayon, but he had no idea what mini-Monets the little monsters were trying to give him. “Aww, these are so cool!” It was Project Picasso. She was entertaining the kids by bringing their drawings to life or something. Orpheus took a deep breath. He could do this. He could bring happiness and joy to the terrible citizens of America.

A little hand pressed something into his. Orpheus automatically unfolded it, and his thumb passed over a series of raised bumps. These read ‘hello potato archeology love cell phone’. Still, Orpheus was touched by the effort. “Thanks champ, that’s awesome. Did you teach yourself Braille?” Silence. The kid was probably nodding. Orpheus ran his fingers over the sheet again…he thought so. The one thing people usually get right when they first learn any sort of new language is their own name. “So Tony, are you having fun today?”. Probably another nod. “Glad to hear it!” The kid ran off, and Orpheus heard him babbling to his mother about how he got to meet the president, and he liked the note, and…etc, etc.

“No.” Orpheus pushed at the metal bar that locked him to the treacherous contraption. “Yes. You’re having fun. You’re going on the ride.” With the grinding of chains, the torture device set off up a seemingly endless hill.

“Hey, you’re that Ziev guy, right?” Orpheus made a noncommittal gurgling noise. “Oh my gawd, that’s so cool! I’m on Splash Mountain with the President!” A large sweaty arm draped itself around Orpheus’ shoulders. Large sweaty fingers plucked off Orpheus’ dark glasses.

Everything dropped. Orpheus froze up, certain that something had gone terribly wrong and he was going to die. There was something wet on his face. Probably gasoline. Everything was going to explode. NOT LIKE THIS. NOT HERE. The ride slowly coasted to a halt. Will helped Orpheus off the ride. Project Picasso leapt off the back carriage, where she had been keeping an eye on things. Someone handed Orpheus’ sunglasses back to him, saying something about a great photo. “Two for two boss! Keep it up.”

Over the next hour or so, Orpheus learned several things:

1. The Small World song could easily be played in Guantanamo to make prisoners talk.

2. Actually there was a lot of annoying music everywhere

3. All roller coasters were embodiments of death and should be demolished

4. People liked taking his glasses without asking, and they all needed to be shot

“Okay, lunchtime! How you holding up Zee?” Orpheus could hear the worry hidden beneath Will’s bravado. Orpheus said nothing.

They had lunch. Orpheus had to eat chicken nuggets. They were shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head. At some point he ended up with a Mickey Mouse hat. That is all that needs to be said on the matter.

Orpheus liked Epcot considerably better for one reason, and one reason alone: The Coke Pagoda. It had free soda samples. (He was vaguely reminded of the time Nixon and Khrushchev bonded over Coca-Cola…of course, Khrushchev had never gotten to go to Disney World, even though he had really wanted to). This vague, sugar-induced feeling of goodwill towards man evaporated as soon as he reached the America area. Apparently a mascot version of him was participating in shenanigans, but what they were utterly eluded Orpheus. He had to take a picture with the mascot. It smelled like old cheese. He had to dance with the mascot. Assuming, of course, that the definition of ‘dancing’ was ‘being pulled around by a thing from the depths of the uncanny valley and fearing for one’s life’.

That was only an hors d’oeuvre for the horror that was the fundraising dinner. The previous horrors had mostly run together…the sheer crushing weight of them making each indistinct. But this was a nightmare that could not be escaped. It should have begun, as fundraisers do, with bored people in suits. Orpheus could deal with bored people in suits. He could not deal with overly excited people in character trying to get him to join them.

“Come on Orpheus, this is the last event. Just choose a character and get it over with,” apparently Will’s nerves were about as frazzled as Orpheus’.


“Just. Do it.”


“Project Picasso will literally paint a costume on you if you don’t do this. And she’s been drawing princesses for little girls all day; she’s in a bit of a rut. Do not make her draw you into a princess.”

“Fine. I choose Hades.” Orpheus wanted to scowl but his face was locked up from smiling all day. He was going to have to pry his teeth apart with pliers.

“Hercules it is!” Will called for the costumier, relieved. Orpheus was going to argue with him, but he realized he would probably accidentally cause Will to trip over uneven floorboards and break his leg or something. Will was pretty much the only person in politics Orpheus did NOT want to fall and break his leg.

The night was full of puns like, “Hey Hercules! Think you can punch through the national debt?”. The food, even at over a thousand dollars a plate, was still shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head. When it was over, he practically ran out the door.

Air Force One could not get back to Washington fast enough. “So Mr. Ziev, did you have a good time?” Will asked.

“How’re the poll numbers?” Orpheus asked in response.

“Skyrocketed. You apparently put on a pretty good show for someone who literally threw their t-shirt out of a plane while shrieking about water boarding Mickey Mouse as soon as no one was looking.” Will sighed.

Orpheus said nothing else for the rest of the flight.

“I am going to go shower for five hours, and then go to sleep. In a suit.” Orpheus jumped from the plane, brushed past security, and went to his quarters.

“He had a great time, didn’t he?” said Project Picasso.

“Sure, let’s go with that.” Will replied.


An Apology

The camera pans in on the special live speech. Orpheus Ziev stands at the podium. His clothes are disheveled (intentionally), he is gaunt and pale (the magic of makeup of course). It takes him a minute before he begins his speech.

"I have very little I can say regarding the terrible tragedy that occurred. Until earlier today, I was unaware of the situation unfolding in Venezuela. I was informed that the country was under military control, but that the situation was largely peaceful. This information has since been proven false. I made a mistake. I trusted the now war-criminal Anthony Stark...he pulled the wool over my eyes, and hid the situation from me. He played me for a fool, and as a result tens of thousands are dead." Orpheus pauses. He turns slightly from the cameras, lifts his sunglasses, and wipes a tear from his cheek. After a moment he resumes the speech.

"This tragedy will haunt me to my grave, but I will do everything I can to make it right. Anthony Stark is in custody. But there are others who are trying to continue his work...people like Mercy Sheridan. I have no doubt that all of you have heard the news. In her report she claims I gave permission...PERMISSION...for the destruction of an entire nation. With this report she gave a sound clip. I swear to you, on my life, on my soul, that this clip is false. As you all know, I am unable to a result, my other senses are finely honed. If you listen closely, as I did, you can hear where voice clips from my speeches or interviews have been spliced together. The work is masterful, but it is a fraud. Please do not be fooled by these machinations that aim to lower me in your eyes...citizens...friends...I took this job to make this a nation of happiness and prosperity. These criminals...Stark, Mercy, and their unknown conspirators...aim to enslave and crush you. Do not let them. have to trust me." He raises his head, his dead eyes look plaintively over the audience.

"I will do my absolute best to repair the damage done by these saboteurs. I am looking into seizing Horizon assets to aid in Venezuela. Mercy is still on the loose. If you have any information regarding her location, please call your local police or the FBI. National security starts with you."

A number flashes on the screen, giving the FBI hotline

"Please forgive me for being too trusting. Please forgive me for being naïve. I overestimated the goodness in the hearts of man. Please forgive me for my errors. This will never happen again, I swear it.

Take care America...and good night."


Say Hello to the New and Improved Venezuela!

[This ad is displayed widely, shown on most major networks or in various print formats]

Hello, and welcome to this presentation on the latest US holding...Venezuela!

After the brutal and random attack on innocent US citizens, the government sprang into action! This could not stand! Troops destroyed resistance and seized the territory away. As of this moment, Venezuela is an official colony of the United States of America!

And this holding will not go to waste. Oil is already being extracted from the rich reserves, pulling the carpet out from under OPEC. Say goodbye to those outrageous gas prices! Various other resources are being tapped for the benefit of YOU, our U.S. citizens!

And don't you worry...the Venezuelan rebels don't dare put a toe out of line. Voluntary government troops are relaxing on the beaches and keeping an eye on everything. It's all safe and can be, and an incredible gain for you and me.

Sincerely, your President,



Loose the Dogs of War

I’m going to cut right to the chase: In a blatant act of war, Venezuela massacred 50 innocent American citizens. The bells of war are tolling, citizens, and we must heed its call. NATO has already declared war, and the United States of America will fight alongside. This is not a mission of mercy; this is not another futile fight to rebuild a failed government from the ashes. This is pure and simple retaliation ladies and gentlemen. This is a reminder of why the United States is something to fear. A reminder that we are THE world power. A reminder that our citizens are holy: to hurt an innocent is to face our divine wrath. We will strike fast, we will strike hard, we will take no prisoners. He pauses, breathing hard.

Now then, in regards to the cost: If we’re lucky, we’ll be able to make an actual profit by selling weapons to the other members of NATO. If not, I’ll shoulder as much of the cost as I can myself, and I’m sure some of the member of my cabinet, the House, and the Senate will do likewise. The Venezuelans will also have to compensate for the lives of each and every American they slaughtered. The recruiting offices are open citizens...let's give those terrorists hell.


In Defense of the Registration Act

“Hello my fellow Americans. In the recent months, there has been fear and anger regarding the Registration Act. I am going to lay these fears to rest.” He pauses. “The Registration Act requires that all meta-humans or costumed vigilantes reveal their identities to designated government officials. Masked criminals are to be identified upon capture. I have been talking with mutant right activists, as well as pro- and anti- registration activists. From what I understand, the main complaints regarding the Act are fear of mutant discrimination, fear of one’s ‘secret identity’ being compromised, fear of one’s loved ones being injured, or fear of incarceration or experimentation by the government itself.” He leaned forward on his podium, nearer to his audience. “You need not worry.” Pause. “I will address each issue individually.

Firstly, those mutants or metas who hold government jobs are given special opportunities for advancement within special programs. Those who choose to retain their old jobs may file for compensation in the case of discrimination, and their superiors will be disciplined. Outside of government work, your mutant nature will NOT be ‘outed’. The Registration pertains only to government files, accessible by an elite few. At any given time, approximately five of the most tried-and-true officials have access to the Registration list. The system the list is contained on is not accessible from outside the highly encrypted server it is stored upon. Hackers are unable to get at the list unless they are physically present in the building. Releasing any part of the list for any reason is a federal crime, and carries heavy consequences. In addition, if one’s ‘secret identity’ IS discovered, you may enter the a new branch of the Witness Protection Program with any family or friends you feel may be in danger.

Alternatively, you may have a trained metahuman agent assigned to act as a guard until the danger has passed and the threat has been neutralized.” He let this sink in. “In regards to government testing, that is a myth. If you decide to dedicate your body to science, that’s wonderful, but as long as you’re alive you will be left alone.” That was a lie. “Now let me list some of the benefits of Registration: Those of you with useful metahuman powers or fighting training may join government departments. You will be provided with a job in one of several fields, training to control or hone your talents, as well as room and board if needed. If there is a bounty on your head, or your local police department is hounding you, they will be instructed to leave you be. Please note that this only applies to vigilantes who use non-lethal methods. If you fall on hard times due to keeping your city safe, you may apply for a government loan until you get back on your feet.” Pause, and he smiles.

“I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a good deal to me! If I had powers I’d sign right up!” he laughs at his own joke. “Hopefully this answers your questions and eases your concerns. If you wish to Register, telepathic agents are waiting at government buildings. Simply mentally address them to set up a time and place that will not compromise your identity while you register, and they’ll help you out. I will personally answer questions from designated spokespeople in my office. Letters and e-mails will be answered by trained staff. Thank you.” He bows his head in a gesture of acknowledgement and walks off the stage.


Hail to the Chief (CVnU)

VALIS Report

Sunday, March 3rd


An ominous wind blows through the capital of our nation. Everywhere, people turn up their coat collars and hurry to escape. The gyre widens. Even now, as this humble reporter is writing, events have been set in place that are unique in the history of our nation. Laws are being re-written; history examined. The approval rating of our president has plummeted with the mercury on the thermometer. The people are restless, agitating for change. At their head is young politician Orpheus Ziev, a prominent figure within the meta-human registration movement. Much of America stands at his back and clamors for revolution.
Apparently those in the House have heard the demands of the people. For nearly sixteen hours now, the House has been in session. No reporters are allowed in the room, but rumor has it that considerably more than a simple majority is in favor of impeachment.
For those of you who have been living in a ditch for the past several months, civil war has practically broken out within the nation. It all began with the Registration Act…a law that required all meta-humans and costumed heroes to register with the government. Two factions promptly formed: Pro and Anti Registration. Anti-Registration advocates claim that the law is a violation of privacy, and hazardous if the information is ever leaked. There are several smaller groups within the Pros. Pro-Registration advocates believes that vigilantes have no right to operate outside of conventional law, and that the registration is in fact, lenient. Others say that it’s the best way to keep powers under control. A third popular view is that it is a way to keep the regular people and government safe from foreign powered operatives. All groups, Pro and Anti, agree that the president handled the current situation extremely poorly.
The implementation and wording of the Registration Act was considered so glaringly problematic that it is being considered dereliction of duty…a High Crime. This is theoretically enough for an impeachment, though it may be hours yet before word comes back from (con’t on pg A2)

Marin County Tribune

Saturday, March 2

Spotlight on Orpheus Ziev (EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW!)

Everyone knows Orpheus Ziev…the up-and-coming politician who’s been standing in the eye of the political hurricane. But who is this man behind the turmoil? Today we have an exclusive interview with the one…the only…Orpheus Ziev! Our reporter (yours truly) met with him at the Hilton Arms Hotel, where Ziev has been staying during his time in Washington. At 8:00 am, I arrived in the dining hall, where various travelers to the nation’s capital were gorging on underripe melon and industrial pastries. It took me a moment to pick out Mr. Ziev, who was quietly sitting at a table near a corner. There were papers everywhere, embossed with fine dots. When I took a seat across from him, he started, then held out his hand for me to shake (it was still imprinted with the Braille he had been reading moments before). Aside from the papers, the small table held only a small cup of coffee and Mr. Ziev’s cane (which was only on the table “so people wouldn’t trip on it, usually it stays on the floor”). After some general pleasantries (Mr. Ziev offered me his meal ticket, which I declined), I began to ask the questions that you, our very own readers(!) sent in.
Me: So Mr. Ziev…we’ve all heard your political views. But there’s so little information about you as a PERSON. Tell me about yourself: where are you from? What kind of family do you have?
Ziev: Well, I’m from Guthrie, Kentucky. It’s a little town right on the border. It was a good place to grow up, everyone knew each other, everyone helped each other. The librarian, a wonderful man named Philip Anderton, drove all the way to Frankfort to get me some books in Braille. [He pauses]. I never knew my birth parents, but the couple who adopted me were kind and wonderful people. [He seemed unwilling to pursue the topic further, perhaps due to the tragic accident that took both his adoptive parents a few years back. After another pause, he quips,]. Ah, but if you were wondering, I do have a birth certificate!
Me: [laughs]. Ah yes, there’s some talk about you shooting for the presidency! Are these rumors correct? And how would a twenty-five year old go about such a thing?
Ziev: I’m afraid I can’t talk about that…mostly because I have no idea myself! [laughs]
Me: Fair enough! May I see your cane?
Ziev: …Sure?
The reporter would like to interject here that it is a very nice cane.
Me: From Guthrie to D.C…that must be quite a change.
Ziev: I went to Columbia. I’m used to cities. I haven’t been to Guthrie in years.
Me: Uh-huh, uh-huh. Can I see your eyes? The readers are extremely curious.
Ziev:…You’re not the reporter from the New York Times, are you?
At that moment the reporter from the New York Times arrived and I was forced to leave. But Marin County Tribune readers, my meeting with Orpheus Ziev!
Xoxo, Melissa Baine.

The day after this article went to print, reporter Melissa Baine slipped on a patch of ice and broke her neck. Mr. Ziev sent her a bouquet of yellow carnations.

VALIS Report

Monday, March 4th


Earlier today, the House and Senate announced their decision to impeach the President of the United States, and remove him from office. They did not, however, suspend the possibility of regaining office for a future term.
There is further news: In addition to the impeachment, several pieces of legislation have been put in place (signed into law by the current Vice President).
Firstly: That in the current political climate, it is unwise to resort to the presidential succession list. A new candidate will be elected to office.
Secondly, an Amendment to the constitution: The age of 35 required to hold office has been removed. The rationale being that in the current crisis the youth are the ones posing the answer, with historical precedent (e.g, the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam, etc) in which the government acted well behind the accepted stance, costing billions of dollars. This Amendment has been named for a character in an old comic book: the Prez Rickard Amendment, allowing anyone 21 and over to hold office, as long as they are backed by a Vice President of 35 or more.
Thirdly: After a hasty meeting of the Electoral College, and using only a sample of the popular vote based on polling, the revolutionary Orpheus Ziev has been elected as President of the United States.


Of course there was controversy, and he would have expected no less. Of course there was outrage, but it would calm. For he would lead them into the light, and they would see him as their savior, their shepherd, their salvation. There would be cries about how it was against freedom, how it would destroy America, but in the end…well, he had looked to the Supreme Court ruling, and they would uphold it. The polling samples were large enough to be representative. No one’s agenda was being upheld (except for his own, of course, but there was no proof). His policies would satiate the masses, and uphold long-term peace and prosperity. And why not? He need not fear consequence, he MADE the future.


Who is Orpheus Ziev? He is a precog. He is a dangerous man. He is the dawn of a new world. He is the President of the United States.


The Last Trumpet (Concluding Campaign Speech)

Tick tock tick tock the hour nears. The leadership changes. Soon America will have a new figurehead...and who will it be? The charismatic Atticus Blair? Or the dashing Orpheus Ziev? Alas, it is for none to know, for fate has shuffled the cards. Even Orpheus Ziev, with his gift for knowing that which is too come was left in the dark. His powers had been somewhat faulty since the Ambriel incident, as like any muscle the psionic abilities must be rested if one wishes to strengthen them, or risk serious injury. And so, it was with intense anticipation that Ziev awaited the day, hour, minute, second, instant that the results would be announced, and he could take one step forward towards world domination...

There had been what amounted to a non-stop Orpheus for President Marathon on FOX News. Everything from interviews with Ziev, (regarding his views on religion, guns, Amurika, aliens, the Kennedy assassination, who would win in a Martha Stewart vs. Paula Dean smackdown, favorite color, What's Being Blind Like?, Can You Identify Random Objects by Taste?, etc.) to interviews with Ziev's dog, to discussions on how great Ziev was, to....well, it was basically just FOX's typical programming lineup. Of course, Orpheus had been working on other means of publicity...with his vast wealth he had no trouble financing ads on various TV and radio stations, and he had thrown the opening pitch in one of the World Series games. He had even dressed up as Psy for Halloween and performed Gangnam Style at a children's hospital.

Now however, was not the time for games. It was time for the final speech. Orpheus Ziev stood in a simple, wood-floored room. The walls were neutral, though poorly lit. The spotlight was on Orpheus. He had rejected a podium, wanting to appear open and receptive to his audience. A small microphone was clipped to his ear so he could speak directly to the people. Scout snuffled around the room quietly, then settled down by Orpheus' feet. He let the silence sink in for a moment, then began:

"Hello my friends. I'm sorry for my absence as of late. After a visitation by the angel Ambriel, I needed solitude so I could find my rightful path. And after a spiritual journey, I find myself before you again. There are no doubts in my mind that my place is here. If you will accept me, I will lead our country into a new golden age. And now I will tell you how.

Much has been said as of late of the detrimental effect of large corporations.. But we seem to have forgotten so much...when our country was young, when our economy growing, who lifted the weary workers upon its back, raising them into the light of prosperity? What made our country thrive, in peace and in war? The companies, the big businesses are the backbone of our nation. Think of Zeraz. Think of all they've done...the personal sacrifices of the Zeraz family in the name of the greater good of America, the jobs provided, the profit of the country! Speaking of which, now seems as good a time as any to announce my replacement at Oracular Incorporated...Jory Miller has been elected by the board to take over as CEO. I trust the company will be in good hands." He pauses now as he changes tacks.

"Most of my other political views have been expressed previously, so I will not bore you with them again now. My spirituality was laid bare when Ambriel cleansed my soul. You know me America, and you know what I have to offer you. Take care now, and please...use your vote wisely. Orpheus Ziev signing off."

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